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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


the blood of the Trojans. In Albanye (now called Scotland) he edified the Castell of Alclude, which is Dumbreyton j he made the Castell of Maydens, now called Edinburgh; he also made the Castell .of Banburgh, in the twenty-third year of his reign.? All these events occurred, according to Stow, in the year 989 beJore Christ ; and the information is quite as veracious as much else that has been written concerning the remote history of Scotland. From sources that can scarcely be doabted, a ? fortress of some kind upon the rock would seem to have been occupied by the Picts, from whom it was captured in 452 by the Saxons of Northumbria under Octa and Ebusa; and from that time down to the reign of Malcolm 11. its history exhibits but a constant struggle for its possession between them and the Picts, each being victorious in turn; and Edwin, one of these Northumbrian invaders, is said to have rebuilt it in 626. Terri- * tories seemed so easily overrun in those times, that the latter, with the Scots, in the year 638, under the reign of Valentinian I., penetrated as far as London, but were repulsed by Theodosius, father of the Emperor of the same name. This is the Edwin whose pagan high-priest Coifi was converted to Christianity by Paulinus, in 627, and who, according to Bede, destroyed the heathen temples and altars. A curious and very old tradition still exists in Midlothian, that the stones used in the construction of the castle were taken from a quarry near Craigmillar, the Craig-moiZard of antiquity. Camden says, ?The Britons called it CasfeZ Mynedh Agnedh-the maidens? or virgins? castlebecause certain young maidens of the royal blood were kept there in old times.? The source of this Oft-repeated story has probably been the assertion of Conchubhranus, that an Irish saint, or recluse, named Monena, late in the fifth century founded seven churches in Scotland, on the heights of Dun Edin, Dumbarton, and elsewhere. This may have been the St. Monena of Sliabh-Cuillin, who died in 5r8. The site of her edifice is supposed to be that now occupied by the present chapel of St. Margaret-the most ancient piece of masonry in the Scottish capital; and it is a curious circumstance, with special reference to the fable of the Pictish princesses, that close by it (as recorded in the CaZedonian Mercury of 26th September, 1853), when some excavations were made, a number of human bones, apparently aZZ of females, were found, together with the remains of several coffins. ? Castmm PuelZarum,? says Chalmers, ?? was the learned and diplomatic name of the place, as appears from existing charters and documents Edinburgh, its vulgar appellation f while Buchanan asserts that its ancient names of the Dolorous Valley and Maiden Castle were borrowed from . ancient French romances, ? devised within the space of three hundred years ? from his time. The Castle was the nucleus, so to speak, around which the city grew, a fact that explains the triple towers in the arms of the latter-three great towers connected by a curtain wall-being the form it presented prior to the erection of the Half-Moon Battery, in Queen Mary?s time. Edwin, the most powerful of the petty kings of Northumberland, largely extended the Saxon conquests in the Scottish border counties; and his possessions reached ultimately from the waters of Abios to those of Bodoria-i.e., from Humber to Forth ; but Egfrid, one of his successors, lost these territories, together with his liie, in battle with the Pictish King Bridei, or Brude, who totally defeated him at Dun-nechtan, with temble slaughter. This was a fatal blow to the Northumbrian monarchy, which never regained its previous ascendency, and was henceforth confined to the country south of Tweed. Lodonia (a Teutonic name signifying marshes or borders) became finally a part of the Pichsh dominiops, Dunedin being its stronghold, and both the Dalriadic Scots and Strathclyde Britons were thus freed from the inroads of the Saxons. This battle was fought in the year 685, the epoch of the bishopric of Lindisfasne, and as the Church of St. Giles was a chaplainry of that ancient see, we may infer that some kind of townof huts, doubtless-had begun to cluster round the church, which was a wooden edifice of a primitive kind, for as the world was expected to end in the year 1000, sacred edifices of stone were generally deemed unnecessary. From the time of the Saxon expulsion to the days of Malcolm 11.-a period of nearly four hundred years-everything connected with the castle and town of Edinburgh is steeped in obscurity or dim tradition. According to a curious old tradition, preserved in the statistical account of the parish of Tweedmuir, the wife of Grime, the usurper, had her residence in the Castle while he was absent fighting against the invading Danes. He is said to have granted, by charter, his hunting seat of Polmood, in that parish, to one of his attendants named Hunter, whose race were to possess it while wood grew and water ran. But, as Hogg says in his ?Winter Evening Tales,? ?There is one remarkable circumstance connected with the place that has rendered it unfamous of late years, and seems to justify an ancient prediction that the hunters of Polmood were mer foprospr..?
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