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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


234 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Grassmarket. Some English writers have denied that Henry was ever in Edinburgh at any time; and that the Queen alone came, while he remained at Kikcudbright. But Sir Walter Scott, in a note to Mannion,? records, that he had seen in possession of Lord Napier, ? a grant by Henry of forty merks to his lordship?s ancestor, John Napier (of Merchiston), subscribed by the King himself at Edinburgh, the 28th August, in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, which exactly corresponds with the year of God, 1461.? Abercrombie, in his Martial Achievements,? after detailing some negociations between the Scottish ministry of James 111. (then a minor) and Henry VI., says, that after they were complete, ?? the indefatigable Queen of England left the King, her husband, at his lodgings in the Greyfriars of Edinburgh, where his own inclinations to devotion and solitude made him choose to reside, and went with her son into France, not doubting but that by the mediation of the King of Sicily, her father, she should be able to purchase both men and money in that kingdom.? That a church would naturally form a most nedessary appendage to such a foundation as this monastery can scarcely be doubted, and Wilson says that he is inclined to infer the existence of one, and of a churchyard, long before Queen Mary?s grant of the gardens to the city, and of this three proofs can be given at least. A portion of the treaty of peace between James 111. and Edward IV. included a proposal of the latter that his youngest daughter, the Princess Cecilia, then in her fourth year, should be betrothed to the Crown Prince of Scotland, then an infant of two years old, and that her dowry 01 zo,ooo merks should be paid by annual instalments commencing from the date of the contract. Os this basis a peace was concluded, the ceremony of its ratification being performed, along with the be trothal, 44in the church of the Grey Friars, at Edinburgh, where the Earl of Lindsay and Lord Scrope appeared as the representatives of theiI respective sovereigns.? The ? Diurnal of Occurrents records that on the 7th July, 1571, the armed craftsmen made their musters ?4in the Gray Friere Kirk Yaird,? and, though the date of the modem church, to which we shall refer, is 1613, Birrel, in his diary, under date 26th April, 1598, refers to works in progress by In 1559, when the storm of the Reformation broke forth, the Earl of Argyle entered Edinburgh with his followers, and ? the work of purification ?I began with a vengeance. The Trinity College the Societie at the Gray Friar Kirke.? Church, St Giles?s, St. Mary-in-the-Field, the monasteries of the Black and Grey Friars, were pillaged of everything they contained Of the two iatter establishments the bare walls alone were left standing. In 1560 the stones of these two edifices were ordered to be used for the bigging of dykes j? and other works connected with the Good Town j and in 1562 we are told that a good crop of corn was sown in the Grey Friars? Yard by ?Rowye Gairdner, fleschour,? so that it could not have been a place for interment at that time. The Greyfriars? Port was a gate which led to an unenclosed common, skirting the north side of the Burgh Muir, and which was only included in the precincts of the city by the last extension of the walls in 1618, when the land, ten acres in extent, was purchased by the city from Towers of Inverleith. In 1530 a woman named Katharine Heriot, accused of theft and bringing contagious sickness from Leith into the city, was ordered to be drowned in the, Quarry Holes at the Greyfriars? Port. In the same year, Janet Gowane, accused of haiffand the pestilens apone hir,? was branded on both cheeks at the same place, and expelled the city. This gate was afterwards called the Society and also the Bristo Port. Among the edifices removed in the Grassmarket was a very quaint one, immediately westward of Heriot?s Bridge, which exhibited a very perfect specimen of a remarkably antique style of window, with folding shutters and transom of oak entire below, and glass in the upper part set in ornamental patterns of lead. Near this is the New Corn Exchange, designed by David Cousin, and erected in 1849 at the cost of Azo,ooo, measuring 160feet long by 120 broad ; it is in the Italian style, with a handsome front of three storeys, and a campanile or belfry at the north end. It is fitted up with desks and stalls for the purpose of mercantile transactions, and has been, from its great size and space internally, the scene of many public festivals, the chief of which were perhaps the great Crimean banquet, given there on the 31st of October, 1856, to the soldiers of the 34th Foot, 5th Dragoon Guards, and Royal Artillery j and that other given after the close of the Indian Mutiny to the soldiers of the Rossshire Buffs, which elicited a very striking display of high national enthusiasm. On the north side of the Market Place there yet stands the old White Hart Inn, an edifice of considerable antiquity. It was a place of entertainment as far back perhaps as the days when the Highland drovers cage to market armed with sword and
