SOUTH LEITH - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"SOUTH LEITH, The parish of South Leith is in the same presbytery and synod as that of North Leith, in the patronage of the crown and the kirk session, &c.: the first minister's stipend is £396, and the second minister's is £247. The parish church stands in Kirkgate, and is an ancient and commodious structure in a good state of repair. St. Thomas's church was given by Sir John Gladstone, Bart., to the General Assembly. There is, also an Established church at Restalrig. In this parish there are three United Presbyterian churches, three Free churches, besides five chapels belonging respectively to the Episcopalians, Independents, Morrisonians, Wesleyan Methodists, and Roman Catholics."

"JOCK'S LODGE, (or Piershill), a village in the parish of South Leith, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 1 mile E. of Edinburgh, on the road from thence to Berwick. Here are cavalry barracks, built in 1793.

"PORTO-BELLO, a quoad sacra parish, municipal and parliamentary borough in the parishes of Duddingston and South Leith, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 3 miles E. by N. of Edinburgh, of which it may be considered a marine suburb. It is a station on the North British railway. It is a place of recent origin and name, having previously formed part of the "Figget Lands", which, previous to the year 1763, were a mere waste, covered for the most part with furze or whirs, and were commonly let for 200 marks, Scots, to one of the Duddingston tenants.

Porto-Bello hut was the first house raised in the midst of the original waste about 1742, and derived its appellation from the Spanish American town of that name, at the capture of which its proprietor had been present as a sailor. The place grew rapidly into importance, and besides the ordinary houses, originally designed for the workmen engaged in the neighbouring brick, pottery, and tile works at Brickfield, a number of edifices sprung up, overlooking the Frith of Forth, for the accommodation of the numerous families who resorted here for sea-bathing, and for which the smoothness of the adjacent sandy beach, the purity of the atmosphere, and the propinquity of the great London road, rendered it particularly eligible.

The parish, which is only 1 mile in length by about half a mile in breadth, includes the village of Joppa. The soil is a mixture of clay and sand, originally barren, but converted by artificial means into very productive land, the greater part of which is now built over. A considerable number of the working population are employed in the adjacent collieries and salt-works. The town contains nearly 4,000 inhabitants, and includes a market-house, commercial bank, assembly rooms, baths; also extensive manufactories for soap, glass, and pottery, which last are situated on the Figget Burn, a small stream which falls into the Frith.

It is a coastguard station, and a creek to the port of Preston Pans. Since the passing of the Reform Act it is a contributory burgh to Leith. It is governed under the late Municipal Reform Act by a provost, two bailies, and nine common councillors. The parish is in the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and in the patronage of the male communicants. The minister has a stipend of £190. The church was built in 1815. There are several other churches and schools."

"RESTALRIG, (or Lochsterrock), a village in the parish of South Leith, county Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a small decayed village standing about equal distances from the town of Leith, the Carlton Hill of Edinburgh, and the Figgate Burn at Portobello. It is situated in the central part of the plain which extends from the beach to the hills of Leith. Restalrig was anciently called Lestalrie, and formed a separate parish, belonging to the Logans and Balmerinos, previous to 1609. Here was formerly the ruins of a collegiate church, founded by James II. The cavalry barrack called Jock's Lodge and the St. Margaret's depot for the North British railway are situated at its eastern extremity. Near the village is St. Margaret's Well, also ruins of the old seat of the lairds of Restalric.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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