THE HIGH STREET AND NETHER BOW. 267 separated only by very narrow uprights. It is decorated with string courses and rich mouldings, and forms a fine specimen of an Old-Town mansion of the sixteenth century. It is stated by Chambers to be entailed with the estate of the Clerks of Pennycuik, and to have formed the town residence of their ancestors. This we presume to have been the later residence of Alexander, fifth Lord Home; the same who entertained Queen Mary and Lord Darnley in his lodging near the Tron in 1565, and who afterwards turned the fortune of the field at the Battle of Langside, at the head of his border spearmen. He was one of the noble captives who surrendered to Sir William Durie on the taking of Edinburgh Castle in 1573. He was detained a prisoner, while his brave companions perished on the scaffold; a.nd was only released at last after a tedious captivity, to die a prisoner at large in his own house-the same, we believe, which stood in Blackfriars’ Wynd. A contemporary writer remarks :-“ Wpoun the secund day of Junij , Alexander Lord Home wes relevit out of the Castell of Edinburgh, and wardit in his awne lugeing in the heid of the Frier Wynd, quha wes carijt thairto in ane bed, be ressone of his great infirmitie of seiknes.”’ Scarcely another portion of the Old Town of Edinburgh was calculated to impress the thoughtful visitor with the same melancholy feelings of a departed glory, replaced by squalor and decay, which he experienced after exploring the antiquities of the Blackfriars’ Wynd. There stood the deserted and desecrated fane ; the desolate mansions of proud and powerful nobles and senators ; and the degraded Palace of the Primate and Cardinal, where even Scottish monarchs have been fitly entertained; and it seemed for long as if the ground which Alexander 11. bestowed on the Dominican Monks, as a, special act of regal munificence, was not possessed of value enough to tempt the labours of the builder. Emerging again through the archway at the head of the wynd, which the royal masterprinter jitted at his pleasure above three centuries ago, an ancient., though greatly modernised, tenement in the High Street to the east of the wynd attracted the notice of the local historian as the mansion of Lord President Fentonbarn!, a man of humble origin, the son of a baker in Edinburgh, whose eminent abilities won him the esteem and the suffrages of its contemporaries. He owed his fortunes to the favour of James VI., by whom he was nominated to fill the office of a Lord of Session, and afterwards knighted. We are inclined to think that it is to him Montgomerie alludes in his satirical sonnets addressed to M. J. Sharpe-in all probability au epithet of similar origin and signilicance to that conferred by the Jacobite8 on the favourite advocate of William 111. The poet had failed in a suit before the Court of Session, seemingly with James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, and he takes his revenge against “ his Adversars Lawyers,” like other poets, in satiric rhyme. The lack of ‘‘ gentle blude ” is a special handle against the plebeian judge in the eyes of the high-born poet ; and his second sonnet, which is sufEcientlp vituperative, begins :- A Baxter’s bird, a bluiter beggar borne ! ’ This old mansion was the last survivor of all the long and unbroken range of buildings between St Giles’s Church and the Nether Bow. In its original state it was one of l Diurnal of Occurrenta, p. 348. Alexander Montgornerie’s Poems ; complete edition, by Dr Irving, p. 74.
268 MEAfORIA L S OF EDINBURGH. the very finest specimens of this ancient style of building in Edinburgh, having the main timbers and gables of its oaken fapade richly carved, in the fashion of some of the magnificent old timber fronts of the opulent Flemings in Bruges or Ghent. The roof was surmounted by a range of crow-steps of the form already described as peculiar to the fifteenth or earlier part of the sixteenth centuries; and an outside stair led to the first floor, whose ancient stone turnpike staircase was decorated with the abbreviated motto, in fine ornamental Gothic characters :-DE0 HONOR * ET GLIA - Another inscription, we are told, existed over the entrance from Toddrick’s Wynd, being only covered up with plaster by a former tenant to save the expense of a signboard. A little way down this wynd, on the east side, a favourite motto appeared, in bold Roman letters, over an ancient doorway, repeating with slight variation the same sentiment already noticed in other instances. It occurred on an . aucient tenement which bore evident tokens of having at one time been the reaidence of rank and fashion; and an old iron-nobbed door on one of the floors possessed the antiquated appendage of a risping pin. Toddrick’s Wynd acquired a special interest from its association with a memorable deed in the bloody annals of our national history. It was by this ancient alley that the Earl of Bothwell and his merciless accomplices and hirelinp proceeded towards the gate of the Blackfriars’ Monastery, in the Cowgate, on the 9th of February 1567, to fire the powder by which the house of the Provost of the Kirk-of-Field was blown into the air, and’ Lord, Darnley, with his servant, Taylor, slain. The closes between this and the Netherbow mostly exist in the same state as they have done for the two last centuries or more, though woefully contaminated by the slovenly habits of their modern inmates ; this portion of the town being occupied now by a lower class than many of the ancient alleys described in the higher part of the town. South Gray’s, or the Mint Close, however, forms an exception. It is a comparatively spacious and aristocratic looking alley; and aome feeble halo of its ancient honours still lingers about its substantial and.picturesque mansions. It affords a curious instance of a close retaining for centuries the name of a simple burgess, while it has been the residence of nobles and representatives of ancient families, in striking contrast to the variable nomenclature of most of the alleys of the Old Town. It is mentioned by its present name in a charter dated 1512, in which “ umpb John Gray, burgess of Edinburgh,” is the author of earlier titles referred to. By an older deed, the ground on which it is built appeare to have formed part of the lands of the Monastery of Greyfriars. the Inventer and THE FEIR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGENINGP OF VISDOME. Iu Thia ancient tenement is thus described in a disposition by Sir Michael Preston to Lawrence Kenrison, dated 1626, and preserved in the Burgh Charter Room :--“That tenement or land, aome time waste and burnt be the English ; some time pertaining to umquile Mr John Preston, some time President of the College of Justice, and my father ; on the south part of the King’s High Street, and on the east side of the trance of the wynd, called the Blackfriars’ Wynd, betwixt the said trance and land above, pertaining to the heirs of umquile Walter Chepman, upon the west,” &c. It is pointed out in Chambers’s Traditions aa that of Lord Fentonbarns. The allusion to its burning shows the date of ita erection to be somewhat later than 1544. But it again suffered in the civil wars that followed, though probably not so completely aa to preclude repair, notwithstanding its appearance among the list of houses destroyed during the siege of Edinbuqh in 1572 :-“ Thir ar the houssis that wer distroyit this moneth (May) ; to wit, the Erle of Maris, now present Regent, lugeing in the Cowgait, Mr Johne Prestonis in the Frier Wynd, David Kinloch Baxteris house in Dalgleish Closs,” &a-(Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 299.) The last mentioned is that of a wealthy burgess of the period, whose name was borne by the close immediately below Niddry’s Wynd, the same, we presume, tht is alluded to here. Ita site i s now occupied by the east aide of Niddry Street.