Sunday 22 April 2012: Leith #8 - South Leith Parish Church
Nice and sunny day today! :)
The origins of this church are a bit unclear but they seem to point to a chapel dedicated to St. Mary built around 1483, although it could be dated a bit further back to 1390, when the Preceptory of St Anthony was approximately founded. In 1544 the church was used as a refuge for people displaced by the fighting when the English attacked Leith. Mary of Guise was known to have worshiped at this church in 1559.
Restalrig Church, which was founded after the death of St. Triduana, was the parish church for Leith up until 1560, when it was demolished on the orders of the General Assembly. South Leith Church became then the de facto parish church for Leith (confirmed by act of parliament in 1609), in spite of having undergone considerable damage after the Siege of Leith.
The Church has worked with the community for centuries, dealing with social, educational and health matters of the town. King James IV Hospital, built in 1614, served for the health and care for the sick and elderly until 1822. The vast majority of people at the time were really poor, which was exacerbated by the flood of Highlanders and Irish emigrants to the town after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden. Overpopulation made Leith have the highest death rate in Scotland during the 19th Century, a situation the church found difficult to deal with.
In 1846, an Act of Parliament provided for the comprehensive renovation of South Leith Parish church, and it was recovered and reconstructed between 1847 and 1848 by architect Thomas Hamilton, which is the Gothic building as it stands nowadays.
Haven't done much today apart from going for a walk in the sun this morning and taking pictures. Having to work on a friend's translation as well now.
Thanks very much for having a look at my blips and leaving comments! I hope you all had a great weekend! :)