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Genealogical Research

Walking Tours of Leith

The Siege of Leith
Sir Andrew Wood
Mary Queen of Scots

Templar Treasure
Jealousy of Edinburgh

Civil War
Templars in Leith
Leith and the Holy Grail

Templars & Tau Cross
Morton & Witchcraft

South Leith Parish Church
Great Plague
Killing Times

Interactive Map




The Church in The Community

The church has worked closely in the social, educational and health matters of the town for centuries.

The health and care of the Sick and Elderly was served in Leith from 1614 by the building of King James VI hospital until 1822. It must be realised that although there were a number of rich people the vast amount of people were poor. This was exacerbated after the defeat of Bonny Prince Charlie at Culloden as highlanders and later Irish emigrants flooded into the town. Leith became virtually a death trap for thousands of people as they lived very close together this meant diseases could be spread very quickly and so Leith in the nineteenth century had the highest death rate in Scotland. The Church tried to help in this situation but found it increasingly difficult and indirectly this lead in 1833 to Leith becoming an independent parliamentary burgh It was only in 1880 that the health of the Leith populace was addressed by the Artisans Act, under which large areas of Leith were demolished and new buildings constructed.

The church took over the organisation of relief in 1645 when the town and parish lost 2736 people in the great plague which lasted for several months. The Church arranged for the cleaning of houses, the supply of food, the cleansing of the streets and the burial of the dead (the remains of whom are still excavated from time to time in Leith Links)..