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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.
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352 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. sions, or swept away to make room for the formal streets and squares of the New Town; but these are the offspring of another parentage, though claiming a part among the memorials of the olden time. At the foot of Leith Wynd-and just without the ancient boundaries of the capital, lies an ancient suburb, which though at no time dignified by the abodes of the nobility, or even of citizens of note, was selected as the site of several early religious foundations that still confer some interest on the locality. The foot of the Wynd (the only portion which now remains) was remarkable as the scene of one of those strange acts of lawless violence, which were of such frequent occurrence in early times. John Graham, parson of Killearn, one of the supreme criminal Judges, having married the widow of Sandilands of Calder, instituted a vexatious law-suit against her son. The partizans of the latter probably considered it vain to compete with a lawyer at his own weapons, and his uncle, Sir James Sandilands, accompanied by a body of his friends and followers, lay in wait for the Judge on the 1st of February 1592, in the wynd, which then formed one of the principal avenues to the town, and avenged their quarrel by murdering him in open day, without any of the perpetrators being brought to trial or punishment.’ At the foot of the wynd stood the building known as Paul’s Work, rebuilt in 1619, on the site of an ancient religibus foundation. About the year 1479, Thomas Spence, Bishop of Aberdeen, founded an hospital there, for the reception and entertainment of twelve poor men, and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary, under the name of the Hospital of our Lady in Leith Wynd, and it subsequently received considerable augmentations to its revenues from other benefactors. It is probable that among these benefactions there had been a chapel or altar dedicated to St Paul, unless, indeed, this was included in the original charter of foundation.’ All these documents, however, are now lost, and we are mainly left to conjecture as to the source of the change of name which early took place. In 1582 the Common Council adapted this charitable foundation to the new order of things, and drew up statutes for the guidance. of the Bedemen, wherein it is required that, “in Religion they be na Papistes, bot of the trew Religi~n.”~S ubsequently the whole revenues were diverted to purposes never dreamt of by the pious founders. The buildings having probably fallen intp decay, were reconstructed as they now appear, and certain Dutch manufacturers were invited over from Delft, and established there for the instruction of poor girls and boys in the manufacturing of woollen stuffs. The influence of these strangers in their legitimate vocation failed of eEect, but Calderwood records in 1621, ‘‘ Manie of the profainner sort of the toun were drawen out upon the sixt of May, to May games in Gilmertoun and Rosseline; so profanitie began to accompanie superstition and idolatrie, as it hath done in former times. Upon the first of May, the weavers in St Paul’s Worke, Englishe and Dutche, set up a highe May pole, with their garlants and bells hanging at them, wherat was great concurse Arnot’s Criminal Trials, p. 174. “Feb. 7, 1696.-Reduction pursued by the Town of Edinburgh against Sir Wm. Binny, and other partnera of the Linen Manufactory in Paul’s Work, of the tack set to them of the same in 1683. Insisted lmo, that this house was founded by Thos. Spence, Bishop of Aberdeen, in the reign of King James II., for discipline and training of idle vagabonds, and dedicated to 9t Paul ; and by an Act of Council in 1626, was destinate aud mortified for educating boys in B woollen manufactory; and this tack had inverted the origiual design, contrary to the 6th Act of Parliament, 1633, discharging the sacrilegious inveraion of all pious donations.”-Fountainhall’s Decisions, vol. i. p. 709. “ There WM a hospital and chapel, dedicated to St Paul, in Edinburgh ; aud there waa in the chapel an altar and chaplainry conaecrated to the Virgin ; of which Sir William Knolls, the preceptor of Torphichen, claimed the patronage before the Privy Council, in 1495.”-ParI. Rec. 472. Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 471. * Maitland, pp. 468-9.
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