Situated on the corner of Henderson Street, the Flying Dog, formally the Trafalgar Bar sits on one of Leith’s most historic sites.
For centuries, this historic enclave in Leith was owned by the Knights Templar who purchased the land from the de Lesalriks who in turn, had previously been gifted much of Leith by King David I. Behind the Flying Dog sat the original Hospice of the Templars constructed the same year as Holyrood Abbey - 1128.
The whole French enclave, which was what it was to become, encompassed all of Gt. Junction St, across to Queen Charlotte St and up Constitution St, making for a generous area of land greatly swamping South Leith in overall acreage.
A very large area indeed but sparsely populated being the home for the monks of Vienne in the Langedoc who arrived in the mid 1400’s to administer the sale of wine for which the Great Black Vault was constructed in 1435. Operating from the Fraternity House now Trinity House the monks made their way throughout their property via a network of underground tunnels, evidence for which still exists in adjacent buildings.
The flag of the Port of Leith flew over this French enclave and was as much a symbol veneration by the monks as it was by the Templars.
This ancient and historic emblem of the Port of Leith was itself French in origin having come to Leith in the late 11th century from the Langedoc via Flanders.
The area opposite the Flying Dog, known as ‘Yardheads’ is a corruption of the French for garden - jar din. It was the beginning of the orchard and the end of the garden that the monks had maintained ever since the Hospice had used the gardens and orchard for therapeutic purposes.
Sitting next to Lodge Trafalgar, built in 1888, the previous manifestation on this site simply took its name from the adjacent lodge. Now, as the Flying Dog, no such connections exist. This new establishment, a welcome addition to the hospitality scene in Leith, adds to the mix of gastro pubs which further enable Leith to offer the widest of choice to locals and visitors alike.