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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Bomington] THE LAIRDS OF PILRIG. 91 His History of the Church and State of Scotland,? though coloured by High Church prejudices, is deemed a useful narration and very candid record of the most controverted part of our national annals, while the State documents used in its compilation have proved of the greatest value to every subsequent writer on the same subject. Very curious is the list of subscribers, as being, says Chambers, a complete muster-roll of the whole Jacobite nobility and gentry of the period, including among others the famous Rob Roy, the outlaw ! The bishop performed the marriage ceremony of that ill-starred pair, Sir George Stewart of Grandtully and Lady Jane Douglas, on the 4th of August, I 746. In I 7 5 5 he published his well-known ? Catalogue of Scottish Bishops,? a mine of valuable knowledge to future writers. The latter years of his useful and blameless life, during which he was in frequent correspondence with the gallant Marshal Keith, were all spent at the secluded villa of Bonnyhaugh, which belonged to himself. There he died on the 27th of January, 1757, in his seventy-sixth year, and was borne, amid the tears of the Episcopai communion, to his last home in the Canongate churchyard. There he lies, a few feet from the western wall, where a plain stone bearing his name was only erected recently. In 1766 Alexander Le Grand was entailed in the lands and estates of Bonnington. In 1796 the bridge of Bonnington, which was of timber, having been swept away by a flood, a boat was substituted till 1798, when another wooden bridge was erected at the expense of A30. Here in Breadalbane Street, northward of some steam mills and iron-works, stands the Bonnington Sugar-refining Company?s premises, formed by a few merchants of Edinburgh andLeith about 1865, where they carry on an extensive and thriving business. The property and manor house of Stewartfield in this quarter, is westward of Bonnington, a square edifice with one enormous chimney rising through a pavilion-shaped roof. We have referred to the entail of Alexander Le Grand, of Bonnington, in 1766. The Scots Magazine for 1770 records an alliance between the two proprietors here thus :-?At Edinburgh, Richard Le Grand, Esq., of Bonnington (son of the preceding?), to Miss May Stewart, daughter of James Stewart of Stewartfield, Esq.? On the north side of the Bonnington Road, and not far from Bonnington House, stands that of Pilrig, an old rough-cast and gable-ended mansion among aged trees, that no doubt occupies the site of a much older edifice, probably a fortalice. In 1584 Henry Nisbett, burgess of Edinburgh, became caution before the Lords of the Privy Council, for Patrick Monypenny of Pilrig, John Kincaid of Warriston, Clement Kincaid of the Coates, Stephen Kincaid, John Matheson, and James Crawford, feuars of a part of the Barony of Broughton, that they shall pay to Adam Bishop of Orkney, commendator of Holyrood House, ?what they ow-e him for his relief of the last taxation of _f;zo,ooo, over and above the sum of ?15, already consigned in the hands of the col- Lector of the said collection.? In 1601 we find the same Laird of Pilrig engaged in a brawl, ?forming a specimen of the second class of outrages.? He (Patrick Monypenny) stated to the Lords of Council that he had a wish to let a part of his lands of Pilrig, called the Round Haugh, to Harry Robertson and Andrew Alis, for his own utility and profit. But on a certain day, not satisfied, David UuA; a doughty indweller in Leith, came to these per?sons, and uttering ferocious menaces against them in the event of their occupying these lands, effectually prevented them from doing so. Duff next, accompanied by two men named Matheson, on the 2nd of March, 1601, attacked the servants of the Laird of Pilrig, as they were at labour on the lands in question, with similar speeches, threatening them with death if they persisted in working there; and in the night they, or other persons instigated by them, had come and broken their plough, and cast it into the Water of Leith. ?John Matheson,? continues the indictment, ?? after breaking the complenar?s plew, came to John Porteous?s house, and bade him gang now betwix the Flew stilts and see how she wald go till the morning:? adding that he would have his head broken if he ever divulged who had broken the plough, The furious Duff, not contentwith all this,trampled and destroyed the tilled land. In this case the accused were dismissed from the bar, but only, it would appear, through hard swearing in their own cause. There died at Pilrig, according to the Scots Magazine for 1767, Margaret, daughter of the late Sir Johnstone Elphinstone of Logie, in the month of January ; and in the subsequent June, Lady Elphinstone, his widow. The Elphinstones of Logie were baronets of 1701. These ladies were probably visitors, as the then proprietor and occupant of the mansion was James Balfour of Pilng, who was born in 1703, and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates on the 14th of November, 1730, Three years later on the death of Mr. Bayne, Professor of Scottish Law in the University of Edinburgh, he and Mr.
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- John Erskine of Carnock, were presented by the Faculty to the patrons of the vacant chair, who elected the latter, and he was afterwards well known as the author of the ? Institutes of the Law of Scotland.? John Balfour was subsequently appointed sheriff-substitute of the county of Edinburgh, and having a turn for philosophy, he became early adverse to the speculative reasoning of David Hume, and openly opposed them in two treatises ; one was entitled ?A Delineation of the Nature PILRIG HOUSE In the spring of 1779 he resigned his professorship, and lived a retired life at Pilrig, where he died on the 6th of March, 1795, in his ninetysecond year, and was succeeded by his son, John Balfour of Pilrig. The estate is now becoming covered with streets. There is a body called the ? Pilrig Model Buildings Association,? formed in 1849, for erecting houses for the working-classes, and the success of this scheme has been such that there has scarcely been and Obligation of Morality,- with Reflections on Mr. Hume?s Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.? A second edition of this appeared in 1763. The other, ?? Philosophical Dissertations,? appeared also at Edinburgh in 1782. Hurne was much pleased with these treatises, though opposed to his own theories, and on the appearance of the first, wrote the author a letter, requesting his friendship, as he was obliged by his politeness. In August, 1754, Balfour was appointed to the chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, and ten years afterwards was transferred to the chair of Public Law. He published his ?Philosophical Essays? a short time after. an arrear of rent among its tenants since the year named. This was the earliest of the many schemes started in Edinburgh for improving the dwellings of the labouring classes, and it has been followed up in many directions, though all it; features have not been copied. Inverleith, or Innerleith, as it was often called of old, was the only baronial estate of any extent that lay immediately north-east of Stockbridge. The most influential heritor in the once? vast parish of St Cuthbert was Touris the Baron or Laird of Inverleith, whose possessions included, directly south-west from North Leith, the lands of Coates,. Dalry, Pocketsleve, the High Riggs, or all
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