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l^artjartr College ^.tbrars 




FROM THE GIFT OF 

WILLIAM ENDICOTT, Jr. 

(Class of 1887) 
OF BOSTON 




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^^IF 



HISTORY 



BURGH OF CANONGATE. 



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THE TOLBOOTH, AND COUNCIL CHAMBER. 



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ILISTO R Y 



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HISTORY 



BURGH OF CANONGATE, 



WITH NOTICES OK THK 



%hhm and jpalacc of gotnrood. 



JOHN MAC KAY, 

AUTHOR OF **THi: ISARONY OF BROUGHTON.' 



EDINBURGH : 
S E T O N & MACKENZIE. 



MDCCCLXXIX. 



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^^^iS'b^.l^- 







ST. GILES' PRINTING COMPANY, 
13 JOHNSTON TERRACE, EDINBURGH. 



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PREFACE. 




jlOME years ago we published a small volume, 
entitled " History of the Barony of 
Broughton," a district which possessed an 
independent jurisdiction from that of Edinburgh until 
a recent period, but now incorporated within the boundaries 
of the City of Edinburgh. Broughton, as well as the 
Canongate, originally belonged to the Abbey of Holyrood ; 
and, while examining the old Records, we found its history 
so closely connected with that of the Burgh of Canon- 
gate, and containing matter of much interest not hitherto 
published, as to induce us to take a few notes thereof. The 
Canongate, from its proximity to the Abbey and Palace of 
Holyrood, and having contained the residences of many of 
the Scottish Nobility and attendants of the Court, was the 
scene of numerous historical and momentous events; but 
on the departure of the King, Court, and Nobility, and 
after the Union of the two Kingdoms, it experienced the 



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vi Preface, 

consequent vicissitudes of fortune, from Courtly splendour 
to neglect aild silence. Going over the notes lately, 
and taking into consideration the fact, that, while 
various Histories of Edinburgh incidentally notice the 
Canongate, no separate account of the Burgh has been 
written, we thought a narrative of these events, and a 
description of its most memorable localities, as illustrating 
the many changing phases of Religion, Manners, and 
Municipal Government, extending over a period of seven 
centuries, might be of interest to the general reader. And 
while soliciting' the indulgence of our readers for omissions 
and imperfections on our part, we express the hope, that, 
however feeble the attempt, it may be considered as a stone 
added, by a native of the Burgh, to the cairn of remembrance 
of the Chronicles of the Canongate. 

J. M. 

Edinburgh, May 3rd, i8yg. 



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A A 







CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Preface ....... v 

CHAPTER I. 

Foundation of the Burgh under Grant by King 

David the First . . . . . i 

CHAPTER II. 
Description of the Burgh .... 9 

CHAPTER III. 

Constitution of the Burgh — Mode of Election 

OF Magistrates and Council . . .14 

CHAPTER IV. 
The Superiors of the Burgh . . .23 

CHAPTER V. 

The Magistracy— Extracts erom Minutes— Acts 

— Cases brought before them, etc. . . 29 

CHAPTER VI. 
Services of Heirs before the Bailies . 44 



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vm 



Contents. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Officials of Court — The Clerk — Treasurer- 
Officers — The Doomster, or Dempster - 
Piper — Drummer — and Bellman 



49 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Notice of a few of the Clergymen of the Parish 
—The Church— Burial-Ground, and Monu- 
ments THEREIN ..... 



60 



CHAPTER IX. 

Extracts from the Abbey of Holyrood and Paro- 
chial Registers, etc. .... 



69 



CHAPTER. X. 
Witchcraft, and the Witches of the Canongate 83 



CHAPTER XI. 
The Incorporated Trades of the Burgh 



89 



CHAPTER XII. 
The High Constables of the Burgh . . loi 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Notices of the Old Houses and other Buildings 

IN THE Burgh . . . . .110 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Holyrood Palace — Abbey— The Sanctuary, etc. 154 

APPENDIX. 



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r 




HISTORY 



OF THE 



Burgh of Regality 



CANONGATE. 




CHAPTER I. 

FOUNDATION OF THE BURGH UNDER GRANT BY KING DAVID THE 
FIRST OF SCOTLAND TO THE ABBEY OF HOLY ROOD, OR **DOMUS 
SANCTiE CRUSCIS." 

jHE Canongate of Edinburgh is one of the 
most ancient Burghs of Regality in Scotland, 
having been founded in 1128, in virtue ot 
powers contained in a Charter, by King David 
the First of Scotland, to the Abbacy of Holy Rood. 
After conferring various lands, gifts, and privileges 
the King gave leave to the Canons "to establish a 
Burgh between that Church (Holyrood) and my 
Burgh (Edinburgh) ; and I grant that their Burgesses 
have common right of selling their wares and of 
buying in my market freely, and quit of claim and 
custom, in like manner as my own Burgesses. And 
I forbid that any one take in their Burgh, bread, or 

B 



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s HIStORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

ale, or cloth, or any ware, by force, or without consent 

of the Burgesses I will, moreover, that 

they hold all that is above written as freely and 
quietly as I hold my own lands." That Charter was 
confirmed by King William the Lion (1171), King 
Robert the First (1327), and by Charter of Confir- 
mation granted by King David II., 30th December 
1343) it is stated, "And we will that they have, hold, 
and possess all their foresaid lands and free Regality 
in all and by all as freely and quietly as any Regality 
is held or possessed by any one in our kingdom." 
He also appointed the Abbot and Convent to the 
Chaplainry of the Chapel Royal, so that the Abbot 
should be principal Chaplain.* The bestowal of the 
grant was ascribed to an incident which occurred to 
King David the First when hunting in the grounds 
near to where the Abbey was afterwards erected. 

The legendary account of the foundation of the 
Abbey, from the narrative of Hector Boece, as given 
in Bellenden's translation,*!* is as follows : — 

" Eftir deith of Alexander First, his brothir David com out 
of Ingland, and was crownit at Scone the yeir of God MCXXIV. 
yeiris, and did gret justice eftir his coronation in all partis of 
his realme. He had na weirs during the time of King Hary, 
and was so pietuous that he sat daylie in jugment, to cause his 
puir commonis to have justice ; and causit the actionis of his 
nobles to be decidit be his other juges. He gart ilk juge redres 
the skaithis that come to the party be his wrang sentence ; 
throw quhilk he decorit his realme with mony nobil acts, and 
ejeckit the vennomus custome of riotous cheir, quhilk wes 
inducit afore be Inglismen quhen thay com with Quene 

* Vide Charters and other documents of the City of Edinburgh : 
** Scottish Burghs* Records Society." 

+ Bellenden's " Cronikles of Scotland, the twelf Buke," p. 297 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 3 

Margaret ; for the samin wes noisuni to al gud maneris, makand 
his pepil tender and efFeminat. 

" In the fourt yeir of his regne this nobill Prince com to visit 
the Madin Castell of Edinburgh. At this time all the bounds 
of Scotland were ful of woddis, lesouris, and medois ; for the 
countre wes more gevin to store of bestiall than ony productioun 
of comis ; and about this Castell was ane gret forest, full of 
haris, hindis, toddis, and sic-like maner of beistis. Now wes 
the Rude day cumingly called the Exaltation of the Croce : 
and, because the samen was ane hie solemne day, the King 
past to his contemplatton. Eftir the messes wer done, wi' maist 
solempnitie and reverence, comperit afore him many young and 
insolen baronis of Scotland richt desirous to haif sum plesur 
and solace be chase of hundis in the said forest. At this time 
wes wi' the King ane man of singular and devoit life, named 
Alkwine Channon eftir the ordour of Sanct Augustine, quhilk 
wes lang time Confessour afore to King David in Ingland, the 
time thet he wes Erie of Huntingtoun and Northumberland. 
This religious man dissaudit the King, be mony reasonis, to 
pas to this huntis ; and allegit the day was so solempne, be 
reverence of the haly croce, that he suld gif him evar for that 
day to contemplation than ony other exersition. Nochtheles 
his dissuasion wes litell as nilit ; for the King wes finallie so 
provokit be inoportune solicitatioun of his baronis, that he past, 
nochtwithstanding the solempnite of this day, to this huntis. 
At last, quhen he wes cumin through the vaile that lyis to the 
^ret eist fra the said Castell, quhare now lyis the Canongait, the 
King past throw the wod with sic noyis and din of raches and 
bugillis, that all the bestis were rasit fra thair dennis. Now 
wes the King cumin to the foot of the crag, and all his nobilis 
severit heir and thair fra him at thair game and solace ; quhen 
suddenlie apperit to his sicht the faerist hart that ever wes sene 
afore be levand creatour. The noyis and din of this hart 
rinnand, as apperit, with awful and braid tindis, maid the King's 
horse so affrayit, that na renyeis micht hald him ; but ran 
perforce our mire and mosses away with the King. Nochtheles 
the hart foUowit so fest that he dang baith the King and his 
hors to the grund. Than the King kest abak his handis betwix 
the tindis of this hart, to haif savit him fra the straik thereof; 
and the holy croce slaid incontinent in his handis. The hart 



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4 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

fled away with gret voilence, and evanist in the same place 
quhare now springis the Rude well. The pepil richt effrayitly 
retumlt to him out of all parts of the wod to comfort him eftir 
his trobil ; and fell on knees devotly adoring the haly croce ; 
for it was not cumin but some hevinly providence, as weill 
appeiris ; for thair is na man can schaw of quhat mater it is of, 
metal or tre. Sone eftir, the King retumit to his Castell, and 
in the nicht following, he was admonist be ane vision in his 
sleip, to big ane Abbay of Channonis regular in the same place 
quhare he got the croce. Als sone as he was awalknit he 
schaw his visione to Alkwine his Confessoure : and he nathing 
suspended his gud mind, but ever inflamit him with maist 
fervent devotion thairto. The King, incontinent, sent his traist 
servandis in France and Flanderis, and brocht richt crafty 
masons to big this Abbay ; syne dedicat it in the honour of this 
haly croce. The croce remanit continewally in the said Abbay 
to the time of King David Bruce, quhilk wes unhappily tane 
with it at Durame, quhare it is halden yit in great veneration." 



The Abbey was endowed for behoof of the Canons 
regular of St. Augustine established at Scone in 1114 
by Alexander the First, brought from the Priory of 
St. Andrews. This order became a very wealthy 
and numerous one, and had at one time under control 
no less than twenty-eight monastic institutions, com- 
prising those of Scone, St. Andrews, Inchcolme, and 
Isle of May. Its revenues at the Reformation 
amounted in money to the yearly sum of £2g26y 
8s. 6d. Scots, 27 chalders and 10 bolls of wheat,. 
50 chalders and 10 bolls of bear or barley, 34 chalders 
and IS bolls, 3 pecks and ^ of oats; 501 capons, 
24 hens, 24 salmon, 12 loads of salt, and a number 
of swine. The relic of the Holycross referred to in 
the preceding tradition was placed within a chapel in 
the Castle of Edinburgh until the completion of the 
Abbey, when it was transferred thither, and remained 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 5 

until the year 1346, at which time King David Bruce 
carried it with him on an expedition into England ; 
but having been defeated in battle at Neville's Cross, 
near Durham, and taken prisoner, the " Holycross " 
was seized and placed in Durham Cathedral ; but it 
disappeared about the time of the Reformation. 

From the sanctity attaching to such buildings as 
the Abbey of Holyrood, and the number of vassals 
holding possessions from the Abbacy, the houses in 
the Burgh soon increased, and acquired the name of 
Canonsburg, or popularly Canongait, and in 1500 
was of some importance. Previous to that date the 
Scottish monarchs had occasionally resided within 
the Abbey as guests, but there was no building known 
as the Palace. James the First and his Queen resided 
in the Abbey ; and the succeeding monarch was born, 
crowned, married, and interred within its precincts. 
In the narrative of the proceedings attending the 
marriage of James the Fourth to the Princess Mar- 
garet, daughter of King Henry the Seventh of Eng- 
land, the word " Pallais " is first used ; but the 
building known as the Palace, and as distinct from 
the Abbey, was not erected for some years subsequent 
to this period. The account of the festivities states 
that the Queen was escorted by the way of the 
Canongate to Holyrood, and " the houses and windows 
were full of Lordes, Ladyes, and Gentlewomen." 
Dunbar, the Scottish poet, graphically describes the 
rejoicings of the citizens in the allegory of "The 
Thistle and Rose." Holyrood Palace at that time, 
and long afterwards, was almost entirely surrounded 
by woods, or grounds free of buildings, and, being 
so near the capital, it became a favourite residence of 



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6 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Royalty, and consequently the Canongate acquired 
greater importance : — the residences of a number of 
the Nobility, as well as Ambassadors from foreign 
Courts, being situated within the Burgh. 

It is by no means clear what Scottish Prince first 
built a Palace, properly so called, in the precincts of 
this renowned seat of sanctity. The Abbey, endowed 
by successive sovereigns and many powerful nobles 
with magnificent gifts of lands and tithes, came in 
process of time to be one of the most important of 
the ecclesiastical corporations of Scotland ; and, as 
early as the days of Robert Bruce, Parliaments were 
held occasionally within its buildings. We have 
evidence that James the Fourth had a royal lodging 
adjoining to the cloister ; but it is generally agreed 
that the first considerable edifice specially erected 
tor the accommodation of the Royal Family was by 
James the Fifth, about the year 1525, the greater 
part of which still remains, and forms the north- 
western side of the existing Palace. The more 
modern buildings, which complete the quadrangle, 
were erected by King Charles 11. The nave of the 
old conventual church was used as the Parish Church 
of the Canongate from the period of the Reformation 
until James 11. claimed it for his Chapel Royal, and 
had it accordingly fitted up in a style of splendour 
which grievously outraged the feelings of his Presby- 
terian subjects. The roof of this fragment of a once 
magnificent church fell, in the year 1768, and the 
building has remained ever since in a state of ruin. 

Down to the accession of James the Sixth to the 
throne of England, the Burgh of Canongate continued 
to enjoy the substantial benefits derived from its 



HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 7 

proximity to the Court and the presence of its nobles ; 
but on the King's departure to England — the acquire- 
ments of residence there by the members of the Court 
and their followers — it became somewhat shorn of its 
grandeur. In 161 8 it is thus described by Taylor, the 
Water poet, in his narrative of a visit made to Edin- 
burgh : — " From the port (Netherbow), the street 
which they call Kennygate is one quarter of a mile 
more down to the King's Palace, called Holyrood- 
hous, the buildings on each side of the way being all 
squared stones five or six stories high, and many bye 
lanes and closes on each side, wherein are gentlemen's 
houses, much finer than the buildings in High Street, 
where the merchants and tradesmen do dwell ; but 
the gentlemen's houses are obscurely founded in the 
said lanes." 

On the extinction of the Scottish Parliament, the 
opening of new approaches to Edinburgh from the 
east, and the extension of the city northwards, the 
"Town" of the Canongate was almost entirely de- 
serted by its nobility. The once palatial habitations 
of the old Burgh, in whose halls Scotland's beauties 
and gallant cavaliers passed the fleeting hours in 
gaiety or intrigue, have now almost disappeared, and 
what were formerly terraced gardens are now covered 
by manufactories or tenements divided into small 
houses crowded with inhabitants. 

With the exceptions of a few of the old buildings, 
and the names given to several of its lanes and closes to 
denote what were once the entrances to the dwellings 
of several of the nobles of Scotland, little remains to 
remind one of its former grandeur. 



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8 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Allan Ramsay, the poet, lamenting over the changes 
that occurred in his time, says, — 

" Oh Canongate, puir eldrich hole,' 
What loss, what crosses, dost thou thole ! 
London and death gars thee look droll, 

And hang thy heid ; 
Wow but thou hast e'en a cauld coal 
To blaw indeed." 

Like the adjacent Barony of Broughton (on part of 
which is the New Town of Edinburgh), and holding 
likewise from the Abbacy of Holyrood, the inde- 
pendence of the Canongate as a Burgh has been 
swept away, the jurisdiction of its former magistracy 
abolished, and the entire area merged within the 
city. 

To use the words of one who steadfastly upheld the 
duty of preserving the landmarks of olden times : — 
" Amidst all its changes, the Canongate has a sort of 
sacredness in it, independent of more distant recollec- 
tions, such as containing the residences of many of 
the nobility of Scotland,", &c.* 

In giving the following short account of the history 
of the Burgh and a few of the old buildings, however 
crude and imperfect the account may be, it may serve 
to assist in preserving some reminiscences of the Old 
Town of the Canongate. 

* Lord Cockburn's Memorials of his Times, p. 452. 




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CHAPTER 11. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE BURGH. 

|LTHOUGH from an early date the town of 
Edinburgh was surrounded by fortifications, 
the Canongate was comparatively unpro- 
tected. In 1 5 13 it was enclosed within walls, but 
these were of so slight a nature that no attempt to 
resist an enemy was ever made. Edinburgh on the 
north was defended by a marsh or bog and a sheet of 
water called the " Norloch," which lay between the 
base of the Castle rock and what was known as the 
" Lang-row " or " dykes," now the site of Princes 
Street. The loch extended to the foot of Halkerston's 
Wynd (a close immediately east of the North Bridge) ; 
a road or pathway from Moutrie's Hill (James* 
Square) led to the foot of Leith Wynd, at which a 
"port" giving access to the city was made in 1640. 
From the foot of Halkerston's Wynd a rampart ex- 
tended to the north-west end of Leith Wynd, thence 
southwards to the Netherbow Port, St Mary's Wynd, 
(now St Mary's Street) the Cowgate Port, and then 
westwards. The town of the Canongate on the north 
was bounded by a roadway skirting the wall of the 



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lo HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

gardens of the houses, and which roadway commenced 
near the foot of Leith Wynd and extended to the 
Water-gate or Water- Yett, from which, by Abbey 
Hill, it joined the Easter Road, at that time the prin- 
cipal access to Edinburgh from Leith and other towns 
on the east coast. The only opening to the main 
street of the Burgh between Leith Wynd and the 
Water- Yett was by Rae's Close. On the south, the 
walls of gardens in rear of the houses on that side of the 
main street extended to the Parks and what is now 
called the "South Back of Canongate," and which 
will be seen from Gordon of Rothiemay's Map of 
Edinburgh, dated in 1646. As already mentioned, 
though the Canongate was surrounded by walls and 
had a gateway called the " Water- Yett," it was in- 
capable of being defended, and when an enemy 
attacked Edinburgh, possession was at once taken of 
the Water Yett and Canongate, and an assault made 
on the city at the Netherbow Port. Numerous refer- 
ences are made to this Port in the accounts of the 
many conflicts during the wars with England and the 
struggles of contending parties in Scotland. When at 
war with England in 1 540, Edinburgh was ordered to 
be put into a state of defence, the wall at Leith Wynd 
and the houses there being in a state of dilapidation, 
the citizens were called upon to " repare honestlie 
thair waste and ruinous houses, quhilk if not dune it 
sail be lawful to cast doune and big ane honest sub- 
stantial wa' frae the foot of the Netherbow Port to the 
Trinity College," then situated at the foot of the 
Wynd. The east side of the Wynd being also in dis- 
repair, the Bailies of the Canongate were ordered to 
" get sic dune upoun the east side," as it lay within 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. ii 

their jurisdiction. In 1544 the Earl of Hertford, in 
command of the English army, attacked Edinburgh. 
Entering the Canongate by the Water- Yett, he 
assaulted the Netherbow Port and fbrcing it, obtained 
possession of the city ; but the Castle having resisted 
all attempts at capture, he was obliged to retire. The 
City was set on fire by him in various quarters, and 
great damage inflicted on it and the Canongate. The 
Abbey was likewise sacked and plundered. A few 
years later, Hertford again attacked Edinburgh, but 
was unsuccessful in his siege of the Castle. The city 
was set on fire, Leith and the villages for about seven 
miles round Edinburgh suffering the same calamity. 
The Canongate was the scene of many a deadly 
skirmish. On one occasion, Lord Kilwinning and 
about fifty of the Queen's soldiers were treacherously 
slain by the forces under the command of the Earl of 
Morton. When the Reformers and the adherents of 
Queen Mar}' of Guise held respectively the towns of 
Edinburgh and Leith, horse and foot frequently fought 
together in the streets and wynds, the French auxili- 
aries in the service of the latter often pursued the 
forces of the other party up the Canongate and Leith 
Wynd to the Netherbow Port. The houses of the un- 
fortunate inhabitants were frequently plundered, and 
their occupants slain in these raids : during the wars 
with England, and when the Castle was held by the 
gallant Kirkcaldy of Grange for Queen Mary. Much 
damage was sustained by the houses both in the City 
and Canongate, and many having, through such 
attacks, become utterly ruinous, or fallen into such a 
state of disrepair through the inability of their owners 
to lay out the necessary funds for their repair, it was 



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12 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

by an Act of the Parliament held at Holyrood, 30th 
April 1573, declared that the proprietors of the 
dwellings "demolishid, wrakit and brunt be hes hienes 
declarit tratours mnd rebells, being within the Castle 
and Burgh of Edinburgh, and thair assistares, should 
not be oblished to make compleit payment of the 
annualles awin furth thairof." In 1606, the Nether- 
bow Port was taken down and a new one erected. 
The gateway or port was placed in the centre of 
the street, and on each side of the port were towers 
and battlements, the southmost having a wicket for 
foot-passengers. The port was two stories in height, 
having a spire in the centre. It was removed in 
1764.* A view of the "Port" is sculptured on the 
front of a new tenement below John Knox's Church, 
near the site where the Netherbow Port stood. 

In the attempt- by the citizens to support King 
Charles the Second, and when after defeating the 
Scottish army under Leslie at Dunbar, the Protector 
Cromwell made a successful attack on the City and 
stormed the Castle, the Canongate again sustained 
much damage, batteries of cannon having been erected 
at the head of the Canongate and on the Dow Craig 
— a rock on which the house of the Governor of the 
Calton Jail now stands. Cannon were likewise placed 
at the head of the Pleasance to aid in the seige of the 
Castle. In the rebellion of 174S, the Canongate was 
taken possession of by the advanced guard of the 
Highlanders, who captured the City of Edinburgh by 
surprising the watch at "Netherbow Port," and during 
the month of September of that year the Burgh for 
the last time suffered the evils of warfare ; but the in- 

* See Wilson's Memorials of Edinburgh. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 13 

habitants were spared the infliction of needless injury 
by arrangements made between Prince Charles 
Edward — then occupying the halls of old Holyrood — 
and the Governor of the Castle. Since that period, a 
number of the old houses have been removed and re- 
placed by spacious shops and tenements of dwelling- 
houses ; and of later years great changes have been 
effected on the dwellings within the Burgh, which are 
now of a much more commodious character, and 
tenanted by a superior class of inhabitants. The 
grounds around the Palace and Park have been much 
improved since it begun of late years to be favoured 
by the occasional residence of Royalty. St. Mary's 
Wynd, at one time one of the narrowest and most 
squalid thoroughfares in the old town, has been 
entirely demolished on its eastern side, and rebuilt in 
the fine old Scotch baronial style, while the wynd has 
been widened to the breadth of a handsome street, 
and now called St. Mary's Street. The style of these 
buildings is most effective, and ornament has been in- 
troduced to some extent. Sculptured on a panel of 
the new tenement fronting the High Street is a stag's 
head with a cross between the antlers, as illustrative 
of the traditionary incident through which the Burgh 
of Canongate derives its origin ; and an inscription 
above the entrance to the houses states that the street 
was the first erected under the late Improvement Act. 




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CHAPTER III. 

CONSTITUTION OF THE BURGH— MODE OF ELECTION OF 
MAGISTRATES AND COUNCIL. 

HHE grant by King David the First to the 
Abbacy of Holycross, permitting the erec- 
tion of the Burgh of Canonsburgh, or 
Canongate as now termed, was confirmed by succeed- 
ing Monarchs. One of the Charters dated in 1594 
is as follows : — " Our Soverane Lorde and Estates 
of this present Parliament, ratifies, approves, and 
for hes biennis and hes successors perpetuallie 
confirm the erection of the Burgh of Cannogait, with 
the haill auld privileges, immunities, and liberties 
granted to the said Burghe, Superioritie, Burgesses, 
Craftismen, and Inhabitants of the samyn ; be hes 
biennis and hes predecessours in ane tyme by-gane 
befoir the date hereof, in all and sundrie clauses, 
articles, privileges, and circumstances, quhatsumevir 
specified and contenit thairin, providing alwees that 
the Magistrates tak sufficient ordour anent the 
removin of the common and idle bbggars, of the gait 
and street thereof." 

From the last clause, the Burgh apparently was a 
favourite resort of the common and idle beggars, 
attributable in a great measure to its being in the 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 15 

vicinity of the residence of Royalty, and of the nobility of 
Scotland. Alms-giving was liberally bestowed, and a 
recognised obligation on the community when under 
the guidance of the Roman Catholic Church, but at 
this period, like the present, taken advantage of by the 
"common and idle." Although various acts had been 
passed against them, and severe punishments inflicted 
on the " vagabonds, or idle beggars," and those who 
harboured them in their houses ; they had greatly 
increased both in the City and Canongate, so much so, 
that no citizens could "stand and confer upon the 
streets, nor under stairs, but they are impeshit by 
numbers of beggars." 

The Sett, or Constitution of the Burgh, granted 
by the Abbots of Holyrood, and as confirmed 
by the Crown, consisted in the nomination of two 
Bailies, Treasurer, and Deacons of the Trades, as 
Council, who were empowered to frame such Laws 
in conformity with the Statues of the Kingdom as 
would enable them to conduct the affairs of the com- 
munity, hold Courts, civil and criminal, elect Burgesses, 
Craftsmen, and Freemen, and for services of heirs, 
hold inquests, with privileges of Chappellarie and 
Chancellarie, within the foresaid boundaries, and enjoy 
all rights and immunities, fully and freely as onie uther 
Burghe of Regalitie within the Kingdom. The 
privilege of nominating the Bailies was resigned by 
the Abbots in favor of the community, under reserva- 
tion of their right to the office of Heritable Bailie of 
the Regality, and also of the Barony of Broughton, 
both combined and represented by a " Baron Bailie ;" 
and to the feu-duties and casualties within the Burgh. 



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i6 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

According to Minute of date 30th October 1561, 
the election or appointment of the Bailies was 
carried out in the following manner : — " The quhilk 
day, the Counsaill and maist pairt of the com- 
munitie of the Burghe hes continuit the said Johnne 
Harte, and James Wilkie in the office of Baillie 
for the Burghe for this present yeare, and als hes 
chosin to be with thaime, Johnne Ldgan, Johnne 
Achesoun, and William Quhite, Bailies, Treasurer and 
Deacon for the said year, and the foirsaid Johnne 
Harte, James Wilkie, Johnne Logan, Johnne Achesoun,. 
acceptit the said office upoun thaime, and maid faith 
in jugement, to exerce in thair offices lielie and 
trulie, and ordains the said William's Aith to be 
tane ;" and which was done on the 8th of the same 
month as per Minute * On the 23rd October 1 567, an. 
alteration was made by the following Minute : — " The 
quhilk daye it was statuit and ordainit be the Baillies 
and Counsaill, that in all tymes comin this ordour be 
tane anent the chusin of the Baillies, that is to say, 
upoun Fuirisdaye befoir the Heid Court of Michaelmes, 
the new Counsaill to be chosen be the auld, and on 
the Tyisdaye thaireftir, and immediatlie befoir the 
Heid Court, the auld and new Counsallis withe the 
diaconis to cheise the Baillies and the rest of the 
officiaris, sae thaye be all of the Kirk of God, and that 
the nummer of the Counsaill be yearlie xiij persouns 
comptain the twa auld Bailies with the new gif 
thaye happen to be changit with the Deacons. + 



* Register of the Bui-gh of the Canongate. Maitland Club Publi- 
cations, vol. ii. p. 285. 

+ Ibid. p. 302. 



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■■^ 



HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 17 

The common box of the Burgh, kept in the Council 
Chambers, had three locks upon it, and the keys were 
held by different individuals. By Minute of 29th 
January 1567, it is stated that "upoun the quhilk daye, 
the three keis of the Common Box was deliverit to the 
persouns following, to wit, ane kei to Johnne Harte, 
ane to George Barbour, Deacone of the Smyths, and 
ane ither to the Theasurer/* 

'*On 23rd October 1567, Johnne Schort, Thesaurer. 
The quhilk daye the Baillies and Counsaill ordaing 
Johnne Schort,. Thesaurer, to gif in all his compts of 
the yeiris and termes by past comptan the Mertin- 
mes terme next to come, this day sax weeks, and 
thane to mak full compt and payment." 

While the Abbots of Holyrood, as Superiors of the 
Burgh, resigned their right of nominating the Bailies, 
and did not interfere in the election, by the com- 
munity, of the officials of the Burgh, they nevertheless 
took an interest in the administration of the laws 
by the Bailies, and the Baron-Bailie as their repre- 
sentative. Under date 5th November, 1561, it is 
recorded that "upoune the quhilk daye comperit 
Johnne Gibsoune, and producit in judgment ane writin 
directed to the foresaid Baron Bailie, as Justice of the 
said Regalitie, subscribit with the hand of Robert, 
Commendator of the Abbey of Holyroodhous, of the 
quhilk the tenor; follows : — 

" Justice of the Regalitie and Baronie of Bruchtoune, 
Greeting. For as meikle as Johnne Young was 
unlawit befoir ye for the non-entrie of Johnne Gibsoun, 
as suretie for him to underlye the law for the allegit 
mutulatioune of Johnne Smythe, of hes richt tholme. 



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i8 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

and as the said Gibsoun deservit to be denouncit our 
Soverane Led/s rebell for hes non-comperance. 
Albeit, in veritie, it is elerlie knawn to us that the said 
Johnne Gibsoun, the time that he was unlawit was 
sicke, Hand in the Merse, and in peril of hes life, 
and mycht not travell. It is oure wull, heirfoir, and we 
charge you that ye tak new suretie of the said Johnne 
Gibsoun, that he sail compeir at sic ane certain daye as 
ye pleis assigne, and put him to the knowledge of ane 
assize for the said cryme, and in the meantyme that 
ye discharge the Gierke of our said Regalitie, to give 
nae actis furth of hes buikes against the said Johnne 
(sic) and his sureties in the actioune foirsaids, as ye 
will answer to us thairupon. 

"Subscrivit with our hand at Edinburghe, the fift 
daye of November, in the yeare Im. Vc. LXI. yearis." ^ 

"After the reading of the said writin, the said Justice 
assignit to the said Johnne Gibsoun and John Smythe, 
Frydaye next to cum to compeir before him in the 
foirsaid Tolbuith, to underlye the law ayther o' thame 
of the crymes contenit in ayther o' thair letters raisit 
thairupoun ; and the said Johnne Gibsoun found 
Davide Scroghie, and the said Johnne Smythe, Robert 
Muir, sureties for thaime to compeir the said daye to 
the effec foirsaid, under' the panes contenit in the last 
Act maid thairupon." 

