Boar's head

South Leith Records
D. Robertson

Boar's head


Robertson, D., LL.B., S.S.C.: South Leith Records; Compiled from the Parish Registers for the Years 1588 to 1700; and from Other Original Sources. Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, 1911.

     This fascinating book contains extracts from the registers of South Leith Parish Church spanning the years 1588 to 1700. In his preface to the book Mr. Robertson notes that these books "form an authentic, indeed the only authentic, history of the parish. The registers contain the minutes of the Kirk Session, and enable one to follow the deliberations of successive generations of ministers and elders, bailies and incorporations, concerning the church and churchyard, the schools, the poor, the errant men and women of the parish, the religious and social evolution of the people." The ancient parish of South Leith comprised large portions of Craigentinny, Restalrig, Jock's Lodge, Abbeyhill, Canongate, Calton and South Leith.

      The first extract pertaining to a Nisbet is dated 17 November 1609, and is the first statement of the accounts of the Kirk Session..
 
17th Novembris 1609. - The qlk day Abrahame Wauchope producit the boxe qrin the wrytes ar belonging to the Sessioune & Kirk of Leyth qlk boxe togither wt the saids wrytes therein conteinit wes delyvrit to Glibert Lambe be pluralitie of votes of the Sessioune for ane zeir to cum.
     The Sessioune names thir persones to be keipers of the keyes of the said boxe Johne Mathesone James Liddell frances Wades Hew Lyall, ane key was delyvered to everie ane of thame.
     The said day Abrahame Wauchope delyvered thir obligatiounes to Gilbert Lamb before the Sessioune qrin the perones following as principall debtors wer bund & obleist to the Sessioune of the Kirke for the sowmes efter expreimit to wit.
     The first obligaone of Robert Mortounes for fyve hundreth merks agane Whitsonday.
     The seconde obligaone of the gudeman of Cotfieldis for sex hundreth merks againe Whitsonday.
     The thrid of George Thomsone for ane thousand pund till Whitsonday.
     The fourt of
James Nisbit & George Wauchope for fyve hundreth merkes.
     The fyft of Alexr. Hamiltounes for fyve hundreth merkes.
     The sext of David Weymes for ane thousand merkes.
     (Note. - A merk was equal to 13s. 4d. Scots money. This is the first statement of the accounts of the Session.)
17th November 1609. - The which day Abraham Wauchope produced the box wherein are the writs belonging to the session and kirk of Leith, which box together with the said writs therein contained was delivered to Gilbert Lamb by pluralty of votes of the session for the year to come.
     The session names these persons to be keepers of the said box: John Matheson, James Liddell, France Wades, Hugh Lyall, one key was delivered to every one of them.
     The said day Abraham Wauchope delivered these obligations to Gilbert Lamb before the session wherein the persons following as principal debtors were bound and obliged to the session of the kirk for the sums after expressed, to wit.
     The first obligation of Robert Morton for five hundred merks before Whitsunday.
     The second obligation of the goodman of Coatfield (Andrew Logan, a branch of the Logans of Restalrig. His family had been lairds of Coatfield since 1470, in which year Patrick Logan of Coatfield was Baillie of Leith) for six hundred merks before Whitsunday.
     The third of George Thomson for one thousand pounds before Whitsunday.
     The fourth of
James Nisbet and George Wauchope for five hundred merks.
     The fifh of Alexander Hamilton for five hundred merks.
     The sixth of David Wemyss for one thousand merks.
    (Note. - A merk was equal to 13s. 4d. Scots money. This is the first statement of the accounts of the Session.)

 

     The next pertinent entry is dated 1st October, 1629 and relates to the candidates that had applied for the position of schoolmaster at the parish grammar school.
 

1st October 1629. - The qlk day the sessioune Ordained the disput for ye Schooll to be on monenday nixt and ye men for ye tryell of ther qualeficatione to be those following Mr Thomas sinserffe Mr Johne Adamsone Mr Thomas Hog Mr Georg Nisbit or failing him Mr Robert fairlie.
     The Subject of ther lessone the thrid ode of ye second Book of Horros. The sessioune ordained ye schooll to have the preveledg till twisday.
1st October 1629. - The which day the session ordained for the qualification for the grammar school to be on Monday next and the men for the trial of their qualifications to be those following: Mr Thomas Sinserffe, Mr John Adamson, Mr Thomas Hogg, Mr George Nisbet, or failing him Mr Robert Fairley.
     The subject of their lesson: the third ode of the second book of Horace. The Session ordained the School to be excused until Tuesday.
 
