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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


CHAPTER I. T H E CA S TLE. HE historical incidents narrated in the earlier part of the work, exhibit the Castle of Edinburgh as the nucleus round which the town Tg#&g l _ _ _ l _ ~ _ has gradually arisen. Notwithstanding the numerous sieges which it has stood, the devastations to which it has been subjected by successive conquerors, and above all, the total changes in its defences, consequent on the alterations introduced in modern warfare, it &ill contains remains of an earlier date than any that are to be found in the ancient capital. The main portion of the fortifications, however, must be referred to a period subsequent to the siege in 1572, when it was surrendered by Sir 'CVilliam Kirkcaldy, after it had been reduced nearly to a heap of ruins. In a report furnished to the Board of Ordnance, from documents preserved in that department, it appears that, in 1574 (only two years after the siege), the governor, George Douglas of Parkhead, repaired the walls, and built the half-moon battery, OIL the site, it may be presumed, of David's Tower, which wag demolished in the course of the siege.' Tradition affixes the Protector's name to a small tower, with crow-stepped gables, built to the east of the great draw-well, forming the highest point of this battery. It is, without doubt, a building erected long before Crom- MS. Report, R M'Kerlie, Esq., Ordnance Office, wherein it is further stated that,-"In 1675, the Citadel contained eight distinct Towers, fronting the Old Town and south-west, and twelve buildings were outside the Citadel but within the walla, eight of which were in a castellated form." VIaNsmE-Edinburgh castle, from a drawing by T. Sandby, about 1750. Q
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I22 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. well's time, and, to all appearance, coeval with the battery, but its commanding .position and extensive view are not unlikely to have arrested his notice. Considerable portions of the western fortifications, the parapet wall, and port holes of the half-moon battery, and the ornamental coping and embrazures of the north and east batteries, as well as the house now occupied by the barrack sergeant, are of a much later date. The building last mentioned, situated immediately to the north of the grand parade, bears a close resemblance in its general style to the Darien House, erected in 1698, and the whole may, with every probability, be referred to nearly the same period, towards the close of William III.'s reign. Very considerable alterations have been made from time to time on the approach to the fortress from the town. The present broad esplanade was formed chiefly with the rubbish removed from the site of the Royal Exchange, the foundation of which was laid in 1753. In the very accurate view of the Castle furnished by Maitland, from a drawing by T. Sandby, which represents it previous to this date, there is only a narrow roadway, evidently of artificial construction, raised nearly to the present level, which may probably have been made on the destruction of the Spur, an ancient battery that occupied a considerable part of the Castle Hill, until it was demolished by order of the Estates of Parliament, August 2, 1649.l The previous elevation of the ground had evidently been no higher than the bottom of the present dry ditch. The curious bird's-eye view of the Castle, taken in 1573 (a fa-simile of which is given in the 2nd volume of the Bannatyne Miscellany), and all the earlier maps of Edinburgh, represent the Castle as rising abruptly on the east side, and in that of 1575, from which we have copied a view of the Castle,' the entrance appears to be by a long flight of steps. It may perhaps be considered as a confirmation of this, that: in the representations of the fortress, as borne in the arms of the burgh, a similar mode of approach is generally shown.' . Immediately within the drawbridge, there formerly stood an ancient and highly ornamental gateway, near the barrier guard-room. It was adorned with pilasters, and very rich mouldings carried over the arch, and surmounted with a remarkably curious piece of sculpture, in basso relievo, set in an oblong panel, containing a representation of the famous cannon, Mons Meg, with groups of ancient artillery and military weapons. This fine old port was only demolished in the beginning of the present century, owing to its being found too narrow to give admission to modern carriages and waggons, when the preseut plain and inelegant gateway was erected on its site. Part of the curious carving alluded to has since been placed over the entrance to the Ordnance Office in the Castle, and the remaining portion is now preserved in the Antiquarian Museum.' Immediately to the west of this, another ancient ornamented gateway still exists. Bannatyne Misc., vul. ii. p. 398. dnte, p. 8. ' In the survey of the Caatle, taken for Sir William Drury in 1572, the following detlcription occurs :-" On the fore parte eatwarde, next the towne, standa like iiij= foote of the hanle, and next unto the same stands Davyes Towre, and from it a courten, with vj cannons, in loopea of atone, lookingein the atreatwarde ; and behynd thesamestandes another teare of ordinance, lyke xvj foote clym above the other ; and at the northe ende standa the Couatablea Towre; and in the bottom of the 8am0, is the way into the Caatle, with XI" steppes." The number of the atepps is in another hand, the YS. being partially injured.-Bann. Misc., vol. L p. 69. They were preserved, and placed in their present situations through the good taate of R. M'Kerlie+ Esq., of the Ordnance Office, to whose recollections of the old gateway, when an officer in tbe garrison in 1800, we are mainly indebted for the ahove description. + Vide pp. 1 and 6, for views of these stones.
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