Edinburgh, Leith, Kirkgate, South Leith Parish Church

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Alternative Names St Mary's Church; War Memorial; 2nd Regt Maritime Royal Artilley War Memorial; South Leith Parishioners War Memorial
Site Type CHAPEL, CHURCH (15TH CENTURY), INHUMATION(S), WAR MEMORIAL (20TH CENTURY)
Canmore ID 51946
Site Number NT27NE 30
NGR NT 27041 76070
Council EDINBURGH, CITY OF
Parish EDINBURGH (EDINBURGH, CITY OF)
Former Region LOTHIAN
Former District CITY OF EDINBURGH
Former County MIDLOTHIAN
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Canmore Mapping
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Architectural Notes

NT27NE 30.00 27041 76070

NT27NE 30.01 27044 76040 Churchyard

NMRS REFERENCE

ARCHITECT:
Robert Mylne 1674 - new steeple taken down 1936
Thomas Hamilton - reported on state of building in 1836 - repaired & restored 1848.

EXTERNAL REFERENCE:

SCOTTISH RECORD OFFICE:

Copy (1822) of agreement between John Brown, Boxmaster of the Maltmen of Leith, and John Stewart, Boxmaster of the Sledders for giving possession to the Sledders of the 5 laigh seats built by the maltmen under their lofts in the Lady Kirk of Leith, with licence to bury their dead within the maltmen's aisle ...
1661 (Ratified 21 September 1699)
GD 399/78

Wright's account for work on houses and The Kirk.
1734
GD 399/42/3

Wright's account for work in Leith Churh and house at Yardheads
1809
GD 399/62/12

Account for painting the Carters' seats in South Leith Church.
1809
GD 399/62/7

Account or alterations to seats in South Leith Church.
1829
GD 399/69/10

Account for a pair of Kirk seat candlesticks
1829
GD 399/69/11

[Printed] Letter James Reoch, Convener Committee of the Kirk Session. He includes William Burn, Architect's report on the state of the Tower of the Church and asks proprietors to consider this report before attending a meeting.
19 September 1836
GD 399/127/1

Report by William Burn, Architect [1789-1870] on the state of the Tower or Spire of South Leith Parish Church.
'The Tower on the West end is of much more recent construction and to the careless and injudicious execution ... the whole defects, not only of the Tower itself but of the main roof of the Church and East Gable, are entirely attributable ... The West end of the Church appears to be part of the original building and on this wall the West Front of the Tower has been errected; but as the other 3 sides had no similar substructure to depend upon a new foundation became necessary, while having yielded to the weight placed upon it while the West wall rested on the old structure, the Tower has evidently sunk on the East and by pressing against the timbers of the roof has also given them an inclination to the Eastward and displaced the upper part of the East Gable ...'
William Burn considers that the Tower should be taken down as far as the roof of the Church and the East Gable rebuilt to correspond to the West end.
1836
GD 399/127/1

Letter: James Reoch to the Deacon of the Carters, Leith.
Payment for the work on the steeple is now due.
The Deacon's proportion is ?4.4.4.
10 July 1837
GD 399/127/2

Notes and Activities Click to sort results by Event date ascending

Archaeological Notes

NT27NE 30.00 27041 76070

(NT 2704 7606) Church (NAT) formerly St Mary's Chapel (NR) 13th century OS 6"map, Edinburghshire, 1st ed., (1853)

South Leith parish church was originally a chapel, dedicated to St Mary, attached to the collegiate church of Restalrig (NT27SE 103). Origally cruciform, it had been reduced to its nave by 1559. It was made into a parish church in 1609. Between 1650 and 1657, it was used as a magazine by Cromwellian troops, subsequently being restored to ecclesiastical use. The fabric was entirely renewed in 1848,but the west piers of the original crossing are still to be seen in the vestibules at the east end of the building.
RCAHMS 1951.

It was not possible to confirm the presence of the original piers at the time of field investigation.
Visited by OS (B S) 27 November 1975.

15 April 2009 to 22 September 2009
 EXCAVATION

Notes NT 27041 76070 Part of the post-medieval graveyard associated with South Leith Parish Church was excavated
15 April–22 September 2009 in advance of tram track construction in Constitution Street. The street runs adjacent to the graveyard wall and was built in 1790 to improve access to the harbour.
The excavations yielded 260 graves containing some 302 inhumations in a variety of grave types. Despite the proximity to a known graveyard, the density and preservation of the graves was unexpected, as burials
had not been thought to extend much beyond the existing graveyard wall. No finds of human remains had been
reported previously, despite evidence that many burials had been cut by modern services.
The graves, orientated NW–SE, were arranged in closely spaced rows. The majority were single, supine extended inhumations interred in wooden coffins or in earthen graves. Also present were shrouded bodies placed in simple graves, group burials in irregular pits and superimposed double burials, usually of a child and an adult. Most artefacts were iron coffin nails, with a few shroud pins. A copper buckle was found in one grave, along with textile remains of clothing.
Documentary and pottery evidence point to a date between the 16th and 17th centuries for most graves, and all predate the construction of Constitution Street in c1790. However, there is a strong possibility that earlier
medieval burials are present, possibly associated with the 15th-century hospital and chapel that stood on and close to the present church. Radiocarbon dating and further stratigraphic analysis may give us a more accurate picture of their chronology.
Archive: RCAHMS (intended). Reports: CECAS and RCAHMS
Funder: TIE
Sorina Spanou – Headland Archaeology Ltd

Further details

 
Books and References

Edinburgh, South Leith Church ([1836]) [South Leith Church (St Mary's), Edinburgh: correspondence about state of church and report by William Burn], [s.l.]
Held at RCAHMS D.8.41.LEI.P

Fawcett, R (2002) Scottish medieval churches: architecture and furnishings, Stroud
Page(s): 369 Held at RCAHMS F.5.31.FAW

Laing, D (1855a) 'On the state of the abbey church of Holyrood subsequently to the devastations committed by the English forces in the years 1544 and 1547', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.1
Page(s): 158-68

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Charity SC026749