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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


West Church.] MR. NEIL MWICAR. I33 - those of other sections of the city, took courage, and sought to retrieve their past ill-conduct by noisily . preparing to raise forces to defend themselves in case of a second visit from the Highlanders. the General Assembly met in the church, and passed an Act, which, however necessary, perhaps, in those harassing times, concerning ?? the sine and guilte of the king and his house,? caused much suffering to the Covenanters after the Restoration. It was known by the name of the West Kirk Act, and was approved by Parliament the same day. Subsequently, during his siege of the castle Cromwell made the church a barrack; hence its roof and windows were destroyed by the guns of the fortress, and soon little was left of it but the bare walls, which were repaired, and opened for service in 1655. For some years subsequent the sole troubles of the incumbents were breaches of ?the Sabbath,? such as when William Gillespie, in 1659, was ?fund carrying watter, and his wyfe knoking beir,? for which they had to make public repentance, or filling people for ?taking snuff in tyme of sermon,? contrary to the Act of 18th June, 1640; till 1665, when the ?? great mutiny? in the parish occurred, and the minister, William Gordon, for ? keeping of festivals,? was railed at by the people, who closed the doors against him, for which a man and a woman, according to Wodrow, were scourged through Edinburgh. At the Revolution, those of ground to the west was added to it (including the garden,with trees, shown in Gordon?s Map), from the old boundary to the present west gate at the Lothian Road. About the same time several heritors requested permission to inter their dead in the little or Wester-kirk, which had been a species of ruin since the invasion of Cromwell. In 1745, after the victory of the Highlanders at Prestonpans, a message was sent to the ministers of the city, in the name cf ?Charles, Prince Regent,? desiring them to preach next day, Sunday, as usual; but many, alarmed by the defeat of Cope, sought refuge in the country, and no public worship was performed within the city, save by a ST. CUTHBERT?S CHURCH. (From Cmdm of Potkicmay?s [email protected]) ministers who had been ejected in 1661, and were yet alive, returned to their charges. Among them was Mr. David Williamson, who, in 1689, was settled in St. Cuthbert?s manse ; but not quietly, for the castle, defended by the Duke of Gordon, was undergoing its last disastrous siege by the troops oC William, and the church suffered so much damage from shot and shell, that for many months after the surrender in June, the people were unable to use it, and the repairs amounted to LI,~OO. If tradition has not wronged him, Mr. Williamson is the well-known (? Dainty Davie? of Scottish song, who had six wives ere the seventh, Jean. Straiton, survived him. He died in August, 1706, and was buried in the churchyard, where the vicinity of the grave is alone indicated by the letters D. W. cut on the front of the tomb in which he lies. The ancient cemetery on the knoll having been found too small for the increasing population and consequent number of interments, in 1701 a piece clergyman named Hog a t t h e Tron. It was otherwise, however, at St. Cuthbert?s, the incumbent of which was then the Rev. Neil McVicar, yho preached to a crowded congregation, many of whom were armed Highlanders, before whom he prayed for George 11. and also for Charles Edward in a fashion of his own, recorded thus by Ray, in his history of the time, and others :- ?(Bless the king! Thou knowest what king I mean. May the crown sit long on his head. As for that young man who has come among us to seek an earthly crown, we
Volume 3 Page 133
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