Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


28 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. Canongate. the days that were no more. ?* No funeral hearse,? says Lockhart, ?crept more leisurely than did his landau up the Canongate ; and not a queer, tottering gable but recalled to him some long-buried memory of splendour or bloodshed, which, by a few Most Noble Order of the Thistle, which he had now [relerected, could not meet in St. Andrews? church (z.e., the cathedral in Fife}, being demolished in the Rebellion; and so it was necessary for them to have this church, and the Provost of Edinburgh SMOLLETT?S HOUSE, ST. JOHN?S STREET. words, he set before the hearer in the reality of life.? The Canongate church, a most unpicturesquelooking edifice, of nameless style, with a species of Doric porch, was built in 1688. The Abbey chwh of Holyrood had hitherto been the parish church of the Canongate, but in July, 1687, King James VII. wrote to the Privy Council, that the church of the Abbey ?? was the chapel belonging to his palace of Holyrood, and that the knights of the was ordained to see the keys of it given to them. After a long silence,? says Fountainhall, ?the Archbishop of Glasgow told that it was a mansal and patrimonial church of the bishopric of Edinburgh, and though the see was vacant, yet it belonged not to the Provost to deliver the keys.? Yet the congregation were ordered to seek accommodation in Lady Yester?s church till other could be found for them, and the Canongate
Volume 3 Page 28
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
church was accordingly built for them, at the expense, says h o t , of Az,400 sterling. A portion of this consisted of zo,ooo merks, left, in 1649, by Thomas Moodie, a citizen, called by some Sir Thomas Moodie of Sauchtonhall, to rebuild the church partially erected on the Castle -Hill, and demolished by the English during the siege of 1650. Two ministers were appointed to the Canongate church. The well-known Dr. Hugh Blair and the THE CANONGATE CHURCH. splendid scabbard. This life is full of contrasts ; so when the magistrates, in ermine and gold, took their seats behind this sword of state in the front gallery, on the right of the minister, and in the gallery, too, were to be seen congregated the humble paupers from the Canongate poorhouse, now divested of its inmates and turned into a hospital. Our dear old Canongate, too, had its , Baron Bailie and Resident Bailies before the late Principal Lee have been among the incumbents. It is of a cruciform plan, and has the summit of its ogee gable ornamented with the crest of the burgh-the stag?s head and cross of King David?s legendary adventure-and the arms of Thomas Moodie form a prominent ornament in front of i t ? In our young days,? says a recent writer in a local paper, ?the Incorporated Trades, eight in number, occupied pews in the body of the church, these having the names of the occupiers painted on them; and in mid-summer, when the Town Council visited it, as is still their wont, the tradesmen placed large bouquets of flowers on their pews, and as our sittings were near this display, we used to glance with admiration from the flowers up to the great sword standing erect in the front gallery in its Reform Bill in 1832 ruthlessly swept them away. Halberdiers, or Lochaber-axe-men, who turned out on all public occasions to grace the officials, were the civic body-guard, together with a body in plain clothes, whose office is on the ground flat under the debtors? jail.? But there still exists the convenery of the Canongate, including weavers, dyers, and cloth-dressers, &c., as incorporated by royal charter in 1630, under Charles I. In the burying-ground adjacent to the church, and which was surrounded by trees in 1765, lie the remainsof Dugald Stewart, the great philosopher, of Adam Smith, who wrote the ?Wealth of Nations ; ? Dr. Adam Fergusson, the historian of the Roman Republic; Dr. Burney, author of the
Volume 3 Page 29
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures