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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


182 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Bmughton. superiority of Broughton was yielded by the Crown, partly in payment of debts due by Charles I. to the hospital. Thenceforward the barony* was governed by a bailie, named by the Governors of the Hospital, who possessed to the full the baronial powers of pit and gallows over theiI tenants therein. Prior to this, in 1629, Kincaid of Warriston was pursued before the Baron-bailie, but the case was remitted to the Lord Justice General and the Judgp, who remitted the affair to the Council. In 1650, during some portions of the campaign that preceded the battle of Dunbar, General Leslie made Broughton his head-quarters, when he threw up those lines of defence from the base of the Calton Hill-to Leith, and so completely baffled Cromwell?s advance upon the city. After the barony came into the possession ol Heriot?s Hospital, the Common Council of the city, on the 17th of July, 1661, gave a grant to William Johnstone, then Baron-bailie, ? of the goods and chattels of women condemned for witchcraft, and which were thereby escheated to the said bailie.?? On this remarkable grant, Maitland observes in his History : ? Wherefore, it is not to be wondered at that innocent persons should be convicted of a crime they could not be guilty of, when their effects fall to the judge or judges.? In 1715, during the insurrection, a party of Highlanders marching through Broughton were cannonaded from the Castle, and a six-pound shot that went through a barn on this occasion, is preserved in the Antiquarian Museum. In 1717 Broughton was the scene of the trial and execution in a remarkable case of murder, which made famous the old pathway known as Gabriel?s Road. By some strange misconception, in ?? Peter?s Letters to his Kinsfolk,? the murderer is called ?Gabriel,? and in a work called ?Celebrated Trials? (in six volumes), he is called the Rev. Thomas Hunter, whereas in reality his name was Robert Irvine. Of this road, to which we have already referred, Chambers gives us the following description :-? Previous to 1767 the eye of a person perched in a favourable situation in the Old Town surveyed the whole ground on which the New Town was built. Inimediately beyond the North Loch was a range of grass fields called Bearford?s Parks, from the name of the proprietor, Hepbum? of Bearford, in East Lothian. Bounding these on the north, in the line of the subsequent Princes Street, was a road enclosed by two dry stone walls, called the Lang Dykes. . . , . The main mass of ground, originally rough with whins and broom, but latterly forming what was called Wood?s Farm, was crossed obliquely by a road extending between Silver Mills, a rural hamlet on the mill course of the Leith, and the passage into the Old Town at the bottom of Halkerston?s Wynd. There are still some tracesof this road. You will see it leave Silver Mills behind West Cumberland Street. Behind Duke Street, on the west side, the boundary wall of the Queen Street garden is oblique, in consequence of its having passed that way. Finally, it terminates in a short oblique passage behind the Register House, wherein stood till lately ? Ambrose?s Tavern. This short passage bore the name of Gabriel?s Road, and was supposed to do so in connection with a remarkable murder of which it was the scene.? Mr. James Gordon, of Ellon, in Aberdeenshire, a rich merchant of Edinburgh, and once a bailie there, in the early part of the eighteenth century had a villa on the north side of the city, somewhere between this road and the village of Broughton. His family consisted of his wife, two sons, and a daughter, these being all of tender age. He had a tutor for his two boys-John and Alexander-a licentiate of the Church, named Robert Irvine, who was of respectable attainments, but had a somewhat gloomy disposition. Views of predestination, drawn from some work of Flavel?s, belonging to the college library, had taken possession of his mind, which had, perhaps, some infirmity ready to be acted upon by external circumstances and dismal impulses. Having cast eyes of admiration on a pretty servant-maid in Mr. Gordon?s house, he was tempted to take some liberties with her, which were observed, and mentioned incidentally by his pupils. For this he was reprimanded by Mr. Gordon, but on apologising, was forgiven. Into Irvine?s morbid and sensitive nature the affront, or rebuke, sank deeply, and a thirst for revenge possessed him. For three days he revolved the insane idea of cutting off Mr. Gordon?s three children, and on the 28th of April, 1717, he found an opportunity of partially accomplishing his terrible purpose. It was Sunday, and Mr. and Mrs. Gordon went to spend the afternoon with a friend in the city, taking their little daughter with them. Irvine, left with the two boys, took them out for a walk along the then broomy and grassy slope, where now York Place and St. Andrew Square are situated. While the boys ran about gathering flowers and pursuing butterflies, he sat whetting the knife with which he meant to destroy them !
