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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


THE WEST BOW AND SUBURBS. 351 over the principal door were those of Britain after the Union of the Crowns. stones, above the windows, were five emblematical representations :- . On triangular And in these five, such thing8 their form expresa’d. As we can touch, taste, feel, or hear, or see. A variety of the Virtues also were strewed upon different parts of the building. In one place was a rude representation of our h s t parents, and underneath the well-known old proverbial distich :- When Adam delved and Eve Bpan, Quhair war a’ the gentlea than ! In another place was a head of Julius Csesar, and elsewhere a head of Octavius Secundus, both in good preservation.” Many of these sculptures were recklessly defaced and broken, and the whole of them dispersed. Among those we have examined there is one, now built over the doorway of Gillespie’s School, having a tree cut on it, bearing for fruit the stars and crescents of the family arms, and the inscription DOMINUS EST ILLU- ~ A T I OME A ; another, placed over the Hospital Well, has this legend below a boldly cut heraldic device, CONSTANTIA ET LABORE . 1339. On two others, nom at Woodhouselee, are the following, BEATUS VIR QUI SPERAT IN DEO . 1450 . and PATRIB ET POSTERIS . 1513 . Altogether there were probably included in the decorations of this single building more quaint and curious allegories and inscriptions than are now left to reward our investigation among all the antiquities of the Old Town. The only remains of this singular mansion that have escaped the general wreck, are the sculptured pediments and heraldic carvings built into the boundary walls of the Hospital; and a few others, referred to above, which were secured by the late Lord Woodhouselee, and now adorn a ruin on Mr Tytler’s estate at the Pentlands. An examination of these s&ces to show that no dependence can be placed on the date referred to by Cadmon in fixing the age of the building, as the whole are in the florid style that prevailed in the reign of James VI., and were no doubt cut at one period as a durable memorial of the family tree.’ Maitland, after refuting the popular derivation of the name of Wrychtishousis, from the supposed fact of the mights or carpenters having dwelt there while cutting down the oaks of the Borough Muir, assigns it as the mansion of the Laird of Wite.’ That, however, is merely reasoning in a circle, and deriving its name from itself; but no better explanation seems now discoverable. Only one other suburban district remaina to be included in our sketch of the old Scottish Capital. Villages and hamlets have indeed been embraced within its modern exten- 1 A minute account of these, with accurate facsimiles of sevend of them, will be found in “The History of the Partition of the LennoL” The author shows that from the earliest records no evidence leads to the idea of any connection between the ownem of Merchiaton and Wrychtiihouaie, notwithstanding their common name. Their arms are quite distinct, until 1513-the memorable year of Flodden-when one of the heraldic sculpturea shows an alliance between the Laird of Wrychtishousis and a daughter of Merchiston. The author, however, does not notice the fact that on the family vault in St Oiles’e Church, the arms of both families are cut, not impaled, but on two distinct, though attached shields, and with the Merchiaton crest. He h a been driven to some very ingenious and learned theories to account for a shield bearing three crescents on the field, which he found-where it ought to b-t Woodhouselee, Mng the arms of the present owner of t h how. a Maitland, p. 508.-Thia derivation is deduced erroneously from the boundaries of the Borough Muir, aa given by himself, where he has printed in the possessive case and aa two worda, what should evidently read, “The Laird of Wryteshouse,” a~ in the previous sentence, “ The Laird of Marchiston.”-Ibid, p. 177.
Volume 10 Page 384
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