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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


58 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [~dpUCd. proper exertions been made for their repair and preservation, particularly by the Bishop o? Orkney, and ere it shrank to the proportions of a chapel. But even when the Reformation was in full progress the following entry appears in the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, under date the 8th February, 1557-8 :-A36 ?to David Melville, indweller in ,Leith, for ane pair of organs to the chapel in the palace of Holyroodhouse.? The remains of George Earl of Huntly, who was slain at the battle of Corrichie, when he was in rebellion against the Crown, were brought by sea to Edinburgh in 1562, and kept all winter unburied in the Abbey of Holyrood-most proba, bly in the church. Then an indictment for high treason was exhibited against him in the month of May following, ?eftir that he was deid and departit frae this mortal lyfe,? and the corpse was laid before Parliament : in this instance showing the rancour of party and the absurdity of old feudal laws. It was somewhere about this time that the new royal vault was constructed in the south aisle ol the nave, and the remains of the kings and queens were removed from their ancient resting-place near the high altar. It is built against the ancient Norman doorway of the cloisters, which still remains externally, with its slender shafts and beautiful zigzag mouldings of the days of David I. ?The cloisters,? says Wilson, ?? appear to have enclosed a large court, formed in the angle of the nave and transept. The remains of the north are clearly traceable still, and the site of the west side is occupied by palace buildings. Here was the ambulatory for the old monks, when the magnificent foundation of St. David retained its pristine splendour, and remained probably till the burning of the abbey after the death of James V.2 who was buried there beside his first queen in December 1542, and his second son, Arthur Duke of Albany, a child eight days old, who died at Stirling. In the royal vault also lie the remains of David 11. ; Prince Arthur, third son of James IV., who died in the castle, July 15th, 1510, aged nine months ; Henry, Lord Darnley, murdered 1567 j and Jane, Countess of Argyle, who was at supper with her sister, the queen, on the night of Rizzio?s assassination. ? Dying without issue, she was enclosed in one of the richest coffins ever seen in Scotland, the compartments and inscriptions being all of solid gold.? In the same vault were de. posited the remains of the Duchess de Grammont, who died an exile at Holyrood in 1803 ; and, in the days of Queen Victoria, the remains of Mary of Gueldres, queen of James 11. ? Among the altars in thechurchwere two dedicated to St. Andrew and St. Catharine, a third dedicated to St. Anne by the tailors of Edinburgh, and a fourth by the Cordiners to St. Crispin, whose statutes were placed upon it. On the 18th of June, 1567, two days after the imprisonment of Queen Mary, the Earl of Glencairn and others, ?with a savage malignity, laid waste this beautiful chapel,? broke in pieces its most valuable furniture, and laid its statues and other ornaments in ruins. On the 18th of June, 1633, Charles I. was crowned with great pomp in the abbey church and amid the greatest demonstrations of loyalty, when the silver keys of the city were delivered to him by the Provost, after which they were never again presented to a monarch until the time of George IV. : but afterwards the religious services were performed at Holyrood with great splendour, according to the imposing ritual of the English Church-? an innovation which the Presbyterians beheld with indignation, as an insolent violation of the laws of the land? In 1687 the congregation of the Canongate were removed from the church by order of James VII., and the abbey church-now named a chapelwas richly decorated, and twelve stalls were placed therein for the Knights of the Thistle. An old view of the interior by Wyck and Mazell, taken prior to the fall of the roof, represents it entire, with all its groining and beautiful imperial crowns and coronets on the drooping pendants of the interlaced arches. They show the clerestory entire, and within the nave the stalls of the knights, six on each side. Each of these stalls had five steps, and on each side a Corinthian column supported an entablature of the same order, each surmounted by two great banners and three trophies, each composed of helmets and breastplates, making in all twenty-four banners and thirty-six trophies over the stalls. At the eastern end was the throne, surmounted by an imperial crown. On each side were two panels, having the crown, sword, and sceptre within a wreath of laurel, and below, other two panels, with the royal cypher, J.R., and the crown. Wyck and Mazell show the throne placed upon a lofty dais of seven steps, on six of which were a unicorn and lion, making six of the former on the right, and six of the latter on the left, all crowned. Behind this rose a Corinthian canopy, entablature, and garlands, all of carved oak, and over all the royal arms as borne in Scotland ; the crest of Scotland, the lion sejant; on the right the ensign of St. Andrew; In defence on the left the ensign of St. George. Amid a star of spears, swords,
