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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


266 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. rHigh Street. was, in 1876, LIZ 5s. zd., the total cost being A~,ggo 18s. zd. The directors of the United Industrial School may fairly claim to have practically solved the greatest difficulty of the educational question ; and their institution was one of the earliest of its class to give effect to thediscovery that the training of ?? ragged school ? pupils in such merely mechanical and elementary work as teasing hair, picking oakum, net-making, and so forth, was little better than a waste of time, when compared with that initiation in skilled handicrafts of the simple order, which would qualify the children on leaving school to assume something like an independent position in life. In the annual repat for 1860 appears the following :-?The total number of children who have received the benefit of our school is 950, and Mr. Fergusson has by patient and laborious investigation, during six months past, ascertained the present earnings of upwards of two-thirds of that .number. These earnings represent the scarcely credible sum of AI 1,596. From the report of the following year we learn that the superintendent, by a most strict investigation, found the sum of annual earning that year was nearly ~~;I,OOO higher-the nett sum being A12,472.? This elaborate record has not been kept up; but there is no reason to doubt that had it been.so, the succeeding years would have shown the same result. CHAPTER XXXII. ALLEYS OF THE HIGH STREET ?(continued). Toddrick?s Wynd-Banquet to the Danish Ambassador and Nobles-Lord Leven?s House in Skinner?s Close-The First Mint Houses-The Mint-Scottish Coin-Mode of its Manufacture-Argyle?s Lodging-Dr. Cullen-Elphinstone?s Court-Lords Loughborough and Stonefield- Lord Selkirk-Dr. Rutherford, the Inventor of Gas. banquet was given existed till recently j but the BELOW Blackfriars Street opens Toddrick?s Wynd, to which a special interest is attached, from its association with one of the darkest deeds of a lawless age, for it was by that dark and narrow alley that James Hepburn Earl of Bothwell and his heartless accomplices proceeded towards the gate of the Blackfriars monastery in the Cowgate, on the night of the 9th of February, 1567, to fire the powder lodged in the vaults of the provost?s house in the Kirk-of-field, - ?(and blew a palace into atoms, Sent a young king-a young queen?s mate at least, Into the air, as high as e?er flew night-hawk, And made such wild work in the realm of Scotland As they can tell who heard.? Till the recent demolitions, the closes between this point and the Netherbow remained unchanged in aspect, and in the same state for centuries, szve that they had become wofully degraded by the habits, character, and rank of their inhabitants. In Toddrick?s Wynd, a lofty building with a massive polished ashlar front at the foot thereof, and long forming a prominent object amid the faded grandeur of the Cowgate, was the abode of Thomas Aitchison, master of the Mint ; and therein, in 1590, the provost and magistrates, at the expense of the city, gave a grand banquet to the ambassador and nobles of Denmark, who had come to Scotland in the train of Queen Anne. The handsome alcoved chamber in which the style- of the entertainment would seem to have been remarkable for abundance rather than elegance. There were simply bread and meat, with four boins of beer, four gangs of ale, and four puncheons of wine. The house, however, was hung with rich tapestry, and the tables were decorated with chandeliers and flowers. We hear, too, of napery, of ?( two dozen great vessels,? and of ?? cup-buirds andmen to keepthem.? Thefurnishing of the articles had been distributed among the dignitaries of the city, with some reference to their respective trades. Aniong those present at the banquet were Peiter Monck, admiral of Denmark ; Stephen Brahe (a relative, perhaps, of the great Tycho Brahe) captain of Eslingburg ; Braid Ransome Maugaret ; Theophilus, Doctor of Laws; Henry Goolister, captain - of Bocastle ; William Vanderwent-whose names are doubtless all misspelt in the record. The ? napery ? on this occasion was provided by the Lord Provost, and the musicians, ? fydlerk at the bankit,? as it is written in the Lord High Treasurer?s accounts, were paid for by him. He had also to pay ?for furnessing fyftene fedder beddis to the Densis (Danes) within the palice of Halierudhous.? Murdoch?s Close, a gloomy old cul-de-sac, lay between this alley and Skinner?s Close, at the head of which was the town house of the Earls of Leven. The last who resided in Edinburgh, David, sixth Earl, who was born in 1722, and who was wont,
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High Street.] THE ROYAL MINT. 267 Fortune?s tavern, removed from Skinner?s Close to a house at the north-west corner of Nicolson Square, and latterly at No. 2, St. Andrew Square (now the London Hotel), where he died, in his eightieth year, in ISOZ. In his lordship?s time the office of Commissioner to the Church, which he held from 1783 to 1801, was attended with more ?pomp and circumstance? Treasurer, under date February, 1562-3 :- ? Item, allowit to the carpenter, be payment maid to Johne Achesoun, Maister Congreave, to Maister William M?Dowgale, Maister of Werk, for expensis maide be him vpon the bigging of the Cwnge-house, within the castell of Edinburgh, and beting of the qvnge-hous within the Palice of Halierud-house, fra the xi. day of Februar, 1559, zens, to the Comniissioner proceeded on foot, escorted by his guard of honour. South Gray?s, or the Mint Close, was one of the stateliest alleys in the old city, and herein stood the Cunzie flous, as the Scottish Mint was named (after its removal from near Holyrood in Queen Mary?s time) till the Union in 1707, and until lately its sombre and massive tower of finely polished ashlar projecting into the narrow thoroughfare of Cowgate, for three hundred and four years formed one of the leading features of the latter, and to the last the old edifice retained many traces of the important operations that once went on within its walls. The first Mint House had been originally erected in the outer court of the palace of Holyrood, somewhere near the Horse Wynd, fromwhence, for greater safety, it was removed to the castle, in which a new Mint House had been built in 1559, as shown by edifices of the period,? says Wilson, describing the edifice prior to its removal. ?The whole building was probably intended, when completed, to form a quadrangle, surrounded on every side by the same substantial walls, well suited for defence against any ordinary assault, while its halls were lighted from the enclosed court. The small windows in this part of the building remain in their original state, being divided by an oaken transom, and the under part closed by a pair of folding shutters. The massive ashlar walls are relieved by ornamental stringcourses, and surmounted by crowsteps of the earliest form and elegant proportions. . . . . The internal marks of former magnificence are more interesting than their external ones, notwithstanding the humble uses to which the buildings have latterly been applied ; in particular some portions of a very fine oak ceiling still remain, wrought in Gothic panelling,
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