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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


Volume 10 Page 386
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THE WEST BOW AND SUBURBS. 353 of people.” This manufacturing speculation, though devised for benevolent purposes, entirely failed, and dissipated the whole revenues of the older foundation. We next h d it converted into an Hospital for the wounded soldiers of General Leslie’s army, during the skirmishing that preceded his total defeat at Dunbar; and thereafter it reached its final degradation as a penal workhouse or bridewell, in which capacity it is referred to in the ‘‘ Heart of Midlothian.” The building was decorated with the city arms, and smw other rudely sculptured devices on the pediments of the dormer windows that appear in our view, and over the doorway was inscribed the pious aspiration :-GOD WARK * with the date 1619. Beyond this lies the district of Calton,* which had for its superiors the Lords Balmerinoch, until the Common Council purchased the superiority of it from the last representative af that noble family, who perished on the block in 1746. The first Lord Balmerinoch was made the scapegoat of his royal master James VI., on the Secretary Cecil producing a letter to the Council, which his Majesty had written to the Pope, Clement VIII., with the view of smoothing his accession to the English throne. Lord Balmerinoch was accused as the author of the letter, and sent prisoner to Edinburgh, “with the people of which place,” says Scott of Scotstarvit, “he was little favoured, because he had acquired many landa about the town, so that John Henderson, the bailie, forced him to light off his horse at the foot of Leith Wynd, albeit he had the rose in his leg, and was very unableto walk, till he came to the prison house.” He was condemned to be beheaded, but was soon after permitted to retire to his own house, the whole being a mere ruse to cover the King’s double dealing. The last Lord presented the Old Calton Burying Ground to his vassals, as a place of sepulture, and it is said offered them the whole hill for $40. This district, however, must have existed long before Ring James bestowed that title on his favourite, as the last remains of an ancient chapel, dedicated to St Ninian were swept away in 1814, in clearing the site for the west pier of the Regent Bridge. Only the crypt, or vaulted ground story, remained at the time of its demolition ; but ‘‘ the baptismal font,” as Arnot styles it, or more probably the holy-water stoup, was removed by Mr Walter Ross in 1778, to the curious Gothic tower built by him at Dean Haugh. It consists of a neatly SCUIPtured bason, forming the base of a Gothic niche, and surmounted by an elegant Gothic canopy, and now forms one of the heterogeneous decorations collected by Sir Walter Scott for his mansion at Abbotsford. Nothing is known either of the founders or the date of erection of St Ninian’s Chapel. The neighbouring Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity was dedicated, in the charter of foundation, “For the praise and honour of the Holy Trinity, of the ever-blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, of St Niniun tAe Confessor, and of all saints and elect of God” The chapel appears, however, to have been a dependency of the Abbey of Holyrood, from different notices of it that occur in licences granted by the Abbots to the Corporations of the Canongate, for founding and maintaining altars in the Abbey Church. In a licence granted in 1554, by Robert Stewart, Abbot of Holyrood, “for augmentatioun of dyuine seruice at me alter to be biggit within our sayd abbay, quhare Sanct Crkpine and Crispiniane per patronis sal1 stand;” it is added, BLIS THIS 1 Calderwood, voL vii’p. 458. ’ Nicoll’e Diary, p 23. “ CaEton, or Caldoun, is admitted to be the hiu covered with bushes.”-Dalrymple’s Annals, VOL i. p. 96. Charter of Foundation, Maitland, p. 207. ’ 2Y
Volume 10 Page 387
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