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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
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