John Gibson, on 8th October 1561, had been accused 
by John Smith, a baker in the Canongate, of com- 
mitting an assault upon him in his bakehouse, and 
"mutulating the tholme of hes rycht hand, and 
woundan him on his heid." " Mutulation" at that time 
was a crime severely punished, — any found guilty 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 19 

being in most cases condemned to lose his right hand, 
and pay a heavy fine besides. A counter charge of 
assault was made by Gibson, and at the diet fixed for 
the trial, neither Young the cautioner, nor Gibson 
appearing : Young was fined, and Gibson adjudged. 
^* Our Soverane Ledie*s rebell put to the horn and all 
his moveable goods escheat (forfeited) to the Lord of 
the Regality's use as a fugitive from the law for the 
foirsaid crymes." After obtaining the writ above 
quoted from the Commendator of the Abbey of 
Holyrood, the parties appeared at the bar on 20th 
November following ; but an arrangement had been 
made between the parties, as, on the charge of 
'* mutulation " against Gibson being called, Smyth 
^* would nocht persue him thairfor." The case was 
again brought up before an assize, consisting of 
fifteen jurymen, when Gibson was convicted for the 
'^^ cumin upon Johnne Smyth, baxter, upon the 13th 
day of July last, bipast in the backhous of the bak 
land of the said Johnne Gibsoun's land within this 
Burgh, quhil he was lauborand at ane bache, with 
ane drawn sword, and thairwith strykan and 
woundan him on his tholme, on the rycht hand, and 
on his heid, to the effusion of his bluid in gret quan- 
tities ; utherwyis nor he aucht upon law. For the 
quhilk cause he is adjugit in ane amerciament of 
Courte secklik as he aucht to tyne upoun law amend 
to the party, and to be punishet for his faut, and 
atquites the said Johnne Gibson of the mutulation of 
the said Johnne Smyth of his tholme, and that givin 
for dome. 

"The quhilk daye, J6hnne Smyth is convic be the 
foirsaid assize, for the crewall strykan of Johnne 



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to HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Gibsoune upon the 13th day of July last, bipast 
foiranent the bakhous of the bak land of the said 
Johnne Gibsoune, with ane battoun, woundan him 
thairwith in his heid and twa of his medmest fingaris 
of his left hand, to the effusion of his blude in gret 
quantitie, utherwayis nor he aucht upoun law. For 
the quhilk caus, he is adjudjit in ane amerchiament of 
Courte, sicklike as he aucht to tyne upoun law 
amend to the party, and to be punishet for his fatit 
and is acquit of the hurting of him upoun set purpose 
passione, and forthocht fellounie, and that givin for 
dome." 

Various instances are recorded in the old Register 
of the Superiors supporting the Bailies and the 
community of the Burgh, and even personally making 
complaint to the Privy Council, when the Incorpora- 
tions of the City of Edinburgh interfered in any way 
with those of the Canongate; of these cases notice will 
be taken hereafter. 

None of the Superiors of the Burgh interfered with 
the actings of the Bailies, or other officials of the 
Canongate, or their elections, until the year 1620, when 
Sir William Bellenden of Broughton, the then Superior 
of that Barony and the Regality of the Canongate^ 
attempted to control the election of the Bailies ; but he 
was resisted by the inhabitants, and a decision was- 
given holding that Sir William Bellenden had " nae 
right to the property of the said Burgh, in haill, or in 
pairt, but the same having been constructed and biggit 
by the inhabitants and thair predecessors they had 
peaceably bruikit and enjoyed the same past memory- 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 21 

of man, by yearly electing their Bailies, Council, Clerk 
of Burghe, Sergeant and Officers, making of Freemen 
Crafts, Deacons of Crafts, setting down of laws, and 
constitution for government of the said Burgh, keeping 
of Courts, directing of brieves, and the same yearly 
authorised by the said Sir William and his predecessors, 
so renounces and discharges in favour of the said 
inhabitants, the said action of Improbation, and all 
other actions that may be called in question, or their 
rights quarrelled or impugned in any time hereafter, 
and presently declares the said Burgh of Canongait to 
be a free Burgh of Regality, and that the property and 
jurisdiction thereof properly pertains to the inhabitants 
thereof, and nae utheris, and the Superiority only to 
the said Sir William Bellenden and his heirs, and 
therefore the said Burgh, with the hail jurisdiction 
thereof, shall be freely bruiked by the said inhabitants 
and their successors, in plain property as a free Burgh 
of Regality, but without prejudice of the Superiority 
with the haill liberties and privileges thereof,"* 

Down to the year 1640, shortly after the acquisition 
by the City of Edinburgh of the Superiorities of the 
Canongate and Barony of Broughton, as more particur 
larly after-mentioned, the Magistrates and Council 
were thus elected by the community ; but in that 
year the City, as Superiors and as possessing the right 
of appointing a Bailie to represent them for Broughton, 
and Courts held for both places in the Tolbooth of 
Canongate, — at a meeting held on 13th March of that 
year, at which the Charter under the Great Seal, 2nd 

* Municipal Corporations in Scotland, Vol. I. p. 324, 



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22 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

December 1639, granted in favour of the Lord Provost 
and Magistrates of Edinburgh, giving them right to 
the Superiorities of the Burgh of the Canongate, North 
Leith, and Pleasance, was read in a Court duly fenced, 
they appointed the then Baron-Bailie of Broughton as 
their representative in the Burgh, Regality northwards 
of the Bridge of Leith and Pleasance, and Officers 
were also appointed. From that date down to 1856, 
the Baron-Bailie was annually appointed by the Town 
Council of Edinburgh, and that official along with the 
other two Bailies termed resident Bailies, elected by 
the community of the Burgh, acted as Magistrates, 
By an Act passed on the 23rd of June of that year, 
entituled "The Edinburgh Municipal Extension Act," 
the boundaries of the City of Edinburgh for municip9.1 
purposes were enlarged, and the Magistracy of the 
Burgh of Regality of the Canongate, Calton, and 
Portsburgh abolished, and all trusts or grants held by 
them declared to be transferred to the City. Various 
provisions were also made as to the customs and other 
dues formerly levied at the Watergate of the Canon- , 
gate, the stipends payable to the ministers of the 
parish church, and for the maintenance of the public 
buildings in the Canongate. In this manner the 
existence of the Burgh of Canongate came to an end 
after a duration of nearly 700 years. During this 
long period the Burgh had experienced all the pro- 
gressive phases of municipal government, — of the 
Church, the Crown, and Baronial power. 



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CHAPTER IV. 

THE SUPERIORS OF THE BURGH. 

HHE Abbots of Holyrood while allowing the 
community of their Burgh of Canongate to 
elect their own Magistrates and Council, 
reserved right to the feu-duties and other sums pay- 
able to them as Superiors, and also right to nominate 
an Heritable Bailie, or as was latterly termed a Baron- 
Bailie, for the Regality, as well as for the Barony of 
Broughton and other possessions held by them, and 
which was done until the time of the Reformation. 
At the Reformation, and when the Act abolishing 
Monastic Institutions was passed, its operations was 
specially declared not to extend to the Revenues or 
Superiorities of the Abbey of Holyrood. 

A short sketch of the Superiors of the Burgh and 
Regality of the Canongate will now be given. In 
1566 Sir Robert Stuart of Strathdon, a natural son of 
King James the Fifth, obtained a grant of the Supe- 



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24 HISTORY QF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

riorities of the Abbey of Holyrood from Queen Mary; 
but in 1569 he exchanged with Adam Bothwell, 
Bishop of Orkney, these superiorities and other 
incomes derivable therefrom, for those of Orkney and 
Isles adjacent. 

The Bishop of Orkney's life and character, asso- 
ciated as * he was with the leaders of both of the 
contending parties of Queen Mary and the Reformers, 
form an interesting portion of the history of that 
period, and in which he played an important part. 
At first the Bishop was a close adherent and attendant 
at the Court of Queen Mary, and a supporter of 
Bothwell in his ambitious schemes. As Bishop and 
Clergyman of the Chapel of Holyrood he celebrated 
within that Abbey the marriage between the Queen 
and Bothwell. Queen Mary's star being on the 
decline, the Bishop then joined the party of the Lords 
of the Congregation, by whom he was employed to 
crown the infant King James, then under the guardian- 
ship of the Regent Murray, On the Queen's 
surrender at Carberry, and the subsequent flight of 
Bothwell, the Bishop personally aided in the attempt 
to capture his old associate Bothwell. In 1568 he 
formed one of the deputation from the Scottish 
Government to Queen Elizabeth of England, as to the 
complaints against Queen Mary, then a prisoner. 
Though zealously assisting the Regent's party, he was 
looked upon with* suspicion, and latterly accijsed by 
them of committing various offences, amongst others, 
that of marrying " the divorced adulterer Bothwell to 
the Queen ; simoniacally exchanging the Bishopric of 
Holyrood Abbacy, and other crimes against the laws 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 25 

of the Kirk." He was suspended from all clerical 
duties for some time, but having expressed contrition, 
was reinstated in his charge, after " publicklie confess- 
ing his errors before sermon in his Church at Holy- 
rood." In 1 58 1 he resigned the office of Commendator 
of the Abbey of Holyrood in favor of his son John 
Bothwell, afterwards created Lord Holyroodhous, and 
in 1587 surrendered to the Crown his rights, as 
Superior of the Burgh of Canongate, and Barony of 
Broughton,in favour of Sir Lewis Bellenden, then Lord 
Justice Clerk. The Bishop died in 1593, and was 
interred within the precincts of the Abbey of Holyrood, 
where an inscription on one of the pillars may still be 
seen, setting forth in a most elaborate manner his 
talents and numerous virtues, and thus concluding : — 

** Thine aged corpse interred here now lies, 
Thy virtues great forbid your name to die ; 
Go happy soul, and in thy last repose 
Vanquish thou death and all its fatal blows ; 
Thy fragrant fame shall thus eternal be, 
With thy countrie atnd all postertie." 

The above is a good specimen of the laboured 
flattery of the period, but will not be considered by 
modern readers a true character of the time-serving 
Prelate. 

Sir Lewis Bellenden, whose town residence was 
situated within the ancient Burgh of Canongate, was 
the eldest son of Sir John Bellenden of Auchnoul. 
Sir Lewis held the office of Lord Justice Clerk, to 
which he was appointed in 1578. He was a favourite 
of King James the Sixth, and sometime Ambassador 



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26 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

to the Court of Queen Elizabeth, by whom he was 
induced to urge the prosecution of the complaint by 
the Regent against Queen Mary. On returning to 
Scotland with Sir Edward Wooton, Queen Elizabeth's 
Ambassador, he aided in promoting the alliance 
between the two Governments. In 1589 Sir Lewis 
accompanied King James to Denmark, on the occasion 
of his marriage to the Princess Anne, and returned in 
the following year to Scotland, along with the Royal 
party. Sir Lewis Bellenden was, like his King, a 
believer in witches and wizards ; and, in the autumn 
of I '593, while residing in his own house in the Canon- 
gate, he consulted a noted wizard called Richie 
Graham, whom it was said could, among other 
wonderful things, "raise the devil." This feat had 
apparently been attempted, but in whatever shape or 
form his Satanic Majesty appeared, the result so 
" terrified Bellenden that he took sickness, and thereof 
died."* 

Sir Lewis was succeeded by his son James, who 
married a sister of Lord Roxburghe. On Sir 
James' death, his son William was a minor, and 
his uncle, Lord Roxburghe, along with Lady 
Broughton, were appointed his guardians. Sir William 
Bellenden, Superior of Broughton, and proprietor of 
that estate and others, was also Superior of the Burgh 
of Canongate, and as such granted various charters 
and renewals to the Incorporations of the latter. He 
attempted, as already mentioned, to interfere with 
the election of the Magistrates, but was successfully 

* Sir John Scot's "Staggering State of Scots Statesmen," p. 131. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 27 

opposed. In 1627 Lord Roxburghe, — who had 
acquired from his nephew the unsold portions of the 
lands of Broughton and Superiorities, as well as 
those of the Canongate, — on 15th August, 1630, 
obtained a charter from the King, by which the Burgh 
of Canongate was incorporated with the Barony of 
Broughton, and made to hold of a subject Superior. 
Lord Roxburghe's mansion was situated in the Canon- 
gate, and th6 title thereto had certain privileges of a 
peculiar nature. He was a favourite of King James the 
Sixth, to whom, and his son King Charles, he was a 
consistent and loyal subject. When Lord Roxburghe, 
he accompanied King James to England on his acces- 
sion, and was created Earl of Roxburghe in 16 16, and 
appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal. In consequence 
of aiding in the attempt to rescue King Charles from 
the hands of the Parliamentary leaders, he was 
deprived of the office of Keeper of the Privy Seal, 
and only survived for a few months the execution of 
his King and patron. 

A great portion of the lands and Barony of 
Broughton and Superiorities, having been acquired by 
the Governors of George Heriot's Hospital, the Gover- 
nors of that Institution, in the year 1636, made ar- 
rangements with Lord Roxburghe, whereby a transfer 
of those held by him, as well as his rights as Lord 
Superior of the Burgh of Canongate, was effected in 
their favour. The majority of the Governors being 
Magistrates of the City of Edinburgh, it was considered 
advisable to obtain the Superiorities of the Canongate 
for the City; and on payment of a small sum to the 
Governors of the Hospital, they were accordingly 



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^8 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

transferred to the City of Edinburgh, and the transac- 
tion subsequently ratified by Parlian>ent 

The City of Edinburgh thus became, and still con- 
tinues to be, the Superiors of the Burgh of Canon- 
gate ; and, as such, had right to hold Courts and 
exercise all the civil and criminal jurisdiction and 
powers formerly possessed by the Superiors of it and 
the Barony of Broughton, through their representative, 
the Heritable or Baron Bailie. 




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CHAPTER V. 



THE MAGISTRACY— EXTRACTS FROM MINUTES— ACTS—CASES 
BROUGHT BEFORE THEM— ETC. 




j|HE Magistrates were particularly zealous in 
maintaining their own dignity and that of 
the individual members of the Council of 
the Burgh, and in meting out due punish- 
ment to those who attempted to dispute their autho- 
rity, or did not show proper respect. Under date 
25th Januar}'', 1575, there is on the margin of the 
Minute the following: — "Gilbert Wat, to sit doune 
on hes kneis and ask forgiveness." The Minute 
itself then proceeds : " The quhilk daye Gilbert Wat,, 
flesheour, bein wardit within the Tolbeuth of this 
Burghe for the injuring and blasphemying of James 
Harte, Baillie, as the said Gilbert confessit, he was 
ordanit to sit doune on hes kneis and ask the saidis 
James Harte's, Baillies', and Counsaill's forgiveness, and 
in lyke maner to do the saymn on Setterdaye nixt to 
cum in the Session of the Kirke ; and the said Gilbert 
obleist him of his ain consent that gif ever he be 



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30 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

convic in the lyke offence to onie Magistrate of this 
Burghe, to tyne hes fredome and remove himselfe 
furth of this Burghe during the Baillies' and CounsailFs 
will." On 24th February following, the " Magistrates 
ordanit Johnne Smythe, baxter, to remain in ward 
durin their will for the injuring of George Skaithie, 
Treasurer, in their presens, saying to him all things 
he spak wes ane lot of lesings, and thairfore decernit 
him to paye an unlaw of fiftie schillins ; and in case of 
the saidis Johnne committin the lyke faut in ony 
tyme cumin, neir to bruik office in the Counsaill 
thaireftir." 

Smith was Deacon of the Baxters, or Bakers, and 
the representative of the Incorporation at the Council 
Board. He had differed in opinion from the worthy 
Treasurer of the Burgh, and had given utterance to 
expressions derogatory of the wisdom and truthful- 
ness of the statement-s made by him, — an offence 
which, though committed by a brother Councillor, 
could not be overlooked by the Magistrates. 

Several persons had been charged and convicted of 
"injuring or blasphemy ing " the Bailies and other 
officials of the Burgh, and as these offenders had 
increased, the worthy Bailies and Council, considering 
that a small fine was ineffective, adopted more severe 
measures. 

" 7th August, I582,anent injuring or blasphemying 
of the Bailies. — The quhilk daye, Johnne Achesoun, 
Johnne Schoirt, Mr. Johnne Harte, Andro Borthwick, 
Thomas Hunter, Johnne K^Uo, Johnne Smyth, Johnne 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 31 

Blak, William Porteous, Mr. Archibald Wilkie, Thomas 
Blair, and Johnne Sinclair, Baillies and Counsaill of 
the Burche of the Cannogait, sittand in judgment, 
comperit George Skaithie, burgess of the said Burche, 
quha being accusit of the blasphemying and injuring 
of the saidis Andro Borthuik and Thomas Hunter, 
Baillies, saying that thaye had dune the said George 
wrang in the pronouncin wrangaslie of ane decreet 
agains him at the instance of James Douglas in 
Innerask, quhilk offence the said George grantit and 
confessit, and thairfoir become in the said Baillies' and 
Counsaiirs willis ; and for amendment thairof, the said 
George, according to the ordinance, askit God and the 
said Baillies' and Counsaill's openly forgiveness, and 
thairfoir the saidis Baillies and Counsaill of consent of 
the said George, statuit and ordainit that quhatsum- 
ever persoun or persouns heireftir beis convic of the 
injuring or blasphemying of the saidis Baillis, or onie 
uther Baillies for the tyme in the executioune of thair 
office, that thaye sail be poynded for ten pundis of 
unlaw to the puir for the first faut, and tynsal of thair 
freedom, and payment of uther *ten pundis for the 
second faut, with all rigour. And the said Baillies 
and Counsaill consent that the said accusatioune sail 
nowayis be prejudicial to the said George hereftir in 
respect of the satisfactioun foirsaid." 

The Bailies and Council shewed great forbearance 
to " George " in allowing him to go free, so that in 
the event of his being again accused of a similar 
offence he would be charged and punished as for a 
first offence. Skaithie was the same person who held 
office as Treasurer of the Burgh some time previously, 



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3a HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

and who himself had been the object of " bias- 
phemying " while he held that ofRce. He must have 
been a person of some importance in the Burgh. 

We give other two instances of convictions for 
offences against the Bailies : — 

"20th September, 1588. — Anent disobedience of 
the Magistrates and Members of Court. — The quhilk 
daye, Thomas Russell, baxter, being accusit befoir the 
Baillies and Counsaill, for disobedience of James 
Eistoune, Baillie, upoun the third daye of September 
instant, after that the said Baillie himself and the 
Officiaris of this Burghe, in our Soverane Lord's name^ 
and my Lord Justice Clerk, had commandit the said 
Thomas to pass to waird for the cruel stryking and 
dinging of James Dik, Wilkeyne Pott, and James 
Martine, smyth, burgesses of this Burghe, and divers 
utheris with ane pistolet upoun their heids, faces, and 
schoulderis, divers bangs and strakes, to the effusione 
of thair bluid in gret quantitie, and thairby contempt- 
and and disobeyed the said Baillies and Officiaris,. 
eftir that the said Thomas was commandit as said 
at the stairfute of the Tolbuith of the said Burgh, 
saying the devil ane fute wald he gane to waird, and 
thairefter being put up the stair, and quhan he cam to 
the Tolbuith dure, thair declarit he wald gane nae 
farder ; and beand commandit be the said Baillies to 
pass up the stair and enter his persoun in waird for 
the offences he had committed in denying of the 
foirsaidis persounes, refusit, saying the said Baillie 
sayit falslie, aswel dang and menassit Patrik Speir and 
Robert Craufurd, officiaris, in executioune of thair 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 33 

c^ces, as in the dittay given in thairupoun at mair 
length is contenit. Quhilk being verified sufficientlie 
be fanu>us witnesses, the said Thomas Russell was 
convic of the said offences, and Gontentis of the said 
dittay, and thairfoir was decernit in an unlaw of ten 
pundis money and tinsel of his fredome and libertie, 
and be debarred thairfra during t}ie Baillies' and 
Counsaiirs will, and also was ordained to sit doune on 
his kneis and ask God, and the said Bailyie and 
OflSciaris' forgiveness for the saidis offences. 

" The saymn daye comperit Thomas Ramsay, and 
beand accusit be dittay, grantit and confessit that he 
had injurit James Eistoune, Bailyie, in his ain hous 
sayin that eftir he was sent for to come to speik and 
agree with ane callit Tennant, dwelland in 

Nidrie, the said Thomas sayd and declarit that he 
sould be even with the said Bailyie thairfoir within 
ane schort tyme, and sae menassit the said Bailyie, the 
said Thomas beand then accompanit with Francis 
Trotter, servant to my Lord Bothwell, etc., for the 
quhilk offence the said Thomas was decernit in ane 
unlaw of ten pundis and tinsel of his fredome and 
libertie during the Bailyies' and CounsailFs will." 

While the Magistrates thus took care to maintain 
the dignity of the office — that the individual members 
of the Council were not only of " guid repute," but 
acted as such — they also took precautions to secure 
that the streets were kept clean, and several Acts 
were passed regulating them. One on 8th November, 
1 583, is headed : — "That Swyne be keepit in fastnes. — 
The quhilk daye,' the Baillies and Counsaill convenit,, 

D 



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34 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATB; 

has statuit and ordanit that all maner of persdunes, 
inhabitants within this Burghe, haven onie swyne, that 
thai keip the saymn in fastnes, sae that thaye cum 
nocht upoune the Hie Street, and gif thaye be fund in 
onie yaird or neichtbouris skaith, it sail be leassum to 
the persoun to whom the skaith is dune, that thai may 
apprihend thame within the bundis of the saymn, to 
slay the said swyne without onie recompence to be 
made be the slayer thairfoir, and also the owner of the 
swyne to pay the soume of xviijs. of unlaw." At that 
time the City of Edinburgh was in such a deplorable 
state in regard to sanitary arrangements, that the 
swine ran about the streets, and the Magistrates of the 
Canongate adopted stringent measures to prevent 
such an evil in their Burgh. 

The Magistrates likewise attended to the conduct 
of the citizens in their keeping good hours, and 
more particularly their deportment on the Lord's- 
day. 

From the number of Acts passed about this time, 
drunkenness must have been very prevalent in Scot- 
land, and many attempts were made by the Legis- 
lature, the Kirk, and other authorities, to abate the 
evil. Even at the time of King James the Sixth of 
Scotland, it was enacted that " nae man in Burche be 
fundin in tavernis of wine, aill, or beer, after the 
straike of nine houris of the bell that sail be rung in 
said Burche. The quhilks for dayin, the Alderman* 

* "Alderman ** was the name of the officer now holding the position 
and name of Provost. — "Chronicles of Edinburgh," by R. H. Steven- 
son, p. 40. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 35 

and Bailies, sail put thame in the King's prison, the 
quhilk if thaye do not, thaye sail pay for ilk tyme 
thaye be fundin incapablil befoir the Chamberlaine 
fiftie schillins." 

By an Act of Council, dated 20th January, 1568, the 
Bailies of the Canongate decreed " that nae persoune 
drink in tavernis or house, upoune Sundaye doune to 
the tyme of preaching, and the quhilk daye it is 
-statuit and ordanit be the Baillies and Counsaill that 
nae maher of persoune inhabitants within the Burghe, 
ventaris of wyne, bowstaris, or taptstaris of aill, nor 
uthers quhatsumevir, thole or permit onie maner of 
persoune or persounes to drink, keip companye at 
table in common tavernis or houses upoun Sundaye 
doune to the tyme of preaching, frae this daye 
furth, under the penalty of forty schillingis to be 
uptane of the man and wyfe, quha aught the saidis 
taverns and houses, sae aft as thaye fa." 

In 16 1 7 Drunkenness was so common that Parlia- 
ment "taking into consideration that that vile and 
detestable vice was daily increasing to the high dis- 
honour of God, and the great harm of the whole realm," 
made an enactment to the following effect : — " That 
all persons lawfully convic of drunkenness, or of 
haunting of taverns and alehouses after ten hours at' 
night, or any time in the day, except in time of travel 
or for ordinary, refreshments, shall for the first fault 
pay three pounds (Scots), or in case of inability, or 
refusail, be put in the jougs or jail for the space of six 
hours ; for the second fault pay four pounds, or be 
kept in stocks or jail twelve hours, and for the third 



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36 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

fault to pay ten pounds, or be kept in the stocks or 
jail twenty-four hours, and thereafter if they transgress, 
be committed to jail until they find caution." 

In an Act passed in the first Session of the Parlia- 
ment of King Charles the Second, the fine ordered to 
be inflicted for drunkenness was, for a nobleman, 20 
merks ; baron, 20 merks ; gentleman, heritor, or burgess, 
ID merks ; yeoman, 40 shillings ; servant, 20 shillings ; 
while a minister was to forfeit a fifth of his stipend. 
These enactments, and others of a like restrictive 
character, were from time to time passed and enforced 
by the Bailies. One dated 13th March, 1701, was of 
a comprehensive nature, and is inserted here to show 
in what manner the Magistrates of the Burgh of 
Canongate at that time considered the Sabbath day 
ought to be kept The Act is headed " Act for pre- 
venting the profanation of the Lord's-day," and thus 
proceeds, — "At Canongate the 13th March, 1701 years. 
The which day, the Bailies and Treasurer of the 
Canongate, being convened in Council in prosecution 
of the several Acts of Parliament, Acts and Statutes 
of this Burghe, and for the more effectual prevention 
of the profanation of the Lord's-day; ratify and 
approve of all former Acts made against the same and 
other immoralities, and particularly an Act against 
profaneness, dated 9th August, 1693, and another Act, 
dated the day of , 1699, do further prohibit 

and discharge all keepers of taverns, ale hou3es, 
victualling houses or cellars within the Burgh, and 
liberties thereof, to entertain any persons or furnish 
any kind of drink to them within doors at any time of 
the Lord's-day, with this exception, that victualling 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 37 

houses may furnish victuals and so much drink as 
shall be necessary thereto betwixt sermons, and 
betwixt six and eight of the clock at night allenarly, 
and that only to strangers or such as have not hbuses 
of their own in the place, under the penalty of half a 
rix-dollar to be paid by the master or mistress of the 
house for each person that shall be entertained therein 
as do this, and this without prejudice to the exacting 
of the penalties contained in the Acts of Parliament 
against drunkenness from the persons guilty of exces- 
sive or unreasonable drinking ort that, or any other 
day. Arid in the like mannet* they do strictly prohibit 
and discharge all persons whatsoever to carry through 
the streets, or from house to house any kinds of 
cloiaths, periwigs, shoes, or other apparel, at any time 
of the day, under the penalty foresaid, to be paid by 
the master of the servant, or any other that shall be 
found to have employed him in this work; discharging 
also hereby, barbers or others, to trim or shave any 
person either in their own houses, or shops, or else- 
where, at any time of the day, and that under the 
penalty foresaid, to be paid by the barber for such 
transgression committed by himself or his apprentice 
or servant, declaring always that if any barber or his 
sei^ant shall be found carrying about from place to 
place any of their utensils for trimming on said day 
they shall be holden and repute as guilty, and liable 
to the fine as above mentioned. And siclike they do 
strictly prohibit and discharge all persons whatsoever 
to stand idly in the streets, or walk in the fields^ or 
upon the Castle hill, on the Lord's-day, under the 
penalties foresaid, and ordains these presents to be 



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38 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATF. 

published in the usual manner. — (Signed) Henry 
Ferguson, B.B., David Denovan, B." 

From the above, it would appear that the Magis- 
trates preferred having the unshaved and untrimmed 
at church, rather than permit the barbers to carry on 
their calling on the " Lord's-day," and members of the 
community who would not attend Divine service were 
compelled, under a penalty, to remain indoors. The 
worthy Bailies, however, could define the term bona-fide 
traveller, by construing it as applicable to " strangers, 
or such as have not houses of their own in the place," 
and graciously permitted these persons certain privi- 
leges, by allowing them. to be supplied with "victuals, 
and so much drink as shall be necessary thereto." 
But whether the "stranger" or the "publican" wa3 
to be the judge of the quantity of " drink as shall be 
necessary " to the victuals, the Act is silent. 

The earlier records of the Burgh also comprised 
matters relating to the Barony of Broughton, and had 
consisted of several volumes. Some of these have 
apparently been lost ; while others are in a state of 
great dilapidation, worm-eaten, and torn, and the ink 
in many places so faint as to be hardly legible. Con- 
taining curious and valuable information, it is a pity 
that measures had not been adopted for their better 
preservation. The title of some of the books were, 
" Court Book of the Regalitie and Baronie of Brouch- 
toune and Burghe of Cannogait, contenin aw actiounis 
and causis belangin to the saidis Courtis and utheris 
belangin thairto." The Bailies sat as judges, but the 
decisions in cases specially brought before the Baron- 



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HISTORY QF THE BURGH OF CANQNGATE. 39 

Bailie were marked on the margin " Bar.-Bail," followed 
by the name of the pursuer and defender. The 
following are a few extracts from the earlier volumes 
of cases brought before the Magistrates, showing the 
nature of the complaints and the decisions. Under 
date 22nd October, 1561, there are thus noted -, — 

" Margaret Symsaun. — The quhilk daye the Baillies 
foirsaidis decemit and ordanit Margaret Symsoun to 
content and pay to William Robesoun, furtie-six and 
eight pennies for the mail (rent) of ane dwellan hous 
of the said William's land within the Burghe occupit 
be her tae the terme of Whitsundaye last bipast." 

'\Robert Davidsoun, — The quhilk daye the foirsaids 
Baillies assoilzied Robert Davidsoun, baxter, frae the 
claim of Robert Johnstoun of the sum of eight merks, 
as price for ane quhite hors pertainin to the said 
Robert Johnstoun, and allegit be him that he wes 
hurt be the said Robert Davidsoun, and hes leg 
broken quhar thro* the said hors died within seven 
dayes thaireftir, quhilk he committit be the space of 
ane yeire bipast, or thairby, and that be virtue of the 
said Robert Davidsoun's aith maid thairupoun, referrit 
thairto be the partie." 

" William Young, — The quhilk daye the foirsaidis 
Baillies decernit and ordanit William Young to con- 
tent and pay to Elizabeth Torrens eight and six 
pennies within terme of law for certain aill bocht 
and . ressavit be Catharine Cuthbertsoun, the spouse 
of the said William, frae the said Elizabeth Torrens 
be the space of six weeks last bipast, or thairby." : 



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40 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE, 

On the margin there is noted, ^^ James Davidsoun 
and Alexander Steele^ banist." The sederunt bears, 
** The quhilk daye James Davidsoun and Alexander 
Steele apprehendit wi ane black cloik, and becaus 
thaye culd get nae warrant thairto, wer banist of 
thair ain consent the fredome of this Burghe durin 
thair lyfetymes." 

" David ScrougU, — The quhilk daye the Bailiies 
foirsaid assoilzied David Scrougie frae the claim of 
James Spottiswoode of ane quhite web as bocht be 
the said David, the space of eight dayes last bipast, 
for the sum of IVs. the score be virtue of the said 
David's aith maid thairupoune and referrit thairto be 
the pursuar." 

