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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


*lEe %we.] THE LORDS ROSS. 339 long, from where the north-east end of Teviot Row was latterly. There were the stable offices; in front of the house was a tree of great size, while its spacious garden was bordered by Bristo Street. When offered for sale, in March, 1761, it was described in a newspaper of the period as ?ROSS House, with the fields and gardens lying around it, consisting of about twenty-fou acres, divided as follows : About an acre and a half in a field and court about the house; seventeen acres in one field lying to the south-west, between it and Hope Park j the rest into kitchen-gardens, running along Bristo Street and the back of the wall. The house consists of dining, drawing, and dressing rooms, six bed-chambers, several closets and garrets; in the ground storey, kitchen, larder, pantry, milkhouse, laundry, cellars, and accommodation for servants, &c? This house, which was latterly used as a lying-in hospital, was occupied for some time prior to 1753 by George Lockhart of Carnwath, during whose time it was the scene of many a gay rout, ball, and ridotto ; but it was, when the family were in Edinburgh, the permanent residence of the Lords Ross of Halkhead, a family of great antiquity, dating back to the days of King Willmm the Lion, 1165. In this house died, in June, 2754, in the seventy third year of his age, George, twelfth Lord ROSS, Commissioner of the Customs, whose body wa taken for interment to Renfrew, the burial-place 01 the family. His chief seats were Halkhead and Melville Castle, He was succeeded by his son, the Master of Ross, who waa the last lord of that ilk, and who died in his thirty-fourth year, unmarried, at Mount Teviof the seat of his uncle, the Marquis of Lothian, in the following August, and was alsa taken to Renfrew for purposes of interment. His sister Elizabeth became Countess of Glas gow, and eventually his heiress, and through he1 the Earls of Glasgow are also Lords Ross of Halkhead, by creation in 1815. Another sister was one of the last persons in Scotland supposed to be possessed of an evil spirit-Mary, who died unmarried. A correspondent of Robert Chambers states as follows:- ??A person alive in 1824 told me that, when a child, he saw her clamber up to the top of an oldfashioned four-post bed. In her fits it was impossible to hold her.? At the time-Ross House was offered for sale the city was almost entirely confined within the Flodden Wall, the suburbs being of small extent- Nicolson Street and Square, Chapel Street, the southern portion of Bristo Street, Crichton Street, - . Buccleuch Street, and St. Patrick Square; though some mere projected, the sites were nearly alI fields and orchards. The old Statistical Account says that Ross Park was purchased for ;GI,ZOO, and that the ground-rents of the square yield now (i.e., in 1793) above LI,OOO sterling per annum to the proprietor. James Brown, architect, who built Brown Square, having feued from the city of Edinburgh the lands of Ross Park, built thereon most of the houses of the h?ew Square, which measures 220 yards by 150, and is said to have named it, not for the king, but Brown?s elder brother George, who was the Laud of Lindsaylands and Elliestown. It speedily became a more popular place of residence than Brown Square, being farther from town, and possessing houses that were greatly superior in style and accommodation. Among the early residents in the square in 1784, and prior to that year, were the Countesses of Glasgow and Sutherland, the Ladies Rae and Philiphaugh, Antliony, Earl of Kintore, eighth Lord Falconer of Halkertoun, Sir John Ross Lockhart, and the Lords Braxheld, Stonefield, and Kennet; and in 1788, Major-General Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who died of his wounds in Egypt It has been recorded as an instance of Lord Braxfield?g great nerve that during the great political trials in 1793-4, when men?s blood was almost at fever heat, after each day?s proceedings closed, usually about midnight, he always walked home, alone and unprotected, through the dark or illlighted streets, to his house in George Square, though he constantly commented openly upon the conduct of the Radicals, and more than once announced in public that ?? They wad a? be muckle the better 0? bein? hung ! Here, too, resided in 1784 the Hon. Henry Erskine (brother of the Earl of Buchan), the witty advocate, who, after being presented to Dr. Johnson by Mr. Boswell, and having made his bow in the Parliament House, slipped a shilling into Boswell?s hand, whispering that it was for the sight of his English bear. To those named, Lord Cockburn, in his ?Memorials,? adds the Duchess of Gordon, Robert Dundas of Amiston, Lord Chief Baron of Exchequer, the hero of Camperdown, Lord President Blair, Dr. John Jamieson, the Scottish lexicographer, and says, ?a host of other distinguished people all resided here. The old square, with its pleasant trim-kept gardens, has still an air of antiquated grandeur about it, and retains not a few traces of its former dignity and seclusion.? Aniong the documents exhibited at the Scott
Volume 4 Page 339
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