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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Calton HiF.1 THE FAIRY BOY. I01 and it is rendered by Gordon of R othiemay in his view, in 1647, by its Latin equivalent, Nzkelli Rzlpes. ?In a titledeed of the eighteenth century,? says Wilson, ?the tenement of land in Calton, called the Sclate Land, is described as bounded on the east by McNeill?s Craigs, possibly a travesty of Gordon?s Nigelli Rupes.? Concerning an execution there in September, Ij.54, we have the following items in the City Accounts :- midnight on the bare and desolate scalp of the Calton Hill. The Lords Balmerino were superiors of the hill, until the Common Council purchased the superiority from the last lord of that loyal and noble family, who presented the old Calton buryingground to his vassals as a place of sepulchre, and it is said, offered them the whole hill for A40. At the extreme eastern end of the hill were the Quarry Holes, some places where stone had been WEST PRINCES STREET GARDENS, 1875. ? Item, the . . day of . . . 1554, for taking of ane gret gibet furth of the Nether Tolbooth, and beiring it to the hecht of the Dow Craig to haif hangit hommill [beardless] Jok on, and bringing it again to Sanct Paullis Wark, xijd.? ?Item, for cords to bynd and hang him with, viijd.? Again, in the Diurnal of Occurrents, under date 1571, we read of a battery erected on ?the Dow Craig above Trinitie College, to ding and siege the north-east quarter of the burgh ? during the contest against the Queen?s-men. Among many old superstitions peculiar to Leith was one of the Fairy Boy, who acted as drummer to certain elves that held a weekly rendezvous at excavated. This lonely spot was famous as a rendezvous for those who fought duels and private rencontres, and there it was, that during the wars of the Reformation, in 1557, a solemn interview took place between the Earls of Arran and Huntly and certain leaders of the Congregation, including the Earls of Argyll and Glencairn, and the Lord James Stewart, with reference to the proceedings of the Queen Regent. At the western side of the hill stood the Carmelite monastery of Greenside, the name of which is still preserved in a street there, and which must have been derived from the verdant and turfy slope 1 that overhung the path to Leith. Though these ~ White Friars were introduced into Scotland in the
Volume 3 Page 101
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