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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


232 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Grassmarket. and a place on the south side of the market, zoo feet below, the father slid down it in half a minute. The son performed the same feat, blowing a trumpet all the way, to the astonishment of a vast crowd of spectators. Three days afterwards there was a repetition of the performance, ? at the desire of several people of quality,? when after sliding down, the father made his way up to the battery again, firing a pistol, striking.? These houses were not so old, however, as the order of the Templars, but having been built upon their land, and being also the heritage of the Hospitallers, and forming, as such, a portion of the barony of Drem, had affixed to them the iron cross in remembrance of certain legal titles and privileges which are to this day productive of solid benefits. With the Temple Close, which was entered by a THE TEMPLE LANDS. GRASSMARKET. (From a Drawing by Gcorge W. Simson.) beating a drum, and proclaiming that while up there he could defy the whole Court of Session. The whole of the south side of the Grassmarket had been pulled down and re-built at intervals before 1879. Among the oldest edifices that once stood here were unquestionably the Temple tenements and the Greyfriars Monastery. In describing the execution of Porteous, which took place in front of the former, Scott says :-?? The uncommon height and antique appearance of these houses, some of which were formerly the property of the Knights Templar and the Knights of St. John, and still exhibit on their fronts and gables the iron cross of their orders, gave additional effect to a scene in itself so narrow arch beneath them, they have been entirely swept away since 1870. Immediately to the westward of them was one of the most modem houses in this quarter, through which entered Hunter?s Close, above the arch of which was inscribed ANNO DOM. MDCLXXI., and it was from the dyer?s pole in front of this tenement that Porteous was hanged in 1736. ?The long range of buildings that extend beyond this,? says Wilson, writing in 1847, ?presents as singular and varied a group of antique tenements as either artist or antiquary could desire. Finials of curious and grotesque shapes surmount the crowstepped gables, and every variety of form and elevation diversifies the skyline of their roofs and chimneys,
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Grassmarket.] THE GREYFRIARS MONASTERY. 233 while behind the noble pile of Heriot?s Hospital thereof, Henry granted to them a charter empowertowers above them, as a counterpart to the old I ing the latter to trade to any part of England, Castle that rises majestically over the north side of subject to no other duties than those payable by the same area Many antique features are dis- the most highly favoured natives of that country, cernible here. Several of the older houses are in acknowledgment, as he states, of the humane built with bartizaned roofs and ornamental copings, i and honourable treatment he met with from the designed to afford their inmates an uninterrupted view of the magnificent pageants that were wont of old to defile through the wide area below, or of the gloomy tragedies that were so frequently enacted here between the Restoration and the Revolution. ? Towards the south-east end of the market place stood the ancient monastery of Grey Friars, opposite where the Bow Foot Well, erected in 1681, now stands. James I., a monarch, who by many salutary laws and the encouragement of learning, endeavoured to civilise the country, long barbarised by wars with England, established this monastery. In obedience to a requisition made by him to the Vicar-General of the Order at Cologne, a body of Franciscans came hither under Comelius of Zurich, a scholar of great reputation. The house prepared for their reception proved so magnificent for the times, says Arnot, that in the spirit of humility and self-denial they declined to live in it, and could only be prevailed upon to do so at the earnest request of the Archbishop of St. Andrews ; consequently a considerable time must have elapsed ere they were finally established in the Grassmarket. There they taught divinity and philosophy till the Reformation, when their spacious and beautiful gardens, that extended up the slope towards the town wall, were bestowed on the citizens as a cemetery by Queen Mary. That the monastery was a sumptuous edifice according to the times, is proved by its being assigned for the temporary abode of the Princess Mary of Gueldres, who after her arrival at Leith in June, 1449, rode thither on a pillion behind the Count de Vere, and was visited by her future husband, James II., on the following In 1461, after the battle of Towton, its roof afforded shelter to the luckless Henry VI. of England when he fled to Scotland, together with his heroic Queen Margaret and their son Prince Edward. The fugitives were so hospitably entertained by the court and citizens, that in requital day. 78 EAST END OF THE GRASSMARKET, SHOWING THE WEST BOW, (FaC-iitRik of an Eichiwg by Jam8 S h of RnbXaw.) THE GALLOWS, AND OLD CORN MARKET. Provost and burgesses of Edinburgh. As the house of Lancaster never regained the English throne, the charter survives only as an acknowledgment of Henry?s gratitude. How long the latter resided in the Grassmarket does not precisely appear. Balfour states that in 1465, Henry VI., ? having lurked long under the Scotts King?s wing as a privat man, resolves in a disgyssed habit to enter England.? His future fate belongs to English history, but his flight from Scotland evidently was the result of a treaty of truce, in Feb., 1464. I
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