     It appears that none of the above-named candidates impressed the session in their search for a new schoolmaster, as entries made the following week indicate that a Barnard Sanderson obtained the position. It also appears that the "Neighbours" (the officials of the incorporations that subsidised the church) wanted their say in the matter. The conditions of Mr Sanderson's employment and his remuneration are most interesting:
 
6 October 1629. - The qlk day ye nictbours and sessioune being convened for chussing the maister of ye gramer schooll concluded the heall nichtbours sould haue yer vote in chussing ye man quhome ye ministers and maisters awedeters thocht maist qualified.
     The sessioune and heal nichtbours all in one voce consents to ye admissioune of Mr Barnard Sandersone to be schoolmaister in place of Mr William Spence.
     Ordained David Robertsone James Hoome Robert grinlay to Intreat and deall wt Mr Barnardsone to sie gif he will be content wt ye coditione Mr Wm. spence cam in with and report again on thurisday.
6 October 1620. - The which day the neighbours and session being convened for choosing the master of the grammar school concluded that the whole neighbours should have their vote in choosing the man whom the ministers and masters thought most qualified.
     The session and whole neighbours all in one voice consent to the admission of Mr Barnard Sanderson to be shoolmaster in place of Mr William Spence.
     Ordained David Robertson, James Hume and Robert Grinlay to intreat and deal with Mr Sanderson to see if he will be content with the conditions Mr William Spence came in with and report again on Thursday.
8 October 1629. - The qlk day the sessioune admittis Mr Barnard Sandersone and enters him to ye gramer scholle and delyvered to him ye keyes thereof with those conditiones following, that is to say, ye said Mr Barnard sall be bund to teach ye said schole for ye spaice of fyve zeirs to come Induring ye qlk spaice he sall nevir countinance any exercise of theologie by attending ane presbetrie or day of exercise nor present himself to any pulpit (2) that he sall seildome resort to Edr or vther places (3) That he sall not leave ye schooll ane scholl day without licence asked and givine (4) that he sall admit no doctor ather for ye latine or Inglish bairnes but be ye speciall advyse and approbatione of ye sessioune therwnto: Item in caice it sall happine during ye said spaice or any tyme therefter yat ye said Mr Barnard (as God forbid) to prove negligent or cairless of ye said scholl in yt caise be ye sicht of ye sessioune he sall be removed quhensoevir the sessioune plaiss, he being warned ye spaice of ane quarter of ane zeir befor, and being dischargit be ye sessioune sall not attempte to appeall frome yer senser to any Judge Civill or eccleseastike within yis kingdome vnder ye paine of tuo hundreth pounds, for ye qlk caus ye sessioune & commissione foresaid binds yemselfes zeirlie Induring ye said spaice to pay to ye said Mr Barnard at Whitsonday & mertemes be equall portiones ye soume of ane hundreth pounds Item ye said Mr Barnard is ordained to haue quarterlie of everie bairne lairnes gramer 20s. and 5s. to ye doctor; for yem learnes ye rudemets 12s. and 4s. to ye doctor and they yat learnes to reid & write 10s. and (?) to ye doctor; for yim yat learis to spell 6s. 8 d. and 4d. to ye doctor and for every bairne comes into ye toune 30s. & 6s. 8d. to ye doctor, ye said conditiones being read to ye said Mr Barnard and considerat be him he heartfullie submited him self to them qrvpon ye sessioune promissit yat nane vther schooll sould haue libertie to teach any maill children bot ye gramer and musick schoolles onlie to ye qlk ye sessioune & Nichtbours (agreed?) ye magistrats also promissit concurance yerto. 8 October 1629. - The which day the session admits Mr Barnard Sanderson and enters him to the grammar school and delivered to him the keys thereof with those conditions following: that is to say, the said Mr Barnard shall be bound to teach the said school for the space of five years to come, during the which space he shall never countenance any exercise of theology by attending a presbytery or day of exercise nor present himself to any pulpit (2) that he shall seldom resort to Edinburgh or other places (3) that he shall not leave the school on a school day without licence asked and given (4) that he shall admit no assistant either for the children studying Latin or English but by the special advice and approbation of the session thereunto. Item: In case it shall happen during the said space or any time thereafter that the said Mr Barnard (God forbid) prove negligent or careless of the said school, in that case by the sight of the session he shall be removed whensoever the session pleases, he being warned the space of a quarter of a year before, and being discharged by the session shall not attempt to appeal from their censure to any civil or ecclesiastic judge within this kingdom under the pain to two hundred pounds, for the which cause the session and commision aforesaid bind themselves yearly during the said space to pay to the said Mr Barnard at Whitsunday and mertemes by equal portions the sum of one hundred pounds. Item: The said Mr Barnard is ordained to have quarterly of every child that learns grammer 20s., and 5s. to the assistant; for they that learn the rudiments 12s., and 4s. to the assistant, and they that learn to read and write 10s. and (?) to the assistant; for they that learn to spell 6s. 8d., and 4d. to the assistant and for every child that comes into the town 30s., and 6s. to the assistant. The said conditions being read to the said Mr Barnard and considered by him he heartfully submitted himself to them whereupon the session promised that no other school should have liberty to teach any male children but the grammer and music schools only, to the which the session and neighbours (agreed?), the magistrates also promised concurrance thereto.

