Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


21% OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Nether Bow. with cannon stone-shot in 1544, ere advancing ;against the Castle. ? They hauled their. cannons up the High Street by force of men to the ButteI Tron, and above,? says Calderwood, ? and hazarded a shot against the fore entrie of the Castle (i.e., the port of the Spur). But the wheel and axle 01 .one of the English cannons was broken, and some of their men slain by shot of ordnance out of the Castle j so they left that rash enterprise.? In 1571, during the struggle between Kirkaldy .and the Regent Morton, this barrier gate played a prominent part. According to the ?Diurnal of Qccurrents,? upon the nznd of August in that year, the Regent and the lords who adhered against the .authority of the Queen, finding that they were totally excluded from the city, marched several bands of soldiers from Leith, their head-quarters, .and concealed them under cloud of night in the I closes and houses adjoining the Nether Bow Port. At five on the following morning, when it was supposed that the night watch would be withdrawn, six soldiers, disguised as millers, approached the .gates, leading horses laden with sacks of meal, which were to be thrown down as they entered, so .as to preclude the rapid closing of them, and while they attacked and cut down the warders, with those weapon? which they wore under their disguise, the .men in ambush were to rush out to storm the -town, aided by a reserve, whom the sound of their trumpets was to summon from Holyrood. ?But the eternal God,? says the quaint old journalist we quote, ? knowing the cruel1 murther that wold have beene done and committit vponn innocent poor personis of the said burgh, wold not thole this interpryse to tak successe; but evin quhen the said meill was almaist at the port, and the said men of war, stationed in clois headis, in readinesse to enter at the back of the samyne it chanced that a burgher of the Canongate, named Thomas Barrie, passed out towards his hcuse in the then separate burgh, and perceiving soldiers concealed on every hand, he returned and gave the alarm, on which the gate was at once barricaded, and the design of the Regent and his adherents baffled. This gate having become ruinous, the magis trates in 1606, three years after James VI. went to England, built a new one, of which many views are preserved. It was a handsome building, and quite enclosed the lower end of the High Street. The arch, an ellipse, was in the centre, strengthened by round towers and battlements on the eastern or external front, and in the southern tower there was a wicket for.foot passengers. On the inside of the arch were the arms of the city. The whole building was crenelated, and consisted of two lofty storeys, having in the centre a handsome square tower, terminated by ii pointed spire. It was adorned by a statue of James VI., which was thrown down and destroyed by order of Oliver Cromwell, and had on it a Latin inscription, which runs thus in English :- ?Watch towers and thundr?ng walls vain fences prove No guards to monarchs like their people?s love. Jacobus VL Rex, Anna Regina, 1606.? This gate has been rendered remarkable in history by the extra-judicial bill that passed the House of Lords for razing it to theground, in consequence of the Porteous mob, For a wonder, the Scottish members made a stand in the matter, and as the general Bill, when it came to the Commons, was shorn of all its objectionable clauses, the Nether Bow Port escaped. In June, 1737, when the officials of Edinburgh, who had been taken to London for examination concerning the not, were returning, to accord them a cordial reception the citizens rode out in great troops to meet them, while for miles eastward the road was lined by pedestrians. The Lord Provost, Alexander Wilson, a modest man, eluded the ovation by taking another route ; but the rest came in triumph through the city, forming a procession of imposing length, while bonfires blazed, all the bells clanged and clashed as if a victory had been won over England, and the gates of the Nether Bow Port, which had been unhooked, were re-hung and closed amid the wildest acclamation. In 1760 the Common Council of London having obtained an Act of Parliament to remove their city gates, the magistrates of Edinburgh followed suit without any Act, and in 1764 demolished the Nether Bow Port, then one of the chief ornaments of the city, and like the unoffending Market Cross, a peculiarly interesting relic of the past. The ancient clock of its spire was afterwards placed in that old Orphan?s Hospital, near Shakespeare Square, where it remained till the removal of the latter edifice in 1845, when the North British Railway was in progress, and it is now in the pediment between the towers of the beautiful Tuscan edifice built for the orphans near the Dean cemetery.
