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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES. 397 1593, she leaves “ to ewerie ane of the pure folkis in the Hospitall of the Trinitie College, and of the Toun College of the west end of the College Kirk, iij S. iiij d.”’ One other collegiate church was enclosed within the walls of the ancient capital, known as that of St Nary in-the-Fields, or, more commonly, the Hirk-of-Field. We have already referred to it as the scene of one of the most extraordinary deeds of violence that the history of any age or country records-the murder of Darnley, the husband of Queen Mary, perpetrated by Bothwell and his accomplices on the night of the 9th of February 1567, when the Provost’s house, in which he lodged, was blown into the air with pnpowder, involving both Darnley and his servant in the ruins.’ When young Roland Graeme, the hero of the Ahbot, draws near for the first time to the Scottish capital, under the guidance of the bluff falconer, Adam Woodcock, he is represented exclaiming on a sudden-“ Blessed Lady, what goodly house is that which is lying all in ruins so close to the city? Have they been playing at the Abbot of Unreason here, and ended the gambol by burning the church ? ” The ruins that excited young Graeme’s astonishment were none other than those of the Kirk-of-Field, which stood on the sight of the present University buildings. It appears in the view of 1544, as a large cross church, with a lofty central tower ; and the general accuracy of this representation is in some degree confirmed by the correspondence of the tower to another view of it taken immediately after the murder of Da.mley, when the church was in ruins. The latter drawing, which has evidently been made in order to convey an accurate idea of the scene of the murder to the English Court, is preserved in the State Paper Office, and a fac-simile of it is given in Chalmers’ Life of Queeu Mary. The history of the Collegiate Church of St Mary in-the-Fields presents scarcely any other feature of interest than that which attaches to it as the scene of so strange and memorable %tragedy. Its age and its founder are alike unknown. It was governed by a provost, who, with eight prebendaries and two choristers, composed the college, with the addition of an hospital for poor bedemen ; and it is probable that its foundation dated no earlier than the ateenth century, as all the augmentations of it which are mentioned in the “ Inventar of Pious Donations,” belong to the sixteenth century. Bishop Lesley records, in 1558, that the Erle of Argyle and all his cumpanie entered in the toune of Edinburgh without anye resistance, quhair thay war weill receaved; and suddantlie the Black and Gray Freris places war spulyeit and cassin doune, the hail1 growing treis plucked up be the ruittis; the Trinitie College and all the prebindaris houses thairof lykewise cassin doun ; the altaris. and images within Sanct Gelis Kirke and the Kirk-of-Field destroyed and brint.”’ It seems probable, however, that the Collegiate church of St ’ Nary-in-the-Field was already shorn of its costliest spoils before the Reformers of the Congregation visited it in 1558. In the ‘( Inventory of the Townis purchase from the Marquis of Hamilton, in 1613,” with a view to the founding of the college, we have found a.n abstract of a feu charter granted by Mr Alexander Forrest, provost of the Collegiate Church of the blessed Mary in-the-Fields‘near Edin’., and by the prebends of the said church,” bearing date 1554, wherein, among other reasons speciiied, it is stated : ‘‘ considering that ther houses, especialy ther hospital annexed and incorporated with ther college, were burnt doun and destroyed by their auld enemies of England, so that nothing of their said hospital was left, but they are altogether waste and entirely ‘ I Bannatyne Misc., vol. ii p. 221. ante, p. 78. a Lesley, p, 275.
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398 NEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. destroyed; wherethrough the divine worship is not 8 little decreaced in the college, because they were unable to rebuild the said hospital; . . Therefore they gave, granted, set in feu farme, and confirmed to a magnificent and illustrious Prince, James Duke of Chattelarault, Earl of Arran, Lord Hamilton, &c., all and hail their tenement or hospital, with the yards and pertinent8 thereof; lying within the burgh of Edinburgh in the street or wynd called School-House Wynd, on the east part thereof.” The Duke of Chatelherault appears, from frequent allusions by contemporary annals, to have built a mansion for his own use on the site of the Hospital of St Mary’s Collegiate Church, which afterwards served as the first hall of the new college. The Town Council proceeded leisurely, yet with hearty zeal, in the gradual extension of the college; and frequent notices in the Council Records prove the progress of the buildings. On the 25th June 1656, the following entry occurs ;-(( For the better carieing on of the buildinges in the colledge, there is a necessetie to break down and demolishe the hous neirest to the Patterraw Port, quich now the Court du Guaird possesseth ; thairfoir ordaines the thesaurer, with John Milne, to visite the place, and to doe therein what they find expedient, as weill for demolishing the said hous, as for provyding the Court du Gnaird uterwayis.” Private citizens largely promoted the same laudable object, not only by pecuniary contributions, but by building halls and suits of chambers at their own cost. No regular plan, however, was adopted, and the old college buildings at the time of their demolition presented s rude assemblage of edifices of various dates and very little pretension to ornament. Beyond the walls of the capital the ancient Parish Church of Restalrig was erected by Jameg 111. into a Collegiate Church for a dean and canons; and the college was subsequently enlarged both by Jamea IT. and V., as well as by numerous contributions from private individuals. It must have been a large church, with probably collegiate buildings of considerable extent attached to it, if we may judge from the uses to which its materials were app1ied.l The village also appears to have been a place of much greater size and importance than we can form any conception of from its present remains. It was no doubt in early times the chief town of the barony, and a much more extensive one than the Port of Leith. During the siege of the latter in 1559-60, Bishop Lesley informs us that “the Lord Gray, lieutennent of the Inglis army, ludged in Lestalrig tom, in the Deanis hous, and mony of all thair hors and demi-lances.” ‘ The choir, which is the only part. that has escaped demolition, is a comparatively small, though very neat specimen of decorated English Gothic. It remained in a ruinous state until a few years since, when it was restored and fitted up with some degree of taste A church is believed to have existed here at a very early period, as it was celebrated for the tomb of Saint Triduana, a noble virgin who is said to have come from Achaia in the fourth century, in company with St Rule, and to have died at Restalrig. Her tomb was the reaort of numerous pilgrims, and the scene as was believed of many miracles.* By a a Chapel of Ease for the neighbouring district. I Ante, p. 83. ’ Lealey, p. 284. The miracles ascribed to St Triduana were chiefly wrought on diseased eyes ; and she ia accordingly frequently painted carrying her eyes on a salver or on the point of a sword Lindsay speaks of pilgrims going “ to St Tredwell to mend their ene ; ” and again in his curious inventory of saints in The Mmrchie .-- Sanct Tredwdl, als, thare may be sene, Quhilk on ane prick hea baith her ene.
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