Edinburgh Bookshelf

Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


396 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. lover of Gothic architecture that now remains in the capital. Unhappily, however, the march of improvement threatens its demolition. It has already been marked for a prey by the engineers of the North British Railway, for the purpose of enlarging their terminus; and unless the exertions of the lovers of antiquity succeed in averting its destruction, the doom has already been pronounced of this venerable fane which covers the remains of Mary of Guelders, the Queen of James 11.’ The vestry affords, externally, a fine specimen of the old Scottish method of ‘‘ theiking with stone,” with which the whole church, except the central tower, was roofed till about the year 1814, when it was replaced with slates. The vestry also exhibits a rare specimen of an ancient Gothic chimney, an object of some interest to the architect, from the few specimens of domestic architecture in that style which have escaped the general destruction of the religious houses in Scotland, The collegiate buildings, erected according to the plan of the foundress, were built immediately adjoining the church on the south side, while the hospital for the bedemen stood on the opposite side of Leith Wynd. In 1567 the church, with the whole collegiate buildings, were presented by the Regent Murray to Sir Simon Preston, Provost of Edinburgh, by whom they were bestowed on the town. New statutes were immediately drawn up for regulating “ the beidmen and hospitdaris now present and to cum;”2 and the hospital buildings being found in a ruinous condition, part of the collegiate buildings were fitted up and converted into the new hospital, which thenceforth bore the name of Trinity Hospital. This veuerable edifice was swept away in 1845 in clearing the site for the railway station, and its demolition brought to light many curious evidences of its earlier state. A beautiful large Gothic fireplace, with clustered columns and a low-pointed arch, was disclosed in the north gable, while many rich fragments of Gothic ornament were found built into the walls-the remains, no doubt, of the original hospital buildings used in the enlargement and repair of the college. In the bird’s-eye view in Gordon’s map, an elegant Gothic lantern appears on the roof above the great hall, but this had disappeared long before the demolition of the building. In enlarging the drain from the area of the North Loch, in 1822, an ancient causeway was discovered fully four feet below the present level of the church floor, and extending a considerable way up the North Back of the Canongate. Its great antiquity was proved on the recent demolition of the hospital buildings, by the discovery that their foundations rested on part of the same ancient causeway thus buried beneath the slow accumulations of centuries, and which was not improbably a relic of the Roman invasion. One of the grotesque gurgoils of the Trinity Hospital is now preserved in the Antiquarian Museum. In the view of Trinity College Church, drawn by Paul Sandby for Maitland’s History of Edinbargh, a building is shown attached to the west end of it, which appears to have been a separate hospital maintained by the town, after the Magistrates had obtained the exclusive control of the Queen’s charitable foundation, In the will of Katharine Norwell, for example, the widow of the celebrated printer Thomas Bassendyne, bted 8th August 1 As anticipated, Trinity College Church was taken down on the construction of the North British Railway in 1846. The stonea having been almost entirely preserved, and a aite obtained on a spot nearly opposite to where it originally stood, it is now (1872) being rebuilt. ’ Maitland, pp. 211, 490.
Volume 10 Page 434
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Volume 10 Page 435
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