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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Leith.] THE FIRST BRIDGE. 167 Kirk aark, and to be-deprived of- the freedom (of the city) for ane zeare.? 1 .of the harbour, for the erection of quays and wharfs and for the loading of goods, with the liberty to have shops and granaries, and to make all necessary roads thereto ; but this grasping feudal baron afterwards sorely teased and perplexed the town council with points of litigation, till eventually he roused them to adopt a strong measure for satiating .at once his avarice and their own ambition. Bought over by them with alarge sum of nionfy .drawn from the city treasury, Sir Robert Logan on ;the 27th of February, 1413, granted them an extraordinary charter, which has been characterised as an exclusive, ruinous, and enslaving bond,? restraining the luckless inhabitants of Leith from .carrying on trade cE any sort, from possessing warehouses or shops, from keeping inns for strangers, ? so that nothing should be built or constructed on the said land (in Leith) in future, to the prejudice and impediment of the said community.? The witnesses to this grant are George Lauder the Pro- Test, and the Bailies, William Touris of Cramond, William of Edmondston, James Cant, Dean of Guild, John Clark of Lanark, Andrew Learmouth, and William of the Wood. In 1428 King James I. granted a charter under .his great seal, with consent of the community of Edinburgh, ordaining ? that in augmentation of the fabrik and reparation of the port and harbour of Leith, there should be uplifted a certain tax or toll upon all ships and boats entering therein,? This is dated from the Palace of Dunfermline, 31st December. (Burgh Records.) In 1439 Patrick, abbot of Holyrood, granted to Sir Robert Logan and his heirs the office of bailie aver the abbey lands of St. Leonards, ?lyande in the town of Leicht, within the barony of Restalrig, on the south halfe the water, from the end of the gret volut of William Logane on the east part to the common gate that passes to the ford over the water of Leicht, beside the waste land near the house of John of Turing,? etc. (Burgh Charters.) Not content with the power already given them over their vassals in Leith, the magistrates of Edinburgh, after letting the petty customs and haven siller? of Leith for the sum of one hkdred and ten merks in 1485, passed a remarkable order in council :-? That no merchant of Edinburgh presume to take into partnership any indweller of the town of Leith, under pain of forty pounds to the he proceeded to Leith tb hold his water courts, such an escort being deemed necessary for the In 1497 the civic despots of Edinburgh obtained, on writ from the Privy Council, that ? all manner of persons, quhilk are infectit, or has been infectit and uncurrit of the contageouse plage, callit the grand gore, devoid red and pass furth of this towne, and compeir on the sandis of Leith, at ten hours before noon, and thair shall have boats reddie in the Haven, ordainit to thame be the officears, reddie furnished with victualles, to have them to the inche, there to remain quhi!l God provide for thair health.? (Town Council Records.) As regards Leith, a much more important event is recorded four years before this, when Robert Ballantyne, abbot of Holyrood, ? with the consent of his chapter and the approbation of William, Archbishop of St. Andrews,? first spanned the river by a solid stone bridge, thus connecting South and North Leith, holding the right of levying a toll therefor. It was a bridge of three arches; of which Lord Eldin made a sketch in 1779, and part of one of the piers of which still remains. Abbot Ballantyne also built a chapel thereby, and in his charter it is expressly stated, after enumerating the tithes and tolls of the bridge, ?that the stipend of each of the two incumbents is to be limited to fifteen merks, and after the repairs of the said bridge and chapel, and lighting the same, the surplus is to be given to the poor.? This chapel was dedicated to St. Ninian the apostle of Galloway, and the abbot?s charter was confirmed by King James IV. on the 1st June, 1493. He also established a range of buildings on the south side of the river, a portion of which, says Robertson, writing in 1851, still exists in the form of a gable and large oven, at the locality generally designated ? the Old Bridge End.? ? The part in Leith whereon, it is said, the first houses were built in the twelfth century, is bounded , on the south by the Tolbooth Wynd, on the west by the shore or quay, on the north by the Broad Wynd, and on the east by the Rotten Row, now called Water Lane. One of the broadest alleys in this ancient quarter is the Burgess Close,? ten feet in width, and was the first road granted to the citizens of Edinburgh by Logan of Kestalng. In the year 1501, all freemen of the city, to the number of twenty or so, were directed by the magistrates to accompany the water bailie when
Volume 5 Page 167
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