146 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. single apartment, with a huge fireplace at the west end, and a gallery added to it by the timber projection in front. The hearth-stone was raised above the level of the floor, and guarded by a stone ledge or fender, similar in character to a fireplace of the thirteenth century dill existing at St Mary’s Abbey, York. This room was lighted by a large dormer window in the roof, in addition to the usual windows in front; and in the thickness of the stone wall, within the wooden gallery, there were two ornamental stone recesses, with projecting sculptured sills, and each closed by an oak door, richly carved with dolphins and other ornamental devices.’ The roof was high and steep, and the entire appearance of the building singulaTly picturesque. We have been the more particular in describing it, from the interest attaching to its original possessors. It is defined, in one of the titledeeds of the neighbouring property, as (( That tenement of land belonging to the chaplain of the chaplainry of St Nicolas’s Altar, founded within the College Church of St Giles, within the burgh of Edinburgh;” it is now replaced by a plain, unattractive, modern building. The most interesting portions of this district, however, or perhaps of any other among the private buildings in the Old Town, were to be found within the space including Todd’s, Nairn’s, and Blyth’s Closes, nearly the whole of which have been swept away to provide a site for the New College. On the west side of Blyth’s Close there existed a remarkable building, some portion of which still remains. This the concurrent testimony of tradition and internal evidence pointed out as having been the mansion of Mary of Guise, the Queen of James V., and the mother of Queen Mary. There was access to the different apartments, as is- usual in the oldest houses in Edinburgh, by various stairs and intricate passages ; for no feature is so calculated to excite the surprise of a stranger, on his first visit to such substantial mansions, as the numerous and ample flights of stone stairs, often placed in immediate juxtaposition, yet leading to different parts of the building. Over the main doorway, which still remains, there is the inscription, in bold Gothic characters, %&U$ gonot! Dto, with I. R., the initials of the King, at thk respective ends of the lintel. On a shield, placed on the right side, the monogram of the Virgin Nary is sculptured,* while a corresponding shield on the left, now entirely defaced, most probably bore the usual one of our Saviour.’ . On the first landing of the principal stair, a small vestibule gave entrance to an apartment, originally of large dimensions, though for many years subdivided into various rooms and passages. At the right-hand side of the inner doorway, on entering this apartment, a remarkably rich Gothic niche remained till recently, to which we have given the name of a piscina, in the accompanying engraving, owing to its having a hole through the bottom of it, the peculiar mark of that ecclesiastical feature, and one which we have not discovered in any other of those niches we have examined. The name is at least convenient for distinction in future reference to it; but its position was at the side of a very large and handsome fireplace, one of the richly clustered pillars of which appears in the engraving, on the outside of a modern partition, and no feature was discoverable in the apartment calculated For the description of the interior of this ancient building, we are mainly indebted to the Rev. J. Sime, chaplain of Trinity Hospital, whose uncle long possessed the property. A very oblique view of the house appears in Storer’s ‘‘High Street, from the Caatle Parade.” Plate 1, vol. ii. Vide Pugin’s Glossary of Eccl. Ornament, p. 162. 8 Vignette at the head of the Chapter.
KING’S STABLES, CASTLE BARNS, AND CASTLE HlLL. I47 to lead to the idea of its having been at any time devoted to other than domestic useA. We may farther remark, that there were, in all, seven of these sculptured recesses, of different sizes and degrees of ornament, throughout the range of buildings known as the Guise Palace and Oratory,-a sufficient number of (‘ baptismal fonts,” we should presume, even for a Parisian Hdpital des Enfans trouvb 1 Various remains of very fine wood carving have from time to time been removed from different parts of this building ; a large and well-executed oaken front of a cupboard was found in the apartment below the one last referred to, with the panels wrought in elegant and varied designs; and in another room on the same floor, immediately beyond the former, there existed a very interesting relic of the same kind, which long formed one of the chief attractions to antiquarian visitors. This was an ancient oak door, with richly ca.rved panels, now preserved in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries, of which we furnish a view. The two upper panels are decorated with shields, surrounded with a wreath and other ornaments of beautiful workmanship, and each supported by a winged cherub. The lower panels contain portraits carved in high relief, and which, in accordance with the tradition of the locality, have generally been considered as the heads of James V. and his Queen. The lady is very little indebted to the artist for the flattery of her charms, and the portrait cannot be considered as bearing any resemblance to those of Mary of Guise, who is generally represented as a beautiful woman.8 That of the King has been thought to bear a considerable resemblance to the portraits of James V., and (‘has all that free carriage of the head, and elegant slouch of the bonnet, together with the great degree of manly beauty with which this monarch is usually represented.” a The heraldic bearings on the shields in the upper panels remain to be mentioned; one of them bears a deer’s head erased, while on the other is an eagle I ‘ I I with expanded wings grasping a star in the left foot, and with a crescent in base. The whole appearance of this door is calculated to convey a pleasing idea of the state of the arts in Scotland at the period of its execution, though in this it in no way surpasses the other decorationa of this interesting building. The door has been cut down in some modern subdivision of the house, to adapt it to the humble situation which it latterly 1 Now in the possession of C. K. Sharpe, Esq. ’ The Duke of Devonshire has an undoubted portrait of Mary of Guise. She ia very hi complexioned, with reddish The picture in the Trinity hair. House at Leith is not of the Queen Regent, but a bad copy of that of her daughter, at St Jamea, painted by Mytens. ’ Chambers’s Traditions, vol. i. p. 81. The “manly beauty,” however, is somewhat questionable.