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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


192 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. lThe High S e e a and Sweden, tells us, at the storming of Boitzenburg, there was ? a Scottish gentleman under the enemy, who, coming to scale the walls, said aloud, ?Have with you, gentlemen ! Thinke not now you are on the streel of Edhlburgh bravading.? One of his own countrymen thrusting him through the body with a pike, he ended there.? In the general consternation which succeeded * the defeat of the army at Flodden a plague raged within the city with great violence, and carried off great numbers. Hence the Town Council, to prevent its progress, ordered all shops and booths to be closed for the space of fifteen days, and neither doors nor windows to be opened within that time, but on some unavoidable occasion, and nothing to be dealt in but necessaries for the immediate support of life. All vagrants were forbidden to walk in the streets without hiving each a light; and several houses that had been occupied by infected persons were demolished. * In 1532 the High Street was first paved or causewayed, and many of the old tenements ?These, however,? says Arnot, ?are not to be considered as arguing any comparative insignificancy in the city of Edinburgh. They proceeded from the rudeness of the times. The writers of those days spoke of Edinburgh in terms that show the respectable opinion they entertained of it. ? In this city,? says a writer of the sixteenth century- Braun Agrippinensis--? there are two spacious streets, of which the principal one, leading from the Palace to the Castle, is paved with square stones. The city itself is not built of bricks, ANDREW CROSBY. (Fmm the Portrait in tkePadiament Haii.) [The orkinal ofCuunseZZnr PLydelZ in ? Guy Mamneiing.?] renovated. The former was done under the superintendence of a Frenchman named Marlin, whose name was bestowed on an alley to the south. The Town Council ordered lights to be hung out by night by the citizens to light the streets, and Edinburgh became a principal place of resort from all parts of the kingdom. Till the reign of James V., the meal-market, and also the flesh-market, were kept in booths in the open High Street, which was also encumbered by stacks of peat, heather, and other fuel, before every door; while, till the middle of the end of the seventeenth century, according to Gordon?s map, a fleshmarket was kept in the Canongate, immediately below the Nether Bow. but of square freestones, and so stately is its app ear an c e, that single houses inay be compared to palaces. From the abbey to the castle there is a continued street, which on both sides contains a range of excellent houses. and the better sort are built of hewn stone.? There are,? adds Amot, ?? specimens oT the buildings of the fifteenth century still (1779) remaining, particularly a house on the south side of the High Street, immediately above Peeble?s Wynd, having a handsome front of hewn stone, and niches in the walls for the images of saints, which may justify our author?s description. The house was built about 1430 (temp. James I.) No private building in the city of modern date can compare with it.? The year 1554 saw the streets better lighted, and some attempts made to clean them. The continual wars with England compelled the citizens to crowd their dwellings as near the Castle as possible ; thus, instead of the city increasing in limits, it rose skyward, as we have already mentioned ; storey was piled on storey till the streets resembled closely packed towers or steeples, each house, or ?land,? sheltering from twenty to thirty families within its walls. This was particularly thc
Volume 1 Page 192
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