Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


PI0 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Melville Street pr0mot.e the pleasant intercourse of. those who practise art either professionally or privately ; to increase facilities for the study and observation of art, and to obtain more general attention to its claims. The association is composed of artists, professional and amateur, and has exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, and water-colour drawings, at intervals during the year, without being antagonistic in any way to the Royal Scottish Academy. Lectures are here delivered on art, and the entire institute is managed by a chairman and executive council, In No. 6 Shandwick Place Sir Walter Scott resided from 1828 to 1830, when he relinquished his office as clerk of session in the July of the latter year. This was his Zasf permanent residence in Edinburgh, where on two future occasions, however, he resided temporarily. On the 31st of January, 1831, he came to town from Abbotsford for the purpose of executing his last will, and on that occasion he took up his abode at the house of his bookseller, in Athole Crescent, where he resided for nine days. At that time No. 6 was the residence of Mr. Jobson. No. 11, now a hotel, was for about twenty years the residence of Lieutenant-General Francis Dundas, son of the second President Dundas, and brother of the Lord Chief Baron Dundas. He was long a colonel in the old Scots Brigade of immortal memory, in the Dutch service, and which afterwards came into the British in 1795, when his regiment was numbered as the 94th of the line. In 1802-3 he was Governor of the Cape of Good Hope. During the brief peace of Amiens, in accordance with his instructions to evacuate the colony, he embarked his troops on board the British squadron, but on the same evening, having fortunately received counter orders, he re-landed the troops and re-captured the colony, which has ever since belonged to Britain. In I 809 he was colonel of the 7 I st Highlanders, and ten years after was Governor of Dumbarton Castle. He died at Shandwick Place on the 4th of January, 1824 after a long and painful illness, ?which he supported With the patience of a Christian and the fortitude of a soldier.? . At the east end of Shandwick Place is St George?s Free Church, a handsome and massive Palladian edifice, built for the congregation of the celebrated Dr. Candlish, after a design by David Bryce, RSA, seated for about 1,250 persons, and erected at a cost, including;t;13,600 for the site, 01 ~31,000. In No. 3 Walker Street, the short thoroughfare between Coates Crescent and Melville Street, Su . Walter Scott resided with his daughter during the winter of 1826-7, prior to his removal to Shandwick Place. Melville Street, which runs parallel with the latter on the north, at about two hundred yards distance, is a spacious thoroughfare symmetrically and beautifully edificed; and is adorned in its centre, at a rectangular expansion, with a pedestrian bronze statute of the second Viscount Melville, ably executed by Steel, on a stone pedestal ; it was erected in 1557. This street contains houses which were occupied by two eminent divines, the Rev. David Welsh and the Rev. Andrew Thomson, already referred to in the account of St George?s parish church. In No. 36, Patrick Fraser Tytler, F.R.S.E., the eminent Scottish historian, resided for many years, and penned several of his works. He was the youngest son of Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, and thus came of a race distinguished in Scottish literature. Patrick was called to the bar in 1813, and six years after published, at Edinburgh, a ?? Life of the Admirable Crichton,? and in 1826, a ?Life of WicliK? His able and laborious ? History of Scotland? first appeared in 1828, and at once won him fame, for its accuracy, brilliance, and purity of style ; but his writings did not render him independent, as he. died, when advanced in lie, in receipt of an honorary pension from the Civil List. In Manor Place, at the west end of Melville Street, lived Mrs. Grant of Laggan, the well-known authoress of ?? Letters from the Mountains,? and whose house was, in her time, the resort of select literav parties ; of whom Professor Wilson was always one. She had for some time previous resided in the Old Kirk Brae House. In 1825 an application was made on her behalf to George IV. for a pension, which was signed by Scott, Jeffrey, Mackenzie-? The Man of Feeling ?-and other influential persons in Edinburgh, and in consequence she received an annual pension of LIOO from the Civil Establishment of Scotland. This, with the emoluments of her literary works, and liberal bequests by deceased friends, made easy and independent her latter days, and she died in Manor Place, on the 7th of November, 1838, aged 84. It was not until 1868 that this street was edificed on its west side partially, Westward and northward of it a splendid new extension of the city spreads, erected subsequently to that year, comprising property now worth nearly&~,ooo,ooo. This street is named from the adjacent mansion house of the Walkers of Coates, and is on the property of the latter name. Lyingimmediately west
Volume 4 Page 210
  Enlarge Enlarge  