" Patrik Arnot, — The quhilk daye the foirsaid 
Bailiies decernit and ordanit Patrik Arnot to content 
and paye to Elizabeth Aitken XXVIIs. within terme 
of law for meit and drink fumishit be the said Eliza- 
beth to him within her dwallin hous within Edin- 
burghe frae Sanct Giles* last bigane ane yeare to 
Sanct Andrew's daye next thaireftir, and that be 
virtue of hes ain confessioune maid thairupoun in 
jugement." 

"The quhilk daye the foirsaidis Bailiies decernit 
and ordanit William Murray to content and paye to 
James Laurie, burgess of Edinburghe, XXs. within 
terme of law for twa stanes of irone bocht and 
ressavit be the said William frae the said James, 
within the Burghe of Edinburgh be the space of 
twentie days bipast, and that be virtue of the said 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. , 41 

James* aith maid thairupoun referrit thairto be the 
partie." 

**26th November, 1561. — The quhilk daye the foir- 
-saidis Baillies, sittan in judgment, decernit and ordanit 
William Dawson to content and paye to Thomas 
Wecht thirtie schillins within ane moneth eftir the 
dait heirof, quhilk sum the said William becom 
cautioner and dettour for ane Inglishman, to paye 
the saymn to the said Thomas at ane certain daye 
bipast, and that be virtue of hes confessioune maid 
thairupoun in jugement" 

The following is given as being somewhat curious. 
A reference having been made to the defender*s oath, 
and he not appearing, the pursuer's oath was taken. 
The pursuer was a residenter ' in Edinburgh, while 
defender was within the Royalty of the auld Burgh, 
and the Bailie thus gave the defender every chance, 
although absent sifter citation : — 

" Walter Young, — The quhilk daye the Baron-Baillie 
foirsaid, sittan in jugement, decernit and ordanit Walter 
Young, in Pleasance, to content and paye to Robert 
Quentine, burgess of Edinburgh, the sum of fortie- 
aucht schillins, within terme of law, for ane boll of ry 
and ane half, bocht and ressavit be the said Walter 
frae the said Robert Quentine, within the Toun of 
Leith, in the moneth of June last bipast, becaus the 
said Walter warnit to gie hes aith thairintill, and Jie 
bein warnit thairto failyit thairintill, and thairfoir the 
said Robert's aith was tane thairupoun, quha maid 
faith he bocht and ressavit the said ry frae him, the 
tyme foirsaid, for the said sum above written." 



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42 HISTORY OF THE BURGH. OF CANONGATE. 

^' The quhilk daye, befoir the foirsaid Baron-Baillie, 
decernit and ordanit James Brown to content and 
paye to Johnne Arthur the sum of XXXs. within 
teritie of law for the Mertimes mail of ane dwellan hous 
in Pleasans last bypast, sett be the said Johnne to the 
said James, and that be virtue of the said James* con- 
fessioune maid thairupoun in jugement." 

"March, 1634. — Decerns Johnne Brown, indwellar 
in Cannogait, to paye to Marion Hall, widow -in 
Bruchtoun, three pundis of 'monie for meit and drink 
furnishit be the said persuar to the defender twa 
yeiris syne. William Wallace, Officiar." 

Under "Saturdaye, Februar, 1635," there is noted,^ 
" Andrew Moir to be hangit for steelin George Mellis* 
gear." 

" 20th January, 1637. — Decerns Isobel Lauder and 
Wa. Smyth, cloikmaker, her spouse, for hes interest to 
paye to Walter Adamson, schulemaister, pundis for 
teaching and instructin o' Johnne Smyth thair son, to 
read, wryte, and lay compts in years 1635-1636, and 
expenses/' On 28th January of same year, there is 
another action and a decree given at the instance of the 
said "schulemaister" against Walter Pennie, "wrycht," 
"for seven poundis, for teachin and instructin of 
Walter Pennie his son, to read, wryte, and lay compts, 
and for furnishin the said Walter with ink, pens, and 
paper, frae the month of January, 1635. Gibson, 
Officiar." And on loth February of same year, 
aftpther decerniture against " John Wilson, wabster, to 
pay three pundis for instructin of twa of his bairns, 
frae Januar, 1636, to Januar last." 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 43 

The " puir schulemaister " must have fallen very 
low indeed: in circumstances, and taken recourse 
to "beer and aill" to alleviate his sorrows: for on 
the 1 2th of April, 1637, decree was pronounced 
against him in an action at the instance of James 
Menzies and Isobel Babtie, for a small sum, "as 
balance of ane greater sum for beer and aill furnishit 
by the persuars to the defender ane yeare bygane." 

The Magistrates continued to decide civil causes 
like the preceding, as well as others usually brought 
before Bailies of Burghs. They had Law Agents 
duly admitted, enrolled, and entitled to practise before 
the Court ; but the powers of the Bailies of Canongate 
having been gradually circumscribed, while those of 
the Sheriffs and Justices of the Peace were enlarged, 
the practice of the agents before the Burgh Court 
dwindled away, and services of heirs latterly became 
the most important business adjudicated upon; and 
to this branch of their duties notice will now be taken, 
— the cases quoted being considered as sufficient to 
show the general character of the claims brought 
before the Bailies of the " auld Burgh." 




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CHAPTER VI. 

SERVICES OF HEIRS BEFORE tHE BAILIES. 

DS previously stated among other matters of 
jurisdiction, " Sefvices of Heirs '* were 
brought before the Magistrates of the 
Canongate, — the forms of procedure there adopted 
being a mixture of the antique and comic, and a 
subject worthy of the pen of Cervantes or Dickens. 
The service of a worthy burgess of the Cariongate as 
heir to his father, or other relative as the case might 
be, or of services by persons out with the. Burgh, took 
place in the Council Chambers or Court Room, and 
were generally conducted in the following manner. 
On a dais, under an open canopy, was placed the 
judge's chair, in which the Bailie sat, arrayed in 
official robes and chain, while at his right hand stood 
the Officer of Court, also in official costume, with 
halbert in hand. The Clerk of Court was seated at a 
desk in front, and ready to " prompt " the worthy 
Bailie when occasion required. To form a jury, 
several of the shopkeepers and tradesmen had been 



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HISTOKY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 45 

citedy and the Court then proceeded to hear the 
evidence^ that the claimant was the nearest and law- 
ful heir ma,Ie of his lately deceased father, or as the 
relationship might be to the defunct. The Bailie 
listened with dignified mien to the proceedings, and 
at the close of the performance, with much gravity, 
pronounced the word " Served." An account of the 
proceedings was afterwards recorded in the books of 
Court, and an extract engrossed on vellum or parch- 
ment issued from the Chancery Office, constituted the 
title as heir. 

As services were generally of an ex parte nature and 
seldom opposed, many were carried through which 
would not now stand the ordeal of the Court of 
Chancery; and as these were readily accomplished 
in the Burgh Court of the Canongate, it was 
frequently made use of As illustrative of the 
manner in which that Court afforded facilities for 
carrying through such services, the famous case 
of Humphreys or Alexander, who claimed the title 
of Earl of Stirling, is one in point In that service 
Alexander Humphreys or Alexander claimed to be,, 
and was served as, lawful and nearest heir in general 
and special to William, first Earl of Stirling, and he 
took the title and emitted the requisite oaths, so as 
to enable him to vote at the election of Representa- 
tive Peers of Scotland, and accordingly voted at such 
elections in Holyrood Palace in the years 1831 and 
1835. An action was brought by the Officers of 
State to set aside the service on the ground that 
certain deeds on which the service was stated to 
have been granted were forgeries. In December,. 



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46 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

1838, Humphreys was judicially examined, when he 
explained how he had come into the possession of 
these documents. The service was set aside, and 
Alexander or Humphreys was then indicted before 
the High Court of Justiciary for forgery, and after 
a trial, which lasted from 29th April to 3rd May, 

1839, the jury returned a verdict by a majority of 
" not proven " as against him personally, but found 
that the principal deeds upon which he maintained 
his relationship and had served as heir were forgeries. 
When the jury returned their verdict Humphreys 
fainted, and was carried from the bar insensible, and 
the judges, on medical advice, refrained from enforc- 
ing his attendance when the verdict was formally 
read by the Clerk of Court, and they dispensed with 
the "dismissal" of the accused from the bar. It 
came out in evidence during the trial that some of 
the deeds and other documents used in the "service" 
had been obtained by Humphreys from a- Miss Maria 
Annie Normand, bookseller and " fortune-teller in 
Paris." One of the " old " deeds bore to have the 

. signature of an individual as " witness," but who, on 
a careful enquiry, was found to have died before the 
alleged date of the deed. 

The procedure in services of heirs was changed in 
1847, and are now conducted by the Sheriffs of 
Counties, or the Sheriff of Chancery in Edinburgh, by 
lodging a petition detailing the pedigree of the 
claimant and his propinquity to the deceased, and 
after a proof, decision is given by the Sheriff. The 
jurisdiction of the Bailies of Canongate, in so far as 
services were concerned, was abolished, which no one 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 47 

could regret, — the conducting of such before the Magi- 
strates of the Canongate being notoriously known as 
very lax. The Edinburgh Municipal^Extension Act of 
i856,however, swept away the last shreds of the Burgh's 
independent existence ; still, when it is remembered 
that, during an existence of some seven centuries, 
it had struggled on from the darkness of the middle 
ages through the stormy scenes of the Reformation — 
the great rebellion — the domination of Cromwell — the 
affairs of the '15 and '45, and that, notwithstanding all 
these changes of men and things, its Constitution under 
the Superiors and the Crown sufficed for the good 
government of the people, — it must be admitted that 
there is truth in the sentiment uttered by a great 
statesman, when he said that in our early municipal 
institutions are to be found the roots and germs of 
the liberties we now enjoy. 

The Bailies, after their arduous labours were over, 
refreshed themselves with the claimant, jury, and 
friends in an adjoining tavern. When election times 
drew nigh, the worthy Magistrates and Council oft 
did meet, and in a happy, easy, and social manner, 
discussed the affairs of the Town, and settled the leet 
of Magistrates and other officials for the ensuing year, 
for in the "gude auld times" the auld Council elected 
the new. Many traditions and anecdotes are extant 
as to the " doings " and " sayings " of the Bailies when 
administering justice, more particularly on examining 
witnesses, or asking questions at the agents conduct- 
ing cases as to the meaning of legal terms used by 
them ; and although credence may be given to such 
sayings, some of them are so absurd as to be placed 



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4S HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATEL 

in the category of myths, and dercgatory to the 
wisdom of the Bailies; and had the utterers of such 
been living in the days of old, and when the worthy^ 
Magistrates had the power, a severer punishment 
than being fined and " ordered to sit doune on kneis 
and ask forgiveness of the Baillies and Counsaill"" 
would have been inflicted under the " Acts " against 
" injuring or blasphemying the Baillies." 




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THE BURGH SEAL. 



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CHAPTER VIL 



OFFICIALS OF COURT— THE CLERK— TREASURER— OFFICERS — 
THE DOOMSTER OR DEMPSTER— PIPER— DRUMMER— AND 
BELLMAN. 

JT IS almost unnecessary to state that a Town 
Clerk is a very important official, and many 
duties are imposed upon him involving great 
responsibility and careful management. The Burgh 
of Canongate always had such a Clerk ; and various 
" Acts " were passed by the Bailies defining the duties, 
and much caution was exercised in the appointment 
of such an . official, whose legal knowledge and aid 
.could be depended upon by the Magistrates. As a 
matter of fact, up till the extinction, or rather absorp- 
tion of the " auld Burgh," these officials were men of 
note,* thoroughly conversant with the Town's affairs ; 
and from a very early date every reliance was placed 

* The last Clerk of the Buigh of Canongate (the late William Fraser, 
jun., Writer to the Signet, long a partner of the firm of Messrs. Jardine, 
Stoddart, & Fraser, W.S.), occupied the position for upwards of 25 
years ; and performed the duties of the office to the satisfaction of every- 
one connected with the Burgh and otherwise, and was much esteemed. 



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50 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

by the Bailies, — ^when administering justice on the 
Bench, or sitting at the Council Board, — on the 
Clerk's opinion ; and no meetings were held without 
his presence, or one authorised to act for him. 

In 1572 it was " Statuit and ordanit be the Baillies 
and Counsaill, that in aw tyme cumin the Clerk or 
hes assistant be present every Tuesdaye wi' aw pro- 
cesses, depositions of witnesses and productiouns of 
witnesses, to be advisit and examinit be the Baillies." 
Not only was the Clerk's presence required on busi- 
ness occasions, but he was considered so important an 
official that at banquets and civic demonstrations 
either given by the Bailies, or the Provost and Magis- 
trates of the City of Edinburgh, or other corporate 
bodies, the invitations comprised one for the Clerk ; 
and the same courtesy was shown to the Cit}'' Clerk 
when the Magistrates of the Canongate, or Society of 
High Constables, gave entertainments. 

The Treasurer was also another important official 
in the Burgh, and various extracts have been given 
from the old Registers of the Burgh of his duties ; 
and it is worthy of special notice that the accounts of 
the Treasurer, while at times showing great difficulties 
overcome, up to the last had a balance to the credit 
ofthe"auldToun." 

The following are sufficiently illustrative of the 
multifarious duties incumbent on the Treasurer in the 
olden times : — 

"27th November 1 567. — ^The quhilk daye the Baillies 
and Counsaill consented that thair Common Seil sould 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 51 

be appendit to Alexander Durrame's Chartour, maid 
to him be Sir George Masoun, upoun the alienatioune 
of William Younge, cuttellar, for land lyand foir anent 
the Girth Croce quhairto thai ar patrounes, in token 
of thair consent. And ordains the Thesurer to ressaif 
Xl. thairfoir, and delyverit to him the Chartour Seilit" 
And of same date, authority was granted to the " Thea- 
surer to buy ane full pund-wecht of bras, contenan 
aw sma wechts thairintill to be put in the Common 
Box, to remain thairin as just wechts in tyme cumin, 
that the inhabitants within the Burghe may ressaif 
thair wechts thairbye." And an ordinance was pro- 
nounced, ordaining " Officiaris to warn aw hucksteris 
and stall-keepers to compeir befoir thaim thes daye 
fifteen dayes, and produce aw wechtes and measures 
to be s^en and considerid, thsft ordour maybe tane 
thairin as effeiris." 

To the Officers of Court, or those who waited upon 
the Bailies and enforced their warrants, attention will 
now be directed. 

"THE OFFICIARIS." 

To render due honour to the Bailies, execute their 
decrees, and maintain decorum in Court, certain 
officials were appointed, designated " Officiaris ; " 
and sundry "Acts" were passed by the Council, 
regulating their duties and the dress in which they 
were to appear when on duty. On 4th June, 1569, 
the following " Act " was promulgated : — 

" The quhilk daye it is statuit and ordanit be the 
Baillies and Counsaill of the Burghe, to preserve 



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52 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

ordour among the Officiaris of the saymn in tyme to 
cum, that everie Officiar half and beir upoune the 
breist of his coitt or doublatt the armes contenit in 
the common Seill of the Burghe, imprentit in silver,, 
qiiharby thaye may be knawin be our soverane lieges 
and utheris quhatsumevir, and strangeris, as Officiaris. 
of Burghe." 

Following the example of the City of Edinburgh, — 
the Town Council of which had, sometime previously, 
ordered that four Sergeants, armed with halberts,, 
should attend the Provost when on official duty, — 
the Council of the Canongate, on the same day on 
which the previous order was passed appointing 
Officers of Court, "Statuit and ordanit that everie 
ane of the said Officiaris beir about with thame everie 
daye, ane sword, exceptin onlie Sundaye ; and upoune 
everie Court daye to be halden within the Burghe,. 
ane halbert on their schoulderis quhen the BailHes 
ryse frae the Court-daye in the Tolbuith, wi the 
Dempster, at ix. houris, and afore the incumin of the 
Baillies. The quhilk daye it is statuit and ordanit 
that nane of the said Officiaris hae thair heids coverit 
in fensit Court, bot that thaye stand at the Bar bare- 
heidit sae lang as the Court haulds, without onie 
speakin, bot quhen thaye are demandit be the 
Baillies." 

Of the same date the Bailies " Statuit and ordanit 
that the saidis Officiaris, eftir thaye resaif the * Actes ' 
or Decreittis of onie persoune or persounes, that thai 
and ilk ^ne o' thaime put the saymn to deu exe- 
cutioune, conform to the tennour thairof, at the ische 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 53 

of the terme contenit thairintill, or at the furdest 
within viii dayes thaireftir; or else that thaye cum 
to the Baillies, and declar that thair is nae guidis 
poyndible, or otherwayis that thaye haif gotten ane 
deforcement ; and failin heirof, the saidis Officiaris to 
be wardit aye and quhill the non-fulfillin of the saidis 
Decreittis of the readiest of thair ain guidis and geir, 
or utherways that the partie defender satisfie the 
saymn to the perseuar. And in lykwise, that the 
saidis Officiaris use the dyettes of apprysings without 
onie delaye to be hard thairintill, to wit, every 
Monnandaye, Frydaye, and Monnandaye next thair- 
eftir convictioune be the special dyettes of apprysing, 
and that thai mak offer to the partie of the guidis to 
be apprysit sa sune as thaye obtane thaim, without 
one fraude or delaye ; and gif thaye refuse to resaif 
the guidis as thaye sail happen to be apprysit, that 
the saidis Officiaris produce thair apprysing in wrytin 
to this Court and law, the daye immediatlie thaireftir 
to be buikit under the panis foirsaidis." 

The worthy Bailies, while allowing no one to escape 
due punishment for contempt of Court, protected 
their Officers from any interference when executing 
their duties, as the following example will show : — 

" 1 8th June, 1568. — The quhilk daye, in presens of 
James Gray, Baillie, Thomas Smyth, bein wardit in 
the Tolbuith of this Burghe, for deforcing of Johnne 
Sprot, Officiar, and was detenit in ward thairfore at 
the Baillies' and Counsaill's pleisour and command. 
For the quhilk offence, the said Thomas became 
obleist and acted of hes ain consent, gif evir he beis 



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54 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

funden capabill of sicklyke offences in tyme cumin^ 
that he sail tyne hes freedome and burgesschip, and 
submitted to the BailHes' and CounsailFs will in the 
punisching of hes bodie at present for the said offence. 
Quhairfoir the said BailHes, with consent of the haill 
Counsaill, remitted and freed the said Thomas to- 
libertie." 

The Officer here mentioned got " into difficulties " 
the following year, through committing an assault 
upon one of the Bailies. Under date 4th June, 1569^ 
there is the following entry : — 

"Johnne Sprot, Officiar, to ask forgiveness of the 
Baillie. — The quhilk daye, the Baillies, eftir the 
accusin of Johnne Sprot, Officiar, for injuring of 
James Hairt, Baillie, dune be him upoune the xxvii. 
daye of Maye last bye-past, on the Craigs, haif and on 
consideratioune thairof, ordains the said Johnne to ask 
the said Baillies' forgiveness ; and the said Johnne 
obleist him, in case ever he be funden injurin onie 
Baillie or Magistrate within this Burghe, in word or 
in deed, in onie tyme hereftir, to tyne his office of 
Sergendrie, and never to bruik office eftir he be convic 
in maner foirsaid." 



THE DOOMSTER, OR DEMPSTER. 

Among the officials attached to courts of justice in 
the olden time, that of Doomster or Dempster appears 
to have been the most curious. This official seems to be 
distinct from the common hangman, although both 
offices were occasionally held by the same individual. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE* 55 

There was one attached to the Biailie Court of the 
Canongate, who was also one of the ordinary " Officiaris 
of Court/* and performed the duties for a number of 
years, — his name frequently appearing as the Officer 
who had served the citation, or complaint ; and also in 
a case where the parties had been charged with the 
crime of murder. 

Under date nth November 1637, William Wallace, 
holder of the office of Dempster, is mentioned, who, 
according to formula, repeated the sentence or find- 
ing of the Court. In that instance, which is fully 
detailed, the accused were declared "innocent, guiltless, 
free, and quit of the deathe, slauchter, and murder of 
the deceasit." After sentence of death was pronounced 
by the Judge, the Dempster repeated the same, and 
then added the words, "And this I pronounce for 
doom." In the Notes to " The Heart of Midlothian," 
Sir Walter Scott gives a graphic description of the 
duties of this official, — his grotesque costume, and 
appearance at criminal trials in the seventeenth 
century. 

THE PIPER, DRUMMER, AND BELLMAN. 

At an early period the Burgh had a player on the 
"Clairsach," and also a Piper. There are many 
entries of payments to these individuals in the Rolls 
of the Treasurer. What a " Clairsach " was, has 
puzzled many, but it is supposed to have been a sort 
of harp ; others again think that Clairsach was anothet 
name for the bsigpipes. In the Flemish or Low 
Dutch, when our troops were in Belgium, the people 
called the pipers the "Doodle Sachers." In the accounts 



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56 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANOJfCATR 

of the Burgh for the years 1574-76, the following 
entries are among others of a like nature : — 

"To Robert Wetherspoon, quha wes dressit in the 
pyper's claise, Xs. " 

" For makin of the pyper's claise, and pasments 
thairto, XIIIs. and Vllld." 

" To ane pyper befoir James, now oure pyper, wes 
entiret at command of the Baillies, XIIIs. and Illd." 

There are also entries of payments to sundry persons . 
for " playing on my Lordes' Swasche." What kind of 
a musical instrument this was, it is difficult to say. 
Jameson* calls it a trumpet ; but this cannot be 
correct, as there is an entry following the above of a 
sum in payment for "twa Sticks tae the Swache," 
which would rather lead one to infer that the Swasche 
was a drum. 

Like other ancient towns, the Burgh of the Canon- 
gate had at one time a Drummer as one of its officials^ 
whose duties, amongst others, comprehended that of 
duly proclaiming at the Cross, and through the Town, 
the rouping or letting of the Common Muirs, — "Rolp- 
ing of the Wyne of the Customs," and dues authorised 
to be levied for " the common guid," &c. 

One of the Commons or Muirs which belonged to 
the Town, was the Gallowlee or Gallowley, situated 
on the north side of what is now Leith Walk. Part 
of it was used as a place for public executions, and 
during the persecution of the Covenanters many of 

♦Jameson's "Scottish Dictionary.** 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 57 

them suffered death at this spot. Under date 31st 
December, 1587, there is an entry to the following 
effect in the Minute Books. It is entitled the " Roupin 
of the Gallowlee " : — 

"The quhilk daye, the Baillies and Counsaill 
ordanit the haill nechbours be sound of drum 
to be warnit againe this daye xiii. dayes to com- 
peir to the Roupin of the Gallowlee." 

Of the same date there follows the appointment of 
the Drummer for the year : — 

" The quhilk daye, the Baillies and Counsaill 
agreit with Johnne Thomsoun, flescheour, to serve 
and pass thro the Burghe wi' his drum at four houris 
in the morning and aucht at e'en, for the space 
of ane year heireftir, for the auld deutie, and fand 
James Eistone, cautioner, that he should keep hes 
houre, wind and wedder, under the pain of XI Is. of 
unlaw sae aft as he failzit." * 

It is difficult to understand the reason for having 
the Drummer so early astir at the period of the year 
noted. The Drummer was an important personage in 
most burghs and towns in Scotland, and performed 
many duties. When vagrants, common beggars, or 
persons of a suspicious appearance were brought 
before the Bailies, and could not give a satisfactory 
account of themselves, they were occasionally sentenced 
by the judge to be " set upoune the croce," or placed 
in the pillory or jougs for an hour or two, and there- 
after " banished frae the Toune." In carrying out the 

* Registers of Canongate. Maitland Club Papers. 



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58 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

latter part of the sentence, the Drummer accompanied 
the officer in charge of the culprits to the outskirts of 
the Burgh, and "drummed" them out of the boundaries. 
In more modern days. the services of the Drummer, 
Town-crier (or Bellman as he was latterly termed), were 
called into requisition for giving notice when articles 
of value were lost, sales by auction, or roupings under 
judicial authority, etc. After the Drummer ceased to 
act as a Burgh official, a Bellman was appointed by the 
Magistrates to perform similar duties. He was termed 
" ringer of the ten-hour bell ;" and there are various 
entries in the Records of the Burgh relating to his 
duties, and "Acts" regulating these were from* time to 
time passed by the Bailies. The bells were placed in 
the Tolbooth of the Burgh» of which a description is 
given hereafter. There are two bells, — the smallest 
one, now very seldom used, bearing date 1608. In 
1699 drinking in taverns was prohibited after ten 
o'clock at night ; and constables had authority to 
enter into "suspected houses," and if persons were 
found there after the "tolling of the ten-hour bell," the 
tavern-keeper was subjected in a penalty of ten 
shillings for every person so found. The Magistrates 
considered the ringing of the bells so essential to the 
citizens, that, by an Act passed on 30th September of 
that year (1699), it is stated, — "The quhilk daye, 
George Mitchell and Angus Black, Baillies of the 
Burgh of Canongate, and Archibald Campbell, 
Treasurer thereof, taking into their consideration the 
great prejudice the inhabitants of the Canongate 
sustain through the want of the ringing of the bell 
thereof at ten o'clock at night, and that this having 
been partly occasioned by the entry to the bell being 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 59 

Within the Canongate Prison, and seeing that the 
ringing of the bell every night at ten o'clock is most 
necessary for the inhabitants and others resorting to 
and from the place, and that it is also recommended 
that there be a constant wage or salary allowed to the 
keeper of the clock and ringer of the ten-hour bell : 
Therefore, the said Baillies and Treasurer hereby adds 
twenty punds Scots to the keeper of the clock and 
ringer of the belFs salary, and ordains the Treasurer 
of the Canongate and his successors in office to make 
payment of the additional fee hereby allowed, com- 
mencing from and after Michaelmas last. (Signed) 
George Mitchell, Baillie." The bells were also made 
use of in " ringing up " the inhabitants to their daily 
avocations, and on Sundays and fast-days previous to 
each diet of worship, so that the citizens might be 
duly kept in remembrance of their religious and 
secular duties. 



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CHAPTE'R VIII. 



NOTICE OF A FEW OF THE PARISH CLERGYMEN— THE CHURCH 
-—THE BURIAL-GROUND, AND MONUMENTS THEREIN. 

JHIHE Abbey of Holyrood, or rather Chapel, was 
am ^^ ^^ Reformation declared to be the Parish 
iSM Church of the Canongate, and continued to 
be so used until the year 1672, when King James the 
Seventh ordered the Abbey Church to be set apart 
as a Chapel Royal, and an Act of the Privy Council 
was passed, declaring it " to be His Majesty's Chapel 
in all time coming;" but it was not until 1687 that 
the parishioners had to remove to Lady Yester's, — 
which was a Church of the same name, and near to 
where the present one now stands in Infirmary Street, 
— till a new Church could be procured for them. In 
1688, an application was made to compel the Town 
Council of Edinburgh to build a Church for the Parish 
out of certain funds bequeathed in 1649 by Thomas 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 6l 

Moodie. This was granted, and the Magistrates of 
Edinburgh bought the ground for the Church, and a 
church-yard or burial-ground, adjacent to the Council 
Chambers of the Burgh; and the present building was 
erected at a cost of about £2^x>. There were two 
charges, — ^the Crown having the appointment of the 
first, or principal charge, and the Town Council of 
Edinburgh and proprietors of property in Canon- 
gate, had the right of presentation to the other 
charge, or second minister. The Church is now 
placed under the ministrations of one clet^man. 
A Chapel-of-ease, in the year 1794, was erected in 
New Street. The late Reverend William Nisbet 
(afterwards of John Knox's Free Church, Netherbow), 
was for sometime minister thereof. Among other 
ministers of the Chapel-of-ease were the Reverend 
David Dickson, father of the late D? Dickson of St. 
Cuthbert's; the Rev. Mr. Kennedy; the Rev. Mr. 
Kay ; the Rev. James Millar (afterwards Chaplain of 
Edinburgh Castle) ; the Rev. James Stormonth. 

The first minister of the Abbey or Parish Church 
was John Craig, who afterwards became the colleague 
of John Knox. Craig, as after-noted, proclaimed the 
banns of marriage between Queen Mary and Darnley 
in 1565. John Brand, at one time a Monk in the 
Abbey of Holyrood, succeeded Craig. In 1594, Mr. 
Henry Blyth was appointed his colleague. The first 
minister who had charge of the present Church was 
Dr. Thomas Wilkie, who died in 171 1, and to whose 
memory a tablet was erected on the east gable of the 
Church. Among others who had charges was Hugh 
Blair, D.D., who was very popular and author of 



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62 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

various works on Divinity. He was elected to the 
second charge in 1743, presented to Lady Yester's 
Church in 1754, and transferred to the High Church 
in Edinburgh, in the year 1758. In 1762 he was the 
first who held the Chair as Professor of Rhetoric 
and Belles Lettres in the University of Edinburgh. 
In '1784, the Rev. Robert Walker, then minister of 
Cramond, was presented to the first charge in Canon- 
gate. The Reverend Henry Garrioch, who died on 
22nd January, 1820, held the first charge for eight 
years, and to whose memory there is a fine tablet 
erected in the Church Burial-ground. In 1821, Dr. 
Lee was appointed, but was transferred in 1825 to 
Lady Yester's, and in 1835 was appointed one of the 
ministers of the Old Church in the City ; and after 
holding various appointments, was in the year 1843 
elected Professor of Divinity in the University of 
Edinburgh. " He was one of the most remarkable and 
estimable men of his time. His intellectual attain- 
ments and acquisitions of knowledge were of the 
most varied and extensive kind. On almost all 
subjects he was admirably well informed, and in some 
departments he was unquestionably the most learned 
man of his age and country. He was more than all 
this, — he was a most pious Christian minister, and one 
of the most friendly and affectionate of men." * 

Dr. John Gilchrist succeeded Dr. Lee in the first 
charge, and was a colleague of Dr. Buchanan, who for 
a number of years was minister of the second charge 
and to whose memory a beautiful tablet is erected in 

* The late Lord Neaves, in his opening Address to the Ro3ral Society 
of Edinburgh, 5th December, 1859. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 6$ 

the Churchyard. The Reverend John Clark, sometime 
of the Chapel-of-ease in New Street, succeeded Dr. 
Buchanan, and was afterwards transferred to the Old 
Church of St Giles. The Rev. Andrew Bonar, the 
author of a collection of " The Poets and Poetry of 
Scotland," and various religious publications, was also 
one of the ministers of the Parish Church of Canon- 
gate, having been transferred from Fogo in Berwick- 
shire in 184s, and on the death of Dr. John Gilchrist, 
wag appointed to the first charge,-^the Rev. Mr. 
Macfie having the second charge. On Mr. Bonar's 
death it was reduced to a single charge. The 
Reverend Mr. James Macnair, M.A., is the present 
minister of the Parish Church. 