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GNsmarket.1 THE GAELIC CHAPEL. 235 target, andnogentlemantookthe road without pistols in his holsters, and was the chief place for carriers putting up in the days when all the country traffic was conducted by their carts or waggons. In 1788 fortysix carriers arrived weekly in the Grassmarket, and this number increased to ninety-six in 1810. In those days the Lanark coach started fiom George Cuddie?s stables there, every Friday and Tuesday at 7 am. ; the Linlithgow and Falkirk flies at 4 every afternoon, ?( Sundays excepted ; ? and the Peebles coach from ? Francis M?Kay?s, vintner, White Hart Inn,? thrice weekly, at g in the morning. Some bloodshed occurred in the Castle Wynd in 1577. When Morton?s administration became so odious as Regent that it was resolved to deprive him of his power, his natural son, George Douglas of Parkhead, held the Castle of which he was governor, and the magistrates resolved to cut off all supplies from him. At 5 o?clock on the 17th March their guards discovered two carriages of provisions for the Castle, which were seized at the foot of the Wynd. This being seen by Parkhead?s garrison, a sally was made, and a combat ensued, in which three citizens were killed and six wounded, but only one soldier was slain, while sixteen others pushed the carriages up the steep slope. The townsmen, greatly incensed by the injury,? says Moyse, ?? that same night cast trenches beside Peter Edgafs house for enclosing of the Castle.? Latterly the closes on the north side of the Market terminated on the rough uncultured slope of the Castle Hill; but in the time of Gordon of Rothiemay a belt of pretty gardens had been there from the west fiank of the city wall to the Castle Wynd, where a massive fragment of the wall of 1450 remained till the formation of Johnstone Terrace. On the west side of the Castle Wynd is an old house, having a door only three feet three inches wide, inscribed: BLESSIT. BE. GOD. FOR. AL. HIS. GIFTIS. 16. 163 7. 10. The double date probably indicated arenewal of the edifice. The first Gaelic chapel in Edinburgh stood in the steep sloping alley named the Castle Wynd. Such an edifice had long been required in the Edinburgh of those days, when such a vast number of Highlanders resorted thither as chairmen, porters, water-carriers, city guardsmen, soldiers of the Castle Company, servants and day-labourers, and when Irish immigration was completely unknown. These people in their ignorance of Lowland Scottish were long deprived of the benefit of religious instruction, which was a source of regret to themselves and of evil to society. Hence proposals were made by Mr. Williarn Dicksos, a dyer of the city, for building a chapel wherein the poor Highlanders might receive religious instruction in their own language; the contributions of the benevolent flowed rapidly in; the edifice was begun in 1767 and opened in 1769, upon .a piece of ground bought by the philanthropic William Dickson, who disposed of it to the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge. The church cost A700, of which LIOO was given by the Writers to the Signet. It was soon after enlarged to hold about 1,100 hearers. The minister was elected by the subscribers. His salary was then only LIOO per annum, ?and he was, of course, in communion with the Church- of Scotland, when such things as the repentance stool and public censure did not become thing of the past until 1780. ?Since the chapel was erected,? says Kincaid, ?the Highlanders have been punctual in their attendance on divine worship, and have discovered the greatest sincerity in their devotions. Chiefly owing to the bad crops for some years past in the Highlands, the last peace, and the great improvements Carrying on in this city, the number of Highlanders has of late increased so much that the chapel in its present situation cannot contain them. Last Martinmas, above 300 applied for seats who could not be accommodated, and who cannot be edified in the English language.? The first pastor here was the Rev. Joseph Robertson MacGregor, a native of Perthshire, who was a licentiate of the Church of England before he joined that of Scotland., ?The last levies of the Highland regiments,? says Kincaid, ?? were much indebted to this house, for about a third of its number have, this last and preceding wars, risqued (xi.) their lives for their king and country ; and no other church in Britain, without the aid or countenance of Government, contains so many disbanded soldiers.? Mr. MacGregor was known by his mother?s name of Robertson, assumed in consequence of the proscription of his clan and name ; but, on the repeal of the infamous statute against it, in 1787, on the day it expired he attired himself in a fill suit of the MacGregor tartan, and walked conspicuously about the city. The Celtic congregation continued to meet 51 the Castle Wynd till 1815, when its number had so much increased that a new church was built for them in another quarter of the city. The Plainstanes Close, with Jatnieson?s, Beattie?s, s *
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