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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


THE LA WNMARKET. I75 High Sheet,-two bands of men of war were placed about the Cross, and two above the Tolbooth. “The first band waited upon the convoy of the Erle of Morton, from the loodging to the Tolbuith.” The crime for which he was convicted, was a share in the murder of Darnley, but eighteen other heads of indictment had been drawn up against him. About six in the evening, he was conveyed back to his lodging in the Old Bank Close. He supped cheerfully, and on retiring to rest, slept till three in the morning, when he rose and wrote for some hours, and again returned to his couch. In the morning, he sent the letters he had written, by some of the ministers, to the King, but he refused to look at them or listen to their contents, or indeed do anything, but ranged up and doun the floore of his chamber, clanking with his finger and his thowme.” The Regent had shown little mercy as a ruler, and he had none to hope for from King James. On that same day, he was beheaded at the Cross, by the Maiden, with all the bloody formalities of a traitor’s death, and his head exposed on the highest point of the Tolbooth.’ In the folIowing year, the same substantial mansion,-alternately prison and palace: -was aasigned as a residence for Monsieur de la Motte Fenelon, the French ambassador, who came professedly to mediate between the Eing and hit nobles, and to seek a renewal of the. ancient league of amity with France. ‘‘ He was lodged in Gourlay’s house, near the Tolbooth, and had an audience of His Majesty upon the 9th of the said month ” of January. He remained till the 10th of February, when ‘( having received a satisfactory answer, with tt great banquet, in Archibald Stewart’s lodgings, in Edinburgh, he took journey homeward.”‘ The banquet was given at the King’s request, to the great indignation of the clergy, who had watched with much jealousy ‘(the traffique of Papists,” Calderwood, vol. iii. p. 557. ’ Ante, p. 86.-“ He was executed about foure houres after noone, upon Fryday, the secund of June. Phairnihmt stood in a shott over against the scaffold, with his large ruffes, delyting in this spectacle. The Lord Seton and his two sonnes stood in a staire, aouth-east from the Croce. His bodie lay upon the scaffold till eight houres at even, and therafter was carried to the Neather Tolbuith, where it was watched. His head waa sett upon a prick, on the highest atone of the gavel1 of the Tolbuith, toward the publict street”-C&lderwood, vol. iii. p. 575. It is said that the Regent Morton borrowed the idea from some foreign country. Halifax, in Yorkshire, h a been oftenest assigned 88 the place of ita invention ; and the generally received tradition is, that the Regent waa himself the first who suffered by it, On the 3d of April 1566, the Maiden waa used at the execution of T h m s Scot, an accomplice in the murder of Riezio, when an entry appears in the Town records of 7a paid for conveying it from Blackfriars to the Crosa The next execution mentioned, is that of Henry Yair, on the 10th of August, when Andrew Gofferaown, smyth,-who, at the former date, received 5s. for grinding of y’ Maiden,-obtains a similar fee for gvkding of Widow. We are inclined to infer that the same instrument is spoken of in both cases, and that the fanciful epithet which the old Scottish guillotine still retains, waa given to it on the former occasion, in allusion to ita then unfleahed and muidas axe, vide p. 86. It is at any rate obvious from this, that the Maiden was in use before the Earl of Morton waa appointed Regent. Maitland remarks @. 181), ‘‘ The Old Tolbooth, in the Bank Close, in the Landmarket, which was rebuilt in the year 1582, is still standing, on the western aide of the said cloae, with the windows strongly stanchelled; the small dimensions thereof occasioned ita being laid aside.” We shall show presently the very different character of the original building, although there still remains the intermediate poeaessor, Alexander Mauchane, already mentioned, unless, as ia most probable, he occupied the ancient erection as his dwelling. The alluaions already quoted, where the Tolbooth is mentioned along with this building, seem sufficient to prove that that name was never applied to it, although it occasionally shared with the Tolbooth the offices of c prison,- purpose that in reality properly belonged to neither. Moyses stylea it Gourlay‘r House, near Ac Tolbooth,-a true deffiription of it-aa it was within a hundred yards of the Old Tolbooth or “ Heart of Midlothian.” ‘ Mopes’ Memoirs, pp. 73-77. Archibald Stewart appears to have been a sub&antial citizen, who was Provost of the city in the year 1578. The common story told by Dr Jamieaon and other writers, about the Maiden, in entirely apocryphal.
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176 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. and especially of U one bearing the manifest badge of Antichrist,” viz., his badge as a knight of the order of Saint Esprit? They accordingly intimated to their congregations a day of fasting and prayer on the occasion, which was duly observed, while the Frenchman was having his farewell repast. In the year 1588, the King sent Sir James Stewart, brother of the Earl of Arran, to besiege Lord Maxwell, in the Castle of Lochmaben, where he was believed to have collected a force in readiness to co-operate with an expected army from Spain, against the government. The Castle was rendered on the faith of safety promised to the garrison by Sir William Stewart; but the King, who had remained at a prudent distance from danger, now made his appearance, and with characteristic perfidy, hanged the most of them before the Castle gate. He returned to Edinburgh thereafter, bringing with him the Lord Maxwell, “who was warded in Robert Gourlaye’s hous, and committed to the custodie of Sir William Stewart.” Scarcely a week after this, Sir William quarrelled with the Earl of Bothwell, in the royal presence, where each gave the other the lie, in language sufficiently characteristic of the rudeness of manners then prevailing at the Court of Holyrood. They met a few days afterwards on the High Street, each surrounded by his retainers, when a battle immediately ensued. Sir William was driven down the street by the superior numbers of his opponents, and at length retreated into Blackfriars’ Wynd.’ There he _.stabbed one of his assailants who was pressing most closely on him, but being unable to recover his sword, he was thrust through the body by Bothwell, and so perished in the afTray,-an occurrence that excited little notice at that turbulent period, either from the citizens or the Court, and seems to have involved its perpetrator in no retributive consequences. The next occupant of note was Colonel Sempill, a cadet of the ancient family of that name, and an active agent of the Catholic party, who “came to this countrie, with the Spanish gold to the Popish Lords.’’ The Earl of Huntly, who had shown himself favourable to the Spanish emissary, was commanded, under pain of treason, to apprehend him ; and he also was accordingly warded in Robert Gourlay’s house, seemingly at the same time with Lord Maxwell. In this case, it proved an insecure prison, for he (( soone after brake waird and escaped, and that by Huntlie’s moyen and assistance; ’” and on the 20th of May of the following year, Huntly was himself a prisoner, “wairded in Robert Gourlay’s h ~ u s e , ” ~ from whence he was soon afterwards transferred to Borthwick Castle. But not only was this ancient civic mansion the abode or prison of a succession of eminent men, during the troubled years of James the Sixth’s residence in Scotland; we find that the King himself, in 1593, took refuge in the same substantial retreat, during one of those daring insurrections of the Earl of Bothwell, that so often put his Majesty’s courage to sore trial, and drove him to seek the protection of the burgher force of Edinburgh. LL The 3d of Apryle, the Birrel’s Diary, p. 24. . ’ Calderwood, vol. iv. pp. 678-681. * Ibid, vol. v. p. 65. YIQNETTE-carved Stone from Old Bank Close, in the collection of A. 0. Ellis, Esq.
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