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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES. 401 east end of the chapel for the accommodation of the officials of the Corporation of Hammermen during their meetings; but it is probable from its elevation that it is an altar tomb, the sides of which may also be decorated with sculpture, though so long hidden by the Corporation Dais. The date of the foundation of the hospital is 1503, but the charter by which its augmentation and permanent establishment was secured by the widow of its founder is said to be dated so late as 1545-the year succeeding the total destruction of the whole town. It is at any rate a document of that age, and is not only curious as one of the latest deeds executed for such a purpose, but is characterised by a degree of naivete as rare in legal documents of the sixteenth century as now. It runs thus :-44 To all and sundry, to whois knowledge thir presents sall come, and be seen, I Jonet Rpe, relict, executrix, and only intromissatris, with the guds and gear of umquhil Michael Macquhan, burges of Edinburgh, wishing peace in our Lord, ma.kes known by thir presents, That when the said Michael was greatly troubled with an heavy disease, and oppressed with age, zit mindful of eternal life, he esteemed it ane gud way to obtain eternal life to erect some Christian work, for ever to remain and endure : He left seven hundred pound, to be employed for the supplement of the edifice of the Magdalen chapell, and to the other edifices, for foundation of the chapel and sustentation of seven poor men, who should continually there put forth their prayers to God Almighty; for there was many others that had promised to mortifye some portion of their goods for perfeiting and absolveing of the said waxk, but they failzied, and withdrew from such an holly and religious work, and altogether refused thereupon to confer the samen. Quhilk thing I taking heavily, and pondering it in my heart, what in such an dificle business sould be done ; at last, I thought night and day upon the fulfilling of my husband’s will, and took upon me the burden of the haill wark, and added two thousand pounds to the g700 left be my husband: And I did put furth these soumes wholly, after his death, upon the edification of thdt chapel, ornaments thereof, and building of the ediiice for the habitation of the chaplane, and seven poor mp, and for buying of land, as well field-land, as burgh-land, and yearly annualrents, for the nourishment, sustentation, and clothing of them, as hereafter mair largely set down. Therefore, wit ye me, To the praise and honour of Almighty God, and of his mother the Missed Virgin Mary, and of Mary Magdallen, and of the haill celestial court, to have erected and edified ‘ane certain chapell and hospital-house, lyeing in the burgh of Edinburgh, upon the south side of the King’s high street, called the Cowgate, fur habitation of the foresaid chaplain and poor, and that from the foundation thereof; and has dedicate the samen to the name of Mary Mngdallen, and has foundit the said chaplain, and seven poor, for to give forth their continual prayers unto God, for the salvation of the soul of our most illustrious Mary Queen of Scots, and for the salvation of my said umquhil husband‘s soul and mine: And also, for the salvation of the souls of our fathers and mothers, and for all the souls of those that shall put to their helping hand, or sall give any thing to this work: As also, for the patrons of the said chapel : And also, for the souls of all those of whom we have had any thing whilk we have not restored, and for the whilk we have not given fiatisfaction ; to have given and granted, and by this my present charter in poor and perpetual alms, and to have confirmed in mortification : As also, to give and grant, and by this present charter, gives in poor alms and mortification, to confirm to Almighty God, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the said chapell and chapell-house, for the sustentation of ane secular chaplain, and seven poor men, and 3E
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402 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. for the chaplain, and four poor brethren, to have their yearly food, and perpetual sustentation within the said hospital ; and for buying of their habits every twa year once, I mortify these annualrents under-written,” &c.’ After very minute directions for the appointment of the chaplain and the management of the hospital, it is provided :-‘‘ And farder, the said chaplane, every gear, once in the year, for the said hlichael and Jonet, sal1 make suffrages, which is, ‘I am pleased,’ and ‘ direct me, 0 Lord; ’ with ane Mess of rest, ‘being naked, he clothed me ; ’ with two wax candles burning on the altar. To the whilk suffrages and mess, he shall cause ring the chapel bell the space of ane quarter of an hour, and that all the foresaid poor, and others that shall be thereintill, shall be present at the foresaid mess with their habites, requesting all these that shall come in to hear the said mess to pray for the said souls. And farder, every day of the blessed Mary Magdallen, patron of the foresaid hospital, and the day of the indulgence of the said hosjital, and every other day of the yeas, the said chaplaine shall offer up all the oblations, and for every oblation . shall have twa wax candles upon the altar, and twa at the foot of the image of the patron in twa brazen candlesticks, and twa wax torches on the feast of the nativity of our Saviour, Pasch, and Whitsunday, of the dap of Mary Magdallen, and of the days of the indulgences granted to the said hospital, and doubleing at other great feasts, with twa wax candles alenerly.” Such were the provisions for the due observance of all the formulary of the services of the Church, which the chaplain on his induction was bound ‘‘ to give his great oath, by touching the sacred Evangile,” that he would neither infringe nor suffer to be altered. It is probable that the chapel was hardly built ere the whole schefke of its founders was totally overthrown. Certain evidence at least tends to show, that neither the steeple nor its fine-toned bell ever fulfilled the will of the’foundress, by summoning the bedemen and all who chose to muster at the call to pray for the repose of the founders’ souls. The chapel is adorned at its east end with the royal arms, the city arms, and the armorial bearing of twenty-two corporations, who unite to form the ancient body known as the United Incorporation of Hammermen, the guardians of the sacred banner, the Blue Blanket, on the unfurling of which every liege burgher of the kingdom is bound to answer the summons. The north and east walls of the chapel are ’almost entirely occupied with a series of tablets recording the gifts of numerous benefactors. The earliest of these is probably a daughter of the founder, “ Isobel Macquhane, spouse to Gilbt Lkuder, merchant burgess of Edin’, who bigged ye crose house, and mortified &50 yearly out of the Cousland, anno 1555.” Another records that, “John Spens, burgess of Edinburgh, bestowed 100 lods of Wesland lime for building the stipel of this chapell, anno 1621.” Here, therefore, is the date of erection of the steeple, which receives corroboration from its general features, with the old-fashioned gargoils in the form of ornamental cannons, each with a bullet ready to issue from its mouth. appears to have been the subject of still further delay, as the bell bears this legend around it, iu Roman characters:-SOLI D E 0 GLORIA * MICHAEL BURGERHUYB ME FECIT, ANKO 1632; and in smaller characters, GOD BLIS THE EIAYMEBMEN OF UGDALENE CHAPEL.” The bell is still rung according to the will of the foundress, however . different be the objects answered by its warning note ; and it was further applied, soon after its erection, to summon the inhabitants of the neighbouring district to the parish . The furnishing of the steeple with ‘‘ The Chapel Bell l Hist. of the Blue Blanket, &e., by Alexander Pennecuick, p. 46-48.
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