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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


[PleaMnce. 382 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. thoroughfare named Chambers Street, to which the school was transferred in the winter of 1873-4, The new edifice cost ~ 3 , 0 0 0 , but the accommodation is more suitable and ample than that of the old. Though for many years the directors adhered to their original plan of confining the subjects of instruction to Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, and Mathematics, in later years, at the request of a number of students, the range of education was greatly enlarged. Hence, classes for English Language and Literature were instituted in 1837 ; for History and Economic Science in 1877 ; for Physiology in 1863 ; for French in 1843 ; German in 1866 ; Latin in 1874 ; Botany in 1870 ; Pitman?s Short-hand in 1873 ; Greek in 1875 j Geology in 1872 ; Biology, Free-hand Drawing, and the Theory of Music, in 1877. In April, 1879, the institution was handed over to the Heriot Trust, as a People?s. College, at a meeting presided over by the Hon.. Lord Shand, a patron of the school. CHAPTER XLIX. THE PLEASANCE AND ST. LEONARDS. The Convent of St. Mary-Friends? Buria! Place-Old Chirurgeons? Hall-Surgeon Square-? Hamilton?s Folly ?-The Gibbet-Chapel an& Hospital of St. Leonard-Davie Deans? Cottage-? The Innocent Railway ?-First Public Dispensary. AT a period subsequent to the panic after Flodden there was built across the junction of St. Mary?s Wynd with the Pleasance, parallel with the south back of the Canongate, an arched barrier named St. Mary?s Port. South of this, sixty yards from the south-east angle of the city wall and near the foot of the present Roxburgh Street, stood the convent of St. Mary) which must have been a branch of the Franciscan House of ? S. Maria di Campagni,? so much patronised by Pope Urban II., in the Parmese city of Placentia-as the latter name was given to the foundation in Edinburgh, long since corrupted into Pleasance, though the place was of old called Dearenough. It is unknown by whom or when it was founded, and nothing of it now remains save a fine piece of alabaster carving, representing our Saviour brought before the Jewish high-priest, which was discovered among its ruins, and presented to the Antiquarian Museum in 1781. The name of Pleasance is borne by the narrow, quaint, and straggling street southward till it joins the other ancient suburb of St. Leonard, of which it seems to have formed a portion, as proved by a charter of Charles I. confirming the magistrates in the superiority of ? the town of St. Leonard.? In it are many houses, or the basements thereof, that date from the early part of the sixteenth century. St. John?s Hill and this now absorbed village occupy the long ridge that overlooks the valley at the base of the Craigs, and the whole of which seems to have been the ecclesiastical property in earlier ages of several foundations, all of which were subject to the Abbots of Holyrood. On the east side of the street is still a great quadrangular edifice, called Bell?s Brewery (long famous for its ale), which is shown as such in Edgar?s Map in 1765, and was nearly consumed by fire in 1794 ; and near it is still the Friends? meeting- house and burial-ground, in which are interred the Millars of Craigantinie, the Hereditary Master Gardeners to the king. This sect, whose members underwent much persecution in the early part 06 the eighteenth century, and were often arrested by the town guard for preaching in the streets, and thrust into the Tolbooth, had their first place of worship in Peebles Wynd, where it was built in 1730. ? Though it was roofed,? says the Cmranf for September, ? there is as yet no window in it; but some merrily observe these people have light within.? On the west side of the Pleasance, and immediately within the south-east angle of the city wall referred to, stood the old Chirurgeons? Hall, in the High School yards. The surgeons and barbers were formed into a corporation by the town-council on the 1st of July, 1505 j under the seal of cause, or charter, certain rules were prescribed for the good order of this fraternity. On the 13th of October in the following year James V. ratified this charter; and Queen Mary, says Arnot, ?in! consideration of the great attendance required of surgeons upon their patients, granted them an ex. emption from serving upon juries, and from watch ing and warding within the city of Edinburgh, privileges which were afterwards confirmed by Parliament.? On the 25th of February, 1657, the surgeons and: apothecaries were, at their request, united into one community. This was ratified by Parliament, and from that time the corporation ceasd
