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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Burghmuir.] THE PEST. 29 sf old horse-shoes were dug up, where a farrier?s forge is supposed to have stood; and another relic of that great muster was removed only in 1876, a landmark known as King James?s knowe, a small knoll, evidently artificial and partly built of freestone, from which he is said to have reviewed and addressed his army on the eve of its departure for Flodden. Close by, when digging the foundation of the furth of the samyn, as they had done in tymes past.? In I 568, when a pest again appeared, the infected, with all their furniture, were lodged in huts built upon the muir, where they were visited by their friends after 11 am.; ?any one going earlier was liable to be punished with death.? Then their clothes were cleansed in a huge caldron in the open air, under the supervision of two citizens, ? Item : ?or cords to bind the man that wes (be) heiddit for the slauchter of the sister of the Sennis man.? In the same year, under the Regency of Mary of Guise, that part of the muir ?? besyde the sisters of the Sciennes,? was appointed for the weapon-shaws of the armed burghers, with ?? lang wappinnis, sic as speiris, pikis, and culveringis ; ? and about the same time, in the ?Retours,? we find that rising citizen George Towers, heiring his father George Towers, in the lands of Bnsto, and twenty acres in ? Dalry and Tolcroce.? In 1556, by order of the magistrates, a door was made to the gallows on the Burghmuir, to be the height of the enclosing wall, ?sua that doggis sall nocht be abill to carry the carrionis In April, 1601, John Watt, Deacon of the Trades in Edinburgh-the same gallant official who raised them in arms for the protection of James VI. in the tumult of 15g6-was shot dead on the muir ; but by whom the outrage was perpetrated was never known. One of the earliest notices we find of the name by which the open part of the muir is now known occurs in Balfour?s ?Annales,? when in 1644, the Laird of Lawers? troop of horse is ordered by Parliament to muster on ?Brountoune Links tomorrow,? and the commissary to give them a month?spay. In this part many deep quarries were dug, from which, no doubt, the old houses of Warrender and other adjacent edifices were built, These
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30 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [ Burghmuir. hollows are still discernible, and in them thc Scots Foot Guards were posted under Viscount Kingston, to cover the approach to the city in 1666, when the Covenanters took post at Pentland, prior to their defeat at Rullion Green. In ~Ggo the money and corn rents of the muir amounted to on1y;Gr 26 19s. 6d. sterling; andabou! that time a considerable portion of Bruntsfield belonged to a family named Fairlie. In I 7 22 Colonel J. Chomly?s Regiment-the 26th or Cameronians-was encamped on the Links, where a quarrel ensued between a Captain Chiesley and a Lieutenant Moodie; and these two meeting one day in the Canongate, attacked each other sword in hand, and each, after a sharp conflict, mortally wounded the other, ?Mr. Moodie?s lady looking over the window all the while this bloody tragedy was acting,? as the Caledonian Mernrry of the 7th August records. At the north-west corner of Bruntsfield Links there stood, until the erection of Glengyle Terrace, Valleyfield House, an ancient edifice, massively built, and having a half-timber front towards the old Toll-cross, which was long there. It had great crowstepped gables and enormous square chimneys, was three storeys in height, with small windows, and was partly quadrangular. Traditionally it was said to have been a temporary residence of the Regent Moray during an illness ; but, if so, it must at some time have been added to, or changed proprietors, as on the door-lintel of the high and conically-roofed octagon stair, on its east side, were the date 1687, with the initials, M. c. M. Its name is still retained in the adjacent thoroughfare called Valleyfield Street. A little way northward of its site is Leven Lodge, a plain but massive old edifice, that once contained a grand oak staircase and stately dining- ? hall, with windows facing the south; but now almost hidden amid encircling houses of a humble and sordid character. It was the country villa of the Earls of Leven, and in 17 j8 was the residence of George sixth Earl of Northesk, who married Lady Anne Lesly, daughter of Alexander Earl of Leven, and their only son, David Lord Rosehill was born there in the year mentioned. In 1811 it was the residence of Lady Penelope Belhaven, youngest daughter of Ronald Macdonald of Clanronald; she died in 1816, since when, no doubt, its declension began. It was about that time the property of Captain Swinton of Drum dryan. Immediately south of Valleyfield House, at the delta formed by a conglomeration of old edifices, known under the general name of the Wright?s houses, and on the site of an old villa of the Georgian era, that stood within a carriage entrance, was built, in 1862-3, the Barclay Free Church at an expense of ~ ~ o , o o o , and from the bequest of a lady of that name. It is said to be in the second style of Pointed architecture, but is correctly described by Professor Blackie as being ? full of individual beauties or prettinesses in detail, yet as a whole, disorderly, inorganic, and monstrous.? By some it is called Venetian Gothic. It has, however, a stately tower and slender spire, that -rises to a height of 250 feet, and is a landmark over a vast extent of country, even from Inverkeithing in Fifeshire. In its vicinity are Viewforth Free Church, built in 187 1-2 at a cost of A5,000, in a geometric Gothic style, with a tower I 12 feet high ; and the Gilmore Place United Presbyterian Church, the congregation of which came hither from the Vennel, and which, after a cost of A7,9oo for site and erection, was opened for service in April, 188~. No part of Edinburgh has a more agreeable southern exposure than those large open spaces round the hleadows (which we have described elsewhere) and Bruntsfield Links, which contribute both to their health and amenity. The latter have long been famous as a playground for the ancient and national game of golf, and strangers who may be desirous of enjoying it, are usually supplied with clubs and assistants at the old Golf Tavern, that overlooks the breezy and grassy scene of operations, which affords space for the members of no less than six golf clubs, viz :-the Burghers, instituted 1735 ; the Honourable Company of Edinburgh, instituted prior to 1744; the Bruntsfield, instituted 1761 ; the Allied Golfing Club, instituted 18 j6 ; the Warrender, instituted 1858; and the St. Leonards, instituted 1857. Each of these is presided over by a captain, and the usual playing costume is a scarlet coat, with the facings and gilt buttons of the club. To dwell at length on the famous game of golf is perhaps apart from the nature of this work, and yet, as these Links have been for ages the scene of that old sport, a few notices of it may be acceptable. It seems somewhat uncertain at what precise period golf was introduced into Scotland ; but some such game, called cambuca, was not unknown in England during the reign of Edward III., as we may learn from Strutt?s ?Sports and Pastimes,?? but more probably he refers to that known as Pall Mall. Football was prohibited by Act of the Scottish Parliament in 1424, as interfering with the more necessary science of
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