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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Leith! THE REV. JOHN LOGAN. The first Protestant minister of Leith, at the settlement of the Reformation in 1560, was David Lindsay, who was Moderator of the Assembly in 1557and 1582, andwho, in the year 1573,attended Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange on the scaffold. He accompanied James VI. to Norway, married him to Anne of Denmark, and baptised their sons : the Prince Henry, who died young, and the Duke of Albany, afterwards Charles I. So early as 1597 his inclination to episcopacy alienated him from his Presbyterian brethren; and in 1600, as a reward for aiding the king in defence of his royal prerogative, he was made Bishop of Ross. He was one of the only two clergymen in all Scotland who, at the royal command, prayed for the friendless and defenceless Mary. He died at Leith in 1613, in his eighty-thud year, and, says Spottiswood, was buried there ?by his own directions, as desiring to rest with the people on whom he had taken great pains during his life.? He was the lineal descendant of Sir Walter Lindsay of Edzell, who fell at Flodden. Walter, first Earl of Buccleuch, commander of a Scottish regiment under the States of Holland, having died in London in the winter of 1634, his body was embalmed, and sent home by sea in a Kirkcaldy ship, which, after being sorely tempesttossed and driven to the coast of Norway, reached Leith in the June of the following year, when the earl?s remains were placed jn St Mary?s church, where they lay for twenty days, till the Clan Scott mustered, and a grand funeral was accorded them at Hawick, the heraldic magnificence of which had rarely been seen in Scotland, while the mourning trumpets wailed along the banks of the Teviot. A black velvet pall, powdered with silver tears, covered the coffin, whereon lay ?the defunct?s helmet and coronet, overlaid with cypress, to show that he had been a soldier.? It was not until 1609 that St. Maryk was constituted by Act of Parliament a parish chuch, and invested with all the revenues and pertinents of Xestalrig, When the troops of Cromwell occupied Leith, as the parish registers record, Major Pearson, the town major of the garrison, by order of Timothy -Wi&es, the English governor-depute, went to James Stevenson, the kirk treasurer,and demanded the keys of St. Mary?s, informing him that no Scots minister was to preach till further orders ; so eventually the people had to hear. sermons on the Links, with difficulty getting the gates open, from seven in the morning till two in the afternoon on Sunday. In 1656 they sent a petition to Cromwell in England, praying him ?to restore the church; as there is no place to meet in but the open fields.? To this petition no answer seems to have been returned; but during this period there are, says Robertson, in his ?Antiquities of Leith,? iqdications that Oliver?s own chaplains, and even his officers, conducted services in St. Mary?s church. ?It has often been asserted,? he adds, ?that at this time St. Mary?s was converted into a stable to accommodate the steeds of the troopers of Cromwell j it has been added, a company of his Ironsides, with their right hands (i.e., their horses), abased the temple.? No authority exists for this, save vague tradition, to which the reader may attach what importance he may deem fit.? Previous to the Revolution of 1688 a separation of the congregation is recorded in the church at Leith, those who adhered to prelacy occupying the latter, while the pure Presbyterians formed a separate party at the Meeting-House Green, ne& the Sheriff (Shirra) Brae. The latter, belonging to North as well as South Leith, were permitted to meet there for prayer and sermon, by special permission of King James in 1687, Mr. William Wishart being chosen minister of that congregation. The Rev. John Logan, the author of various poetical works, but known as the inglorious and but lately-detected pirate of some manuscripts of Michael Bruce, the Scottish Kirk White, was appointed minister of this church in 2773. He was certainly a highly-gifted man ; and though his name is, perhaps, forgotten in South Britain, he will be remembered in Scotland as long as her Church uses those beautiful Scripture paraphrases, the most solemn of which is the hymn, The hour of my departure ?s come.? , He was the son of a small farmer near Fala, and was born in 1748. He delivered a course of lectures in Edinburgh with much success, and had a tragedy called ? Runnyrnede ? acted in the theatre there, when, fortunately for him, the times were somewhat changed from those when the production of Home?s ?? Douglas ? excited such a grotesque ferment ~ in the Scottish Church. He became latterly addicted to intemperance, the result of great mental depression, and, proceeding to London, lived by literary labour bf various kinds, but did not long survive his transference to the metropolis, as he died in a lodging in Great Marlborough Street on the 28th December, 1288. In the burying-ground attached to St. Mary?s, John Home, the author of ?Douglas? and other literary works, a native of Leith, was interred in September, 1808. In 1848, during the ri9.m~ of George Aldiston Machen, fourth Provost of Leith, the old church
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was restored, but in somewhat doubtful taste, by Thomas Hamilton, architect, and a new square tower, terminating in a richly cusped open Gothic balustrade, was erected at its north-western corner, while the angles of the building were ornamented ST. MARK?S (SOUTH LEITH) CHURCH, 1882. by buttresses finished with crocketed finials, scarcely in accordance with the severe simplicity of the old time-worn and war-worn church of St. Mary, the beautiful eastern window of which was preserved in form. FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY feet north-westward of St. Mary?s church, and on the same side of the Kirkgate, opens the ancient alley named Coatfield Lane, which, after a turn to the south in Charlotte Lane, led originally to the Links. Dr. Robertson gives a quotation from the I? Parish Records ? of South Leith, under date 25th May, 1592, as showing the origin ? of Coatfield Lane : ?the quhilk day, the Provost, Johnne Amottis, shepherd, was acted that for every sheep he beit in ye Kirkyeard suld pay ix merks, and everie nyt yat carried (kept) thame betwix the Coatfield and ye. Kirk style he should pay v. merk.? But the name is older than the date given, as Patrick Logan of Coatfield was Bailie of Leith 10th September, 1470, and Robert Logan of the same place was Provost of the city in 1520-I, as the ?Burgh Records show ; and when ruin began to overtake the wily and powerful Baron of Restalrig, his lands of Mount Lothian and Nether Gogar were purchased from him by Andrew Logan of Coatfield in 1596, as stated in the old ?? Douglas Peerage.? At the corner of Coatfield Lane, in the Kirkgate, there stands a great mansion, having a handsome front to ?the east, exhibiting some curious exampIes
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