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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


~~ In 1543, when the traitorous Scottish nobles of what was named the English faction, leagued with Henry VIII. to achieve a marriage between his son Edward, a child five years of age, and the infant Queen of Scotland, the Earl of Lennox, who was at the head of the movement, attempted an insurrection, and, marching with all his adherents to Leith, offered battle between that town and Edinburgh to the Regent and Cardinal Beaton, who were at the head of the Scottish loyalists. Aware that PILRIG FREE CHURCH AND LEITH WALK, LOOKING NORTH. After taking soundings at Granton Craigs, the infantry were landed there by pinnaces, though the water was so deep ? that a galley or two laid their snowttis (i.e. bows) to the craigs,? at ten in the morning of Sunday, the 4th of May. Between 12 and I o?clock they marched into Leith, ?and fnnd the tables covered, the dinnaris prepared, such abundance of wyne and victuallis besydes the other substances, that the lyck ritches were not to be found either in Scotland nor in England.? (Knox.) the forces of Lennox were superior in number to their own, they amused him with a pretended treaty till his troops began to weary, and dispersed to their homes; and Henry of England, enraged at the opposition to his avarice and ambition, resolved to invade Scotland in 1544. In May the Earl of Hertford, with an army variously estimated at from ten to twenty thousand, on board of two hundred vessels, commanded by Dudley, Lord Lisle, suddenly entered the Firth of Forth, while 4,000 mounted men-at-arms came to Leith by land. So suddenly was this expedition undertaken, that the Regent Arran and the Cardinal were totally unprepared to resist, and retired westward from the city. Leith was pillaged, the surrounding countqravaged with savage and merciless ferocity. Craigmillar was captured, with many articles of vahie deposited there by the citizens, and Sir Simon Preston, after being taken prisoner, was-as a degradation-compelled to march on foot to London. How Hertford was baffled in his attempts on Edinburgh Castle and compelled to retreat we have narrated in its place. He fell back on Leith, where he destroyed the pier, which was of wood, pillaged and left the town in flames. After which he embarked all his troops, and sailed, taking with him the &Znrnander and Unicorn, two large Scottish ships of war, and all the small craft lying in the harbour.
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170 OLD AND NEW EDINEURGH. [Leith. The ballast of the war ships ((was cannon-shot of iron of which we found in the town to the nombre of iii score thousand? according to the English account, which is remarkable, as the latter used stone bullets then, which were also used in the Armada more than forty years afterwards. The work from which we quote bears that it was ? Imprynted at London, in Pawls Churchyarde, by Reynolde Wolfe, at the signe of ye Brazen Serpent, anno 1554.? During this expedition Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, whose armour is now preserved in the Tower of London, was knighted at Leith by the Earl of Hertford, Scotland?s day of vengeance came speedily after, when the English army were defeated with great slaughter at Ancrum, on the 17th of February, 1545. After the battle of Pinkie Leith was pillaged and burnt again, with greater severity than before, and thirty-five vessels were carried from the harbour. In 1551 an Englishman was detected in Leith selling velvets in small pieces to indwellers there, thereby breaking the acts and infringing the freedom of the citizens of Edinburgh, for which he was arrested and fined. Indeed, the Burgh Records of this time teem with the prosecution of persons breaking the burgh laws by dealings with the ? unfreemen? of the seaport ; and so persistently did the magistrates of Edinburgh act as despots in their attempts to depress, annoy, and restrain the inhabitants, that, in the opinion of a local historian, there was only ?one measure wanting to coniplete the destruction of the unhappy Leiihers, and that was an act of the Town Council to cut their throats !? In 1554 the Easter Beaconof Leith is referred to in the Burgh Accounts, and also payments made about the same time to Alexander, a quarrier at Granton, for stones and for Gilmerton lime, for repairs upon the harbour of Leith. These works were continued until October, 1555, and great stones are mentioned as having been brought from the Burghmuir. The Queen Regent, Mary of Lorraine, granted the inhabitants of Leith a contract to erect the town into a Burgh of Barony, to continue valid till she could erect it into a Royal Burgh ; and as a preparatory measure she purchased overtly and for their use, with money which they themselves furnished, the superiority of the town from Logan of Restalrig ; but as she ,failed amid the turmoil of the time to fulfil her engagements, the people of Leith alleged that she had been bribed by those of Edinburgh with zo,ooo merks to break them. CHAPTER XVIII. LEITH-HISTORICAL SURVEY (rantinaed). The Great Siege--Arrival of the French-The Fortifications-Re-capture of Inchkeith-The Town Invested-Arrival of the English Fleet and Army-SkirmishesOpning of the Batteries-Failure of the Great Assault-Queen Regent?s Death--Treaty of Peace-Relics of the Siege. FROM 1548 to 1560 Leith, by becoming the fortified seat of the Court and headquarters of the Queen Regent?s army and of her French auxi!iaries, figured prominently as the centre of those stirring events that occurred during the bitter civil war which ensued between Mary of Lorraine and the Lords of the Congregation. Its port received the shipping and munitions of war which were designed for her service ; its fortifications ? enclosed alternately a garrison and an army, whose accoutrements? had no opportunity of becoming rusted, and its gates poured forth detachments and sallying parties who fought many a fierce skirmish with portions of the Protestant forces on the plain between Leith and Edinburgh.? The bloody defeat at Pinkie, the ravage of the capital and adjacent country, instead of reconciling the Scots to a matrimonial alliance with England, caused them to make an offer of their young Queen to the Dauphin of France, an offer which his father at once accepted, and he resolved to leave no means untried to enforce the authority of the dowager of James V., who was appointed Regent during the minority of her daughter. The flame of the Reformation, long stifled in Scotland, had now burst forth and spread over all the country; and the Catholic party would have been only a minority but for the influence of the Queen Regent and the presence of her French auxiliaries, who amved in Leith Roads in June, 1548, in twentytwo galleys and sixty other ships, according to Calderwood?s History. Sir Nicholas de Villegaignon, knight of Rhodes, was admiral of the fleet, which, as soon as it left Brest, displayed, in place of French colours, the Red Lion of Scotland, as France and.England were
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