The Churchyard or Burying-ground contains monu- 
ments to many eminent individuals ; amongst others, 
on the west side of the Churchyard and near to the 
entrance gate, is that erected to the memory of George 
Drummond, who was for six successive periods Lord 
Provost of the City of Edinburgh, and to whom the 
City owes much of its present celebrity for beauty. 
He was the projector of the Royal Exchange, the 
scheme for the New |Town, and the extension of 
Edinburgh southwards of the High Street. The 
foundation stone of the North Bridge was laid by him 
with masonic honours in 1763, and to whom also the 
City is principally indebted for the institution of the 
Royal Infirmary. 

Near his monument is that of Adam Smith's, the 
author of " The Wealth of Nations," &c. The inscrip- 
tion on the tablet bears "Here are deposited the 



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64 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

remains of Adam Smith, author of * The theory of 
Moral Sentiment, and Wealth of Nations,' &c. He 
was born 5th June, 1723, and he died 17th July,, 
1790" 

On the west gable of the Church is a neat tablet ii> 
memory of the brothers Alexander and John Runci-- 
man, the historical painters, and it bears to be " erected 
by the Royal Scottish Academy, in memory of the two- 
brothers eminent as historical painters." 

Almost opposite to this is a tombstone on which is 
the following inscription: — ^**This stone for the Society 
of Coach Drivers in Canongate ; it was chiefly erected 
by Thomas Jamieson, Robert Murray, Treasurer, 
1765." There is carved on the stone the representa- 
tion of a coach with four horses and a driver crossings 
a bridge. 

Closely adjoining this memorial there is thef tomb- 
stone erected in 1787 by Robert Burns to the poet 
Ferguson. The epitaph by Burns, and the only one 
he ever wrote to a literary man, is to the following 
effect : — 

HERE LIES 

ROBERT FERGUSON, POET. 

Bom September ^^ ^75 ^^ 
Died October i6th, ^774- 

No sculptured marble here, no pompous lay, 

No storied urn nor animated bust ; 
This simple stone directs pale Scotia's waj' 

To pour her sorrows o'er her poet's dust. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 65 

On the other side of the stone there are the follow- 
ing words : — 

By special grant of the Managers to Robert Bums, who erected 
this stone. This Burial-place is to remain for ever sacred 
to the memory of Robert Ferguson. 

Robert Burn's petition for permission to erect the 
monument, is in the following terms : — 

TO THE HONOURABLE BAILIES OF CANONGATE, 
EDINBURGH 
Gentlemen, 

I am sorry to be told that the remains of 
Robert Ferguson, the so-justly celebrated poet, — a man whose 
talents for ages to come will do honour to our Caledonian name, 
— lie in your Churchyard among the noble dead, unnoticed and 
unknown. 

Some memorial to direct the steps of the lovers of Scottish 
song, when they wish to shed a tear over the " narrow house " 
of the bard who is no more, is surely a tribute due to Ferguson's 
memory, — a tribute I wish to have the honour of paying. 

I petition you, then, gentlemen, to permit me to lay a 
simple stone over his revered ashes, to remain an unalienable 
property to his deathless fame. 

I have the honour to be. 
Gentlemen, 

Your very humble Servant, 

ROBERT BURNS. 

By minute of meeting of 6th February, 1787, the 
Bailies, "in consideration of the laudable and disinte- 
rested motion of Mr. Burns, and the propriety of his 
request," gave the desired permission to erect the stone. 

A number of the older monuments to the memory 
of merchants and tradesmen in the Burgh have sculp- 
tured on them the emblems of their respective trades. 
The burial-ground of George Chalmers, plumber in 



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« HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Edinburgh, who died on loth March, 1836, leaving his 
money under the charge of the Faculty of Advocates, 
for the purpose of founding an hospital for the sick 
and hurt, and which has been erected in Lauriston, 
Edinburgh, is situated on the south-west of the 
Churchyard. A tablet to "Bishop Keith, 1756," 
historian of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, is in 
the vicinity. At the north-west is situated the tomb 
of Dugald Stewart, Professor of Moral Philosophy in 
the University, and to whose memory there is a 
monument on the Calton Hill. On the east side of 
the Churchyard, in an enclosure, is a tablet erected by 
the Trustees of the Fettes Endowment, in memory of 
Sir William Fettes, Baronet, 7th May, 1836, who left 
his estate to found the College now erected at Comely 
Bank, designated Fettes College. The inscription is 
as|follows : — 

Sacred to the Memory 

of 

Sir WILLIAM FETTES 

of Comely Bank, Baronet, 

Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh 

in 1801 and 1802 ; 

and a second time in 1805- 1806. 

Bom 25th June 1750, died 27th May 1836. 

Also of MARIE MALCOLM, his Wife, 

who died 7th May, 1836 ; 

and 

WILLIAM FETTES, Advocate, their only Son, 

who died at Berlin, 13th June, 181 5, 

aged 27 years. 



Over the grave of its Founder 

the Trustees of the Fettes Endowment 

have erected this Monument 

in grateful recognition of the enlightened benevolence 

which devoted the acquisitions of an honourable life 

to the useful purpose of providing 

for the children of his less-fortunate fellow countrymen 

the blessings of a sound and liberal education. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 67 

There are tablets to the memory of various clergy- 
men who held charges in the Parish Church. Nobles, 
merchants, and tradesmen, are all represented ; but 
many of these monuments are in a state of dilapida- 
tion. Here are the family burial-grounds of well- 
known merchants and tradesmen in the Burgh : — 
Aitchison, Arnot, Berwick, Blair, Campbell, Dry- 
brough, Muir, Smith, who were Magistrates, Coun- 
cillors, or otherwise held positions of official impor- 
tance. The following families also connected with 
the " auld Toun " have private ground : — John 
Carfrae, coach-builder ; Miller Crabbie, merchant ; 
William Crabie, merchant ; Benjamin Bell, surgeon ; 
John Ford, flint glass manufacturer ; John Hughes, 
printer ; Peter Lawson, seed merchant ; Peter Robert- 
son, merchant ; Andrew Slater, slater, Canongate ; 
and various others of note.* At the north-east end 
of the Churchyard there is a neat tablet, bearing the 
following inscription — 

SACRED TO THE MEMORY 

OF 

MICHAEL TAYLOR, 

Sergeant, 50M (Queen's Own) Regiment, 

who died suddenly on 14th April, 1878, 

Aged 34. 

This Tablet is erected by his Brother Sergeants 
to mark the spot where a departed Comrade rests. 

Many gallant British soldiers who fought and bled 
in their country's cause are interred in the centre 

* To Mr. Allison, Recorder of Canongate, thanks are due for his 
courlesy, and allowing inspection of the Session Books. 



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68 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

of the square at the northern part of the Burial- 
ground ; and although no special tablets have been 
erected to their memories, they are none the less 
mourned for by their friends, but wait the " trumpet 
sound," when noble and ignoble must account for the 
** talents " with which they were entrusted. 



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CHAPTER IX. 

EXTRACTS FROM THE ABBEY OF HOLYOOD AND PAROCHIAL 
REGISTERS, ETC. 

|HE Abbey Church of Holyrood, and Parish 
Registers, contain many historical and 
otherwise curious entries, and of these we 
select the following: — Under date, July 21, 1565, there 
is the proclamation of the marriage between Queen 
Mary and Darnley. — " Ye quhilk daye, Johnne Brand, 
Mynister, presented to ye Kirk ane writtin writin 
be ye Justice-Clerk's hand,* desyring ye Kirk of ye 
Cannogait and Mynister thairof to proclaime Harie, 
Duk of Albayne, Erie of Roiss, &c., on ye ane pairt, 
and Marie, be ye Grace of God, Queene of Scottis, 
Soverane of this Realme, on ye uther pairt. The 
quhilk ye Kirk ordains ye Mynister so to do wi- 
invocatioune of ye Name of God." On 29th July of 
the same year, there is the entry of the said parties 
having been proclaimed : — " Harie, Duk of Albayne, 

* Sir John Bellenden of Auchnoule, father of Sir Lewis Bellenden, 
Superior of the Burgh of Canongate and Barony of Broughton. 



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70 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Erie of Roiss, Marie, be ye Grace of God, Queene 
Soverane of this Realme, i. 2. 3.," with a notandunty 
" Mar. in ye Chappell." 

The murder of Rizzio is referred to in the following- 
terms ; — " Monsr- Singnior Dauid wes slane in Haly- 
ruidhous ye IX. daye o' Merche anno 1565."* 

An entry referring to Darnley's death is also made, 
viz. : — " The King's Grace blaun up wi' pudr. in ye 
Kirk o' Field, ye X. o' Februar, 1566." 

On 6th August, 1564, the Kirk Session divided the 
Parish into four quarters or districts, and appointed 
two Elders and two of the Deacons of the Trades for 
each, " baith to visi ye seick and for ye berialles, and 
alse ye Deikans tae uptake ye puiris siluer, quhilk is 
geven volantaryie be faythfull men." The names of 
the "faythfull," and the sums given, are for several 
years thereafter duly reported. 

From the " Buik of ye Kirke off ye Canogait, begin- 
ning ye 20th August, 1564, and ending i6th August, 
1567, contenin ye Baptismes, Mariages, and order 
Actes maid anentis ye guid ordour o' ye Kirke, and 
punysement of offendaris," the above and following 
extracts are given : — 

3rd September, 1 564. — " Ye quhilk daye ye Kirke 
havin knawlege how syndrie brethern o' Craftis beand 
oute at ye Communioune, and sum orderis under 
promis, hes absentit thamselfves frae ye last Com- 
munioune ; sum orderis that hes beine at it, frequentis 

* In Scotland, previous to the year 1600, the year ended on 24th March, 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 71 

nocht ye sermonis bot rether tae pastyme, playand 
and drinkin, quha suld gif gude exampell unto utheris. 
Thairfoir, ye Kirke maist hartfullie exhortis ye Deakins 
o' ye Craftis wi ye rest o' ye faythfuU to resone wi 
thair brethern on ye occatioune o' ye former fauts, 
and to exhort thair brethern to amend in tyme cumin, 
quhilk gif thai do, ye former fauts sail nocht be re- 
memberit. Failying o' ye saymn that onie be stub- 
born, quhilk will nocht bear brotherlie admonyishing, 
to be certified that ye Kirke wull proceed unto pub- 
lick admonyishing, and thaireftir wull proceed to 
further sensure as God's Word does require, requirying 
ye Deakins to report ye ansuer of those of quhom he 
certifiet, and this to endure for aw tyme cumin." 

9th September, 1564. — "Ye quhilk daye also it is 
ordanit that nae persone get onie almose (alms) excep 
that thaye haif bein at ye Communioune, — safand 
infantis, faderless, and seike persones as are into 
extremye seikness and in extreme povertie." 

i6th September, 1564. — "James Russell, ane child, 
Alexander ; hes witness, Alexander Wode. Ye said 
James, under promis to cum to ye Lordis Tabell 
becaus he refranit sa lang." 

"Ye last daye o* September, 1564. — Mr. John 
Balfour, ane child called Isaike ; hes witness, my 
Lorde Sanct Colme." 

" Ye quhilk daye comperit Meikle Lyndsaye, quha 
haldis ane hous wi ane woman unmerritt, for ye quhilk 
ye Baillies, assistan wi ye Kirke, commandis him to 



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72 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

remove off the 'Gait within fortye-aucht houris eftir he 
be chargit under ye pane o' warding o' hes persbne.*' 

7th October, 1564. — "Ye quhilk daye comperit 
Dauid Persone, quha confessit that he had carnal deill 
wi ane woman callit Isobell Mowbray, beand servand 
to Robert Kircaldy, dwellan instant in Dame LytelFs 
hous in William Hiltray's Clois, for ye quhilk ye 
Baillie, assistant that instant wi ye Kirke, ordanes ye 
said Dauid to be brankit, and to stand three h'onris 
therein, and gif evir ye said Dauid commit sik cryme 
again to be banesit perpetuallie." 

"Ye quhilk daye comperit Isobell Mowbray, who 

confessit for ye quhilk ye Baillies ordanes 

ye said Isobell to be banishet ye gait within fortic- 
aucht houris under ye pane o' schurging, and sicklike 
tae thame that haulds ye said Isobell in thair hous." 

14th October, 1564. — "Ye quhilk daye Andro 
Broderstone and Cristian Gentleman, beand callit 
befoir ye Kirke for committin of fornicatioune, baith 
ye saidis parties confessit ye saymn, submittin thaim- 
selfes tae ye Kirke, and content to compleit ye bond 
o' matrimony, desyred ye Kirke to proclaime thame, 
promisin to maik thair repentance openlie in ye 
Kirke quhan thai are requiret. Ye Kirke charges 
thaime thairto for ye 21 daye o' Octobre." 

4th November, 1564. — " Ye quhilk daye also Johne 
Hardie and Janet Cowan beand twice proclaimed in 
ye Kirke o' carnal deill, are ordanit to cum and make 
open repentance afoir thaye be merriat ." 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE, ^z 

iith November, '1 564. — An Act was passed by the 
** Kirke, the Baillies assistan, that nae man in no 
wayis sett, nor for maill let hous or houses till onie 
persone or persones that committis fornicatioune, or 
iither wickednesses quhilk is hurtful to ye comon 
weilfare, or schame to ye Kirke of God, under ye 
pane of Xi. for ye first faut. Ye second to underlye 
sic punishment as ye BaiJHes wull devise to lay to 
thair charge." 

Mid wives were ordered to report all cases coming 
under their charge to the "Mynister, Elders, or 
Deikins " under a penalty " for ye first faut, ye second 
enduring ye Baillies' and CounsailFs wull." 

1st January, 1565. — "Ye quhilk daye ye Superin- 
tendent bein present with ye Assemblie for ye order 
desyring ye repentance makin of Margorie Brisone, 
quha had committit ye horribell cryme of murther, in 
slaying ane man, &c., as at mair lengthe is confessit in 
her humble supplicatioune to ye General Kirke of 
Scotland at dyerse tymes, to ye actioun beand re- 
mittit to ye Superintendent of Loudiane. Ye said 
Superintendent, efter ye advisement, ordains ye said 
Margorie to be reprevat in maner following : — To be 
visitit for ye space of three Sundayes, afoir noon and 
eftir ; that ye said Margorie sail cum to ye place 
appointed for publick repentance, barefit and bare- 
leggit, with ane petticoat quhite, without collar or 
sleives, or claith upoun her heid, with ane knif maid 
o' tree dippit in blude, and thane beand callit upoun, 
humblie sail request for Codes nfiercie and forgiveness 
of bretherh, and that thaye may call upoun thair God 



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74 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

for her, to pardone her hevie offence. And on ye 
third Sundaye to resaive her again to ye Kirke, in 
taking of ye quhilk ane Elder of ye Kirke sail resave 
her be ye hand, and take ye kniif frae her, knawing 
her to have gotten remissioune o' ye Princes and 
parties satisfiit." 

2Sth May, 1566. — "Ye quhilk daye Johnne Stenson, 
alias Sr. Johnne Brand, beand callit and requirit quhy 
he joines nocht unto ye Tabell o' ye Lord Jesus, con- 
siderin that he teches ane schuile withine Burche, 
ansueris : * I have ministerit ye Tabell myself, and 
wull do it againe, God wullin. Bot I have nocht 
communioune wi you, be reasone o* sum actiones I 
have againes sum persones that hes offendit me. To 
ye doctryne that it is techit, I confess to be o* treueth, 
and ye Sacramentis to be rychtlie ministiret, ac- 
cordin to my jugment' Quhan instantlie ye Kirke 
requirs him, knawin him to be a favorer o' ye treueth, 
to caus hes bairnis to cum to ye Kirke forenoone and 
eftirnoone, to ye sermonis o' ye Sabbothe dayc^ 
accordin to hes deutie to, and as uther faythfull 
maisters does. Ye quhilk he promisit to do." 

Domestic quarrels between husband and wife, also 
betwixt neighbours, were taken cognisance of by the 
Kirke Session, who made remits to arbiters, and after 
hearing evidence the party in error was " admonsshet " 
and ordered to behave better for the future, under 
threat of being " put out o' ye Kirke." 

9th February, 1565. — "Ye quhilk daye Thomas 
Barone beand openlie warnit in ye Kirke to compeir 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 75 

afoir ye Sessioune quha disobeyit ye said warning and 
ye Kirke hafan tane for tryell ye said Thomas for 
beand at ye Mess (Mass) efter he had bein tyce at ye 
tabell (Communion). For ye quhilk ye Kirke ordanes 
ye Mynister openlie in the morn in ye Pulpit to 
denunce him as ane that is renuncing Jesus Christ, 
and thairfoir aucht nocht to be comptit ane o' thairs. 
Wi certificatione gif he turn nocht eftir to repentance 
that thai wull proceed to ye sentence o* excommuni- 
catione." 

The following extracts of Baptisms are selected : — 

7th April, 1565. — "Johnne Brand, Mynister, ane 
madyne, callit Elizabeth ; hes witnesses, Johnne 
Wastone, Johnne Modie, Johnne Seton." 

8th July, 1566. — "Johnne Brand, Mynister, ane 
madyne, callit Janet ; hes witnesses, Johnne M'Neill, 
Harie Birall, Johnne Schort." 

2nd December, 1564. — "Johnne Roger, ane madin, 
callit Dorathy; hes witness, William Porteous. Ye 
Kirke gies ane admonishione to ye said Johnne that 
he in no wayis comitt ye said bairne to ye care o' hes 
wif, becaus she afoir, in drukeness, smorit (smothered 
or overlaid during sleep), twa former bairns, and if he 
be negligint in keeping o* hes bairn, that they wull 
persue him as ane common murtherer o' children." 

29th January, 1564. — "Johnne Broune, ane child, 
James ; hes witness, ye Lorde o' Rykertoune." 

17th July, 1566. — "Symond Lokart, ane child, 
James ; hes witness, James Henderson. Ye said 
bairn resavit in ane faythfull witness." 



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76 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

There are several entries where the same expression 
is used, "ane faythfull witness." 

A number of persons were called before the " Kirke 
and Baillies" for having got their children baptised 
^*in Papestrie;" and pleading guilty, were rebuked 
with a caution, and after " makin openlie repentence 
in ye Kirke." 

During the three years over which the volume from 
which the preceding extracts are taken extends, a very 
great number of female offenders against morality were 
punished by being " branket and set upone ye croce/* 
and one of the latest is here given as being somewhat 
peculiar, she having been charged as connected with 
the French Ambassador. Her name is stated as 
** Katherine Linton," and she was sentenced to be 
*' branket, her heid coverit on ye ane side, and clippit 
on ye uther side, to be set upone ye croce, and thair 
to remane ye space o' three houris, and thaireftir be 
open proclamatione to be banishet, wi certificatione 
that gif ever she beis funden in ye Cahogait she. sal! 
be burnt on ye cheek, and schurged, and thaireftir 
baneshit." 

The following extracts show where the aid of the 
civil power was called into operation by the Church : — 
"Vecessimo die mensis, Januar 1568; — The quhilk 
daye, in presence of the Baillies and Counsaill, William 
Harrat, younger, baxter (baker), became actit of hes 
aih fre motive, will, as cautioner and suretie for George 
Harrat, that the said George sail remove arid devoid 
himself furth of this Burche and fredome thairof, within 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 77 

the space of xv. days next, and immediatlie following 
the daye and dait heirof, and nocht to be funden 
thairintill in cais the saidis George associat nocht 
himself to the Religioun of Chrystis Kirk, and satisfie 
the Kirk in makin of repentance as effeirs within the 
said space under the pains of Xi. And the saidis 
George obleist him to relieve the saidis William, his 
said suretie, anent the payment of the said soume at 
the hands of the said Baillies and Counsaill." Again^ 
as another specimen, there is, under date 2nd January^ 
1639: "Wednesday, per dispensatioune Dom. Consilie 
decerns David Eabercrombie, elder, of Pitlaussie, 
within forty-eight hours heirefter, to flit and remove 
himself, wyfe, bairns, servants, famelie, guids and gear^ 
furth and frae ane dwellin hous wi' the pertinents 
possessit by him of the lands of William Hay, in 
Sanct Leonards, within the Parochin of Sanct 
Cuthberts, and Sheriffidom of Edinr., persued be John 
Hew, heritor in Pleasands, ane of the Deacons of the 
haill Session of the said Kirk, and to desist and cease 
thairfrae to that effec, and this in respec of the lawful 
warning made to the said defender by James Rattray, 
Officiar, to have comperit this daye and been heard, 
and seen himself decernit to remove frae the said hous 
and bounds as ane excommunicant frae all Chrystian 
societie for his obstenance and contempt of the 
authoritie, laws, and constitution of the Kirk of this 
kingdom and Acts of Parliament, as ane obdurate 
heretic and Papist, condemner of God's Word and 
publick worschipe, as ane certificate thairof producit 
in judgment under the subscription of Wa. Wallace in 
place of the Beidel of the said Kirk, and in respect of 



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78 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

the vacancie thairof, the said Baillie decernit in 
manner foirsaid with 26s. 8d. of expenses." 

During the persecutions of the Covenanters, and 
also of the Roman Catholics, many were imprisoned 
within the Tolbooth of the Burgh of Canongate, and 
soldiers comprised the guard ; biit, despite of these, 
prisoners occasionally escaped. In May, 1681, James 
Park, Keeper of the Tolbooth, and Gordon, his sei-vant, 
were imprisoned because they suffered one Weir, who 
was a prisoner for being engaged in the Rebellion of 
Bothwell Bridge, to escape.* Several persons called 
" Sweet Singers " or Gibbites, followers of one John 
Gibb, who held most extraordinary opinions of re- 
ligion, were imprisoned in the Jail, and on the occasion 
of the Duke of York (afterwards James II. of 
England) paissing up the Canongate from Holyrood, 
threw some broken ware out of the windows at him, 
for which they were severely lashed, f On i6th Oct. 
1681, six persons who had been confined 'in the Jail 
were hanged at the Gallowlee, between Leith and 
Edinburgh; and they were executed there, because 
the multitudes of the executions at the Cross and 
Grassmarket drew such a number of spectators, who 
were so much moved at the conduct of the sufferers, 
that it was thought expedient to put them to death 
where the most notorious malefactors used to be 
executed. On 26th October, 1684, one William 
Hanna was imprisoned in jail, in a dark pit under the 
prison, for nine days, for nonconformity; and his son, 
William, a youth of sixteen, was tortured with the 

* Fountainhairs ^'Decisions," May 4, 1681. + Ibid. June 23, 1681. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 79 

thumbkins, and then loaded with irons. After an 
imprisonment of a year and a half, he was transported 
and sold in Barbadoes as a slave. It is said he 
returned after the Revolution, and was a minister in 
Scarborough.* In August, 1684, eight or ten persons 
confined in the prison for rebellion and refusing to 
take the oath of abjuration, managed to escape by 
breaking one of the barred windows, and passing 
through it to the roof, and thence to the adjoining 
house on the west. A council of war was held on the 
soldier on duty at the part of the Jail where the 
window was situated through which they had escaped. 
He was condemned to be shot, and the Magistrates 
were threatened to be fined for allowing the prisoners 
to escape. 

In i6Ssf a number of prisoners died in the Jail. On 
1 6th February, 1686, several persons in the Canongate 
Jail for refusing to take the Test, were sent to the 
plantations (banished) ; 24th July, same year, several 
others were banished to the plantations — the women 
being burnt in the cheek before they were sent abroad. 
Cutting off the left ear of prisoners who had been in 
the " Rebellion with Argyle " as it was termed, was 
not an unusual punishment, and this was done by the 
common hangman. After the Rebellion in 171 5, when 
severe enactments were made against those holding 
the Roman Catholic faith, numerous persons charged 
with the crime of meeting together for worship, were 
apprehended and put in jail. On 24th January, 
1720, about thirty persons, mostly females, were 

* Defoe's ** Memoirs of the Church of Scotland," vol. 2, p. 157-8. 
+ It>id, ante. pp. 348, 404, 406. 



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8o HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

seized within the lodgings of the Dowager Duchess 
of Gordon, whose house was then almost opposite the 
Council Chambers and Jail of the Canongate, charged 
with being Papists and assembled together for 
worship, and committed to prison. The Records,, 
after reciting the names of the persons inter alia, bear 
that, " We the said Magistrates having called all of 
them, furth of the Tolbuith, before us, in our Court 
House, and there caused read the formula in their 
hearing, and desyred all of them, one by one, to take 
and swear the same in the terms of the Act of Parlia- 
ment, which they all refused to do, except the before- 
designed Janet Murray (she was a servant to David 
Jamieson, merchant in Edinburgh), whereupon we 
caused return them to prison till they should fynd 
caution in terms of the said Act of Parliament. Archi- 
bald Wallace, Baillie ; Adam Thomson, Baillie." 

As illustrative of the disordered condition in which 
Scotland was during the years 1650-1651, and more 
particularly when Edinburgh was in the occupation of 
Cromwell and his army, the following entry from the 
Register of Marriages of the parish is given : — " There 
were no parties married within the Kirk of Holyrood- 
hous from the 23rd August, 1650, till the 26th June, 
1651, by reasoun of the Inglish armie in and about the 
toune." 

Undernoted are a few extracts from the Register of 
Baptisms, viz. : — 

24th July, 1666. — There is as follows: — " Baptism of 
a daughter, Marie, to Earl of Wintoun, and Marie, his 
Countess. Witnesses, — Earle of Dumfries ; Alex- 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 8r 

ander, Viscount of Kingston ; Lord Bellenden, 
Treasurer-Depute; Sir John Gilmour, Lord Presi- 
dent" 

25 th February, 1668. — " Baptised to John Bellenden 
(one of His Majesty's Life Guards)^ and Elizabeth 
Trotter, a daughter, named Margaret. Witnesses, — 
Lord Bellenden, Treasurer - Depute ; Lieutenant 
Mungo Murray ; Sir Alexander Hume of Kintoun." 

28th November, 1669. — "Thomas Lord Dunkeld to- 
Dame Margaret Thomson. Witnesses, — William 
Lord Bellenden ; Sir William Thomson ; Mr. Thomas 
Gray, minister." 

The above are noticed principally from the Bellen-^ 
dens being witnesses, — ^the family of that name, for 
several generations, being Superiors of the Burgh. 

19th June, 1668. — " Baptized, a child found on Sundaye- 
the 1 6th June, 1668, named * Theophilus.' On the 
breast of the child, affixed to its dress, was a paper,, 
on which was written, *For Jesus Christe's saik, Bap.'"' 
On this occasion the child had as godfather David 
Patoun, designed as " one of the gravediggers of the 
Kirkyard," and whose name appears on various occa- 
sions at the baptisms of foundlings. 

Tuesday, 30th July, 1672. — "The quhilk daye there 
was baptized in the Kirk of Holyruidhous a child 
that was found at St. Leonard's Craigs, named Jean,, 
presented by John Meikleham. Witnesses, — ^James 
Taylor, John Barclay." On the margin of the book 
there is noted, "The child was found at the Park Dyke 
in St. Leonard's Craigs." 

On Tuesday, 1 8th February, 1676, an illegitimate 
child was baptized, the reputed father being one 

G 



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S2 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Alexander Mackenzie, and the mother Margaret 
Patoun. The entry bears that "it was baptized 
^ Agnes/ be a letter received from Alexander when 
he went away with the Blue coats." 

Saturday, lotli March, 1677. — " Margaret Thomson, 
a son, named John, begotten in fornication with 
George Ross, souldier." There is, in addition to the 
entry, the following : — " This woman fled out of the 
parish before she made satisfactioune." 

At this period also, unmarried persons who had 
begotten children had to appear before the Kirk 
Session, confess their misdeeds, and be rebuked. If not 
willing to marry, they were ordered to be punished, 
sometimes by being placed in the Pillory or "jougs" 
for a certain time, fined, or made to appear in church 
during service, and sit in a place set apart for such 
offenders, and be publicly rebuked by the officiating 
clergyman. The male offender had also to find caution 
to appear in Court before the Bailie, whenever called 
upon, to fulfil the law's demands, so as the child 
might not become a charge or burden upon the parish. 
It is unnecessary to give any further illustrations of 
these cases. 

In January, 1701, "the Bailies appointed the 
Treasurer, immediately to cause to be erected upon 
the Burgh charges, ane pillorie or rackstool upon the 
south side of the High Street of the Canongate, a 
little above the Cross, opposite to the middle of the 
old walls, betwixt Sarah Maxtone's Land and Gillies- 
toun's Lodgings." 

For many years after this, the punishment of being 
"placed in the Pillory" was frequently pronounced 
on offenders against the law. 



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CHAPTER X. 

WITCHCRAFT, AND THE WITCHES OF THE CANONGATE. 

||N the " olden times " the Burgh of the Canon- 
gate, like numerous other places in Scotland 
and England, had, as residenters, " Witches " 
and "Warlocks," several of whom were tried by the Privy 
Council and the Magistrates. As a historical fact, it 
is recorded that one of the Superiors of the Burgh,* 
Sir Lewis Bellenden, Lord Justice Clerk, died in the 
autumn of 1591 from fright, occasioned from seeing 
certain ceremonies and enchantments performed in 
the Courtyard of his house in the Canongate by a 
noted " warlock," called Richie Graham. 

About that period a general belief existed that such 
persons as Richie Graham possessed supernatural 
powers, and the greater proportion of trials for witch- 
craft, sorcery, and using incantations, occurred. King 
James the Sixth, by his writings on " Demonology " 
and personal presence at the trials of thp accused, 

* "Senatorsof the College of Justice," p. 196. 



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84 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

— ^who were frequently put to the torture under his 
orders and superintendence;* the denunciations of the 
ministers of the Kirk; the readiness of the judges to 
condemn their victims to the flames or gibbet, at 
sametime quoting passages from Scripture as their 
warrant, — all tended to confirm the multitude in their 
opinion. The indictments, at first framed by the 
Lord Advocate, and founded upon the Hebrew law 
against Witchcraft, were prosecuted by the Clergy 
or Kirk Sessions, to whom commissions were granted, 
as well as to the Privy Council and Magistrates of 
Burghs. The accused comprised all ranks, from the 
highest to the lowest, but the majority were of the 
poorest class of society. The charges made in the 
"dittay," or complaint, were of the most extraordinary 
nature ; and one can hardly believe that any credence 
could have been given to them by the King, Judges, 
Kirk, or people. The records of cases brought before 
the Judges, and as given in detail by writers on 
criminal trials, show too vividly that such, nevertheless, 
was the fact. 