 

     In 1645 the last of several outbreaks of the plague wreaked havoc on the people of Leith. The town was extremely susceptible to this disease due to the great numbers of ships and sailors that visited from other ports. It has been estimated that between 1/3 to 2/3 of the population were eliminated as a result of this final infestation. The involvement of one George Nisbet tells the story of how those attempting to assist their fellow townspeople often fell victim to the dread disease.
     Once the plague arrived in Leith, it was a simple matter for it to spread rapidly throughout the community. Mr. Robertson's note to this affect provides unpleasant reading: "If one were walking through the town at this time his senses of sight and smell would not be pleasantly greeted. The streets were diversified with middens, reared to the height of mounds, from the accumulated refuse of the houses. Each house had its midden, which was seldom cleared away in spite of Acts and ordinances. Besides these, there would be a strong odour from the numerous pig-sties which abutted on the fronts of the houses. The sties were little more than headquarters for the swine, which strolled about the streets, overturned the heaps of refuse and got in the way of people. Down the length of the streets ran open gutters sufficiently broad and deep. There would be no paving to speak of, but, on the contrary, occasional ruts and hollows either the result of the elements or the deliberate work of men. It was this state which caused the plague to spread and made the cleansing of the town a necessary step in checking it."
     The means taken to isolate the infected from the general population are also described by Mr. Robertson: "Cases of sickness were reported by the members of session, who attended the Baillies. ... Persons falling ill were shut up in their houses from which they were ordered to hang a white cloth to show that they were infected, and as soon as accomodation could be found for them they were removed to the "Ludges" or wooden huts put up in the Links. Their foul gear (i.e., furniture, &c.) was also taken to the Links, and their houses cleansed and shut up."
     When the infected homes of the victims had been cleared they were cleansed by the burning of heather or "whin" (straw) within them. This practice could cause the buildings to catch fire, which posed a distinct danger in the confined quarters of Leith. Men were ordered to stand by with water to ensure that any fledgling blaze would be extinguished as quickly as possible.
 

3 Aprill 1645. - Desyrs Jon Aldinstone to furnishe ye woman at ye yarde heads who is steekit up for feare of ye plagve.
     (Note. - This is the first reference to the plague.)
3 April 1645. - Desires John Aldinstone to provide provisions to the woman at the Yard Heads who is shut up for fear of the plague.
    (Note. - This is the first reference to the plague.)
19 of June 1645 efter sermone. - Ordains to gait ye kyes of Peter Cochrins house in ye Linkes to make ane magazine house yrof to lay in beer, aill, bread and uyr necessars yrin for ye use of ye people in ye Links. 19 of June 1645 after the sermon. - Ordains to get the keys of Peter Cochrane's house in the Links to make a store house thereof to lay in beer, ale and other necessaries therein for the use of the people in the Links.
22 June 1645. - The Baillies reported that Peter Cochrins wife will remove out of hir house upo Monday and yrefter ye house most be cleansed to be a magisine house. 22 June 1645. - The Baillies reported that Peter Cochrane's wife will remove out of her house upon Monday and thereafter the house must be cleansed to be a store house.
24 June 1645. - George Neisbit was appoyntit mr and overseer of ye magisine house in ye Links to keep and compt qt he receaves and qt he geveth out.
     (Note. - Almost every minute records some new appointment, the inference being that the holders successively became victims to the plague.)
24 June 1645. - George Nisbet was appointed master and overseer of the store house in the Links to keep and count what he receives and what he gives out.
     (Note. - Almost every minute records some new appointment, the inference being that the holders successively became victims to the plague.)
4 Julie. - The qlk day (names omitted) declared yat yei had agreed wt Ro. Wilkie to serve under Georg Nisbit in ye magasine house, and to have weeklie 3 lib; also yat yei had choysine David Stoup constant on-waiter upo ye foul cleansers, and to have weeklie 3 lib 6s. 8d. 4 July. - The which day (names omitted) declared that they had agreed with Robert Wilkie to serve under George Nisbet in the store house, and to have weekly 3 pounds Scots; also that they had chosen David Stoup as constant on-waiter upon the foul cleansers, and to have weeklie 3 pounds 6s. 8d. Scots
10 Julie 1645. - Mr James Sharp or pastor reports yat ye Ladie Arnot will have for hir wheat strea 13s. 4.
     (Note. - Lady Arnot was daughter-in-law to Sir John Arnot of Birswick, Provost of Edinburgh, 1587-89. Sir John's daughter was married to
Nisbet of Craigentinnie, who "sat" in South Leith Church.)
10 July 1645. - Mr James Sharp our pastor reports that the Lady Arnot will have for her wheat straw 13s. 4d.
     (Note. - Lady Arnot was daughter-in-law to Sir John Arnot of Birswick, Provost of Edinburgh, 1587-89. Sir John's daughter was married to
Nisbet of Craigentinny, who "sat" in South Leith Church.)
26 Julie 1645. - Recomends to ye Bailies James Crawfurd and Rot Murray to value James Begs horses qt yei are worth with greath for leading out of ye muck of ye toune in cairts.
     Wm. arburneth and alex collin are ordained to make ye graves in ye fensie.
     Ordains to cleange ye magisine hous with all expeditione seeing
Georg Nesbit is fallin seeke and at ye poynt of death.
26 July 1645. - Recommends to the Baillies James Crawford and Robert Murray to value James Begg's horses what they are worth with harness for leading out of the muck of the town in carts.
     William Arburneth and Alex Collin are ordained to make the graves in the Links.
     Ordains to cleanse the store house with all expedition seeing
George Nisbet has fallen sick and at the point of death.

