Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


280 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Lord Provosts. burgh of great numbers of? His Majesty?s subjects and strangers, there should be three weekly market days for the sale of bread, when it should be lawful for dealers, both buyers and landward, to dispose of bread for ready money; three market days for t k sale of meat under the same circumstances, were also established-Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. In I 5 28 the Lord Maxwell became again provost of Edinburgh, and when, some years after, his exiled predecessor, Douglas of Kilspindie, became weary of wandering in a foreign land he sought in vain the clemency of James V., who, in memory of all he had undergone at the hands of the Douglases, had registered a vow niver to forgive them. The aged warrior-who had at one time won the affection of the king, who, in admiration of his stature, strength, and renown in arms, had named him ?? Greysteel,? after a champion in the romance of ?? Sir Edgar and Sir Guion ?-threw himself in lames?s way near the gates of Stirling Castle, to seek pardon, and ran afoot by the side of his horse, encumbered as he was by heavy armour, worn under his clothes for fear of assassination. But James rode in, and the old knight, sinking by the gate in exhaustion, begged a cup of water. Even this was refused by the attendants, whom the king rebuked for their discourtesy ; but old Kilspindie turned sadly away, and died in France of a broken heart. In the year 1532 the provost and Council furnished James V. with a guard of 300 men, armed on all ?pointts for wayr,? to serve against his ? enimies of Ingland,? in all time coming. In 1565, when Mary was in the midst of her most bitter troubles, Sir Simon Preston of Craigiiiillar and that ilk was provost, and it was in his house, the Black Turnpike, she was placed a prisoner, after the violated treaty of Carberry Hill ; and four years after he was succeeded in office by the celebrated Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange. In 1573 Lord Lindsay was provost, the same terrible and relentless noble who plotted against Kizzio, led the confederate lords, conducted Mary to Lachleven, who crushed her tender arm with his steel glove, and compelled her under terror of death to sign her zbdication, and who lived to share in the first Cowrie conspiracy. In 1578 the provost was George Douglas of Parkhead, who was also Governor of the Castle ; a riot having taken place in the latter, and a number of citizens being slain by the soldiers, the Lords of the Secret Council desired the magistrates to remove him from office and select another. They craved delay, on which the Council deposed Douglas, and sent a precept commanding the city to choose a new provost within three hours, under pain of treason. In obedience to this threat Archibald Stewart was made interim provost till the usual time of election, Michaelmas ; previous to which, the young king, James VI., wrote to the magistrates desiring them to make choice of certain persons whom be named to hold their offices for the ensuing year. On receiving this peremptory command the Council called a public meeting of the citizens, at which it was resolved to allow no interference with their civic privileges. A deputation consisting of a bailie, the treasurer, a councillor, and two deacons, waited on His Majestyat Stirling and laid the resolutions before him, but received no answer. Upon the day of election another letter was read from James, commanding the Council to elect as magistrates the persons therein named for the ensuing year ; but notwithstanding this arbitrary command, the Council, to their honour, boldly u p held their privileges, and made their own choice of magistrates. Alexander Home, of North Berwick, was provost from 1593 to 1596. He was a younger son of Patrick Home of Polwarth, and his younger sister was prioress of the famous convent at North Berwick, where strange to say she retained her station and the conventual lands till the day of her death. In 1598 a Lord President of the College of Justice was provost, Alexander Lord Fyvie, afterwards Lord Chancellor, and Earl of Dunfermline in 1606. Though the time was drawing near for a connection with England, a contemporary writer in 1598 tells us that ?in general, the Scots would not be attired after the English fashion in anysort; but the men, especially at court, followed the French fashion.? Sir William Nisbet, of Dean, was provost twice in 1616 and 1622, the head of a proud old race, whose baronial dwelling was long a feature on the wooded ridge above Deanhaugh. His coat of arms, beautifully carved, was above one of the doors of the latter, his helmet surmcunted by the crest of the city, and encircled by the motto, ? HIC MIHI PARTrVS HONOS.? It was in the dark and troublesome time of 1646-7, when Sir Archibald Tod was provost, that James Cordon, the minister of Rothiemay, made his celebrated bird?s-eye view of Edinburgh-to which reference has been made so frequently in these pages, and of which we have engraved the greater Part. James Cordon, one of the eleven sons of the Laird of Straloch, was born in 1615. He was M.A. of Aberdeen, and in April, 1647, he submitted
Volume 4 Page 280
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print