Edinburgh Bookshelf

Edinburgh Past and Present


132 ROSLIN, HAWTHORNDEN, exqbisite, quaint, grotesque, from the beautiful spiral foliage cut upon the ‘ Prentice’s Pillar,’ to the heavenly host playing upon the bagpipes. Successive generations of Earls of Rosslyn have been buried, coffmless, and weighted with armour, in its vau1t;‘and it is an old belief that, the night before any calamity befalls a St. Clair, tongues of ruddy flame are seen shooting from the Chapel roof. Roslin Moor, a little to the north of the village, was the scene of a famous battle, fought in 1302 between 8000 Scotch, under Comyn, and the great English army of 30,000 men. The Scotch were victorious, and the English fled. It is said that the names in the neighbourhood are witnesses to the carnage of that day, ‘ Shinbanes field ’ is where bones were found many a year afterwards ; ‘ Stinking-rig’ was the general burying-ground ; the ‘ Kill-burn’ was a brook which ran blood-red for three days after the battle ; while ‘ Mountmarle,’ a farm on the Hawthornden estates, was named after one of the English leaders, who, towards the end of the day, received the warning command, ‘ Mount, Marle, and ride I ’ So they say. H,A W T H 0 RN D E N. ‘What sweet delight a quiet life affords, And what it is to be of bondage free, Far from the madding worldlings’ hoarse discords, Sweet flowery place, I first did learn of thee.’ The ‘sweet flowery place’ was Hawthornden and the writer was the poet Drummond. We will introduce them by an extract :- ‘ Halfan-hour’s rail from Edinburgh, if you have not preferred walking (and the distance to the pedestrian is but about seven miles), brings you to a quiet country-road, in which you see a lodge and gate marking the avenue to a mansion. Having obtained the necessary adrnkion, you pursue this avenue, which descends slightly from the road, with trees in rich abundance on both sides, and a fine view of the Pentland Hills in front. Hardly have you noticed this view of the Pentlands when the farther descent veils it, and, passing through grounds where a few quaint clipped yew-bushes remind you of old gardening tastes, you face a venerable and most picturesque-looking edifice. The left side, as you face it, consists of a hoary mass of ivy-clad masonry, perhaps six hundred years old, while the more inhabited part to the right is a pleasant irregular house, with gables and a turret, in the style of the early part
Volume 11 Page 189
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