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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


The etymology of the word Links has been a puzzle to Scottish antiquaries. By some it has been supposed, that fiom the position generally occupied by links, in the vicinity of the sea or great rivers, the word is a corruption of Innis, or Inches, signifying islands ; and it is said that in some of the old records of Aberdeen the word is spelt Linchs and Linkkes. The whole of Leith Links must, at one time, have been covered by the sea, and above their level there stand distinctly up the great grassy mounds (one named by children the Giant?s Brae) from which the guns of Somerset and Pelham bombarded the eastern wall of Leith during the siege in 1560. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Links of Leith were the chief resort of the aristocracy resident in Edinburgh as .the best place for playing golf; nobles of the highest rank and the most eminent legal and political officials taking part with the humblest players-if skilful-in the game. In 1619 a curious anecdote is recorded, connected with golfing on Leith Links, by Row, in his ?History of the Kirk of Scotland.? no such thing,? he was silent, went home trembling, took to bed instantly, and died.? The (( Household Book ? of the great Montrose shows that in 1627 hewas in the habit ofgolfing here. March 10. Item: for balls in the Tennis Court Item : for two goffe balls, my Lord of Leith.. ............................... 16sh. going to the goffe ther .............. 10 sh. in Leith that nicht in come and Item : to the servant woman in the Item : for carrying the graith to the 9- ?I. Itern : for my horse standing straw 7 sh. 8d. .................................... house .................................... 12 sh. (Bumtisland) boat .................. 3 sh. SCULPTURED SSONE, COBOURG STREET. William Cowper, Bishop of Galloway, ((a very holy and good man, if he had not been corrupted with superior powers and worldly cares of a bishopric and other things ? (according to Johnston), became involved in various polemical controversies, among others, with ((the wives of Edinburgh ;? and one went so far as to charge him with apostasy, and summoned him to prepare an answer shortly to the Judge of all the world, at a time when it would appear that the health of the bishop was indifferent. ((Within a day or two after,? says Row, ((being at his pastime (golf) on the Links of Leith, he was terrified with a vision or an apprehension; for he said to his playfellows, after he had in an affrighted and commoved way cast away his playinstruments (i.e., clubs) : ?I vow to be about with these two men who have come upon me with drawn swords !? When his play fellows replied, ? My Lord, it is a dream : we saw Charles I., who was passionately fond of golf, was engaged in the game on the Links of Leith when news of the Irish rebellion reached him in 1642, and the circumstance is thus detailed in Wodrow?s amusing ?Analecta,? on the authority of William, Lord Ross of Hawkhead, who died at a great age in 1738, and to whom it had been related, when in England, by Sir Robert Pye :- The latter was then an old man of eighty years, ?and he told him that when a young man, he came down (1642) with King Charles the First to Edinburgh. That the king and court received frequent expresses from the queen ; that one day the king desired those about him to find somebody who could ride post, for he had a matter of great importance to despatch to the queen, and he would give a handsome reward to any young fellow whom he could trust. Sir Robert was standing by, and he undertook it. The king gave him a packet, and commanded him to deliver it out of his own hand to the queen. Sir Robert made his journey in less than three days, and when he got access to the queen, delivered the packet. She retired a little and opened it, and pretty soon came out, and calling for the person that brought the letters, seemed in a transport of joy; and when he told her what he was, and his diligence to bring them to her Majesty, she offered
Volume 6 Page 260
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