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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


302 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith Wynd. In 1650 it was used as a hospital for the wounded soldiers of General Leslie?s army, after his repulse of Cromwell?s attack on Edinburgh. The building was decorated with the city arms, and many carved devices on the pediments of its dormer windows, while above the doorway was the legend-GoD . BLIS . THIS. WARK . 1619. In February, 1696, Fountainhall reports a ?? Reduction pursued by the town of Edinburgh against Sir William Binny (ex-Provost) and other partners of the linen manufactory, in Paul?s Work, of the tack set them in 1683. Insisted, that this house was founded by Thos. Spence, Bishop of Aberdeen, in the reign of James II., for discipline acd training of idle vagabonds, and dedicated to St. Paul; and by an Act of Council in 1626, was destinate and mortified for educating boys in a woollen manufactory ; and this tack had inverted the original design, contrary to the sixth Act of Parl. I 633, discharging the sacrilegious inversion of all pious donations.? Sir William Binny, Knight, was Provost of the city in 1675-6. It bearsa prominent place in Rothiemay?s map, and stood partly within the Leith Wynd Port. In 1779 it was occupied by a Mr. Macdowal, ?the present proprietor,? says Arnot, ?who carries on in it an extensive manufacture of broad cloths, hardly inferior to the English.? The whole edifice was swept away by the operations of the North British Railway; and two very ancient keys found on its site were presented in 1849 to the Museum of Antiquities. It was?at the foot of this wynd that, in February, 1592, John Graham, a Lord of Session, was slain in open day, by Sir James Sandilands of Calder, and others, not one of whom was ever tried or punished for the outrage. By an Act of the seventh Parliament of James V., passed in 1540, the magistrates were ordained to warn all proprietors of houses on the west side of Leith Wynd that were ruinous, to repair or rebuild them within a year and a day, or to sell the property to those who could do so; and if no one would buy them, it was lawful for the said magistrates to cast down the buildings, ?and with the stuffe and stanes thereof, bigge ane honest substantious wall, fra the Porte of the Nether-bowto the Trinity College ; and it shall not be lawful in tyme cumming, to any manner of person to persew them, nor their successoures therefore. . . . . And because the east side of the said wynd pertains to the Abbot and Convente of Holyrude House, it is ordained that the baillies of the Canongate garre siklike be done upon the said east side,? &c. The line ot this wall on the west side is distinctly . shown in Rothiemay?s map of 1647, and also in Edgar?s plan of Edinburgh. In both the east side presents a row of closely-built houses, extending from the head of the Canongate to the site of the Leith Wynd Port, at Paul?s Work. In January, 1650, ?John Wilsone, tailyour, in St. Marie Wynd, and John Sinclere, dag-maker (i.e., pistol-maker) in Leith FTynd,? were punished as false witnesses, in a plea between James Anderson, merchant in Calder, and John Rob in Easter Duddingston, for which they were sentenced by the Lords in Council and Session to be set upon the Tron, with a placard announcing their crime to the people pinned on the breast of each, and to have thair eares nailed to the Trone, be the space of ane hour.? On the Leith Wynd Port, as on others, the quarters of criminals were displayed. In September, 1672, the Depute of Gilbert Earl of Errol (High Constable of Scotland) sentenced James Johnstone, violer, who had stabbed his wife, to be hanged, ?? and to have his right hand, which gave the stroak, cut off, and affixed upon Leithwind Port, and ordained the magistrats of Edinburgh to cause put the sentence to execution upon the 9th of that month.? In February, 1854, the wall of James the Fifth?s time, on the west side of the wynd gave way, and a vast portion of it, which was about twenty feet high and four feet thick, fell with a dreadful crash, smashing in the doors and windows on the oppm site side, and blocking the whole of the steep narrow thoroughfare, and burying in its dibris four children, two of whom were killed on the instant. and two frightfully mangled. Its fall was supposed to have been occasioned by a new wall, seven feet in height, raised upon its outer verge, to form the outer platform in front of a building known as St. Andrew?s Hall, and afterwards the Training Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Society. As St. Mary?s Street, which lies in a line with this wynd, is in a direct line also from the Pleasance, to render the whole thoroughfare more completely available, it was deemed necessary by the Improvement Trustees to make alterations in Leith Wynd, by forming Jeffrey Street, which takes a, semccircular sweep, from the head of the Canongate behind John Knox?s house and church, onwards to the southern end of the North Bridge. Thus the whole of the west side of Leith Wynd and its south end have disappeared in these operations. One large tenement of great antiquity, and known as the cc Happy Land,? long the haunt of the most lawless characters, has disappeared, and
Volume 2 Page 302
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