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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


224 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Weat Port. ~~ ~ the dreadful Irish murders in 1828; but its repute was very different in the last century. Thus we find in the Edinburgh papers for 1764, advertisedas to let there, " the new-built house, beautifully situated on the high ground south of the Portsburgh, commanding an extensive prospect every way, with genteel furniture, perfectly clean, presently possessed by John Macdonald, Esq., of Lairgie," with chaisehouse and stabling. remained intact up till SO recently as 1881, while around the large cupola and above the chief seat were panels of coats of arms of the various city crafts, and that also of the Portsburgh-all done in oil, and in perfect condition. This court-room was situated in the West Port. In its last days it was rented from the city chamberlain by the deacons' court of Dr. Chalmers' Territorial Church. Mission meetings and Sunday-schools were held in it, but OLD HOUSES IN THE WEST PORT, NEAR THE HAUNTS OF BURKE AND HARE, 1869 (Fsmn a Drawing Sy Mn. J. Stnvari Smith.) Near the Territorial Church is a door above which are the arms of the Cordiners of the Portsburgh- a cordiner's cutting-knife crowned, within a circle, with the heads of two winged cherubim, and the words of Psalm 133, versified :- " Behold how good a thing it is, And how becoming well, Together such as brethren are, In unity to dwell. I 696. " One of the most complete of the few rare relics of the City's old municipal institutions was the court-room where the bailies of the ancient Portsburgh discharged their official duties. The bailies' bench, seats, and other court-room fittings the site upon &hich it was built was sold by roup for city improvements. In the middle of the West Port, immediately opposite the Chalmers Territorial Free Church and Schools, and running due north, is a narrow alley, called the Chapel Wynd. Heye, at the foot thereof, stood in ancient times a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, some remains of which were visible in the time of Maitland about 1750. Near it is another alley-probably an access to itnamed the Lady Wynd. Between this chapel and the Castle Rock there exists, in name chiefly, an ancient appendage of the royal palace in the fortress-the king's stables, " although no hoof of the royal stud has been there for well-nigh three I
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west Port.] THE TILTING GROUND. 225 centuries,? and the access thereto from the Castle must have been both inconvenient and circuitous. It has been supposed that the earliest buildings -on this site had been erected in the reign of James IV., when the low ground to the westward was the scene of those magnificent tournaments, which drew to that princely monarch7s court the most brilliant chivalry in Europe, and where those combats ensued of which the king was seldom an idle spectator. This tilting ground remained open and unen- ~ appointed for triell of suche matters.? Latterly the place bore the name of Livingstone?s Yards. We have mentioned the acquisition by the city of the king?s stables at the Restoration. Lord Fountainhall records, under date I rth March, 1685, a reduction pursued by the Duke of Queensberry, as Governor of the Castle, against Thomas Boreland and other possessors of these stables, as part of the Castle precincts and property. Boreland and others asserted that they held their property in THE GRASSMARKET, FROM THE WEST PORT, 1825. (Afhh?wbmk.) closed when Maitland wrote. and is described by I virtue of a feu granted in the reign of James V., him as a pleasant green space, 150 yards long, by 50 broad, adjoining the Chapel of Our Lady ; but this ?pleasant green? is now intersected by the? hideous Kingsbridge ; one portion is occupied by the Royal Horse Bazaar and St. Cuthbert?s Free Church, while the rest is made odious by tan-pits, slaughter-houses, and other dwellings of various descriptions. Calderwood records that in the challenge to mortal combat, in 1571, between Sir William I Kirkaldy of Grange, and Alexander Stewart younger of Garlies, they were to fight ?upon the ground, the Baresse, be-west the West Port of Edinburgh, the place accustomed and of old , I 77 but the judges decided that unless thedefenders could prove a legal dissolution of the royal possession, they must be held as the king?s stables, and be accordingly annexed to the crown of Scotland Thomas Boreland?s house, one which long figured in every view of the Castle from the foot of Vennel {see Vol. I., p. 80), has recently been pulled down. It was a handsome and substantial edifice of three storeys in height, including the dormer windows, crow-stepped, and having three most picturesque gables in front, with a finely moulded door, on the lintel of which were inscribed a date and legend :- T. B. v. B. 1675. FEAR. GOD. HONOR . THE. KING.
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