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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Waniston.] LORD WARRISTON. 99 family, the Laird of Dunipace ; but, owing to some alleged ill-treatment, she grew estranged from him, and eventually her heart became filled with a deadly hatred. An old and attached nurse began to whisper of a means of revenge and relief from her married thraldom, and thus she was induced to tamper with a young man named Robert Weir, a servant or vassal of her father at Dunipace, to become her instrument. At an early hour in the morning of the 2nd of July, Weir came to the place of Warriston, and being admitted by the lady to the chamber of her husband, beat him to death with his clenched fists. He then fled, while the lady and her nurse remained at home. Both were immediately seized, subjected to a summary trial of some kind before the magistrates, and sentenced to death ; the lady to have ? her heade struck frae her bodie ? at the Canongate Cross. In the brief interval between sentence and execution, this unfortunate young girl, who was only twenty-one, was brought, by the impressive discourse of a good and amiable clergyman, from a state of callous indifference to a keen sense of her crime, and also of religious resignation. Her case was reported in a small pamphlet of the day, entitled, ?Memorial of the Conversion of Jean Livingston (Lady Waniston), with an account of her carriage at her execution ?-a dark chapter of Edinburgh social history, reprinted by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. ?She stated, that on Weir assaulting her husband, she went to the hall, and waited till the deed was done. She thought she still heard the pitiful cries uttered by her husband while struggling with his murderer.? She tried to . weep, but not a tear could she shed, and could only regard her approaching death as a just expiation of her crime. Deeply mortified by the latter and its consequences, her relations used every effort to secure as much privacy as was possible for the execution; hence it was arranged that while her nurse was being burned on the Castle Hill at four o?clock in the morning, thus attracting the attention of all who might be out of bed at that time, Lady Waniston should be taken to the Girth Cross, at the east end of the town, and there executed by the Maiden. ?The whole way as she went to the place,? says the pamphlet referred to, ? she behaved herself so cheerfully as if she was going to her wedding, and not to her death. When she came to the scaffold, and was carried up upon it, she looked up to the Maiden with two longsome looks, for she had never seen it before. of her, to which all that saw her will bear record, that her only countenance moved [sic, meaning that its expression alone was touching], although she had not spoken a word; for there appeared such majesty in her countenance and visage, and such a heavenly courage in gesture, that many said, ?That woman is gifted with a higher spirit than any man or woman?s! ?? She read an address to the spectators at the four corners of the scaffold, and continued to utter expressions of devotion till the swift descent of the axe decapitated her. Balfour, in his ?Annals,? gives the year 1599 as the date of this tragedy. Four years after Weir was taken, and on the 26th January, 1606, was broken on the wheel, a punishment scarcely ever before inflicted in Scotland. In the year 1619 Thomas Kincaid of Wamston was returned heir to his father Patrick Kincaid of Warriston, in a tenement in Edinburgh. This was probably the property that was advertised in the Couranf of 1761, as about to be sold, ?that great stone tenement of land lying at the head of the old Bank Close, commonly called Warriston?s Land, south side of the Lawn Market, consisting of three bedchambers, a dining-room, kitchen, and garret.? There is no mention of a drawing-room, such apartments being scarcely known in the Edinburgh of those days. In 1663 another proprietor of Warriston came to a tragic end, and to him we have already referred in our account of Waniston?s Close. This was Sir Archibald Johnston, who was known as Lord Warriston in his legal capacity. He wag an advocate of 1633. In 1641 he was a Lord of Session. He was made Lord Clerk Register by Cromwell, who also created him a peer,under the title of Lord Wamston, and as such he sat for a time in the Upper House in Parliament. After the Restoration he was forfeited, and fled, but was brought to Edinburgh and executed at the Marke Cross, as we have recorded in Chapter XXV. ct. Volume I. Wodrow, in his ?History of the Church of Scotland,? states that Wamston?s memoirs, in his handwriting, in the form of a diary, are still extant ; if so, they have never seen the light. His character, admirably drawn in terse language by his nephew, Bishop Burnet, is thus given in the U History of his Own Times,? Vol. 1.:- ? Waniston was my own uncle. He was a man of great application ; could seldom sleep above three hours in the twenty-four. He studied the law carefully, and had a great quickness of thought, This I may say , . *
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THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS. Y General Vier of the Gardem ; z, 'The Arboretum ; 3, Rock Garden ; 4 Palm Houses ; 5, Class Rarm and Entrance to NUwm
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