Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Arthur's Seat 304 in places where the sandstone has been quarried (as the craigs were for years to pave the streets of London), beautiful specimens have been obtained of radiated haematites, intermixed with steatites, green fibrous iron ore, and calcareous spar, a most uncommon mixture. the glacier are to be found all over these craigs and Arthur's Seat, and on various parts are found rounded ' boulders, some of which have been worked backwards and forwards till left at last, stranded by the farewell ebb of an ancient sea. The rocky cone of Arthur's Seat is strongly mag- PLAN OF ARTHUR'S SEAT (THE SANCTUARY OF HOLYROOD). veins of calcareous spar, talc, zoolite, and amethystine quartzose crystals; and strange to say several large blocks of the same greenstone of which they . are composed are to be found on Arthur's Seat, at elevations of from eighty to 200 feet above the craigs. In ascending the steep path which leads from Holyrood to the top of the latter, we pass over layers of sandstone which show ripple marks-the work of the ice-of unknown ages, grinding and depositing pebbles, coarse sand, and sedimentary rock. The bluffs above the path must have had many a hard struggle, when glaciers crashed against tion of men of science to this circumstance in 183 I, when he stated that at some points he found the needle completely reversed. (Edn. PhiZ. Juurnal, No. XXII.) Concerning the origin of the name of this remarkable mountain, and that of the adjacent craigs, there have been many theories. Arthur is a name of-frequent occurrence in Scottish, as well as Welsh and English topography, and is generally traced by tradition to the famous Arthur of romance, and who figures so much in half-fabulous history. From this prince, who is said to have reigned over Strathclyde from 508 to 542, when he was shin at the
Volume 4 Page 304
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
Arthur?s Seat.] . ORIGIN OF battle of Camelon, unsupported tradition has always alleged that Arthur?s Seat obtained its name ; while with equal veracity the craigs are said to have been so entitled from the Earl of Salisbury, who accompanied Edward 111. in one of his invasions of Scotland, an idle story told by h o t , and ofter, repeated since. Maitland, a much more acute writer, says, ?(that the idea of the mountain being named from Arthur, a British or Cimrian king, I cannot give into,? and 305 THE NAME. ?Do thou not thus, brigane, thou sal1 be brynt, With pik, tar, fire, gunpoldre, and lynt On Arthuris-Sete, or on a hyar hyll.? And this is seventy-seven years before the publication of Camden?s c?Britannia,? in which it is so named. But this is not the only Arthur?s Seat in Scotland, as there is one near the top of Loch Long, and a third near Dunnichen in Forfarshire. Conceriiing the adjacent craigs, Lord Hailes in a note to the first volume of his Annals, says of ?? the THE HOLYROOD DAIKY.* (firm a CarOtypr (5. Dr. Tkmmu Keith.) [The circular structure in the background to the right waq a temporary Government store.] adds that he considers (? the appellation of Arthur?s Seat to be a corruption of the Gaelic Ard-na-Said, which implies the ? Height of Arrows ; ? than which nothing can be more probable; for no spot of ground is fitter for the exercise of archery, either at butts or rovers, than this; wherefore Ard-na- Sad, by an easy transition, might well be changed to Arthur?s Seat.? Many have asserted the latter to be a name of yesterday, but it certainly bore it at the date of WalterKennedy?s poem, his ? flyting,? With Dunbar, which was published in 1508 :- 1 precipice now called Salisbury Craigs; some of my readers may wish to be informed of the ongin of a word so familiar to them. In the Anglo- Saxon language, saw, sme, means dty, withered, zcrasfe. The Anglo-Saxon termination of Burgh, Burh, Barrow, BUY^, Biry, implies a castle, town, or habitation ; but in a secondary sense only, for it is admitted that the common original is Beorg a rock . . . . Hence we may conclude, &m>bury, Sbisbuv, Salisbury, is the waste or dg hbifafion. An apt description, when it is remembered that the 1 hills which now pass under the general but corrupted Dr. J. A. Sidey writes: ?The Holyrood Dairy, which stood at the enhance to St. Aone?s Yard, had no reference to the F?alaoc (from which it was 19 feet distant) except in =gad to name. It was taken down about 1858. and was kept by R o b McBan, whose sm was afterwards m e of the ? Keeperr? d the F?ab(as Mr. Andrew Kar tdL me) and Rad the old sign in his porrasion. Mr. K a says the dairy Man@ m the Corpont;on of Path, and was held for charitable purpmq and sold frr the sum of money that wuuld yield the ame amount as the reatal of the dairy.? 87
Volume 4 Page 305
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures