Edinburgh Bookshelf

Edinburgh Past and Present


Volume 11 Page 174
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I20 QUEENSFERRY TO MUSSELBURGH. mere lover of scenery : Portobeilo, thus happily surrounded and pleasantly situated, is a most attractive town, and has many and decided advantages over any other seaside watering-place within the circle of our knowledge. MUS S ELBU RG H, Which lies a little to the east of Portobello, is a town of considerable antiquity. It is situated close to the sea-shore, on a low,' flat expanse, with Inveresk overlooking it on the south, and Fisherrow, separated from it by the river Esk, on the west. Both Musselburgh and Fisherrow are embraced in the parish of Inveresk, and may be regarded as forming but one township. Fisherrow is a somewhat uncomfortable-looking place, consisting of one long main street, a back street, with a number of close dirty lanes and bylanes, chiefly inhabited by fishers and the poorer classes of the population. In the principal thoroughfare, indeed, and especially in the east towards the bridge spanning the river, there are many very good houses, while in the outskirts, again, are several villas of a veryhandsome and commodious character. The town has a harbour, in which, notwithstanding the heavy dues levied by the municipality, light craft discharging their cargoes are frequently found : it shares likewise in the government of the burgh, and has the right to elect a certain number of its"residenters ' to the magistracy. The fishing community, although perhaps not equal to their confdres of Newhaven in forethought and industry, are yet in the main very active and frugal: the men sedulously plying the line and the net in catching the finny inhabitants of the deep, and their wives and daughters as diligent and laborious in their efforts to sell them. Musselburgh, on the other hand, is a clean, tidy, pleasant-looking town, and has a history that runs back to a time somewhat earlier even than that of Malcolm Canmore, being known to the Northumbrian Saxons as a seat of population nearly nine hundred years ago, by the name of Eske Mufhe. Very likely, however, it was then a place of no importance, a mere hamlet in the manors of Inveresk with which it was connected, and sharing subsequently their fortunes as gifts by the King and his royal lady to the abbot and monks of the aIready opulent and important monastery of Dunfermline. Inveresk, it would appear, was divided at that early day into Great and Little Inveresk, and extended nearly three miles from east to west, and about two from north to south. The situation is perhaps one of the most delightful to be found in Scotland : the northern portion flattening towards the sea and
Volume 11 Page 175
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