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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


364 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. were derivable from it to the Crown is proved by the frequent payments with which it was burdened by different monarchs, as in the year 1477, when Ring James 111. granted out of it a perpetual annuity of twelve merks Scots, for support of a chaplain to officiate at the altar of the upper chapel, in the Collegiate Church of the blessed Virgin Mary which he had founded at Restalrig. The King’s Work was advantageously placed at the mouth of the harbour, ao as to serve 8s a defence against any enemy that might approach it by sea. That it partook of the character of a citadel or fortification, seems to be implied by an infeftment granted by Queen Mary in 1564 to John Chisholme, who is there designated comptroller of artillery. The ancient buildings had shared in the general conflagration which sipalised the departure of the army of Henry VIII. in 1544, and they would appear to have been re-built by Chisholme in a style of substantial magnificence. The following are the terms in which the Queen confirms her former grant to the comptroller of artillery on his completion of the work :-<‘ Efter hir hienes lauchfull age, and revocation made in parliament, hir majeste sett in feu farme to hir lovite suitoure Johnne Chisholme, his airis and asignais, all and haille hir landis, callet the King’s Werk in Leith, within the boundis specifit in the infeftment, maid to him thairupon, quhilkis than war alluterlie dkcayit, and sensyne are reparit and reedifit be the said Johnne Chisholme, to be policy and great decoratioun of this realme, in that oppin place and sight of all strangearia and utheris resortand at the schore of Leith.” The property of the Ring’s Work remained vested in the Crown, notwithstanding the terms of this royal grant. In 1575, we find it converted into an hospital for the reception of those who recovered from the plague, and in 1613 it was bestowed by James VI. on his favourite cAam6er-chieZd, or groom of the chamber, Bernard Lindsay of Lochill, by a royalgrant which empowered him to keep four taverns therein. A part of it was then fitted up as a Tennis Court for the favourite pastime of catchpel, and continued to be used for this purpose till the year 1649, when it was taken possession of by the Magistrates of Edinburgh, and converted into the Weigh House of the burgh. The locality retained the name of Bmnard’s Nook, derived from its occupation by the royal servitor ; and that of Bernard Street, which is now conferred on the broad thoroughfare that leads eastward from the Shore, still preserves a memorial of the favourite chamber-chield of Jamee VI. A large stone panel which bore the date 1650-the year immediately succeeding the appropriation of the King’a Work to civic purposes-appeared on the north gable of the old Weigh-house which till recently occupied its site, with the curious device of a rainbow carved in bold relief, springing at either end from a bank of clouds. The chief thoroughfare which leads in the same direction, and the one we presume which superseded the Burgess Close as the principal approach to the harbour, is the Tolbooth Wynd, where the ancient Town Hall stood: a singularly picturesque specimen of the tolbooth of an old Scottish burgh. Jt was built by the citizens of Leith in the year 1565, though not without the strenuous opposition of their jealous over-lords of the Edinburgh Council, who threw every impediment in their way; until at length Queen Mary, after repeated remonstrances, wrote to the Provost and Magistrates :-46 We charge zow that ee permit oure Inhabitants of oure said toun of Leith, to big and edifie oure said Hous of Justice, within oure said Toun of Leith, and mak na stop nor impediment to thame to do the samyn, for it is oure will that the aamyn be biggit, and that ze disist fra further molest
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