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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


*I18 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Gasford?s Close. BELOW the scene of this tragedy opened Gosford?s Close (in. the direct line of the King?s Bridge), wherein for ages stood a highly-decorated edifice, belonging to the Augustinian abbey of Cambuswould venture, after dark, alone into the back kitchen, as a tradition existed that his bodywhich his relations had unchained and carried 0% sword in hand, under cloud of night-was buried somewhere near that apartment. ? On repsiring been of considerable size, and from the mass of sculptured fragments, all beautiful Gothic carvings, found in the later houses of the close, must have been a considerable feature in the city. ?The writes of a skeleton, found a century after, ? when removing the hearth-stone of a cottage in Dalry Park, with the remains of a pistor near the situation of the neck No doubt was entertained that these were the remains of Chiesly, huddled into this SIR GEORGE LOCKHART OF CARNWATH. (From ttk Portrait in t?u Scottish Antiquarian Alrrseum.) the garden-wall at a later period,? says Dr. Wilson, (? an old stone seat which stood in a recess of the wall had to be removed, and underneath was found a skeleton entire, except the bones of the right hand-without doubt the remains of the assassin, that had secretly been brought thither from the Gallowlee.? But Dr. Chambers also place of concealment, probably in the course of the night in which they had been abstracted from the gallows.? This pistol is still preserved. In this close ?the great house pertaining to the Earl of Eglintoun,? with its coach-house and stables, is advertised for sale in the Evening Couranf of April, 1735.
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Liberton?s Wynd.] DOWIE?S TAVERN. 119 town mansion of the abbot, with a beautiful chapel attached to it, and may serve to remind us how little idea we can form of the beauty of the Scottish capital before the Reformation, adorned as it was with so many churches and conventual buildings, the very sites of which are now unknown, Over the doorway of an ancient stone land in Gosford?s Close,which stood immediately east of the Old Bank Close, there existed a curious sculptured lintel containing a representation of the crucifixion, and which may with every probability be regarded as another relic of the abbot?s house that once occupied its site.? This lintel is still preserved, and the house which it adorned belonged to Mungo Tennant, a wealthy citizen, whose seal is appended to a reversion of the half of the lands of Leny, in 1540. It also bears his arms, with the then common legend -Soli. Deo. Honor. et. GZona. In the lower storcy of this house was a stronglyarched cellar, in the floor of which was a concealed trap-door, admitting to another lower down, hewn out of the living rock. Tradition averred it was a chamber for torture, but.it has more shrewdly been supposed to have been connected with the smugglers, to whom the North Loch afforded by boat such facilities for evading the duties at the city gates, and running in wines and brandies. This vault is believed to be still remaining untouched beneath the central roadway of the new bridge. On the first floor of this mansion the fifth Earl of Loudon, a gallant general officer, and his daughter, Lady Flora (latterly countess in her own right) afterwards Marchioness of Hastings, resided when in town. Here, too, was the mansion of Hume Rigg of Morton, who died in it in 1788. It is thus described in a note to Kay?s works :-? The dining and drawing-rooms were spacious ; indeed, more so than those of any private modern house we have seen. The lobbies were all variegated marble, and a splendid mahogany staircase led to the upper storey. There was a large green behind, with a statue in the middle, and a summer-house at the bottom; but so confined was the entry to this elegant mansion that it was impossible to get even a sedan chair near to the door.?? On the zoth January, 1773, at four k.~., there was? a tempest, says a print of the time, ? and a stack of chimneys on an old house at the foot of Gosfords Close, possessed by Hugh Mossman, writer, was blown down, and breaking through the roof in that part of the house where he and his spouse lay, they both perished in the ruins. . . . . In the storey below, Miss Mally Kigg, sister to Rigg of Morton, also perished.? So lately as 1773 the Ladies Catharine and Anne Hay, daughters of John Marquis of Tweeddale, and in that year their brother George, the fifth Marquis, resided there too, in the thud floor of the front ? land ? or tenement. ? Indeed,? says Wilson, ?the whole neighbourhood was the favourite resort of the most fashionable and distinguished among the resident citizens, and a perfect nest of advocates and lords of session.? In the pear 1794 the hall and museum of the Society of Antiquaries were at the bottom of this ancient thoroughfare. Next it was Liberton?s Wynd, the avenue of which is still partially open, and which was removed to make way for the new bridge and other buildings. Like many others still extant, or demolished, this alley, called a wynd as being broader than a close, had the fronts of its stone mansions so added to and encumbered by quaint projecting out-shot Doric gables of timber, that they nearly met overhead, excluding the narrow strip of sky, and, save at noon, all trace of sunshine. Yet herein stood Johnnie Dowie?s tavern, one of the most famous in the annals of Convivialia, and a view of which, by Geikie, is preserved by Hone in his Year Book.? Johnnie Dowie was the sleekest and kindest of landlords ; nothing could equal the benignity of his smile when he brought ?ben? a bottle of his famous old Edinburgh ale to a well-known and friendly customer. The formality with which he drew the cork, the air with which he filled the long, slender glasses, and the regularity with which he drank the healths of all present in the first, with his dozrce civility at withdrawing, were as long remembered by his many customers as his ?Nor? Loch trouts and Welsh rabbits,? after he had gone to his last home, in 1817, leaving a fortune to his son, who was a major in the amy. With a laudable attachment to the old costume he always wore a cocked hat, buckles at the knees and shoes, as well as a cross-handled cane, over which he stooped in his gait. Here, in the space so small and dark, that even cabmen would avoid it now, there came, in the habit of the times, Robert Fergusson the poet, David Herd the earliest collector of Scottish songs, ? antiquarian Paton,? and others forgotten now, but who were men of local note in their own day as lords of session and leading advocates. Here David Martin, a well-known portrait painter, instituted a Club, which was quaintly named after their host, the ?Dowie College;? and there his far more celebrated pupil Sir Henry Raeburn often accompanied him in his earlier years; and, more than all, it was the favourite resort of Robert Bums,
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