Edinburgh, Leith, Kirkgate, South Leith Parish Church

Chapel, Church (15th Century), Inhumation(s), War Memorial (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith, Kirkgate, South Leith Parish Church

Classification Chapel, Church (15th Century), Inhumation(s), War Memorial (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) St Mary's Church; War Memorial; 2nd Regt Maritime Royal Artilley War Memorial; South Leith Parishioners War Memorial

Canmore ID 51946

Site Number NT27NE 30

NGR NT 27041 76070

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27NE 30.00 27041 76070

(NT 2704 7606) Church (NAT) formerly St Mary's Chapel (NR) 13th century OS 6"map, Edinburghshire, 1st ed., (1853)

South Leith parish church was originally a chapel, dedicated to St Mary, attached to the collegiate church of Restalrig (NT27SE 103). Origally cruciform, it had been reduced to its nave by 1559. It was made into a parish church in 1609. Between 1650 and 1657, it was used as a magazine by Cromwellian troops, subsequently being restored to ecclesiastical use. The fabric was entirely renewed in 1848,but the west piers of the original crossing are still to be seen in the vestibules at the east end of the building.

RCAHMS 1951.

It was not possible to confirm the presence of the original piers at the time of field investigation.

Visited by OS (B S) 27 November 1975.

Architecture Notes

NT27NE 30.00 27041 76070

NT27NE 30.01 27044 76040 Churchyard



Robert Mylne 1674 - new steeple taken down 1936

Thomas Hamilton - reported on state of building in 1836 - repaired & restored 1848.



Copy (1822) of agreement between John Brown, Boxmaster of the Maltmen of Leith, and John Stewart, Boxmaster of the Sledders for giving possession to the Sledders of the 5 laigh seats built by the maltmen under their lofts in the Lady Kirk of Leith, with licence to bury their dead within the maltmen's aisle ...

1661 (Ratified 21 September 1699)

GD 399/78

Wright's account for work on houses and The Kirk.


GD 399/42/3

Wright's account for work in Leith Churh and house at Yardheads


GD 399/62/12

Account for painting the Carters' seats in South Leith Church.


GD 399/62/7

Account or alterations to seats in South Leith Church.


GD 399/69/10

Account for a pair of Kirk seat candlesticks


GD 399/69/11

[Printed] Letter James Reoch, Convener Committee of the Kirk Session. He includes William Burn, Architect's report on the state of the Tower of the Church and asks proprietors to consider this report before attending a meeting.

19 September 1836

GD 399/127/1

Report by William Burn, Architect [1789-1870] on the state of the Tower or Spire of South Leith Parish Church.

'The Tower on the West end is of much more recent construction and to the careless and injudicious execution ... the whole defects, not only of the Tower itself but of the main roof of the Church and East Gable, are entirely attributable ... The West end of the Church appears to be part of the original building and on this wall the West Front of the Tower has been errected; but as the other 3 sides had no similar substructure to depend upon a new foundation became necessary, while having yielded to the weight placed upon it while the West wall rested on the old structure, the Tower has evidently sunk on the East and by pressing against the timbers of the roof has also given them an inclination to the Eastward and displaced the upper part of the East Gable ...'

William Burn considers that the Tower should be taken down as far as the roof of the Church and the East Gable rebuilt to correspond to the West end.


GD 399/127/1

Letter: James Reoch to the Deacon of the Carters, Leith.

Payment for the work on the steeple is now due.

The Deacon's proportion is ?4.4.4.

10 July 1837

GD 399/127/2



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