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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


Volume 10 Page 422
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ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES. 385 2%h, 1387, between “ Adam Forster, Lord of Nether Leberton, Androw Yichtson, Provest of the Burgh of Edynburgh, and Communitie of that Ilk, on the ta half, and Johne Johne of Stone, and Johne Slcayer, masounys, on the toyer half,” and requires that ‘‘ the forsaidys Johne Johne, and Johne, sall make and voute f p e Chapells on the south syde of the Paryce Kyrke of Edynburgh, fra the west gavyl, lyand and rynan doun est, on to the grete pyler of the stepyl, voutyt on the same maner by the masounys, as the vout abovye Sanct Stevinys auter, standand on the north syde of the parys auter of the Abbay of Haly-rude Houss. Alsua yat ylk man sal mak in ylk Chapel of the four, a wyndow with thre lychtys in fourm masoune lyke, the qwhilk patroune yai hef sene; and the fyfte Chapel voutyt with a durre, in a10 gude maner als the durre, standand in the west gavyl of ye forsaid kyrk. Alsua ye forsayde five Chapellys sall be thekyt abovyn with stane, and water thycht; ye buttras, ye lintels f p y t up als hech as ye lave of yat werk askys.”’ The whole of these five chapels remained, with their beautiful groined roofs, and clustered columns, until the restoration of the ancient edifice in 1829, when the two west ones were demolished, apparently for no better reason than because they interfered with the architect’s design for a uniform west front. The third chapel, which now forms the west lobby of the Old Church, as this subdivision of the building is styled, retained till the same date the beautiful vaulted entrance erected in 1387; it was an open porch, with a richly-groined ceiling, and over it a small chamber, lighted by an elegant oriel window, the corbel of which was an angel holding the city arms. A fac-simile of this has been transferred to the west side of the aisleY2th ough without either the beautiful porch which it surmounted, or the picturesque turret-stair which stood on its west side, and formed the approach to the Priest’s Chamber as well as to the roof of the church. The demolition of this portion of the ancient edifice led to the discovery of a large accumulation of charters and ancient records of the city, which had been placed at some early period in the chamber over the porch, and had lain there undisturbed probably for more than two centuries. It had contained also a series of pictorial decorations of an unusual character a0 the adornments of any part of a church, but which appear to have been painted on the panelling of the chamber about the period of the Revolution, when it formed an appendage to the Council Chambers. The only fragments of these that have been preserved are now in the collection of C. K. Sharpe, Esq., and consist of a trumpeter, a soldier bearing a banner, and a female figure holding a cornucopia. The costume of the figures, which are above half-life size, is of the reign of Willitlm 111. The paintings are really works of some merit, so far as can be judged from these detached fragments, which were literally rescued from the ruins of the ancient vestry, and are insufficient to show what had been the subject of the whole desigu. The txo eastern chapels are now included in the Old ChrcA, and though greatly defaced by modern partitions and galleries, retain some of the original groining, constructed five centuries ago, in imitation of St Stephen’s Chapel in the Abbey of Holpood. 1 Maitland, p. 270. The carved stones of the original window are now in the possession of A. E. Ellis, Eaq., and cannot but excite the surprise of every one who sees them, as the most of them are nearly as fresh and sharp aa when firat executed. Among other interesting fragments rescued by Mr Ellii at the same period, there is a very fine stoup for holy water, formed in shape of a shallow bason, with a large star covering it, and leaving the interatices for the water. It had projected from the wall on a richly-flowered corbel, which has been rudely broken in its removal. 3 c
Volume 10 Page 423
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