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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


346 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Drum. the resort of the curious still, according to Fullarton?s ?Gazetteer,? and a long description of it appeared in the Courant for 1873. Gilmerton was long characterised simply as a village of colliers of a peculiarly degraded and brutal nature, as ferocious and unprincipled as a gang of desperadoes, who rendered all the adjacent roads unsafe after nightfall, and whose long career of atrocities culminated in the execution of two of them for a sipgularly brutal murder in 1831. Its coal-which is of prime quality-was vigorously worked in 1627, and is supposed to have been famous a century earlier ; but its mines have been abandoned, and the adjacent lime-works-the oldest in Scotland-were worked from time immemorial. Half a mile to the eastward lies the ancient estate and manor-house of Drum, the residence of old of the Somerville family, secluded from the highway and hidden by venerable trees-a Scoto- Normah race, whose progenitor, William de Somerville, came into Scotland during the reign of David I., who made him Lord of Carnwath, and whose descendants figured in high places for several generations. His son obtained from William the Lion a grant of Linton in 1174, for slaying-according to tradition-a monstrous serpent, which was devastating the country. William, fourth of that name, was a commander at the battle of Largs; Thomas, hi9 son, served under Wallace ; and his son Sit Waltet, the cqmrade of Bruce, married Giles, the daughter and heiress of Sir Johr. Herring, with whom he obtained the lands of Drum, Gilmerton, and Goodtrees, in the parish of Liberton. Unlike most Scottish titled families, the Somervilles were ever loyal to king and country. John: third Lord Somerville of Drum, led the Clydesdale horse at the Battle of Sark, in 1449, and his son, Sir John, fell at Flodden, by the side of his royal master. James, sixth lord, served in the queen?s army at Langside, and was severely wounded. Hugh, his son, recovered the lands of Gilmerton and Drum-which had gone into the possession of the Somervilles of Cambusnethan -and built the mansion-house of Drum in 1585 ; and four years after it was the scene of a sad family tragedy, which is related at some length in the ? I Domestic Annals of Scotland.? Hugh, eighth lord, who died there in 1640, in his seventieth year, was buried in Liberton Church; and James, his successor, served with distinction in the armies of France and Venice. ?( James Somerville of Drum ? (twentieth in descent from Sir Walter Somerville), ? and tenth lord of that ilk,? says the ? Memorie of the Sommer- * viles,? ?died at Edinburgh 3rd January, 1677, in the 82nd year of his age, and was interred by his ladye?s syde in the Abbey Church ok Holyrood, maist of the nobilitie and gentrie in tome being present, with two hundred torches.?? James, the tenth lord, was lieutenant-colonel of the Scots Guards, in which his son George was adjutant. His eldest son, James, when riding home to Drum one night from Edinburgh, in July, 1682, found on the way two friends fighting, sword in hand-namely, Thomas Learmonth, son of an advocate, and Hew Paterson younger of Bannockburn, who had quarrelled over their cups. He dismounted, and tried to separate them, but was mortally wounded by Paterson, and died two days after at Drum, leaving an infant son to carry on the line of the family. A son of the twelfth lord-so called, though four generations seem to have declined to use the title-was killed at the battle of St. Cas in 1758 3 and John, the fifteenth lord, is chiefly remarkable as the introducer of the breed of Merino sheep into Britain ; and by the death of Xubrey-John, nineteenth Lord Somerville, in 1870, the title of this fine old Scottish race became dormant. Though a little beyond our radius, while treating of this district it is impossible not to glance at such classic and historic places as Hawthornden and Roslin, and equally of such sylvan beauty as Iasswade. Situated- amid the most beautifully wooded scenery in the Lowlands, the Castle of Roslin, taking its name from Russ, a promontory, and Zyn, a waterfall, crowns a lofty mass of insulated rock overhanging the Esk. This mass is bold ?nd rugged in outline, and at one time was convertible into an island, ere the deep and moat-like gulley on its western side was partly filled up. Across this once open fosse a massive bridge of one arch has now been thrown, and to this the path from the village descends a rapid incline, through leafy coppice and by precipitous rocks, overlooked by the lofty hill which is crowned by the wonderful chapel. Built of reddish stone, and luxuriantly clothed with ivy, the massive ruins form a most picturesque object amid the superb landscape. For the most part, all that is very ancient consists of a threefold tier of massive vaults, the enormous strength and solidity of which put even modern Scottish builders to shame. Above these vaults, and facing the vast windows of what must have been a noble banqueting- hall, is perched a mansion of comparatively modern date, having been erected in 1563, and
Volume 6 Page 346
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