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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


survivors of the corps would make their last actual appearance in public at the laying of the foundation of his monument, on the 15th of August, 1840. The last captain of the Guard was James Burnet, their ancestors and successors, were attached to most royal foundations, and they are mentioned in the chartulary of Moray, about 1226. The number of these Bedesmen was increased by one every CHAPTER XV. THE CHURCH OF ST. GILES. St. Giles?s Church-The Patron Saint-Its Origin and early Norman style-The Renovation of &-History of the Structure-Procession of the Saint?s Relics-The Preston Relic-The Chapel of the Duke of Albmy-Funeral of the Regent Murray-The ?Gude Regent?s Aisle?- The Assembly Aisle-Dispute between James VI. and the Church Party-Departure of James VI.-Haddo?s Hole-The Napicr Tomb- The Spire and lantern-Clock and Bells-The KramesRestoration of 1878. THE church of St. Giles, or Sanctus Egidius, as he is termed in Latin, was the first parochial one erected in the city, and its history can be satisfactorily deduced from the early part of the 12th century, when it superseded, or was engrafted on an edifice of much smaller size and older date, one founded about? IOO years after the death of its patron saint, the abbot and confessor St. Giles, who was born in Athens, of noble-some say royal -parentage, and who, while young, sold his patrimony and left his native country, to the end that he might serve God in retirement. In the year 666 he amved at Provence, in the south of France, and chose a retreat near Arles; but afterwards, desiring more perfect solitude, he withdrew into a forest near Gardo, in the diocese of Nismes, havjng with him only one companion, Veredemus, who lived with him on the fruits of the earth and the milk of a hind. As Flavius Wamba, King of the Goths, was one day hunting in the neighbourhood of Nismes, his hounds pursued her to the hermitage of the saint, where she took refuge. This hind has been ever associated with St. Giles, and its figure is to this day the sinister supporter of the city arms. ( ? I Caledonia,? ii., p. 773.) St. Giles died in 721, on the 1st of September, which was always held as his festival in Edinburgh; and to some disciple of the Benedictine establishment in the south of France we doubtless owe the dedication of the parish church there. , He owes his memory in the English capital to Matilda of Scotland, queen of Henry I., who founded there St. Giles?s hospital for lepers in I I 17. Hence, the large parish which now lies in the heart of London took its name
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THE EARLY CHURCH. I39 St. Giles?s Church.] of that hospital used to present a bowl of ale to away. The first stone church was probably of every felon as he passed their gate to Newgate. Among the places enumerated by Simon Dunelmensis, of Durham, as belonging to the see .of Lindkfarn in 854, when Earnulph, who removed it to Chester-le-Street, was bishop, he includes that of Edinburgh. From this it must be distinctly inferred that a church of some kind existed on the long slope that led to Dun Edin, but no authentic record of it occurs till the reign of King Alexander II., when Baldred deacon of Lothian, and John perpetual vicar of the church of St. Giles at Edinburgh, attached their seals to copies of certain Papal bulls and charters of the church of Megginche, a dependency of the church of Holyrood ; and (according to the Liber Cartaruni Sanctae Crucis) on the Sunday before the feast of St. Thomas, in the year 1293, Donoca, daughter of John, son of Herveus, resigned certain Iands to the monastery of Holyrood, in full consis-, Norman architecture. A beautiful Norman dborway, which stood below the third window from the west, was wantonly destroyed towards the end of the eighteenth century. ?? This fragment,? says Wilson, ?sufficiently enables us to picture the little parish church of St. Giles in the reign of David I. Built in the massive style of the early Norman period, it would consist simply of a nave and chancel, united by a rich Norman chancel arch, altogether occupying only a portion of the centre of the present nave. Small circular-headed windows, decorated with zig-zag mouldings, would admit the light to its sombre interior; while its west front was in all probability surmounted by a simple belfry, from whence the bell would summon the natives of the hamlet to matins and vespers, and with slow measured sounds toll their knell, as they were laid in the neighbouring churchyard. This ancient church was never entire4 detory, held in the church of St. Giles. Its solid masonry was probably very is again mentioned, when William the bishop of St. forces of Edward 11. in 1322, when Holyrood was ,%ndrews confirmed numerous gifts bestowed upon spoiled, or by those of his son in 1335, when the abbey and its dependencies. In 1359 King the whole country was wasted with fire and sword. David II., by a charter under his great seal, con- The town was again subjected to the like violence, Catharine in the church of St. Giles all the lands I conflagration of 1385, when the English army .of Upper Merchiston, the gift of Roger Hog, under Richard 11. occupied the town for five days, burgess of Edinburgh. It is more than probable and then laid it and the abbey of Holyrood in 961, and built up again within the year. Of what ? the original fabric by the piety of private donors, must the materials have been? asks Maitland. I or by the zeal of its own clergy to adapt it to Burned again in 1187, it was rebuilt on arches of, the wants of the rising town. In all the changes .stone--? a wonderful work,? say the authors of the that it underwent for above seven centuries, the day. I original north door, with its beautifully recessed A portion of the church of St. Giles was arched ? Norman arches and grotesque decorations, always I with stone in 1380, as would appear from a con- commanded the veneration of the innovators, and I tract noted by Maitland, who has also preserved remained as a precious relic of the past, until the the terms of another contract, made in 1387, be- tasteless improvers of the eighteenth century de-. tween the provost and community of Edinburgh I molished it without a cause, and probably for no on one hand, an? two masons on the other, for the better reason than to evade the cost of its repair !? construction of five separate vaulted chapels along I In the year 1462 great additions and repairs. the south side of the church, the architectural appear to have been in progress, for the Town. features of which prove its existence at a period Council then passed a law that all persons selling I long before any of these dates, and when Edin- corn before it was entered should forfeit one chal- I der to church work. In the year 1466 it was I burgh was merely a cluster of thatched huts. The edifice, as it now stands, is a building erected into a collegiate church by James III.,. including the work of many different and remote the foundation consisting (according to Keitli and I periods. By all men of taste and letters in Edin- others) of a provost, curate, sixteen prebendaries,. burgh it has been a general subject of regret that sacristan, beadle, minister of the choir, and four the restoration in 1829 was conducted in a man- choristers. - Various sums of money, lands, tithes, ner so barbarous and irreverent, that many of its &c., were appropriated for the support of the new In an Act ? molished. passed in 1319, in the reign of Robert I., the church I partially affected by the ravages of the invading firmed to the chaplain officiating at the altar of St. i probably with results little more lasting, by the that the first church on the site was of wood. St. i ashes. The Norman architecture disappeared Paul?s Cathedral, at London, was burned down in I piecemeal, as chapels and aisles were added to
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