THE CASTLE. 129 Mait.land’s time, and is divided into two stories by a floor which conceals the upper portion of the chancel arch. This chapel is, without doubt, the most ancient building now existing in Edinburgh, and may, with every probability, be regarded as having been the place of worship of the pious Queen Margaret, during her residence in the Castle, till her death in 1093. It is in the same style, though of a plainer character, as the earliest portions of Holyrood Abbey, begun in the year 1128; and it is worthy of remark, that the era of Norman architecture is one in which many of the most interesting ecclesiastical edifices in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh were founded, including Holyrood Abbey, St Giles’s Church, and the parish churches of Duddingston, Ratho, Kirkliston, and Dalmeny, all of which, with the exception of St Giles’s Church, still contain interesting remains of that era.l The present garrison chapel is almost entirely a modern building, though including in its walls portions of a former edifice of considerable antiquity. Immediately north of this is the King’s Bastion, or mortar battery, upon which is placed the famous old cannon, MONS MEG. This ancient national relic, which is curiously constructed of iron staves and hoops, was removed to the Tower of London in 1754, in consequence of an order from the Board of Ordnance to the governor to send thither all unserviceable cannon in the Castle. It lay there for seventy years, until it was restored to Scotland by George IV., in 1829, mainly in consequence of the intercessions of Sir Walter Scott. The form of its ancient wooden carriage is represented on the sculptured stone, already described, over the entrance of the Ordnance Office, but that having broken down shortly after its return to Scotland, it has since been mounted on an elegant modern carriage of cast-iron. On this a series of inscriptions have been introduced, embodying the usually received traditions as to its history, which derive the name from its supposed construction at Mons, in Flanders. There is good reason, however, for believing that local repute has erred on this point, and that this famous piece of artillery is a native of the land to which all its traditions belong. The evidence for*this interesting fact was first communicated in a letter from that diligent antiquary, Mr Train, to Sir Walter Scott, and affords proof, from the local traditions of Galloway, that this huge piece of ordnance was presented to James 11. in 1455, by the M‘Lellans, when he arrived with an army at Carlingwark, to besiege William Earl of Douglas, in the Castle of Threave. We have compressed into a note the main facts of this interesting communication respecting the pedigree of Mons Meg, which Sir Walter thus unhesitatingly attests in his reply : “ You have traced her propinquity so clearly, as henceforth to set all conjecture aside.” a Our attention waa first directed to this chapel by being told, in answer to our inquiries after the antiquities of the Castle, that a font still existed in a cellar to the west of the garrison chapel ; it proved, on inspection, to be the socket of one of the chancel pillara. In further confirmation of the early date we are disposed to aasign to this chapel, we may remark that the building gifted by David I. to his new Abbey, is styled in all the earlier charters, EccZesiu-‘‘ concedimus ecclesiam, scilicet Caatelli cum omnibus appendiciis,”-a deacription we can hardly conceive referable to so small a chapel, while thoae of Corstorphine and Libberton are merely C‘apeZZo,4ependencies of the Church of St Cuthbedand neither the style of this building, nor the probability derived from the practice of the period, admit of the idea that so small a chapel would be erected apart from the church after its completion. In “ The inventare of golden and silver werk being in the Castell of Edinburgh,” 8th Nov. 1543, the following items occur :-“The Chapell geir of silver ouregilt, ane croce of silver with our Lady and Sanct John,-Tua chandleris,-ane chalice and ane patine,4ne halie watter fatt,” &c., &c., all “of silver ouregilt. Ane croce of dver,-tua chandleris of silver,-ane bell of silver,-ane halie watter fatt, with the stick of silver,4ne mise of silver for the mess breid, with the cover,” &c.-Inventory of Royal Wardrobe, &c., 4t0, Edinburgh, 1815, p. 112. Joseph Train, p. 200.-The Earl of Douglas having seized Sir Patrick M‘Lellan, ’ Chapell geir ungiltc ’ Contemporaries of Burns. B
130 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. The high estimation in which this huge cannon was anciently held, appears from numerous notices of it in early records. Mons Meg was taken, by order of James IT., from Edinburgh Castle on 10th July 1489, to be employed at the siege of Dumbarton, on which occasion there is an entry in the treasurer’s books of eighteen shillings for drink-money to the gu‘nnkrs. The same records again notice her transportation from the Castle to the Abbey of Holyrood, during the same reign, apparently at a period of national festivity. Some of the entries on this occasion are curious, such as,--‘-‘ to the menstrallis that playit befoir Mons down the gait, fourteen shillings ; eight klle of claith, to be Mons a claith to cover her, nine shillings and fourpence,” &c. In the festivities celebrated at Edinburgh by the Queen Dowager, Mary of Guise, on the marriage of her daughter, Queen Mary, to the Dauphin of France, Mons Meg testified with loudest acclaim the general joy. The treasurer’s accounts contain the following item on the occasion :-64 By the Queenis precept and speciale command, to certane pyonaris for thair lauboris in the mounting of Mons furth of her lair to be schote, and for the finding and carying of hir bullet after scho wes shot, fra Weirdie Mure,’ to the Castell of Edinburgh,” &c,. In the list of ordnance delivered by the governor to Colonel Monk, on the surrender of the Castle in 1650, Meg receives, with all due prominence, the designation of L4 the great iron murderer, Muckle Meg.” ’ This justly celebrated cannon, after sustaining for centuries, in so credible a manner, the dignity of her pre-eminent greatness, at length burst tu tor of Bomby, the Sheriff of Galloway, and chief of a powerful clan, carried him prisoner to Threave Castle, where he caused him to be hanged on “The Gallows Knob,” a granite block which still remains, projecting over the main gateway of the Castle. The act of forfeiture, passed by Parliament in 1455, at length furnished an opportunity, under the protection of Government, of throwing off that iron yoke of the Douglasses under which Galloway had groaned upwards of eighty years. When James 11. arrived with an army at Carlingwark, to besiege the Castle of Threave, the N‘Lellans presented his Majesty with the piece of ordnance, now called Mons Meg, to batter down the fortlet of the rebellious chieftnin. The first discharge of this great gun is mid to have consisted of a peck of powder and a granite ball, nearly a~ heavy as a Galloway cow. This ball is believed, in its course through the Castle of Threave, to have carried away the hand of Nargaret de Douglas, commonly called the Fair Maid of Galloway, as ahe sat at table with her lord, and waa in the act of raising the wine-cup to her lips. Old people still maintain that the vengeance of God was thereby evidently manifested in destroying the hand which had been given in wedlock to two brothers, and that even while the lawful spouse of the first waa alive. As a recompense for the present of this extraordinary engine of war, and for the loyalty of theM‘Lellans, the King, before leaving Galloway, erected the town of Kirkcudbright into a royal burgh, and granted to Eraany Kim, the smith, the lands of Mollance, in the neighbourhood of Threave Castle. Hence the smith waa called Mollance, and his wife’s name being Meg, the cannon, in honour of her, received the appellative of “Mollance Meg.” There is no smithy now at the “Three Thorna of Carlingwark; ” but a few yeara ago, when making the great military road to Portpatrick, which passes‘ that way, the workmen had to cut through a deep bed of cinders and =has, which plainly showed that there had been an extensive forge on that spot at some former period. Although the lands of Nollance have now passed into other hands, there are several persona of the name of Kim, blacksmithn, in this quarter, whb are said to be descendants of the brawny makers of Mollance Neg. It is likewise related, that while Brawny Kim and his seven sons were constructing the cannon at the “ Three Thorns of the Carlingwark,” another party was busily employed in making balls of granite on the top of Bennan Hill, and that, aa each ball was fioiahed, they rolled it down the rocky declivity facing Threave Castle. One of these balls is still shown at Balmaghie House, the reaidence of Captain Oordon, in that neighbourhood, and corresponds exactly in size and quality with those carried with the cannon to Edinburgh. AB the balls in the Castle are evidently of Galloway granite, a strong presumptive proof is afforded that Mons Meg was of Galloway origin, Some years ago, Threave Castle waa partially repaired under the superintendence of Sir . Alexander Gordon of Culvennan, Sheriff-Depute of the Stewartry ; and one of the workmen, when digging up iome rubbish within the walls, found a massive gold ring, with an inscription on it, purporting that the ring had belonged to the same Margaret de Douglas,-a circumstance seeming to confirm a part of the tradition. This curious relic was purchased from the person who found it, by Sir Alexander Gordon.-In addition to this, Symson, in his work written nearly an hundred and sixty years ago, says : “ The common report also goes in that country, that in the Isle of Threaves, the great irodgun in the Castle of Edinburgh, commonly called.Mount Meg, waa wrought and made.” This statement should, of itself, set the question at rest. For further evidence, see History of Galloway, Appendix, vol. i. pp. 2638. . ’ Wardie is fully two miles north from the Castle, near Granton. ’ Provincial Antiquitieq p. 21.