coate3 Street.] ST, MARY?S CATHEDRAL 211 ward of Princes Street, this estate includes the sites of Coates Crescent, Melville,Walker, Stafford Streets, and other thoroughfares, yielding a rental of aboul &zo,ooo yearly, and representing a capital oi ~400,000, the whole of which, in 1870, was be queathed by the late Misses Walker of Coates and Drumsheugh, for the erection of a cathedral for the Scottish Episcopal Church, dedicated to St. Maq facing the west end of Melville Street. Miss Mary Walker-the last of an old Episcopalian family-died in 1871, her sister Barbara having pre-deceased her. The foundation-stone was laid with impressive ceremony, by the Duke of Buccleuchj assisted by some zoo clergy and laymen 01 the Episcopal communion on the zIst of May, 1874; and when fully completed it will be the largest and most beautiful church that has been erected in Scotland, or perhaps in Great Britain since the Reformation. The total cost, when finished, will be about .&132,567. The architect, Sir Gilbert Scott, founded his design on the early Pointed style of architecture. The axis of this cathedral coincides with the centre of Melville Street, its site being immediately to the south of Coates House, the sole example of an old Scottish mansion surviving in the New Town. The form adopted is that of a cruciform church, the general effect being enhanced by the introduction to the central tower of two minor, though still lofty, towers at the western end. The plan embraces a choir with north and south aisles ; at the intersection of the transepts rises the central or rood tower,?z75 feet inheight; the total length of the edifice externally is 278 feet 2 inches, and the breath 98 feet 6 inches. The choir is 60 feet 9 inches long and 29 broad, with aisles 16 feet wide, divided into two great and four minar bays by beautifully clustered columps. From the floor to the key-stones of the vaulting, which is all of stone, the height is 58 feet. The transepts, which project by one ?bay beyond the nave and choir, are .35 feet 4 inches long, by 30 feet g inches broad, with aisles above 13 feet wide. This unusual proportion of breadth -was given to the transepts to provide ample accommodation for congregational purposes. To the north of the north chancel aisle is the library, an apartment measuring 30 feet by I 9 feet. The main entrance of the church is from Palmerston Place, opposite what are grotesquely named Grosvenor Gardens. This elevation is the most imposing modern Gothic fapde in Scotland, severe in its purity, and rich in elaboration. The most important features here are the portal and great west window. The shafts and flanking arches of the former are of red granite, from Shap in Westmoreland, harmonising well with the fine nunmore and Polmaise freestone of which the edifice i s built. In the vesica of the centre pediment is a seated figure of the Saviour, supporting with the left hand a lamb, and with the outstretched right holding a key. Around is the legend :- SALVABITUR? ?EGO SUM OSTIUM; PER ME SI QUIS INTROIERIT In the spandrils are figures of St. Peter and John the Baptist. Below this grouping are ranged along the door lintel angels bearing a scroll inscribed- ?TU ES CHRISTUS FILIUS DEI.? The side elevations of the nave present the usual features of the early Pointed style, the walls of the aisle being substantially buttressed, dividing the length into five bays, in each of which is a double window. Above the clerestory runs a bold cotnice, and from the wall head there springs a high pitched roof. In the gable of the south transept is anotherportal, the mouldings of which are exquisitely carved. The window consists of three lancets separated by massively clustered buttress shafts. Above it is a rose window 24 feet in diameter, filled in with geometrical tracery. Above it are five pointed niches, containing statues of St. Paul and St. Luke, Titus, Silas, and Timotheus. the gable of the north transept has some features peculiarly its own. The wheel window, 24 feet in diameter, is of a later period than that in the south gable, Over it is a statue of David. As usual in cathedrals, the choir has been treated with greater elaboration of design and detail than the nave, especially in the triforium and clerestory. The gable fronting Melville Street is nearly occupied by a triple lancet window, the apex of the arches being 54 feet from the ground. Above is an arcade, the arches of which are filled by statues of the mother of our Lord and the four Evangelists. In the vesica is a figure of the Saviour surrounded by angels in the act of adoration. The four shafted and clustered pillars of the roodtower, though framed to support a superincumbent mass of no less than 6,000 tons, are finely proportioned and even light in appearance. The tower rises square from the roof in beautiful proportions, the transition to the octagonal form taking place at the height of 120 feet from the foundation. Viewed from any point, the nave, with its longdrawn aisles and interlacing arches, has a peculiarly p n d and impressive effect. Designed in the style of the twelfth century, the font stands in the baptistery under the south-west tower. It is massive, of yellowish alabaster streaked with red Though treated in a somewhat similar manner, ,
Volume 4 Page 211
  Enlarge Enlarge