Richie Graham figures conspicuously in several 
of the trials, and according to the " depositions " or 
" confessions " of the accused, was recognized as one of 
the principals. Janet Cunninghame, Lady Bothwell, 
is indicted " as ane auld indytit wytch of the fynest 
stamp." While Richie is described " as a notoure and 
knawin necromancer." On 12th February, 1592, he 
was so libelled, tried, and condemned, and shortly 
thereafter burnt to death at the Cross of Edinburgh.-f- 

• History of King James the Sixth, p. 243. 
+ Pitcaim's "Criminal Trials," vol. I., p. 358. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 85 

Catharine Campbell, designed " the wytchwyfe dwellan 
in the Canogait," was known to be "a notorious wytch." 
One of the complaints was directed against Janet 
Stewart, a witch, residing in Canongate, who, along 
with other three females, were charged and convicted 
of witchery, sorcery, and using incantations. The 
complaint is dated 12th November, 1597, and so far 
as directed against Janet, was made by " Andro Penny- 
cuick of that Ilk, quha being in ill health," had visited 
Janet in the Canongate for the purpose of getting her 
advice as to his sickness. He stated that she had 
^'dune him nae gude, and believit that she had wytchit 
him," that she had said "he wud never haif a daye tae 
dae Weill." Janet was also accused of and "* convict ' 
for cuming to Bessie Inglis in the Kowgate, * she bein 
deadlie sik and lycht,' that she tuk aff her (Bessie's) 
sark that was thane upon her, and her mutch, and 
waischit thame in a south rynan water, quhilk she 
did, as she said, at command of umquhile Michael 
Clarke, Smyth in Lasswade ; put the sark wat upoun 
her at midnicht, and said thryis oure, * In the Name o' 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghaist,' fyrit the 
water,* and burnt stray at ilk neuk o' the bed, as the 
said Michael had learned her, quhilk was dune under 
pretex and collour of Wytchcraft. Item, for hailling 
(healing) of women of the wedonynpha,t and specially 
of Bessie Aytken, and sundrie others be taken o' ane 
garland o' green wudbyn, and causin o' the patient to 
pass thryce through it, quhilk thereafter she cuttit in 
nyne pieces and cast in the fyre, quhilk she affirmit 

* Put a hot poker or bar of iron in the water, 
t Weed, a disease peculiar to women in childbed. 



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S6 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANNGATE. 

she leamt wi' aw the rest o' her cures frae ane Itah'an 
callit Maister Johnne Damiet, ane notorious knawin 
enchanter and sorcerer, quhilk was likewyse dune 
under pretex o' wytchcraft. Item, for hailing o' 
sundrie persouns deceasit o' the fallen evill, be hingan 
o* ane stane about their nek fyve nychts, quhilk stane 
she affirmit she got frae the Ledy Crauford, and sae 
for abusing o' the people under the pretex of Wytch- 
craft." Janet was also accused oi curing other persons 
by the application of certain herbs and Spanish seeds, 
made into poultices, draughts composed of white wine, 
&c. Bessie Aytken, after being cured by Janet 
Stewart, had in the like manner treated and cured 
others, for which cause she, along with Janet, was 
accused of witchcraft and using incantations, and 
condemned to death, but pleading pregnancy, was 
reprieved, and after childbirth, and sustaining " lang 
puneishment be famine and imprisonment," was sub- 
sequently banished for life. Janet and her other two 
companions were condemned to be "worrit at ane 
stake, their bodies then burnt to ashes, and moveable 
gudes to be escheit," which sentence was carried into 
execution.* 

By special Act of Parliament, the Judge or Bailie, 
before whom the accused were brought for trial and 
condemned, got any effects which belonged to the 
criminals as a perquisite of his office. Maitland, 
the historian, in his observations on the trials for 
witchcraft, states that "wherefore it is not to be 
wondered at, that innocent persons should be con- 

* Pitcairn, Vol. H., p. 25-29. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 87 

victed of a crime they could not be guilty of, when 
their effects fell to the judge or judges." * 

In 1643 it ^s recorded •(• that Witchcraft abounded 
so much at this time, — no less than thirty persons 
having, in a few months, been burnt in Fife alone, — 
the General Assembly of the Kirk named a Com- 
mittee to examine into the nature and cure of that 
" dreadful sin ; " and in 1649 " very many witches were 
taken arid burnt in several parts of the kingdom." 
On 26th September, 1679, Janet Hill, having been 
indicted to appear and stand trial for witchcraft, 
hanged herself in prison, whereupon her body was 
dragged at a horse's tail to the Gallowlee, and buried 
under the gallows. J 

The Gallowlee here mentioned, and previously re- 
ferred to, was one of the common muirs which belonged 
to the Burgh of Canongate, and situated where Shrub 
Place and Shrub Hill, Leith Walk, are now ; and long 
used as a placfe of execution, " as being conveniently 
situated for the Burgh of the Canongate, the Barony 
of Broughton, and Leith," part of the latter being 
within the Regality of the Canongate. 

What is here termed "Barony of Broughton" 
originally belonged to the Abbey of Holyrood, then 
to the Bellendens and Earl of Roxburghe ; and, for 
long independent of the City of Edinburgh, compre- 
hended among other lands the whole of what is now 

♦ Maitland*s "History of Edinburgh," Book I., p. 98. 

t Stevenson's ** History of the Church of Scotland." 

+ Fountainhall's "Decisions." 



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tS HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE, 

the New Town of Edinburgh, — Coates, Broughton, 
Warriston, Pilrig, Bonnington, Hillhousefield, and 
others adjacent, the greater portion of which were 
purchased by the Governors of George Heriot's 
Hospital upwards of 200 years ago, and annually 
return a large sum to the trust estate.* 

The last occasion on which burning at the stake for 
the "crime of witchcraft" occurred was in 1772+ 
in Dornoch, Sutherlandshire, when an old woman 
was the victim. The barbarous treatment which 
she received, and the extraordinary nature of the 
charges of which she had been convicted, created 
an immediate revulsion in public feeling; and shortly 
thereafter indictments for witchcraft, sorcery, and 
using incantations, became things of the past. 

♦ Vide " History of the Barony of Broughton." 

+ John Hill Burton's "Narrative of Criminal Trials," v. I., p. 309. 
Pitcaim's "Criminal Trials." 



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^4^. 










CHAPTER XI. 

THE INCORPORATED TRADES OF THE BURGH. 

jHE Burgh of Canongate had Trade Incorpora- 
tions with various privileges, conferred both 
by Charters obtained from the Crown, and 
grants by the Lord-Superiors of the Burgh ; and 
these privileges were zealously maintained by their 
respective Deacons and the Magistracy of the Burgh, 
and the Incorporations on various occasions had the 
personal support of the Lord-Superior. In asserting 
the claims of * the Freemen " as against those of the 
City of Edinburgh, the following cases will show the 
interest taken by the Bishop of Orkney as Superior, 
in a complaint to the Regent and Privy Council in 
1569:— 

"Anent the supplicatioune presented to my Lord 
Regent's Grace and Lordis of Secreit Counsall be 
oure Reverend Fader, Adame, Bischop of Orkney, 
Commendatore of Haliruidhous, and utheris, his fre 
tenants and inhabitants of his Regaltie within the 
Cannogait, Leith, Barony of Brouchtoun, and thair 
pertinentis next adjacent to the Burgh of Edinburghe, 
makin mentioun : That quhar it is nocht unknawin 



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90 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

to my Lordis Regent's Grace and Lordis of Secreit 
Counsall how the said Abbacy of Haliruidhous has 
thir monie and divers yearis bi past fre Regalitie 
within all the Toune's baronyis, and perJ:inents thairof 
in quhatsumevir pairt of this realme, and has been in 
continuall and peciabill possessioune of the samyn 
thir monie yearis bi past as said is, quhile lattlie in 
the moneth of Decembre last, or thairby last bipast, 
the said Reverend Fade^ beand with my Lordis 
Regentis Grace in the partis of Ingland, certane of 
the Baillies of the Toune of Edinburgh cam to the 
Cannogait, and by way of deid, thai beand accompanit 
with a nummer of the communitie of thair Burghe, 
brak and least doune thair senyeis of wyne, expres 
against all ordour, the said Cannogait beand ane fre 
Burgh of Regalitie, and evir in possessioune of selling 
of wyne for serving of the lieges of the realme ; and 
beand humely requirit be the Baillies and nychtbouris 
of the said Cannogait, that thaye wald desist fra thair 
said way of deid, specilie in respect that it was nocht un- 
knawn to thame how thair was a process in dependance 
befoir the Lordis of oure Soveranis Sessioun thair- 
anent, answered that thaye wald knaw nathing of the 
said process in dependance, but wald execute thair 
enterpryse quharfoir thaye were than cuming to the 
Cannogait. And sicklike lattlie, becaus the fremen 
Cordiners of the Cannogait and Leith, within the said 
Regalitie, wald nocht contribute with the fremen of thair 
Burghe, thaye maisterfuUie and be way of deid reft fra 
Andro Purvis and William Porteous, Cordiners and 
fremen of the said Burghe of the Cannogait, thair maid 
schune and utheris wares, quhilk thaye had to selle in 
the Mononday's fre mercat in Edinburghe. And sick- 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 91 

like lattlie take and imprisonit certane of the Cor- 
diners dwellan in the said Toune of Leith, within 
the Regalitie foirsaid, and in special, ane callit David 
Robertsoun, for the refusin to contribute with thame 
as said is, and daillie continues in thair molestatioune 
foirsaid of quhatsumever nychtbouris of Craft alsweil 
of Taylyiours as Smyths and utheris Craftismen, and 
wull nocht desist thairfrae, howbeit the nychtbouris of 
the said Burghe of the Cannogait and RegaHtie above 
written be in no wayis subject to onie jurisdiction 
inferioure under the Prince, except to thair ain Lord 
and his Baillies." 

'•And anent the charge given to William Littell, 
Adam Fullartoun, and Alexander Clerk, Baillies of 
Edinburghe, to compeir befoir his Grace and Lordes 
of Sessioun this daye afternoon, to answer this 
complaint. Baith the parties comperan personallie, thair 
reasouns and allegatiouns beand heard and understood, 
— My Lordis Regentis Grace and Lordis of Secreit 
Counsall, ordanis and commandis bath the saidis 
parties to desist and ceise frae all attempting of onie 
thing against uthers be violence or way of deid in 
tyme cuming, bot to perseu all thair actionis, causis, 
and controversis be ordour of law and justice under 
all hieast pane, charge and offence, that thaye and ilk 
ane of thame may commit and inrin aganis oure 
Soverane Lord in that behalf." * 

Again, in 1 576, a supplicatioune at the instance of the 
" Bailies, Counsall, inhabitants, and haill communitie 

♦ "Registers of the Privy Council of Scotland," Vol. II. p. 33. 
Edited and abridged by John Hill Burton, LL.D., Historiographer 
Royal for Scotland. 



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92 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

of the Cannogait, against the Provost, Baillies, Coun- 
sall, and communities of the Burgh of Edinburghe," was 
heard in Holyrood House on 22nd December of that 
year, before the Regent Morton and Privy Council, in 
reference to a charge of 3d. per lade on malt bought 
by the browstaris (brewers and retailers of ale) in the 
city from the merchants in the Canongate, and de- 
livered to the purchasers without first presenting it in 
Edinburgh Market and paying the said dues ; but it 
was decided against the Canongate.* 

About the same time the Bailies passed a statute 
decreeing that none of the Deacons receive any free- 
man with them into their Crafts, "afore he be admitted 
Burgess be the Bailies," and whoever did, should be 
"poynded for that man's Burgesschip that shall happen 
to be admitted." "Four pundis " Scots was the fee for 
admission at the time. 

The Incorporations were eight in number : Wrights, 
Hammermen, Shoemakers, Tailors, Weavers, Fleshers, 
Bakers, and Barbers. The Incorporation of the 
Cordiners or Shoemakers was a very old one. Letters 
of Licence, dated 6th August 1554, having been 
granted by the Bishop of Orkney, Commendator of 
Holyrood and Superior of the Burgh, to "Andrew 
Purves, Dekin and Boxmaister of the Craft,*' to levy 
dues from "craftismen within our Regalitie within the 
Toun of Leith, Sanct Leonardis Gait, and Baronie of 
Brouchtoun," as well as Canongate. The Burgh 
Register or Council Minute in 1574 contains a notice 
of the election of " William White as Deacone of the 

♦ " Registers of the Privy Council of Scotland," Vol. II. p. 577. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 9j 

Cordiners." The Incorporation from an early date 
was in possession of several properties in the Burgh, 
and had a hall in which meetings were held ; but 
having fallen into debt and the buildings heavily 
mortgaged, became insolvent in 1743, and was^ 
obliged to dispose of the heritable properties. The 
Incorporation of Tailyoures or Tailors had also 
Letters of Licence of same date and to the same 
effect granted by the Bishop in favor of "James 
Galbraith, Dekin." The Fleshers were incorporated 
in 1610, but they had paid certain dues to the 
Town long previously. It appears that upon 24th 
June, 1 594, they had been in arrears for these dues, 
for upon the " quhilk daye the Baillies and Counsaill 
all in ane voce ordanit the haill Flescheauris to be 
commandit in warde until thaye paye the Mertimes 
and Whitsundaye maills, and also ordains William 
Persoun to remain in warde for his offence in cuming 
and denying of thair acts of Counsaill quhair he was 
actit of befoir for payment of XIs. for hes stok maill^ 
during thair willis."* 

The Seal of Cause, dated 6th April, 161 2, erecting 
the Wrights and Coopers into an Incorporation, was 
granted by Sir William Bellenden, Baron of Broughton, 
as Heritable Bailie and Superior of the Burgh of 
Canongate ; but as he was at the time under age, the 
Charter had the concurrence of Dame Lady Elizabeth 
Ker or Bellenden, his mother, who was a sister of the 
then Earl of Roxburghe. It erects " the vocatioune 
and airts of Wryghts and Couperis of the Cannogait 
into ane fre airt and vocatioune, onlie to be usit 

* Registers of the Burgh of Canongate. Maitland Club papers, VoL 
II., p. 330. 



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94 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

and exercised be fre men and those quha be the 
Deacone of the said Craftis and sae monie of the 
Maisters, as are of the samyn ; sail be elected and 
admitted inhabitants within the said Burghe, contein- 
ing the privileges and liberties of chusing ane Deacone 
and Box Maister, and of taking in under thair liberties 
the haill fremen of Masons, Couparis, Glasin Wryghts, 
Stockers of Guns, Sparingers, Painters, Pantoun-heel 
Makers, of befoir to the said Crafts, by ane gift or 
donatioune, alsweil within the said boundis of the 
Burghe of Cannogait, as within the boundis of Saint 
Leonard's Gait and New Saint Ninian's Chappell, with 
Saint Andrew's Port, Pleasance, North syde of the 
Bridge of Leith, Canonmylnes, Quhytehous, Bruchton, 
and haill uther lands as lye within the said Baronie of 
Bruchton," &c. A Charter under the Great Seal of 
King Charles the First, dated at Whitehall, I2th 
April, 1627, ratified the above and contained an erec- 
tion of new. The individual members of thie In- 
corporation of Bakers of Canongate, — also one of 
the oldest Incorporations,* — were bound to go to 
the Mills at Canonmills, " to have their corn ground 
thairat." The Bakers of the Canongate being, in legal 
phraseology, " thirled thairto." Canonmills — situated 
on the north side of the City of Edinburgh, now 
included within the second Municipal District, or 
" Broughton Ward " — ^was at one time a village within 
the Barony of Broughton, the Mills there having orgi- 
nally belonged to the Canons of Holyroodhouse, hence 
the name of Canonmills. There is at present one mill 
in full working order at Canonmills, and where a good 
business is done. The machinery is driven in the old 

* Mr. Menelaws, Baker, Canongate, who died lately, was, it is 
believed, the last surviving member. He was much respected in the 
Burgh, and held office as a Bailie for several years. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 95 

way — ^^^'^ater power, the water being conducted by 
lade from the " River of the Great Water of Leith," 
as it is termed in the old deeds. 

Disputes were of frequent occurrence between 
the Trades of the Canongate and those of the 
City of Edinburgh, on account of the members 
of one Craft attempting to execute work within 
the liberties or bounds of the other. The Incor- 
porations were extremely jealous of each other ; 
and when ever a "Ratification" of a Charter was 
granted, *' Protestatioun," was taken either to Parlia- 
ment or to the Magistrates and Council, " that the 
granting of the samyn should be no ways prejudicial 
to the privileges and liberties of the Trades and the 
remanent of the Incorporation" of the opposing party. 

It would be superfluous to notice the numerous 
occasions when such disputes took place, or to enter 
into details of these, many of which are contained in 
decrees pronounced at various dates by the Lords of 
Session. One or two, however, may be given to show 
the nature of the differences between the Incorpora- 
tions of the City and Burgh of Canongate. A decree, 
dated 29th March, 1632, granted authority to any 
Member of the Canongate Incorporation of Wrights 
to "work and mak coffins and deid kists to onie 
gentleman living within the Burghe of Edinburghe for 
the tyme, and to utheris not being Burgesses of the 
said Burghe.'' Another against one of the City Incorpo- 
rations, required and ordained the members thereof" to 
desist fraemakingonie stop to the Deacone and Wryghts 
of the Cannogait, in presenting thair wark to the mercat 



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96 HISTORY OE THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

of Edinburgh, and selling the saymn thairupoune the 
ordinary mercat dayes, and frae troubling thaime 
in working outwith the said fredome of Edinburghe to* 
onie inhabitant within the said Burghe, and in bring- 
ing the wark sae wrocht be thaime, and setting up the 
samyn to the amier at all tymes quhan occasioun 
should present." In 1677, the Town Council of 
Edinburgh, by "Act," appointed the Cordiners and 
Skinners " to visit and inspect the skins and hides of 
beasts slain in the Canongate, and bring into the 
market and punish the owners who had the same 
holed or of bad leather ; " and, following upon that 
visit, some of the Fleshers in the Canongate were 
fined and imprisoned. This was done by the City of 
Edinburgh as Superiors of the Barony of Broughton^ 
and of the Burgh and Regality of Canongate ; but on. 
a suspension being raised before the Court of Session 
at the instance of the Incorporation of Fleshers of 
Canongate, it was held that, as Superiors of the Canon- 
gate, the City could appoint a Baron Bailie, or visitors- 
to represent them as such, but had no right to interfere 
in the way attempted with the Incorporations of the 
Canongate, or in making their own laws as conferred 
by the Charters from the previous Barons or Lord- 
Superiors. The Incorporations of the Canongate were 
thus held to be independent of the City, and free from 
control. None but freemen and burgesses were 
allowed to carry on business within the Burgh, and it 
was essential to become a member of the particular 
Trade or Incorporation. To obtain admission, the 
applicant must have served an apprenticeship, and on^ 
his application "to pass" was obliged to give tests or 
show specimens of his handiwork and pay certain fees. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANDNGATE. 97 

The fees, fines for non-attendance at meetings, sub- 
scriptions, and other payments, with the returns 
derived from investments held, by the Incorporations, 
formed a fund from which annuities and such-like 
grants were made to members arriving at a certain 
fixed age, and for allowances to widows and children 
of members. These payments varied in accordance 
with the capital of the Incorporations. Any one 
attempting to commence business in the burgh without 
admission as a freeman or burgess was at once inter- 
dicted, and numerous actions were instituted before 
the Court of Session and the Bailies of the Burgh,, 
with deterrent effect. The "trade privileges" granted 
to Incorporations were successfully encroached upon 
in various districts throughout Scotland. In 1807 the 
Hammermen of the Canongate attempted to prevent 
John Garfrae, coach-builder, in the Burgh, from carry- 
ing on business, as he had not become a member of 
their particular craft. He kept a smithy, and em- 
ployed a number of men in working iron for the pur- 
poses of his trade as a coach-builder, but neither him- 
self nor his men were members of the Incorporation 
of Hammermen. It was maintained in defence that 
coach-making was a new art, that the smith work re- 
quired was only adapted for coaches, and unknown 
when the Incorporation was erected. The hammer- 
men were defeated, and Carfrae conducted a most 
successful business for years afterwards in the Canon- 
gate. Showing the evils of these " close incorpora- 
tions " as affecting trade, by preventing improvements 
in machinery, and thus lessening hand labour, another 
case may here be noticed as illustrative of many . 
others. In 1809 a Mr. Dunn had made a cotton 

H 



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^ HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

machine called a " mule jenny," and was interdicted 
from using it, unless he joined the Incorporation of 
Wrights, but on an appeal to the Court of Session it 
was held that, as the machine was a work of science, 
and not composed of the work of any one man or 
trade, he was found entitled to manufacture and use 
the jenny. One of the judges in his remarks on the 
claims made by the Incorporation stated — " He is an 
engineer who makes a * jenny ;' that the maker of a 
^ jenny' must possess an art of which the ordinary 
workman knows nothing ; there is not one wright 
who could even make an essay piece." This worthy 
judge did not appear to have any sympathy with in- 
corporations, and held the skill of the individual 
members in little estimation.* . Government con- 
ferred at this time also, certain benefits on soldiers 
retired from actual service, by authorising them to 
carry on business in burghs, as freemen, and indepen- 
dent of the Incorporation or Trade they might follow ; 
which likewise had the effect of diminishing the 
ancient rights and privileges of these bodies. One 
of the cases tried, from its peculiarity is worthy 
of notice, as showing the strenuous endeavours 
made to maintain " the privileges." It was at the 
instance of the Incorporation of Tailors. James 
Kirkwood, had commenced business on his own 
account as a tailor, without becoming a member. He 
had formerly been in the Militia for three years, and 
after his discharge, had married. The complaint was 
brought before the Bailies, who, after a discussion, de- 
cided against Kirkwood. The lattef had maintained 

* Incorporation of Wrights of Glasgow v. Dunn, Feb. 24, 1809. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 99 

that by section $6 of the Act 37 George III. cap. 103, 
he was entitled to set up and exercise any trade in any 
town or place within the kingdom of Great Britain* 
On an appeal by Kirkwood to the Court of Session 
the Incorporation pleaded that, as he was not married 
when in the Militia, and had not been in actual ser- 
vice, he was not qualified. The Incorporation main- 
tained that by the terms " actual service " service in 
action was meant, — or, at least, such service as exposed 
a man to be maimed or wounded. The Court, on 19th 
January 181 1, disregarded the pleas maintained by the 
Incorporation, and remitted to the Bailies to alter their 
interlocutor, and Kirkwood was thus found entitled to 
carry on business independent of the Incorporation. 
These were amongst the first successful attempts to 
set aside the " trade privileges " of Incorporations, and 
which were abolished by Act of Parliament (9th and 
loth Vict. cap. 17, 1846J, but allowed the Incorpora- 
tions to retain their corporate character and any other 
privileges not involving the exclusive right of trading. 

The Incorporation of Weavers, one of the oldest in 
the burgh — one of the renewed charters bearing date 
1630 — included the Trades of Dyers, Cloth-dressers, 
Bonnet-makers, and Hatters, and is still in exist- 
ence, but only in so far as any benefit to members, 
in the way of allowances or annuities, are con- 
cerned. In 184s the Deacon at that time — and which 
office he held for a number of years — was appointed 
by the Magistrates and Town Council of Edinburgh 
Baron Bailie of the Canongate, and was the last 
Deacon who held office as Baron Bailie of the old 
Burgh. 



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lOo HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

The various Incorporations had sittings allotted 
to them in the Parish Church of the Burgh ; and on 
the Sunday immediately following the annual election 
of the respective Deacons these officials were duly 
churched, — the pews being decorated with flowers, 
and the Trades vied with one another in having a 
large " turn out " of the brethren. The sittings so set 
apart were recognised as the "Shoemakers' Loft," 
" Weavers' Loft," &c. Several of the Incorporations 
fell behind in their payments to the Kirk Session. 
In 1 8 17, the Shoemakers were due £^9* Ss. ; and in 
1 8 19 the Bakers were indebted in a sum of ;^98, 3s. 6d. ; 
but after time had been given them, as requested, 
these arrears were cleared off, but in one instance 
without interest being exacted. 

The Convenery of the Trades of Weavers, &c., 
above noticed, is the only official body corporate now 
remaining in the old Burgh, and it is hoped may long- 
continue to flourish ; and although no special trade 
privileges exist to the Incorporations, the ties of the 
brotherhood nevertheless can be maintained " to help 
one another," and otherwise profitably and socially 
enjoyed as in the days of yore. The present office- 
bearers consist of Convener, Second Deacon, Trea- 
surer, and Clerk.* 

• Convener — W. A. Thomson. Second Deacon — ^John Brown. 
Treasurer— D, R. Collie. Clerk— Thomdcs Wilson. 




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CHAPTER XII. 



THE HIGH CONSTABLES OF THE BURGH — FROM WHOM 
ELECTED— MODE OF ELECTION— DUTIES, ETC 

l*>J*|REVIOUS to the introduction of a "guard," 
i>™M or police force, paid by tax levied on the 
i.tMli| community, the Magistrates of the Canon- 



gate, in order to the watching, warding, and preserving 
the peace of the " toun," divided it into small districts. 
Including the Canongate proper, these comprised other 
parts of the Regality — viz., Roxburgh Street or Parks, 
Richmond Street, Arthur Street, part of the Pleas- 
ance, St. Leonards, and Abbeyhill. The " bounds " 
varied in number from ten to seventeen, and from 
each district the Magistrates selected certain citizens 
who were entrusted with the charge or superintend- 
ence over the residenters in the " bound " or 
"quarter," and who, from the comparatively small 
extent of their several districts, knew the general 
character of the inhabitants, and could, when re- 



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102 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

quired, give valuable information to the Bailies. At 
various times "Acts" of the Magistrates and Council 
were passed, giving authority to the persons so selected 
to remove all beggars from the bounds, and " such as 
hae nae lawfu' Industrie," inspect lodging-houses, and 
see that no lodgers were allowed a residence who could 
not give an acount of the manner in which they ob- 
tained " a living" and make up lists of all strangers. 
They were also to take measures for providing requi- 
site necessaries for the truly destitute and sick. In 
1568, when the Plague raged in Edinburgh and sur- 
rounding districts, the persons infected were ordered 
out of the bounds of the Burgh of Canongate, and a 
number " of the puir of the Burgh were on the hills," 
(parks surrounding Holyrood Palace, and the Calton 
Hill,) and much suffering and want was occasioned 
from the exposure. On 4th November, 1568, the 
Bailies selected nine of the citizens to relieve the wants 
of these persons, and the outlays were paid by the 
Treasurer of the Burgh. To such an extent had the 
dread of the Plague seized upon the inhabitants, that 
in January 1569 the Bailies passed an Act to the effect 
that " nae inhabitar within the Burgh tak upoun 
haund tae loge onie stranger in thair hous, but that 
they incontinent aftir the said stranger be resavit tae 
loge in thair said hous cum and shaw the saymn to 
the Baillies o' this Burghe, sae that the personnes 
names be knawin to thame, under the pains o' deed " 
(death). A small staff of men called the " Guard/' 
and having a captain, were afterwards formed and 
maintained at the expense of the inhabitants. In the 
Minutes of the Burgh there are various entries relating 
to the " Guard ; " and during the Rebellion in 1715, an 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 105 

application was made to the Bailies by certain resi- 
denters in the Pleasance for leave to form a guard at 
their own expense, which was granted, under the 
proviso that the captain of the Canongate Guard 
should have the control over them. The duties of the 
High Constables of the Burgh, Pleasance, and Abbey 
consisted latterly in the making up of lists of the 
householders in the Burgh qualified to act as jurymen, 
and persons, not freemen or volunteers, to serve in the 
militia ; for the making up of the lattfer lists the Con* 
stables were paid a small sum. In 1831 there were 
twenty-three men sworn in as militiamen, being the 
number required to be furnished by the Burgh. The 
Constables were also obliged to have in readiness lists 
of those residenters within the bounds whom they 
considered eligible to be sworn in as special con- 
stables in anticipation of any riot or emergency. One 
of the most important duties the Constables had to 
perform was that of acting as a " guard of honour " to 
the Magistrates and Council 6n civic demonstrations. 
The insignia were, for the Moderator, a gold chain 
and medal, and a silver-mounted ebony baton ; the 
Treasurer had also a chain ; and each constable, as a 
token of authority, had a small ebony baton, silver- 
mounted, called a pocket baton, which he was bound 
to carry with him on all occasions, and if not in his 
possession when the Moderator or other authority 
called for a " show of batons " at meetings of the 
Society, the delinquent was fined a small sum. A 
hard wood baton of about two feet and a half in 
length, having the arms of the Burgh painted thereon, 
was supplied to each constable. The Society was pos- 
sessed of two large ram horns, used as snuff-mulls. These 



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I04 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

were silver-mounted, and had the usual appendages — 
spoon, picker, brush, &c. The Moderator had the privi- 
lege of retaining the principal mull in his possession 
during the tenure of his office, and at the year's end the 
right of placing round the mull a silver band or hoop 
having his name and the year in which he held office 
engraved thereon. The election of the Constables was 
conducted in the same manner as those of the City of 
Edinburgh, and stated meetings were held in the 
Council Chambers of the Burgh. The office-bearers, 
consisting of a Moderator, Treasurer, Secretary, and 
Chaplain, were elected in September annually. At 
what date the first Moderator was elected cannot now 
be ascertained with certainty, as the earlier Minute- 
Books have been lost. The minutes of meeting of 
28th August 1 8 10 expresses to be a minute of the 
meeting of the Constables of Canongate, Pleasance, 
and Abbey — three members being present from the 
Pleasance district, two from the Abbey, and ten from 
the Burgh — the then Moderator being David Neilson, 
Alexander Berwick, Brewer, Treasurer ; and Archi- 
bald Cameron, Secretary. An officer was re-appointed 
to wait on the Constables at their meetings, and to 
whom a small salary, of ;^i, is., was annually awarded* 
Fines were levied on the members when absent from 
meetings without leave, or being unable to show " good 
cause of absence," not having their small baton, &c. 
On the election of office-bearers, those on whom the 
honour was conferred paid sums varying in amount 
to ;^i, IS. Persons on admittance paid a small fee. 
In 1 81 3 the fee was los. 6d. Anyone declining to 
take office when nominated had to pay a fee. These 
fines, entry moneys, &c., and a sum annually granted 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 105 

by the Bailies of the Burgh out of the funds of the 
'** common gude," were expended on petty expenses and 
a dinner on the occasion of the annual election, to 
which dinner the worthy Bailies, Treasurer, and Clerk 
of the Burgh, and Parish Clergymen were invited, and 
who generally accepted the invitation. The Magis- 
trates of Easter and Wester Portsburgh and Calton (now 
abolished), and the office-bearers of the Constables of 
Leith also very frequently responded to the invitation 
of their brethren of the Canongate. ' The Lord Pro- 
vost and some of the Bailies of the City were present 
on various occasions. The members of the Society 
being apparently of a happy and sociable disposition, 
•every possible occasion, such as a procession. Royal 
birthday, annual election, enrolment of new members, 
was made an excuse for a dinner, " pic-nic," or other 
entertaiment ; and there are numerous instances of ex- 
cursions to Roslin, Hawthornden, the Carlops, New- 
haven, and Wardie — the two latter places being much 
appreciated by the members of the Society for fish 
dinners — the Minutes bearing that " the brethren en- 
joyed themselves all in the most delightful manner.' 
By special Minute, dinners were ordained to be held 
as frequently as possible within the bounds of the 
Burgh, and the following places of entertainment are 
mentioned where such took place : — Lord Duncan's 
Tavern, Pleasance ; Black Bull (Gunn's), head of St. 
John Street (afterwards Drummond's) ; Mackay's, 
Canongate ; Morrison's, Macdowall Street. The extra 
dinner parties were sometimes held in the York Hotel, 
Nicolson Street ; Hammermen's Hall ; Caf(6 Royal ; 
Waterloo Hotel ; Turf Hotel, Princes Street. The 
annual dinner bill — after crediting the sum allowed 



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io6 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

by the Magistrates, which varied from £s to ;^I2^ 
according to the state of the Burgh finances — fre- 
quently amounted to more than the original subscrip- 
tion, but the difference was always heartily made up 
by the members of the Society. These extra dinners 
were considered most important affairs, so much so 
that a rule was made that those who could not give a 
sufficient excuse for their absence from dinner were to 
pay "a share of the bill." In thus noticing the 
annual grant by the Magistrates of the Burgh of the 
Canongate to the Society, it is gratifying to record 
that the Burgh to the last paid its way, and never had 
to compound with its creditors. 

