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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


JAMES V. TO ABDICATION OF QUEEN MARK 73 June 1562, tAe idol was ordered to be cut out of the town’s standard, &nd a thistle to be substituted in its place, though the saint‘s fawn has been since allowed to appear in his stead. During this year the Council made application to the Queen to grant them the grounds belonging to the Black Friars, lying to the south, between the Cowgate and the town wall, to build an hospital thereon -for the poor; and also the Kirkof- Field, with all the adjoining buildings and ground, to erect there a public school, together with their revenues for endowing the same. They also, at the same time, besought her to grant them the yards and site of the Greyfriars’ monastery, ‘‘ being somewhat distant from the town,” for the purpose of a public burial-place. The Queen, in reply, granted the last request, appointing the Greyfriars’ Yard to be devoted to the use of the town for the specified purpose ; and for the rest, she engaged, so soon as sufficient funds were secured for building the hospital and school, that she would provide a convenient site for them. The whole, however, were at length made over to the magistrates, in the year 1566, for the purposes specified. Great excitement was occasioned in Edinburgh at this time, by an act of violence perpetrated by the Earl of Bothwell, with the aid of the Marquis D’Elboeuf aud Lord John Coldingham. They broke open the doors of Cuthbert Ramsay’s house, in $t Mary’s Wynd, during the night, and made violent entry iu search for his daughter-in-law, Alison Craig, with whom the Earl of Arran was believed to be enamoured. A strong remonstrance was presented to the Queen on this occasion, beseeching her to bring the . perpetrators to punishment ; but the matter was hushed up, with promises of amendment. Emboldened by their impunity, Bothwell and his accomplices proceeded to further violence. They assembled in the public streets during the night, with many of their friends. Gavin Hamilton, abbot of Kilwinning, who had joined the reforming party, resolved to check them in their violent proceedings. He accordingly armed his servants and retainem and sallied out to oppose them, and a serious affray took place between the Cross and. the Trone ; shot and bolts flew in every direction ; the burghers were mustered by the‘ringing of the town bells, and rival leaders were sallying out to the assistance of their friends, when the Earls of Murray and Huntly, who were then residing in the Abbey, mustered their adherents at the Queen’s request, and put a stop to the tumult. Bothwell afterwards successfully employed the mediation of Knox, to procure a reconciliation with Gavin Hamilton, the Earl of Arran, and others of his antagonists.’ The Parliament met at Edinburgh bn the 26th of May 1563. It was the first time that Knox’s Hist., pp. 279, 280. Keitb, vol. ii. p. 130. VIaamThSt &lee-from the Common seal of the City of Edinburgh, 1565. K
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?4 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. Queen’ Mary had ever been present at the Assembly of the Estates, and its proceedings were conducted with unusual pomp. The Queen rode in procession to the Tolbooth, in robes of state, with the crown, sceptre, and sword borne before her, escorted by a brilliant cavalcade, and was hailed with loyal greetings as she passed along the High Street, The hall was crowded with the nobles and other members, in their most costly habiliments, and glit,tered with the gay trappings of the royal household, and the splendour and beauty of the Court, that surrounded the throne. The Queen opened the proceedings with an address which won the favour of her audience, no less than her extreme beauty, so that the people were heard to exclaim, Did ever orator speak so sweetly?” On three succeeding days she rode thus to the Tolbooth, greatly to the dissatisfaction of the preachers, who spoke boldly “ against the superfluities of their clothes,” and at length presented articles for regulating apparel and reforming other similar enormities.’ It may be mentioned, as characteristic of the times, that the Town Council, “ for the satisfaction of many devout citizens, and to prevent the crime of fornication,” enacted, about the same period, that all guilty of this crime should be ducked in a certain part of the North Loch, then an impure pond of stagnant water, and a pillar was erected there for the more efficient execution of such sentences. The punishment, however, was not always reserved for such carnal offenders, but was also enforced against the moat zealous adherents of the ancient faith. In the month of August, a serious disturbance occurred, in consequence of the Queen’s domestics at Holyrood being found, during her absence at Stirling, attending mass at the chapel there. Patrick Cranston, “ a zealous brother,” as Knox styles him, entered the chapel, and finding the altar covered, and R priest ready to celebrate mass, he demanded of them how they dared thus openly to break the laws of the land? The magistrates were summoned, and peace restored with difficulty. A much more serious display of popular intolerance was exhibited in the year 1565. The period appointed by the ministers of the Congregation for the celebration of the comregarded as a peculiar aggravation of the crime of “ massing,’’ when it was done at the same time as they were administering the sacrament, the indignation of the reformers was greatly excited by the customary services of the Roman Catholics at this period. A party of them, accordingly, headed by one of the bailies, seized on Sir James Tarbat, a Catholic priest, as he was riding home, after officiating at the altar. He was imprisoned in the Tolbooth, along with several of his assistants; but the populace, not content to abide the course of law, brought him forth, clothed in his sacerdotal garments, and with the chalice secured in his hand. He was placed on the pillory at the Market Cross, and exposed for an hour to the pelting of the rude rabble ; the boys serving him, according to Knox, with his Easter eggs. He was brought to trial with his assistants on the following day, and convicted of having celebrated mass, contrary to law. He was again exposed for four hours on the pillory, under the charge of the common hangman, and ao rudely treated that he was reported to be dead. The Queen, justly exasperated at this cruel and insulting proceeding, sent to her friends God save that sweet face I . muuion chanced to fall at the season of Easter, and as it seems to have been at all times . a Rnox’a Hist., p. 295. Keith, voL ii. p. 199.
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