 

     The matter of seating within the Church arises constantly in the records of the Session. The common folk of the parish would often bring a "creepie", or stool, on which to sit, whereas members of the Church's incorporations - the Mariners, Maltmen, Traffickers (merchants),  and Crafts (tradesmen) - had their own reserved pews within the Church. The local nobility, always anxious that their location within the Church reflect their station within the community, continually petitioned the presbytery regarding these matters. Members of the congregation weren't above changing the lock on a neighbour's pew and claiming it for their own use if they believed their actions might go unchecked.
 

14 VII ber (i.e., September) 1649. - The qlk day Sir Lues Steward Sir Hary Nisbet petitioned ye Session for a Seat seeing my Lord Balmerinoch haith gottin his seat with syndrie uyr seats be ye ordinance of ye Presbeterie The Session desyred ym to go along ye church and see qt seat (yat is vacant) pleased ym best qlk they did and efter yei had visit yei cam in again to ye Session and declared that ye heigh seat bewast ye pulpit pleasit ym best qlk seat sometyme pertained to General Ruthven and qr Glenbervie sits for ye present.
     The Minister Mr John Weir promised to speak to Glenbervie concerning ye premises to ye end they may have ye benefit of ye said seat.
14 September 1649. - The which day Sir Louis Stewart and Sir Harry Nisbet petitioned the session for a seat seeing my Lord Balmerino has gotten his seat with sundry other seats by the ordinance of the Presbytery. The session desired them to go along the church and see what seat (that is vacant) pleased them best which they did and after they had visited they came in again to the session and declared that the high seat before? the pulpit pleased them best which seat formerly pertained to General Ruthven and where Glenbervie sits for the present.
     The Minister Mr John Weir promised to speak to Glenbervie concerning the premises to the end they may have the benefit of the said seat.

     It would appear that the "Sir Hary Nisbet" mentioned in the previous extract, and those that follow,  was Sir Henry Nisbet of Craigentinny. His father, James Nisbet, from whom the Nisbets of Craigentinny descend, built the mansion house of Craigentinny in 1604, was a burgess of Edinburgh, and initiated the building of Old Greyfriar's Church. Sir Henry himself acquired the lands of Restalrig.
     During the civil war, Cromwell's forces occupied Leith and the parish church was expropriated during the occupation for the use of the English troopers. Mr. Robertson notes that "Cromwell's difficulties in Scotland arose almost entirely through the clergy, who were firmly attached to the cause of the monarchy. No doubt this fact explains the harsh treatment meted out to the Church." The occupation of the church in Leith (it may even have been employed as a stable) made it necessary for the congregation to temporarily relocate to Restalrig, which had been the location of the parish church before that status had been conferred upon the church at Leith.
 
13 November 1652. - It was mentioned to my Lord Balmerinoch Sir Hary Nisbet and Wm. Purves Heritors of ye Parish yat yei are to give a call for Mr Alexr. Dickson to be yr actual Minister qrto those who were present of ye session did consent qrfor Sir Hary Nisbet Wm. Purves Rot. Hog, Jon Fiddes, and Umphra Willis are appoynted to speik with ye said Mr Alexr. Dickson for yat effect and to acquaint ye Presbytery yrwith. 13 November 1652. - It was mentioned to my Lord Balmerino, Sir Harry Nisbet and William Purves, heritors of the parish that they are to give a call for Mr Alexander Dickson to be their actual Minister, whereto those who were present of the session did consent, wherefore Sir Harry Nisbet, William Purves, Robert Hogg, John Fiddes and Humprey Willis are appointed to speak with the said Mr Alexander Dickson for that effect and to acquaint the presbytery therewith.
28 Novr. 1652. - The wh day (efter incalling upo God) there was a meeting of ye Session and neighbours of ye whole Parioche of South Leith and Restalrig efter ye efternoone Sermon (being appoyntit be ye Presbyterie) and Mr Georg Leslie did moderat at ye desyr of ye Presbyterie who did intimat to ye said meitting That it was ye will of ye Presbytery to signify unto ym yat yr should be ane established Minister for the Interim at Restalrig in ye Landwart part of the Parish till it shall please God to let them have the South Church of Leith again as formerly (which is now in the power of ye Englishers) and yt it sould be noways prejudicial to ye town of Leith whenever it sould be in its owne capacite for establishing of a Ministerie there as it was in former tyme.
     The neighbours of Leith rendered the Presbytery many thanks for the cair they had of them and that they would take the premises to consideration and come to the Presbyterie the next Presbyterie day for that effect, The names of the Heritors and Neighbours of Leith and Restalrig who were at the meeting were these as followeth: - John Lord Barmerinoch
Sir Hary Nisbet William Purves Heritors Anthoine Roswell James Riddell Dr. Ramsay John Gray Baxter Andre Malloch, Ninian Seaton William Wilkie, James Clerk, Alexr. Wright, James Crawford, Robert McConnell, neighbours of Leith, Robert Hogg, Johne Fiddes, James Marre Wm. Rose, Jon Jonston James Boag, James Ferguson, Robert Arnot neighbours in Restalrig with diverse uyrs.
28 November 1652. - The which day (after incalling upon God) there was a meeting of the session and neighbours of the whole parish of South Leith and Restalrig after the afternoon sermon (being appointed by the Presbytery) and Mr George Leslie did moderate at the desire of the Presbytery, who did intimate to the said meeting that it was the will of the presbytery to signify unto them that there should be an established minister for the interim at Restalrig in the landward part of the parish till it shall please God to let them have the South Church of Leith again as formerly (which is now in the power of the English) and that it should be in no way prejudicial to the town of Leith whenever it should be in its own capacity for establishing a ministry there as it was in former time.
     The neighbours of Leith rendered the presbytery many thanks for the care they had of them and that they would take the premises to consideration and come to the presbytery the next presbytery day for that effect. The names of the heritors and neighbours of Leith and Restalrig who were at the meeting were these as follow: - John Lord Balmerino,
Sir Harry Nisbet, William Purves, heritors; Anthony Roswell, James Riddell, Dr. Ramsay, John Gray, baxter, Andrew Mallock, Ninian Seaton, William Wilkie, James Clerk, Alexander Wright, James Crawford, Robert McConnell, neighbours of Leith; Robert Hogg, John Fiddes, James Marre, William Rose, John Johnston, James Boag, James Ferguson, Robert Arnot, neighbours in Restalrig; with diverse others.
9 Januar 1653. - The which day it was appoynted by this Meitting that my Lord Couper Sir Hary Nisbet Wm. Purves Anthonie Rosewell and James Riddell sould meit upon Tuesday next ye 11 of this Instant at Edinburgh in My Lords Ludging at 10 hours and there to condescend in ane unanimous way in drawing up a formal call to call Mr Jon Hogg from the Church of the Cannongait to the Church of South Leith and Restalrig and to present it to the Presbyterie the next Weddinsday at which tyme the neighbours and Sessiou of yis pnt Meeting promised to be at the Presbyterie to present and back the said call. 9 January 1653. - The which day it was appointed by this meeting that my Lord Cooper, Sir Harry Nisbet, William Purves, Anthony Roswell and James Riddell should meet upon Tuesday next the 11th of this month at Edinburgh in my Lord's lodgings at 10 hours and there to condescend in one unanimous way in drawing up a formal call to call Mr John Hogg from the Church of the Canongate to the Church of South Leith and Restalrig and to present it to the Presbytery the next Wednesday at which time the neighbours and session of this present meeting promised to be at the Presbytery to present and back the said call.
At Restalrig ye 28th Julie 1653. - The wh day Mr Robert Lowrie preached at Restalrig (being ye ordinar place of meitting at Sermone for the tyme) and admitted Mr John Hog to be our Minister at ye South Kirke of Leith and Restalrig and was receavit be ye Session and neighbours and after sermone ye Presbyterie sat at Restalrig at yr Presbyterial Meeting. At Restalrig the 28th July 1653. - The which day Mr Robert Lowrie preached at Restalrig (being the ordinary place of meeting at sermon for the time) and admitted Mr John Hogg to be our minister at the South Kirk of Leith and Restalrig and was received by the session and neighbours and after sermon the presbytery sat at Restalrig at their presbyterial meeting.

