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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Craigcrook.] HISTORY OF CRAIGCROOK. 107 summer residence of Lord Jeffrey-deeply secluded amid coppice. The lands of Craigcrook appear to have belonged in the fourteenth century to the noble family of Graham. By a deed bearing date 9th April, 1362, Patrick Graham, Lord of Kinpunt, and David Graham, Lord of Dundaff, make them over to John de Alyncrum, burgess of Edinburgh. He in turn settled them on a chaplain officiating at ?Our Lady?s altar,? in the church of St. Giles, and his successors to be nominated by the magistrates of Edinburgh. John de Alyncrum states his donation of those lands of Craigcrook, was ? to be for the salvation of the souls of the late king and queen (Robert and Elizabeth), of the present King David, and of all their predecessors and successors ; for the salvation of the souls of all the burghers of Edinburgh, their predecessors and successors ; of his own father and mother, brothers, sisters, etc. ; then of himself and of his wife; and, finally, of all faithful souls deceased.? The rental of Craigcrook in the year 1368 was only A6 6s. 8d. Scots per annum; and in 1376 it was let at that rate in feu farm, to Patrick and John Lepars. At an early period it became the property of the Adamsons. William Adamson was bailie of Edinburgh in 1513, and one of the guardians of the city after the battle of Flodden, and Williim Adamson of Craigcrook, burgess of Edinburgh (and probably son of the preceding), was killed at the battle of Pinkie, in 1547 ; and by him or his immediate successors, most probably the present castle was built-an edifice wbich Wood, in his learned ?? History of Cramond Parish,? regards as one of the most ancient in the parish. In consequence of the approaching Reformation, the proceeds of the lands were no longer required for pious purposes, and the latter were made over by Sir Simon Prestonof Craigmillar, when Provost, to Sir Edward Marj oribanks, styled Prebend of Craigcrook. They were next held for a year, by George Kirkaldy, brother of Sir James Kirkaldy of Grange in Fifeshire, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, who engaged to pay for them A27 6s. 8d. Scots. In June, 1542, they reverted again to Sir Edward Majoribanks, who assigned them in perpetual feufarm to William Adamson before-named. This wealthy burgess had acquired much property in the vicinity, including Craigleith, Cammo, Groat Hall, Clermiston, Southfield, and part of Cramond Regis. After Pinkie he was succeeded by his son William, and Craigcrook continued to pass through several generations of his heirs, till it came into ~~ the hands of Robert Adamson, who, in 1656, sold to different persons the whole of his property. Craigcrook was purchased by John Muir, merchant in Edinburgh, whose son sold it to Sir John Hall, Lord Provost of the city in 1689-92. He was created a baronet in 1687, and was ancestor of the Halls of Dunglass, on the acquisition of which, in East Lothian, he sold Craigcrook to Walter Pringle, advocate, from whose son it was purchased by John Strachan, clerk to the signet. When the latter died in 1719, he left the whole of his property, with North Clermiston and the rest of his fortune, both in land and movables (save some small sums to his relations) ?? mortified for charitable purposes,? The regulations were that the rents should be given to poor old men and women and orphans ; that the trustees should be ?two advocates, two Writers to the Signet, and the Presbytery of Edinburgh, at the sight of the Lords of Session, and any two of these members,? for whose trouble one hundred merks yearly is allowed. There are also allowed to the advocates, poor fifty merks Scots, and to those of the writers to the signet one hundred merks ; also twenty pounds annually for a Bible to one of the members of the Presbytery, beginning with the moderator and going through the rest in rotation. This deed is dated the 24th September, 1712. The persons constituted trustees by it held a meeting and passed resolutions respecting several points which had not been regulated in the will. A clerk and factor, each with a yearly allowance of twenty pounds, were appointed to receive the money, pay it out, and keep the books. They resolved that no old person should be admitted under the age of sixty-five, nor any orphan above the age of twelve; and that no annuity should exceed five pounds. Among the names in a charter by William Forbes, Provost of the Collegiate Church of St. Giles, granting to that church a part of the ground lying contiguous to his manse for a burial-place, dated at Edinburgh, 14th January, 1477-8, there appears that of Ricardus Robed, jrebena?anks de Cragmk mansepropie (? Burgh Charters.?) Over the outer gate of the courtyard a shield bore what was supposed to have been the arms of the Adamsons, and the date 1626 ; but Craigcrook has evidently been erected a century before that period. At that time its occupant was Walter Adamson, who succeeded his father Willian~ Adamson in 1621, and whose sister, Catharine, married Robert Melville of Raith, according to the Douglas Peerage.
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I08 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. . [Craigcrook Local tradition makes Craigcrook the scene of a murder, but this is a mistake, though there was such a crime connected with it. Mr. John Strachan before-mentioned-whose charitable bequest is still known as ?the Craigcrook Mortification?-in 1707 had a house in the High Street of Edinburgh, which was kept for him by a servant named Helen Bell, and as she was l&ft in town a good deal by herself, ?as other young women in her situation will do, she two bottles and the large house-key to carry, that her burden might be lightened, No doubt she had been intending to take the old road that led by the Dean to Craigcrook, but on coming to a narrow and difficult part of the way, called the Three Step, at the foot of the Castle Rock, they threw her down and cruelly slew her by blows of a hammer. In a confession made subsequently by Thomson, they hurried back to town, with the intention of RAVELSTON HOUSE. admitted young men to see her in her master?s house.? On Hallowe?en night, in the year of the Union, two young craftsmen came to visit her-William Thomson and John Robertson-whom she chanced to inform that on Monday morning, the second morning thereafter, she had to go westward to Craigcrook, leaving the house in the High Street empty. At five in the morning of the 3rd of November, the poor girl locked up the house and set forth on her short journey, little foreseeing it was the last she would take on earth. As she was traversing the dark and silent streets, Thomson and Robertson joined her, saying they were going a part of the way, and would escort her. On this she gave them ransacking Mr. Strachan?s house for money or valuables, and on passing through the Grassmarket they swore, mutually, to give their bodies and souls to the devil if either should inform on the other in the event of being captured. ?In the empty streets,? says the ?Domestic Annalist of Scotland,? quoting Wood?s ? History of Cramond,? ?in the dull grey of the morning, agitated by the horrid reflections arising from their barbarous act and its probable consequences, it is not very wonderful that almost any sort of hallucination should have taken possession of these miserable men. It was stated by them that on Robertson proposing that their engagement should be engrossed in a bond, a man stated up between
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