L UCKENEOOTHS AND PARLIAMENT CLOSE. 203 Michaell Cranstoun, then a verie fordward minister,” profitably employed the leisure of the congregation by reading to them “ the Historie of Haman and Mordecai, and such other places of Scr+ture. . . . In the mean tyme, there ariseth a rumour in the toun, that the King had givin no good answere to the Kirk ; and in the Tolbuith, that the toun was in armes, before there was anie suche thing. But it fell furth so immediatelie ; for a messinger of Satan, suborned by some of the cubicular courteours, came to the kirk doore, and cried, ‘ Fly ! save yourselves ; ’ and ranne to the streets, crying, ‘ Armour ! armour ! ’ ” The consequences are readily conceivable, friends and enemies rushed together to the Tolbooth, and EO thoroughly terrified the King, that he speedily after forsook the capital, and vowed in his wrath that he would erase it from the face of the earth ! a proposition which he really seriously entertained.a The last Parliament at which royalty presided was held in the same New Tolbooth, immediately after the coronation of Charles I,, July 1633, and this was in all probability the latest occasion on which the Scottish Estates assembled in the ancient edifice, as the more modern Parliament House that still exists was then in course of erection. From this period the New Tolbooth was used exclusively for the meetings, of the Town Council, by whom it had been erected, and it was latterly known only by the name of the Council Chambers. Thither the unfortunate Earl of Argyle was brought from the Castle preparatory to his execution on the 30th June 1685, and from thence his farewell letter to his wife is dated. Fountainhall tells us, “ Argile came in coach to the Toune Counsell, and from that on foot to the scaffold with his hat on, betuixt Mr Annand, Dean of Edinburgh, on his right hand,-to whom he gave his paper on the scaffold,-and Mr Laurence Charteris, late Professor of Divinity in the College of Edinburgh. He was somewhat appaled at the sight of the Maiden,-present death will danton the most resolute courage, -therfor he caused bind the napkin upon his face ere he approached, and then was led to it.” Notwithstanding this incident mentioned by Fountainhall, who in all probability witnessed the execution, it is well known that Argyle exhibited unusual composure and self-possession on the occasion. The Maiden was erected, according to ancient custom in cases of treason, at the Cross, so that the Earl would have only a few paces to walk across the Parliament Close from the Council Chambers, to reach the fatal spot. As a more recent association with both the earlier and later uses of this building, Mait.land mentions -in addition to an armoury and wardrobe which it contained-that there also was the repository wherein were kept the sumptuous robes anciently worn by the City representatives in Parliament, together with the rich trappings and accoutrements for their horses, which were used in the pompous cavalcade at the opening of the Scottish Legislature, styled ‘‘ The riding of Parliament.” The Parliament Close, which lies to the south of St Giles’s Church, has passed through a series of stranger and more remarkable vicissitudes than any other portion of the Old Town. Could an accurate narrative now be given of all the circumstances accompanying these successive changes, it would s d c e to associate this narrow spot with many of the most memorable events in Scottish history, till the adjournment of its last Parliament there on the 22d of April 1707, never again to assemble. While St Giles’s was the Caldemood’s Hist., vol. v. p. 613. Fountainhall’s Historical Observes, p. 193. Ante, p. 88. ’ Maitland, p. 180.
204 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. small and solitary parish church of the ancient unwalled town, there was the burial-place for ‘‘ the rude forefathers of the hamlet,” and so it continued to the very end of the sixteenth century. Down to that period the site of the present courts was occupied in part by the collegiate building, for the residence of the prebendaries and other clergy that officiated at the numerous altars founded at different times in St Giles’s Church. The whole of the remaining portion lay open towards the south, extending in successive terraces to the Cowgate, and the greater part of it appears to have remained in this condition till the latter end of the seventeenth century. In the nether kirkyard, between St Giles’s Church and the Cowgate, stood the ancient chapel of the Holy Rood till the Reformation, when it appears to have been demolished, and its materials used in building the New Tolbooth. Doubtless the erection of the latter building, where all the great civic and national assemblies of the period took place, must have had considerable influence in leading to the abandonment of the old churchyard of St Giles as a place of burial. While its area continued enclosed with ecclesiastical buildings, and stood apart from the great thoroughfares of the town, it must have been a peculiarly solemn and fitting place of sepulture. But when the readiest access to the New Tolbooth was through the open churchyard, and instead of the old monk or priest treading among its grassy hillocks, it became the lounge of grooms and lackeys waiting on their masters during the meetings of Parliament, or of quarrelsome litigants, and the usual retainers of the law, during the sessions of the College of Justice, all idea of sacredness must have been lost. Such appears to have been the case, from the fact that no record exists to show any formal abandonment of it as a churchyard. Queen Mary granted the gardens of the Greyfriars’ monastery to the citizens in the year 1566, to be used as a cemetery, and from that period the old burial-place seems to have been gradually forsaken, until the neglected sepulchres of the dead were at length paved over, and the citizens forgot that their Exchange was built over their fathers’ graves. One of the latest notices we have discovered of the ancient churchyard occurs in Calderwood‘ s narrative of the memorable tumult of 1596, described above, though the name probably remained long after it had ceased to be used as such. On that occasion “ the noblemen, barons, and gentlemen that were in the kirk, went forth at the alarum, and were likewise in their armes. The Earl of Mar, and the Lord Halyrudhous, went out to the barons and ministrie, conveenned in the kirkyard. Some hote speeches passt betuixt the Erle of Mar and the Lord Lindsey, so that they could not be pacified for a long tyme.”’ Skirmishes and tumults of a like nature were doubtless common occurrences - there; exasperated litigants frequently took matters into their own hands, and made a speedy end to “ the law’s delay,” while the judges were gravely pondering their case within. In like manner the craftsmen and apprentices dealt with their civic rulers ; club law was the speediest arbiter in every difficulty, and the transference of the Tolbooth to the west end of the old kirkyard, transferred also the arena of such tumults to the same sacred spot. Yet with all this to account for the desertion of the ancient burialplace, it cannot but excite the surprise of every thoughtful observer, who reflects that within this consecrated ground, on the 24th November 1572, the assembled nobles and citizens committed John Knox,-“ the Apostle of the Scots,” as Beza styles him,- . Calderwood’s Hist., vol. v. p. 513.