     The rather lenghty and rambling legalspeak that follows appears to concern an attempt by the heritors of the Barony of Restalrig, who included Sir Henry Nisbet, to flex their collective muscle. They seem to be trying to take advantage of the temporary relocation of the congregation, and their involvement in acquiring the services of Mr John Hogg as minister, to attempt to keep the parish church in Restalrig - failing that, to call their own minister and redirect their hereditary stipend to a parsonage in Restalrig.
 
8 June 1654. - Mr Rosewell proponit that the week dayes sermon may be at Leith but ane anser to his propositione was continued till farder. 8 June 1654. - Mr Roswell proposed that the weekday's sermon may be at Leith but an answer to his proposition was postponed until later.
15 June 1654. - The said day these of the Sessione within ye Toune of Leith did all unanimously conclude that the week days sermone sould be within ye Town of Leith in tymes coming where it aught and sould be seeing libertie is granted yrto But Sir Hary Nisbet and Wm. Purves Gentlemen heritors within ye Barony of Restalrig for themselves and in name of the rest of the heritors and these of the sessione within ye said Barony did give in a Protestatione in the contrar qrof the tenor followeth. 14 June 1654. - The said day these of the session within the Town of Leith did all unanimously conclude that the weekdays sermon should be within the Town of Leith in times coming where it aught and should be seeing liberty is granted thereto. But Sir Harry Nisbet and William Purves Gentlemen heritors within the Barony of Restalrig for themselves and in name of the rest of the heritors and these of the session within the said Barony did give in a protestation in the contrary whereof the tenor follows.
 
The Protestatione of the Heritors Feuars Elders Sessioners and Pariochiners of the Barony of Restalrig.

WHEREAS by ane Supplicatione presented to the Presbytery of Edinburgh Wee did jointlie and unanimouslie with the Inhabitants and uyers of Leith call Mr Jhone Hog Pastor in the Abbey of Holyrood hous to be our cure in the Kirke within the Barony of Restalrig And siclike be our Protestatione subt with our hands at least by some having warrand and in name of the remanent Heritors Feuars Elders and other Inhabitants within ye said Barony we did protest that in case the said Mr Jhone Hogg sould at any time yrafter be necessitat to serve the cure within the Town of Leith and we or any part of us detained out and not admitted to have free access to and regress from the divin worship and other discipline or that wee sould in any wayes be prejudged of the right of or Stipend formerlie payit to ye Parone of Restalrig In which case we did protest to be free of or said call and of all that might follow upon the samen as ye samen at mair length bears And now seeing that several addresses haith been made to the Governors of Leith and uyrs having power for recovering of our Parioch Church at Leith and as yet the samen haith proven in effectual And that be several Actes als weill of Parliament as General Assemblie The Meitting of ye Pariochers of Leith is ordained to be at the Kirk within ye Barony of Restalrig And being informed That it is intended by some to alter ye place of public Meitting frome and outwith the Barony of Restalrig into ye said Towne of Leith contrar to the fundamental rights and acts of annexatione qrby the Heritors and others within the Barony of Restalrig wold not only be prejudged of their right to the said Kirke and place of public meitting but also many uyr sad consequences and pretences might arise in relation to the Stipend Whilk to prevent wee under subscribers for orselves and in nam and behalf of the remanent Heritors feuars elders and Deacons and remanent Sessioners and Pariochiners for us and our Successors do hereby dissent from and protest against any act to be maid by ye Sessione for removing of ye public worship or altering ye place of public Meiting furth and out of ye Barony of Restalrig. ...

 
The Protestation of the Heritor, Feuars, Elders, Sessioners and Parishoners of the Barony of Restalrig.

WHEREAS by a supplication presented to the Presbytery of Edinburgh we did jointly and unanimously with the inhabitants and others of Leith call Mr John Hogg Pastor in the Abbey of Holyrood House to be our cure in the Kirk within the Barony of Restalrig, and so by our protestation subscribed with our hands at least by some having warrant and in the name of the remaining heritors, feuars, elders and other inhabitants within the said Barony, we did protest that in case the said Mr John Hogg should at any time thereafter be necessitated to serve the cure within the Town of Leith and we or any part of us detained out and not admitted to have free access to and regress from the divine worship and other discipline, or that we should in any way be prejudged of the right of our stipend formerly paid to the Parson of Restalrig, in which case we did protest to be free of our said call and of all that might follow upon the same as the same at more length bears, and now seeing that several addresses have been made to the governors of Leith and others having power for recovering our Parish Church at Leith, and as yet the same have proven ineffectual, and that by several Acts as well of Parliament as General Assembly the meeting of the parishoners of Leith is ordained to be at the Kirk within the Barony of Restalrig, and being informed that it is intended by some to alter the place of public meeting from and outside the Barony of Restalrig in the said town of Leith, contrary to the fundamental rights and acts of annexation whereby the heritors and others within the Barony of Restalrig would not only be prejudged of their right to the said Kirk and place of public meeting but also many other sad consequences and pretences might arise in relation to the stipend, which to prevent we subscribers for ourselves and in name and on behalf of the remaining heritors, feuars, elders and deacons and remaining sessioners and parishioners for us and our successors do hereby dissent from and protest against any act to be made by the session for removing of the public worship or altering the place of public meeting forth and out of the Barony of Restalrig. ...


