253 Leith.] ST. NINIAN’S CHURCH.
254 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. The first volume of the ‘‘ Parochial Records ” begins in January, 1605, a year before the Act, and contains the usual memoranda of petty tyranny peculiar to the times, such as the following, modernised :- “ Compeared Margaret Siclair, being cited by the Session of the Kirk, and being accused of being at the Bume (for water?) the last Sabbath before sermon, confessed, her offence, promised amendment in all time coming, and was convict of five pounds.” ‘‘ 10th January, 1605 :-The which day the Session of the Kirk ordained Janet Merling, and Margaret Cook, her mother, to make their public repentance next Sabbath forenoon publicly, for concealing a bairn unbaptised in her house for the space of twenty weeks, and calling the said bairn Janet.” “January ~oth, 1605 :-Cornpeared Marion Anderson, accused of craving curses and malisons on the pastor and his family, without any offence being done by him to her ; and the Session, understanding that she had been banished before for being in a lodge on the Links in time of the Plague, with one Thomas Cooper, sclaiter, after ane maist slanderous manner, the said Marion was ordained to go to the place of her offence, confess her sin, and crave mercy of God,” and never to be found within the bounds of North Leith, “under the pain of putting her toties puoh’es in the jogis,” Le., jougs. In 1609 Patrick Richardson had to crave mercy of God for being found in his boat in time of afternoon sermon ; and many other instances of the same kind are quoted by Robertson in his “Antiquities.” In the same year, Janet Walker, accused of having strangers (visitors) in her house on Sabbath in time of sermon, had to confess her offence, and on her knees crave mercy of God and the Kirk Session, under penalty of a hundred pounds Scots ! George Wishart, so well known as author of the elegant ‘‘ Latin Memoirs of Montrose,” a copy of which was suspended at the neck of that great cavalier and soldier at his execution in 1650, was appointed minister of North Leith in 1638, when the signing of the Covenant, as a protection against England and the king, became almost necessarily the established test of faith and allegiance to Scotland. Deposed for refusing to subscribe it, Wishart was thrown into a dungeon of the old Heart of Midlothian, in consequence of the discovery of his secret correspondence with the king‘s party. He survived the storm of the Civil Wars, and was made Bishop of Edinburgh on the reestablishment of episcopacy. He died in 1671, in his seventy-first year, and was buried in Holyrood, where his tomb is still to be seen, with an inscription so long that it amounts to a species of biography. John Knox, minister of North Leith, was, in 1684, committed to the Bass Rock. While a probationer, he was in the Scottish army, and chaplain to the garrison in Tantallon when it was besieged by Cromwell’s troops. He conveyed the Earl of Angus and some ladies privately in a boat to North Berwick, and returned secretly to the Castle, and was taken prisoner when it capitulated. He was a confidant of the exiled monarch, and supplied him with money. A curious mendicant letter to him from His Majesty is given in the “Scots Worthies.” 4 The last minister who officiated in the Church of St. Ninian-now degraded to a granary or store -was the venerable Dr. Johnston, the joint founder of the Edinburgh Blind Asylum, who held the incumbency for more than half a century. The old edifice had become unsuited to modem requirements ; thus the foundation of a new parish church for North Leith had been completed elsewhere in 1816, and on the zgthof August in that year he took a very affecting leave of the old parish church in which he had officiated so long. ‘‘ He expressed sentiments of warm attachment to a flock among which Providence had so long permitted him to minister,” says the Scofs Magazine (Vol. LXXVII.); “and in alluding, with much feeling, to his own advanced age, mentioned his entire sensibility of the approach of that period when the speaker and the hearer should no longer dwell together, and hoped they should ultimately rejoice in ‘ a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’ ’’ Before ten a.m. on the 1st September a great crowd collected before the door of the new church, which was speedily filled. All corporate bodies having an interest in it, including the magistrates of the Canongate, were present, and Dr. Johnston, after reading the 6th chapter of z Chronicles, delivered a sermon and solemn address, which affected all who heard it. The Rev. David Johnston, D.D., died on the 5th of July, 1824, aged ninety-one years. Four years after, the Cowant had the following announcement :-“ The public are aware of the many claims which the late Dr. Johnston of North Leith had on the grateful remembrance of the community. Few men have exerted themselves so assiduously in forwarding the great objects of religion and philanthropy, and it gives us much pleasure to learn that a, well-merited tribute to his memory has just been completed in the erection of a beautiful bust in the church of North Leith. The follow