Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


[The Cowgate. 262 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. Chapel, and quhat expensis he makis thaeron sal be allowit to him in his accomptis.? In one window, a Saint Bartholomew has strangely escaped the destructive mobs of 1559 and 1688; but its tints are far inferior to the deep crimson and gold of the royal arms. It is remarkable that one other feature has also escaped destruction, the tomb of Janet Rhynd, with the following icscription in ancient Gothic characters :- peir I Q ~ ant bonorabfl booman, 3anet P(pn8, pe SS~ous of umqttbiI fliccI flakquben, Burgess of c?DJ. founBer of pis place, am Betessit ge iiii b q of Becemr., PO Bno Jl!lc.B?bii. Impaled in one shield, the arms of the husband and wife are in the centre of the sculptured stone, which is now level with a platform at the east end of the chapel for the accommodation of the officials of the Corporation. The hospital was founded in 1504--nine years before Flodden ; but the charter by which its permanent establishment is secured by Janet Rhynd, who gave personally ;6z,ooo Scots, is supposed to have been dated about 1545 in the reign of Mary, and as one of the last deeds executed for a pious purpose, is now remarkable in its tenor. The chapel is decorated at $s east end with the royal arms, those of the city, and of the twentytwo corporations forming the ancient and honourable Incorporation of Hammermen, ? the guardians of the sacred banner, the Blue Blanket, on the unfurling of which every liege burgher of the kingdom is bound to answer the summons.? On the walls are numerous tablets recording the names and gifts of benefactors. The oldest of these is supposed to be a daughter of the founders, ?? Isabel Macquhane, spouse to Gilbert Lauder, merchant burgess of Edinburgh, who bigged ye crosshouse, and mortified jE50 out of the Caussland, anno 1555.? ?John Spens, burgess of Edinburgh,? tells another tablet, ? bestowed IOO lods of Wesland lime for building the stipel of this chapell, anno I 6 2 I.? Eleven years after the quaint steeple was built a bell was hung in it, which bears round it, in large Roman characters,- SOLI DEO GLORIA MICHAEL BURGERHUVS ME FECIT. ANNO 1632. And underneath, in letters about half the size, is the legend, God bCis the Hammermen of MagdaZen Chapel. The bell is still rung, though not for the objects detailed in the will of Janet Rhynd, and in 1641 it was used to summon the congregation of the Greyfriars, who paid for its use A40 Scots yearly. When the distinguished Reformer John Craig returned to Scotland at the Reformation-escaping from Rome on the very day before he was to perish in a great auto-da-fe-after an absence of twentyfour years, he preached for some time in this chapel in the Latin language, to a select congregation of the learned, being unable from long disuse to hold forth in the Scottish tongue. He was subsequently appointed colleague to John Knox, and is distinguished in history for having defied even Bothwell, by refusing to publish the banns of his marriage with Mary, and also for having written the National Covenant of 1589. The General Assembly of 1578 .met in the Magdalene Chapel, and on the 30th of June, 1685, the headless body of the Earl of Argyle-whose skull was placed on the north gable of the Tolbooth -was deposited here, prior to its conveyance to Kilmun-the tomb of the Campbells-in Argyleshire. Among the sculpture above the door of the chapel there remains an excellent figure of an Edinburgh hammerman of 1555 inthe costume of the period, in doublet and trunk-breeches, with peaked beard and moustache, with a hammer in his right hand. The arms of the corporation are azure, a hammer proper, ensigned with the imperial crown. St. Eligius, Bishop and Confessor, was the patron of the Edinburgh hammermen; but, as the Scots always followed the French mode and terms, he has always been known as St. Eloi, whose altar in St. Giles?s Church was the property of the corporation. It was the most eastern of the chapels in that ancient fane. The keystone of this chapel alone is preserved. It is a richlysculptured boss formed of four dragons with distended wings, each different in design. The centre is formed by a large flower, in which is inserted the iron hook, whereat hung the votive lamp over the altar of St. Eloi, who is referred to in all the historical documents of the corporation.* According to the Bollandists, he had been a goldsmith early in life, and became master of the Mint to Clotaire II., on some of whose gold coins his name appears. He died Bishop of Noyon about 659, and Kincaid in his history (1794) says that in the Hammermen?s Hall a relic of him is shown, ?? called St. Eloi?s gown.? This was probably some garment which had clothed a statue. The chapel proper has latterly become the property of the Protestant Institute of Scotland, whose chambers are close by at I 7, George IV. Bridge. It is impossible to quit this locality without some An engraving of this keystone will be found on p 147, Vol. I.