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Pleasance. ST. LEONARD?S CHAPEL. 383 entirely to act as barbers. In consequence, the council, on the 26th July, 1682, recommended the new corporation to supply the city with a sufficient number of persons qualified ?to shave and cut hair,? and who should continue to be upon it ; but in 1722 it ceased to have all connection with the barbers, save that the latter were obliged to enter all their apprentices in a register kept by the surgeons. By a charter of George III., dated 14th March, 1778, the corporation was erected into ?The Royal College of Surgeons of the City of Edinburgh,? a document which established a scheme of provision for the widows and children of members. In the old edifice overlooking the Pleasance the College held all its Castle of Clouts,? in the spirit of that talent which , the Scots have of conferring absurd sobriquets. By the wayside to Duddingstone, south of the Pleasance, a rising piece of ground or slight eniinence is called Mount Hooly, a corruption of Mount Holy, which marks the site of the chapel of St. Leonard and of a hospital dedicated to the same saint. As is the case with most of the ecclesiastical edifices in Edinburgh, nothing is known as to when or by whom either the chapel or hospital was built, and not a vestige remains of either now. The chapel, ere it became a ruin, rva?s the scene of a remarkably traitorous tryst, held by the _. ~ - -- -- - meetings till the erec- ~ ~ ~ --/ - tion of the new hall, to be referred to in its place; but the name of the first establishment still survives in the adjacent Surgeon Square. In it was a theatre for dissection, a museum, in which a mummy was long the chief curiosity, and the hall was hung with portraits Qf surgeons who had grown to eminence after it was built. W i 11 i am S m e 11 i e, F.R.S. and F.A.S., an eminent printer, and DAVIE DEANS? COTTAGE. known as the (FTOIIZ a Vzpette by &oars, #ubZrs/red I- the Fzrsf Edition of Robert author of the ?Philo- Chambers?s ? Tradrho~rso~Ed~irbsrgh,? 1825 ) sophy of Natural His- Douglas faction on the 2nd of February, 1528, having nothing less in view than the assassination of their sovereign, James V., ?the Commons King,? who was the idol of his people. They were to enter the palace of Holyrood by a window near the head of the king?s bed in the night, and under the guidance of Sir James Hamilton, one the monarch loved and trusted much; but the dastardly plot was discovered in time, and by the energetic measures taken to crush the devisers of it, peace of the quaint old houses of the Pleasance in 1740. A quaint three-storeyed edifice, having a large archway, peaked gables, and dormer windows, bearing the date of 1709, stood on the south side of the Pleasance, and was long known as ? Hamilton?s Folly,? from the name of the proprietor, who was deemed unwise in those days to hiild a house so far from the city, and on the way that led to the gibbet on which the bodies of criminals were hung. But the latter would seem to have been in - use till a much later period, as in the Cournnt for December, 1761, there are advertised for sale four tenements, ?lying at the head of the Pleasance, on the east side of the road leading to the gibbet.? Here still stands a goodly house of three storeys, which was built about 1724 bya wealthy tailor, and which in consequence has been denominated ?(the for a period. At St. Leonard?s Loan, which bounded the property of the abbots of Holyrood on the south, separating it on the side from the western flank of the vast Burghmuir, there stood in ancient times a memorial known as Umphraville?s Cross, erected in memory of some man of -rank who perished there in a conflict of which not a memory remains. The cross itself had doubtless been demolished as a relic of idolatry at the Reformation ; but in 1810, its base, a mass of dark whinstone, with a square hole in its centre, wherein the shaft had been fixed, was still remaining on the ancient site, till it was broken up for road metal! In his ? Diary,? Birrel records that on the 2nd April, 1600, ? being the Sabbathday, Robert Achmuty, barber, slew James Wauchope at the com
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