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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


I94 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street. especially to the removal of the numerous middens, the repair of the roads and streets, and also the expected hospitality of the city, as we find that soon after the inhabitants were assessed to support the queen and her retinue till Holyrood Palace was prepared to receive her. They were also compelled +o defray their proportion of the expense of his return. Five years before this, in 1584, to prevent the incessant broils and riots that took place in High Street and elsewhere at night, it was enacted thai by ten o?clock forty strokes should be given on the great bell, after which any person found abroad wa: to be imprisoned during the magistrate?s pleasure, and fined forty shillings Scots ; while for the bettei regulation of the nightly watch the city was divided into thirty quarters, over each of which the magis. trates appointed two commanders, one a merchant, the other a craftsman, as also an officer to summon the citizens occasionally to take into consideration the affairs connected with these several divisions. (Council Register.) And now to glance briefly at the tdziex, or combats, for so were they named of old, of which the High Street has been the scene. Apart from the famous brawl named ?Cleanse the Causeway,? already described, and that in which the Laird of Stainhouse fell with the French in 1560, a considerable amount of blood has been shed in this old thoroughfare. After the battle of Melrose, in 1526, there ensued a deadly feud between the border clans of Scott and Ken; which culminated in the slaughter of Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm and Buccleuch, by the Kerrs, in October, 1551, in the High Street. ?? Bards long shall tell How Lord Walter fell ! When startled burghers fled afar, The furies of the Border war, When the streets of High Dunedin Saw lances gleam and falchions redden, And heard the slogan?s deadly yell- Then the chief of Branxholm fell !? Nor was the feud between these two families stanched till forty-five years later, when the chiefs of both paraded the High Street with their followers amicably, but it was expected their first meeting would decide their quarrel. On the 24th of November, 1567, about two in the afternoon, the Laird of Airth and Sir John Wemyss of that ilk, ?met upon the Hie Gait of Edinburgh,? according to Birrel, ?and they and their followers fought a bloody skirmish, when many were hurt on both sides by shot of pistol.? On this the Privy Council issued, but in vain, an edict against the wearing of culverins, dags, pistolets, or other ?? firewerks.? The latter seem to have been adopted or in use earlier in Scotland than in the sister kingdom. At the raid of the Redswire, the English archers were routed by the volleys of the Scottish hackbuttiers ; and here we find, as the author of ?Domestic Annals? notes, ?that sword and buckler were at this time (1567) the ordinary gear of gallant men in England-a comparatively harmless furnishing ; but we see that small fire-arms were used in Scotland.? On the 7th December, three years after this, the Hoppringles and Elliots chanced to encounter in the same place-hostile parties knew each other well then by their badges, livery, and banners-and a terrible slaughter would have ensued had not the armed citizens, according to the ? Diurnal of Occurrents,? redLi-i. e., separated-them by main force. A feud, which for many years disturbed the upper valley of the Tweed, resulted in a tulzie in the streets which is not without gome picturesque details. It was occasioned by the slaughter of Veitch of Dawick?s son, in June, 1590, by or through James Tweedie of Drummelzier, to revenge which, rames Veitch younger of Synton, and Andrew Veitch, brother of the Laird of Tourhope, slew John Tweedie, tutor of Drummelzier and burgess of Edinburgh, as he walked in the public streets. Too much blood had been shed now for the matter to end there. The Veitches were arrested, but the Laird of Dawick came to the rescue with 10,000 inerks bail, and their fiberation was ordered by the king ; but they were barely free before they effected the slaughter of James Geddes of Glenhegden, head or chief of his family, with whom they, too, were at feud; and the recital of this crime, as given in the ?Privy Council Record,? affords a curious insight into the modus opernndi of a daylight brawl in the streets at that time. We modernise it thus :- James Geddes, being in Edinburgh for the space of some eight days, openly and publicly met, almost daily in the High Street, the Laird of Drummelzier. The latter fearing an attack, albeit that Geddes was always alone, planted spies and retainers about the house in which he lived and other places to which he was in the habit of repairing. It chanced that on the 29th of December, 1592, James Geddes being in the Cowgate, getting his horse.shod at the booth of David Lindsay, and being altogether careless of his safety, Drummelzier was informed of his whereabouts, and dividing all