Volume 4 Page 262
  Enlarge Enlarge  
TU Cowpate.] THE HAMMERMEN. 263 reference to those trades which form the United Incorporation of Hammermen, and to the old city companies and trades in generaL ?6 The Hammerer?s Seill of Cause,? was issued on the 2nd Nay, 1483, by Sir Patrick Baron of Spittalfield, Knight, Provost ?of the City, Patrick Balbirge of that ilk, David Crawford of St. Giles?s Grange, and Archibald Todrig, being bailies ; and under the general name are?included at that time, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, lorimers, saddlers, cutlers, buckler-makers, armourers, (( and all others within the said burgh of Edinburgh.? Pewterers were afterwards included, and a heckle-maker so lately as 1609. By the rule of the corporation it was statute and ordained, that ?? na hammerman, maister, feitman, servand, nor utheris, tak vpon hand fra this tyme furth, to exercise or use ony mair craftis but alanerly ane, and to live thairupon, sua that his brether craftismen be not hurt throu his large exercitation and exceeding of boundis,? Src. And all the privileges of the haminermen were ratified by Act of Parliament so recently as September, 1681, when shearsmiths appear as members of the corporation. In those days all the operations of industry were treated as secrets. Each trade was a craft, and those who followed it were called craftsmen ; and skilled artisans were ?? cunning men.? (Smiles.) The Hammermen?s seal bears the effigyof St. Eloi, in apostolical vestments, in a church porch surmounted by five pinnacles, holding in one hand a hammer, and in the other a key, with the legend, (( Sig2lum commune artis tudiatorum.? By the end of the 16th century the manufacture of offensive weapons predominated over all other trades in the city. The essay-piece ofa cutler, prior to his admission to the corporation, was a wellfinished ?quhinzier,? or sword; and there were gaird-makers, whose business consisted in fashioning the hilts ; dalmascars, who gilded weapons and armour. In 1582 sword blades were damascened at Edinburgh ; but ?? Hew Vans, dalmascar, was ordained not to buy blades to sell again,? his business being confined to gilding steel. There were also the belt-makers, who wrought military girdles ; dag-makers, who made hackbutts (short guns), and dags, or pistols ; but all these various trades became associated in the general one of armourers or gunsmiths, as the wearing of weapons began to fall into desuetude, and other arts connected with civilisation and luxury began to take their places. In 1586 a locksmith is first found in Edinburgh, where he was the cnly one, and could only make a ?? kist-lock.? Tirling-pins, wooden latches, and transom bars, were the appurtenances of doors before his time generally. But by 1609, ?as the security of property increased,? says Chambers, the essay was a kist-lock and a hing and bois lock with ane double plate lock ;? and, in 1644, ?? a key and sprent band were added to the essay.? In 1682 ?a cruik and cruik band? were further added; and in 1728, for the safety of the liegeq the locksmiths? essay was appointed to be ?? a cruik and cruik-band, a pass-lock with a round filled bridge, not cut or broke in the backside, with nobs and jamb bound.? The trade of a shearsmith appears first in 1595 in Edinburgh, and in 1613 Thomas Duncan, the first tinkler in the city was admitted a hammerman. The trade of a pewterer is found as far back as 1588; the first knockmaker (or clockmaker) appears in 1647, but his business was so limited that he added thereto the making of locks. (? Traditions of Edin.?) In 1664 the first white iron smith was admitted a hammerman, and the first harnessmaker, though lorimers-manufacturers of the iron-work used in saddlery-were members. since 1483. The first maker of surgical instruments in Edinburgh was Paul Martin, a French Protestant refugee, in 1691. In 1720 the first pin-maker appears ; and in 1764 the first edge-tool maker, and the first manufacturer of fish-hooks. By the first charter of the hammermen all a p plicants for admission were examined by the deacons and masters of their respective arts, as to their qualifications ; and any member found guilty of a bre?ch of any one of the articles contained in their charter, was fined eight shillings Scots towards the support of the corporation?s altar of St. Eloi in St Giles?s Church and the chaplain thereof. The goldsmiths were separated from the hammermen in 1581 ; but since then many other crafts have joined them, including gunsmiths, watchmakers, founders, braziers, and coppersmiths. The cordiners, or shoemakers, were first created into a society by the magistrates on the 28th of July, 1449 (according to Maitland), in terms of which each master of the trade who kept a booth within the town, paid one penny Scots, and the;. servants one halfpenny, towards the support of their altar of St. Crispin, in St. Giles?s Church. A new seal of cause was granted to them in 1509, and another in 1586, which enacted that their shops were not to be open on Sundays after g AM., and that no work was to be done on that day under pain of twenty shillings fine. It also regulated the days of the week on which leather boots and shoes could be sold by strangers in booths. This charter was confirmed on 6th March, 1598, by James VI., in considera
Volume 4 Page 263
  Enlarge Enlarge