Edinburgh Bookshelf

Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time

Search

APPENDIX. 445 XVI. ST KATHERINE'S WELL. THE marvellous hiatmy of the origin of this well (page 418) rests on very early authority, Boece gives the following account of both the well and chapel :--" Ab hoc oppido plus minus duobus passuum miUibuq fons cui olei guttze innatant, scatturit ea vi, ut si nihil inde collegeris, nihilo plus confluat ; quamtumvia autem abstuleris nihilo minus remaneat. Natam esse aiunt effuso illic oleo Diva Catherina:, quod ad Divam Margaritam, ex Monte Sinai adferebatur. Fidem rei faciunt, Fonti nomen Diva: Catherina: inditum, atque in ejusdem honorem sacellum juxta, Diva Margaritze jussu aedificatum. Valet hoc oleum contra variaa cutis scabricies." Dr Turner thus describes the substance which forms the peculiar characteristic of this and ~imilar wells :- " Petroleum and Bitumen. Under the= names are known certain natural tarry matters, more or less fluid, which have evidently resulted from the decomposition of wood or coal, either by heat or by spontaneous action under the surface of the earth. The most celebrated arathose of Persia and the Birman empire, and of Amiano in Italy.',-(EJements of Chemistry, seventh edition, p. 1182.) I The following analysis of the water of St Katherine's Well has been made expressly for this work, in the chemical laboratory of Dr George Wilson, F.S.A. :-"The water from St Katherine's Well contains, after filtration, in each imperial gallon, grs. 28.11 of solid matter, of which grs. 8.45 consists of soluble sulphates and chlorides of the earths andalkalies, and gra. 19.66 of insoluble calcareous carbonates." XVII. CLAUDERO. THE eccentric poet claudero deserves special notice among the Memorials of Edinburgh in the olden time, as he has not only commemorated in his verse some of the most striking objects of the Old Town that have disappeared, but he appears to have been almost the sole remonstrant against their reckless demolition. James Wilson, the poet and satirist, who amused the citizens some eighty gem ago with. his humorous and somewhat coarse lampoons, was a native of Cumbernauld, some of whose characters form the subject of his verse. He was a cripple, in consequence, it is said, of the merciless beating he received from his own parish minister'at Cumbernauld, where he had rendered himself an object of universal hatred or fear by his. mi'schiefloving disposition, The account of thk unwonted practice of clerical discipline, which is given in the Traditions of Edinburgh, states that the occasion of his lameness was a pebble thrown from a tree at the minister who, having been previously exasperated by his tricks, chased him to the end of a cloQed lane, and with his cane inflicted such persong chastisement, as rendered him a cripple, and B hater of the whole body of the clergy all the rest of his life. He went with a crutch under one arm, and a staff in the opposite hand ; one withered leg swinging entirely free from the ground. The poetical merits of Claudero's compositions are of no very high order, but it can hardly be doubted, notwithstanding, that all this youthful energy which rendered him so great a torment to the whole village and parish, might have been turned to some good account under gentler moral suasion than his Reverence of Cumbernauld applied with the paatoral stuff to his unruly parishioner. Claudero had the good sense to disarm his numerous enemies of the handle they might find in the satirist's own personal deformity, by being the first to laugh at himselE In his Miscellanier in Prose and Vwse, published in 1766, and dedicated to the renowned Peter Williamson, he remarks in the author's preface :-" I am regardleas of critics ; perhaps some of my lines want a foot ; but then, if the critic look sharp out, he will
Volume 10 Page 484
  Enlarge Enlarge  
Volume 10 Page 485
  Enlarge Enlarge