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?Calling the two boys to him, he upbraided them with their informing upon him, and told them that they must suffer for it. They ran off, but he easily overtook and seized them. Then keeping one down upon the grass with his knee, he cut the manner the remaining one.? By a singular chance a gentleman enjoying his evening stroll upon the Castle Hill obtained a perfect view of the whole episode-most probably with a telescope-and immediately gave an alarm. Irvine, who had already attempted, but unsuccessfully, to cut his own throat, now fled .from his pursuers towards the Water of Leith, thinking to drown himself, but was taken, brought in a cart to the tolbooth of Broughton, and there chained down to the floor like a wild beast. In those days there was a summary process in Scotland for murderers, taken as he was-red hand. It was only necessary to bring him next day before the judge of the district and have sentence passed upon him. Irvine was tried before the Baronbailie upon the 30th of April, and received sentence of death. In his dying confession,? supposed to be unique, it is recorded that ?he desired one who was present to take care of his books and conceal his papers, for he said there were many foolish things in them. He imagined that he was to be hung in chains, and showed some concern on that account. He prayed the parents of the murdered children to forgive him, which they, very christianly, consented to. At sight of the bloody clothes in which the children were murdered, and which were brought to him in the prison a little before he went to the place of execution, he was much affected, and broke into groans and tears. When he came to the place of execution the ministers prayed for him, and he also prayed himself, but with a low voice. . . . . Both his hands were struck off by the executioner, and he was afterwards hanged. While he was hanging the wound he gave himself in the throat with the penknife broke out afresh, and the blood gushed out in great abundance.? He was hanged at Greenside, and his hands were stuck upon the gibbet with the knife used in the murders. His bodJ? was then flung into a neighbouring quarry-hole. In February, 1721, John Webster, having committed a murder upon a young woman named Marion Campbell, daughter of Campbell of Kevenknock, near the city wall, but on Heriot?s Hospital ground, was taken to Broughton, and condemned to death by the Baron-bailie; and in the same year the treasurer of the hospital complains of the expense incurred in prosecuting offenders in some other cases of murder committed within the barony; but these onerous and costly privileges ?Domestic Annals,? vol. iiii other?s throat, after which he dispatched in like abolished all hereditable jurisdictions, and a few years afterwards the governors granted the use of the ancient tolbooth to one of their tenants as a storehouse, ?reserving to the hospital a room for holding their Baron Courts when they shall think fit.? Though demolished, some fragments of the old edifice still remain in the shape of cellars, in connection with premises occupied as a tavern in Broflghton Street. The minute books of this ancient barony are still preserved, and contain a great number of names of persons of note who were made free burgesses of the burgh, several of these having received that honour in return for good deeds conferred upon it. During the insurrection of I 7 I 5 the inhabitants of the regality obtained leave to form a nightguard for their own protection, but to be under the orders of the captain of the Canongate Guard. The magistracy of this burgh consisted of a Baron-bailie, a senior and junior bailie, high sheriff, treasurer, clerk, dean of guild, surgeon, bellman, and captain of the tolbooth. The first-named official, ?? on high occasions, dons a crimson robe and cocked hat, displaying at the same time a grand official chain with medal attached. These, with a bell, ancient musket, sword, and some other articles, compose the moveable property of the corporation.? The lodge of Free Gardeners of the Barony of Broughton was instituted in the year 1845, by a number of citizens of the ward, and as regards the number of its members and finance is said to be one of the most successful of the order in Scotland. In 21 Broughton Street, there resided about the year 1855 a hard-working and industrious literary man, the late William Anderson, author of ? LandscapeLyrics,? The Scottish Biographical Dictionary,? ? The Scottish Nation,? in three large volumes, and other works; but who died old, poor, unpensioned, ahd neglected. The village, or little burgh, appears to have been situated principally to the north of where Albany Street stands, comprising within its limits Broughton Place and Street, Barony Street and Albany Street. The houses, with few exceptions, were two-storeyed though small, having outside stairs, thatched roofs, and crow-stepped gables, each having a little garden or kailyard in front. They seem to have (Steven?s ? Hist. Heriot?s Hospital.?) ? were eventually abrogated in I 746, by the Act which
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