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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


2 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. fails to adorn his pages with the ‘‘ mute inglorious ” history of his native village. All that tradition could have preserved of its early history, may still be traced by the intelligent eye in the natural features of its romantic site. In the midst of a fertile and beautiful country, and within easy distance of a navigable estuary of the sea, rises a bold and precipitous cliff, towering upon three of its sides, an inaccessible natural fortress, to the height of 300 feet above the plain. In immediate connection with this, the sloping hill forms at once the natural approach to the Castle, and a site protected already on one side by R marsh and lake, and on all but one by steep approaches, admitting of ready defence and security from surprise. Here at once ’is discovered a situation, planned, as it were, by the hand of Nature, to offer to the wandering tribes of early Caledonia the site for their Capital ; when every one’# hand was against his brother, and war was deemed the only fitting occupation of men. Nor was it until the union with our once natural foes, had made the rival sisters, “ like kindred drops to mingle into one,” that Edina ventured forth from her hilly stronghold, and spread abroad her noble skirts over the valley of the Forth. But in addition to the natural obscurity of an infant city, the history of Edinburgh, as of Scotland, is involved in more than usual uncertainty, even down to a period when both should fill an important page in the annals of the British Isles, owing to the double destruction of the national records, first under Edward I., and again under Cromwell; leaving ita historian dependent for much of his material on vague and uncertain tradition, or on information obtained by patient labour, or fortunate chance in the pursuit of other investigations. The earliest notices refer almost exclusively to the CastIe, which has been occupied as a fortified station as far back as our traditions extend. The remotest date we have been able to discover, assigned for its origin, is in Stow’s Summarie of EngZyshe Chronicles, where it is placed as far back as 989 years before Christ ; sufficiently remote, we should presume, for the most zealous chronologist. Ebranke,” says he, “the some of Mempricius, was made ruler of Britayne ; he had, as testifieth Policronica, Ganfride, and other twenty-one wyves, of whom he receyved twenty sonnes and thirty daughters ; whyche he sente into Italye, there to be maryed to the blood of the Troyans. In Albanye (now called Scotlande) he edified the castell of Alclude, which is Dumbritayn ; he made the castell of Maydens, now called Edenbrough; he made also the castell of Banburgh in the 23d yere of his reign. He buylded Yorke citie, wherein he made a temple to Diana, and set there an Arch-flame ; and there was buried, when he had reigned 49 peares.” From more trustworthy sources, we learn of its occupation as far back as the fifth century by the Picts, from whom it was wrested by the Northumbrian Saxons in the pear 452. And from that time, down to the reign of Malcolm IL, its history exhibits a constant struggle, maintained between them and the Picts, and each alternately victorious. From Edwin, one of these Northumbrian invaders, it may be remarked, who rebuilt the fortress about the year 626, the name of Edwinesburg, as it is termed in the oldest charters we have any notice of, is derived with more plausibility, than from any other of the contradictory sources from which learned antiquaries have sought to deduce it. Passing intermediate incidents of uncertain significance, the next important epoch is that of 1093, when Donald Bane laid siege to the Castle, in an unsuccessful endeavour to pos- 1 Dumbarton.
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