Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


. I64 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. * LElTH WALK, FROM GAYFIELD SQUARE, LOOKING SOUTH. CHAPTER XVII. LEITH-HISTORICAI, SURVEY. Origih of the Nme?-Boundariee of South and North Leith-Links of Nor& Leith-The Tom first mentioned in History-King Robert?e Charter -Superiority of the Logam and Magistrates of Ediuburgh-Abbot Ballantyne?s Bridge and Chapel-Newhaven given to Edinburgh by Jarnes 1V.-The Port of I53c-The Town Burned by the English. LEITH, the sea-port of Edinburgh, lies between it and the Firth of Forth, but, though for Parliamentary purposes separate from it, it is to all intents an integral portion of the capital city. Of old the name was variously written, Leyt, Let, Inverleith, and the mouth of the Leith, and it is said to have been derived from the family of the first recorded proprietors or superiors, the Leiths, who in the reign of Alexander 111. owned Restalrig and many extensive possessions in Midlothian, till the superiority passed by the marriage of the last of the Leiths into the family of the Logans. However, ?it seems much more probable that the family took their name from the river, which has its rise in the parish of Cume, at Kinleith, where three springs receive various additions in their progress, particularly at the village of Balerno, where they are joined hy the Bavelaw Bum. This stream, when its waters were pure, abounded in fish-trout, loche or groundling, and the nine eyed-eel Or river lamprey; and it must have contained salmon too, as in the Edinburgh HeraZd for August, 1797, we read of a soldier in the Caledonian Regiment being drowned in the Salmon Pool, in the Water of Leith, by going beyond his depth when bathing there. In his ? Historical Inquiries,? Sir Robert Sibbald suggests that a Roman station of some kind existed where Leith now stands ; but it has been deemed more probable, as the author of CaZedonia Rqnana supposes, that from the main Roman road that went to Caer-almon (or Cramond) a path diverged by the outlying camp at Sheriff Hall to Leith, where Chalmers (? Caledonia,? Vol., I.), records that ?the remains of a Roman way were discovered, when one of the piers was being repaired ; I? and this is further supported by the fact that some Roman remains were found near the citadel in 1825, Still,
Volume 5 Page 164
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print   Pictures Pictures