KING‘S STABLES, CASTLE BARNS, AND CASTLE HILL. 135 so generally placed on them, all afford tests as to the period of their erection, fully a6 definite and trustworthy as those that mark the progressive stages of the ecclesiastical architecture of the Middle Ages. The earliest form of the crow-stepped gable presents a series of pediments surmounting the steps, occasionally highly ornamented, and always giving a rich effect to the building. Probably the very latest specimen of this, in Edinburgh, is the h e old building of the Mint, in the Cowgate, which bears the date 1574 over its principal entrance, while its other ornaments axe similar to many of a more recent date. After the adoption of the plain square crow-step, it seems still to have been held as an important feature of the building ; in many of the older houses, the arms or initials, or some other device of the owner, are to be found on the lowest of them, even where the buildings are so lofty as to place them almost out of sight. The dormer window, surmounted with the thistle, rose, &c., and the high-peaked gable to the street, are no less familiar features in our older domestic architecture. Many specimens, also, of windows originally divided by stone mullions, and with lead casements, still remain in the earliest mansions of the higher classes ; and in several of these there are stone recesses or niches of a highly ornamental character, the use of which has excited considerable discussion among antiquaries. A later form of window than the last, exhibits the upper part glazed, and finished below with a richly carved wooden transom, while the under half is closed with shutters, occasionally highly adorned on the exterior with 8 variety of carved ornaments. Towards the close of Charles 11,’s reign, an entirely new order of architecture was adopted, engrafting the mouldings and some of the principal features of the Italian style upon the forms that previously prevailed. The Golfers’ Land in the Canongate is a good and early specimen of this. The gables are still steep, and the roofs of a high pitch; and while _the front assumes somewhat of the character of a pediment, the crow: steps are retained on the side gables ; but these features soon after disappear, and give way to a regular pediment, surmounted with urns, and the like ornaments,-a very good specimen of which remains on the south side of the Castle Hill, as well as others in various parts of the Old Town. The 6ame district still presents good specimens of the old wooden fronted lands, with their fore stairs and handsome inside turnpike from the fist floor, the construction of which Maitland affirms to be coeval with the destruction of the extensive forests of the Borough Muir, in the reign of James IV. We furnish a view of some other remarkably picturesque specimens of the same style of building in this locality, recently demolished to make way for the New College. All these various features of the ancient domestic architecture of the Scottish Capital will come under review in the course of the Work, in describing the buildings most worthy of notice that still remain, or have been demolished during the present century. f Immediately below the Castle rock, on its south side, there exists an ancient appendage of the Royal Palace of the Castle, still retaining the name of the King’s Stables, although no hoof of the royal stud has been there for wellnigh three centuries. Thie district lies without the line of the ancient city wall, and was therefore not only in an exposed sitna- - -
136 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. tion for the royal stables, but the approach to it from the Castle must have been by a very inconvenient and circuitous route, although it was immediately overlooked by the windows of the royal apartments. It seems more probable that the earliest buildings on this site were erected in the reign of James IV., when the low ground to the westward was the scene of frequent tiltings and of magnificent tournaments, the fame of which spread throughout Europe, and attracted the most daring knights-errant to that chivalrous Monarch’s Court.’ Considerable accommodation would be required for the horses and attendants on these occasions, as well as for the noble combatants, among whom the King, it is we11 known, was no idle spectator ; but the buildings of that- date, which we presume to have been reared for these public combats, were probably only of a temporary nature, as they were left without the extended wall, built at the commencement of the following reign, in 1513, a procedure not likely to have taken place had they been of much value. Maitland, however, mentions a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the remains of which were visible in his time (1750) at the foot of the Chapel Wynd; and Kincaid,’ who wrote towards the close of the century, speaks of them a8 still remaining there ; but since then they have entirely disappeared, and nothing but the name of the Wynd, which formed the approach to the chapel, survives to indicate its site. This may, with every probability, be presumed to have been at the point of junction with that and the Lady’s Wynd, both evidently named from their proximity to the same chapel. On this locality, now occupied by the meanest buildings, James IV. was wont to preside at the jousting5 of the knights and barons of his Court, and to present the meed of honour to the victor from his own hand; or, as in the famous encounter, already related, between Sir Patrick Hamilton and a Dutch knight, to watch the combat from the Castle walls, and from thence to act as umpire of the field. The greater portion of the ancient tilting ground remained unenclosed when Maitland wrote, and is described by him as a pleasant green, about one hundred and fifty yards long and fifty broad, adjoining the chapel of the Virgin Mary, on the west. But this U pleasant green ” is now crowded with slaughter-houses, tan-pits, and dwellings of the humblest description. In the challenge in 1571, between Alexander Stewart, younger, of Garlies, and Sir William Rirkaldy of Grange, the place of combat proposed is, “upon the ground the baresse be-west the West Port of Edinburgh, the place accustomed, and of old appointed, for triell of suche matera.”’ The exact site of this interesting spot is now occupied in part by the western approach, which crosses it immediately beyond the Castle Bridge; it is defined in one of the title-deeda of the ground, acquired by the City Improvements Commission, as ‘(,4 11 and hail1 these houses and yards of Orchardfield, commonly called Livingston’s Yards, comprehending therein that piece of ground called The Barras.” The interest attaching to these scenes of ancient feats of arms has been preserved by successive events almost to our own day. In 1661 the King’s Stables were purchased by the Town Council for f,lOOO Scots, and the admission of James Boisland, the seller, to the freedom of the city.4 The right, however, of the new possessors, to whom they would seem to have been resold, was made a subject of legal investigation at a later date. Foun- Ante, p. 23. 3 Maitland, p. 172. Kincaid, p. 103. ’ Calderwood‘a Hist, Wnd. Soc., vol. iii. p. 108. Coun. Reg., vol. xx. p. 268, apud Kincaid, p. 103.