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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


LEITH, AND THE NEW TOWN. 367 every vestige of them was swept away by General Monk when constructing the Citadel of Leith, soon after Cromwell took possession of the town.’ The fortifications which were reared under the directions of the Republican General, are thus described in the Itinerary of the learned John Ray, who visited Scotland in 1661 :- ‘‘ At Leith we saw one of those citadels, built by the Protector, one of the best fortifications that ever we beheld, passing fair and sumptuous. There are three forts advanced above the rest, and two platforms ; the works round about are faced with freestone towards the ditch, and are almost as high as the highest buildings within, and withal thick and substantial. Below are very pleasant, convenient, and well-built houses for the governor, officers, and soldiers, and for magazines and stores. There is also a good capacious chapel, the piazza, or void space within, as large as Trinity College [Cambridge] great conrt.” This valuable stronghold, which was reared at the cost of upwards of %100,000 sterling, fell a sacrifice, soon after the Restoration, to the cupidity of the Monarch, and the narrow-minded jealousy of the Town Council of Edinburgh, It was demolished, and its materials sold.’ We have given, in a previous chapter, a view of the only fragment of it that still remains ; and have there pointed out how extensive have been the encroachments effected on the old rJea beach of late years. Not only can citizens remember when the spray of the sea billows was dashed by the east wind against the last relic of the Citadel that now stands so remote from the rising tide, but it is only about sixty years since a ship was wrecked upon the adjoining beach, and went to pieces there, while its bowsprit kept beating against the walls of the Citadel, at every surge of the rolling waves that forced it higher on the Of the earlier fortifications of the town of Leith scarcely a fraapent now remains, although they were unquestionably of a much more substantial nature than either of the walls that were constructed for the defence of the neighbouring capital. The capabilities of Leith as a stronghold, which could command a ready intercourse with friendly allies even when assailed by a hostile army, were first perceived by Monsieur D’Esse, the French General, who arrived in the Firth of Forth in the summer of 1548, bringing powerful reinforcements to the aid of the Queen Regent against the English invaders.‘ Under the direction of the French General, the port of Leith was speedily enclosed within formidable ramparts, constructed according to the most approved principles of military science then known on the Continent; as was proved by their successful defence during the siege of 1560, when the ramparts reared to repel an invading army came, under the strange vicissitudes of civil war, to be maintained by foreign arms against the whole native force, mustered, with more alacrity than skill, by the Lords of the CONGREGATIONA. large and strong bastion, which bore the name of Ramsay’s Fort, was constructed immediately to the north of the King’s Work, at the foot of Bernard Street, for the defence of the harbour ; from thence the ramparts extended, in a south-easterly direction, to the site now occupied by the Exchange buildings, where the remains of the second bastion existed about forty 1 Ante, p. 97. “The Council unanimously understood, that the Kirk of the Citadel1 [of Leith], and all that is therein, both timber, seats, steeple, stone, aud gkwork, be made use of and used to the best avail for reparation of the Hospital Chapel, and ordains the Treasurer of the Hospital to see the samen done with all conveniency.”-Excerpt from the recorda of Heriot’s Hospital, April 7, 1673. ’ Campbell’s Est. of Leith, p. 303. Auk, p. 63.
Volume 10 Page 404
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