While the Constables enjoyed themselves, they 
were not inattentive to their official duties, for 
they frequently received the thanks of the Magis- 
trates for " turning out " when any riot or disturbance 
took place, or was threatened. It was on gala days^ 
however, that the Society shone most conspicuously ; 
and the following extracts from the Minutes will 
show how such were taken advantage of in the old 
Burgh, and what a display the Canogotians could 
and did make on these occasions. In making pre- 
parations for the visit of George the Fourth, in 1822^ 
to Edinburgh, the Moderator moved that "a uni- 
formity of dress should be observed by each member 
on the day of the procession," which was approved 
of, and the following dress fixed upon : — " A blue 
coat, white vest, and white pantaloons." An orna- 
ment of silver, in the shape of a St. Andrew's Cross, 
was also ordered for each member. On the i6th of 
August, the day of His Majesty landing at Leith, 
the Constables joined the ordinary and special con- 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 107 

stables of North Leith and the special constables of 
the Canongate ; the Magistrates and Clerk being 
present, the banners of the Burgh were displayed, 
and bands of music were in attendance. The duties 
of the Constables being performed "entirely to the 
satisfaction of the Magistrates." On the 24th of the 
same month, the Constables were arranged in St. John 
Street, and then proceeded to the front of the Court 
House of the Canongate, and took their station on 
the right of the Magistrates. The whole street of 
the Canongate was lined with the different Incorpora- 
tions and Societies of the Burgh, having Deacons and 
Preses at the head of each, with the banners and 
emblems of the respective Crafts displayed. At half- 
past twelve noon, the King and suite proceeded up 
the Canongate from Holyrood Palace to the Castle, 
and returned by the Calton Hill to the Palace, " after 
which the people of the Burgh returned to their 
respective homes in perfect peace and tranquility." 
The Society took part in various other demonstra- 
tions, all duly recorded, one of these being on 30th 
June, 1830, when they joined in the ceremony of the 
Proclamation of King William the Fourth at St. John's 
Cross, Canongate, from whence they proceeded to 
Holyrood. In March, 1831, " the Moderator and the 
Society of the High Constables of the ancient Burgh 
and Regality of Canongate " presented an address to 
the King, on the occasion of the passing of the Reform 
Bill, which was duly acknowledged by letter from 
Whitehall, dated 24th March, 1 831, ending "And I 
have the satisfaction to inform you that His Majesty 
was pleased to receive the same in the most gracious 
manner." On 28th June, 1837, the Society attended 



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io8 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

the Bailies of the Burgh to St. John's Cross, where 
they joined in the procession at the Proclamation of 
Her Majesty Queen Victoria's accession to the throne ; 
attended the Magistrates at the laying of the founda- 
tion stones of various public buildings, — the last 
occasion being that when the foundation-stone of the 
National Gallery was laid by the late Prince Consort, 
on 30th August 1850. On 2nd May, 1856, after the 
conclusion of the war between this country and 
Russia, the Constables joined in the procession of the 
Magistrates of the City " to witness the interesting 
ceremony of proclaiming peace ;" — on 29th May were 
present at the display of fireworks, and afterwards 
entertained by the Constables of Calton in the Calton 
Convening Rooms, Waterloo Place. 

In concluding the extracts from the Minutes, we 
shall do so by noticing what occurred on the occasion 
of the last official meeting, as an appropriate termina- 
tion to the records of the Society — the brethren of 
which so happily combined business and pleasure. 
After narrating the election of office-bearers for that 
year, 1856,* it states that the Constables dined to- 
gether, " when the usual loyal toasts were given, after 
which song and sentiment went the round of the table 
in the most harmonious and happy manner, every one 
present being much delighted with the good dinner 
which had been provided and the happy way the 
evening had been spent. When the company was 
about to leave, Treasurer Slater very handsomely 
regaled all present with a glass each of champagne." 

* The office-bearers elected at the last recorded annual meeting 
were George Swan, Pipe Manufacturer, Canongate, Moderator ; 
Andrew Slater, Slater, Slaters' Courtj Canongate, Treasurer; John 
Bain, Secretary ; Alexander Inglis, Chaplain. The dinner took place 
in Kennedy's, Wardie Hotel, Trinity. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 109 

At this dinner Baron Bailie Ritchie, C.E., now de- 
ceased, Bailie Taylor, also now deceased, Bailie Mene- 
laws, lately deceased. Treasurer Dt'Middleton, officials 
of the Burgh of the Canongate, were present as guests. 

Thus ends the Minute-Books of the Society of High 
Constables of the Burgh of Canongate. 

In 1856, when the Edinburgh Municipal Extension 
Act was passed, the Magistracy of the Canongate was 
abolished, and the City, including the old Burgh, 
divided into thirteen wards for Municipal purposes. 
The Society of the High Constables of the Canongate 
was thus rendered unnecessary, and was dissolved. 
The last Moderator retained possession of the princi- 
pal baton and snuff-mulls, while the other members 
kept their small batons. The Minute - Books, as 
already stated, have, with a trifling exception, gone 
amissing, a circumstance much to be regretted, as 
there is little doubt they must have contained some 
curious and interesting information regarding the 
transactions of the Society in earlier days, connected 
as it was so closely with the Magistracy — the latter 
having to a large extent been members of the Society. 

In thus recording the beginning and end of the 
Society of the High Constables of the ancient Burgh 
of the Canongate, we cannot refrain from expressing 
regret that such and kindred institutions have been 
swept away, as doubtless the genial intercourse of 
the members of these associations must have promoted 
much good feeling and happiness. 



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CHAPTER XIII. 

NOTICE OF A FEW OF THE OLD HOUSES, AND OTHER 
BUILDINGS IN THE BURGH. 

|ANY changes have taken place in the appear- 
ance of the Burgh of Canongate, both in the 
approaches to it and the buildings within the 
" Auld Toune." As was said by Sir Walter Scott * 
when referring to the changes occurring in his 
time, " they have pulled her houses down, for indeed, 
betwixt building and burning, every ancient monu- 
ment of the Scottish Capital is now likely to be utterly 
demolished." Since then, farther alterations have been 
made, more particularly under the powers conferred in 
the Improvement Act of 1867, principally obtained 
through the exertions of Dr. William Chambers, 
then Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh. The 
wretched old buildings situated on the east side of St. 
Mary's Wynd and in the closes adjacent called Hume's, 
Boyd's, and Gullen's have been entirely swept away — 
the ground rebuilt upon by erecting commodious 

* Chronicles of the Canongate, p. 396. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. in 

tenements of an architectural character suited to the 
"Auld Toune." Leith Wynd, which ran northwards 
in a line with St. Mary's Wynd, was very steep, 
and the houses in it and the closes eastwards, called 
Old Fleshmarket Close, Shepherd's Court, Ramsay 
Court, Coull's Close, and Midcommon Close, have 
also been removed, and in lieu thereof buildings 
similar to those on the south side of the main 
street of Canongate erected, or are in course of 
erection ; and what was formerly termed Leith 
Wynd is now named Cranston Street, after one 
of the present Bailies of the City. In this street a 
public school has just been finished, built by direction 
of the School Board, with large accommodation and 
every way suited to the requirements of the district, 
and of a style of architecture corresponding to the other 
tenements lately erected. Another approach, running 
westwards from the head of the Canongate, and passing 
under two of the arches of the North Bridge to Market 
Street and Waverley Bridge, has also been formed, and 
called Jeffrey Street, in remembrance of Lord Jeffrey, 
but more familiarly known as Francis Jefifrey, one of 
the leaders of the Whig party fifty years ago, appointed 
Lord -Advocate for Scotland in 1830; in December 
183^2, under the Reform Act of that year, which he 
had introduced into Parliament as Lord-Advocate, 
returned to Parliament as one of the Members for the 
City of Edinburgh ; appointed a Judge in the Court 
of Session in 1834; and died on 26th January 1850, 
in his 77th year.* 

In the centre of Jeffrey Street there has been built 

* Cockburn's " Life of Lord Jeffrey." 



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112 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Trinity College Parish Church — part of the stones 
which composed the old Trinity College, at one time 
at the foot of Leith Wynd, and which was taken down 
when the ground there was acquired by the North 
British Railway Company, has been rebuilt somewhat 
in the style of the old College Church. The houses that 
stood at the Netherbow, betwixt Leith Wynd and John 
Knox's House, have also been removed, and a Church, 
called John Knox's Church, and buildings correspond-- 
ing in design to those recently erected in the vicinity,, 
have taken the place of the old ones. 

Saint Mary's Wynd, or Street. — This street 
derived its name from a chapel dedicated to Saint 
Mary, situated at the north-east end of the Cowgate, 
in connection with which chapel there was an hospital 
for infirm and bed-rid persons, who in the olden times 
were supported by alms and oblations then freely 
given by the community and the various Crafts or 
Trade Incorporations, both of the City and the Burgh 
of Canongate. In 1550, each citizen in Edinburgh* 
had to make a day's visitation through the town, to 
collect alms for this hospital, and if he failed to per- 
form this duty, he was fined. During the wars with 
England, and the rival party factions in Scotland, ,the 
buildings on the east side of the Wynd were frequently 
damaged. In 1650, a great number of these were 
demolished when the army under Oliver Cromwell 
was besieging the Castle of Edinburgh, then held for 
King Charles the Second. The wynd was in latter 
times long known as a mart for the sale and exchange 

* Extracts from "Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh," p. 79. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 113 

of cast-off, or second-hand clothing and new garments 
of an inferior quality and low price, and as such was 
noticed by Fei^son the poet in his poem "Auld 
Reekie," in which he says : — 

" Now gin a loun should hae his daes 
In threadbare autumn e' their days, 
St. Mary, brokers' guardian saint. 
Will satisfy ilk ail and want. 
For many a hungry writer there 
Dives doun at nicht in cleding bare ; 
And quickly rises to the view 
A gentleman, perfyte and new." 

The wynd or street is apparently regaining its old 
character in this respect, there being a number of 
" ready-made clothing establishments " and shops for 
the sale of second-hand clothing in it at present. 

Hume's, Boyd's, and White Horse Closes. — 
These partly entered from St. Mary's Wynd and the 
main street of the Canongate. In one was situated the 
celebrated "Whitehorse Inn." On 17th August, 1773^ 
Dr. Johnson and his famous biographer and travelling 
companion, Boswell, put up therein. The landlord,. 
James Boyd, was a noted sportsman, and having been 
successful in winning a race with a white horse, which 
he had purchased and trained, in remembrance of the 
event called his inn "the White Horse," an appropriate 
signboard being affixed over the main entrance to the 
building. Landlord, guests, horse, and inn, have all 
passed away. 

GiLLAN's Close.'— To the east of this there is a 
tenement erected about 1700, which, at one time,, 
belonged to and was the residence of Charles, fourth 
Earl of Traquair, afterwards of his twin daughters,. 

I 



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114 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Lady Barbara and Lady Margaret Stuart. Lady 
Margaret died in 1791, and her sister in 1794.* A 
part of the building was taken down a few years ago. 

Chessels* Court. — This contained several self- 
contained houses, at one time occupied by a superior 
class of inmates, comprising some of title, but these 
tenements have, like others of a once similar character, 
been altered and divided into flats. For a number of 
years one of the houses was occupied as the Excise 
Office, where dues levied by Government and licences 
were paid, previous to the removal of that department 
to Drummond Place. At that time a villa, which had 
belonged to and been occupied by a former Lord 
Provost of the City,"f" was situated in the centre of 
what are now the gardens of Drummond Place. It 
was afterwards taken down when the railway to Scot- 
land Street Station was formed, and the site included 
in the gardens. When the villa was built, there were 
not any buildings in close proximity, and the access 
to it was by an avenue along what are now called 
London Streets, and entering by Broughton Road. 

Leith Wynd originally was the north-western 
boundary of the old Burgh of the Canongate. At 
the foot of the wynd a roadway ran eastward by the 
back of the Canongate to the Water Yett, or entrance 
port to the Burgh from the east. The Easter Road, 
still known as such, was, until the formation of the 
North Bridge in 1777, the main approach from Leith 
and the eastern districts to the City of Edinburgh via 

♦ Wilson's '•Memorials of Edinburgh." 
f Vide •* Barony of Broughton." 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. ii5 

the Water Yett and the Canongate, the main street 
of which led to the Netherbow Port, situated at the 
foot of the High Street of Edinburgh. Another exit 
by Leith Wynd and Calton led to what was called 
the western road to Leith. The roadway known as 
the North Back of the Canongate was frequently used 
by Royalty in proceeding to and from Hol)rrood 
Palace to the City, instead of going up the main street 
of the Canongate to Netherbow Port. Queen Mary 
and King James the Sixth made use of this approach; 
and in 1593, in order to render it and the main street 
suitable for royal passage, and to avoid encroaching 
on the resources of the privy purse, King James the 
Sixth authorized the Magistrates of the Canongate to 
levy a tax on every cart entering by the Water Yett 
or gateway. The Act is intituled "An Act for the 
mending of the Calsay o' the Canogait and outwith 
the Water Yett," and is as follows : — '' Our Soverane 
Lord and Estates of the present Parliament under- 
standing how necessary and expedient it sail be, 
alsweill for the decoratioune of the policie within 
this realme, as for the weil of His Heiness' lieges to 
repaire,beit,and mend the calsay betwex Hes Majestie's 
Palace Yett of Haliruid Hous and the Netherbow of 
Edinburgh, with the entries and passages quharby it 
is reparit to and frae the said Palace, and especiallie 
betwex the Clock Myln and the Water Yett, and 
thairfrae to Leith Wynd fute: And Hes Majestie's 
and Estates foirsaidis, knowin nae reddear means and 
way to sustene the expense of the said repairatioune 
and les hurtful to the lieges, nor to exact the customs 
and imposts underwritten as hes been observit, and 
be his great Majestie's noble predecessors, quhan the 



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ii6 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

like occasioun offerit : We, the saidis Soverane Lords 
and Estates of this present Parliament, gies, grants, 
and commits full power and commission to the 
Baillies and Counsail of the Canogait ' present and 
bein for the tyme, be thaimselves and thair deputCr 
ane or mair under thaime, quhain Hes Majestie's and 
Estates give thaime ful power to mak and create, to 
collec, gadder, intromitt wi', and uptak twa pennies 
usual monie of this realme off everie ful cart, wi' ane 
pennie off everie hors-laid that sail cum within the 
said Watter Yett to be sauld in the mercats, and if 
neid beis, to poynd and distrain thairfoir : Makin^ 
constitutin, and ordenan the saidis Baillies and Coun- 
sail, present and bein for the tyme, and thair depute, 
ane or mair, undoubted and irrevocable collectors of 
the saymn for the space of three yeirs next eftir thair 
entrie thairto, quhilk sail be and begin at the daye 
and dait of these presents, and farder to continue 
during hes Majestie's wull, providen alweis the saidis 
Baillies and Counsail, present and bein for the tyme as 
saidis, befoir the expiry of the saidis three yeirs, beit^ 
mend, and repaire the said passages within the boundis 
foirsaidis, with sufficient calsay duly as effeirs." 

Paul's Work. — At the foot of Leith Wynd, and 
on the north-east end thereof, stood an Hospital, de- 
dicated to the Virgin Mary, founded in 1479 by the 
Bishop of Aberdeen, for the reception of old men; but 
it was taken possession of by the City of Edinburgh 
at the time of the Reformation, and then allowed to 
fall into decay. Both before and after the Massacre 
of St. Bartholomew's Eve, when so many of the best 
citizens and skilled artizans in France and Holland 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 117 

fled to England, comparatively few found their way 
to Scotland ; but in 1609 ^ number of Flemings, under 
one John Van Hedan, settled in the Canongate, and 
engaged in the making, dressing, and .lettering of 
stuffs, " givin gret licht and knowledge of their calling 
to the country people." * In the year 161 9, a building 
called PauFs Work was erected for the manufacture 
of woollen cloths, but the speculation was a failure* 
The buildings were used in 1650 by General Leslie as 
an hospital for his wounded and sick soldiers, when he 
was in command of the Scotch army, and defending 
Edinburgh from Cromwell's forces. The place was 
.subsequently converted into a penal workhouse or 
reformatory. Opposite to this stood Trinity College 
and Hospital grounds, and the Orphan Hospital, and 
a piece of ground known as the Physic or Botanical 
Gardens. A number of small houses called St 
Ninian's Row, and included within the Barony of 
Calton, led to Leith. These were removed when the 
Regent Arch and Waterloo Place were formed. In 
carrying out the purposes of the North British Rail- 
way Company's Act, Paul's Work, Trinity College 
Hospital, and grounds above-mentioned were acquired 
by the Company, the whole buildings removed, and 
the ground appropriated for the station and sidings. 
Another building, also termed Paul's Work, at the 
east end of Macdowall Street and at the foot of what 
was Coull's Close, was long used as a printing office, 
and occupied as such by Ballantyne, the printer of the 
world-famed " Scott Novels." 

High School Close. — Among other closes which 
were situated eastwards of Leith Wynd, but now re- 
• ** Domestic Annals," vol. i. p. 221 ; Smiles's " Huguenots," p. 127. 



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Ii8 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

moved, was one adjacent to Coull's Close, which went 
under this name from a building at one time therein 
known as the High School, or Grammar School of 
the Bui^h. • This had originally been founded by the 
Abbots of Holyrood, and is referred to in a charter 
dated in 1529; and the Burgh Records, under date 
5th April 1580, contain notice of a demission by 
"Gilbert Taylour, schole maister, who renuncit and 
demitted gift granted by Adam, Bischop of Orkney, 
of the right of the Grammer Schole durin his lyfetime 
in favour of the Baillies and Counsaill " As has been 
already observed, the Bishop was Superior of the 
Burgh, and this grant gave the Magistrates full power 
over the School ; and accordingly, the purpose of the 
demission being served, they replaced the school- 
master in his position, but " to be haulden of thayme 
as thaye quha hes undoubtit rycht to dispone the 
saymn.'* The School continued to be under the 
charge of the Magistrates until 1598, when it was re- 
modelled ; and from the patronage vouchsafed by 
King James the Sixth, called Schola Regia Edin- 
burgensis, and removed to near the site of the In- 
firmary, in the street of that name, and was rebuilt in 
1777. In 1825, the Royal High School, the splendid 
structure on the Regent Road was founded, and 
completed in 1829, at a cost of ;£'3o,ooo. 

Rae'S Close is situated a little farther down the 
main street of the Canongate. Over the archway, cut in 
the stone, are the words, "Misere mei, domine, a pecato 
probro, debito, et morte subita libera me, 161 8." The 
inscription is now almost entirely hidden. In early 
times this close was the only one between Leith Wynd 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 119 

and the Water Yett which had an exit to the North 
Back of the Canongate; and in the Records of the 
Burgh, under date 4th August, 1 568, there is an order 
" to caus big up the fute of Rae*s Close ;" and on 
1 8th October, 1571, "the BailHes and Counsaill beand 
convenit, ordanes thair Theasurar to big and put up 
ane yett (or gateway) upoun Rae's Close, and mak 
the saymn lok fast, and also to buy ane lok and kei 
to the Water Yett, quhilk sal be allowit to him in his 
comptis." Down to 1742 the houses situated on this 
side of the street had, with few exceptions, gardens 
behind them, bounded by a high wall which served 
as a protection from foes. 

Morocco Land. — The tenement known under 
this designation, and having the figure of a Moor 
placed in a recess in the front wall of the building, is 
said to owe its origin to an incident which took place 
during the second time the plague raged in the city 
of Edinburgh. The story, though romantic, is some- 
what fabulous. It appears, however, from some of 
the old title-deeds, that one Gray was owner of it* 
On the occasion of one of the riots in Edinburgh, 
which were of frequent occurrence, shortly after the 
accession of King Charles the First, the Provost was 
assaulted, his house broken into, and set on fire. On 
order being somewhat restored, the leaders in the riot 
were tried, convicted, and condemned to be executed. 
Amongst them was Andrev/ Gray, son of the Master 
of Gray. The last day of his life was drawing to a 
close ; that same night he escaped by the assistance 
of a friend, who had conveyed to him a rope and file 

* Wilson's ** Memorials of Edinburgh." 



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I20 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

A boat lay at the "Nor* Loch" (now the site of 
Princes Street Gardens, but then a sheet of water 
forming the northern boundary of the old town), in 
which he was conveyed to the north side and thence 
to the Firth of Forth, and embarking on board a 
vessel, at once set sail. Years passed, and the matter 
was forgotten ; but one day a large vessel, armed, and 
of curious construction and rig, was seen sailing up 
the Firth, and cast anchor in Leith Roads. Experi- 
enced seamen declared the vessel to be an Algerine 
rover or pirate, and all was consternation both in the 
seaport* and in the capital. A number of the crew 
landed, and fully armed, proceeded to the City by the 
Water Yett, and passing up the Canongate demanded 
admission at the Netherbow Port. The Magistrates 
entered into a parley with the leader, and offered a 
large sum to prevent the plundering of the City, 
warning him of the plague and the consequent danger 
of entering, but all in vain. Sir John Smith, then 
Provost, withdrew to consult with the most influential 
citizens who volunteered large contributions. He 
returned to the Netherbow Port accompanied by 
several friends, among them being his brother-in-law, 
Sir William Gray, one of the wealthiest citizens. 
Negotiations were resumed. A large ransom was 
agreed to be received, on condition that the only child 
of the Provost should be delivered up to the leader 
till the ransom was paid. It seems that the Provost's 
daughter then lay stricken with the plague, of which 

* The Port of Leith was not fortified till 1779, and when Paul Jones 
with his cruisers appeared, great consternation was caused. In 1656, 
three vessels of 250 tons and eleven of 29 tons only belonged to the 
Port. In 1692 it had a tonnage of 1762, and in 1778 ninety-six vessels 
in the home and foreign trade, with a tonnage of 10, 146. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 121 

disease hfer cousin, Egitha Gray, had recently died. 
The names given, and the cause of the illness of the 
daughter, wrought an immediate change on the leader, 
who, after some conferences with his men, intimated 
his possession of an elixir of wondrous potency, and 
demanded that she should be entrusted to his skill, 
engaging, that if he did not immediately cure her, to 
embark with his men without any ransom from the 
City. After considerable discussion, the Provost pro- 
posed that the leader should enter the City and take 
up his abode in the Provost's house, but this was 
peremptorily refused, and offers of a larger ransom 
to depart peaceably were rejected. Sir John Smith 
at length yielded, the invalid was carried to the house 
in the Canongate now under notice, where she was 
tended by the leader, recovered from her illness, and 
restored to the delighted father. The leader and 
physician was Andrew Gray, who, having been 
captured by pirates and sold as a slave, afterwards 
won the favour of the Emperor of Morocco, and risen 
to rank and wealth. Gray had returned to Scotland 
to avenge his imagined wrongs, by punishing the 
Magistrates and the City, but to his surprise found 
the Lord Provost to be a relation. The remainder of 
the legend is soon told. He married the Provost's 
daughter, and settled down a wealthy citizen of the 
Burgh of Canongate. The house was adorned with 
an effigy of his royal patron, and the tenement still 
goes under the name of Morocco Land. 

Seaton's Close. — At the head of this close, and till 
lately, stood a tenement having a wooden projection 
or front which formerly was the mansion of the Oli- 



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122 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

phants, one of whom, the second son of the fourth 
Lord Oliphant, was an adherent of Queen Mary. To 
the west of it stood the residence of Hay of Belton, 
son of the second Earl of Tweeddale. The mansion of 
the eighth Earl of Angus, afterwards of his son, — the 
last of the family of Douglas who held the title of 
Angus, — was situated to the north of 01iphant*s house. 
These tenements are now numbered with the past, and 
new erections now occupy their sites. 

New Street. — This street, rurtning in a northerly 
direction from the main street, was formed shortly 
before the extension of the city northwards from the 
High Street. The houses, as originally designed and 
occupied, consisted of self-contained dwellings of three 
and four flats and sunk areas. These were tenanted 
by members of the aristocracy and the elite of the 
citizens. The house situated at the top of the street 
on the east side, and which formerly had a garden 
or court in front to the main street of Canongate, but 
now built upon, was sometime tenanted by Henry 
Home, Lord Kames (son of George Home of Kames, 
in the county of Berwick), one of the Lords of Session 
from 1752 until 1782, a most eminent Judge and 
writer.* This mansion was considered at the time 
one of the best in the City. It was afterwards occupied 
by Dr. Hunter of the Tron Church, who resided in it 
until his death. Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes, 
Lord Hailes, also a Lord of Session from 1766 till 
1792, resided in No. 23, near the foot of the street. 
On his death his will could not be found, and his heir- 

* Ty tier's "Memorials of Lord Kames." 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 123 

at-Iaw was about to take! possession of the estates to 
the exclusion of a daughter. Some domestics went 
to shut up the house in New Street, and in closing 
one of the shutters of the window of a front room a 
paper dropped upon the floor, and which on examina- 
tion was found to be a will, securing the estates to the 
daughter* Sir Philip Anstruther and Dr. Young, a 
celebrated physician, occupied houses in the street. 
Miss Jean Ramsay, daughter of Allan Ramsay, the 
poet, resided for sometime in the second tenement 
from what was called the Chapel of Ease, erected in 
1794. This chapel was erected partly on the site of 
the banking establishment of Douglas, Heron, and 
Company (whose failure created great loss to many 
citizens of Edinburgh) and the sites of several other 
old tenements, one of these being Henry Kinloch's, 
a wealthy burgess, to whose care Queen Mary in 
1 565 entrusted the French Ambassador, Monsieur 
Rambollet ; and at an entertainment given in the 
Palace of Holyrood a few months previous to Darnley*s 
marriage to Queen Mary, Darnley received " the 
ordour of the Cokill frae the said Rambollet wi* gret 
magnificence ;" and upon the i ith of the same month 
of February, again "banketted the samyn ambassador." 
At a masque ball "the Queen's grace, and all her 
Maries and ledies, wer al cled in men's apperill, and 
everie ane o' thame presented ane quhanger brawlie 
and maist artificiallie maide and embroiderit in gold 
to the saidis ambassadour and hes gentlemen." A 
close below Seaton's, and entering from the main 
street, is still called Kinloch's Close ; and one of the 
old buildings therein has stone mouldings representing 

* Chambers* "Traditions." 



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124 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

hunting horns, belts, &c. The houses in New Street 
are now divided into shops and separate flats, and 
what was a garden fronting the houses, is now occupied 
by the Edinburgh Gas Company Works. 

Playhouse Close. — Immediately opposite New 
Street is a good specimen of the style of the archi- 
tecture of private dwellings between 1630 and 1650, 
having ornamental designs of roses, shamrocks, and 
thistles, and a double row of dormer windows. Entering 
by the court, and at the back of it in 1746, a new play- 
house was erected, within which the public of Edin- 
burgh were gratified by the actings of the greatest 
players of the time.* In 1736, however, Allan Ramsay 
had opened a theatre in Carrubber's Close, High Street, 
but it was found too small, and the one in the Play- 
house Close was opened, f Ramsay lost money 
through this adventure. On 14th December, 1756, 
the tragedy of " Douglas," written by John Home, a 
clergyman of the Church of Scotland, was presented 
to an Edinburgh audience. On the extension of the 
city northwards, the theatre was shut, and a new one 
erected in the New Town. At what period the 
English Drama was introduced into Scotland is 
unknown, but it is supposed a company of actors came 
to Scotland with King James the Sixth, and per- 
formed before the Court at Holyrood. They are 
also found, from the Records of the Burgh of Aber- 
deen, to have gone north, and performed in that city. 
Some of the performers are said to have been con- 
temporaries of Shakespeare. Burbage (a friend of 

♦ WUson's "Memorials." 
t "Annals of Edinburgh and Leith," compiled by E. Henderson. 



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OLD PLAYHOUSE CLOSE. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 125 

Shakespeare's), and four others, servants to the Earl 
of Leicester, had obtained the first Royal licence to 
act plays ; and a question has been mooted, whether 
Shakespeare himself may not have been one of his 
" Majesty's servants," and present both in Edinburgh 
and Aberdeen on the above-mentioned occasions. 
Some writers have averred, that unless Shakespeare 
had actually visited Scotland, he could not have given 
those descriptions of Scottish scenery in " Macbeth " 
unless from actual observation. The well-known 
passage, — 

** Fear not, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinnane," 
and again when he speaks of the blasted heath, and asks 

** How far is*t call'd to Forres ?" 

all point to an intimate knowledge of localities and 
scenery, and which only one who had visited them could 
have acquired. Be this as it may, however, the most 
authentic record is, that the subjects of plays were 
originally Scriptural, and were called moralities. Some 
of these moral plays represented the Nativity of our 
Saviour ; the massacres of Herod ; a dramatic perfor- 
mance, called " Christ's Sufferings," was, so early as the 
fourth century, written in Greek by Gregory, Bishop 
of Constantinople. Such representations became so 
popular and common as to be complained of as a 
nuisance. Plays being afterwards composed on pro- 
fane subjects were performed in the open air, and 
frequently exhibited scenes of the grossest indelicacy. 
After the Reformation, the licentiousness of the stage 
was almost as much detested by the stern Reformers 
as the mass itself, and was anathematised by the clergy 
in no measured terms. They were, however, compelled 
by the mandate of James the Sixth, — who took much 
delight in theatrical performances, — to drop their 



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126 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

censures. Suppressed during the civil wars of Charles 
the First, they were revived at the Restbratibn of 
Charles the Second, with the engaging novelty that 
women, for the first time, appeared on the Scottish 
stage, — female characters having previous to that time 
been represented by slender youths. Signo'-a Violante 
was the first of strolling players who made appearance 
in Edinburgh. She was an Italian, celebrated for feats 
of strength, posture, and tumbling ; and, along with 
some other English comedians, fitted up a theatre in 
Carrubber's Close in 1715, and for several years after- 
wards itinerant companies of comedians visited the 
city.* Up to the present time indeed, these Scriptural 
Plays have not entirely disappeared. At Ammergau, in 
Bohemia, there is held almost every year a Passion 
play, representing Christ and His Apostles, to which 
many persons from that country and from others 
assemble. The representation is given in an amphi- 
theatre, and in the open air. 