Volume 2 Page 218
  Enlarge Enlarge  
Hig5 Street.! BISHOP BOTHWELL. 219 . CHAPTEX X Y v r . THE. HIGH STREET ( ~ ~ ~ f h t d ) . The Ancient Markets-The House of Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney-The Bishop and Queen Mary-His Sister Anne-Sir Williarn Dick. of Braid-& Colossal Wealth-Hard Fortune-The ? Lamexable State?-Advocates? Close-Sir James Stewart?s House-Andreu Cmbie, ? I Counsellor Pleydell ?-Scougal?s House-His Picture Gallery-Roxburghe Close-Waniston?s Close-Lmd Philiphaugh?s House-Bruce of Binning?s Mansion-Messrs. W. and R. Chambers?s Printing and Publkhing Establishment-History of the Firm- House of Su Thomas Craig-Sir Archibald Johnston of Warnstoa PREVIOUS to 1477 there were no particular places assigned for holding the different markets in the city, and this often caused much personal strife among the citizens. To remedy this evil, James 1II.j by letters patent, ordained that the markets for the various commodities should be held in the following parts of the city, viz. :- In the Cowgate, the place for the sale of hay, straw, grass, and horse-meat, ran from the foot ol Forester?s Wynd to the foot of Peebles Wynd. The flesh market was to be held in the High Street, on both sides, from Niddry?s Wynd to the Blackfriars Wynd; the salt market to be held in the former Wynd. The crames, or booths, for chapmen were to be set up between the Bell-house and the Tron on the north side of the street; the booths of the hatmakers and skinners to be on the opposite side of the way. The wood and timber market extended from Dalrymple?s Yard to the Greyfriars, and westward. The place for the sale of shoes, and of red barked leather, was between Forrester?s Wynd and the west wall of Dalrymple?s Yard. The cattIe-market, and that for the sale of slaughtered sheep, wcs to be abaut the Tron-beam, and so U doun throuch to the Friar?s Wynd ; alsa, all pietricks, pluvars, capones, conyngs, chekins, and all other wyld foulis and tame, to be usit and sald about the Market Croce.? All living cattle were not to be brought into the town, but to be sold under the walls, westward of the royal stables, or lower end of the Grassmarket. Meal, grain, and corn were to be retailed from the Tolbooth up to Liberton?s Wynd. The Upper Bow was the place ordained for the sale of all manner of cloths, cottons, and haberdashery; also for butter, cheese, and wool, ?and sicklike gudis yat suld be weyif? at a tron set there, but not to be opened before nine A.M. Beneath the Nether Bow, and about st. Mary?s Wynd, was the place set apart for cutlers, smiths, lorimers, lock-makers, ?and sicklike workmen ; and all armour, p i t h , gear,? and so forth, were to be sold in the Friday market, before the Greyfriars?. In Gordon of Rothiemay?s map ?the fleshstocks ? are shown as being in the Canongate, immediately below the Nether Bow Port. Descending the High Street, after passing Bank Street, to which we have already referred, there is situated one of the most remarkable old edifices in the city-the mansion of Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney. It stands at the foot of Byres? Close, so named from the house of Sir John Byres of Coates, but is completely hidden from every point save the back windows of the Dui0 Review office. A doorway on the east side of the close gives access to a handsome stone stair, guarded by a curved balustrade, leading to a garden terrace that overlooked the waters of the loch. Above this starts abruptly up the north front of the house, semihexagonal in form, surmounted by three elegantlycarved dormer windows, having circular pediments, and surmounted by a finiaL On one was inscribed L u s prbique Deo; ona another, FeZider, infeZix. In this edifice (long used as a warehouse by Messrs. Clapperton and Co.) dwelt Adam, Bishop of Orkney, the same prelate who, at four in the. morning of the 15th of May, 1567, performed in the chapel royal at Holyrood the fatal marriage ceremony which gave Bothwell possession of the. unfortunate and then despairing Queen Mary. He was a senator of the College of Justice, and the royal letter in his favour bears, ?Providing. always ye find him able and qualified for administration of justice, and conform to the acts and statutes of the College.? He married the unhappy queen after thenew forms, ?not with the mess, but with preachings,? according to the ?? Diurnal of Occurrents,? in the chapel; according to Keith and others, ?in the great hall, where the Council usually met?? But he seemed a pliable prelate where his own interests were concerned ; he was one of the first to desert his royal mistress, and, after her enforced abdication, placed the crown upon the head of her infant son ; and in 1568, according to the book of the ?? Universal Kirk,? he bound himself to preach a sermon in Holyrood, and therein to confess publicly his offence in performing a marriage ceremony for Bothwell and Mary. As the name of the bishop was appended to that infamous bond of adherence granted by the Scottish nobles to Bothwell, before the latter put in practice his ambitious schemes against his sovereign, it is
Volume 2 Page 219
  Enlarge Enlarge