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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


88 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. tThe Castle Hill. the steep flight of steps that descend to Johnston Terrace, we find a date 1630, with the initials A. M.-M. N., and in the wall below there still remains a cannon ball, fired from the half-moon 3 ~ - ~ * - .... ,-. ,~,_., -.,- :.. ~- - - , ~ ~ ~ .,- .,~-- %..:,> street some are unchanged in external aspect since the days of the Stuarts. On the pediment of a dormer window of the house that nom forms the south-west angle of the street, directly facing the Castle, and overlooking of Huntly in 1684; but the edifice in question evidently belongs to an anterior age; and the old tradition was proved to be correct, when in a disposition (now in possession of the City Improve- __-- L n _-_-_ :--:--\ =.. e:- -_=--& TI-:-> L_ 1.1- I arch, within which, is a large coronet, supported by two deerhounds, well known {eatures in the Gordon arms. Local tradition universally affirms this mansion to have been the residence of the dukes of that title, which was bestowed on the house THE CASTLE HILL, 1845. aunng me DiocKaae in 1745. I nrougn rnis DWUing there is a narrow alley named Blair?s Close-so narrow indeed, that amid the brightest sunshine there is never in it more than twilight-giving access to an open court, at the first angle of which is a handsome Gothic doorway, surmounted by an ogee iiiriii LuiiitIiissiunl uy air M J U ~ K ~ Dam tu nis son William, dated 1694, he describes it as ?all and hail, that my lodging in the Castle lHill of Edinburgh, formerly possessed by the Duchess of Gordon.? The latter was Lady Elizabeth Howard, daugh
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The Castle Hill.] THE DUKE OF GORDON?S HOUSE. 89 ter of the Duke of Norfolk and wife of Duke George, who SO gallantly defended the Castle against the troops of William of Orange; during the lifetime of the duke she retired to a Belgian convent, but afterwards returned to the old mansion in Edinburgh, where she frequently resided till her death, which took place at the abbey in 1732, life, destroyed utterly the ancient Gothic fireplace, which was very beautiful in its design. This house is mentioned in the ?Diurnal of Occurrents? as being, in 1570, the residence of ~ Patrick Edgar; and after it passed from the Gordons it was possessed by the family of Newbyth, who resided in it for several generations, and ALLAA RAMSAY?S HOUSE. sixteen years after that of the duke at Leith. The internal fittings of the mansion are in many respects unchanged since its occupation by the duchess. It is wood-panelled throughout, and one large room which overlooks the Esplanade. is decorated with elaborate carvings, and with a large painting over the mantelpiece the production of Norrie, a famous housedecorator of the eighteenth century, whose genius for landscapes entitles him to a place among Scottish painters. An explosion of gunpowder which took place in the basement of the house, in 1811, attended with serious loss of 12 therein, on the 6th December, 1757, was born the gallant Sir David Baird, Bart., the hero of Seringapatam and conqueror of Tippoo Saib ; and therein he was educated and brought up. Returning years after, he visited the place of his birth, which had long since passed into other hands. Chambers relates that the individual then occupying the house received the veteran hero with great respect, and, after showing him through it, ushered him into the little garden behind, where some boys were engaged in mischievously throwing cabbage stalks at the chimneys of the Grassmarket. On
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