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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES. 399 charter of James IV., dated a few months before the Battle of modden, the Abbots of Holyrood and Newbottle are empowered to erect into a new prebendary the chapelry of St Triduan’s aisle, founded in the Collegiate Church of Restalrig by James Bishop of Ross. The existence both of the church and parish at the death of Alexander III. is proved by various charters. In 1291, Adam of St Edmunds, parson of Lestalric, obtained a writ to the Sheriff of Edinburgh to put him in possession of his lands and rights ; and the same ecclesiastic swore fealty to Edward in 1296.l The portion of the choir now remaining cannot date earlier than the fourteenth century, and is much plainer jhan might be expected in a church enriched by the contributions of three successive monarchs, and the resort of so many devout pilgrims, as to excite the special indignation of one of the earliest assemblies of the Kirk as a monument of idolatry. An ancient crypt or mausoleum of an octangular form and of large dimensions, stands on the south side of the church. It is constructed internally with c1 groined roof springing from a single pillar in the centre ; and is still more beautifully adorned externally with some venerable yews that have taken root in the soil accumulated on its roof. This ancient mausoleum is believed to have been erected by Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, knight, in the earlier part of the sixteenth century: and has evidently been constructed on the model of St Margaret’s Well, which still stands in its neighbourhood. It afterwards became the property of the Lords Balmerinoch, and on their forfeiture in 17’46 it passed to the Earls of Bute, whose property it now remains. In the year 1560 the Assembly, by a decree dated December 21, ‘‘ finds that the ministrie of the word and sacraments of God, and assemblie of the peiple of the whole parochin of Restalrig, be within the Kirk of Leith ; and that the Eirk of Restalrig, as a monument of idolatrie, be raysit and utterly castin doun and destroyed ; ” and eleven years thereafter we find ita materials taken to build a new port at the Nether Bow. Not far from the ancient Collegiate Church of Restalrig, on the old road to Holyrood Abbey, is the beautiful Gothic Well dedicated to St Margaret, the Patron Saint of Scotland. An octagonal building rises internally to the height of about four and a half feet, of plain ashlar work, with a stone ledge or seat running round seven of the sides, while the eighth is occupied by a pointed arch which forms the entrance to the well. From the centre of the water which fills the whole area of the building, pure aa in the days of the pious Queen, a decorated pillar rises to the same height as the walls, with grotesque gurgoils, from which the water has originally been made to flow. Above this springs a beautiful groined roof, presenting, with the ribs that rise from corresponding corbels at each of the eight angles of the building, a singularly rich effect when illuminated by the reflected light from the water below. A few years since this curious fountain stood by the side of the ancient and little frequented cross-road leading from the Abbey Hill to the . village of Restalrig. A fine old elder tree, with its knotted and furrowed branches, spread a luxuriant covering over its grass-grown top, and a rustic little thatched cottage stood in front oT it, forming altogether a most attractive object of antiquarian pilgrimage. Unhappily, however, the inexorable march of modern improvement has visited the spot. A station of the North British Railway now occupies the site of the old elder tree and the rustic cottage ; a Caledonia, voL ii p. 785. * “Obitus domini Roberti Logam, militia, donatoris fundi preceptoris Sancti Anthonii pmpe Leith, anno Domini 14%9.”-Obituarg of the Preceptmy of St Anthony. a The Booke of the U n i v e d Kirk, p. 5.
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400 MEMORIALS OF EDIILBURGH. and the well has to be sought for within the recesses of a dark and unsightly drain, grudgingly constructed by the Railway Directors after an interdict had arrested them in the process of demolishing the ancient Gothic building, and stopping the fountain, whose miraculous waters-once the resort of numerous pilgrims-seem to find a few, even in our own day, who manifest the same faith in their healing virtues.' Most of the smaller convents and chapels within the capital have already been treated of along with the other features of their ancient localities. One, however, still remains to be noticed, not the least value of which is, that it still exists entire, and with some unusually rare relics of its original decorations. In early times there existed in the Cowgate, a little to the east of the old monastery of the Grey Friars, an ancient Maison Dim, as it was styled, which, having fallen into decay, was refounded in the reign of James V., chiefly by the contributions of Michael Macquhen, a wealthy citizen of Edinburbh, and afterwards of his widow, Janet Rynd. The hospital and chapel were dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, an& by the will of the foundress were left in trust to the Corporation of Hammermen, by whom the latter is now used as a hall for their own meetings. The foundation was subsequently augmented by two several donations from Hugh Lord Somerville in 1541 ; and though the building doubtless shared in the general ruin that swept over the capital in 1544, they must have been very speedily repaired, as the windows are still adorned with the ancient painted glass, containing the royal arms of Scotland encircled with a wreath of thistles, and those of the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, within a laurel wreath, along with the shields of the founder and foundress also enclosed in ornamental borders. One other fragment, a Saint Bartholomew, has strangely escaped the general massacre of 1559, that involved the destruction of all the other apostles. The workmanship of the latter is decidedly inferior to that of the heraldic emblazonry-its hues have evidently faded ; while the deep ruby and bright yellow of the royal arms still exhibit the unrivalled brilliancy of the old glass-painters' work. These fragments of ancient painted glass possess a peculiar value, as scarcely another specimen of the Art in Scotland has escaped the destructive fury of the reforming mobs. Another unusual, though not equally rare feature, is the tomb of the foundress, which remains at the east end of the chapel, with the inscription round its border in ancient Gothic characters :- I e i r IpiB ane tonora5il woman, %net Mipnb, pe SPOUof~ u mqubiI ACiicel maTiqu-ben, 5urM of %b. founbrr of pip place, anb berePPit pe iiii bap of Them'. W. bno. m'. V. blp.' The centre of the stone is occupied with the arms of the founders, husband and wife, impaled on one shield. This sculptured slab is now level with a platform which occupies the 1 Lectures on the Antiquities of Edinburgh, by a Member of the Holy Guild of St Joseph. * The date assigned by Pennecuick for the death of the foundress is 1553 ; but this seems to be a mistake. She speaks in the charter of her husband having resolved on this Christian work wheu ' I greatly troubled with a heavy disease, and oppwsed with age," and as his endowment is dated 1503, this would make his widow survive him exactly half a century. The date on the tomb ia di5cult to decipher, being much worn, but it appears to be 1507. The deed executed by her is said to be dated so late as 1545, but the original is lost, and only a partial transcript exists among the recorda of the Corporation of Hammermen. If such be the correct date, it is strange that no notice should be taken of the burning of the town by the English the previous year, although the deed refers to property lying in the Eigh Street, and in various closes and wynds, which must then have been in ruins, or just rising from their ashes. The deed of 1545 is possibly an abstract of previous ones,including those of Lord Somerville, aa it specifies his barony of Carnwath Yiln, without naming him. Part iv. p. 126.
Volume 10 Page 439
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