Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


High Street.] PHILIP STANFIELD. 281 (presumed) Custom House of ice^ running out of it, with something under his coat. There can be no doubt that this was the murderer, and the description given coincided exactly with the appearance of Mackoull, Although the boy heard of the murder before he lkft Leith, he never thought of communicating what he had seen to the authorities ; he was shortly after captured and carried to a French prison, where he remained for many years. Mackoull resided in Edinburgh from September, 1805, till the end of 1806, lodging very near the scene of the murder, and was a frequent visitor at the coffee- It was raised from the grave, after it had lain there two days, and the surgeons having made an incision near the neck, became convinced that death had been caused by strangulation, so all supposition of suicide was abandoned. This examination took place in a church. After the cut had been sewn up, the body was washed, wrapped in fresh linen, and James Row, merchant in Edini burgh, and Philip Stanfield, the disinherited son, lifted it for deposition in the coffin, when 10 ! on the side sustained by Philip an effusion of blood took place, and so ample as to defile both his hands. printers and publishers. The World?s End Close was the curious and appropriate name bestowed upon the last gloomy, and mysterious-looking alley on the south side of the High Street, adjacent to the Netherbow Port, when it lost its oXer name of Sir John Stanfield?s Close. At the foot of it an ancient tenement, has a shield of arms on its lintel, .with the common Edinburgh legend-?Praisze. the. Lord. for.all.His.giftis,M.S. ;I? but save this, and a rich Gothic niche, built into a modern ?land ? of uninteresting aspect, nothing remains of Stanfield?s Close save the memory of the dark tragedy connected with the name of the knight. Sir Jaines Stanfield was one of those English manufacturers who, by permission of the Scottish Government, had settled at Newmills, in East Lothian. He was a respectable man, but the profligacy of Philip, his eldest son, so greatly afflicted him that he became melancholy, and he disinherited his heir by a will. On a day in the November of 1687 he was found drowned, it wafi alleged, in a pool of water near his country house at Newmills. Doubts were started as to whether he had committed suicide, in consequence of domestic troubles, or had been murdered. The circumstances of his being hastily interred, and that Lady Stanfield had a suit of graveclothes all ready for him before his death, ?seemed to point to the latter; and two surgeons ? Tiditions and Antiquities of Leith.? 36 November, 1806, Mackoull was seized with convulsions, and threw himself back on his bed and began to rave. Tweeddale House, after being quitted by the British Linen Company for their new office in St. after handled by the murtherar, it will ;ushe out of blood, as if the blood were crying to heaven for revenge of the murtherar.? Accordingly, on the 7th of February, 1688, Philip was brought to trial at Edinburgh, and after the household servants had been put to torture without eliciting anything on the strength of the mysterious bleeding, according to Fountainhall, save that he was known to have cursed his father, drunk to the king?s confusion, and linked the royal name with those of the Pope, the devil, and Lord Chancellor, he was sentenced to death. He protested his innocence to the last, and urged in vain that his father was a melancholy man, subject to fits; that once he set out for England, but because his horse stopped at a certain place, he thought he saw the finger of God, and returned home ; and that he once tried to throw himself over a window at the Nether Bow, probably at his house in the World?s End Close. Philip Stanfield was hanged at the Market Cross on the 24th of February. In consequence of a slip of the rope, he came down on his knees, and it was necessary to use more horrible means of strangulation His tongue was cut out for cursing his father ; his right hand was struck off for parricide ; his head was spiked on the East Port of.Haddington, and his mutilated body was hung in chains between L.eith and the city. After a few days the body was stolen fiom the gibbet, and found lying in a ditch among water. It was chained up again, time groaning in great anguish, and refusing to touch the corpse again, while all looked on with dismay. The incident was at once accepted by the then Scottish mind in the light of a revelation of Philip?s guilt as his father?s murderer. ?In a Andrew Square, became, and is still, the establish- 3 I ment of Messrs. Oliver and Boyd, t!ie well-known secret niurther,? says King James in his ? Damonology?-? if the dead carkasse be at any time there
Volume 2 Page 281
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