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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Leith Walk.] . REPULSE OF CROMWELL. 1.5 I direction of Leith Walk, as by charter under thc Great Seal, dated at Edinburgh, 13thAugust, 1456 King James 11. granted, ?preposito, baZZiuis et corn munitati nosh? de Rdinlbuv-gh,? the valley or loa ground between the well called Craigangilt, on thc east side (i.e., the Calton Hill), ? and the commor way and road towards the town of Leith, on tht west side,? etc. . But the origin of Leith Loan-or Leith Walk, a: .we now call it-was purely accidental, and tht result of the contingencies of war. In 1650, to repel Cromwell?s attack upon thc city, Sir Alexander Leslie had the whole Scottish army skilfully entrenched in rear of a strong breastwork of earth that lay from north to south between Edinburgh and Leith. Its right flank was de. fended by redoubts armed with guns on the green slope of the Calton Hill ; its left by others on the eastern portions of Leith and St. ilnthony?s Port, which enfiladed the line and swept all the open ground towards Restalrig. In addition to all this, the walls of the city were everywhere armed with cannon, and the banners of the trades were displayed above its gates. Along the line of this entrenchment Charles II., after landing at Leith from Stirling, proceeded on horseback to the city. His appearance created the greatest enthusiasm, all the more so that Cromwell?s arms were seen glittering in the distance. Around Charles was his Life Guard of Horse, led by the Earl of Eglinton, magnificently armed and mounted, and having on their embroidered standards the crown, sword, and sceptre, with the mottoes Nobis hczc inviita misemnt, and Pro Religione, Rege, et Patrid. On Monday, the 24th of July, Cromwell furiously attacked the entrenchment, as he had been exasperated by the result of a sortie made by Major General Montgomery, who at the head of 2,000 Scottish dragoons, had repulsed an advanced column, and ?( killed five Colonells and Lieutenant- Colonells, mortally wounded Lieut.-Gen. Lambert and five hundred soldiers.? (Balfour.) As the English advanced, the rising sun shone full upon the long lines of Scottish helmets glittering above the rough earthwork, where many a pike was gleaming and inany a standard waving. Clearing the rocks and house of Restalrig, they advanced over the plain westward from Lochend, when the field batteries atthe Quarry Holes, the guns on Leith and theCalton,openedon them simultaneously, while a rolling and incessant fire of musketry ran along the whole Scottish line from flank to flank, and was poured in closely and securely from the summit of the breastwork. They were speedily thrown into confusion, and fled in considerable disorder, leaving behind them some pieces of cannon and the ground strewn with dead and wounded. Cromwell?s vigorous attack on the southern part of the city was equally well repulsed, and he then drew off from it till after his victory at Dunbar. At this time General Leslie?s head-quarters were in the village of Broughton, from whence many of his despatches were dated ; and when the war was shifted to other quarters, his famous breastwork became the established footway between the capital and its seaport. Midway between these long stood an edifice, of which no vestige remains-the Rood Chapel, repairs upon which were paid for by the city in 1554-5. It stood in the vicinity of the Gallow Lee, a place memorable for a desperate conflict between the Kingsmen and Queensmen in 1571, when the motto of ?God shaw the Richt,? was conferred on Captain Crawford, of Jordan Hill, by the Regent Morton, and whose tombstone is yet to be seen in the churchyard of Kilbirnie. On nearly the same ground in 1G04 James Hardie, of Bounmylnerig, with others, in the month of April, between nine and ten in the evening, assailed Jacques de la Berge, a Fleming, forced him to quit his saddle, and thereafter rypeit him? of gold and silver, for which Hardie was hanged at the Cross and his goods forfeited. Though in 1610 Henrie Anderson, a native of Stralsund, in Pomerania, obtained a royal patent for coaches to run between Edinburgh and Leith at the rate of zd. per passenger, we have no record of how his speculation succeeded ; nor was it until 1660 that William Woodcock obtained a license ?to fitt and set up ane haickney coatch for the service of his Majesty?s lieges, betwix Leith and Edinburgh,? at the rate of 12s. (Scots) per passenger, if the latter decided to travel alone, but if three went with him, the charge was to be no more than 12s. ; and all who came upward to Edinburgh were to alight at the foot of Leith Wynd, ?for the staynes yr of.? From that time we hear no more of Leith stages till 1678, as mentioned in our first volume; but in 1702 a person named Robert Miller obtained permission to keep four vehicles to ply between the two towns for nine years. Individual enterprise having failed to make stages here remunerative, the magistrates in 1722 granted to a company the cxclusive right to run coaches on Leith Walk for a period of twenty-one years, each to hold six passengers, the fare to be gd. in summer and 4d. in winter; but this speculation did not seem to pay, md in 1727 the company raised the fares to 4d. md 6d. respectively.
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c 152 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH, [Leith Walk, In I 748 the thoroughfare is described as ?a very handsome gravel walk, twenty feet broad, which is kept in good repair at the public expense, and no horses suffered to come upon it.? In 1763 two stage coaches, with three horses, a driver, and postilion each, ran between Edinburgh and Leith every hour, consuming an hour on the way, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ; and at that time there were no other stage coaches in Scotland, except one which set out at long intervals for London. Before that nothing had been done, though in 1774 the Week0 Magazine announced that ?a new road for carriages is to be made betwixt Edinburgh and Leith. It is to be continued from the end of the New Bridge by the side of Clelland?s Gardens and Leith Walk. [Clelland?s Feu was where Leith Terrace is now.] We hear that the expense of it is to be defrayed by subscription.? In I779 Arnot states that ?so great is the concourse of people passing between Edinburgh and HIGH STREET, PORTOBELLO. In 1769, when Provost Drummond built the North Bridge, he gave out that it was to improve the access to Leith, and on this pretence, to conciliate opposition to his scheme, upon the plate in the foundation-stone of the bridge it is solely described as the opening of a new road to Leith; and after it was opened the Walk became freely used for carriages, but without any regard being paid to its condition, or any system established for keeping it in repair ; thus, consequently, it fell into a state of disorder ?from which it was not rescued till after the commencement of the present century, when a splendid causeway was formed at a great expense by the city of Edinburgh, and a toll erected for its payment.? Leith, and so much are the stage coaches employed, that they pass and re-pass between these towns 156 times daily. Each of these carriages holds four persons.? The fare in some was 2hd.; in others, gd. In December, 1799, the Herald announces that the magistrates had ordered forty oil lamps for Leith Walk, ?? which necessary k~iprovement,? adds the editor, will, we understand, soon tzke place.? Among some reminiscences, which appeared about thirty years ago, we. have a description of Anderson?s Leith stage, ? I which took an hour and a half to go from the Tron Church to the shore. A great lumbering affair on four wheels, the two fore 1 painted yellow, the two hind red, having formerly
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