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Holyrood.] THE ABBEY CHURCH IN RUINS. 59 and cannon were two ship?s masts, fully rigged, one on the right bearing the Scottish flag, another on the left bearing the English. ?? Above all these rose the beautiful eastem window, shedding a flood of light along the nave, eclipsing the fourteen windows of the clerestory. The floor was laid with ornamental tiles, some portions of which are yet preserved.? In the royal yacht there came to Leith from London an altar, vestments, and images, to complete the restoration of the church to its ancient uses. As if to hasten on the destruction of his house, James VII., not content with securing to his Catholic subjects within the precincts of Holyrood that degree of religious toleration now enjoyed by every British subject, had mass celebrated there, and established a college of priests, whose rules were published on the zznd of March, 1688, inviting people to send their children there, to be educated gratis, as Fountainhall records. He also appointed a Catholic printer, named Watson (who availed himself of the protection afforded by the sanctuary) to be ? King?s printer in Holyrood ;? and obtained a right from the Privy Council to print all the ? prognostications at Edinburgh,? an interesting fact which accounts for the number of old books bearing Holyrood on their title-pages. Prior to all this, on St. Andrew?s Day, 30th November, the whole church was sprinkled with holy water, re-consecrated, and a sermon was preached in it by a priest named Widerington. Tidings of the landing of William of Orange roused the Presbyterian mobs to take summary vengeance, and on being joined by the students of the University, they assailed the palace and chapel royal. The guard, IOO strong-? the brats of Belia1?- under Captain Wallace, opened a fire upon them, killing twelve and wounding many more, but they were ultimately compelled to give way, and the chapel doors were burst open. The whole interior was instantly gutted and destroyed, and the magnificent throne, stalls, and orgab, were ruthlessly tom down, conveyed to the Cross, and there consigned to the flames, amid the frantic shrieks and yells of thousands. Not content with all this, in a spirit of mad sacrilege, the mob, now grown lawless, burst into the royal vault, tore some of the leaden coffins asunder, and, according to Amot, camed off the lids. By the middle of the eighteenth century the rooG which had become ruinous, was restored with flagstones in a manner too ponderous for the ancient arches, which gave way beneath the superincumbent weight on the 2nd of December, 1768; and again the people of Edinburgh became seized by a spirit of the foullest desecration, and from thenceforward, until a comparafively recent period, the ruined church remained open to all, and was appropriated ? tu the vilest uses. Grose thus describes what he saw when the rubbish had been partly cleared away :-? When we lately visited it we saw in the middle of the chapel the columns which had been borne down by the weight of the roof. Upon looking into the vaults which were open, we found that what had escaped the fury of the mob at the Revolution became a prey to the mobwho ransacked it after it fell. In A.D. 1776 we had seen the body of James V. and others in their leaden coffins; the coffins are now stolen. The head of Queen Margaret (Magdalene?), which was then entire, and even beautiful, and the skull of Damley, were also stolen, and were last traced to the collection of a statuary in Edinburgh.? In 1795 the great east window was blown out in a violent storm, but in 1816 was restored from its own remains, which lay scattered about on the ground. In the latter year the north-west tower, latterly used as a vestry, was still covered by an ogee leaden roof. The west front of what remains, though the W0i-k perhaps of different periods, is in the most beautiful style of Early English, and the boldly-cut heads in its sculptured arcade and rich variety of ornament in the doorway are universally admired. The windows above it were additions made so latelyas the time of Charles I., and the inscriptions which that upfortunate king had carved on the Ornamental tablet between them is a striking illustration of the vanity of human hopes. One runs :- Ultimately this also fell. ?Basiluam ham, Carolus Rex, @firnus imtaxravit, 1633.? The other :- ?HE SHALL ESTABLISH ANE HOUSE FOR MY NAME, AND I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER.? In the north-west tower is amarble monument to Robert, Viscount Belhaven, who was interred there in January, 1639. His nephews, Sir Archibald and Sir Robert Douglas, placed there that splendid memorial to perpetuate hisvirtues as a man and steadiness as a patriot. A row of tombs of Scottish nobility and others lie in the north aisle. The Roxburgh aisle adjoins the royal vault in the south aisle, and in front of it lies the tomb of the Countess of Errol, who died in 1808. Close by. it is that of the Bishop of Orkney, already referred to. ? A flattering inscription enumerates the. bishop?s titles, and represents this worldly hypocrite
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