Edinburgh Bookshelf

Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


36 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. expected manner ; they no doubt regretted that luxury and taste for improvement had led them so far out into the unprotected country.' But they certainly did afterwards retrieve their native character of prudence, as scarcely a house arose beyond the second wall for two hundred and fifty years; and if Edinburgh increased in any respect, it was only by piling new flats on the Ancient Royalty, and adding to the height rather than to the extent of the city.' The utmost energy was immediately displayed in supplying the needful defences ; the farmers of the Lothians lent their labourers and horses to the national work ; the citizens rivalled one another in their zeal for the fortification of the capital against the dreaded foe, '( our auld inymis of Ingland." ' So that, in an incredibly short time, the extended city was enclosed within defensive walls, with ports, and battlements, and towers, an effective protection against the military engineering of the age. Considerable portions of this wall have remained to the present time, exhibiting abundant tokens of the haste with which it was erected, as well as preserving, in the name of the Flodden wall, by which it is still known, another proof of the deep impression that disastrous field had left on the popular mind. Fortunately for Scotland, Henry VIII. was too deeply engrossed with the French war to follow up the advantage he had gained; and Queen Margaret, who now assumed the government in name of her infant son, having appealed to his generosity, towards a sister and nephew, he willingly secured the neutrality of the Scots by a peace. Shortly after this truce, a legate arrived at Edinburgh from the Pope, bearing his congratulations to the young King on his accession to the crown,s and presented him with a consecrated cap and sword from his Holiness-the latter of which is still preserved among the Regalia in Edinburgh Castle. C1515.1 The nation now experienced all the evils of's long minority; the Queen having speedily accepted Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, in marriage, was thereby held to have forfeited the Regency; a6d from this time, till the young King asserted his independence, the people knew Rcarcely any other rule than the anarchy of rival factions contending for power, in all. which the capitaT had always a principal share. The Earl of Arran, upon the marriage of the Queen, marched to Edinburgh, numerously attended by his kinsmen and friends, and laid claim to the Regency, as the nearest of blood to the King. The Earl of Ang-us immediately followed him thither, attended by above 500 armed retainers, ready to assert his claims against every opponent. So soon as Arran, who, '' with the chief of the nobility of the west, had assembled at the Archbishop of Glasgow's house, in the foot of Blackfrier Wynd,'" had learned of his arrival, he ordered. the gates to be secured, little aware of the formidable host he was thus enclosing within the walls. On the following morning, Angus received early intimation of the rash scheme of his rival, for making him prisoner, and lost no time in mustering his followers, whom he drew up, well armed and in battle array, above the Nether Bow, and thereupon a fierce and sanguinary conflict ensued between them, which was not stayed till Sir Patrick Hamilton, Montgomery, and above seventy men had fallen in the affray. Though the Regent pub- Chambers's Traditions, vol. i p. 3. Balfour's Ann. vol. i. p. 239. 1 Diurnal of Occurrents. ' Crawford's Live#, vol. i. p. 69.
Volume 10 Page 38
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print