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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Cnigmillar.] CRAIGMILLAR CASTLE. 61 when descending Craigmillar Hill, a queen?s soldier, who had a loose match in his hand, exploded the powder-barrels, and mortally injured Captain Melville, the kinsman of Sir William Kirkaldy. The latter interred him with military honours in a vault of Edinburgh Castle, where, doubtless, his remains still rest In 1589 there was granted a charter under the great seal to John Ross of the lands of Limpitstoun, which was witnessed in Craigmillar by the Arch- %ishop of St. Andrews, John Lord Hamilton, the Commendator of Arbroath, Maitland of Thirlstane, Walter, Prior of Blantyre, and others. Calderwood relates, that in January, 1590, when Jaines VI. was sitting in the Tolbooth, hearing to the gibbet by forty and fifty at a time. in the sight of Edinburgh and Leith. In 1573 the Loyalists, says Crawford of Drumsoy, sent a strong body of horse and foot, in hope to capture the Regent Morton at Dalkeith in the aight; but found him ready to receive them on Sheriff-hall Muir, from whence he drove them in as far as the Burghmuir, and only lost the Laird of Kirkmichael and some fifty men. Few were killed, recent rains having wetted the gun-matches ; but its ofice houses and grass,? it was advertised to be let in the Edinburgh Cowant for 11th March, 1761. In that year Sir Alexander Gilmour of Craigmillar was elected M.P. for the county. We cannot dismiss the subject of Craigmillar without a brief glance at some of those who occupied it Sir Simon Preston, who obtained it from John de Capella, traced his descent up to Leolph de Preston, who lived in the reign of William the Lion; and, according to Douglas, his father was Sir John Preston, who was taken at the battle of Durham in 1346, and remained in the Tower of London until ransomed. In 1434 Sir Henry Preston of Craigmillar (whose the case of the Laird of Criigmillar, who was sueing for a divorce against his wife, the Earl of Bothwell forcibly carried off one of the most important witnesses to his Castle of Crichton, threatening him with the gallows, ?&as if there had been no king in Israel.? It was not until after the beginning of the present century that the castle was permitted to fall into ruin and decay, which it did rapidly. It was in perfect preservation, no doubt, when, with ?? all PEFFER MILL-HOUSE.
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62 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Water of Leith name doesnot appear in the Baronage) was Sheriff and Provost of Edinburgh (?Burgh Records?). After him come five -barons of his surname, before the famous Sir Simon Preston, also Provost of the city, into whose mansion, the Black Turnpike, Mary was thrust by the confederate lords. A son or nephew of his appears to have distinguished himself in the Low Countries. He is mentioned by Cardinal Bentivoglio, in his History,? as ?? Colonel Preston, a Scotsman,? who cut his way through the German lines in 1578. Sir Richard Preston of Craigmillar, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to JamesVI., K.B., and Constable of Dingwall Castle, raised to the peerage of Scotland as Lord Dingwall, was the last of this old line. He married Lady Elizabeth Butler, only daughter of Thomas, Earl of Ormond, and widow of Viscount Theophilim, and was created Earl of Desmond, in the peerage of Ireland, 1614. He was drowned on his passage from Ireland to Scotland in 1628, and was succeeded in the Scottish honours of Dingwall by his only daughter, Elizabeth, who became Duchess of Ormond. The castle and lands of Craigmillar were acquired in 1661 by Sir John Gilmour, son of John Gilmour, W.S. He passed as Advocate on the 12th December, 1628, and on the 13th February, 1666, became Lord President of the Court of Session, which, after a lapse of nearly eleven years, resumed its sittings on the I Ith June. The bold stand which he made for the luckless Marquis of Argyle was long remembered in Scotland, to his honour. His pension was only A500 per annum. He became a Baron of Exchequer, and obtained a clause in the Militia Act that the realm of Scotland should not maintain any force levied by the king without the consent of the Estates. He belonged latterly to the Lauderdale party, and aided in procuring the downfall of the Earl of Middleton. He resigned his chair in 1670, and died soon after. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Alexander of Craigmillar, who was created a baronet in 1668, in which year he had a plea before the Lords against Captain Stratton, for 2,000 marks lost at cards. The Lords found that only thirty-one guineas of it fell due under an Act of 1621, and ordered the captain to pay it to thm for the use of the poorp ? except 6 5 sterling, which he may retain.? Sir Charles, the third baronet, was M.P. for Edinburgh in 1737, and died at Montpellier in ?750. The fourth baronet, Sir Alexander Gilmour of Craigmillar, was an ensign in the Scots Foot Guards, and was one of those thirty-nine officers who, with 800 of their men, perished so miserably in the affair of St. Cas in 1758. In 1792 SirAlexanderGilrnour,Bart.,whoin 1765 had been Clerk of the Green Cloth, and M.P. for Midlothian, 1761-1771, diedat Boulogne in 1792, when the title became extinct, and Craigmillar devolved upon Charles Little of Liberton (grandson of Helen, eldest daughter of the second baronet), who assumed the surname of Gilmour, and whose son, Lieutenant-General Sir Dugald Little Gilmour of Craigmillar, was Major of the Rifle Brigade, or old 95th Regiment, in the Peninsular War, Nearly midway between Craigmillar and the house of Prestonfield, in a flat grassy plain, stands the quaint-looking old mansion named Peffer Mill, three storeys high, with crowstepped gables, gableted dormer windows, and a great circular staircase tower with a conical roof. It has no particular history ; but Peffer Mill is said to mean in old Scoto-Saxon the mill on the dark muddy stream. Braid?s Bum flows past it, at the distance of a few yards . CHAPTER VI. THE VALLEY OF THE WATER OF LEITH. Lady Sinclair of Dunbeath-Bell?s Mills-Water of Leith Village-Mill at the Dean-Tolbooth then-Old Houxs--The Dean and Poultry Lands thereof-The Nisbet Family-A Legend-The Dean Village-Belgrave Crescent-The Parish Church-Stewart?s Hospital- Orphan Hospital-John Watson?s Hospital-The Dean Cemetery-Notable Interments there. IN No. 16, Rothesay Place, one of the new and handsome streets which crown the lofty southern bank of the valley of the Water of Leith, and overlooks one of the most picturesque parts of it, at the Dean, there died in 1879 a venerable lady -a genuine Scottish matron of ?? the old school,? a notice of whom it would be impossible to omit in a work like this. Dame Margaret Sinclair of Dunbeath belonged to a class now rapidly vanishing-the clear-headed, gifted, stout-hearted, yet reverent and gentle old Scottish ladies whom Lord Cockburn loved to.
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