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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Newhaven. ST.JAMES?S CHAPEL. 297 a manufactory of ropes and cables as having existed in Newhaven a short time before that period. In 1508, for the accommodation of his shipwrights and others, the king built the chapel. It was founded on the 8th of April; it was ?conveyed ? into the hands of James by the chaplain thereof, Sir James Cowie, ?Sir? being then the substitute for dontinus, when designating a priest. Indeed, James IV. seems to have been the entire originator of Newhaven. In 1510, the city of Edinburgh, fearing that this new seaport might prove prejudicial to theirs at Leith, purchased the whole place from the king, whose charter, dated at Stirling, 9th March of that year, describes it as ?? the new haven lately made alley which lies between the main street and Pier Pla.ce. In 1506 James IV. erected here a building-yard and dock for ships (the depth of water favouring the plan), besides a rope-walk and houses for the accommodation of artisans. Some portions of the Royal Roperie were visible here till the middle of the eighteenth century ; and in a work in MS. preserved in the Advocates? Library (a Latin description of Lothian), written about 1640, mention is made of the inner front of the houses of the South Row, which are built on the south side of the street of the said port. . . . We also will and ordain that they uphold the bulwarks and other defences necessary for receiving and protecting the ships and vessels riding thereto, for thegood and benefit of us, our kingdom and lieges.? (Burgh Charters, No. Ixiv.) From this we learn that in 1510 Newhaven had a pier and at least one street, known then, as now, by the name of South Row. Among the witnesses to this charter are Mathew, Earl of Lennox, Archibald, Earl of Argyle, George, Abbot of Holyrood, and many others. At this now small and rather obscure harbour by the said king, on the sea. coast, with the lands thereunto belonging, lying between the chapel of St. Nicholas (at Leith) and Wierdy Brae.? This charter gave the community of Edinburgh free and common passage from Leith to Newhaven, ?? with liberty and space for building and extending the pier and bulwark of the said port, and unloading their merchandise and goods in ships, and of unloading the same upon the land, and to fix ropes on the shore ; from the sea-shore of the said port to REMAINS OF ST. JAMES?S CHAPEL, NEWHAVEN.
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298 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [?Newhaven. there was built and launched, in I 5 I I, the famous war-ship of James IV., the Great Mkhael, said to have been the largest vessel that, in those days, had ever floated on the sea Jacques Tarette was the builder or naval architect, and certainly he left nothing undone to gratify the desire of James to possess the greatest and most magnificent ship in the world. ?The fame of this ship spread oveI Europe,? says Buchanan, ?and emulous of the King of Scotland, Francis I, and Henry VIII. endeavoured to outvie each other in building two enormous arks, which were so unwieldy that they floated on the water useless and immovable, like jslands? This extraordinary vessel is said to hay been sometimes confounded in history with anotheI huge argosy, built in the preceding reign by Kennedy, Bishop of St Andrews, and known as the BzYzop?s Bup. But the latter was purely a merchant vessel, and was wrecked and pillaged on the coast of England about 1474, whereas the Greaf Michad was in all respects a formidable ship of war, and she may with some truth be claimed as the first 6? armour-clad,? as amidships her sides were padded with solid oak ten feet thick. She cost E30,ooo, an enormous sum in those days; but James ZV. was lavish in his ship-building, and among his many brilliant and romantic schenies actually planned a voyage to the Mediterranean, with a Scottish fleet., to visit Jerusalem. Lindesay of Pitscottie says that this enormous vessel required for her construction so much timber that, save Falkland, she consumed all the oak wood in Fife and all that came out? of Norway. She was 240 feet long by 36 feet wide, inside measurement, and 10 feet thick in the walls. She was armed with many heavy guns, and ?three great bassils, two behind in her dock (stem) and one before,? and no less than 300 ?? shot of small artillery,? th@ is to say, ? I moyennes, falcons, quarter falcons, slings, pestilent serpentines, and double dags, with hacbuts, culverins, cross-bows and handbows.? She had 300 mariners, 120 cannoniers, and 1,000 soldiers, with their captains and quartermasters. At Tullibardiae her dimensions were long to be seen, planted in hawthorn, by Jacques Tarette, ?? the wright that helped to make her,? adds Pitscottie. ?As for other properties of her, Sk Andrew Wood is my author, who was quartermaster of her, and Robert Barton, who was master skipper. The ship lay still in the Roads of Leith, the King every day taking pleasure to pass her, and to dine and sup in her with his lords, letting them see the order of his ship.? The ambassador of Henry VIII. also gives a description of the MicAael, but merely says she had ? I sixteen pieces of great ordnance on each side,? besides many more of smaNer calibre. Shortly before the formal declaration of war against England, the Governor of Berwick, in writing to Henry VIII. concerning the designs of his brother-in-law, stated that the King of Scotland intended to lead the fleet against England himself, leaving his generals to lead the army ; and had he done so, the tale of Flodden field had perhaps been a different and less sorrowful one. In 1510 Sir Andrew Wood had been created ?? Admiral of the Seas,? by James IV. ; thus, when appointed to the Great MichaeZ in the following year it must have been in the capacity of commander and not ?quartermaster,? as the garrulous Pitscottie has it Buchanan asserts that the great ship was suffered to rot in the harbour of Brest; it may have done so eventually; but it is now a s certained that in April, I 5 14, she was sold to Louis XII. by the Duke of Albany, in the name of the Scottish Government, for the sum of forty thousand lines. Two other Scottish war-ships, the JamCS and Murgaret, were sold at the same time The chapel at Newhaven appears to have been a dependencyof thepreceptory of St. Anthonyat Leith. In 1614, with its grounds, it was conveyed in the same charter with the latter, to the Kirk Session of South Leith, by James VI., and they are described, ?all that place and piece of ground whereon the Chapel of St. James, anciently called the Virgin Mary of Newhaven stood, lying within the town of Newhaven and our sheriffwick of Edinburgh.?? They now form a portion of the North Leith parish, as stated. When the chapel became a ruin is unknown. The area is now included in the Fishermen?s burying-ground, which contains no tombstones save one to an inhabitant of Edinburgh, and has been long unused. Early in September, 1550, there came to anchor off Newhaven sixty stately galleys and other ships, under the command of Strozzi, Prior of Capua, and there the queen mother embarked to visit her daughter Mary in France. On this occasion she was accompanied by a brilliant train, including the Earls of Huntly, Cassillis, Sutherland, and Marischal; the Prior of St. Andrews (the Regent Moray of the future), the Lords Home, Fleming, and Maxwell, the Bishops of Caithness and Galloway J three of her French commanders from Leith, Paul de Thermes, Biron, La Chapelle, the French Ambassador, General D?Osell, and many ladies, with whom, after being forced to take refuge from storms in more than one English port, she landed at Dieppe on the 19th of the same month.
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