Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


his ? Church History,? were licensed by the king ! This interdict was annulled by proclamation at the Market Cross. In 1601 an English company, headed by Laurence Fletcher, ?comedian to his Majestie,? was again in Scotland ; and Mr. Charles Knight, in his? Life of Shakspere,? con- THE PALACE GArE. (Affcran EtchinKby -7nmcs Skmr, of Rubiskw.) niissioner, at his court at Holyrood, and soon after the theatre in the Tennis Court was in the zenith of its brief prosperity, in defiance of the city pulpits. There, on the 15th November, 1681, ?? being the Queen of Brittain?s birthday,? as Fountainhall records, while bonfires blazed in the city and James VI. to England, in 1603, till the arrival of his grandson the Duke of Albany and York, in 1680, there are doubts if anything like a play was performed in the Edinburgh of that gloomy period ; though Sir George Mackenzie mentions that in June, 1669, ? Thomas Sydserf, having pursued Mungo Murray for invading him in his Playhouse, &c., that invasion was not punished as hamesucken, but with imprisonment ;? and a ?? Playhouse,? kept at Edinburgh in the same month, when a thousand prisoners, after Bothwell Bridge, were confined in the Greyfriars Churchyard, is referred to in the Acts of Council in 1679. Some kind of a drama, called ? Marciano, or The Discovery,? was produced on the festival of St John by Sir Thonlas Sydserff (the same referred to), before His Grace the Earl of Rothes, High Comthe plan of his great Scottish tragedy. According to the same testimony, the name of Shaklution ; and though a concert was given in 1705 in the Tennis Court, under the patronage of the Duke of Argyle, and ?? The Spanish Friar ? is said to have been performed there before the members of the Union Parliament, no more is heard of it till 1714, when ?? Macbeth ? was played at the Tennis Court, in presence of a brilliant array of Scottish nobles and noblesse, after an archery meeting. On this occasion many present called for the song, ?The king shall enjoy his own again,? while others opposed the demand ; where- -Jpon swords were resorted to, and-as an anticipation of the battle of Dunblane-a regular m2Zk ensued. A little to the north-eastward of the Tennis Court stands the singularly picturesque, but squat little corbelled tower called Queen Mary?s Bath, ?( Mithridates, King of Pontus,? wherein the future Queen Anne and the ladies of honour were the
Volume 3 Page 40
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
in what was of old the open garden ground attached t o the palace. The tradition of its having been the Queen?s bath is of considerable antiquity. Pennant records an absurd story to the effect that she was wont to use a bath of white wine ; but the spring of limpid water that now wells under the earthen floor attests that she resorted to no other expedient than aqua jura to exalt or shield her charms. And the story is also referred to in a poem called ?( Craigmillar,? published about 1770. William Graliam, the last Earl of Airth, who died in 1694, from the Earl of Linlithgow. By him it is described as being situated at the back of Holyrood, arid having before belonged to Lord Elphinstone. The ?History of Holyrood,? published in 1821, states that the old house of Croft-an-Righ, an edifice of the sixteenth century, had been the residence of the Regent Moray, and with its garden was ?gifted, along with several of the adjoining dence of Scottish courtiers in the days of other years. The most remarkable of these is the ancient house of CYofan-Rl;sS?I, or the Field of the King. Corbelled turrets adorn its sollthern gable, and dormer windows its northern front, while many of the ceilings exhibit ela5orate stucco details, including several royal insignia. Traditionally this house, which, in 1647, was approached from the Abbey burying-ground by an arched gate between two lodges, has been erroneously associated with Mary of Guise; but is of the said Abbey of Halirudhouse, grantit the privilige of the Girth (protection and sanctuary) to the hail boundis of the said Abbey, and to that part of the burghe of the Cannogait, fra the I Girth Corse (cross) down to the Clokisrwne Mylne, quhilk privilige has bene inviolablie observit to all manner of personis curnond wytin the boundes aforsaid, not committand the crymes expresslie exceptit for all maner of girt%, and that in all tymes bigane past memorie of man.?
Volume 3 Page 41
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures