Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Holyrocd.] HOWIESON OF BRAEHEAD. 63 space of one year, with great triumph and mem ness.? He diligently continued the works begur by his gallant father, and erected the north-wes towers, which have survived more than one con flagration, and on the most northern of which coulc be traced, till about 1820, his name, IACOBVS RE) SCOTORVM, in large gilt Roman letters. In 1528 blood was again shed in Holyrooc during a great review of Douglases and Hamilton: held there prior to a march against the Englis? ?borders. A groom of the Earl of Lennox perceiv ing among those present Sir James Hamilton o Finnart, who slew that noble at Linlithgow, intent or vengeance, tracked him into the palace ?by a dad staircase which led to a narrow gallery,? and then attacked him, sword in hand. Sir James en deavoured to defend himself by the aid of hi: . velvet mantle, but fell, pierced by six wounds, nonc of which, however, were mortal. The gates wen closed, and while a general mClCe was on the poin of ensuing between the Douglases and Hamil tons, the would-be assassin was discovered With hi: bloody weapon, put to the torture, and then hi: right hand was cut 04 on which ?he observed with a sarcastic smile, that it was punished les: than it deserved for having failed to revenge tht murder of his beloved master.?? James V. was still in the palace in 1530, as we find in the treasurer?s accounts for that year : ?? Item, tc the Egiptianis that dansit before the king in Holy rud House, 40s.? He was a monarch whose pure benevolence of intention often rendered his roman. tic freaks venial, if not respectable, since from his anxiety to learn the wants and wishes of his humbler subjects he was wont, like Il Boadocan4 or Haroun Alrdschid, to traverse the vicinity of his palaces in the plainest of disguises ; and two comic songs, composed by himself, entitled ?We?ll gang nae mair a-roving,? and ?The Gaberlunzie Man,? are said to have been founded on his adventures while masked as a beggar; and one of these, which nearly cost him his life at Cramond, some five miles frum Holyrood, is given in Scott?s ?? Tales of a Grandfather.? While visiting a pretty peasant girl in Cramond village he was beset by four or five persons, against whom he made a stand with his sword upon the high and narrow bridge that spans the Almond, in a wooded hollow. Here, when well-nigh beaten, and covered with blood, he was succoured and rescued by a peasant armed with a flail, who conducted him into a barn, where he bathed his wounds; and in the course of conversation James discovered that the summit of his deliverer?s earthly wishes was to be proprietor of the little farm of Braehead, on which he was then a labourer. Aware that it was Crown property, James said, ?? Come to Holyrood, and inquire for the gudeman of Ballengeich,? referring to a part of Stirling Castle which he was wont to adopt as a cognomen. The peasant came as appointed, and was met by the king in his disguise, who conducted him through the palace, and asked him if he wished to see the king. John Howison-for such was his name-expressed the joy it would give him, provided he gave no offence. But how shall I know him?? he added. ? Easily,? replied James, ?All others will be bareheaded, the king alone will wear his bonnet.? Scared by his surroundings and the uncovered crowd in the great hall, John Howison looked around him, and then said, naively, ?The king must be either you or me, for all but us are bareheaded.? James and his courtiers laughed ; but he bestowed upon Howison the lands of Braehead, ?? on condition that he and his successors should be ready to present an ewer and basin for the king to wash his hands when His Majesty should come to Holyrood or pass the bridge of Cramond. Accordingly, in the year 1822, when George IV. came to Scotland, a descendant of John Howison, whose hmily still possess the estate, appeared at a solemn festival, and offered His Majesty water from a silver ewer, that he might perform the service by which he held his land.? Such pranks as these were ended by the king?s marriage in I 53 7 to the Princess Magdalene, the beautiful daughter of Francis I., with unwonted splendour in the cathedral of Notre Dame, in presence of the Parliament of Paris, of Francis, the Queens of France and Navarre, the Dauphin, Duke of Orleans, md all the leading peers of Scotland and o( France. On the 27th of May the royal pair landed at Leith, amid every display of welcome, md remained a few days at Holyrood, tin the mthusiastic citizens prepared to receive them in state with a procession of magnificence. Magdalene, over whose rare beauty consump- :ion seemed to spread a veil more tender and rlluring, was affectionate and loving in nature. On anding, in the excess of her love for James, ;he knelt down, and, kissing the soil, prayed God :o bless the land of her adoption-scotland, and ts people. The ? Burgh Records ? bear witness how anxious he Provost and citizens were to do honour to the )ride of ?? the good King James. All beggars were varned off the streets : ?lane honest man of ilk :lose or two,? were to see this order enforced ; the vbbish near John Makgill?s house and ?the litster
Volume 3 Page 63
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print