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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Volume 6 Page 341
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342 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Burdiehouse. intelligence to the enemy, which occasioned the imprisonment of his person until the mistake was discovered.? He returned home in 1767, and after obtaining a full pardon in 1771, ?he repaired the mansion of his ancestors, improved his long neglected acres, acd set forward the improvements of the province in which he resided.?? In the year 1772 he published, at the request of the East India Company, a work on the principles of money, as applied to the coin of Bengal ; and in 1773, on the death of Sir Archibald Stewart Denham, he succeeded to the baronetcy of Coltness, and died in 1780. His works, in six volumes, including his correspondence with the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose acquaintance he made at Venice in 1758, were published by his son, Sir James Stewart Denham, who, when he died, was the oldest general in the British army. He was born in 1744 and in 1776 was lieutenant- colonel of the 13th Dragoons (now Hussars), and in his latter years was colonel of the Scots Greys. Towards the close of the last century, Goodtrees, or Moredun, as it is now named, was the property of David Stewart Moncrieff, advocate, one of the Barons of Exchequer, who long resided in a selfcontained house in the Horse Wynd. Sir Thomas MoncrieiT, Bart., of that ilk, was his nephew and nearest heir, but having quarrelled with him, according to the editor of ? Kay?s Portraits,? he bequeathed his estate of Moredun to Lady Elizabeth Ramsay, sister of the Earl of Dalhousie. He was buried on the 17th April, 1790, in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood, where no stone marks his grave. At, the western portion of the Braid Hills (in a quarter of St. Cuthbert?s parish), and under a shoulder thereof 609 feet in height, where of old stood a telegraph-station, lies the famous Buckstane, which gives its name to an adjacent farm. The Clerks, baronets of Penicuick, hold their land by the singular tenure of being bound to sit upon the large rocky fragment here known as the Buckstane, and wind three blasts of a horn when the King of Scotland shall come to hunt on the Burghmuir. Hence the fzmily have adopted as their crest a demi-forester proper winding a horn, with the motto, ? Free for a blast? About midway between this point and St Katherine?s is Morton Hall, a handsome residence surrounded by plantations, and having a famous sycamore, which was planted in 1700, and is fourteen feet in circumference. John Trotter of Morton Hall, founder of this family, was a merchant in Edinburgh, and was born in 1558, during the reign of Mary, A mile westward of Morton Hall are the remains of a large Roman camp, according to Kincaid?s ? Gazetteer? of the county. Burdiehouse, in this quarter, lies three miles and a half south of the city, on the Peebles Road. ? Its genteel name,? according to Parker Lawson?s ?Gazetteer,? ?is Bordeaux, which it is supposed to have received from its being the residence of some of Queen Mary?s French domestics; but it has long lost that designation. Another statement is that the first cottage built here was called Bordeaux.? Most probably, however, it received its name as being the abode of some of the same exiled French silk weavers who founded the now defunct village of Picardie, between the city and Leith. It is chiefly celebrated for its lime-kilns, which manufacture about 15,000 bolls annually. There is an immense deposit of limestone rock here, which has attracted greatly the attention of geologists, in consequence of the fossil remains it contains. In 1833, the bones, teeth, and scales of what was conjectured to be a nameless, but enormous, reptile were discovered here-the scales, strange to say, retaining their lustre, and the bones their porous and laminated appearance. These formed the subject of several communications to the Royal Society of Edinburgh by Dr. Hibbert, who, in his earlier papers, described them as U the remains of reptiles.? In 1834, at the meeting of the British Association in Edinburgh, these wonderful fossils-which by that time had excited the greatest interest among naturalists-were shown to M. Agassiz, who doubted their reptile character, and thought they belonged to fish of the ganoid .order, which he denbminated sauroid, in consequence of their numerous affinities to the saurian reptiles, which have as their living type, or representative, the lepidosteus; but the teeth and scales were not found in connection. A few days afterwards, M. Agassiz, in company with Professor Buckland, visited the Leeds Museum, where he found some great fossils having the same kind of scales and teeth as those discovered at Burdiehouse, conjoined in the same individual. It is now, therefore, no longer a conjecture that they belonged to the same animal. And in these selfsame specimens we have the hyoid and branchiostic apparatus of bones-a series of bones connected with the gills, an indubitable character of fishesand it is, accordingly, almost indisputable that the Burdiehouse fossils are the remains of fishes, and
Volume 6 Page 342
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