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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Kirk-of-Field.] BOTHWELL DENOUNCED. 7 of the Canongate to Bothwell?s lodging, near the palace, at the gates of which they were again challenged by the Archers of the Guard-a corps which existed from 1562 to 1567-who asked ?if they knew what noise that was they heard a short time before.? They replied that they did not. Rushing to his house, Bothwell called for something to drink, and throwing off his clothes, went to bed. Tidings that the house had been blown up and the king slain spread fast through the startled city, and George Hackett, a servant of the palace, communicated these to Bothwell, whom he found in ?ane great effray pitch-black,? and excited. Then with assumed coolness he inquired ?what was the matter ? ? On being distinctly informed, he began to shout ?Treason!? and on being joined by the Earl of Huntley, he repaired at once to the presence of the queen. By dawn the whole area of the Kirk-of-Field was crowded by citizens, who found that the three servants who slept in the gallery were buried in the ruins, out of which Nelson was dragged alive. In Holyrood the queen kept her bed in a darkened room, while a proclamation was issued, offering the then tolerable sum of L2,ooo Scots to any who would give information as to the perpetrators of the crime. On the same day the body of Darnley was brought to Holyrood Chapel, and after being embalmed by Maistre Mastin Picauet, ? I ypothegar,? was interred on Saturday night, without the presence of any of the nobles or officers of state, except the Lord Justice Clerk Bellenden and Sir James Traquair. Bothwell was denounced as the murderer by a paper fixed on the Tolbooth Gate. But though the earl was ultimately brought to trial, no precisely proper inquiry into the startling atrocity was made by the officers of the Crown. A bill fastened on the Tron Beam, declared that the smith who furnished the false keys to the king?s apartment would, on due security being given, point out his employers ; and other placards, on one of which were written the queen?s initials, M.R., were posted elsewhere-manifestations of public feeling that rendered Bothwell so furious that he rode through the city at the head of a band of his armed vassals, swearing that he ? would wash his hands? in the blood of the authors, could he but discover them ; and from that time forward he watched all who approached him with a jealous eye, and a hand on his dagger. When that part of the city wall which immediately adjoined the house of the Kirk-of-Field was demolished in 1854, it was found to be five feet thick, and contained among its rubble many fragments of a Gothic church or other edifice, and three cannon-balls, one of 24 pounds? weight, were found in it. In the records of the Privy Council in 1599, we find an order for denouncing and putting to the horn Robert Balfour, Provost of the Kirk-of-Field, for having failed to appear before the Lords, and answer ? to sic thingis as sauld have been inquirit of him at his cuming.? The Provost, brother of the notorious Sir James, had been outlawed or forfeited in 157 I, as there rested upon both the charge of having been chief agents in the murder or Darnley. He was ultimately remitted and pardoned, and this was ratified by Parliament in 1584, when he and his posterity were allowed to enjoy all their possessions,?? providing alwayis that these presentis be not extendit to repossess and restoir the said Robert to bny ryt he has, or he may pretend, to ye Provostrie of ye Kirk-of-Field, sumtym situat within the libertie of ye burgh of Edinburgh.? In this same year, 1584, the Town Council were greatly excited by a serious affray that ensued at the Kirk-of-Field Port, and to prevent the recurrence of a similar disorder, ordained that on the ringing of the alarm bell the inhabitants were all to convene in their several quarters under their bailies, ? in armour and good order.? And subsequently, to prevent broils by night-walkers, they ordered I? that at 10 o?clock fifty strokes would be given on the great bell, after which none should be upon the streets, under a penalty of Azo Scots, and imprisonment during the town?s pleasure.? (? Council Records.?) A fragment of ruin connected with the Kirk-of- Field is shown as extant in 1647 in Gordon?s map, near what is now the north-west corner of Drumrnond Street, and close to the old University. A group ot trees appear to the eastward, and a garden to the iiorth. (Tytler.)
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8 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [The University. thereof-A few Notable Bequests-Income-The Library-The OF the four Scottish Universities, the youngest Museums. ? dormer windows, crowstepped gables, and turret is Edinburgh, a perfectly Protestant foundation, as the other three were established under the Catholic ?-&vie; yet the merit of originating the idea of academical institutions for the metropolis is due to Robert Reid, who, in 1558, six years before the date of Queen Mary?s charter, ?had bequeathed to the town of Edinburgh the sum of 8,000 merks for the purpose of erecting a University within the city.? . In 1566 Queen Mary entered so warmly into the views of the magistrates as actually to draw up a charter and provide a competent endowment for the future college. But the unsettled state of the realm and the turbulence of the age marred the fulfilment of her generous desire ; yet the charter she had prepared, acted, says Bower, in his ?? His tory,? so powerfully upon her son, James VI., that it was inserted in the one which is now deemed the foundation charter of the university, granted by the king in 1582, with the privilege of erecting houses for the professors and students. In recalling the active benefactors of the university, we cannot omit the names of the Rev. James Lawson, whose exertions contributed so greatly to the institution of the famous High School; and of Provost William Little, and of Clement Little, Commissary of Edinburgh, the latter of whom gave, in 1580, ?? to the city and kirk of God,? the whole of his library, consisting of 300 volumes-a great collection in those days-it is supposed for the use of the proposed college. The teachers at first established by the foundation were a Principal or Prilliarius, a Professor of Divinity, four Regents or Masters of Philosophy, and a Professor of Philology or Humanity. On the site of the Kirk-of-Field a quaint group of quadrangular buildings grew up gradually but rapidly, forming the. old college, which Maitland describes as having three courts, the southern of which was occupied on two sides by the classrooms and professors? houses, and on the others by the College Hall, the houses of the principal and resident graduates. A flight of steps led from this to the western quadrangle, which was rich in stairs. Here the students then resided. The eastern quadrangle contained the Convocation Hall and Library. The gateway was at the head of the College Wynd, with a lofty bell-tower, and the first five words of the a7~e in Gothic characters cut upon its lintel, as it was the original portal to the Kirk-of-Field. When Scott completed his education here the old halls, and solemn, yet in some senses mean, quadrangles, were an unchanged, as in the days of James VI. and the Charleses, and exhibited many quaint legends carved in stone. The old Library was certainly a large and handsome room, wherein were shown a skull, said to be that of George Buchanan ; the original Bohemian protest against the Council of Constance for burning John Huss and Jerome of Prague, dated 1417~ with 105 seals attached to it; the original marriage contract of Queen Mary with the Dauphin ; many coins, medals, and portraits, which were afterwards preserved in the new university. The old college buildings were begun in 1581 ; and in 1583 the Town Council constituted Mr. Robert Rollock, then a professor at St. Andrews, a professor in this university, of which he became afterwards Rector and Principal, and to which by the power of his learning he allured many students. The sum of 61 13s. 4d. was given him to defray the expenses of his removal to Edinburgh, where he began to teach on the 11th of October, when public notice was given ? that students desirous of instruction shall give up their names to a bailie, who shall take order for their instruction.? As there was then no other teacher but himself, he was compelled to put all the students into one class. ?? He soon felt, however, that this was impracticable,? says Bower, ?so as to do justice to the young men committed to his care. After having made this experiment, he was obliged to separate them into two classes. The progress which they made was very different, and a considerable number of them were exceedingly deficient in a knowledge of the Latin language.? On his recommendation a Mr. Duncan Nairn
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