Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


High Street.] U?ARRISTON?S CLOSE. 223 the floors as a picture gallery or exhibition, a new leature in the Edinburgh of the seventeenth century, and long before any such idea had been conceived in France, England, or any other country. Some of his best works were in possession of the late Andrew Bell, engraver, the originator of the ?? Encyclopzdia Britannica,? who married his granddaughter. ?For some years after the Revolution,? says Pinkerton, ? he was the only painter in Scotland, and had a very great run of business. This brought him into a hasty and .incorrect manner.? So here, in the Advocates? -* ~ Close, in the dull and anorose Edinburgh of the seventeenth cendury, was the fashionable lounge of the dilettanti, .the resort of rank and beauty-a quarter from which the haut ton of the ,present day would shrink with aversion. He died at Prestonpans in the year 1730, in his eighty-fifth year, after having witnessed as startling a series of political changes as ever occurred in a long lifetime. Taking the ancient .alleys seriatim, Roxburghe Close comes next, numbered as 341, High Street, and. so - -_ -- = --_= -- -+- next we come to in descending the north side of the street, remains only in name, the houses on both sides being entirely new, and its old steep descent broken at intervals by convenient flights of steps; but until r868 it was nearly unchanged froin its ancient state, some relics of which still remain. It had handsome fronts of carefully-polished ashlar, with richly-decorated doorways with pious legends on their lintels, to exclude witches, fairies, and all manner of evil ; there were ornate dormer named, it may COnfi- HOUSE OF LORD ADVOCATE STEWART, AT THE FOOT dently be supposed OF ADVOCATES? CLOSE, w e s ~ SIDE. (though it cannot be proved as a fact) from having contained the town residence of some ancient Earl of Roxburghe. All its ancient features have disappeared, save a door built up with a handsome cut legend in raised Roman letters :-?WHATEVER ME BEFALL I THANK THE LORD OF ALL. J. M., 1586.? This is said to have been the dwelling-place of the Roxburghe family, but by tradition only. If true, it takes the antiquary back to the year in which .Sir Walter Kerr of Cessford (ancestor of the Dukes .of Roxburghe), ? baron of Auld-Roxburghe, the .castle thereof and the lands of Auldtonbum, &c.,? died at a great age, the last survivor, perhaps, of the affray in which Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch gerished at Edinburgh. Warriston?s Close (anciently called Bruce?s), the windows on the roofs with steep crow-stepped gables, black with the smoke and storms of centuries. MIHI . SEMPER. DEUS. 1583,? was the legend which first caught the eye above a door of a tenement on the west ? side, long occupied bj James Murray, Lord Philiphaugh, raised to the bench November Ist, 1689, without having any predecessor, being 0n.e of the set of judges nominated after the Re- , volution. After being chosen member of Parliament for Selkirk in 1681, he had become an object of special jealousy to the Scottish Cavalier Government. He was imprisoned in 1684, and under terror ? QUI . ERrr . ILLE . of being tortured in the iron boots, before the Privy Council in the high Chamber below the Parliament House, he gave evidence against those who were concerned in the Rye House Plot. Lord Philiphaugh had the character of being an upright judge, but the men of his time never forgot or forgave the weakness that made him stoop to save his life, though many of them might no doubt have acted in the same way, the Scottish Privy Council of that time being a species of Star Chamber that did not stand on trifles. Farther down the close was another edifice, the lintel of which like some others that were in the same locality, has been with great good taste rebuilt, as a lintel, into the extensive printing and publishing premises of the Messrs. Chambers, a
Volume 2 Page 223
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print   Pictures Pictures