History of Leith, Edinburgh

Archive for 2013

The Rev. Thomas Scott

Monday, November 25th, 2013

21st July 1790.—The Session being con-veened and constituted by prayer by the Reverend Mr William Simpson one of the Ministers of Edinburgh who had been desired by Mr John Hadaway, Kirk Treasurer to moderate at this meeting in absence of Mr Robert Dickson, The Session taking into their consideration the vacancy of the first Charge in the Ministry of this Parish occasioned by the death of their late worthy Pastor The Reverend Mr Thos. Scott, moved that some of their number be appointed to concur with those concerned in a humble application to His Majesty, the patron of the foresaid first Charge that he would be graciously pleased to grant his Royal Presentation to the Reverend Mr Robert Dick-son present minister of the Second charge for supplying the foresaid vacancy which Motion being considered by the Session they unanimously approved of the same.
(Note.—The tombstone of the Rev. Thomas Scott stands in the churchyard, a little to the east of the Pilrig ground. It is said that Mr Scott met his death by the collapse of the Grand Stand at the Leith races. He married Miss Nelly Balfour, cousin of the Laird of Pilrig, and had his manse in Eiddle’s Close, now Market Street.)

source-South Leith Records

The right to bring water into Leith

Monday, November 25th, 2013

7th Feby. 1754.—The Session, having this day resumed the consideration of the controverted seats in the Kirk, the Committee reported that according to appointment they went to Edinburgh wt a design to wait upon Baron Maul, but were told by Mr Balfour of Pilrig that the Baron did not chuse to talk upon that affair with the Session’s Committee being a judge in the matter of the Charter and having no power from Lord Murray to make any agreement about ye controverted seats but directed the Committee to My Lord Murray’s Doers as the fittest persons to treat wt. upon that affair, whereupon B. John Balfour and B. David Strachan went directly and represented the Session’s Resolution concerning the controverted seats to Mr John McFarlane, Writer of Edinburgh, who undertook to manage the matter wt Lord Murray’s Agent, John McKenzie, and desir’d that an Extract of the said Resolution might be lodged wt him, promising at the same time that he would not deliver the same to Mr McKenzie or any one else ’till proper security is obtained for the Water from Lochend, The Session having heard the Report, came to the following Eesolution, That as the Right Hon. the Earl of Murray is now the most considerable heretor in this Parish and the Representative of the family of Balmerino, who have done many good offices to the Session and Town of Leith and being persuaded that the Noble Earl inherits the same good dispositions, and will always show a due regard to the interests of the place, They therefore agreed to put his Lordship in possession of the Seats in the Kirk which were formerly granted to the family of Balmerino to be enjoyed by His Lordship in the same manner wherein they were given to and possessed by that noble familv, and agreed that the Clerk shall give an Extract of the said Resolution, But the Session were unanimously of opinion that, as their only motive in yielding the said Seats to Lord Murray is to oblige the inhabitants of Leith, it is therefore necessary in the first place that the Incorporations who have subjected themselves to the burden of bringing in the Watter to Leith should know ye Session’s aim, with the steps they have already taken, And that the above Extract and Concession made on their part should be lodged wt the Masters of the Incorporations and Baillies of Leith upon their giving proper assurances that no use shall be made of the same without obtaining sufficient security for Lord Murray’s Charter being burdened wt the servitude of the water from Lochend agreable to the Grant formerly made by ye Barrens of Excheqr. to ye Town of Leith, and Further the Session hereby declare that unless such a Clause be really engrossed in Lord Murray’s Charter their present Concession in his favours shall be void ; And appoints the Masters of ye Incorporations to be warned to meet wt the Revd. Ministers the Baillies and Messrs John Crawford and Thomas Hadaway, Elderss Duncan Pollock and John Hadaway Deacons as a Committee appointed for the foresaid effect, to meet at Six o’clock this evening in the House of John Steil, upon the Shore of Leith.
(Note.—It was part of the arrangement with the Earl of Moray that he granted to the incorporations a servitude right to bring water into Leith from Lochend Loch. Some papers on this subject are printed in the ” Bailies of Leith.”)

source-South Leith Records

English money

Monday, November 25th, 2013

21 March 1754.—This day the Session ordains that from this time forward their accounts should consist of Sterling, and not Scots Monies as formerly.
(Note.—This Minute marks an important event in the book-keeping of the Session; and indicates that English money had come into common use.)

source-South Leith Records

Frequent disturbance happens in the night time

Monday, November 25th, 2013

23 July 1747.—Whereas frequent disturbance happens in the night time be people who are employed in watching the Dead bodies in the Church yard firing guns and making other noise in their drunkeness the Session ordains that whoever for the future shall employ any for that purpose shall consign a half crown in the hands of the Kirk Treasurer to be restored to ye owners if no disturbance happen and otherways to be forfeited to ye Poor ; Further ordains that no Grave shall be dugg at ye sides of ye church nearer than six foot from the wall, that the church walls and windows may not be damnified.

