Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


222 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. rLeith He adds that the most striking feature is the curiously decorated doorway, an ogee arch, filled in with rich Gothic tracery, surmounting a square lintel, finished with the head of a lion, which seems to hold the arch suspended in its mouth. ?On either side is a sculptured shield, on one of which a monogram is cut, characterised by the usual inexplicable ingenuity of these riddles, with the date 1631.? The other shield bears, 1st and 4th the lion rampant, 2nd and 3rd a ship, a smaller shield with a chevron, and a motto round the whole, Sic Pvit est Et erit. The monogram is distinctly the four initial fetters of John Stewart, Earl of Carrick. The arms, says Wilson, are neither those of Lord Balmerino, ?? nor of his ancestor, James Elphinstone (Lord Coupar), to whom the coroneted ?C? might be supposed to refer. The Earls of Crawford are also known to have had a house in Leith, but the arms in no degree correspond with those borne by any of these families.? On the 13th September, ~643, John, Earl of Carrick, sold the house and grounds to John, Lord Balmerino, whose family retained it as a residence till the attainder of the last peer in 1746. In 1650, during the defence of the city against Cromwell, Charles II., after being feasted in the Parliament House on the 29th of July, ?thairafter went down to Leith,? says Nicoll, in his ?Diary,? ? t o &e ludging belonging to the Lord Balmerinoch, appointit for his resait during his abyding in Leith.? Balfour records in his ?Annals ? that Anna Kerr, hdow of John, Lord Balmenno, second sister of Robert, Earl of Somerset, Viscount Rochester, ? deprted this lyffe at Leith,? on the 15th February, 1650, and was solemnly interred at Restalrig. The part borne in history by Arthur, sixth and last lord of this family, is inseparably connected with the adventures of Prince Charles Edward. He .was born in the year of the Revolution, and held a captain?s commission under Queen Anne in Vis- -count Shannon?s Foot, the 25th, or Regiment of Edinburgh, This he resigned to take up arms under the Earl of Mar, and fought at Sheriffmuir, after which he, entered the French service, wherein he remained till the death of his brother Alexander, who, as the Gentfernan?s Magazine records, expired at Leith in October, 1733. His father, anxious for his retum home, sent him a free pardon from Government when he was residing at Berne, in Switzerland, but he would not accept it until ? he had obtained the permission of James VIII. to do so ; ?? after which, the twenty years? exile returned, and was joyfiully received by his aged father. When Prince Charles landed in the memorable year, 1745, Arthur Elphinstone was among the first to join him, and was appointed colonel and captain of thc second troop of Life Guards, under Lord Elcho, attending his person. He was at the capture of Carlisle, the advance to and retreat from Derby, and was present with the Corps de Reserve at the victory of Falkirk. He succeeded his brother as Lord Balmerino on the 5th January, 1746, and was taken prisoner at Culloden, committed to the Tower, and executed with the Earl of Kilmarnock in the August of the same year. His conduct at his death was marked by the most glorious firmness and intrepidity. By his wife, Margaret (whom we have referred to elsewhere), daughter of Captain Chalmers of Leith, he left no issue, so the male line of this branch of the house of Elphinstone became extinct. His estates werC confiscated, and the patronage of the first &arge of South Leith reverted to fhe Crown. In 1746, ?? Elizabeth, dowager of Balmerino? (widow of James, fifth lord), applied by petition to ?? My Lords Commissioners of Edinburgh? for the sum of A97 ss., on the plea U that your petitioner?s said deceast lord having died on the 6th day of January, I 746, the petitioner did aliment his ?family from that time till the Whitsunday thereafter.? And the widow, baroness of Arthur-decdatus-was reduced to an aliment of forty pounds a year, ?graciously granted by the House of Hanover,? adds Robertson, who, in a footnote, gives us a touching little letter of hers, written in London on the day after her husband?s execution, addressed to her sister, ME. Borthwick. In 1755 the house and lands of Balmerino were purchased by James, Earl of Moray, K.T., from the Scottish Barons of Exchequer, and six months afterwards the noble earl sold them to Lady Baird of Newbyth. She, in r762, was succeeded by her brother, General St. Clair ot St. Clair ; and after being in possession of Lieutenant-General Robert Horne EIphinstone of Logie-Elphinstone, the Leith property was acquired by William Sibbald, merchant there, for ?LI1475. The once stately mansion was now subdivided, and occupied by tenants of the humblest class, until it was acquired by the Catholic Bishop of Edinburgh in 1848, for the purpose of erecting a chapel an4 schools, for the sum of ;61,8oo. On thewest sideof the Kirkgate, the first old edifice of note was the Block House of St. Anthony, built in 1559, adjoining St. Anthony?s Port, and in the immediate vicinity of St. Anthony?s Street and Lane. This is the edifice which Lindsay, in his When Chronicles,? confounds with the ?? Kirk.?
Volume 6 Page 221
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
writing of the siege, he says, ? upon the twentieth day, the principal block-house of Leith, called St. Anthony?s Kirk, was battered down.? And we have already referred to the Act of Council in 1560, by which it was ordered that this block house and the curtain-wall facing Edinburgh should be levelled to the sound. . Immediately opposite St;. Mary?s Church stands the Trinity House of Leith, erected on the site of the original edifice bearing that name, This Seaman?s Hospital was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and the insctiption which adorned the ancient building is now built into the south wall of the new one, facing St. Giles?s Street, and . ters :- ?IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, YE MASTERIS AND MARINERIS BYLIS THIS HOVS TO YE POVR. ANNO DOMINI, ~555.? In the east wing of the present edifice there is preserved a stone, on which is carved a cross-staff and other nautical instruments of the sixteenth century, an anchor, and two globes, with the motto :- apply those dues in the maintenance of a hospital for the keeping of ?poor, old, infirm, and weak matiners.? Long previous to 1797, the association, though calling itself ?? The Corporation of .Shipmasters of the Trinity House of Leith,? was?. A corporation only by the courtesy of popular language, and posseised merely the powers of a charitable body ; but in that year it was erected by charter into a corporate body, whose office-bearers were to be a master, assistant and deputy-=aster, a manager, treasurer, and clerk, and was vested with powersreserving, however, those of the Corporation of the city of Edinburgh-to examine, and under its ? Zmtituted 1380. Buiit rj55. RebuiZt 1816.? ?The date of this foundation,? says Daniel Wilson is curious, Its dedication implies that it originated with the adherents of the ancient faith, while the date of the old inscription indicates the very period when the Queen Regent assumed the reins of government. That same year John Knox landed at Leith on his return from exile ; and only three years later, the last convocation of the Roman Catholic clergy that ever assembled in Scotland hnder the sanction of its laws was held in the Blackfriars Church at Edinburgh, and signalised its final session by proscribing Sir David Lindsay?s writings, and enacting that his buik should be abolished and burnt.? ? From time immemorial the shipmasters and mariners of Leith received from all vessels of the port, and all Scottish vessels visiting it, certain duties, called ? prirno gilt,? which were expended in aiding poor seamen ; and about the middle of the sixteenth century they acquired a legal right to tained, but they were then ( I 7 7 9) all out-pensioners. In the inventory of deeds belonging to this institution is enumerated :-? Ane charter granted by Mathew Forrester, in favour of the foresaide mariners of Leith, of thesaid land of ye hospital bankes, and for undercallit ye grounds lying in Leith. . . also saide yeird. . . dated 26 July, 1567, sealit and subscnbit be the saide Mat. Forrester, Prebender of St. Antoine, near Leith.? (?< M o n s ticon Scotz.?) During the Protectorate the ample vaults under the old Trinity House (now or latterly used as wine stores) were filled with the munition of Monk?s troops, for which they paid a rent. ? By his Highness? council1 in Scotland, for the governing theirof: these are to require z,ooo forthwith out of such moneys dew or schal come to the hands of the Customes, out of the third part of the profits arysing from the Excyse in Scotland, to pay \Villiam Robertson (collector for the poore of Trinitie House in Leyth) the sornme of A3 15s.
Volume 6 Page 222
  Enlarge Enlarge