St. John's Cross. — Next the Playhouse Close and 
at St. John's Close, there formerly stood a Cross 
called St. John's, where Proclamations used to be 
made, and meetings of the Magistrates, Constables, 
and Incorporated Trades of the Burgh held, whenever 
civic demonstrations occurred. On 14th May, iS7i,1" 
it is recorded " that there was a Parliament holden in 
William Cocklie's house in the Canogait, near St. 
John's Cross, by such as maintained the King's autho- 
rity, and ane uther in the Tolbuith of Edinburgh, by 
those that held, for the deprived Queen" in which 

* Stevenson's "Chronicles of Edinburgh," p. 384. 
t Balfour's "Annals," I. p. 354. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 127 

Parliaments each of them "forfeited their enemies 
opposite." In 1617, King James the Sixth on his 
visit to the capital, where he was welcomed in a right 
royal manner by the inhabitants, on the i6th of May 
proceeded down the Canongate to Holyrood, and at 
St. John*s Cross knighted William Nisbet of Dean, 
then the Provost of Edinburgh. A small circle in the 
causeway marks the site of the Cross. In St. John's 
Close, and on the right hand, is an old building, over 
the doorway of which there are cut in the stone, the 
words, " The • Lord ' is * only * my • support." These and 
similar inscriptions on the old buildings in the Burgh are 
almost entirely covered with lime, through what is termed 
cleaning or washing the fronts of the houses, closes, and 
.stairs by the police authorities for sanitary purposes. 

St. John Street. — This, like New Street, is of 
comparatively recent date, having been commenced in 
1768. At first the houses were self-contained, and 
many of the old Scotch nobility were occupants. / 
Among these were the first Earl of Hopetoun and the 
Earl of Wemyss, the latter's house being on the west 
side and close to what is now Aitchison's Brewery. 
Lord Monboddo (James Burnet), one of the Senators 
of the College of Justice, occupied No. 13, where the 
poet Burns, a welcome and frequent guest, met the 
most distinguished of the country. His daughter, 
Eliza Burnet, immortalised' by Burns, and celebrated 
for her beauty and accomplishments, was a great 
favourite of the poet's, and her early death formed the 
theme of one of his most pathetic elegies, — 

'** VVe saw thee shine in youth and beauty's pride, 

And virtue's light that beams beyond the spheres ; 
But like the sun eclipsed at morning tide, 
Thou left'st us darkling in a world of tears." 



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128 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Campbell the poet, it is said, wrote the " Pleasures of 
Hope " while residing in one of the houses. No. lO 
was occupied by Ballantyne, the printer and confidant 
of Sir Walter Scott. During the years 1780-85,* 
No. 2 was occupied by the Earl of Aboyne, Sir Charles 
Preston of Valleyfield ; No. 4, Lord Blantyre ; No. 5, 
Dr. Gregory ; No. 6, Mrs. Grant of Prestongrange, 
afterwards by her daughter. Lady Suttie of Balgonie ; 
No. 8, the Earl of Hyndford ; No- 1 1, Lady Elizabeth 
Wemyss, of Wemyss ; No. 12, Colonel Tod ; No. 15, 
Andrew Balfour, Esq. ; Robertson & Barclay, W.S. ; 
No. 16, Rochied, of Inverleith ; No. 17, Sir John 
Stewart of Allanbank. Several of the Clergymen of 
the Canongate Parish Church resided in the street, 
amongst these being Dr. Gilchrist-Clark, and the late 
Andrew R. Bonar, the author of " The Poets and 
Poetry of Scotland," and of various religious publi- 
cations. The Earl of Hopetoun, previous to the year 
1788, resided in the tenement fronting the main street 
of the Canongate, and having an access thereto by the 
turnpike stair on the west side of St. John Street, in 
the first flat of which afterwards resided Mrs. Telfer, the 
sister of Smollet, the author of " Roderick Random," 
&c., and who resided with her for some time. There 
is a story told of Mrs. Telfer, that, being devoted to 
cards, one of the Magistrates of Edinburgh, — and who 
was a tallow-chandler or candle-maker to business, — 
paid her a visit one evening, when she saluted him 
with " Come awa'. Bailie, and tak' a trick at the cartes.*" 
"Troth, madam," said he, "I ha'e nae a bawbee in 
my pouch." To which she replied, "Tuts! man, 
ne'er mind that ; let's play for a pund o' candles.'' 

* Chambers' " Traditions of Edinburgh," p. 42. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 129 

The street maintains its character for respectability, 
and till the last few years a number of the prin- 
cipal merchants in the old Burgh had their resi- 
dences in it. A few of the houses, however, have 
now been divided, and let as separate dwellings. 
The " Canongate Kilwinning Lodge of Freemasons," 
Number Two on the roll of lodges of the Grand Lodge 
of Scotland, possesses^a hall called St. John's Chapel, 
situated on the w.est side of the street, where the 
brethren meet. Here, Bums was elected Poet- 
Laureate of the Lodge, and passed many a social 
hour with the "dear brethren of the mystic tie." 
A picture of this incident, containing portraits of 
many of the notabilities present on that occasion, is 
preserved in the chapel ; and the Lodge-books contain 
the names of many illustrious brethren as members ; 
among others. Burns, Sir Walter Scott, &c.* 

Jack's Land. — Opposite St. John's Street is the 
tenement known under this designation, which, 150 
years ago, was occupied by various persons of distinc- 
tion, not only in rank, but one of whom, Susannah, 
Countess of Eglinton, was distinguished as possessing 
personal beauty, of a generous disposition, and other 
good qualities ; so much so, as to inspire Allan Ramsay, 
one of the most gifted poets of the period, to dedicate 
to her Ladyship his pastoral of "The Gentle Shepherd/' 
Hume, the Historian, in 1753 also occupied one 
of the flats, in which part of his " History of 
England " was written. Like others of note at one 

* Dr. John Middleton, sometime Treasurer of the Burgh of Canon- 
gate — SL well-known and esteemed citizen — b, at present, the R. W. M. 
fo the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge. 

K 



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I30 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

time, the "land" is now occupied by numerous tenants. 
Westwards of this, in a court, was the mansion of Sir 
Thomas Dalziell of Binns, who, while Commander of 
the Forces in Scotland to Charles the Second, com- 
mitted many cruelties upon the Covenanters. 

The Shoemakers' Lands. — Further east are what 
are called the Shoemakers* Lands, — being three in 
number ; and, it will be ♦ readily, inferred, belonged 
to the Incorporation of the Sho^akers, or Cordiners 
of the Burgh. On the first, or westmost tenement 
is a tablet, having the representation of a crown 
and a currier's knife and the words, "Blessed is 
he that wisely do the poor man's case consider," 
and date, " 1725." In the close adjoining, was the 
Hall of the Incorporation, fitted up with large oaken 
tables and chairs, — a carved chair or throne, sur- 
mounted by a crown, with the date, 1682, being 
placed at the head of the hall. These have all dis- 
appeared, and the "lands" were sold several years 
ago. Over the entrance to the eastmost land, known 
as the "Bible Land," is also a tablet, with angels' 
heads sculptured at the corners, and an open book 
or Bible in the centre, with the words— 7 

Behold how good a thing it is 

And how becoming well, 
Together such as brethren are 

In unity to dwell. 
1677. 

Moray House, one of the most interesting build- 
ings in the Burgh, erected in 161 8 by the Countess 
of Home, was in 1645 acquired by her daughter, the 
Countess of Moray, and remained in the family for 



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MORAY HOUSE. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 131 

nearly 200 years. In 1633, when King Charles the 
First was in Scotland, he visited the Countess at 
Moray House ; and in 1648 Oliver Cromwell resided 
in it, — the mansion at that time being called Lady 
Home's Lodging. After defeating Leslie and the 
Scotch army at Dunbar, Cromwell again resided in 
the house, and held levees and consultations with the 
leaders of his party. In the month of May, 1650, 
the marriage of the eldest son of the* Marquis of 
Argyle to the daughter of the Earl of Moray took 
place within the building. During the festivities, 
the Marquis of Montrose was received by the 
Magistrates of the Canongate at the Water Gate as a 
prisoner, and where the sentence condemning him to 
be executed was read. Montrose in a common cart, 
seated on a chair, with his back to the horse, which 
was guided by the executioner, was then conducted 
up the main street of the Burgh, a number of his 
fellow-prisoners bound two and two walking in front 
The Magistrates, guard, and prisoners, slowly wended 
their way till Moray House was reached, where, to 
gratify the marriage party, the cart was stopped for a 
few minutes. It is stated that Lady Jane Gordon, 
Countess of Haddington, a bridal guest, so far forgot 
her sex as to spit upon Montrose, who indignantly 
glanced at the persons standing on the balcony and 
at the windows. They shrank from his look, and 
hastily retired ; Montrose and his companions in 
misfortune were then hurried on their way up to St. 
John's Cross, where the Magistrates of the Canongate 
handed over the prisoners to the charge of the City 
officials. A few years only had passed, when Argyle, 
the bridegroom, and some others who had been 



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132 HISTORY OF THEBURGH OF CANONGATE. 

present, suffered the like death by the hands of the 
pubh'c executioner. Moray House was occupied as 
the residence of James Ogilvy, Earl of Findlater and 
Seafield, Lord Chancellor at the time of the Union, 
A summer-house, which stood at the end of the garden, 
is said to have been the place where a number of 
the signatures to the Treaty of Union were in course 
of being adhibited ; but the fact becoming public, a 
mob assembled and became riotous, whereupon those 
present for the purpose of signing the Treaty had to 
take to flight, and the remaining signatures were given 
in a " laigh " cellar in a tenement in High Street, then 
situated opposite the 1* ron Church, and long used as 
a coach-office and carriers* quarters. It was at this 
office that the Laird of Monkbarns took the " Fly " 
coach for Queensferry {yide " The Antiquary"). When 
the sittings of the Scottish Parliament was about 
to terminate, on the completion of the Treaty, 
the Chancellor observed, " Now there is an end 
of an old song."* The Linen Company of Scot- 
land occupied Moray House for several years ; 
and thereafter, the late Alexander Cowan, Esq., 
paper manufacturer, father of one of the present 
Members of Parliament for the City of Edin- 
burgh, and also of Charles Cowan, Esq., ex-M.P. of 
the City, occupied it for a number of years. In 1847, 
the building and grounds were acquired by the Free 
Church for the purpose of a Normal School or Train- 
ing Institution, and is presently used as such. The 
appearance of the exterior is little changed, the 
balcony . and gateway being the same ; but various 
additional buildings, suited to the requirements of the 

• " Senators of the College of Justice." 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 133 

Institution, have been erected to the south of the 
mansion, and on the site of what was the garden, a 
church, called Moray Church, in connection with the 
Free Church, of which the Rev. Walter D. Glendin- 
ning is the pastor, has also been built therein, the 
entrance to the latter being from the South Back of 
the Canongate. 

Canongate Charity Workhouse was situated 
at the foot of the Tolbooth Wynd, and overlooked 
the Churchyard. Built in 1761, by means of sub- 
scriptions received from the inhabitants of the Burgh, 
it was occupied by the infirm and destitute poor 
of the parish. Out-door relief, as then termed, was 
given, and carried out to as great an extent as pos- 
sible. The building being comparatively small for 
the requirements of late years, a combination of the 
Parishes of the Canongate and St. Cuthbert's was 
effected, and the Canongate Charity Workhouse 
rendered unnecessary. It is now adapted as a ward 
or hospital for fever patients. 

The Tolbooth, or Jail — Although externally 
picturesque, was, like many buildings of modern day, > 
but ill adapted internally for the purpose, — being con- 
fined, the staircases narrow, and the separate apart- 
ments of small dimensions. The door of the prison, 
which is in a good state of preservation, is several 
inches in thickness, studded with large nail-heads, and 
has a very large lock and corresponding key. The 
Jail was erected in 1 591, during the reign of King 
James the Sixth, and occupied the site of a previous 
one, which, from entries in the Court books and cases 
therein recorded, was termed the " Auld Tolbuith.'* 



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134 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

The main building bears the date 1 591, and is sur- 
mounted by a turret on each side ; while a large clock 
projects to the street, supported by two long iron 
brackets. Formerly these were wooden beams, which 
must have given a peculiar look to the fabric. Over 
the archway at the wynd, or Tolbooth Wynd as 
it is called, leading to the North Back of the Canon- 
gate, is an inscription, ^^ Patri<E et Posteris^ 1 591 ;" the 
window immediately above the archway having at the 
top of it a shield with a stag's head and cross, while a 
little higher is a sun-dial. There are two bells in the 
clock tower, one of them having the inscription, " Soli 
Deo hofior et gloria, 1608," thereon ; while the other, 
which is of modern date, has the name of one of the 
Town-clerks of the Burgh, "William Fraser, jun., W.S.," 
on it. The Tolbooth or Jail was too often tenanted by 
many who suffered in the cause of liberty, for asserting 
what they considered the proper mode or formula of 
religious worship and civil government. Latterly it 
was made a prison for civil debtors, and continued to 
be used as such until the Prison buildings were erected 
in the Regent Road. It is now partly used as a 
library in connection with the Institute after-noticed — 
and for the Registrar's Offices, and apartments for the 
keeper of the building. 

The Council Chambers contained the hall or 
Court Room in which the Bailies sat and gave their 
decisions, and where the Councillors of the Burgh met. 
The Court officials had also apartments in the build- 
ing. On the front, and nearly in the centre, is a panel, 
having painted thereon a stag's head and cross — date, 
1 128, and the words " Sic itur ad astra " — the motto of 



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HISTORY' OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 135 

the armorial bearings of the Burgh, and emblematical^ 
of the legendary foundation of the Abbey of Holyrood 
and from which the Burgh of Canongate itself derived 
Its origin. Above the panel, and sculptured in the 
stone-work, are also "J. R. 6. Justiiia et pietas vaiide 
sunt principes aiHes" surmounted by a group of 
thistles. The Council buildings have of late years 
been altered externally and internally, the upper or 
dormer windows profusely ornamented with mould- 
ings, but not in correspondence with those on the 
building to the west of the Tolbooth, which have been 
simply ornamented with thistles. Internally, the hall 
is now converted into a Literary Institute for the 
benefit of the inhabitants of the district, with a library. 
In the hall is a portrait of the late Mr. John Hunter, 
long Session-Clerk, and a well-known and respected 
residenter in the Burgh. There are also two old 
panels, one of them having emblazoned in the centre a 
stag's head with cross between the antlers, surmounted 
by two angels' heads, while on a scroll underneath are 
the words, " Sic ituradastra /" supporters, two female 
figures, one holding a sword and scales ; the other 
panel bearing the arms of the United Kingdom. 

The Cross. — What is so called consists of a stone 
pillar or column, and neat capital with a shield, having 
on it the design of a stag's head and cross. The 
pillar stands on three rounded steps, and is now 
affixed to the wall at the east end of the Council 
Chamber buildings. Where this Cross originally 
stood is somewhat uncertain. In the half-yearly 
accounts (Martinmas 1573, to Whitsunday 1574) of 
John Harte, Treasurer of the Burgh, there is an entry 



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136 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

to the following effect :— " To James Brooklaye, for 
rowan the stanes of the Croce quhan the Inglish 
cannouns cam to siege the Castel, xvilis-" In old 
maps the shaft or pillar appears to be similar to that 
of the Girth Cross, — one which stood at the foot of the 
main street of the Burgh. The Cross, however, had 
been at one time in the centre of the street, — almost 
opposite the Council Chambers, where the markets 
were held ; but owing to the increased traffic on the 
street, it was removed to the present site, and the 
markets themselves transferred to the head of the 
Canongate. Instances have been given of cases where 
persons guilty of offences against the law, and of the 
canons of the Kirk, were placed at the Cross ; and the 
Cross has in the centre of the shaft a piece of iron, to 
which a chain and an iron necklet was affixed, and the 
culprit fastened thereto. The Pillory or Rack-stool 
was also a place of punishment, and situated a little 
above the Cross, on the south side of the street. 
Time and neglect are showing their effect upon the 
old Cross. Its day has truly gone bye. 

HUNTLY House. — Opposite the Council Chambers 
is a tenement, erected in 1570, having now in part a 
wooden front above the street or shop flats. This, 
at one time, was the town residence of the noble 
family of Gordon, and from which, in June, 1636, 
the aged Marquis of Huntly, while in a dying state, 
and after suffering imprisonment in the Castle of 
Edinburgh, was permitted to be removed for Huntly 
Castle, but expired on the way. In 1639, the marriage 
of a daughter to Lord Drummond, afterwards third 
Earl of Perth, took place therein and caused great 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 137 

rejoicings ; and it was the abode of the Marquis ot 
Huntly who was executed at the Cross of Edinburgh 
in 1649. In January, 1720, the house was occupied 
by the Dowager-Duchess of Gordon, who had previ- 
ously possessed it for sometime ; and, as already 
noticed, it was in this mansion where a number of 
persons were seized and incarcerated in the Tolbooth 
of the Burgh, charged with the then crime of pro- 
fessing the Roman Catholic faith, and of meeting 
together for worship in accordance with their own 
views and creed. Immediately above the shops are 
several tablets with inscriptions in Latin, and devices 
cut in the stone, — amongst others, stalks of wheat 
growing up through some bones, and the words 
*' Spes altera vita\'' but these devices and inscrip- 
tions are now partly defaced, through alterations 
made upon the shops and "cleaning" operations. 

Bakehouse Close. — Immediately adjacent to the 
last-mentioned house is Bakehouse Close, on the left 
hand of which, and at a short distance from the 
entrance, is a court-yard enclosing what was the 
mansion of Sir Archibald Acheson of Glencaimey, in 
Ireland; also a Judge or Senator of the College of 
Justice in Scotland, from 1626 to 163 1. The house 
was erected in 1633, and over the main entrance is 
the family crest, — ^a cock standing on a trumpet, and 
the motto, " Vigilantibusl' underneath being the date, 
1633 ; while over the windows are "A. M. H.," the 
initials of the owner, and his wife, Margaret Hamil- 
ton. Sir Archibald Acheson, sometime one of the 
Secretaries of State for Scotland in the reign of King 
Charles the First, was ancestor of the Earls of Gosford, 



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ijS HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

in Ireland, and acquired extensive properties there. 
The mansion is now divided and let to several tenants. 

Canongate Parish Church. — Under chapter 
viii. an account has been given of its erection, and a 
summary of its Ministers. The Church is now under 
the charge of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It 
may be mentioned that the Incorporation of Weavers, 
&c., like the other Incorporations of the Burgh, had 
sittings allotted to them, and a few years ago sub- 
scribed a large sum to aid in repairing the Church ; 
but on the building coming under the charge of 
the Commissioners, the Incorporations were deprived 
of their sittings. Some of the members of the 
Weavers' Incorporation wished to try the question 
of the Commissioners* power so to deprive them 
of their sittings ; but the majority were against 
the proposal, — principally on the ground of having 
sittings individually in other churches ; and the In- 
corporations lost both their money and sittings. In 
the elders' seat are two or three old arm-chairs, 
richly carved and finely finished, which are stated to 
have been used in the Abbey Church of Holyrood 
when occupied as the Parish Church of the Burgh. 
In the Session House are portraits of several of the 
clergymen who held charges : Drs. Buchanan, Garrioch, 
and Gilchrist, the Rev. John Clark, and Dr. Andrew 
R. Bonar. There is also on one of the walls a marble 
tablet to James Gentle, erected by the Managers of the 
Church Funds as a " monument of his long apd faith- 
ful services as their treasurer," MDCCLXXXVII. At the 
top of the front gable of the Church is a stag's head 
and antlers, being the armorial device of the Burgh. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. i39 

The Church, when under the incumbency of Dr. Lee, 
had been undergoing some repairs, and on 15th May, 
1822, Bailie Rae, then one of the Magistrates of the 
Burgh, at a meeting of the Managers and Kirk-Session, 
stated that the Rev. Dr. Lee had a stag's head and 
horns which were at the service of the Managers to 
put on the top of the gable of the Church. The 
gift was gratefully accepted and acknowledged, and 
adapted to the purpose proposed. 

Burgh School.— Adjoining the Parish Church is 
the Burgh School. The Abbots of Holyrood Abbey, 
founders and Superiors of the Burgh, took special 
interest in the cause of education, and opened several 
schools,^-one of which, then situated in High School 
Close, and previously noticed, was bestowed on the 
Magistrates, who carefully managed its affairs. Their 
successors in office provided without stint every 
accommodation for educational purposes ; and for 
extent and number of the population, the Canongate 
could compare favourably with any other Burgh in 
regard to school teaching, — the present being no ex- 
ception. Erected in 1837, it has been highly success- 
ful — ^great care having been taken by the Directory 
and Managers in securing thoroughly competent 
teachers ; and many " Canogotians," now holding 
good positions in society, can testify to the practical 
and useful character of the instructions they received 
at the Burgh School. The Head Master is Mr. 
William Corbett ; Miss Aitchison having charge of 
the female department.* 

•William Stuart Fraser, Esq., W.S., is Secretary for the Directors ; 
Mr. James Allison being Treasurer. 



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140 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Milton House was erected by Andrew Fletcher 
of Milton, a son of Robert Fletcher of Salton, and 
was born in 1692. In June, 1724, was raised to the 
Bench, took the title of Lord Milton, and in 1735 
appointed Lord Justice-Clerk. Milton House was 
occupied by him till his death in 1766. During the 
trials of persons for participating in the Rebellion of 
1745, he was much admired for the mild and judicious 
manner with which he conducted himself in the 
exercise of his authority as Justice-Clerk at that 
unhappy 'period. Indeed, many informations which 
he suspected to have been sent by over-officious and 
malignant persons, were found in his repositories, after 
his death, unopened. At the same time he used his 
best endeavours to promote the welfare of Scotland 
in improving its trade, manufacture, and agriculture.* 
The walls of Milton House were finely ornamented 
with landscapes by an Italian artist, and up till within 
a short time past, sufficient remained to show the fine 
taste of its former owner as far in advance of the period. 
The grounds and site of the house at one time com- 
prised the garden attached to the mansion of the Earl 
of Roxburghe — then situated a little to the east — 
the grounds extending southward to the back of the 
Canongate. The first Earl of Roxburghe was Lord 
Superior of the Burgh of Canongate, and when he 
disposed of the Superiorities to the Governors of 
George Heriot's Hospital, the mansion was specially 
excluded from their jurisdiction as Superiors. In 1692, 
during some repairs on the mansion, the Earl employed 
some Wrights belonging to the city of Edinburgh to do 
the work, at which the Deacon and Incorporation of 
• " Senators of the College of Justice," p. 498. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. " 141 

Wrights of the Canongate took umbrage, thinking it 
was an infringement upon their trade privileges — 
assaulted their opponents, and carried off their work- 
ing tools, but were compelled to restore them, and 
desist from interfering with any tradesmen the Earl 
might employ therein * Milton House and grounds 
was occupied as a Roman Catholic School for some 
time; and in 1842, when Her Majesty visited the city, 
the pupils of it strewed flowers in her path and par- 
ticularly attracted the attention of Her Majesty."!* 
Milton House and grounds are now used by Messrs. 
Milne & Son as a Brassfoundry and Gas Meter 
Manufactory. 

Panmure House. — Almost opposite Milton House, 
and originally having an entrance by what is now 
called Panmure Close, is the mansion at one time 
of the Earls of Panmure, one of whom was at- 
tainted for participating in the Rebellion of 1715.+ 
In 177s, the house was occupied by his nephew, 
William Maule ; and from 1778 to 1790, Dr. Adam 
Smith, the author of " The Wealth of Nations,'' 
&c., resided in it. The Countess of Aberdeen after- 
wards occupied it for some time. The mansion 
then had a large court-yard, and was surrounded by 
a garden ; but the sites of the latter are now occupied 
by buildings in connection with an iron-foundry, and 
the old mansion used for offices, and other requisite 
purposes. The foundry, known as the Panmure Iron- 
foundry, was for a long time occupied by Messrs, 

* "Domestic Annals," Vol. III., p. 7$. 
t Wilson's " Memorials of Edinburgh." Z Ibid. 



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142 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

Blackie & Sons, and now by Messrs. Kay & Macfarlane, 
Engineers. 

Reid's Close, and Haddington's Entry. — At 
the head of these and fronting the main street, is a 
land, formerly the mansion of the Nisbets of Dirleton, 
and built in 1624 by Sir John Nisbet, one of the 
Senators of the College of Justice, under the title of 
Lord Dirleton, from 1664 to 1677. He was noted for 
persecuting the Presbyterians ; and Woodrow* relates 
that one Robert Gray, having been brought before 
Nisbet and the Privy Council, and examined as to his 
knowledge of the hiding-places of certain eminent men 
of the party, declined to give the information wanted ; 
upon which Sir John Nisbet, who was then Lord 
Advocate, forcibly took off a ring from Gray's finger, 
and sent it with a messenger to Mrs. Gray, informing 
her that her husband had told all that he knew as to 
the Whigs, so termed ; and that the ring was sent by 
her husband, that she, for her own safety, should also 
confess. Gray's wife, thus deceived, revealed their 
places of concealment ; but Gray became so affected on 
hearing it, that he sickened and died in a few days. 
It is also stated by another authority, that, on one 
occasion, at the burning of his house. Lord Dirleton 
lost a curious Greek manuscript, written with his own 
hand, for recovery of which he offered ;£'iooo to any 
person that would restore it. This document, how- 
ever, was supposed to be a political onfe ; Dirleton 
was known to be learned in Greek and also in Law, 
and was the author of several works on the latter 
subject. When acting as Lord Advocate, his treat- 

* Woodrow, I., p. 293. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 143 

ment of persons under examination was so harshly 
carried out, that his familiar friend, Sir Archibald 
Primrose, is said to have cautioned him thus : — " Thou 
old rotten devil, what art thou doing ? thou will never 
rest till thou turn the fury of this people from the 
Bishop upon thyself, and get thyself stabbed some 
day/'* He, however, lived till 1687, dying at the age 
of 78. 

The Golfer's Land. — A tenement of land which 
stood almost immediately opposite was so called from 
its having been acquired by John Paterson, a shoe- 
maker in the Canongate, a noted golfer, and who, 
along with the Duke of York (afterwards James the 
Seventh), then residing in Holyrood Palace (another 
keen golfer), played a match over Leith Links against 
some English players for a large sum of money, and 
beat them. The whole sum won was given to Pater- 
son by the Duke, and expended in purchasing the 
land. The building has since been taken down ; but 
there is a commemorative tablet on part of the old 
front wall. 

Jenny Ha's Change-House, or Public, was 
situated closely adjoining the latter. It had a lath- 
and-plaster front, and was said to have been much 
frequented by the poet Gay, who was patronized by 
Lady Catherine Hyde, wife of Charles, third Duke of 
Queensberry, and whose residence was nearly opposite. 
It was a favourite lounge and noted public-house. 

Queensberry House derived its title from having 
been the residence of William, Earl of Queensberry, 

• Kirkton, p. 284. 



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144 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

but the mansion at first belonged to Lord Halton^ 
afterwards Earl of Lauderdale. The Earl of Queens- 
berry was Lord High Treasurer, and created Duke 
in 1682, and on the accession of King James the 
Seventh, was nominated Lord High Commissioner 
to the first Parliament ; but on his failure to procure a 
repeal of the penal statutes affecting Roman Catho- 
lics, was deprived of office. After the flight of the 
King, the Duke, along with other Scotch noblemen, 
joined in the address to the Prince of Orange, and 
attended the Convention ; and although he did not 
vote in declaring the Throne vacant, he acquiesced in 
the offer of the Crown to William and Mary. - He 
died in 1695. His son also, afterwards Lord High 
Commissioner, resided in the mansion, where the third 
Duke was born, and who, along with his Duchess, 
occupied it for some years. In the roll of Burgesses 
of the Canongate, under date 4th May, 1706, are the 
names of Lord Charles Douglas and Lord George 
Douglas, sons of his Grace James, Duke of Queens- 
berry, and who were made "free burgesses" of the 
ancient Burgh. Queensberry House was tenanted by 
various noblemen, — the Earl of Stair, Duke of Douglas,, 
and the Earl of Douglas. The building was sold to 
Government, and converted into barracks. A number 
of the fittings, which were very valuable, and included 
some magnificent mantlepieces, were purchased by the 
late Earl of Wemyss, and placed in Gosford House,. 
East Lothian, then being erected. Durijtig any riots 
that occurred in the city, and these were of frequent 
occurrence, the rioters shut the Ports at the Netherbow 
and Portsburgh, to prevent the troops quartered in 
Queensberry House from entering the city, and on 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 145 

the occasion of what was termed the " Porteous Mob 
Riot," such was done : the guard at the Port of Nether- 
bow having been surprised, their arms seized, and the 
gates shut. Having secured the other gates, the rioters 
proceeded to the prison where Captain Porteous was 
confined, hurried him to the Grassmarket, where he 
was hanged on a dyer's sign-post, and although large 
rewards were offered for the discovery of the prin- 
cipals, no information could be obtained.* We 
may notice here the interesting fact that William 
Falconer, the author of the beautiful and descriptive 
poem of " The Shipwreck," and who perished by ship- 
wreck a few years after writing his poem, was born on 
I ith Feb., 1732, in one of the old houses at the Nether- 
bow. In the parish register his father, who carried on 
business at the Netherbow, is designated a wig-maker ;f 
in other accounts he is termed a " poor barber." He 
was probably both at different periods of his life ; but 
at this time the wig-makers formed a class of respect- 
able burgesses in the Scottish capital. The maiden 
name of the poet's mother was Agnes Shand, and she 
was remembered as a careful and exemplary matron,, 
intelligent, industrious, and affectionate. Some years 
after this riot, Queensberry House was sold by the 
Government, purchased by the City for the purposes 
of a charitable institution, enlarged, and partly occu- 
pied as a House of Refuge. What was the mansion 
of a Duke is now a shelter for the vagrant. 

Whitefoord House, entering by Galloway's 
Entry, was built and occupied by Sir John White- 



* Stevenson's "Chronicles of Edinburgh," p. 198. 
t ** Life of William Falconer," by Robert Camithers. 