source-South Leith Records

Reference to the romantic visit of Prince Charlie in 1745

Monday, November 25th, 2013

7th November 1745.—It is .to be observed that Publick Worship having been interrupted Sabbath forenoon the 15th September by the alarum of the near approach of the Highland Army under the Pretender’s Son and the said Army having on the Tuesday morning thereafter. the 17th, got possession of the City of Edinburgh and had the command thereof and the country about from that time until their removal on Thursday, 31st October, during which time there was no Publick Worship nor Sessions kept in the City of Edinburgh, Canongate, South Leith and North Leith Sabbath days or week-days.
The Celebration of the Sacrament having been stopt by reason of the Rebellion as has been showen continues that affair under consideration till it be seen what further turn affairs do take.
(Note.—This is only reference to the romantic visit of Prince Charlie in 1745. It does not appear that the Highlanders interfered with South Leith Church, but they occupied the Tolbooth of Leith for a time.)

source-South Leith Records

Persons watching the dead in the Churchyard firing guns

Monday, November 25th, 2013

4th July 1745.—There being complaints of disturbance made in the night-time by persons watching the dead in the Churchyard firing guns and otherwise making great noise, the Session appoints their Officer when any apply for access into the Churchyard to watch their dead to intimate to them that they are prohibited to allow any to have or make use of firearms while watching whereby the neighbourhood is disburbed, And to certify those that apply that they must be answerable for any disturbance occasioned by their watching through firing guns or any indecent noise.
(Note.—The tombs in the churchyard still show relies of the times when body-snatching was a common practice of which the traditions still linger in old tales. Some of the large tombs are still completely encased in heavy iron bars, and many of the old grave-stones still bear the sockets or marks of the sockets which secured the bars of iron over the graves.)

source-South Leith Records

Shaving beards or dressing wigs

Monday, November 25th, 2013

18 July 1742.—The Moderator informed that Henry Shiells present deacon of the Barbers came to him and told that the sd Barbers at a Meeting had enacted themselves under a penaltie That in time coming they shall not prophane the Lord’s day by Shaving beards or dressing wigs, and desired the same might be intimated from the pulpit to the Congregation which he thought proper to acquaint the Session with before he made publick intimation thereof. The Session having heard and considered the motion and proposal heartily approves thereof and agrees thereto, And recommends to the Moderator this day after sermon forenoon to make intimation thereof, and to warn all to forbear the prophan-ing the Lord’s day that way with certification That the persons either employing or employed will be prosecute and censured for Sabbath-breaking according to law civil and ecclesiastical.

source-South Leith Records

Graverobbing

Monday, November 25th, 2013

22nd July 1742.—This day George Car-kettle, grave-maker gave in a complaint against Robert Henderson, Custom House Porter in Leith and his Spouse bearing that upon the July instant, about 8 of the clock at night they came upon him in a furious manner and most basely abused and calumniate him alledging and affirming that he had sold and disposed of the corpse of their child which was buried about 3 weeks before and almost raised a mob and tumult upon him to the danger of his life and thereafter they broke into the Churchyard and at their own hand digged up the grave where their child was buried and opened up the coffin and found the corpse therein, Appoints the sd Robert Henderson and his Spouse to be cited to next Diet.

source-South Leith Records

Most outrageous and indecent manner

Monday, November 25th, 2013

I9th August 1742.—This day the Session had laid before them the following information :—
The information of James Rannie, Deacon, and James Biggar, Boxmaster to the Incorporation of Coopers in South Leith, John Wilson Deacon and Henry Brocket deacon of the Masons for the Incorporation of Wrights and Masons, Humbly sheweth that last Lord’s Day the l5th of this instant month of August a little before 10 of the clock William Simson Sclater with others his accomplices who had been drinking and caballing in his house that morning came into the Church as the other inhabitants were assembling for divine worship and casting ofi all Fear of God and regard to His Holy Day or House in a most outrageous and indecent manner and to the great disturbance of those who were assembled leaped over the heads of the seats until they got to the doors of the High Seat belonging to the Incorporation of Coopers Wrights and Fleshers and there forceably made open the doors and broke off the locks and so entered the seat. As such a profanation of the Lord’s Day is highly criminal and offensive, we thought it our duty to lay this before you that he may be proceeded against according to the merit of his crime and as to your wisdom should seern meet. The Session appoints the said William Simson to be cited to the next diet.

source-South Leith Records

The Indenture

Monday, November 25th, 2013

17th March 1743.—Reported that the Indenture was expede betwixt George Scott, Weaver in Danieltown and David Burton whereby the said David is bound to serve the space of 7 years and the Master is bound to teach him his trade to maintain him in bed, board, clothes and washing during that time, the Treasurer only furnishing him with one suit of clothes after this date.
(Note.—This David Burton was an orphan child for whom the Kirk Session had undertaken responsibility. The minute illustrates the old custom whereby an apprentice entered the household of his master who then became ” in loco parentis ” to him, not only teaching him his trade but bringing him up as one of his own family.)

Source-South Leith Records

Some Text