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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Canongate.] THE TENNIS COURT. ? 39 Scotland, and who for some years had been Commissioner to the General Assembly. In this house he died, 28th July, 1767, as recorded in the Scots Magazine, and was succeeded by his son, Major- General the Earl of Ancrum, Colonel of the 11th Light Dragoons (now Hussars). His second son, Lord Robert, had been killed at Culloden. His marchioness, Margaret, the daughter of Sir Thomas Nicholson, Bart., of Kempnay, who survived him twenty years, resided in Lothian Hut till her death. It was afterwards occupied by the dowager of the ? fourth Marquis, Lady Caroline D?Arcy, who was only daughter of Robert Earl of Holderness, and great-grand-daughter of Charles Louis, the Elector Palatine, a lady whose character is remembered traditionally to have been both grand and amiable. Latterly the Hut was the residence of Professor Dugald Stewart, who, about the end of the last century, entertained there many English pupils of high rank. Among them, perhaps the most eminent was Henry Temple, afterwards Lord Palmerston, whose education, commenced at Harrow, was continued at the University of Edinburgh. When he re-visited the latter city in 1865, during his stay he was made aware that an aged woman, named Peggie Forbes, who had been a servant with Dugald Stewart at Lothian Hut, was still alive, and residing at No. I, Rankeillor Street. There the great statesman visited her, and expressed the pleasure he felt at renewing the acquaintance of the old domestic. Lothian Hut, the scene of Dugald Stewart?s most important literary labours, was pulled down ih 1825, to make room for a brewery ; but a house of the same period, at the south-west corner of the Horse Wynd, bears still the name of Lothian Vale. A little to the eastward of the present White Horse hostel, and immediately adjoining the Water Gate, stood the Hospital of St. Thomas, founded in 154r by George Crichton, Bishop of Dunkeld, ?dedicated to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.? It consisted of an almshouse and chapel, the bedesmen of which were ?to celebrate the founder?s anniversary obit. by solemnly singing in the choir of Holyrood church yearly, on the day of his death, ?the Placebo and Dinie for the repose of his soul ? and the soul of the King of Scotland. ? Special care,? says Amot, ? was taken in allotting money for providing candles to be lighted during the anniversary ma.ss of requiem, and the number and size of the tapers were fixed with a precision which shows the importance in which these circumstances were held by the founder. The number of masses, paternosters, aye-marias, and credos, to be said by the chaplain and bedesmen is distinctly ascertained.? The patronage of the institution was vested by the founder in himself and a certain series of representatives named by him. In 1617, with the consent of David Crichton of Lugton, the patron, who had retained possession of the endowments, the magistrates of the Canongate purchased the chapel and almshouse from the chaplains and bedesmen, and converted the institution into a hospital for the poor of the burgh. Over the entrance they placed the Canongate arms, supported by a pair of ?cripples, an old man and woman, with the inscription- HELP HERE THE POORE, AS ZE WALD GOD DID ZOV. JUNE 19, 1617. The magistrates of the Canongate sold the patronage of the institution in 1634 to the Kirk Session, by whom its revenues ? were entirely embezzled f by 1747 the buildings were turned into coachhouses, and in 1787 were pulled down, and replaced by modem houses of hideous aspect. On the opposite side of the Water Gate was the Royal Tennis Court, the buildings of which are very distinctly shown in Gordon?s map of 1647. Maitland says it was anciently called the Catchpel, from Cache, a game now called Fives, a favourite amusement in Scotland as early as the reign of James IV. The house, a long, narrow building, with a court, after being a weavers? workhouse, was burned down in 1771, and rebuilt in the tasteless fashion of that period ; but the locality is full of interest, as being connected not only with the game of tennis, as played there by the Duke of Albany, Law the great financial schemer, and others, but the early and obscure history of the stage in Scotland. In 1554 there was a ??litill farsche and play maid be William Lauder,? and acted before the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, for which he was rewarded by two silver cups. Where it was acted is not stated. Neither are we told where was perlormed another play, ? made by Robert Simple ? at Edinburgh, before the grim Lord Regent and others of the nobility in 1567, and for which the mthor was paid ;E66 13s. 4d. The next record of .a post-Reformation theatre is in the time of James VI. when several companies came from London for the amusement of the court, including one of which Shakspere was a member, though his appearance cannot be substantiated. In 1599 the company of English comedians was interdicted by the clergy and Kirk Session, though their performances, says Spottiswoode in
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