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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


PHE KIRK-OF-FIELD. (Alto an Etching by /awes Skenc cf Rubirlaw). OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. CHAPTER I. THE KIRK OF ST. MARY-IN-THE-FIELDS. Memorabilia of the Edifice-Its Age-Altars-hfade Collegiate-The Prebendal Buildings--Ruined-The House of the Kirk of-Field-The hfurder of Darnley-Robert Balfour, the Last Provost. WE now come to the scene of one of the most astounding events in European history-the spot where Henry, King of Scotland, was murdered in the lonely house attached to the Kirk-of-Field, one of the many fanes dedicated to St. Mary in Edinburgh, where their number was great of old. When, or by whom, the church of St. Mary-inthe- Fields was founded is alike unknown. In the taxation of the ecclesiastical benefices in the archdeaconry of Lothian, found in the treasury of Durham, and written in the time of Edward I. of England, there appears among the churches belonging to the abbey of Holyrood, EccZesia Sand& Mariiz in Cam& This was beyond doubt what was at a later period the collegiate church of St. Mary-in-the- Fields, and the few notices concerning which are very meagre ; but thus it must have existed in the thirteenth century, when all the district to the south 07 of it was covered with oaks to the base of the hills of Braid and Blackford. It took its name from being completely in the fields, beyond the wall of 1450. In the view of the city engraved in 1544, it is shown to have been a large cruciform church, with a tall tower in the centre ; and this representation of it is to a great extent repeated in a view found in the State Paper Office (drawn after the murder of Darnley), of which a few copies have been circulated, and which shows its pointed windows and buttresses. Among the property belonging to the foundation was a tenement at the foot of the modem Blair Street, on the west side, devoted to the altar of St. Katharine in this now defunct church ; and in the ? Inventory of Pious Donations,? preserved in the Advocates? Library (quoted by Wilson), there is a ? mortification I? by Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell, to the chaplain of the Kirk-of-Field of ?her fore
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2 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Kirk-of-Field. land of umyle Hew Berrie?s tenement and chamber adjacent yr to, lying in the Cowgaitt, on the south side of the street, betwixt James Earl of Buchan?s land on the east, and Thomas Tod?s on ye west.? This lady was a daughter of John Lord Kennedy, and was the widow of the aged Earl of Angus, who died of a broken heart after the battle of Flodden. In 1450-1 an obligation by the Corporation of Skinners in favour of St. Christopher?s altar in St. Giles?s was signed with much fornialityon the 12th of January, infra ecdesiam Beate &Iarie He Canzpo, in presence of Sir Alexander Hundby, John Moffat, and John Hendirsone, chaplains thereof, Thomas Brown, merchant, and other witnesses. ((? Burgh Rec.?) James Laing, a burgess of Edinburgh, founded an additional chaplaincy in this church during the reign of James V., whose royal confirmation of it is dated 19th June, 1530, and the grant is made ? to a chaplain celebrating divine service at the high altar within the collegiate church of Blessed Marie-in-the-Fields.? When made collegiate it was governed by a provost, who with eight prebendaries and two choristers composed the college ; but certain rights appear to have been reserved then by the canons of Holyrood, for in 1546 we find Robert, Commendator of the abbey, presenting George Kerr to a. prebend in it, ?according to the force and form of the foundation.? There is a charter by James V., arst May, 1531, confirming a previous one of 16th May, I 53 I, by the lady before mentioned, ?Janet Kennedy Domina de Bothvill,? of tenements in Edinburgh, and an annual rent of twenty shillings for a prebendary to perform divine service ?in the college kirk of the Blessed Virgin Mary-in-the-Fields, or without the walls of Edinburgh, pro sat& #sius Domini Regis (JamesV.), and for the souls OP his father (James IV.), and the late Archibald, Earl of Angus? Among the most distinguished provosts of the Kirk-of-Field was its second one, Richard Bothwell, rector of Ashkirk, who in A4ugust and December, 1534, was a commissioner for opening Parliament. He died in the provost?s house in 1547. The prebendal buildings were of considerable extent, exclusive of the provost?s house, or lodging. David Vocat, one of the prebendaries, and master of the Grammar School of Edinburgh, clerk and orator of Holyrood,? was a liberal ? benefactor to the church ; but it and the buildings attached to it seem to have suffered severely at the hands of the English during the invasion of 1544 or 1547. In the ?? Inventory of the Townis purchase from the Marquis of Hamilton in 1613,?? with a view to the founding of a college, says Wilson, we have found an abstract of ?a feu charter granted by Mr. Alexander Forrest, provost of the collegiate church of the Blessed Xlary-in-the-Fields, near Edinr., and by the prebends of the said church,? dated 1544, wherein it is stated:-?Considering that ther houses, especially ther hospital annexed and incorporated with ther college, were burnt down and destroyed by their add enemies of EngZand, so that nothing of their said hospital was left, but they are altogether waste and entirely destroyed, wherethrough the divine worship is not a little decreased in the college, because they were unable to rebuild the said hospital. . . , Therefore they gave and granted, set in feu forme, and confirmed to a magnificent and illustrious prince, James, Duke of Chattelherault, Earl of Arran, Lord Hamilton, &c., all and hail their tenement or hospital, with the yards and pertinints thereof, lying within the burgh of Edinburgh, in the street or wynd called School House Wynd, on the east part thereof.? The duke appears, it is added, from frequent allusions by contemporaries, to have built an abode for his family on the site of this hospital, and that edifice served in future years as the hall of the first college of Edinburgh. In 1556 we find Alexander Forrest, the provost of the kirk, in the name of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, presenting a protest, signed by Mary of Guise, to the magistrates, praying them to suppress ?? certain odious ballettis and rymes baith sett furth ? by certain evil-inclined persons, who had also demolished certain images, but with what end is unknown. (?Burgh Records.?) But two years after Bishop Lesly records that when the Earl of Argyle and his reformers entered Edinburgh, after spoiling the Black and Grey Friars, and having their ? haill growing treis plucked up be the ruittis,? they destroyed and burned all the images in the Kirk-of-Field. In 1562 the magistrates made application to Queen Mary, among other requests, for the Kirk-of- Field and all its adjacent buildings and ground, for the purpose of erecting a school thereon, and for the revenues of the old foundation to endow the same ; but they were not entirely made over to the city for the purpose specified till 1566. The quadrangle of the present university now occupies the exact site of the church of St. Mary-inthe- Fields, including that of the prebendal buildings, and, says Wilson-who in this does not quite accord with Bell-to a certain extent the house of the provost, so fatally known in history; and the main access and approach to the whole establishment was
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