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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


140 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [St. Giles's Church. establishment, and Maitland gives us a roll of the forty chaplaincies and altarages therein. An Act of Council dated twelve years before this event commemorates the gratitude ,of the citizens to one who had brought from France a relic of St. Giles, and, modernised, it runs thus :- *' Be it kenned to all men by these present letters, we, the provost, bailies, counselle and communitie of the burgh of Edynburgh, to be bound and obliged to William Prestoune of Gourton, son and heir to somewhile iVilliam Prestoune of Gourton, and to the friends and sirname of them, that for so much that William Prestoune the father, whom God assoile, made diligent labour, by a high and mighty prince, the King of France (Charles VII.), and many other lords of France, for getting the arm-bone of St. Gile, the which bone he freely left to our mother kirk of St. Gile of Edinburgh, without making any condition. We, considering the great labour and costs that he made for getting thereof, promise that within six or seven years, in all the possible and goodly haste we may, that we shall build an aisle forth from our Ladye aisle, where the said William lies, the said aisle to be begun within a year, in which aisle there shall be brass for his lair in bost (it., for his grave in embossed) work, and above the brass a writ, specifying the bringing of that Rylik by him into Scotland, with his arms, and his arms to be put in hewn church of his name in the Scottish quarter of Bruges, and on the 1st of September is yearly borne through the streets, preceded by all thedrums in the garrison. To this hour the arms of Preston still remain in the roof of the aisle, as executed by the engagement in the charter quoted; and the Prestons continued annually to exercise their right of bearing the arm of the patron saint of the city until the eventful year 1558, when the clergy issued forth for the last time in solemn procession on the day of his feast, the 1st SEAL OF ST. G1LES.t (A ffw Henry Lain&. work, in three other parts of the aisle, with book and chalice and all other furniture belonging thereto. Also, that we shall assign the chaplain of whilome Sir William of Prestoune, to sing at the altar from that time forth. . . . . Item, that as often as the said Rylik is borne in the year, that the sirname and nearest of blood of the said William shall bear the said Rylik, before all others, &c. In witness of which things we have set to our common seal at Edinburgh the 11th day of the month of January, in the year of our Lord 1454"* The other arm of St. Giles is preserved in the Frag. : " Scotomomastica." September, bearing with them a statue of St. Giles-"a marmouset idol," Knox calls itborrowed from the Grey Friars, because the great image of the saint, which was as large as life, had been stolen from its place, and after being '' drouned " in the North Loch as an encourager of idolatry, was burned as a heretic by some earnest Reformers. Only two years before this event the Dean of Guild had paid 6s. for painting the image, and Izd. for polishing the silver arm containing the relic. To give dignity to this last procession the queen regent attended it in person; but the moment she left it the spirit of the mob broke forth. Some pressed close. to the image, as if to join in its support, while endeavouring to shake it down; but this. proved impossible, so firmly was it secured to its supporters; and the struggle, rivalry, and triumph of the mob were delightful -to Knox, who described the event with the inevitable glee in which he indulged on such occasions. Only four years after all this the saint's silverwork, ring and jewels, and all the rich vestments, wherewith his image and his arm-bone were wont to be decorated on high festivals, were sold by the authority of the magistrates, and the proceeds employed in the repair of the church. f Under a canopy supported by spiral columns a full-length figure of. St. Giles with the nimbus, holding the crozier in his right hand, and ih his left a Look and a branch. A kid, the usual attendant on St. Giles, is playfully leaping up to his hand. On the pedestal is a shield bearing the castle triple-towered, S. COMMUNE CAPTI BTI EGIDII DEEDINBURGH. (Apfindrd to a chartrr by the Provost [ Waite, FodesJ d Chuptrr of St. Gdes of fke man= andgkk in favmrof the magisfrates and' conzmndy of Edindrryh, A.D. 1496.")
Volume 1 Page 140
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