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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


102 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Galton Hill, thirteenth century, it was not until 1518, when the Provost James, Earl of Arran, and the Bailies of the city, conveyed by tharter, under date 13th April, to John Malcolme, Provipcial of the Carmelites, and his successors, their lands of Greenside, and the chapel or kirk of the Holy Cross there, The latter had been an edifice built at some remote period, of which no record now remains, but it served as the nucleus of this CarmeIite monastery, nearly the last of the religious foundations in Scotland prior to the Reformation. In December, 1520, the Provost (Robert Logan .of Coatfield), the 3ailies and Council, again con- Jerred the ground and place of ? the Greensyde to the Freris Carmelitis, now beand in the Ferry, for their reparation and bigging to be maid,? and Sir Thomas Cannye was constituted chaplain thereof. From this it would appear that the friary had ,been in progress, and that till ready for their Teception the priests were located at the Queens- .ferry, most probably in the Carmelite monastery built there in 1380 by Sir George Dundas of that ilk. . In October, 1525, Sir Thomas, chaplain .of the pkce and kirk of the Rood of Greenside, got seisin ?thairof be the guid town,? .and delivered the keys into the hands of the magistrates in favour of Friar John Malcolmson, .??Jro mareraZZ (sic) of the ordour,? In 1534, two persons, named David Straiton and Norman Gourlay, the latter a priest, were tried for heresy and sentenced to be burned at the stake. On the 27th of August they were d e d to the Rood of Greenside, and there suffered .that terrible death. After the suppression of the -order, the buildings mus, have been tenantless until 1591, when they were converted into a hospital for lepers, founded by John Robertson, a benevolent merchant of the city, ?pursuant to a vow on his receiving a signal mercy from God.? ? At the institution of this hospital,? says Arnot, .?? seven lepers, all of them inhabitants of Edinburgh, were admitted in one day. The seventy of the lregulations which the magistrates appointed to be .observed by those admitted, segregating them from the rest of mankind, and commanding them to remain within its walls day and night, demonstrate the loathsome and infectious nature of the distemper.? A gallows whereon to hang those who violated the rules was erected at one end of the hospital, and even to open its gate between sunset and sunrise ensured the penalty of death. It is a curious circumstance that, though not a stone remains of the once sequestered Carmelite monastery, there is still perpetuated, as in the case of the abbots of Westminster, in the convent of the Carmelites at Rome, an official who bears the title of IZ Padre Priore rii Greenside. (?Lectures on the Antiquities of Edin.,? 184s.) In- the low valley which skirts the north-eastern base of the hill, now occupied by workshops and busy manufactories, was the place for holding tournaments, open-air plays, and revels. In 1456 King James 11. granted under his great seal, in favour of the magistrates and community of the city and their successors for ever, the valley and low ground lying betwixt the rock called Cragingalt on the east, and the common way and passage on the west (now known as Greenside) for performing thereon tournaments, sports, and other warlike deeds, at the pleasure of the king and his successors. This grant was &ted at Edinburgh, 13th of August, in presence of the Bishops of St, Andrews and Brechin, the Lords Erskine, Montgomery, Darnley, Lyle, and others, This place witnessed the earIiest efforts of the dramatic muse in Scotland, for many of those pieces in the Scottish language by Sir David Lindesay, such as his ?? Pleasant Satyre of the Three Estaits,? were acted in the play field there, ?when weather served,? between 1539 and 1544 ; but in consequence of the tendency of these representations to expose the lives of the Scottish clergy, by a council of the Church, held at the Black Friary in March, 1558, Sir David?s books were ordered to be burned by the public executioner. ? The Pleasant Satyre ? was played at Greenside, in 1544, in presence of the Queen Regent, ?as is mentioned,? says Wilson, ?by Henry Charteris, the bookseller, who sat patiently nine hours on the bank to witness the play. It so far surpasses any effort of contemporary English dramatists, that it renders the barrenness of the Scottish muse in . this department afterwards the more apparent.? Ten years subsequent a new place would seem to have been required, as we find in the ?Burgh Records? in 1554, the magistrates ordaining their treasurer, Robert Grahame, to pay ?? the Maister of Werke the soume of xlij Zi xiij s iiij d, makand in hale the soume of IOO merks, and that to complete the play field, now bigging in the Greensid.? This place continued to be used as the scene of feats of arms until the reign of Mary, and there, Pennant relates, Bothwell first attracted her attention, by leaping his horse into the ring, after galioping ?down the dangerous steeps of the the adjacent hill ?-a very apocryphal story. Until the middle-of the last century this place was all unchanged. ? In my walk this evening,? he writes in 1769, ?I passed by a deep and wide hollow ?
Volume 3 Page 102
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