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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


JAMES l? TO ABDICATION OF QUEEN MARK 51 success on his own behalf. The Scottish nation, torn at this time by rival factions, and destitute of any leader or guide, could only submit in passive indignation to his ruthless vengeance. Yet, with their usual pertinacity, they shortly after mustered aboltt thirteen hundred men, who “raid into England and brunt and herijt certane townes on the bordouris vnto Tilmouth; ” and, on the twelfth of July following, the Earl of Angus was proclaimed lieutenant, and commanded the realm to follow him in an hour’s warning, “ with foure dayis victuall, to pass on their ald enemies of Ingland.” During the following year 1545-6, Edinburgh Castle was for a brief period the scene of Wishart’s imprisonment, after his seizure by the Earl of Bothwell, and delivery into the hands of Cardinal Beaton, at Elphinstone Tower ; an ancient keep, situated in East Lothian, about two miles from the village of Tranent. A wretched dungeon, under the great hall of Elphinstone, is fitill pointed out as the place of Wishart’s imprisonment, as well as another room, in which the Cardinal slept at the same period. The burning of Wishart immediately afterwards at St Andrews, as well as the death of the Cardinal, by the hands of Wishart’s friends, which 80 speedily followed, are facts familiar to the student of Scottish history. The death of Henry VIII. in 1547 tended to accelerate the renewal of his project for enforcing the union of the neighbouring kingdoms, by the marriage of his son with the Scottish Queen. Henry, on his deathbed, urged the prosecution of the war with Scotland; and the councillors of the young King Edward VI. lost no time in completing their arrangements for the purpose. The Scottish Court was at this time at Stirling, but the council made the most vigorouB preparations for the defence of the kingdom. A proclamation was issued on the 19th of March, requiring all the lieges to be ready, on forty days’ warning, to muster at their summons, with victuals for one month ; and on the 25th of May, this was followed by another order for preparing beacon fires on all the high hills along the coast, to give warning of the approach of the enemy’s fleet. The more urgently to summon the people to arms, the Earl of Arran adopted an expedient seldom resorted to, except in cases of imminent peril; he caused the Kery Cross to be borne by the heralds throughout the realm, summoning all men, as well spiritual as temporal, between sixty and sixteen, to be ready to repair to the city of Edinburgh, weil bodin in feir of weir, at the first notice of the English ships.* . In the beginning of September, the Earl of Hertford, now Duke of Somerset, and Lord Protector of England, during the minority of his nephew Edward VL, again eutered Scotland at the head of a numerous army; while a fleet of about sixty sail co-operated with him, by a descent on the Scottish coast. At his advance, he found the Scottish army assembled in great force to oppose him, whereupon he wrote to the Governor of Scotland, offering for the sake of peace, that while he still insisted on the hand of the Queen for his royal master, he would agree to conditions by which she should remain within Scotland until she were fit for marriage. The Scottish leaders, however, were resolute in rejecting this alliance with England at. whatever cost ; and in proof of the strong feeling of opposition that existed, it may be mentioned, that the Scottish army included a large body of priests and monks, who Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 33. ’ Keith’e History, vol. i. p. 1% Tytler, vol. vi. p. 23.
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52 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. marched under a white banner, on which was painted a female kneeling before a crucifix, her hair dishevelled, and embroidered underneath the motto ‘‘ Afflicts Ecclesis ne obliviscaris.” Preparatory to determining their differences by force of arms, the Earl of Huntly made offer to the English leader to decide the issue by single combat ; but this he rejected, and after skirmishing for several daya with various success in the neighbourhood of Prestonpans, where the English army was encamped,-a scene long afterwards made memorable by the brief triumph of Mary’s hapless descendant, Charles Stuart-the two armies at length came to a decisive engagement on Saturday the 10th of September 1547, long after known by the name of ‘‘ Black Saturday.” The field of Pinkie, the scene of this fatal contest, lies about six miles distant from Edinburgh, and so near to the sea, that the English ships did great injury to the Scottish army, as they marched towards the field of battle. The stately mansion of Pinkie House, formerly the residence of the Abbots of Dunfermline, still remains in perfect preservation, in the immediate vicinity of the scene where the fatal battle of Pinkie was fought. The Scots were at first victorious, and succeeded in driving back the enemy, and carrying off the royal standard of England ; but being almost destitute of cavalry, they were unable to follow up their advantage, and being at length thrown into disorder by the enemy’s menat- arms, consisting principally of a body of mounted Spanish carabineers in complete mail, they were driven from the field, after a dreadful slaughter, with the loss of many of their nobles and leaders, both slain and taken prisoners. Immediately after the battle, the English advanced and took the town of Leith, where they tarried a few days, during which the Earl of Huntly, and many other Scottish prisoners of every degree, were confined in St Mary’s Church there, while treating for their ran~om.~T hey also made an unsuccessful attempt on Edinburgh, whose provost had fallen on the field, and where it is recorded that this fatal battle had alone made three hundred and sixty widows ; ’ but finding the Scottish nation as resolute as ever in rejecting all terms of accommodation, they again pillaged and burned the town of Leith, spoiled the Abbey of Holyrood, from which they tore off the leaden roof, and re-embarked on board t,heir fleet. They wreaked their vengeance on some defenceless fishing towns and villages along the coast of the Firth, and then returned to England, where Archbishop Cranmer prepared a general thanksgiving to be used throughout all the churches in the kingdom, for the great victory God had vouchsafed them over their enemies 1 So differently are the same actions estimated, according as our interests are affected ; for the Duke of Somerset had so exasperated the Scottish nation by his cruelty, and disgusted even the barons who had inclined to the English party by his impolitic conduct, that they were more unanimous than ever against the proposed alliance. ‘‘ The cruelty,” says Qtler, “of the slaughter at Pinkie, and the subsequent severities at Leith, excited universal indignation ; and the idea that a free country was to be compelled into a pacific matrimonial alliance, amid the groans of its dying citizens, and the flames of its seaports, was revolting and absurd.” The Queen Dowager availed herself of the popular feeling thus so strongly excited with 1 Tytler, vol. vi. p. 31. ‘ Herries’ Memoirs, p. 21. 2 Diumd of Occurrenta, p. 44, 6 Tytler, vol. vi, p. 42. a Bishop Lesiie’s History, p. 198.
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