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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


SAUGHTON HALL. 319 Riccar&&l He was at once-for some reasons known at the time-accused of having committed this outrage, and had to seek shelter in Holland. Eastward of this quarter stands the old mansian of Saughton, gable-ended, with howsteps, dormeI windows, steep roofs, and massive chimneys, with an ancient crowstepped dovecot, ornamented with an elaborate string-moulding, and having a shield, covered with initials, above its door. Over the entrance of the house is a shield, or scroll-work, charged with a sword between two helmets, with the initials P. E., the date, 1623, and the old Edinburgh legend, ?? BLISIT. BE. GOD. FOR. AL. HIS GIPTIS.? This edifice is in the parish of St. Cuthbert?s ; but New Saughton and Saughton Loan End are in that of Corstorphine. For many generations the estate of Saughton was the patrimony and residence of the Bairds, a branch of the house of Auchmedden. James, eldest son and heir of Sir James Baird, Knight of Saughton, in the shire of Edinburgh, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1695-6. He entailed the lands of Saughton Hall in 1712, and married the eldest daughter of Sir Alexander Gibson, of Pentland, and died, leaving a son and successor, who became involved in a serious affair, i~ 1708. In a drinking match in a tavern in Leith he insisted on making his friend Mr. Robert Oswald intoxicated. After compelling him to imbibe repeated bumpers, Baird suddenly demanded an apology from him as if he had committed some breach of good manners. This Oswald declined to do, and while a drunken spirit of resentment remained in his mind against Baird, they came to Edinburgh together in a coach, which they quitted at the Nether Bow Port at a late hour. No sooner were they afoot in the street than Baird drew his sword, and began to make lunges at Oswald, on whom he inflicted two mortal wounds, and fled from the scene, leaving beside his victim a broken and bloody sword. On the ground of its not being ? forethought felony,? he was some years after allowed by the Court of Justiciary to have the benefit of Queen Anne?s Act of Indemnity. He married a daughter of Baikie, of Tankerness, in Orkney, and, surviving his father by only a year, was succeeded by hi son, an officer in the navy, at whose death, unmarried, the title devolved upon his brother Sir William, also an officer in the navy, who married, in 1750, Frances, daughter of Colonel Gardiner who was slain at the battle of Prestonpans. He died in 1772, according to Schomberg?s Naval Chronology,? ?at his seat of Saughton Hall,? in I 7 7 I according to the Sofs Magazine for that year. From Colonel Gardiner?s daughter comes the additional surname now used by the family. The old dovecot, we have said, still remains here untouched. In many instances these little edifices in Scotland survive the manor-houses and castles to which they were attached, by chance perhaps, rather than in consequence of the old superstition that if one was pulled down the lady of the family would die within a year of the event By the law of James I. it was felony to destroy a ?dovecot,? and by the laws of James VI., no man could build one in ? a heugh, or in the country, unless he had lands to the value of ten chalders of victual yearly within two miles of the said dovecot.? The ancient bridge of Saughton over the Leith consists of three arches with massive piers, and bears the date of repairs, apparently 1670, in a square panel. Through one of the arches of this bridge, during a furious flood in the river, a chaise containing two ladies and two gentlemen was swept in 1774. and they would all have perished had not their shrieks alarmed the family at Saughton Hall, by whom they were succoured and saved. There is a rather inelegant old Scottish proverb with reference to this place, ?Ye breed o? Saughton swine, ye?re neb is ne?er oot 0? an ill turn.? Throughout all this district, extending from Coltbridge to the Redheughs, by Gogar Green and Milburn Tower, the whole land is in the highest state of cultivation, exhibiting fertile corn-fields, fine grass parks and luxuriant gardens, interspersed with coppice, with the Leith winding amidst them, imparting at times much that is sylvan to the scenery. South of Gogar Bank are two old properties- Baberton, said to be a royal house, which, in the last century, belonged to a family named Inglis (and was temporarily the residence ,of CharI?es X. of France), and Riccarton, which a n boast of great antiquity indeed. Among the missing charters of Robert I. is one to Walter Stewart, of the barony of Bathgzte, with the lands of Richardfoun, the barony of Rathew, of Boundington, and others in the Sheriffdom of Edinburgh. Thus, we see, it formed part of the dowry given by the victor of. Bannockbum to his daughter the Lady Margery, wife of Walter, High Steward of Scotland, in 1316-direct ancestor of the House of Stewart-who died in his castle of Bathgate in 1328, his chief residence, the site of which is still marked by some ancient pine trees. In the reign of King Robert III., the lands of
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