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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


Volume 10 Page 358
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ST LEONARD’S, ST MARY’S WYND, AND COWGATE. 329 however, that his hostess had a fair and witty daughter, with whom he fell in love, and forgetting his early sorrows, he married her, and spent the remainder of his life in Edinburgh. The young couple continued to reside for some time. after their marriage in the old lady’s house in the Cowgate; and thereafter removing to No. 19 St Andrew’s Square, Henry Brougham, the future Lord Chancellor of England, was born there in the year 1779. Almost directly opposite to St Magdalene’s Chapel, a large and heavy-looking old mansion faces the street, with a broad arched gateway opening into an enclosed court, and two entrances from the street to the interior of the mansion, each of them surmounted with its appropriate legend. Within, a handsome but wofully dilapidated oaken staircase remains, and the interior exhibits otker traces of bygone splendour, amid the shreds and tatters of poverty that form the chief tapestry of the old halls of the Cowgate in modern days. This extensive tenement is t.he mansion built by the celebrated Sir Thomas Hope, king’s advocate of Charles I., and yet the foremost among those who organised the determined opposition to that monarch’s schemes for remodelling the Scottish Church, which led at length to the great civil war. Over one of the doorways is inscribed, TECVMH ABITA1,6 16, while the lintel of the principal entrance bears this laconic motto, now so much defaced as to be nearly undecipherable, AT HOSPES HVMOw, hich proves to be an anagram of the name of its celebrated builder.’ The philosophy of its old founder’s motto seems to acquire a new force in the degradation that has befallen the dwelling-place of the crafty statesman, wherein he schemed the overthrow of the throne and government. In this ancient mansion, in all probability, the bold councils were held that first checked the unfortunate Charles I., and gave confidence to those who were already murmuring against his impolitic measures. Here too we may, with considerable confidence, presume the National Covenant to have been drawn up, and the whole scheme of policy matured by which the unhappy monarch found himself foiled alike in the Parliament, the Assembly, and in the decisive Battle of Longmarston- Moor. In the same house, Mary, Countess of Mar, daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox, died on the 11th of May 1644.2 Both Bailie’s Court-at one time the residence of Lord Kengetand Allison’s Close, which a few years ago was one of the most picturesque alleys in the Cowgate-are decorated at their entrances with passages selected from the Psalms, a custom that superseded the older mottoes towards the latter eud of the seventeenth%?entury. Beyond these, however, there -still remain several tenements of considerable antiquity and great variety of character; and in particular one old timberfronted land, with the rude unglazed loop-holes, or shot w i n h s , which were doubtless The elder Brougham lies buried in Restalrig Churchyard. . 1 “ If the house near Cowgeat-head, north sgde that street, waa built by Sir Thomas Hope, as is supposed, the inscription upon me of the lintall-stones supporta this etymologie-[viz., that the Hopes derive their name from Eoublan the Hop plant, and not from Espemme; the virtue of the mind]-for the anagram is At Hoapea Hum, and haa all the lettera of Thomas Houpe.”-Coltness Collections, Maitland Club, p. 16. The “Extracts from the Countess of Mar’s Household Book,” by C. K. Sharpe, Esq., contains many very curious local allusions, e.g. :-“Jan. 7, 1639.--(fiven to the poor at Nidriea wynd head, as my Lady cam from the Treasurer deputes [Lord Carmichael], 6 sh. Aug. 1641.-Payit to the cnatome of the Water Gate for ten horaea that enterit with my La. carryage, 10d. 6 Sept.-To the gardener in ye Abay yard who presentit to my Laidy ane flour, 6 sh. 16 Sept.-Payit for twa torches to lighten on my Laidy to the Court with my Laidy Marqueeae of Huntlie, 24 Eh. 1641,-6 Oct. J’ day to ye Abay Kirk broad, aa my Laidy went to the sermon, 6 sh., &e.” a Sir Thomas Hope’s Diary, p. 205. 2T
Volume 10 Page 359
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