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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Leith.] THE OLD TOLBCTOTH. 229 During the persecution under the Duke of Lauderdale, Mr. John Gregg, who had been formerly minister at Skirling, in Peeblesshire, was apprehended and imprisoned in the Tolbooth for house of his that he died, was sentenced to be scourged on her bare back from the Tolbooth of Edinburgh to the Nether Bow, and from the Tolbooth of Leith to the door of Isabel Lesly, and from there to the brother-in-law at Leith Mills. Bass, to be detained there among many other sufferers for conscience the Bass for ? abusing and railing ?I at Mr. Thomas Wilkie, minister of North Leith, but in the May of the same year he was brought back to Leith, and thrust into the Tolbooth, where he lay for quired for service in Leith. In 1763, a thief, who was discovered in a peculiar manner, became, till tried, an inmate of this old prison, A Scottish sailor, who had served on board the In 1678, Fi :Ill c- - Hector Allan, - a Quaker seaman in Leith, TOLBOOTH wy TABLET OF THsee. In April, 1713, a prisoner named Jean Ramsay, who had dragged a weak and infirm man from his bed in the house of Isabel Lesly in Leith, near the South Church, and used him with such severity the water, and he found it to be his own. The subsequent inquiry did not prove pleasant to the half-drowned thief, who was forthwith taken into custody, and committed to the Tolbooth. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the
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230 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. Tolbooth had become decayed and ruinous, and soon after the demolition af the Heart of Midlothian its doom was pronounced. Sir Walter Scott, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, and other zealous antiquaries, left nothing undone to induce the magistrates of Edinburgh, under whose auspices the work of demolition proceeded, to preserve the picturesque street front, and re-build the remainder on a proposed plan. A deputation waited upon the provost for this purpose, but ? were courteously dismissed with the unanswerable argument that the expense of new designs had been incurred; and so the singular old house of justice of Queen Mary was replaced by the commonplace erection that now occupies its site.? The old edifice was demolished in 1819, and its unprepossessing successor was erected in 1822, at the expense of the city of Edinburgh, in a nondescript style, which the prints of the time flattered themselves was Saxon; ?but though it has several suites of well-lighted cells, and is said to be a very complete jail,? wrote a statistical author, ? it remained, at the date of the Commissioners? Report on Municipal Corporations, and possibly still remains, unlegalised. An objection having been judiciously made to its security, the Court of Session refused an application to legalise it; and a misunderstanding having afterwards arisen between the Corporation of Edinburgh and the community of Leith, the place was neglected, and not allowed the benefit of any further proceedings in its favour. A lock-up house, consisting of cold, damp, and unhealthy cells, such as endangered life, was coolly permitted to do for the police prisoners the honours and offices of the sinecure Tolbooth.? About 1730 there would seem to have been established in the wynd an institution having in it a Bath Stove, which, as a curious old handbill, preserved in the Advocates? Library, and without date, informs the public, ?is to be found in Alexander Hayes? Close, over against the entry to Babylon, betwixt the Tolbooth and the shore.? The bill runs thus :- ?At Leith there is a Bath Stove, set up by William Paul, after the fashion of Poland and Germany, which is approven by all the doctors of physic and apothecaries in Edinburgh and elsewhere-a sovereign remedy in curing of all diseases, and preventing sickness both of old and young. This bath is able to give content to fourscore persons a day. ?The diseases which are commonly cured by the said bath are these :-The hydropsis, the gout, deafness, and itch ; sore eyes, the cold unsensibleless of the flesh, the trembling axes (sic), the Irish tgue, cold defluxions ; inwardly, the melancholick iisease, the collick, and all natural diseases that ire curable ; probaturn est. ?This bath is to be used all times and seasons, both summer and winter, and every person that iomes to bathe must bring clean linen with them for their own use, especially dean shirts. All the days of the week for men, except Friday, which is reserved for women and children.? On the north side of the wynd, opposite the new Tolbooth, opened the irregular alley named the Paunch Market, which contained the Piazzas and Bourse of Mary of Lorraine, and from whence a narrow alley, called Queen Street, leads to the shore. A stately old building at the head of the latter, but which was pulled down in the year 1849, is stated to have been the residence of Mary of Lorraine during some portion of her quarrels with the Protestants; and the same mansion is said by tradition to have been briefly occupied by Oliver Cromwell. Its window-frames were all formed of oak, richly carved? and the panellings of the doors were of the same wood, beautifully embellished. Its walls were decorated with well-executed paintings, which seemed of considerable antiquity, and were afterwards in possession of Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. The mansion was elaborately decorated on the exterior with sculptured dormer windows, and other ornaments common to edifices of the period. Wilson seems inclined to think that the modern name of the street may have suggested the tradition that it was the residence of the Queen Regent, as it superseded the more homely one of the Paunch Market; but adds, ?there is no evidence in its favour sufficient to overturn the statement of Maitland, who wrote at a period when there was less temptation to invent traditions than now.? The Rev. Parker Lawson, in his Gazetthr, says: ?About a score of old houses are pointed out as the residence of the Queen Regent and Oliver Cromwell, but in Queen Street, formerly the Paunch\ Market, is an antique mansion of elegant exterior, said to have been the actual dwelling of the queen.? Over a doorway in this street, says Wilson, there is cut in very ancient and ornamental letters, CREDENTI. NIHIL. LINGUW. On the west side of this narrow thoroughfare stood the early Episcopal Chapel of Leith. Referring to the period of Culloden, Chalmers says :-
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