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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES. 383 burnt as a heretic. Only two years before, the Dean of Guild paid 6s. (‘ for papthg of Sant Geile ; ” and for mending and polishing Saint Gelis arme, 12d.,” but his honours were rudely put an end to by the rioters of 1558; and only four years thereafter the Saint’s silver-work, ring, and jewels, and all the vestments wherewith his image and his arm bone were wont to be decorated on high festivals of the Church, were sold by authority of the Magistrates, and the proceeds employed in repairing the Church. Sir David Lindsay deserves more credit than has yet been ascribed to him for the irreverent handling of the saint on this occasion. His Monarchie was finished in 1553, and had then had time to have produced its influence on the popular mind. His description of the honours paid by the citizens of Edinburgh to their Patron Saint is sufEciently graphic ; nor does he hesitate to forewarn the clergy of the recompense that so speedily followed :- Of Edinburgh, the p i t idolatrie, And manifest abhominatioun, On thair feist day, all creature may see, Thay beir ane auld stok image throuch the toun, With talbrone, trumpet, schahe, and clarioun ; Quhilk hea bene usit mony ane yeir bygone, With priestis, and freiris, into processioun, Siclyke, as Bell wes borne throuch Babylone. Fy on yow, freiris ! that usis for to preiche, And dois assist to sik idolatrie : Quhy do ye nocht the ignorant pepill teiche, How ane deid image carvit of ane tre, As it war haly, suld nocht honourit be ; Nor borne on burges backis, up and doun : Bot, ye schaw planelie your hypocrisie, Quhen ye pas formest in processioun. Fy on yow, fosteraria of idolatrie I That till ane deid stok, dois aik reverence,. In presens of the pepill publicklie ; Feir ye nocht God, to commit sik offence I coundl yow do yit your diligence, To gar suppresse sik greit abusioun : Do ye nocht sa, I dreid your recompense, Sall be nocht ellis, bot clene confusioun. The arm bone of the Patron Saint, procured at so great a cost, and heretofore commanding the devout admiration of the faithful, was most probably flung out into the neighbouring churchyard, soon after the discomfiture of his adherents, to mingle unheeded with the ashes of forgotten generations. One fact, however, we learn, from the charter granted by the Magistrates to Preston of Gortoun, as to the appropriation of different parts of the church at that period-viz., that the Lady Aisle, where the altar of the blessed Virgin Mary stood, was part of what now forms the south aisle of the choir, or High Church. To this altar we find one of the earliest recorded gifts bestowed, in the reign of David IL, when the first mention of distinct chantries in St Giles’s Church is found-viz., “Carta to the Lady Altar of St Geille’s, of ane tenement in Edinburgh, given by William Here, burges of Edinburgh.” From the style of architecture which prevails through the older 1 Robertaon’e Index, 1798, temp. David IL, p. 66. The date of the charter is 1365. Regist. Mag. Sigil4 p. 54. The deed of gift to St &therinds Altar in the =me reign is dated 1359.
Volume 10 Page 420
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