Edinburgh Bookshelf

Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


YAMES l? TO ABDICATION OF QUEEN MAR Y. 63 The reforming party now proceeded to those acts of violence, which led to the destmction of nearly all the finest ecclesiastical buildings throughout Scotland. The Queen Regent, on learning of their proceedings at Perth and elsewhere, wrote to the Provost and Magistrates of Edinburgh, requiring them to defend the town, and not suffer the Earl of Argyle and the Congregation to enter-offering the aid of her French troops for their defence. But this the Magistrates declined, declaring that the entire populace were prepared to favour that party, and could not be restrained by them. Upon receiving this reply, the Regent thereupon withdrew with her French guard from Holyrood Abbey, and retreated towards Dunbar. The Magistrates, though unable to resist this popular movement, exerted themselves to the utmost to restrain its violence. They sent a deputation to the leaders of the reforming party, entreating them to spare both their churches and religious houses,-the former to be continued in use as places of Protestant worship, and the latter as seminaries of learning. They also placed a guard of sixty men for the protection of St Giles’s Church, and, as a further security, removed the carved stalls of the choir-within the safer shelter of the Tolbooth j’ and such was the zeal they displayed, that the Regent afterwards wrote them a letter of thanks for their services. Yet their efforts were only attended with very partial mccess. Upon the first rumour of the approach of the Earl of Argyle, the populace attacked both the monasteries of the Black and Grey Friars, destroying everything they contained, and leaving nothing but the bare walls standing2 When the Earl of Argyle entered the town with his followers, they immediately proceeded to the work of purification, as it was styled. Trinity College Church, and the prebendal buildings attached to it, were assailed, and some parts of them utterly destroyed ; and both St Giles’s Church, and St Mary’s, or the Kirk of Field, were visited, their altars thrown down, and the images destroyed and burnt. They visited Holyrood Abbey, overthrowing the altars, and otherwise defacing the church, and removed also from thence the coining irons of the Nint, compelling the treasurer to deliver up to them a considerable sum of money in his hands.’ The Regent finding herself unable to resist this formidable party by force, entered into negotiations with them, for the purpose of gaining time, while they, on the other hand, corresponded with Queen Elizabeth and besought lier aid ; but the Engll’sh Queen was too politic to commit herself by openly countenancing a fraction so recently sprung up, and contented herself with evasive answers to their request, a d many of their adherents meanwhile falling away, they were compelled to retreat as hastily from the town as they had entered, on the sudden return of the Regent from Dunbar. Commissioners from both parties met, and a mutual accommodation was agreed on between them, and signed by the Earl of Arran and Monsieur d’oysel, on the 25th of July, at Leith Links, and immediately thereafter the Queen Regent returned and took up her residence in Holyrood Palace. One of the chief clauses in this agreement required the dismissal of the French troops j and with a special view to the enforcement of this, an interview took place on the following day between the Earls of Arran and Hantly, and some of the leaders of the Congregation, . Maitland, p. 16. ’ Calderwood, vol. i. p. 475, ’ Bishop Lealie, p. 275.
Volume 10 Page 68
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