For nearly forty years the Irvings lived at Pennywell, Grange Loan, near Edinburgh. (In Edinburgh nowadays, of course.) Researching the land led to this outline of the family. James Irving’s background is not known, but his wife, Jacobina, came from fairly modest origins. They were able to buy the Pennywell house and land when Jacobina was thirty, and lived there for nearly forty years. They seem to have been part of the 19th century story of a growing middle class, with some of their children ending up quite prosperous.
- James IRVING, of Bristo Street, married Jacobina Comb in 1790. There is no trade or profession given for him in the marriage record. From 1791-8 he paid tax on two “carriage or stable horses”. The first listing for him in a street directory was in 1797 calling him a “stabler”; later he was listed as a “chaise hirer” too. In 1800 he bought the Grange Loan property, and in 1804 bought “a piece of back Ground and houses thereon under the Castle Wall” on the north side of the Grassmarket, in the area where he conducted his business. (The previous owner was James Wright, pewterer.) His will calls him a “horse hirer”, who died at “Pennywell, Grange Loan”, on 26 Dec 1838. He had a license to run a private asylum at his house. By the later 1830s he was listed in directories as James Irving Esq., suggesting he had moved towards being considered a gentleman.
- Jacobina COMB, also called Binnie or Bainnie, daughter of David Comb, heel maker of Crosscauseway, and Margaret Pillans, was born 12 May 1770. Witnesses to her baptism at Ratho were Alexander Comb and James Comb, both farmers in Upper Gogar, west of the city. 1She died 5 Nov 1839 at Grange Loan.
- James IRVING – b. 12 Jan 1791, became a tobacconist and tobacco and snuff manufacturer in Leith, in Kirkgate. He married his first wife on 30 June 1815: Sarah Harper, daughter of William Harper, once a farmer in Beath, Fife. Their son James died in 1836, aged 20. 2 On 13 Dec 1850 he married Janet aka Jessie Gibson, born in Forfar 1810, a daughter of Adam Gibson, once Latin teacher at Tain Academy. In 1851 James, “retired tobacconist”, and Jessie Irving were living in Charles Street, Edinburgh. He died 18 March 1874, with no living children, and was buried in Grange Cemetery. Jessie, who died in March 1877, shares the grave. He still owned 105 Kirkgate, Leith at the time of his death. His will says he also owned two tenements in Charles Street, and mentions his books, pictures and silver plate.
- David IRVING b. 6 June 1794. On 21 Dec.1832, when he married Margaret Muir at St. Cuthbert’s Parochial Chapel in Hope Park, he was a surgeon, of Grange Loan. She was daughter of the late Andrew Muir, victual dealer in Causewayside. David and Margaret were living at 34 Clerk St. in 1841 (both aged 45). He died at Corstorphine 28 Oct 1842, leaving £1290, a couple of flats, and shop premises in Clerk Street to his widow.
- Margaret IRVING or STEWART, born 18 June 1802, married 29 May 1825 Alexander Stewart, hatter, of 7 Alison’s Square. They had daughters called Robina aka Binnie, and Mary.
- Bainnie IRVING (Binnie?) baptised 25 Nov 1804, witnesses David Comb and William Douglas.
- Jacobina IRVING, born 26 Sep 1806.
- Robert IRVING b. 11 Oct 1807 bap. Old Greyfriars Parish. In 1836 he was a wright in Edinburgh. He married Margaret Ruthven. In 1871 he lived in Corstorphine. In 1859 Robert’s daughter Margaret, a lady’s companion, married Robert Ross, a butler, who went on to be a messman at Piershill Barracks.
- Robina IRVING or SINCLAIR, aka Rabina or Binnie, baptised 23 Aug 1811, married Alexander Sinclair of the Shotts Iron Co. in 1833. In 1851 he was manager of Shotts Foundry, Leith Walk, living at 99 Springfield with children David, Alexander, Jemima, John. In 1872 he was described as engineer and iron founder at Bonnington. Jemima married George Stenhouse, brewer, and went to Australia.
Sources: parish registers, censuses, street directories, gravestone of the younger James Irving 3, the wills of both James Irvings, a probate inventory for David Irving. Sometimes the surname is spelled Irvine. A couple of documents seem to call Mrs Jacobina Irving Robina: perhaps a confusion around the shortened name Binnie.