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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


298 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [St. Mary?s Wynd. the maintenance of the beads-+eople of that hospital ; and every person who refused to collect thus, was fined forty pence Scots, for the use of the poor. At this period the chaplain?s salary was only six shillings and eightpence per annum. Spottiswoode tells us that in the chartularies of St. Giles, ?the nuns of St. Mary?s Wynd, in the city of Edinburgh, are recorded,? and in the statutes of the burgh, enacted during a terrible plague in 15~0, a reference to the chapel is made in the case of Marion Clerk, who was convicted by an assize of concealing her infection, and attending, with many others, mass in ?? the chapell of Sanct Mary Wynd, on Sonday,? and thereby risking the safety of all. For this crime the poor woman was ordained to suffer death by drowning at the Quarry Holes, near the east end of the Calton Hill. In 1562 great excitement was occasioned in the city by an act of violence perpetrated by the notorious Earl of Bothwell, who, with the aid of the Marquis d?Elbeuf, Lord John of Coldinghame, and other wild spirits, broke up the doors of Cuthbert Ramsay?s house in St. Mary?s Wynd one night, while searching, sword in hand, for his daughterin- law, Alison Craig, a celebrated courtesan, who, though living under the protection of ?? the godly Er1 of Arrane,? as Knox records in very coarse language, yet contrived to be on very good terms with other nobles who were his avowed enemies. A strong remonstrance was presented to the Queen on this subject, beseeching her to punish the perpetrators ; but as that was no easy matter, the brawl was hushed up, and, thus emboldened, Both. well and other gallants proceeded to play wildei pranks in the streets during the night, till Gavin Hamilton, Abbot of Kilwinning, who had joined the Reformation party, resolved to curb thell violence by the strodg hand. According to the his tories of Knox and Keith, he armed all his followers. sallied forth to oppose the revellers, and a seriour conflict ensued in the street, between the Crosr and Tron. Crossbow bolts and hackbut shots fie\\ far and near, while the alarm-bells summoned thc burghers to ?the redding of the fray,? and riva leaders came sallying forth as hate or humour lec them, to join in the riot ; till the Earls of Murraj and Huntley, who were then residing at Holyrood by order of the Queen, marched up the Canongatt with all the armed men they could muster, anc crushed the tumult. Bothwell afterwards, by thc mediation of Knox, effected a reconciliation witlthe Earl of Arran, the Abbot of Kilwinning, anc others who were his enemies. In the subsequent conflicts of 1572, the house? in Leith Wynd and St. Mary?s Wynd were unroofed . nd all the doors and windows of those on the west ide of the latter were built up, among other prejarations made by Sir William Kirkaldy to defend he town against the king?s men. At a still later Late in the same year all the houses at the head if each of those wynds were ?tane doun,? and 10 doubt on this occasion the chapel of St. Mary vould be ruined and dismantled with the rest. Again in 1650, when preparations were made to lefend the city against Cromwell, Nicoll records n his quaint diary, that the magistrates demolished ill the houses ?? in St. Marie Wynd, that the enymie ould haif no schelter thair,? and that the cannon nounted on the Netherbow might?have free pas- ?age for their shot. At the foot of the wynd was situated the Cow- ;ate Port, a city gate constructed as a portion of he second wall in 1513. At a subsequent date tnother was erected across the wynd, at its junction Kith the Pleasance; it figures in Rothiemay?s map as he Portaplatea Sancte Marie, a large arched buildng with gables at each end, and in Gordon?s day t was seldom without the head, hands, or quarters if some unfortunate, such as Garnock and other Zovenanters, displayed on its spike?. On the approach of the Highlanders in 1715, it was demolished, the citizens believing themselves unable to defend it; but a portion of its wall, with one rusty spike thereon, remained until 1837,when it was removed to make way for a new Heriot?s school. The whole alley was long, and until quite recently a species of great Rag Fair, where all manner of cast-off garments were exposed for sale, the walls literally appearing to be clothed with them from end to end. In a house which had its entrance from the east side of the wynd, but the windows of which opened to the Canongate, there long resided two maiden ladies of the now extinct house of Traquair-the Ladies Barbara and Margaret Stuart-twin sisters, the children of Charles fourth Earl of Traquair (who died in 1741), and his Countess, Mary Maxwell, of the noble house of Nithsdale. The last of these two, Lady Barbara, died on the 15th of December, 1794, and they were among some of the last of note who lingered in the Old Town. ? They drew out their innocent lives in this place,? says Robert Chambers, ?where latterly one of their favourite amusements was to make dolls, and little beds for them to lie on-a practice not quite uncommon in days long gone by, being to some degree followed by Queen Mary.? In the tenement opposite the site of SL Mary?s chapel, on the east side of the wynd, and forming the portion of it that led into Boyd?s Close, there
Volume 2 Page 298
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