Manse and remains of 16th and (predominantly) later 17th century (1675?) church; tenement of early 18th century; granary of 1826; mill and office buildings of late 19th century. Whole forming internal court, open at E end.
MANSE: 4-storey L-plan manse building with staircase tower in re-entrant angle corbelled out at 2nd stage and terminating in square timber arcaded belry, dated 1675, the lead covered Dutch-style leaded ogival roof with decorative ridge crestings; sandstone rubble. To E, 2-storey brick office range, stone-faced to road.
N (QUAYSIDE STREET) ELEVATION: slightly set back to E later rubble and ashlar 2-storey wall with door adjoins W wall of tower. 1st stage of tower with windows at ground and 1st floor; 2nd stage corbelled out, blank to pilastered and arcaded timber belfry; 2-tier ogival roof. To right 4-storey 2-bay irregular front with crowstepped gable; 2-leaf panelled door with later moulded architrave to left at ground, blank above; right bay with short paired windows at ground, bipartite window to 1st floor and single windows above; much render of different periods survives. Granary to right (see below).
E ELEVATION: to N 2 advanced bays of 2-storey office building; upper stage of tower with small light and belfry as above (clock face missing from lower panel). Single storey link to office obscures ground and part of 1st floor of 4-storey 2-bay elevation; paired windows with heavy moulded reveals to 1st floor, 2 windows to 2nd floor, single window under eaves (formerly with crow-stepped dormerhead).
Timber sash and case and casement windows. Graduated Scotch slates.
INTERIOR: derelict; some remains of old panelling, roll-moulded doors and basket-arched chimneypieces.
TENEMENT: 4-storey 2-bay tenement extends from S gable of manse with SE corner splayed back (probably to accommodate former road) and pend at centre accessing church.
E ELEVATION: 4-storey 3-bay front to left of manse with further bay to canted angle beyond; rusticated pend entrance with bold voussoirs at ground with console and masque to keystone, window to right; upper floors with regular fenestration, those to left bay blocked; angled bay with door at ground, windows above. Former lintel set above central 1st floor window (and pend) carved with inscription BLESSED AR THEY YAT HEIR YE VORD OF GOD AND KEIP IT LUK XI 1600.
Timber sash and case windows; graduated Scotch slates.
INTERIOR: derelict; some remains of old panelling, doors and chimneypieces.
GRANARY: to W, 4-storey L-plan 7-bay by 7-bay granary; sandstone rubble with droved ashlar margins; timber post and beam construction.
N (QUAYSIDE STREET) ELEVATION: irregular ground storey with relieving arches to openings; base probably remains of 16th century church, especially blocked basket-arched doorway at centre and window to right; regular fenestration above, somewhat altered.
W ELEVATION: irregular ground floor openings with relieving arches, many openings blocked; N loading bay canted back, with window at ground and doors above, gabled dormerhead with hoist; otherwise regular fenestration, with door to centre left bay at 1st floor. Modern corrugated-iron flat-roofed boilerhouse to right at ground.
S ELEVATION: gabled, canted 3-bay end; openings to each floor and to gablehead; right bay with arched opening at ground with slipped voussoirs (also blocked); cast-iron tie plate above ground floor of centre bay. Mill adjoining to E.
Timber casement, louvre and shutter combinations. Pitched and piended M-roof, graduated scotch slates.
INTERIOR: derelict; timber post and beam construction; voids cut in floors to house modern machinery.
MILL: to S of group, 2- and 3-storey 8-bay red brick mill buildings with cream ashlar margins and cream brick dressings.
S ELEVATION: 3-storey 6-bay range with bipartite windows, band course above 2nd floor and moulded eaves; upper windows shorter; 3 right bays slightly advanced. To right similar 2-storey 2-bay pagoda-roofed range with tripartite windows at ground and single windows above.
E ELEVATION: 2-storey 4-bay pagoda roofed building, with taller range behind.
Metal casements. Modern pitched corrugated-iron roofed building.
INTERIOR: cast-iron post and beam construction.
Statement of Special Interest
In 1493 Robert Bellenden, Abbot of Holyrood, founded and endowed a chantry chapel on the site of the present building at the W end of the earliest bridge over the Water of Leith (which was built at much the same time), dedicating it to St Ninian. Consent had been given by the Archbishop of St Andrews and James IV, and the chapel was officially founded on 18th July. Less than a hundred years later the chapel was demolished, either due to its diminutive size or because it was ruinous, and was replaced by a new building which was completed in 1586; the basement wall on the N side of the present building may be the only surviving part of this church. In 1606 it became the parish church of the new parish of North Leith. Gardens are noted next to the church in 1631.
The manse which stood at the NE corner of the Church was built in two parts, that to the W being older; the larger portion being added across the front of the church to accommodate married clergy after the Reformation. It is a late 16th century structure (presumably 1585) remodelled towards the end of the 17th century, and an interesting survival of a domestic urban clergy building of that period. The steeple may date from 1675, the date on a carved stone lintel on the S side of the tower; it is the only surviving 17th century steeple in Edinburgh, following the destruction of the ones at the Tron and Holyrood, although similar examples can be seen at Dumfries and the Stirling Town House. A new bell was acquired from London in 1719. In 1729 the Minister, Mr Lindsay, who was living in the S part of the building, extended through to the N, above the session room. In 1735 the roof was in a state of considerable disrepair and William Adam was consulted; a new roof was built to his design, and a new pavilion added to the W. The Statistical Account of 1793 stated that the church and manse were 'as old as the times of popery' and went on to say that the church was considerably rebuilt in 1736, no doubt referring to Adam's work. The bell was recast and rehung in 1738 by David Hodges. 1757 the E wall was demolished and rebuilt.
In 1816, after the provision of a new church for the congregation (see separate listing - Madeira Street, North Leith Parish Church), the manse and church were sold to Sir John Gavin, shipbuilder in Leith for £1840; at this time the property consisted of the church, two session rooms, two small dwelling houses, the manse containing four bedrooms and two reception rooms, and a garden. The building was let to other congregations for a while, but was converted to a granary in 1825, and subsequently rebuilt as a mill. Since the 1930s it has been used for processing animal feed, but is now empty and semi-derelict. The roof of the mill building was rebuilt after fire damage in 1970. The building was the subject of surveys by the Heriot-Watt Conservation students in 1991/1, the Cockburn Association in 1992 and a Historic Scotland architect in 1993.
The clock face on the E elevation of the belfry, and possibly a sundial from the S, are missing, as are the original finial, weathercock and cardinal points. The latter, however, are in the National Museum of Antiquities. See North Leith Parish church for information about the plate.
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