     The response of the session, and the subsequent entry dated 22 June 1654 would appear to indicate that the protestations made by the heritors of Restalrig were unsuccessful.
 
The said 15 day of June James Stevinsone or Church Thesaurer for himselffe and in name and behallfe of the whole Session within ye Town of Leith did protest in the contrar as also all the Elders Deacons and Inhabitants within ye Towne of Leith protested in the contrar wrof the tenor followeth.
     WHEREAS the said Heritors and uyrs of Restalrig by yr protestatione haith dissentit from and protestit against ane act to be made be the Sessione for removing of the public Worship or altering the place of public meitting furth and out of the Baronie of Restalrig to Leith That ye removing yrof shall nowayes prejude yr interest and right to the Minister and Stipend belonging to him protesting that it shall be lawfull to them (being debarred from the ordinar place of public meitting appoynted by the Act of Parliament) either to seek redresse of ye samen or if ye Minister by detained from them to call for ane uyr Minister as Parsone of Restalrig and to the Stipend yrto belonging and to meitt and convein be themselves It is answered first that the samen sould be nowayes respectit becaus it proceeds from Men of a divisive disposition studying to rent a Parioche Kirk and as to the argument adducit as the ground of the protestatione that Mr John Hogg was called to Restalrig there was nothing instructed for proving thereof and albeit he had been called to preach upon the head of Arthours seat if yr had been no uyr convenient place at that tyme (as many other preachers at that tyme did preach out of their ordinar Kirke) yat yat is a very evill argument that he sould aye preach in such a place where he is called to upon necessitie And as to the Act of Session allegit then maid for removing from Restalrig to South Leith It is a mistake for it is onlie ane intimation to all the people to come to Leith to the preaching seeing yei needit no act for removing And qras the parenthesis of the protestatione bears that the protestors being debarred from the ordinar public meitting appoynted by Act of Parliament then to seek redresse It is ansrit that no respect can be had to that part of the protestatione till it be instructed that they be debarred qlk is nowayes intended by the contrar It was desyred by those who hath comand in Leith that the preaching sould be yere and no Landwart Pariochoners sould be impedit from coming thereto. ...
The said 15th day of June, James Stevenson our Church Treasurer for himself and in the name and on behalf of the whole session within the Town of Leith did protest in the contrary, as also all the Elders, Deacons and Inhabitants within the Town of Leith protested in the contrary, whereof the tenor follows.
     WHEREAS the said heritors and others of Restalrig by their protestation have dissented from and protested against an act to be made by the session for removing of the public worship or altering the place of public meeting forth and out of the Barony of Restalrig to Leith, that the removing thereof shall in no way prejudge their interest and right to the minister and stipend belonging to him, protesting that it shall be lawful to them (being debarred from the ordinary place of public meeting appointed by the Act of Parliament) either to seek redress of the same or, if the minister be detained from them, to call for another minister as parson of Restalrig and to the stipend thereto belonging, and to meet and convene by themselves, it is answered first that the same should in no way be respected because it proceeds from men of a divisive disposition trying to rend a parish Kirk, and as to the argument adduced as the ground of the protestation, that Mr John Hogg was called to Restalrig, there was nothing instructed for proving thereof, and even if  he had been called to preach upon the head of Arthur's Seat if there had been no other convenient place at that time (as many preachers at that time did preach out of their ordinary Kirk) that that is a very evil argument, that he should always preach in such a place where he is called to upon necessity, and as to the Act of Session alleged then made for removing from Restalrig to South Leith, it is a mistake for it is only an intimation to all the people to come to Leith to the preaching, seeing they needed no act for removing, and whereas the parenthesis of the protestation bears that the protestors, being debarred from the ordinary public meeting appointed by the Act of Parliament, then to seek redress, it is answered that no respect can be had to that part of the protestation until it be instructed that they be debarred, which is in no way intended, by the contrary it was desired by those who have command in Leith that the preaching should be there and no landward parishioners should be impeded from coming thereto. ...
     Lykways our Reverend Pastor Mr Jhone Hogg did protest that his going into Leith to preach aither week day or Lords day sould in nowayes be prejudicial to him in any part of his Stipend gleib Manse or any other benefice pertaining to the Parsonage of Restalrig nather to be prejudicial to his successors in any poynt and declared that he is most willing to preach at Leith because it is the ordinar place appoynted qr the whole Parochiners of South Leith and Restalrig haith these many years yea almost these hundreth years mett to the Public worship of God.      Likewise our Reverend Pastor Mr John Hogg did protest that his going into Leith to preach either weekday or Lord's day should in no way be prejudicial to him in any part of his stipend, glebe, manse or any other benefice pertaining to the Parsonage of Restalrig, neither to be prejudicial to his successors in any point, and declared that he is most willing to preach at Leith because it is the ordinary place appointed where all the parishioners of South Leith and Restalrig have these many years, yea almost these hundred years, met to the Public worship of God.
22 of June 1654. - The wch day Mr Johne Hogg did preach at Leith wch was ye first day of preaching yr since the 3 of September 1650 but yr was no sessione and the preaching was in the Tolbuith. 22 of June 1654. - The which day Mr John Hogg did preach at Leith, which was the first day of preaching there since the 3rd of September 1650, but there was no session and the preaching was in the Tollbooth.
UPON THE 13 DAY OF NOVEMBER 1654 BEING THE LORDS DAY THE PREACHING BEGAN AGAN TO BE IN OUR CHURCH. PRASES TO OUR LORD FOR EVER. UPON THE 13TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 1654 BEING THE LORD'S DAY THE PREACHING BEGAN AGAIN TO BE IN OUR CHURCH. PRAISES TO OUR LORD FOR EVER.