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High Street.] TULZIES IN THE HIGH STREET. 195 - - his own friends and servants into two armed parties, set forth on slaughter intent. He directed his brothers John and Robert Tweedie, Porteous of Hawkshaw, Crichton of Quarter, and others, to Conn?s Close, which was directly opposite to the smith?s booth; while he, accompanied by John and Adam Tweedie, sons of the Gudeman of Dura, passed to the Kirk (of Field) Wynd, a little to the westward of the booth, to cut off the victim if he hewed a way to escape ; but as he was seen standing at the booth door with his back to them, they shot him down with their pistols in cold blood, and left him lying dead on the spot. For this the Tweedies were imprisoned in the Castle; but they contrived to compromise the matter with the king, making many fair promises ; yet when he was resident at St. James?s, in 1611, he heard that the feud and the fighting in Upper Tweeddale were as bitter as ever. On the 19th of January, 1594, a sharp tulzie, or combat, ensued in the High Street between the Earl of Montrose, Sir James Sandilands, and others. 10 explain the cause of this we must refer to Calderwood, who tells us that on the 13th of February, in the preceding year, John Graham of Halyards, a Lord of Session (a kinsman of Montrose), was passing down Leith Wynd, attended by three or four score of armed men for his protection, when Sir Janies Sandilands, accompanied by his friend Ludovic Duke of Lennox, with an armed I company, met him. As they had recently been in dispute before the Court about Some temple lands, Graham thought he was about to be attacked, and prepared to make resistance. The duke told him to proceed on his journey, and that no one would molest him; but the advice was barely given when some stray shots were fired by the party of the judge, who was at once attacked, and fell wounded. He was borne bleeding into an adjacent house, whither a French boy, page to Sir Alexander Stewart, a friend of Sandilands, followed, and plunged a dagger into him, thus ending a lawsuit according to the taste of the age. Hence it was that when, in the following year, John Earl of Montrose-a noble then about fifty years old, who had been chancellor of the jury that condemned the Regent Morton, and moreover was Lord High Chancellor of the kingdom-met Sir James Sandilands in the High Street, he deemed it his duty to avenge the death of the Laird of Halyards. On the first amval of the earl in Edinburgh Sir James had been strongly recommended by his friends to quit it, as his enemies were too strong for him ; but instead of doing so he desired the aid and assistance of all his kinsmen and friends, who joined him forthwith, and the two parties meeting on the 19th of January, near the Salt Tron, a general attack with swords and hack buts begun. One account states that John, Master of Montrose (and father of the great Marquis), first began the fray; another that it was begun by Sir James Sandilands, who was cut down and severely wounded by more than one musket-shot, and would have been slain outright but for the valour of a friend named Captain Lockhart. The Lord Chancellor was in great peril, for the combat was waged furiously about him, and, according to the ? Historie of King James the Sext,? he was driven back fighting ?to the College of Justice ( i e . , the Tolbooth). The magistrates of the town with fencible weapons separatit the parties for that time ; and the greatest skaith Sir James gat on his party, for he himself was left for dead, and a cousingerman of his, callit Crawford of Kerse, was slain, and many hurt.? On the side of the earl only one was killed, but many were wounded. On the 17th of June, 1605, there was fought in the High Street a combat between the Lairds of Edzell and Pittarrow, with many followers on both sides. It lasted, says Balfour in his AnnaZes, from nine at night till two next morning, with loss and many injuries. The Privy Council committed the leaders to prison. The next tulzie of which we read arose from the following circumstance :- Captain James Stewart (at one time Earl of Arran) having been slain in 1596 by Sir James Douglas of Parkhead, a natural son of the Regent Morton, who cut off his .head at a place called Catslack, and carried it on a spear, ?leaving his body to be devoured by dogs and swine;? this act was not allowed to pass unrevenged by the house of Ochiltree, to which the captain-who had been commander of the Royal Guard-belonged. But as at that time a man of rank in Scotland could not be treated as a malefactor for slaughter committed in pursuance of a feud, the offence was expiated by an assythement. The king strove vainly to effect a reconciliation ; but for years the Imds Ochiltree and Douglas (the latter of whom was created Lord Torthorwald in 1590 by James VI.) were at open variance. It chanced that on the 14th of July, 1608, that Lord Torthonvald was walking in the High Street a little below the Cross, between six and seven in the morning, alone and unattended, when he suddenly met William Stewart, a nephew of the man he had slain. Unable to restrain the sudden rage that filled him, Stewart drew his sword, and ere
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