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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


DUNGEONS IN THE CASTLE BELOW QUEEN MARY?S ROOM. CHL4PTER 111. CASTLE OF EDINBURGH-(cantinued.~~e~.) The Legend of the White Hart-Holyrood Abbey founded-The Monks of the Castrum Puellarum-David 1,?s numerous Endowments-His Death-Fergus, Lord of Gallaway. dies there-William the Lion-Castle Garrisoiied by the English for Twelve Years-The Castle a Royal Residence-The War of the Scottish Succession-The Castle in the hands of Edward I.-Frank?s Escalade-The Fortress Dismantled -Again in the hands of the English-Bullocks Stratagem for its Resapture-David?s Tower. ?THE well-known legend of the White Hart,?? says Daniel Wilson, ? most probably had its origin in some real occurrence, magnified by the superstition of a rude and illiterate age. More recent observations at least suffice to show that it existed at a much earlier date than Lord Hailes referred it to.? It is recorded that on Rood-day, the 14th of September, in the harvest of 1128, the weather being fine and beautiful, King David and his courtiers, after mass, left the Castle by that gate before which he was wont to dispense justice to his people, and issued forth to the chase in the wild country that lay around-for then over miles of the land now covered by the new and much of the old city, for ages into times unknown, the oak-trees of the primeval forest of Drumsheugh had shaken down their leaves and acorns upon the wild and now extinct animals of the chase. And here it may be mentioned that boars? tusks of most enormous size were found in 1846 in the bank to the south of the half-moon battery, together with an iron axe, the skull and bones of a man. On this Rood-day we are told that the king issued from the Castle contrary to the advice of his confessor, Alfwin, an Augustinian monk of great sanctity and learning, who reminded him that it was the feast of the? Exaltation of the Cross, and should be passed in devotion, not in hunting; but of this advice the king took no heed. Amid the dense forest and in the ardour of the chase he became separated from his train, in ? the vail that lyis to the eist fra the said castell,? and found himself at the foot of the stupendous crags, where, ?under the shade of a leafy tree,? he was almost immediately assailed by a white stag of gigantic size, which had been maddened by the pursuit, ?noys and dyn of bugillis,? and which,
Volume 1 Page 21
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