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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


286 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Infirmary Street. ._ Freirs xx li. owing to them, at this last Fasterns evin, for thair bell, conform to the act maid thairupon ? (Burgh Records). In 1553 another Act ordains ?John Smyson? to pay them the sum ?of xx li compleit payment of thair silver bell;? and in 1554-5 in the Burgh Accounts is the item-?To the Blackfriars and Greyfriars, for their preaching yeirlie, ilk ane of thame :elf ane last of sownds beir; price of ilk boll xxviij s. summa, xvj li. xvj s.? When John Knox, after his return to Scotland, began preaching against the Mass as an idolatrous worship, he was summoned before an ecclesiastical judicatory held in the Blackfriars? church on the 15th May, 1556. The case was not proceeded with at the time, as a tumult was feared j but the summons so greatly increased the power and popularity of Knox, that on that very 15th of May he preached to a greater multitude than he had ever done before. In 1558 the populace attacked the monastery and church, and destroyed everything they contained, leaving the walls an open ruin. In 1560 John Black, a Dominican friar, acted as the permanent confessor of Mary of Guise, during her last fatal illness in the Castle of Edmburgh, and Knox in his history indulges in coarse innuendoes concerning both. His name is still preserved in the following doggerel verse :- ? There was a certain Black friar, always called Black, And this was no nickname, for bluck was his work ; Of all the Black friars he was the blackest clerk, Born in the Black Friars to be a black mark.?? This Dominican, however, was a learned and subtle doctor, a man of deep theological research, who in 1561 maintained against John Willox the Reformer, and ex-Franciscan, a defence of the Roman Catholic faith for two successive days, and gave him more than ordinary trouble to meet his arguments. He was. afterwards stoned in the streets ?by the rabble,? on the 15th December, or, as others say, the 7th of January. By 1560 the stones of the Black Friary were used ? for the bigging of dykes,? and other works connected with the city. The cemetery was latterly the old High School Yard, and therein a battery of cannon was erected in 157 I to batter a house in which the Parliament of the king?s men held a meeting, situated somewhere on the south side of the Canongate. The Dominican gardens, in which the dead body of Darnley was found lying under a tree, and their orchard, lay to the southward, and in 1513 were intersected, or bounded by the new city wall, in which there remained-till July, 1854, when some six hundred yards of it were demolished, and a parapet and iron railing substituted-an elliptically arched doorway, half buried in the pavement, three feet three inches wide, and protected by a round gun-port, splayed out four feet four inches wide. Through this door the unscathed body of Darnley must have been borne by his?murderers, ere they blew up the house of the Kirk-of-field. It was an interesting relic, and its removal was utterly wanton. The next old ecclesiastical edifice on the other side of the street was Lady Yester?s church, which in Gordon?s map is shown as an oblong barn-like edifice surrounded by a boundary wall, with a large window in its western gable. Lady Yester, a pious and noble dame, whose name was long associated with ecclesiastical chGties in Edinburgh, was the third daughter of Mark Kerr, Commendator of Newbattle Abbey, a Lord of Session, and founder of the house of Lothian. Early in life she was married to James Lord Hay of Yester, and hac! two sons, John Lord Yester, afterwards Earl of Tweeddale, and Sk William, for whom she purchased the barony of Linplum After being a widow some years she married Sir Andrew Kerr younger of Fernyhurst. In 1644 she built the church at the south-east corner of the High School Wynd, at the expense of LI,OOO of the then money, with 5,000 merks for the salary of the minister. It was seated for 817 persons, and in August, 1655, the Town Council appointed a district of the city a parish for it. Shortly before her death, Lady Yester ?caused joyne thereto an little isle for the use of the minister, yr she lies interred.? This aisle is shown by Gordon to have been on the north side of the church, and Monteith (1704) describes the following doggerel inscription on her ?? tomb on the north side of the vestiary? :- ? It?s needless to erect a marble tomb : . The daily bread that for the hungry womb, And bread of life thy bounty hath provided For hungry souls, all times to be divided ; World-lasting monuments shall reare, That shall endure, till Christ himself appear. Posd was thy life, prepared thy happy end ; Nothing in either was without commend. Let it be the care of all who live hereafter, To live and die, like Margaret Lady Yester.? Who dyed 15th Match, 1647. Her age 75. ?Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord ; they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.?- Rev. xiv. 13. After Cromwell?s troops rendered themselves houseless in 1650 by burning Holyrood, quarters were assigned them in the city churches, including Lady Yester?s; and in all of these, and part of the
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