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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


for, a matrimonial alliance having been concluded between Ermengarde de Beaumont (cousin of Henry) and King VJilliam, the Castle was thriftily given up as part of her dowry, after having had an English garrison for nearly twelve years. Alexander II., their son, convened his first parliament in Edinburgh in 1215. Alexander III., son of the preceding, having been betrothed to Margaret daughter of Henry 111. of England nine years before their nuptials were celebrated at York in 1242, the queen, according to Amot, had Edinburgh Castle appointed as her residence; but it would seem to have been more of a stronghold than a palace, as she complained to her father that it was a ?? sad and solitary place, without verdure, and, by reason of its vicinity to the sea, unwholesome;? and ?that she was not permitted to make excursions through the kingdom, nor to choose her female attendants.? She was in her sixteenth year. Walter Earl of Menteith was at this time governor of the fortress, and all the offices of the city and of the nation itself were in the hands of his powerful family. Many Englishmen of rank accompanied the young queen-consort, and between these southern intruders and the jealous Scottish nobles there soon arose disputes that were both hot and bitter. As usual, the kingdom was rent into two powerful factions-one secretly favouring Henry, who artfully wished to have Scotland under his own dominion; another headed by Walter Comyn, John de Baliol, and others, who kept possession of Edinburgh, and with it the persons of the young monarch and his bride. These patriotically resisted the ambitious attempts of the King of England, whose emissaries, 0; being joined by the Earls of Carrick, Dunbar, and Strathearn, and Alan Dureward, High Justiciary, while theiI rivals were preparing to hold a parliament at Stirling, took the Castle of Edinburgh by surprise, and liberated the royal pair, who were triumphantly conducted to a magnificent bridal chamber, and afterwards had an interview with Henry at Wark, in Northumberland. During the remainder of the long and prosperous reign of Alexander 111. the fortress continued to be the chief place of the royal residence, and foI holding his courts for the transaction of judicial affairs, and much of the public business is said tc have been transacted in St. Maxgaret?s chamber. In 1278 William of Kinghorn was governor; and about this period the Castle was repaired and strengthened. It was then the safe deposit of the principal records and the regalia of the kingdom. And now we approach the darkest and bloodiesl . portion of the Scottish annals ; when on the death of the Maid of Norway (the little Queen Margaret) came the contested succession to the crown between Bruce, Baliol, and others ; and an opportunity was given to Edward I. of England of advancing a claim to the Scottish crown as absurd as it was baseless, but which that ferocious prince prosecuted to the last hour of his life with unexampled barbarity and treachery. On the 11th of June, 1291, the Castle?of Edinburgh and all the strongholds in the Lowlands were unwisely and unwarily put into the hands of the crafty Plantagenet by the grasping and numerous claimants, on the ridiculous pretence that the subject in dispute should be placed in the power of the umpire ; and the governors of the various fortresses, on finding that the four nobles who had been appointed .guardians of the realm till the dispute was adjusted had basely abandoned Scotland to her fate, they, too, quietly gave up their trusts to Edward, who (according to Prynne?s ? History ?) appointed Sir Radulf Basset de Drayton governor of Edinburgh Castle, with a garrison of English soldiers. According to Holinshed he personally took this Castle after a fifteen days? siege with his warlike engines. On the vigil of St. Bartholomew a list was drawn up of the contents of the Treasury in the Castra de Edrir6ut-g; and among other religious regalia we find mentioned the Black Rood of Scotland, which St. Margaret venerated so much. . By Edward?s order some of the records were left in the Castle under the care of Basset, but all the most valuable documents were removed to England, where those that showed too clearly the ancient independence of Scotland were carefully destroyed, or tampered with, and others were left to moulder in the Tower of London. On the 8th of July, 1292, we find Edward again at Edinburgh, where, as self-styled Lord Paramount, he received within the chapel of St. Margaret the enforced oath of fealty from Adam, Abbot of Holyrood; John, Abbot of Newbattle ; Sir Brim le Jay, Preceptor of the Scottish Templars; the Prior of St. John of Jerusalem ; and Christina, Prioress of Emanuel, in Stirlingshire. Bnice having refused to accept a crown shorn of its rank, Edward declared in favour of the pitiful Baliol, after which orders were issued to the captains of the Scottish castles to deliver them up to John, King of Scotland. Shame at last filled the heart of the latter; he took the field, and lost the battle of Dunbar. Edward, reinforced by fifteen thousand Welsh and a horde of Scottish traitors, appeared before Edinburgh Castle; the
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