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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


150 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith Walk. Roman, and which spans the bum where it flows through a wooded and sylvan glen near Joppa. The lower portions and substructure of this house date probably from the Middle Ages ; but the present edifice was built in 1639, by John, second Lord Thirlstane (son of the Lord Chancellor just referred to), who was father of the future Duke of Lauderdale, and who died in 1645. The older mansion in the time of the Reformation belonged to a family named Crichton, and the then laird was famous as a conspirator against Cardinal Beaton. When, in 1545, George Wishart courageously ventured to preach in Leith, among his auditors were the Lairds of Brunstane, Longniddry, and Ormiston, at whose houses he afterwards took up his residence in turns, accompanied at times by Knox, his devoted scholar, and the bearer of his two-handed sword. When Cardinal Beaton became especially obnoxious to those Scottish barons who were in the pay of Henry VIII., a schetne was formed to get rid of him by assassination, and the Baron of Brunstane entered into it warmly. In July 1545 he opened a communication with Sir Ralph Sadler ? touching the killing of the Cardinal ; ? and the Englishman-showing his opinion of the character of his correspondent-coolly hinted at ?a reward of the deed,? and ? the glory to God that would accrue from it.? (Tytler.) In the same year Crichton opened communications with several persons in England with the hope of extracting protection and reward from Henry for the murder of the Cardinal j but as pay did not seem forthcoming, he took no active hand in the final catastrophe. He was afterwards forfeited; but the Act was withdrawn in a Parliament held by the Queen Regent in 1556. In 1585, John Crichton of Brunstane and James Douglas of Drumlanrig became caution in LIO,OOO for Robert Douglas, Provost of Lincluden, that if released from the Castle of Edinburgh he would return to reside there on a six days? warning. In the ?Retours? for May 17th, 1608, we find Jacobus Crichtoun hares, Joannis Crichtoun de Brunstoun patris ; but from thenceforward to the time of Lord Thirlstane there seems a hiatus in the history of the old place. We have examined the existing title-deeds of it, which show that previous to 1682 the house and lands were in possession of John, Duke of Lauderdale, whose second duchess, Elizabeth Murray . (daughter of William, Earl of Dysart, and widow of Sir Lyonell Talmash, of Heyling, in the county of Suffolk), obtained a charter of them, under the Great Seal of Scotland, in the year mentioned, on the 10th March. They next came into possession of Lyonell, Earl of Dysart, ? as only son and heir of the deceased Elizabeth, Duchess of Lauderdale,? on the 19th of March, I 703. The said Earl sold ?the house of Gilberton, commonly called Brunstane,? to Archibald, Duke of Argyle, on the 31st May, 1736; and ten years afterwards the latter sold Brunstane to James, third Earl of Abercorn. Part of the lands of Bruistane were sold by the Duke on the 28th September, 1747, to Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, nephew of that stem patriot of the same name who, after the Union, quitted Scotland, saying that ?? she was only fit for the slaves who sold her.? Andrew Fletcher resided in the house of Brunstane. He was Lord Justice Clerk, and succeeded the famous Lord Fountainhall on the bench in 1724, and presided? as a judge till his death, at Brunstane, 13th of December, 1766. His daughter, ?? Miss Betty Fletcher,? was married at Brunstane, in 1758, to Captain Wedderburn of Gosford. On the 15th of February, 1769, the old house and the Fletchers? portion of the estate were acquired by purchase by James, eighth Earl of Abercorn, whose descendant and representative, the first Duke of Abercom, sold Brunstane, in 1875, to the Benhar Coal Company, by whom it is again advertised for sale. C H A P T E R XV. LEITH WALK. A Pathway in the 15th Century probable-General Leslie?s Trenches-Repulse of Cromwell-The Rood Chapel-Old Leith Stapes-Proposal for Lighting the Walk-The Gallow Lea-Executions there-The Minister of Sport- Five Witches-Five Covenanters-The Story of their Skulls-The Murder of Lady Baillie-Thc Etfigies of ?I Johnnie Wilkes.? PRIOR to the building of the North Bridge the Easter Road was the principal camage way to Leith on the east, and the Bonnington Road, as we have elsewhere stated, was the chief way to the seaport on the west; but there would seem to have been of old some kind of path, however narrow, in the
Volume 5 Page 150
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