The History of Leith

January 13, 2013

The Poor in 18th Century Leith

10th March 1750.—Reported that the Committee
did meet with the Magistrates, Ministers
and Masters of the Incorporations and made up
the Instructions for Peter Thomson and Will
M’Intosh to prevent Vagrant Beggars from
begging in North Leith and South Leith whereoi
ve tenor follows :—
Instructions for two men employed to prevent
Vagrant Beggars from begging in ye Towns
of Leith. ,
Imo —That none be allowed to begg tnat
have not badges either in North or South Leith.
2do —That those that have Badges are not
to be allowed to begg in the Streets nor in the
Avenues to the Kirk on ye Sabbath Day nor at
Burials, but only from house to house, at the
Inhabitants’ doors. . .
Stio.—If any Strangers are found begging m
the place, for the first offence they are to see
them out of the Town and tell them if ever they
be found begging here again they will be imprisoned
and fed on Bread and Watter, and for
every one they take up (after Returning) by the
assistance of the Town Officers they are to have
Sixpence and the Officers as much.
4to.—They are to attend in time of Tide
and take care that no beggars land from Fife,
and if any come over they are to acquaint the
Magistrates, that the Boatmen may be ordered
to carry them back.
5to.—That they are frequently to go
through the Streets both in North and South
Leith every day to see that no strangers be
begging in the Streets and Closes.
6to.—If any Beggars appear under the
Character of Broken Seamen, they are to carry
them to Mr Innes, Treasurer to the Incorporation
of Shipmasters, who will give them what
shall be sufficient to carry them to the next
Town and when they have got such allowance
they are to see them out of the Town and not
allow them to begg in the Place and if any
aopear with Passes as Poor Travellers they are
to carry them to one of the Magistrates, who will
give directions concerning them.
24to Aprile 1750.—The foregoing instructions
were made up delivered to Peter Thomson
and Wm. Mackintosh, and order’d to be put in
execution by them beginning next week, and
they to have each Two Shillings Sterling weekly
for their service upon their doing their office
diligently and Mr Robt. Innes to pay them. _
The Sessions of South and North Leith with
the Incorporations of South Leith and concurrence
of the Magistrates there, considering how
much this place is oppressed with Stranger Poor
from all Corners to the great disturbance ot the
Inhabitants and loss to their own poor have
agreed to employ two men who are to take care
that none be allowed to begg in South or
North Leith but such as have badges from their
respective Sessions, and these badges are ordered
to be sewed on their upper Garments that the
Inhabitants may see them, and as this Resolution
is so evidently for the Benefice of the Place,
and for answering the true Design of Charity,
preventing of Vice, and agreeable to the laws
made for the purpose, ’tis expected that the
neighbourhood will serve those only that have
badges at their Doors. The Premises being
published by Proclamation through the Town
by order of the Magistrates on Saturday, 28th
March, were also intimated from the Pulpits of
South and North Leith on Sabbath, 29th April,
The Badges allowed to the Poor of S. Leith
are as follows :—
(Note.-B.sie. follows a list of names of the persons
authorised by badges to beg in South Leith.)

Source-South Leith Records

Some Text