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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


ECCLESIA S TICAL ANTIQUITIES. themselves to the restoration of the ancient palace of their fathers, would almost seem to imply the forethought of securing a fit retreat for them in the ancient capital of the Stuarts, in case of their being again driven from the English throne. On the north-west pier of the piazza, within the quadrangle of the Palace, the following inscription, in large Roman characters, marks the site of the foundation-stone of the modern works :--FVN BE RO MYLNE MM * IVL * 1671 The chief popular interest which attaches to the Palace arises from its associations with the eventful reign of Queen Mary, and the romance that clings to the name of her unfortunate descendant Prince Charles, though there is a nameless charm about the grey ruins of the Abbey, and the deserted halls of the Palace of our old kings, which no Scotsman can resist. A noble and a doomed race have passed away for ever from these scenes of many a dark iragedy in which they acted or suffered, yet not without leaving memories to haunt the place, and all the more vividly that no fortunate rival intrudes to break the spell. In the accompanying engraving of thk interior of the Chapel, a point of view has been chosen which shows the royal vault, the cloister door behind it, the Roxburgh vault, and the monument of Adam, Bishop of Orkney, attached to one of the pillars-a group including some of the most interesting features of the ruined nave. The royal vault was broken into by the revolutionary mob that spoiled the Chapel Royal in 1688, and it was again raed after the fall of the roof in 1768, in consequence of the folly of those employed to repair it, who loaded it with a covering of huge flagstones, of a weight altogether disproportioned to the strength and age of the walls. On the latter occasion, the head of Queen Magdalene-which, when seen by Arnot in 1766, was entire, and even beautiful -and the skull of Darnley were carried off. The latter having come into the possession of Mr James Cummyng of the Lyon Office, the eccentric secretary of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland, his life was rendered miserable thereafter by the persecutions of the shrewdish cicerone of the Chapel, who haunted him like the ghost of the murdered Darnley, and lived on his terrors by constant threats of exposure to the Barons of Exchequer. After his death the skull was traced to the collection of a statuary in Edinburgh, but all clue to it seems now lost. A few old portraits, with sundry relics of the various noble occupants of the Palace in earlier times, form the only other objects of attraction to the curious visitor. Among the pictures in the Duke of Hamilton’s apartments is one of the many questionable portraits of Queen Nary. It claims to be an original, in the dress in which she was executed, though, if the latter statement be true, it goes far to discredit its originality. Another fair lady, dressed as a shepherdess, and described as the work of Vandyke, though probably only a copy, is 8 portrait of Dorothy, Countess of Sutherland-Waller’s SacAurissa. Here, too, are the portraits of two celebrated royal favourites, Jane Shore and Ne11 Gwynne, as the ciceroni of the Palace invariably persist in styling the latter, though in reality a portrait of her frail rival Moll Davies, and bearing a striking resemblance to her engraved portrait. It corresponds also to the latter in having black hair, whereas that of Ne11 was fair; but it is usual to confer the name of Ne11 Gwpne on all portraits of such frail beauties.’ From Ne11 Cfwynne’s will, dated Oct. 18,1687, and preserved at Doctors Commons, it appears that her red name was Margaret Symoott ; EO that the story of her decent from an ancient Welsh family is a spurious invention of courtly peerage writers, for the gratification of her illwtriouS descendadb. 3F
Volume 10 Page 448
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41 0 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. Among the representatives of the rougher sex in this very miscellaneous assemblage is a very sour-looking divine, dubbed John Knox, and a grave clergyman, probably of the time of Charles I., whose red calotte or skull cap, we presume, led to his being engraved both by Pennant and Pinkerton as Cardinal Beaton.’ In the Marquis of Breadalbane’s apartments there is a full-length portrait of Lady Isabella Thyme, daughter of the Earl of Holland, who perished on the scaffold during the great civil war. The lady is represented with a lute in her hand, for her great skill on which she is celebrated in the poems of Waller. Aubrey relates that her sister, ‘‘ The beautiful Lady Diana Rich, as she was walking in her father’s garden at Kenington, to take the fresh air before dinner, about eleven o’clock, being then very well, met with her own apparition, habit, and everything, as in a looking- glass.” She died about a month thereafter of the smallpox; and her sister, the Lady Isabella, is affirmed to have received a similar warning before her death.a These and other portraits adorn the various lodgings of the different noblemen who possess apartments in the Palace ; but many of them, being the private property of the noble lodgers, can hardly be considered as part of the decorations of Holyrood. The latest contribution to its walls is Wilkie’s full-length portrait of George IT., in the Highland costume, as he appeared on his visit to the northern capital in 1822. A much slighter survey will suffice for the remaining ecclesiastical foundations of the Scottish capital, of the majority of which no vestige now remains. Among the latter is the Monastery of Blackfriars of the order of St Dominic, founded by Alexander 11. in 1230, which stood on the site of the Surgical Hospital. It is styled in the foundation charters Mansio Regis, that monarch having, we presume, bestowed on the friars one of the royal residences for their abode. It appears to have been a wealthy foundation, subsequently enlarged by gifts from Robert I. and James III., as well as by many private donations confirmed by the latter monarch in‘1473.3 The monastery was accidently destroyed by fire in 1528; but it is probable that the church was only partially injured by the conflagration, as it appears in the view of 1544 as a large cross church, with a central tower and lofty spire. It no doubt experienced its full share in the events of that disastrous year, and it had hardly recovered from these repeated injuries when’the Reformers of 1558 completed its destruction. The Monastery of the Greyfriars in the Grassmarket has already been described, and the venerable cemetery which has been made from its gardens frequently referred to. Over A portrait of Cardinal Beaton, copied, we believe, by C‘nambera from an original French painting, is now at St Mary’s College, Blair, and another copy of the .same hangs in the Refectory of St Margaret’s Convent, Edinburgh. It represents him about the age of 35, when he was ambassador at the French Court. The face ia oval, the features regular, and the expression somewhat pensive, but very pleasing. He wears mustaches and an imperial, and we may add, bears not the slightest resemblance to the Holyrood portrait. On the background of the picture the following inscription is painted, most probably copied from the original portrait :-Le bienherevx David de Bethvne, Archevesque de St And&, Chancelllere et Regent du royaume d‘Ecosse, Cardinal et Legat a latere, fut massacre pour la foy en 1546. ’ Law’s Memorials, preface, p. lxvi * “ Charter of confirmation of all Mortifications maid to the said Brethren Predicators in Edid, vie. One made be Alexander II., of an a. rent of 10 marks de $rmG burgalihua de Edin’. One made be Ueorge Seaton and Cristain Murray his spouse, of 20 marks yearly out of the lands of Hartahead and Clint. One made be Phillipia Moubray, Lady Barnebugle, of 20s. sterling, yearly, out of little Barnbugle. One made be Joan Barcklay of Kippe of 10s. yearly, out of the lands of Duddingstone and husband-lands thereof. One be Jo. Sudgine of 30s. 4d. out of his tenement of Leith, on the south aide o€ the water thereof, between Men Nepar’a land on the East and Rottenrow on the West, 14 May 1473.”--Inventar of Pious Donations, MS,
Volume 10 Page 449
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