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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


128 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Restalrig, Baron Norton was remarkable for his constant attention to all religious duties. Throughout his long life not a Sunday passed in which he was prevented from attending the service of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and so inviolable was his regard to truth, that no argument could ever prevail upon him to deviate from the performance of a promise, though obtained contrary to his interest and by artful representations imperfectly founded. He died at Abbeyhill in 1820, after officiating as a Baron of Exchequer for forty-four years. His remains were taken to England and deposited in the family vault at Wonersh, near Guildford, in Surrey. On the death of his elder brother William, without heirs in 1822, his son Fletcher Norton succeeded as third Lord Grantley. It is from him that the three adjacent streets at the delta of the Regent and London Roads take their names. In this quarter lie Comely Green and Comely Gardens. During the middle of the last century, the latter would seem to have been a species of lively Tivoli Gardens for the lower classes in Edinburgh, though Andrew Gibb, the proprietor thereof, addresses his advertisement to ? gentlemen and ladies,? in the Chrant of September 1761. Therein he announces that he intends U to give up Comely Gardens in a few weeks, and hopes they will favour his undertaking and encourage him to the last. As the ball nights happened to be rainy these three weeks past he is to keep the gardens open every day for this season, that gentlemen and ladies may have the benefit of a walk there upon paying zd to the doorkeeper for keeping the walk in order, and may have tea, coffee, or fruit any night of the ball nights ; and hereby takes this opportunity of returning his hearty thanks to the noblemen, gentlemen, and ladies, who have done him the honour to favour him with their company, and begs the continuance of their favour, as the undertaking has been accompanied with great expense. Saturday night is intended to be the last public one of this season.? A subsequent advertisement announces for sale, ?the enclosed grounds of Comely Gardens, together with the large house then commonly called the Green House, and tlie office, houses, &c., on the east side of the road leading to Jock?s Lodge.? Adjoining the new abbey church, at the end of a newly-built cuZ-de-sac, is one of those great schools built by the Edinburgh School Board, near Norton Place. In architectural design it corresponds with the numerous Board Schools erected elsewhere in the city. Including For the site Az,ooo was paid. fittings, the edifice cost ,&7,700, Extending across the width of the building, on both flats, are two great halls, with four class-rooms attached. The infants are accommodated down-stairs, the juveniles above. On the ground flat is a large sewing-room All the class-rooms are lofty and well ventilated. At the back are playgrounds, partly covered, for the use of the pupils, whose average number is 540. The long thoroughfare which runs northward from this quarter, named the Easter Road, was long the chief access to the city from Leith j the only other, until the formation of the Walk, being the Western or Bonnington Road. On the east side of it are the vast premises built in 1878 by the Messrs. W. and A. K. Johnston for business purposes, as engravers, printers, and pub lishers, and a little to the north of these are the recently-built barracks for the permanent use of the City Militia, or ?Duke of Edinburgh?s Own Edinburgh Artillery,? consisting of six batteries, having twenty officers, including the Prince. Passing an old mansion, named the Drum, in the grounds of which were dug up two very fine claymores, now possessed by the proprietor, Mr. Smith- Sligo of Inzievar, we find a place on the west side of the way that is mentioned more than once in Scottish history, the Quarry Holes. In 1605, Sir Janies Elphinstone, first Lord Balmerino, became proprietor of the lands of Quarry Holes after the ruin of Logan of Restalng. The Upper Quarry Holes were situated on the declivity of the Calton Hill, at the head of the Easter Road, and allusion is made to them in some trials for witchcraft in the reign of James VI. At the foot of this road a new Free Church for South Leith was erected in 1881, and during the excavations four humad skeletons were discoveredthose of the victims of war or a plague. Eashvard of this, cut off on the south by the line of the North British Railway, and partially by the water of Lochend on the west, lies the still secluded village of Restalrig, which, though in the immediate vicinity of the city, seems, somehow, to have fallen so completely out of sight, that a vast portion of the inhabitants appear scarcely to be aware of its existence ; yet it teems with antiquarian and historical memories, and possesses an example of ecclesiastical architecture the complete restoration of which has been the desire of many generations of men of taste, and in favour of which the late David Laing wrote strongly-the ancient church of St. Triduana. But long before the latter was erected Restalrig was chiefly known from its famous old well.
Volume 5 Page 128
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