THE HIGH STREET. 245 house,’’ to which Arnot adds the more definite though scanty information, At the head of Bell’s ’Wynd there were an hospital and chapel, known by the name of Maison Dieu.’” Like most other religious establishments and church property, it passed into the hands of laymen at the Reformation by an arbitrary grant of the crown, so that the original charters of foundation no longer remain as the evidences of its modern claimants. It is styled, however, in the earliest titles extant, “ the old land formerly of George, Bishop of Dunkeld ; ” EO that its foundation may be referred with every probability to the reign of James V., when George Crighton, who occupied that see from the year 1527 to 1543, founded the hospital of St Thomas near the Watergate, about two years before his death, and endowed it for the maintenance of certain chaplains and bedemen, (‘ to celebrate the founder’s anniversary o6it, by solemnly singing in the choir of Holyrood Church, on the day of his death yearly, the PZaceJo and Dirige, for the repose of his soul,” &c.~ There can be little doubt, moreover, that the old land, which was only demolished in the year 1789, was the same mansion of Lord Home, to which Queen Mary retreated with Darnley, on her return to Edinburgh in 1566, while she was haunted with the horrible recollections of the recent murder of her favourite, Rizzio, and her mind revolted from the idea of returning to the palace, the scene of hia assassination, whose blood-stained floors still called for justice and revenge against the murderers. ‘( Vpoun the xviij day of the said moneth of Ifarch,” says the contemporary annalist,’ 6‘oup soueranis lord and ladie, accumpanij t with tua thowsand horssmen come to Edinburgh, and lugeit not in thair palice of Halyrudhous, bot lugeit in my lord Home’s lugeing, callit the auld bischope of Dunkell his lugeing, anent the salt trone in Edinburgh; and the lordis being with thame for the tyme, wes lugeit round about thame within the said burgh.” Lord Home, who thus entertained Queen Mary and Darnlep as his guests, was, at that date, so zealous an adherent of the Queen, that Randolph wrote to Cecil from Edinburgh soon after that he would be created Earl of March ; and although at the battle of Langside he appeared against her, he afterwards returned to his fidelity, and retained it with such integrity till his death as involved him in a conviction of treason by her enemies. In the following reign this ancient tenement became the property of George Heriot, and the ground rents are still annually payable to the treasurer of the hospital which he founded. The portion of. the High Street still marked as the site of this ancient building, is closely associated with other equally memorable incidents in the life of Queen Mary; for almost immediately adjoining it, on the east side, formerly stood the famous Black Turnpike already alluded to,‘ as the town house of Sir Simon Preston, Provost of Edinburgh in 1567, to which the unhappy Queen was led by her captors, amid the hootings and execrations of an excited rabble, on the evening of her surrender at Carbery Hill. This ancient building was one of the most stately and sumptuous edifices of the Old TO,WR It was lofty and of great extent, and the tradition of Queen Mary’s residence in it had never been lost sight of. A small apartment, with a window to the High Street, was pointed out 1 Yaitland, p. 189. Arnot, p. 246. Maitland, p. 154. Keith furnishes this character of the bishop, “A man nobly disposed, very hospitable, and s magnificent housekeeper ; but in matters of religion not much skilled.” ’ Diurnal of Occurrenta, p. 94. Keith, vol.-ii p. 292. ‘ Ante, p. 79.
246 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. as that in which she spent the last night in the capital of her kingdom; the last on which though captive, she was still its Queen. The magnificent and imposing character of this building, coupled with the historical associations attached to it, have given it an exaggerated importance in popular estimation, so that tradition assigned it a very remote antiquity, naming as its builder, King Kenneth III., who was slain A.D. 994; not without the testimony of heaven’s displeasire thereat, for “ the moon looked bloody for several nights, to the infinite terror of those that beheld her,” besides other equally terrible prodigies I Maitland, the painstaking historian of Edinburgh, detecting the improbability of such remote foundation for this substantial building, obtained access to the title-deeds, and found a sasine of the date 1461, conveying it to George Robertson of Lochart, the son of the builder, which would imply its having been erected early in the fifteenth century. From other evidence, we discovered that it belonged in the following century to George Crighton, Bishop of Dunlreld, and was in all probability either acquired or rebuilt by him for the purpose of the religious foundation previously described. This appears from an action brought by “ the Administrators of Heriot’s Hospital, against Robert Hepburn of Bearford,” in 1693, e for ‘‘ a ground-annual out of the tenement called Ro6ertson’s Tnn,” and which at a subsequent date is styled, “ his tenement in Edinburgh called the Black Turnpike.” The pursuers demanded the production of the original writs from the Bishop of Dunkeld, and it would appear from the arguments in defence, that the building had been conferred by the Bishop on two of his own illegitimate daughters, and so diverted from the pious objects of its first destination, perchance as a sort of compromise between heaven and earth, by which more effectually to secure the atonement he had in view for t,he errors of a licentious life. To all this somewhat discrepant evidence we shall add one more fact from the Caledonian Mercury, May 15th, 1788, the date of its demolition:--“The edifice commonly called the Black Turnpike, immediately to the west of the Tron Church, at the head of Peebles Wynd, one of the oldest stone buildings upon record in Edinburgh, is now begun Qo be pulled down. . . . It may be true what is afimed, that Queen Mary was lodged in it in the year 1567, but if part of the building is really so old, it is evident other parts are of a later date, for on the, top of a door, the uppermost of the three entries to this edifice from Peebles Wynd, we observe the following inscription :- PAX a INTRANTIBVS a SALVS EXEVNTIBVS * 1674.” The whole character of the building, however, seems to have contradicted the idea of so recent an erection, and tlie inscription-a peculiarly inappropriate one for the scene of the poor Queen’s last lodging in her capital-is probably the only thing to which the date truly applied. We have passed over the intermediate alleys from the New Assembly Close to the Tron Church, in order to preserve the connection between the ancient lands of the Bishop of Dunkeld, that formed at different periods the lodging of Queen Mary. Stevenlaw’s Close, the last that now remains of that portion of the High Street, still contains buildings of an early date. Over a doorway on the west side, near the foot, is this 1 Abercrombie’s Martial Achievements, vol. i p. 194. ’ Fountainhall’s Decisions, vol. i. pp. 683, 688. J We have stated reasons before fur believing that dates were sometimes put on buildings by later proprietors.