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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


deed. Some have derived it from Coire, a hollow, stoir, wet steps, and eitherjonn, white, orfein, ?the Fingalians.? (?Old Stat. Account?) The name might thus signify, ? the hollow with the white steps ;a or, the ? Glen of Fingalian steps.? And by some it has been asserted that the original name was Curia StorpAinorum, from a cohort of Roman soldiers called the Storphini having been stationed here. But George Chalmers, with much more probability than any, deduces the name from the ? Cross of Torphin. ? ?Torphin?s Cross, from whence its name is derived,? says Wilson in his 6? Remhiscences,? ?doubtless stood there in some old century to mark the last resting-place of a rough son of Thor.? plain, is 474 feet in height above the level of the sea Its sloping sides are covered with rich arable land, and wooded to the summit with thick and beautiful coppice.. After a gentle ascent of about half a mile, an elevated spot is reached, called ? Rest and be Thankful,? from whence a series of magnificent views can be had of the city and the surrounding scenery, extending from the undulating slopes of the Pentlands on the south, to the Forth with all its isles, Fife with all its hills, woods, and sea-coast towns, and eastward away to the cone of North Berwick and the cliffs of the Bass. But always most beautiful here are the fine effects of evening and sunset- ?? When the curtain of twilight o?ershadows the shore, And deepens the tints on the blue Lammermoor, The hues on Corstorphine have paled in their fire, But sunset still lingers in gold on its spire, When the Rosebery forests are hooded in grey, And night, like his heir, treads impatient on day.? Amid the great concern and grief caused by the murder of ?the bonnie Earl of Moray,? by the Huntly faction, in 1591, we read that the King, 111 James VI., at the crisis, would not restrain his pra pensity for field sports, and was hunting on the north side of Corstorphine Hill on a day in February, when Lord Spynie, hearing that Captain John Gordon (brother of the Laird of Gicht) who had been severely wounded in the brawl at Donnibristle, had been brought to Leith, together with Moray?s dead body, having a warrant to place him in Edinburgh Castle, was anticipated by the Lord Ochiltree.. The latter, at the head of forty men-at-arms, went in search of James VI., whom he found at ? Corstorphine Craigs, where his majesty was taking a drink.? Ochiltree dismounted at the base of the hill, approached the king respectfully form, and the captain was beheadit and his man hanged. The captain condemned the fact, protesting that he was brought ignorantly upon it? (Calderwood, &c) In 1632 and 1650 respectively the Parliament House and Heriot?s Hospital were built from a quarry at Corstorphine. Past the latter, on the 27th of August, 1650, the Scottish army, under Leslie, marched to baffle Cromwell a second time in his attempt to tu15 the Scottish position and enter Edinburgh. An encounter took place near Gogar, on ground still called the Flashes, from the explosion of firearms in the twilight probably, ?I and after a distant cannonade, the English, finding that they could not dislodge the Scots, drew off? towards Braid. Corstorphine must at one time have had a kind of market cross, as in 1764 it is announced in the Edinburgh Advertiser of 14th February, that there are for sale, three tenements ?near the Cross of Corstorphine ; one, a house of three storeys, with fourteen fire-rooms, and stables ; ? the other twD are stated to have ?fixed bedsteads on the floor,? ?
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114 OLD APU?D NEW EDINBURGH. [Corstorphine. meaning, no doubt, the panelled box-beds so common of old in Scotland. There was a mineral well at Corstorphine, which was in such repute during the middle of the last century, that in 1749 a coach was established to run between the village and the city, making eight or nihe trips each week-day and four on Sunday. ? After this time the pretty village of Corstorphine,? says a writer, ? situated at the base of the hill, on one of the Glasgow roads, in the middle of the meadow land extending from Coltbridge to Redheughs, was a place of great gaiety during summer, and balls and other amusements were then common.?? The Sja, as it was called, was sulphureous, and similar in taste to St. Bernard?s Well at Stockbridge, and was enclosed at the expense of one of the ladies of the Dick family of Prestonfield, who had greatly benefited by the water. It stood in the south-west portion of the old village, called Janefield, within an enclosure, and opposite a few thatched cottages. Some drainage operations in the neighbourhood caused a complete disappearance of the mineral water, and the last vestiges of the well were removed in 1831. ? Near the village,? says the ? New Statistical Account,? ?? in a. close belonging to Sir William Dick, there long stood a sycamore of great size and beauty, the largest in Scotland.? The Dick family, baronets of Braid (and of Prestonfield) had considerable property in Corstorphine and the neighbourhood, with part of Cramond Muir. ? Sir James, afterwards Sir Alexander Dick, for his part of the barony of Corstorphine,? appears rated in the Valuation Roll of 1726 at A1,763 14s. The witty and accomplished Lady Anne Dick of Corstorphine (the grand-daughter of the first Earl of Cromarty), who died in 1741, has already been referred to in our first volume. Regarding her family, the following interesting aotice appears in the Scots Magazine for 1768. ?Edinburgh, March 14th. John Dick, Esq., His Britannic Majesty?s Consul at Leghorn, was served heir to Sir Tlrilliam Dick of Braid, Baronet. It appeued that all the male descendants of Sir TVilliam Dick had failed except his youngest son Captain Lewis, who settled in Northumberland, and who was the grandfather of John Dick, Esq., his only male descendant now in life, Upon which a respectable jury unanimously found his propinquity proved, and declared him to be now Sir John Dick, Baronet. It is remarkable that Sir William Dick of Braid lost his great and opulent estates in the service of the public cause and the liberties of his country, in consideration of which, when it was supposed there was no heir male of the family, a new patent was granted to the second son of the heir male, which is now in the person of Sir Alexander Dick of Prestonfield, Baronet. The Lord Provost and magistrates of this city, in consideration of Sir John Dick?s services to his king and country, and that he is the representative of that illustrious citizen, who was himself Lord Provost in 1638 and 1639, did Sir John the honour of presenting him with ?the freedom of the city of Edinburgh. After the service an elegant dinner was given at Fortune?s, to a numerous company, consisting of gentlemen of the jury, and many persons of distinction, who all testified their sincere joy at the revival of an ancient and respectable family in the person of Sir John Dick, Baronet.? Corstorphipe has lost the reputation it long en. joyed for a once-celebrated delicacy, known as its Cream, which was brought to the city on the backs of .horses. The mystery of its preparation is thus preserved in the old ?Statistical Account? :--?They put the milk, when fresh drawn, into a barrel or wooden vessel, which is submitted to a certain degree of heat, generally by immersion in warm water, this accelerates the stage of fermentation. Th9,serous is separated from the other parts of the milk, the oleaginous and coagulable ; the serum is drawn off by a hole in the lower part of the vessel ; what remains is put into the plunge-chum, and, after being agitated for some time, is sent to market as Corstorphine Cream.? High up on the southern slope of the hill stands that humane appendage to the Royal Infirmary? the convalescent house for patients who are cured, but, as yet, too weak to work. This excellent institution is a handsome twostoreyed building in a kind of Tuscan style of architecture, with a central block and four square wings or towers each three storeys in height, with pavilion roofs. The upper windows are all arched. It has a complete staff, including a special surgeon, chaplain, and matron. The somewhat credulous author of the ? Night Side of Nature,? records among other marvels, the appearance of a mounted wraith upon Corstorphine Hill. Not very long ago, Mr. C-, a staid citizen of Edinburgh, was riding gently up the hill, ? when he observed an intimate friend of his own on horseback also, immediately behind him, so he slackened his pace to give him an opportunity of joining company. Finding he did not come up so quickly as he should, he looked round again, and was astonished at no longer seeing him, since there
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