‹‹‹ prev (44)

(46) next ›››

.' JDINBTJRGH, the beautiful metropolis of Scotland, occupies a
ffie in the northern part of the county of Edinburgh, or Mid-
lothian, remarkable for its romantic inequalities, its rich
istorical reminiscences, and the beauty of its architectural
eatures, within two miles from the south shore of the Frith of
jiirth ; in lat. 55 deg. 57 niin. 23 sec. N., and longitude 3 deg. 10
min. 30 sec. w. ; distant from London 392 miles (by rail 427). 91
rom Carlisle (110 by rail), 55 from Berwick-upon-Tweed (57J by
â– ail), nearly 44 from Glasgow (47s- by rail), 43 from Dundee (by
«iV66), 109 from Aberdeen, 241 from Inverness, by Aberdeen, and
91 from Inverness by Perth.
The o.igin of Edinburgh, as of many other towns of high
ntiquit is shrouded in great obscurity ; there can be little
.oubt, however, that the town grew up around the lofty castle
ock, a f> -tress almost impregnable before the introduction of
unpowder, and which rises abruptly with precipitous sides on
he north, '--est, and south, sloping eastward into a ridge, steep
oth on i-o northern and southern sides. It was on this ridge
I hat the town first began to be built. The most ancient name on
I ecord applied to the rock fortress is Casteth Mynyd Agnes, "the
I ortress of the hill of Saint Agnes." The name Edinburgh is said
I } be derived from Edwin, an Anglo-Saxon King of Northumbria,
•ho died in 634. The Lothians, and whole south-east of Scotland,
I .-ereat that time part of the kingdom of Northumbria; the northern
I arts of the country were then the scene of continual wars.
An old G.-ehc; name of Edinburgh is Dunedin. For some
I onturies tht town was confined entirely to the ridge already
I oticed. On .*. orth was a lake, now drained, the North Loch.
.'Hi 'other sides ..as defended by a wall, of which some traces
, ViH remain. . .iter the cession of Lothian to the Scots, in 1020,
tin- eastle often became the residence of the Scottish monarchs.
Jimd in the 12th century David I. made it his favourite habitation.
I I â– wellings now m 'tiplied around it, and David founded the
obey of Holyrooc'.. whose canons he empowered to erect a
iburb westward of their abbey ; and this suburb soon united
' self with Edinbuigh, which had rapidly extended itself down
_ie declivity of the castle eastward. The monks gave the name
I Canonsburgh, or Oanongate, to their new town, which
'pellation it still beirs. The long street thus formed between
ce ahbey and the cast consisted, it is presumed, of very humble
sellings, as it appeu that long after this period they were
latched with straw. . rom William the Lion, about the close of
le 12th century, it is supposed the town received the privileges
a royal burgh, and tie honour of being a place of mintage-
it soon after, this .onarch, as the price of his liberty,
, rrendered it to Hem/ II., King of England, by whom it was
amed till 1186. In the year 1214 a parliament first assembled
re, in the reign of Alex? iaer II. In 1239 a general council of
i Scottish church met ha; and during the reign of Alexander
.. it became the royal .esidence, and the depository of the
â–  >rds and regalia of the kin glom . In 1291 the town and castle
-re surrendered to King Edward I., but were speedily regained
b. the Scots, who held then, until the fatal battle of Dunbar in
li.)4, enabled Edward to recapture them. The castle continued in
ossession of the English until 1312, when it once more reverted
Scotland. In 1326, the fourteenth parliament of Bruce met in
•lyrood Abbey; and the next year was memorable for the
mssion of the borough representatives among those of the
ler estates, and for the confirmation of the treaty of Northamp-
•, by which the independence of Scotland was acknowledged by
ward III. Shortly after, Robert I. granted a charter to the
.abitants of Edinburgh, and placed under their dominion the
rn of Leith. "with its harbour and mills." During the reign
adward in. the eastle twice changed hands, but it ultimately
.nutted to its natural masters, and the city continued to
. rease in importance, until it became the residence of the
, ,5. , n f rles of the government, after the murder of James
n 14 S6-7, after which it became the recognised metropolis of
) kingdom Edinburgh now rapidly increased in population;
' ?* w , as hemmea in by walls, houses of great height were
:ted, and very close together.
ne . character of the Old Town at the present day is derived
â– m this time. At this time, also, a new street was 'formed, the
wgate, parallel to the main street on the south, at the bottom
Mie ridge, now one of the poorest and most narrow streets in the
Id lown. About the middle of the 15th century Edinburgh
n»rrw rC f ed , b - v ™"s- ^ <*e instigation of James II., the
narnage of which monarch with Mary Gueldres, and her
HnW.â€ΕΎ5 ' £T c , eleb, ; ate d with great pomp in the Abbey of
SIâ„¢,,^'. m h ^ey became the tomb of the king eleven years
afterwards. The turbulent reign of James in. succeeded, during
1 — A-R
which the sites of the markets were determined, the provoBt
made sheriff of the town, and various municipal privileges
