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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


,204 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street. CHAPTER XXIIL THE HIGH STREET (continuedJ. The Black Turnpike-Bitter Receytion of Queen Mary-hmbie?s Bannrr-Mary in the Black Turnpike-The House of Fentonbarns-Its Picturesque Appearance-The House of Bassandyne the Printer, 1574-? tllshop?s Land,? Town House of Archbishop Spottiswood-Its various Tenants-Sir Stuart Thriepland -The Town-house of the Hendersons of Fordel-The Lodging of the Earls of Crawford-The First Shop of Allan Ramsay-The Religious Feeling of the People-Anmm House-The First Shop of Constable and Co.-Manners and Millar, Booksellers. ON the south side of this great thoroughfare and immediately opposite to the City Guard House, stood the famous Black Turnpike. It occupied the ground westward of the Tron church, and now left vacant as the entrance to Hunter?s Square, It is described as a magnificent edifice by Maitland, and one that, if not disfigured by one of those timber fronts (of the days of James IV.), would be the most sumptuous building perhaps in Edinburgh. But, like many others, it had rather a painful history. [See view, p. 136.1 ? A principal proprietor of this building,? says Maitland, ?has been pleased to show me a deed wherein George Robertson of Lochart, burgess of F,dinburgh, built the said tenement, which refutes the idle story of its being built by Kenneth 111.? The above-mentioned deed is dated Dec. 6, 1461, and, in the year 1508, the same author relates that James IV. empowered the Edinburghers to farm or let the Burghmuir, which they immediately cleared of wood; and in order to encourage people to buy this wood, the Town Council enacted that all persons might extend the fronts of their houses seven feet into the street, whereby the High Street was reduced fourteen feet in breadth, and the appearance of the houses much injured. There is evidence that in the 16th century the Black Turnpike had belonged to George Crichton, Bishop of Dunkeld, in 1527, and Lord Privy Seal. In 1567 it was the town mansion of the provost of the city, Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar, Balgay, and that ilk, ancestor of the Earls of Desmond in Ireland. It was to this edifice that Mary Queen of Scots was brought a prisoner, about nine in the evening of Sunday the 15th of June, by the confederate lords and their troops, after they violated the treaty by which she surrendered to them at Carberry Hill. On the march towards the city the soldiers treated Mary with the utmost insolence and indignity, pouring upon her an unceasing torrent of epithets the most opprobrious and revolting to a female. Whichever way she turned an emblematic banner of white taffety, representing the dead body of the murdered Darnley, with the little king kneeling beside it, was held up before her eyes, stretched out between two spears. She wept; her young heart was wrung with terrible anguish ; she uttered the most mournful complaints, and could scarcely be kept in her saddle. This celebrated but obnoxious standard belonged to the band or company of Captain Lambie, a hired soldier of the Government, slain afterwards, in 1585, in a clan battle on Johnston Moor. Instead of conveying Mary to Holyrood, as Sir William Kirkaldy had promised, in the name of the Lords, they led her through the dark and narrow wynds of the crowded city, surrounded by a fierce, bigoted, and petulant mob, who loaded the air with hootings and insulting cries. The innumerable windows of the lofty houses, and the outside stair-heads -then the distinguishing features of a Scottish street-were crowded with spectators, who railed at her in unison with the crowd below. Mary cried aloud to all gentlemen, who in those days were easily distinguished by the richness of their attire, and superiority of their air-? I am your queen, your own native princess; oh, suffer me not to be abused thus !? ? But alas for Scottish gallantry, the age of chivalry had passed away!? says the author of ? Kirkaldy?s Memoirs,? whose authorities are Calderwood, Melville, and Balfour. ?? Mary?s face was pale from fear and grief; her eyes were swollen with tears ; her auburn hair hung in disorder about her shoulders ; her fair form was poorly attired in a riding tunic; she was exhausted with fatigue, and covered with the summer dust of the roadway, agitated by the march of so many men; in short, she was scarcely recognis able; yet thus, like some vile criminal led to execution, she was conducted to the house of Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar. The soldiers of the Confederates were long of passing through the gates; the crowd was so dense, and the streets were so narrow, that they filed through, man by man.? At the Black Turnpike she was barbarously thrust into a small stone chamber, only thirteen feet square by eight high, and locked up like a felon-she, the Queen of Scotland, the heiress of England, and the dowager of France! It was then ten o?clock ; the city was almost -dark, but fierce tumult and noise reigned without And this was the queen of whom the scholarly
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