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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES. 403 church, as appears from the Corporation records :-‘‘ 16 June, 1641, the Grayfriars’ Kirk- Sessionmappliedt o the Corporation, in order to have the Magdalme Chapple bell rung on their aciount, for which they agreed to pay !240 Scots yearly, which was agreed to duriug pleasure.’’ This ancient chapel claims our interest now as the arena of proceedings strangely different from those contemplated by its founders. In 1560, John Craig, B Scottish Dominican monk, returned to his native country after an absence of twenty-four years, during which he had experienced a succession of as remarkable vicissitudes as are recorded of any individual in that eventful age. He had resided as chaplain in the family of Lord Dacre, an English nobleman, and was afterwards appointed to an honourable office in the Dominican monastery at Bologna, through the favourable recommendations of the celebrated Cardinal Pdle. The chance discovery of a copy of Calvin’s Institutes in the convent library led to an entire change in his religious opinions, in consequence of which he was compelled to fly ; and being at length seized, he endured a tedious imprisonment in the dungeons of the Roman Inquisition. From this he was delivered the very day before that fixed for an Auto-da-f& in which he was doomed to suffer at the stake, in consequence of the tumultuous rejoicing of the Roman population on the death of the Pope, Paul IT., in 1559, when the buildings of the Inquisitlbn were pillaged, and its dungeons broken open. Thence he escaped, amid many strange adventures, first to Bologna, and then to Vienna, where he was appointed chaplain to the Emperor Maximilian 11. After a time, however, the Inquisition found him out, and demanded his being delivered up to suffer the judgnent already decreed. “his it was that compelled his return to Scotland, at the very time when his countrymen were carrying out a system in conformity with his new opinions. He found, however, on revisiting his country after so long an absence, that he had almost entirely forgot his native tongue, and he accordingly preached in Latin for a considerable time, in St Magdalene’s Chapel, tosuch scholars as his learning and abilities attracted to hear him. He afterwards became the colleague and successor of Knox, and as such published the banns of marriage in St . Giles’s Church, preparatory to the fatal union of Queen Mary with Bothwell. We learn also from Melville’s Diary, that The General1 Assemblie conveinit at Edinbruche in Apryll 1578, in the Magdalen Chapell. Mr Andro Melvill was chosin Moderator, whar was concludit, That Bischopes sould be callit be thair awin names, or be the names of BreitAer in all tyme coming, and that lordlie name and quthoritie banissed from the Kirk of God, quhilk hes bot‘a Lord, Chryst Jesus.”’ One other incident concerning the ancient chapel worthy of recording is, that in 1661 the body of the Marquis of Argyle was carried thither, and lay in the chapel for some days, until it was removed by his friends to the family sepulchre at Kdmun, while his head was afExed to the north gable of the Tolbooth. The Abbey of Holyrood, though a far more wealthy and important ecclesiastical establishment than St Giles’s College, or any o€her of the ancient religious foundations of the Scottish capital, may be much more summarily treated of here. Its foundation charter still exists, and the dates of its successive enlargements and spoliations have been made the subject of careful investigation by some of our ablest historians. The Archmlogia Scotica, p. 177. a Melville’s Diary, Wodrow Soc. p. 61.
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404 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. foundation of St David’s Abbey has already been referred to, with the picturesque legend from whence it derives its name. The beautiful fragment of the Abbey Church which still remains, forming the nave of the ancient building, retains numerous traces of the original work of the twelfth century, though enriched by the additions of a later age. The earliest drawing of the Abbey and Palace that exists is the bird’s-eye view of 1544, where it is marked by its English draughtsman as “ the King of Skotts palis,” although the sole claimant to the throne at that date was the infant daughter of James V. A comparison of this with the portions still remaining leaves little doubt of its general accuracy. The Abbey Church appears with a second square tower at the west front, uniform with the one still standing to the north of the great doorway. The transepts are about the usual proportions, but the choir is much shorter than it is proved from other evidence to have originally been, the greater part of it having, perhaps, been reduced to ruins before the view was taken. During the levelling of the ground around the Palace, and digging a foundation for the substantial railing with which it was recently enclosed, the workmen came upon the bases of two pillars, in a direct line with the nave, on the site of the east railings, proving that the ancient choir had been of unusual length. A mound of earth which extends still further to the east, no doubt marks the foundationa of other early buildings, and from their being in the direct line of the building, it is not improbable that a Lady Chapel, or other addition to the Abbey Church, may have stood to the east of the choir, as is frequently the case in larger cathedral and abbey churches. A curious relic of the ancient tenants of the monastery was found by the workmen already referred to, consisting of a skull, which had no doubt formed the solitary companion of one of the monks. It had a hole in the top of the cranium, which served most probably for securing a crucifix; and over the brow was traced in antique characters the appropriate maxim, Memento Mori. This solitary relic of the furniture of the Abbey was procured by the late Sir Patrick Walker, and is still in the possession of his family. The English army that “brent the abbey called Holyrode house, and the pallice adjonynge to the same,” in 1544, returned to complete the destruction of the Abbey in 1547, almost immediately after the accession of Edward VI. to his father’s throne. Their proceedings are thus recorded by the English chronicler : -(( Thear stode south-westward, about a quarter of a mile from our campe, a monasterie : they call it Hollyroode Abbey. Sir Water Bonham and Edward Chamberlayne gat lycense to suppresse it ; whearupon these commissioners, making first theyr visitacion thear, they found the moonks all gone, but the church and mooch parte of the house well covered with leade. Soon after, thei pluct of the leade and had down the bels, which wear but two ; and according to the statute, did somewhat hearby disgrace the hous. As touching the moonkes, bicaus they wear gone, thei put them to their pencions at large.”‘ It need hardly excite surprise, that the invaders should not find matters quite according to the statute, with so brief an interval between such cisitacions. The state in which they did find the Abbey, proves that it had been put in effectual repair immediately after their former visit. The repeated burnings of the Abbey by the Englieh army were doubtless the chief cause of the curtailment -of .the church to its present diminished size; yet abundant Patten’s Expedition to Scotland. Frag. of Swt. Hiet.
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