L 



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146 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

foord, of Whitefoord in Ayrshire. It was for some 
time the residence of Sir William Macleod, a Judge 
of the Court of Session, under the title of Lx>rd 
Bannat)me, and who sat as such from 1799 until 
1823, when he resigned and then received the honour 
of knighthood. He was a nephew of Lady Clan- 
ranald, who had been confined in the Tower of 
London for aiding Prince Charles. Whitefoord House 
occupied part of the site of the mansion of the Earls 
of Wintoun, the last of whom was attainted for 
participating in the Rebellion of 1715, and died at 
Rome in 1749. Lord Seton, or Seyton, the ancestor 
of the Wintouns, resided in the mansion, and received 
Lord Darnley as his guest, shortly previous to the 
latter's marriage to Queen Mary. The family of the 
Setons were for generations one of the most powerful 
and wealthy in the kingdom, and firm adherents of 
Queen Mary, as were also their descendants the 
Wintouns, to that of the Stuarts. The mansion of 
the Wintouns shared the misfortunes of its noble 
owner, as, from a map of Edinburgh, it appears little 
remained of it in 1742. In the Records of the Burgh 
the family name often occurs. In 1666, on the occa- 
sion of the baptism of a daughter, Marie, one of the 
witnesses present was Alexander, Viscount Kingston, 
whose descendant, like the Earl, was attainted in 17 16, 
and his name struck off the roll of the Scotch Peerage. 
It was in " my Lord Seyton's hous in the Canc^ait," 
in the year 1582, that the Ambassador from the Court 
of France resided for some time as a guest. The old 
house is also noticed by Sir Walter Scott in his 
^' Abbot." Whitefoord House has been much altered, 
and is now used as a manufactory for typefounding. 



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THE WHITEHORSE INN. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 147 

the business being carried on by a firm under the 
designation of "The Marr Typefounding Company 
(Limited)." 

The Whitehorse Inn. — At the north end or foot 
of the Whitehorse Close, there still remains a large 
building, which, at one time, had an open court or 
square, but is now built upon on the east and west 
sides, — long known and patronised as one of the 
principal inns in the old Burgh, and tenanted for a 
number of years by " Lucky Wood," whose culinary 
abilities and other good qualities as a landlady were 
recognised throughout Scotland, and greatly appre- 
ciated by visitors. The Inn or Hostlery was called 
^* The Whitehorse ;" and on the landlady's death, 
Allan Ramsay deplored the sad event, and also the 
unfortunate position to which the Burgh had been 
reduced, not only in losiqg such a landlady, but 
by the departure of the King and the principal 
members of the Scotch nobility to London on the 
accession of James the Sixth to the throne of Eng- 
land. The main entrance was from the principal 
street, through a porch or gateway, the access to 
the house being by a flight of broad steps, flanked 
with stone banisters, while internally the rooms were 
very commodious ; and, looking at these at the present 
time, the building generally must have had a fine 
effect. The dormpr windows to the north had orna- 
mental devices, and sufficient still remains to show 
the former grandeur of the old Inn in which many 
of the gallant chiefs and followers of " Prince Charlie " 
had their abode when Holyrood Palace was occupied 
by their royal leader. Scott, in " Waverley," has im- 



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148 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

mortalized the old Inn. It is now divided into separate 
houses, inhabited by several tenants, and fast falling^ 
into decay. 

The Girth Cross. — At the foot of the main street 
of the Canongate stood a Cross which, from old maps, 
appears to have been a very pretty structure. Pro- 
clamations were made at the Girth Cross as well as 
at St. John's. In June, 1571, when Leith was held 
for King James the Sixth, one was ordered to be 
made at the " Girth Croce by ane Herald or Officiar 
of Armes," warning the inhabitants residing in the 
quarter from holding communication with the "haulders 
of the Burghe of Edinburghe against oure Soveraine 
Lord and hes authoritie, under pane of confiscatioune 
o* thair guids." In October of the same year, the Regent 
Mar warned the inhabitants of Edinburgh " to repaire 
furth thairof within 24 hours, otherwise thaye will 
be held partakers and assistaris with the declarit 
traitouris an rebells an conspiratouris of oure Soveraine 
Ledy's name and authoritie."* At the Girth Cross 
criminals were frequently executed ; those caught 
" red hand," or in the act, and apprehended within the 
jurisdiction of the Magistrates, were immediately 
executed. On 28th December, 1591, nine of the 
adherents of Francis, Earl of Bothwell, were hanged 
at the Girth Cross without trial, the day after the 
attempt made by the Earl and his followers to secure 
the person of the King, then residing in Holyrood 
Palace. It is noted also as being the place where the 
wife of the Laird of Warriston was beheaded for aid- 
ing in the murder of her husband, who possessed the 

* "Records of Privy Council," I., p. 157. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 149 

estate of Warriston, then at a considerable distance 
from the city. Jean Livingston, twenty-one years of 
age, and very beautiful, was a daughter of Livingston 
of Dunipace ; while her husband was much older, and 
had a bad and outrageous temper. It would appear 
that he treated his wife very cruelly, so much so as to 
drive her to commit the crime, or rather persuade a 
man-servant of her husband's to strangle him when 
asleep in bed. The nurse and another female servant 
were also implicated as accomplices, along with Lady 
Warriston. Weir, the man-servant, escaped at the time, 
but was shortly afterwards caught, and condemned 
to be broken on the wheel, — or, according to the 
sentence given, " to be broken upoune ane row until 
he be deid." This horrible death was seldom inflicted 
in Scotland. The condemned person being placed 
or fastened on a wheel, the hangman, with the 
coulter of a plough, broke the man's bones till he was 
dead. Lady Warriston was condemned to be executed 
by the "Maiden,"* a concession granted owing to 
the entreaties of her friends, — the usual sentence 
at the time being strangling at the stake, and burn- 
ing the body. At three o'clock on the morning 
of the Sth July, 1600, she was beheaded ; while 
the female servants were burnt to death on the 
Castlehill at the same hour, with the intention of 
diverting the populace from the lady — who sympa- 
thized with her, not only on account of her youth and 
beauty, but from the harsh treatment she had received 
from her husband. The site of the Girth Cross, or 

* This was an instrument of death partly invented by the Earl of 
Morton, sometime Regent, and who suffered by the * Maiden" i 
1580. 



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ISO HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

place of execution — a short distance west of the 
pubh'c well, and in the centre of the street — is marked 
on the causeway by a number of stones formed into 
a small circle. A little further east, and running north 
and south, a line, called " the Girth," marks the western 
boundary of the Sanctuary of Holyrood. 

The Water Yett, or Gateway, — As already 
mentioned, the principal approach from the east coast 
to Edinburgh was by the Eastern, now called Easter 
RodidyVia the Water Yett and Canongate to the Nether- 
bow Port. The Yett stood at the foot of the Canon- 
gate, at the junction of the North Back of the Canon- 
gate and Abbeyhill. There are numerous entries in 
the Records of the Burgh having reference to this 
gateway. On 4th August, 1568, it is stated: "The 
quhilk daye the Baillies and Counsaill ordanes thair 
Theasurer to caus mend sufficientlie the Port of the 
Water Yett, and to caus mak ane sufficient lok and 
kei thairto, with ane kei and lok to the Port and Yett 
passin in and to the Abbey Kirke." During the wars 
with England, and between the contending factions 
in Scotland, the Water Yett is frequently mentioned 
as the scene of many combats. In 1571, one took 
place "at ye Water Gait between the adherents of 
Queen Mary and those of James the Sixth, when the 
Abbot of Kilwinning was slane," along with a number 
of other persons. Great numbers of the Queen's party 
were killed and wounded on this occasion, and many 
taken prisoners ; and the day was long after known as 
the "Black Saturday." Other instances have been 
given of these feuds. On the removal of the old 
Water Yett, the site was marked by a wooden arch 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 151 

stretching across the narrow roadway, the centre of 
the arch being ornamented with the Burgh arms ; but 
the buildings on the east side having become dilapi- 
dated, were taken down, the roadway widened, and 
the wooden arch altogether removed. The dues or 
customs on goods entering the Burgh were formerly 
collected at the Yett. 

St. Thomas's Hospital. — Situated at a short dis- 
tance outside the Water Yett was an Hospital of this 
name, founded in 1535 by George Crighton, Bishop of 
Dunkeld, and the patronage vested in the founder's 
heirs. The Bishop had previously been Abbot of 
Holyrood Abbey, and the Hospital was acquired by 
the Magistrates of the Burgh in 1571, and used as a 
home or shelter for the aged and infirm poor. In 16 17 it 
was partly rebuilt, and transferred to the Managers and 
Kirk-Session of Canongate ; but the revenues, through 
mismanagement, gradually disappeared, the charity 
neglected, and the building becoming ruinous, what 
remained of it was in 1747 converted into coach- 
houses and stables ; and for a number of years this 
locality was the only place where coaches and 
sedan chairs could be had on hire by the citizens 
of Edinburgh and Canongate ; and till within the 
last few years coaching establishments were kept 
here. Stage-coaches between Edinburgh and Leith 
first began to run in 1660, — Adam Woodcock ob- 
taining liberty to start a stage-coach ; and in 1673 
hackney coaches were first used in Edinburgh. On 
6th August, 1678, coaches between Edinburgh and 
Glasgow commenced to ply ; and in 1750 the common 
one-horse cart, similar to that of the present, came 



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152 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

into use. In the Burgh, for a number of years, a 
regularly-constituted Society of Coach-drivers existed, 
and a piece of ground in the Canongate Churchyard 
belonged to its members. 

Queen Mary's Bath. — ^A little eastwards is a 
curious building, jutting out on the footpath, popu- 
larly known as " Queen Mary's Bath." Whether it 
was ever used for such a purpose is unknown, but 
there was a spring of fine clear water in the interior 
of the building. When Rizzio was murdered in the 
Palace, the Earl of Atholl, then Lord High Chancellor, 
was at supper along with some others in Secretary 
Lethington's apartments in Holyrood ; and during the 
tumult, the Earl, together with Bothwell and Huntly, 
escaped from the Palace by leaping over a window, 
and thence towards the little garden, where the lions 
were lodged.* It is more than probable that the " Bath " 
formed part of one of the porches or entrances to the 
Abbey. Some years ago the proprietor of the tene- 
ment adjoining had to make some alterations, and in 
taking down part of a staircase, a portion of the roof 
of the Bath had to be removed, when a dagger was 
found. It was much corroded, but apparently had 
been richly inlaid ; and it is supposed that the 
weapon had belonged to one of the murderers of 
Rizzio. 

* ** Mel ville*s Memoirs," p. 149. 



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CHAPTER XIV. 

HOLYROOD PALACE— ABBEY — ^THE SANCTUARY, ETC. 

||b|Ui|JH|N the opening chapter notice has been taken 
Be HBI ^^ ^^^ Palace and Abbey of Holyrood, and, 
'"^•^'^1 although deriving origin from the same 
source as that of the Canongate, it would be super- 
fluous to enter here into any detail of their history, or 
the many events which occurred within their walls, as 
these have been dilated upon by others, and the fact 
of Holyrood being a Regality independent of that of 
the Canongate. Closely connected with the Palace 
and Abbey — and many of the nobility having places 
of residence in the Canongate when Courts were held 
in Holyrood — the Burgh consequently participated 
alternately in all the changes of sunshine and shade 
which befell the Abbey and Palace. A very short 
summary, however, of a few of the changes and 
alterations on the Palace, of more modern date, may 
be appropriate. King Charles the First, who was 



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154 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATR 

crowned in Holyrood in 1633 with great pomp and 
magnificence, did much to improve and enlarge the 
Palace buildings : one memento of his visit, popu- 
larly, but erroneously, known as " Queen Mary's 
Sun-dial," situated in the garden of the Palace, having 
been placed there by him, and bears the initials of the 
King, Queen, and Prince of Wales. Within the last 
few years numerous improvements have been effected 
on the surroundings of the Palace. A little to the 
south were a cluster of houses with gardens, called St. 
Ann's Yards, tenanted by nobles and commoners ; 
the Duke's Walk, which lay between these and the 
Palace, and extended in an eastward direction, have 
all been removed, and the sites incorporated within 
the Palace grounds. A house, with small back-yard, 
which stood on the slope of the hill a little above 
where the Rood Well now is, has also been taken 
down. Eastwards of the Palace, an old mansion, 
called Clockmylne House, or Cloicksholm,* latterly 
" Bellevue," and grounds, were purchased by Govern- 
ment, the house taken down, and the whole space 
added to the Park. Fronting the Palace, a beautiful 
fountain has been placed in the square, — being a copy 
of the original fountain at Linlithgow, — ^while a guard- 
house and stables have also been erected ; and, at the 
north-west end, a new approach via Regent Road 
and Abbeyhill, has been opened up to the Palace. 
Various other extensive and beneficial changes have 
been effected — two small sheets of water, respectively 
called St. Margaret's and Dunsappie Lochs, belts of 
trees or plantings, lodges at the various entrances to 
the Drive and parks — all contributing to render the 
* From the Gaelic word, Cloich^z. stone. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 155 

Palace more salubrious and attractive as a residence. 
" The Duke's Walk " derived its appellation from 
having been a favourite promenade of the Duke of 
York (afterwards King James the Seventh) when 
residing in Holyrood. The Duke was Lord High 
Commissioner for King Charles the Second to the 
Scottish Parliament, and endeavoured to ingratiate 
himself with the Scottish nobility and people. Balls, 
masquerades, and levees, were of frequent occurrence, 
and the Canongate once more enjoyed a brief season of 
prosperity — brief indeed, and, ere long, sad the change. 
Since the Duke of York resided in the Palace, 
it has been the temporary abiding-place of Prince 
Charles Stuart, and the Duke of Cumberland. The 
Comte D'Artois — afterwards King Charles the Tenth 
of France — occupied it for some time when Count, and, 
after his abdication in 1830 as King, again resided in 
it from 1830 till September, 1832. Others of lesser 
note, and to whom fortune had played fickle, obtained 
friendly shelter within its walls. In our own day it 
has been graced by the occasional residence of Her 
Majesty the Queen and Royal family, and may, per- 
haps, once more be favoured with the Royal presence, 
and its halls resume courtly splendour and gaiety. 

Holyrood Abbey. — ^Without attempting to give 
even a passing remark on the many interesting tablets 
and memorials erected within its walls to the illus- 
trious dead — for the dust of Kings, Queens, Nobles, 
and Commoners co-mingle — it may not be out of place 
to notice a most interesting discovery lately made in 
regard to the lectern which belonged to the old Abbey, 
and which was removed therefrom when the English 



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156 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

army, under the Earl of Hertford, in 1543, plundered 
the Abbey, and almost entirely destroyed it by fire. 
The account of its discovery is as follows : — ^** Apart 
from any conjectures as to its history, this lectern is 
of special interest as being the only known example 
formerly pertaining to Scotland which has escaped the 
disastrous issues of civil and religious commotions. Its 
history is very singular. About the year 1750, when a 
grave was being dug in the chancel of St. Stephen's 
Church, St. Alban's, Hertfordshire, the lectern was 
found buried in the soil. It is supposed to have been 
thus concealed at some time during the Civil Wars. 
It is of cast brass, and of a handsome design, consist- 
ing of an eagle with expanded wings supported by a 
shaft decorated with several groups of mouldings, 
partly circular and partly hexagonal. The eagle stands 
upon a globe, and the shaft has been originally sup- 
ported on three feet, which are now gone. In its 
present state the lectern is five feet seven inches in 
total height. It bears the inscription — * Georgius 
CreichtouHy Episcopus Dunkeldensis! He died 24th 
January 1 543, and previous to his elevation to the see 
of Dunkeld he had been Abbot of Holyrood. The 
probability therefore, is, that the lectern had been 
presented to Holyrood by the Abbot on his elevation 
to the see of Dunkeld, and that it was taken from 
Holyrood by Sir Richard Fea of Sopwell, who accom- 
panied the Earl of Hertford in his invasion of Scot- 
land in 1543. On his return. Sir Richard presented to 
the parish church of St Alban's a brazen font bearing 
a magniloquent inscription, to the effect that though 
previously designed for the baptism only of the children 
of kings, it now, in gratitude for its rescue from the 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 157 

fire which consumed Edinburgh and Leith, performed 
the same service for the meanest of the English. T^is 
font, which was doubtless abstracted from Holyrood, 
is no longer known to exist, and there seems no 
reason to doubt that the lectern, which was saved by 
being buried during the Civil Wars, was abstracted 
at the same time, and given to the parish church of 
St. Alban's by the donor of the font." * 

We now revert to the starting point of this history, 
and conclude by bringing under notice one peculiar 
privilege still existing, belonging to the Abbey, and in 
the maintenance of which the Burgh of Canongate 
had a special interest — a privilege asserted by the 
Abbots, successfully maintained by them and the 
Magistrates of the Burgh, and still recognised by the 
law of the realm — that is, the right of sanctuary. 

In the olden times the Abbey of Holyrood had the 
right of affording shelter or refuge to certain criminals, 
or, as it was termed, " the right of girth " or sanctuary, 
and severe punishments were inflicted upon any one 
assaulting or endeavouring by force to seize any 
person who had crossed the Girth — that is, got within 
the sacred limits or boundaries of the Abbey, and 
craved the King's peace or pardon through the Abbot, 
or offered to stand his trial for the crime alleged 
against him. The following instance is given to show 
the extent to which this right to grant the privilege of 
sanctuary was claimed in bygone days. It was in 

* Vide Paper by Corresponding Member, Mr. William Galloway, 
Architect, at a meeting of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 
held at Edinburgh, on nth April 1879. 



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158 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

the form of what may now be termed a Petition for 
Interdict, but at that period took the name of "a 
Supplicatioune." It is dated 7th March, 1569, and 
was presented to the Lords of the Privy Council ; and 
as it is in itself curious and worthy of note, it is fully 
given, and is to the following effect : — 

" Supplicatioune given in by Adam, Bischop o' Orkney, Com- 
mendatore of Haliruidhous and Convent thairof, and alsweil 
Mr. Johnne Spens of Condy, Avocat, to our Soverane Lorde 
for Hes Gtace's interest ; and the indwellaris and inhabi- 
tants of the Canogait beneth the Girthe Croce thairof for 
thair interest ; agains William Barrie, and Henri Sincler, 

brother to umquhile Sincler of Gosfurde; makin 

mentioun : 

" That quhan oure Souverane Lordis predecessouris, Kingis of 
Scotland for the tyme, hes of auld, at the foundatioune of the 
saidis Abbaye of Haliruidhous, grantit the privilege of the 
Girthe and immunities thairof to the haill boundis of the said 
Abbacy, and to that pairt of the Burghe of Canogait, frae the 
Girthe Croce doune to the Cloickisholm Mylne, quhilk privilege 
of Girthe has been inviolablie observit to all maner of persounes 
cumin within the boundis foirsaidis, — not committan the crymes 
expresslie exceptit frae all maner of Girth, — and that in all 
tymes bygane past memorie of man. Nochtheless William 
Barrie, Messinger, accompanit wi certane men of weir, armit wi 
culveringes, daggis, swordis, and uther wapponis, invasive cam 
to the dwellan hous of Thomas Hunter, within the foirsaidis 
boundaris, and beset the saymn round about and perforce brak 
up the dures thairof, baith on the baksyde and foirsyde, under 
and abune, and entirit in weir maner thairintill, and rypit the 
saidis haill lugeing : for quhat caus we knaw nocht, and that 
under coUour o' searchin for sum persoune allegit committan of 
sum cryme ; — quhilk hous within the boundis foirsaidis aucht 
justlie to have been girthe and place of surenes to quhatsumevir 
persounes resortan thairto, quha has nocht committit treasoune, 
murther, or sic uther crymes exceptit frae the privilege of Girthe. 
And siclike Thomas Barrie, Messinger, upoune the viii. daye or 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 159 

thairby of Februar instant, accompanit with xvi. or xvii. men 
of weir, armit wi wapponis foirsaidis, cam to the saymn dwellan 
hous of the saidis Thomas Hunter, and also to the housis of 
Andre Chalmer and Sir Johnne Stevenson within the boundis 
foirsaidis, and maisterfullie and perforce brak up the dures 
thairof and entirit within the saymn, serchit and socht thro the 
saidis housis under coUour of seekin of sum persounes quham 
thaye knaw nocht, and sae hes violate the privilege of the Girthe 
grantit to the boundis foirsaidis, in hie contemptioune of our 
Souverane Lordis authoritie, and thairthrough hes incurrit the 
panes of violatioune of Girthe." 

The Bishop obtained what may be called Interim 
Interdict on presenting his " Supplicatioune/' There- 
after, at a hearing, the Bishop being present, and 
" Avocat," as above, and James Sincler, " William and 
Thomas Barrie, though summonsed, nocht compearan, 
the Lords of the Privy Council heard divers alleganccs 
proponit for the pairt of the saidis persounnes, 
defenders agains the saidis Bischop o* Orkney in the 
saidis matter, quhilk were repellet," continued the 
interdict as against the Barries ; and in regard to 
Sincler, assigned loth April for a proof of the charge, 
so far as he was concerned. 

The privileges pertaining to the right of " girth," 
or sanctuary, so far as criminals were concerned, were 
abolished at the time of the Reformation ; but, up to 
the present date, the privilege of sanctuary is still 
recognised by law, as giving right to any person seek- 
ing protection or freedom from arrest for debt, on his 
placing himself within the " Girth," or boundaries of 
the Abbey. These bounds comprehend the whole 
area within the Palace, parks, the Abbey Strand, and 
houses in the vicinity inside the Girth. The boundary 
at the Strand is shown by a double row of stones on 



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i6o HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

the causeway, and so long as the debtor keeps within 
the Girth he is safe from arrest. As no debtor can be 
arrested on Sunday, he can leave the Sanctuary at 
twelve o'clock on the Saturday evening and visit his 
friends, but must be within the friendly boundary 
again before twelve o'clock on the Sunday night. 
Persons obtaining shelter were facetiously called 
"Abbey Lairds." The Bailie of Holyrood holds a 
Court at stated times for disposal of various matters 
of business in connection with the Regality, in the 
Court-house at the Abbey Strand. This Court-house 
was, at one time, a portion of one of the porches or 
entrances to the Abbey. A debtor once within the 
bounds is free from arrest ; but if he wishes to remain 
longer than twenty-four hours, he must apply for a 
protection from .the Bailie, which is at once granted. 
Many stories are told of debtors rushing to obtain the 
much-desired refuge of the Sanctuary pursued by the 
officers of the law, and narrowly escaping capture ; 
and it is said that a case was tried before the Courts, 
where a debtor, thus pursued, stumbled when at the 
boundary line, and was seized when lying on the 
ground ; but, as his head and the upper portion of 
his person was within the Girth, it was maintained 
that, these being the principal parts of the human 
frame, the arrestment was illegal. The argument was 
held sound, and the debtor obtained liberty, and 
thereupon secured the desired protection of the 
Sanctuary. No trace, however, can be had of this 
important decision, so it may be classed along with 
some of the alleged "sayings and doings" of the 
Bailies of the Burgh of Canongate when administering 
justice. The Sanctuary is the only place in Scotland 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. i6i 

having such a privilege belonging to it. Any one, 
however, who incurs debts while within the bounds 
loses his right of freedom from arrest for these parti- 
cular debts. The privilege of the Sanctuar>' is very 
frequently taken use of by debtors, principally for 
the purpose of obtaining time in arranging with 
their creditors, or until the legal process of cessio 
bonorum, or sequestration of their estates, is carried 
out. Although the Regality of Holyrood and the 
Burgh of Canongate had for many years the same 
Lord Superiors, separate jurisdictions, courts, and 
officials were maintained ; and the following claim, 
made by the Treasurer of the Burgh and brought 
before the Magistrates, will suffice to show the inde- 
pendent position taken by the Bailie of Holyrood : — 
"28th Octobre, 1578.— The Baillie-Depute of the 
Regalitie of Haliruidhous. — The quhilk daye Johnne 
Watsoune, Baillie-Depute of the Regalitie of Haly- 
ruidhous, beand requyrit for payment of XVI. f. borroit 
furthe of the Common Box, quhilk wes payit for the 
Inhabitants of Leyth, parte of the Bailyourie, quha 
answerit he had nocht to answer thairfoir to the said 
Baillies, but only to the Lord Justice -Clerk" (the 
then Superior of Canongate, Holyrood, and Barony 
of Broughton). The Bailie of Holyrood has a staff 
of officials consisting of at Procurator-fiscal, Clerk, and 
Officer* 

There is also a Society called "The High Con- 
stables of Holyrood," principally composed of mer- 

* William Bremner Hay, Esq., S.S.C, is Bailie, and has held office 
for a number of years. Procurator-fiscal, Mr. John Gellatley, 
S.S.C; Clerk, Mr. John Wallace, Solicitor; and the Ofhcer, Mr. 
Robert M*Bean. 

M 



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i62 HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 

chants in the Burgh of Canongate, or connected 
therewith by birth or residence ; and since the 
abolition, in 1856, of the Society of High Con- 
stables of the Canongate, the number of the mem- 
bers of that of Holyrood has been increased. The 
Society assert the privilege, and exercise enthu- 
siastically and loyally the right of acting as a 
Guard of Honour to the Sovereign, or any mem- 
ber of the Royal family, and the Lord High 
Commissioner to the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland, while residing in the Palace. 
The officials consist of a Moderator, Vice-Moderator, 
Treasurer, Secretary, Surgeon, Captain of the Guard, 
Custodier of Batons, and about twenty-five ordinary 
members. The present Vice-Moderator lately pre- 
sented the Society with a handsome gold medal 
and chain, to be worn by the Moderator on official 
occasions. 



The Burgh of Canongate — founded, reared, and 
nourished by the Church, and protected by the Crown 
for generations — after experiencing many vicissitudes 
and changes, has at last succumbed to constitutional 
decay ; the sand-glass of its Corporate duration is 
run out ; — Magistracy, Incorporations, and kindred 
institutions abolished. Even the old landmarks are 
fast disappearing, and its sun has set ; but the scenes 
enacted in days of former glory, wherein the Burgh 
had an important share, are too deeply graven on 
the historic page to be readily obliterated, and will 
remain for ages yet to come. 



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HISTORY OF THE BURGH OF CANONGATE. 163 

Holyrood ! companion in glory and misfortune ! 
What changes have passed over thee! The birth- 
place of Kings — scenes of war, with its accompanying 
horrors — fire — pillage — party feuds — intrigues — Mary 
Queen of Scots, with her four Maries — marriage fes- 
tivities — death — murder — the stern Reformer John 
Knox, with his exhortations and denunciations — 
weepings after Carberry — Charles the First — Crom- 
well's Puritanic and dominant rule — a Palace trans- 
formed to barracks for his soldiers ! Again a change. 
Prince Charles Stuart and his adherents in evanescent 
glory — Cumberland, after Culloden's dark and gory 
heath — silence — neglect. Now a shrine for pilgrims 
from every land, to be gazed upon with reverential 
awe when meditating on the past. A romance and 
a tragedy, in stone and lime, of all that is most 
fascinating in Scottish History! 




[appendix. 



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APPENDIX. 



-ooj«<o 



List of Office- Bearers of the Society of High Co7istables 
of the Burgh of Canongate from 1810 until i8j6 
(the previous Minute Books being lost) : — 



Year. 
1810 


Moderator. 
David Neilson. 


Treaswer. 
Alex. Berwick. 


Secretary. 
A. Cameron. 


1811 


... 


John Rae. 




1812 
1813 




William Watters. 




1814 
1815 
1816 


... 


A. Cameron. 


W. Watters. 


1817 


William Christie. 


... 




1818 


Archibald Camp- 
bell, brewer. 


Walter Thorburn. 


Thos. Drybrough. 


1819 
1820 


Thos. Drybrough, 
brewer. 


John Christie. 


Stephen Laurence. 
W. Watters. 


1821 
1822 


John Christie. 
Walter Thorbum. 


George More. 


Henry Wharton. 



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APPENDIX. 



165 



year. Moderator, 

1823 George Fen wick. 

1824 George More. 
1825 

1826 William Arthur. 

1827 David Calder. 

1828 Robert Henry. 

1829 William Buchan. 

1830 Arch. Campbell. 

1 83 1 Arch. Campbell. 

1832 George Gulland. 

1833 James Scott. 

1834 Alexander Bryce. 

1835 John Steele. 

1836 Robert Hendry. 
^^yi John Mackay. 

1838 William Shiel. 

1839 John Simpson. 

1840 William Reid. 

1 84 1 Thomas Ritchie. 

1842 J as. Sommerville. 

1843 William Reid. 

1844 Abram Brooks. 

1845 Alexander Kyd. 

1846 Thomas Wood. 

1847 David Smith. 

1848 Grieg Nelson. 

1849 John Morrison. 

1850 John Dalgliesh. 

1 85 1 Alexander Dyer. 

1852 John Disher. 

1853 David Forgan. 

1854 G. F. Blaikie. 

1855 William Borland. 

1856 George Swan. 



Treasurer, 
George More. 
David Irvine. 



Secretaiy. 
Henry Wharton. 
G. J. Jack. 



Wm. Sheppherd. George G. Bruce. 



William Buchan. 
R. Coldwell. 
Alexander Forbes. 
David Small. 
A. Cameron. 
Alexander Bryce. 
David Johnston. 
Robert Henry. 
James Cameron. 
William Shiels. 
John Simpson. 
R. Wood. 
David James. 
Jas. Sommerville. 
James Brock. 
Abram Brooks. 
Wm. Johnston. 
Thomas Wood. 
David Smith. 
Edward Thomson. 

John Dalgliesh. 
Alexander Dyer. 
John Disher. 
David Forgan. 
H. Macpherson. 
William Borland. 
George Swan. 
Andrew Slater. 



R. Coldwell. 
Peter Tait. 
John Hunter. 
George Robertson. 
Robert Bishop. 
David Johnston. 
John Steele. 
— Stoddart. 
John Mackay. 
J. Gourlay. 
D. Malloch. 
William Reid. 
J. Sommerville. 
James Brock. 
Abram Brooks. 
Wm. Johnston. 
Wm. McGregor. 
Joseph Knight. 
John Tweedie. 
Robert Thomson. 

James B. Macleod. 
John Disher. 
Walter Baxter. 
H. Macpherson. 
G. F. Blaikie. 
H. Thomson. 
Andrew Slater. 
John Bain. 



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i66 APPENDIX. 

List of Office-Bearers and Members of the High 
Constables^ or Guard of Honour^ of Holyrood, 
for Year iSjg : — 

Moderator, 
Thomas Carmichael. 

Vice- Moderator, 
William Ford, of Femeyside. 

Treasurer J 
Daniel Shiels. 

Secretary, 
Robert Darling Ker. 

Surgeon, 
John Sadler. 

Captain of the Guard, 
William Cownie. 

Custodier of Batons, 
James Dickson. 

Honorary Member— kmy^'S?^ Kerr. 

Members : — 

Duncan Anderson. John Morrison, Junr. 

Samuel Hunter. Alexander Forbes. 

Dr. J. MiDDLETON. J. w. Thomson. 

Robert Younger. Thomas Drybough. 

Andrew Slater. John Stewart. 

Thomas Paterson. James Allison. 



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George F. Blaikie. 

Charles Ritchie. 

James Taylor. 
Robert Moves. 
James Coxson. 
Robert Mitchell. 



APPENDIX. 

Richard G. Muir. 

Samuel Wilson. 

James Pringle. 
George Scott. 
George A. Panton. 



167 



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Hisiorv of lh« burgh of CwionoaEK, 
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lUNilHIIIIII 

3 2044 081 264 343