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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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The Old High S:hoo!.l THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. 287 college, the pulpits, desks, lofts, and seats, were; says Nicol, (( dung down by these English sodgeris, and burnt to asses.? When the congregation of the abbey church were compelled by James VII. to leave it in 1687, they had to seek accommodation in Lady Yester?s till another place of worship could be provided for them. A small cemetery adjoined the church ; it is now covered with buildings, but was still in use about the close of the last and beginning of the present century, and many seamen of the Russian fleet, which lay for a time at Leith, and who died in the infirmary, were buried there. In 1803 the old church was taken down, and a new one erected for 1,212 sitters, considerably to the westward of it, was opened in the following year. Though tasteless and nondescript in style, it was considered an ornament to that part of the city. The tomb of the foundress, and the tablet recording her good works, are both rebuilt into this new fane ; but it seems doubtful whether her body was removed at the same time. The parish is wholly a town one, and situated within the city; it contains 64,472 square yards With diffidence, yet with ardour and interest, we now approach the subject of the old High School of Edinburgh-the famous and time-honoured SchZa Regia Edineprsis-so prominently patronised by James VI., and the great national importance of which was recognised even by George IV., who gave it a handsome donation. Scott, and thousands of others, whose deeds and names in every walk of life and in every part of the globe have added to the glory of their country, have conned their tasks in the halls of this venerable institution. In the roll of its scholars,? says Dr. Steven, ?are the names of some of the most distinguished men of all professions, and who have filled important situations in all parts of the world, and it is a fact worth recording that it includes the names of three Chancellors of England, all nafives of Edinburgh-Wedderbum, Erskine, and Brougham.? Learning, with all the arts and infant science too, found active and munificent patrons in the monarchs of the Stuart line ; thus, so early as the sixth Parliament of James IV., it was ordained that all barons and freeholders of substance were to put their eldest sons to school after the age of six or nine years, there to remain till they were perfect in Latin, ?( swa that they have knowledge and understanding of the lawes, throw the quhilks justice may remaine universally throw all the tealme.? Those who failed to conform to this Act were to pay a fine of twenty pounds. But Scotland possessed schools so early as the twelfth century in all her principal towns, though prior to that period scholastic knowledge could only be received within the walk- of the monasteries. The Grammar School of Edinburgh was originally attached to the abbey of Holyrood, and as the demand for education increased, those friars whose presence could be most easily dispensed tvith at the abbey,were permitted by the abbot and chapter to become public teachers within the city. The earliest mention of a regular Grammar School in Edinburgh being under the control of the magistrates is on the 10th January, 1519, ?the quhilk day, the provost, baillies, and counsall statutis and ordains, fot resonabie caussis moving thame, that na maner of nychtbour nor indwe!ler within this burgh, put thair bairins till ony particular scule within this toun, boi to fhe pnircipal Grammw Smlc of the samyn,? to be taught in any science, under a fine of ten shillings to the master of the said principal school. David Vocat, clerk of the abbey, was then at the head of the seminary, enjoying this strange monopoly; and on the 4th September, 1524, George, Bishop of Dunkeld, as abbot of Holyrood, with consent of his chapter, appointed Henry Henryson as assistant and successor to Vocat, whose pupil he had been, at the Grammar School of the Canongate. Bya charter of James V., granted under the great seal of Scotland, dated 1529, Henryson had the sole privilege of instructing the youth of Edinburgh; but he was ?also to attend at the abbey in his surplice on all high and solemn festivals, there to sing at mass and evensong, and make himself otherwise useful in the chapel. According to Spottiswood?s Church History, Henryson publicly abjured Romanism so early .as 1534, and thus he must have left the High School before that year, as Adam Melville had become head-master thereof in 1531. The magistrates of the city had as yet no voice in the nomination of masters, though the whole onus of the establishment rested on them as representing the citizens ; and in 1554, as we have elsewhere (VoL I. p. 263) stated, they hired that venerable edifice, then at the foot of Blackfriars Wfnd-once the residence of -Archbishop Ekaton and of his nephew the cardinal- as a school; but in the following year they were removed to another house, near the head of what is named the High School Wynd, which had been built by the town for their better accommodation. The magistrates having obtained from Queen
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