     Having lost the battle for relocation, Sir Henry set his sites on laying claim to the seat in the Church of South Leith formerly reserved for Lord Balmerino.
 
1 Feby. 1655. - Sir Hary Nisbet petitioned ye Sessione that he might be accommodat in these Seats which formerly was possessed by the Lord Balmerinoch in the Baxters yll according to the act of the Presbyterie wh petitione was granted and all the Sessione (except Jon Gray Baxter) unanimouslie condescendit that he sould have the equal half of the two formest Seats in the said yll. 1 February 1655. - Sir Harry Nisbet petitioned the session that he might be accommodated in the seats which formerly were possessed by the Lord Balmerino in the baxter's aisle according to the act of the presbytery which petition was granted and all the session (except John Gray, baxter) unanimously condescended that he should have the equal half of the two foremost seats in the said aisle.

     The resumption of services in South Leith was shortlived. On Sunday 1st May 1655 the Reverend John Hogg "prayed for King Charles, and indulged in some plain speaking regarding the Government." As a result Cromwell's Governor Depute, General Monk, took possession of the church, and forced the congregation to make use of the Kirk of North Leith. The session, mindful of the recent difficulties that had arisen due to the relocation to Restalrig, took pains to head off similar complaints. A year later, the Church of South Leith was restored to the congregation.
 
The 10 of Juli 1656. - It was condescended unanimouslie by the whole session who were pnt that our acceptation of the North Kirke from the honourable Counsell of Estat (for a tym) shall not be prejudicial to our Minister to our south Parish or to the Landward part of the Parioch.
     This day it is appoynted that
Sir Henry Nisbet Portioner of Restalrig shall have the ane half of the two foremost laich seats forenenst the pulpit and William Purves of Abbeyhill the other two to sit in for ymselves and families.
     (Note. - Nisbet of Craigentinny and Dean, and Purves of Abbeyhill, were two prominent men at this time.)
The 10th of July 1656. - It was condescended unanimously by the whole session who were present that our acceptance of the North Kirk from the honourable Council of Estate (for a time) shall not be prejudicial to our minister, our South Parish, or to the landward part of the Parish.
     This day it is appointed that
Sir Henry Nisbet, proprietor of Restalrig, shall have one half of the two foremost low seats before the pulpit, and William Purves of Abbeyhill the other two to sit in for themselves and families.
     (Note. - Nisbet of Craigentinny and Dean, and Purves of Abbeyhill, were two prominent men at this time.)
19 June 1657. - Our South Kirk of Leith was restored to us again upon the 30 June 1657. 19 June 1657. - Our South Kirk of Leith was restored to us again upon the 30 June 1657.
9 July 1657. - The said 9th of Julie 1657 it was ordered to build ane new Seat to the Bailives in the Bodie of the Kirke befor ther old Seat.
     As also it is ordered that
Sir Hary Nisbets foremost seat be advanced foorth in the bodie of the Kirke als farre as the Balives seat is.
9 July 1657. - The said 9th of July 1657 it was ordered to build a new seat for the bailies in the body of the Kirk before their old seat.
     As also is is ordered that
Sir Harry Nisbet's foremost seat be advanced forth in the body of the Kirk as far as the bailies seat is.


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