granted to the inhabitants ; in token of the bravery and loyalty
of the inhabitants, a banner was also given to them, to be
displayed "in defence of their king, their country, and their
own rights." This flag, from its colour, received the name of the
' ' blue blanket," and remains now in the custody of the con vener of
the trades, at whose appearance therewith, says tradition, not only
the artificers of Edinburgh, but those of the whole kingdom, are
to repair to it, and fight under the convener. On all a-reat
pageants this memorial of the loyalty of Edinburgh is osten-
tatiously displayed. In 1508 the thickly-wooded lands of the
" Borough Moor " were cleared of their trees, in virtue of powers
granted by the king ; and, in order to obtain purchasers for the
timber, the magistrates enacted that "whoever bought as much
as would be sufficient to make a new front to his house, might
extend the same seven feet further into the street ; " by which
impolitic permission the town was filled with wooden houses, and
the main street contracted fourteen feet in width.
The year 1513 was memorable for the double calamity of the/
plague and the disastrous defeat at Flodden. The latter
misfortune filled Edinburgh with consternation ; all capable of
bearing arms were ordered to defend the walls, and "the women
were oischarged from crying or clamouring in the streets ; " the
Privy Council for safety adjourned to Stirling, where James V.
was crowned. At this alarming crisis the fortifications were /
strengthened, and a new wall built, which encompassed the hin-h •
grounds on the south, parts of which still remain. The plague
continuing its virulehce,the young king was removed to Dalkeith
or Craigmillar. During his minority .the Earl of Arran and Cardinal
Beatoun, jealous of the influence acquired by the Earl of An«us. -
through his marriage with the queen dowager, attacked him and
his partisans in the street, near the Netherbow port, in which
conflict more than two hundred and fifty men were slain, and the
residue of the Hamilton's or Arran's party expelled by the
Douglases, or faction of Angus. This bloody affair was designated
by the populace " Cleanse the Causeway." Similar sanguinary
occurrences were not unfrequent in these contentious times, and
during his whole minority the capital was the theatre of tumult
chiefly through the turbulence of the house of Douglas. In aonae- '
quence of the prevailing disquietude, the Privy Council and
Parliament frequently met in the Tolbooth, or common »aol. In
1514 the small force was appointed, afterwards known by the
name of the " City Guard," which was dissolved so lately as 1817.
In 1528, excitements and disturbances arose in the city, from the
secret diffusion of the principles of the Reformation.
The year 1532 is signalised by the establishment in the capital
of the College of Justice, which important corporation, including
the whole body of functionaries connected with the supreme
courts, endowed Edinburgh still more with the attributes of a
metropolis; and as the city rose in dignity, the Parliament
interfered for the correction of its deformities. Rows of
obstructing tenements were removed, and many salutary regu-
lations enforced for the.irevention of impurities ; the Hi"h street
was paved, and lanterns were ordered to be hung out at nioht by
the inhabitants. In 1534. Norman Gonrlay and David Straiton
were tried and condemned at Holyrood for heresy, and executed
at Greenside. In 1543, the magistrates having thought proper to
deprive the craftsmen of the privilege of voting at the election of
provosts and bailies, the deacons drew their swords in the council
chamber ; but the strife was subdued, partly by compromise and
partly by the irrisistible reasonings of an armed force. The
next year was a disastrous one for the rising metropolis Henry
VILT. of England, in revenge for the opposition made by the
Catholic regency of Arran and Beatoun to the marriage of his son
Edward with the young Queen Mary, sent an army and fle»t to
ravage Scotland under the command of the Earl of Hertford who
landing at Leith, set fire to Edinburgh, and burnt the abbey and
palace of Holyrood. The attempt to capture the castle was
unsuccessful ; but the departing foe destroyed the pier of Leith
seized the ships in the harbour, and " neither pyle, village town'
nor house, in their way homewards, was left unburnt " In
consequence of this outrage, a French garrison was introduced
four years afterwards, under D'Esse, who fortified Leith, and
took every precaution against a repetition of the calamity
About the year 1556. the intrepid reformer, John Knox, became
conspicuous. The Reformation now made rapid progress in
Scotland, but not. without strife and bloodshed. The population
destroyed -.otonlythe symbols of popery, hut also many of the
On the anniversary of Saint Giles, t'. patri
t'n - priests and monks wl
rsu;>, and the effigy of the
saint o
were c
when 1
in procession, was indignantly
bhe i :ongregation arrived ...

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence