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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


St. Giles?s Churchyard. INTERIOR OF THE HIGH CHURCH, ST. GILES?S. CHAPTER XVI. THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF ST. GILES?S. St. Giles?s Churchyard-The IIaison Dieu-The Clam-shell Turnpike-The Grave of Knox-The City Cross--The Summons ot Pluto- Executions : Kirkaidy, Gilderoy, and others-The Caddies--The Dyvours Stane-The Luckenbooths-The Auld Kirk S~yle-Eym?o Lodging-Lard Coalstoun?s Wig-Allan Ramsay?s Library and ?Creech?s Land?-The Edinburgh Halfpenny. DOWN the southern slope of the hill on which St. Giles?s church stands, its burying-ground-covered with trees, perchance anterior to the little parish edifice we have described as existing in the time of David 1.-sloped to the line of the Cowgate, where it was terminated by a wall and chapel dedicated to the holy rood, built, says Arnot, ?in memory of ?hrist crucified, and not demolished till the end of the sixteenth century.? In July, 1800, a relic ot this chapel was found near the head of Forrester?s Wynd, in former days the western boundary of the churchyard. This relic-a curiously sculptured grouplike a design from Holbein?s ?Dance of Death,? was defaced and broken by the workmen. Amid the musicians, who brought up the rear, was an angel, playing on the national bagpipe-a
Volume 1 Page 148
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St Gilds Churchyard. THE CHURCHYARD. I49 were a hospital and chapel known by the name of the ?Maison Dieu.? ?We know not,? says Arnot, ?* at what time or by whom it was founded ; but at the Reformation it shared the common fate of Popish establishments in this country. It was converted into private property. This building is still (1779) entire, and goes by the name of the Clam-shell Turnpike, from the figure of an escalopshell cut in stone above the door.? Fire and modern reform have effected dire changes here since Arnot wrote. Newer buildings .occupy the site ; but still, immediately above the entrance that led of old to Bell?s Wynd, a modern stone lintel bears an escalop shell in memory of the elder edifice, which, in the earliest titles of it . conceit which appears among the sculpture at Roslm chapel. So late as 1620 ?James Lennox iselected chaplain of the chapelry of the holy rood, in the burgh kirk-yard of St. Giles.? Hence it is supposed that the nether kirk-yard remained in use long after the upper had been abandoned as a plad of sepulture. All this was holy ground in those days, fQr in U Keith?s Catalogue? we are told that near the head of Bell?s Wynd (on the eastern side) there the pavement of a noisy street, ?there sleep the great, the good, the peaceful and the turbulent, the faithful and the false, all blent together in their quaint old coffins and flannel shrouds, with money in their dead hands, and crosses or chalices on their breasts ; old citizens who remembered the long-haired King David passing forth with barking hound and twanging horn on that Roodday in harvest which so nearly cost him his life ; and how the fair Queen Margaret daily fed the poor at the castle gate ?with the tenderness of a mother;? those who had seen Randolph?s patriots scale ?the steep, the iron-belted rock;? Count Guy of Namur?s Flemish lances routed on the Burghmuir, and William Wallace mustering his bearded warriors - ~~ ~ ~~~~~ that are extant, was written of as the ?old land,? formerly belonging to George Crichton, Bishop of Dunkeld, who held that see between the years 1527 and 1543, and was Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal under King James V. Overlooked, then, by the great cruciform church of St. Giles, and these minor ecclesiastical edifices, the first burying-ground of Edinburgh lay on the steep slope with its face to the sun. The last home of generations of citizens, under what is now ST. GILES?S CHURCH IN Tni PRESENT DAY.
Volume 1 Page 149
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