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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Leith Walk.] MCCULLOCH OF ARDWELL. ~ _ _ _ ofArdwell, a commissioner of the Scottish Customs, and a man famous in his time for hospitality, pleasantry, and wit, and known as a spouter of halfinjury to the new and?splendid one at Inverleith Row. Shrub Hill, the villa on a little eminence north. ward of the Botanical Gardens, in 1800 was the property of the dowager Lady Maxwell, and appears as such in the map of 1804. She was Lady Maxwell of Monreith, whose husband died in 1771, and whose second daughter Jane became Duchess of Gordon in 1767, The Leith Directory for 1811 gives Lady Nairn a residence in Pilrig Street, but she must have held this title through Scottish courtesy, as the attainted peerage was not restored by Act of Parliament till 17th June, 1824. She must have been Brabazon Wheeler, widow of Lieut.-Colonel John Nairn, who but for the attainder would have succeeded as fourth Lord Nairn. Pilrig Free Church, at the north corner of this street and Leith Walk, was built in 1861-2, and is in the early Decorated Gothic style, with a double transept, and has a handsome steeple 150 feet in height. The fine old but unused avenue of stately trees, that opened westward from the Walk to the old Manor House of Pilrig, has now given place to a street of workmen?s houses, named after the pro. prietor, Balfour Street, and lower down, near the bottom of the Walk, is Springfield Street, named , he may he is no mean hand at an epigram.? Ardwell came forward to apologise for his fun. ?My dear sir,? said Foote, ?no apology is nechaise with four horses from the Kh$s Arms Inn, at the same time that two strangers did so in another vehicle, and with difficulty amid the drifted snow they all reached the summit of Erickstane Brae, a lofty hill at the head of Clydesdale, along the side of which, above a most perilous declivity, the public road passes. ,Further progress being impossible, a consultation was held, and they all resolved to return to Moffat ; but, as wheeling the carriage round proved a dangerous operation, ? Wee Davie ? was wrapped up and laid on the snow till that was accomplished, and after reaching the inn Ardwell discovered that his two companions were Samuel Foote the cele. brated player and another favourite son of Thalia. On reaching the inn, Foote entered it in no good humour-as he walked with difficulty, having lost a leg-and ordered breakfast, while his luggage was taken off the chaise; and after this was done, he ?ound a written paper affixed to the panel. In some anger he demanded, ?What rascal has been placarding this ribaldry on my carriage I? Then pausing, however, he read the following lines :- ? While Boreas his flaky storm did guide, Deep covering every hill o?er Tweed and Clyde, The North-wind god spied travellers seeking way, Sternly he cried : ? Retun your steps, I say ; Let not OIK hot, ?tis my behest, urofane time.? It would appear that in the winter of 1774-5 Mr. McCulloch visited his country mansion of Ardwell (near Gatehouse in Kirkcudbright), which is still possessed by his descendants, in order to be present at an election, together with a friend named Mouat. After a week or two they set out on their return to Edinburgh, Mr. McCulloch bringing with him his infant son, familiarly known as ?Wee Davie,? and the trio, after quitting Dumfries, were compelled by a snowstorm to tarry at Moffat for the nighr Early next morning they departed in a occasion when afterwards at the Theatre Royal, he set apart a night or two for a social meeting with I McCulloch of Ardwell, at Springfield, on Leith Walk. ?In the parlour, on the right hand side in entering the house, the largest of the row,? says Chambers in 1869, ? Foote, the celebrated wit of the day, has frequently been associated with many Edinburgh and Leith worthies, when and where he was wont to keep the table in a roar.? McCulloch of Ardwell died in 1794 in his fiftythird year. ? Wee Davie? died thirty years afterwards at Cheltenham.
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. 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,
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