278 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. wes almaist at the port, and the said men of weare standand in clois heids in readines to haue enterit at the bak of the samyne, movit Thomas Barrie to pass furth of the port, doun to the Cannogait, to have sene his awne hous, quhair in his said passage he persavit the saidis ambushmentis of men of weare, and with celeritie retiirnit and warnit the watchemen and keiparis of the said port; quhilk causit thame to steik the samin quicklie, and sua this devyse and interpryse tuke na prosperous effect.”l The citizens took warning from this, and built another gate within the outer port to secure them against any such surprise. There is something amusingly simple both in the ambuscade of the besiegers, and its discovery by the honest burgher while taking his quiet morning’s stroll beyond the walls. But the whole incidents of the siege display an almost total ignorance of the science of war, or of the use of the engines they had at command. The besiegers gallop up Leith Wynd and down St Mary’s Wynd, on their way to Dalkeith, seemingly unmolested by the burgher watch, who overlooked them from the walls ; or they valorously drag their artillery up the Canongate, and after venturing a few shots at the Nether Bow they drag them back, regarding it as a feat of no little merit to get them safely home again. Many houses still remain scattered about the main street and the lanes of the Canongate which withstood these vicissitudes of the Douglas wars; and one which has been described to us by its owner as of old styled the Parliament House, may possibly be that of William Oikis, wherein the Regent Lennox, with the Earls of Morton, Mar, Glencairn, Crawford, Menteith, and Buchan; the Lords Ruthven and Lindsay and others assembled, and after pronouncing the doom of forefaulture against William Maitland, . younger of Lethington, and the chief of their opponents, adjourned the Parliament to meet again at Stirling, This house,’ which was situated on the west side of the Old Flesh Market Close, presented externally as mean and uninviting an appearance as might well be conceived. An inspection of its interior, however, furnished unquestionable evidence both of its former magnificence and its early date. The house before its entire demolition was in the most wretched state of decay, and was one of the very last buildings in Edinburgh that a superficial observer would have singled out for any assemblage except a parliament of jolly beggars; but on penetrating to an inner lobby of its gloomy interior, a large and curiously carved niche was discovered, of the. same character as those described in t8he Guise Palace. The workmanship of it, as will be seen in the accompanying view, though in a style ap_ _p arently somewhat later, is much more elaborate than any of those previously noticed, except the largest one on the east side of Diurn. of Occurrents, pp. 239, 240. The house, with several of the adjoining closes here referred to, has been taken down, at the instance of the City Impmvementa’ Commission.
THE CANQNGA TE AND ABBEY SANCTUAR Y. 279 Blyth’s Close. Directly opposite to this, but separated from it by modern partitions, a large Gothic fireplace remained, decorated with rich mouldings and clustered pillars at the sides. On the occasion referred to, the burgesses and the garrison of the Castle used their utmost efforts to compel the Regent’s‘advisera to adjourn. Cannon were planted in the Blackfriars’ Yards, as well as on the walls, to batter this novel ‘ Parliament House ; and the Castle guns were plied with such effect as ‘( did greit skaith in the heid of the Cannogait to the houssis thairof.‘ ” The adjoining closes to the eastward abounded, a few years since, with ancient timberfronted tenements of a singularly picturesque character ; .but the value of property became for a time so much depreciated in this neighbourhood that the whole were abandoned by their owners to ruinous decay. When making a drawing of a group of them some years ago, which presented peculiarly attractive features for the pencil, we were amused to observe more than one weather-worn intimation of Lodgings to Let, enlivening the fronts of tenements which probably not even the most needy or fearless mendicant would have ventured to occupy, though their hospitable doors stood wide to second the liberal invitation. When we next visited them, the whole maas had tumbled to ruin, leaving only here and there a sculptuied doorway and a defaced inscription to indicate their importance in other times, several of which remained till lately both in Coul’s and the Old High School Closes. To the east of the latter there stood, till within the last few years, a fine old stone land, with its main front in Mid Common Close, adorned with dormer windows, string courses, and other architectural decorations of an early period. Over one of the windows on the first floor, the following devout confession of faith was cut in large Roman characters:-I. TAKE . THE. LORD. JESTS. AS. MY. ONLY. ALL . SVFFICIENT. PORTION. TO . CONTENT . ME . 1614. This tenement, however, shared the fate of its less substantial neighbours, having been pulled down for other buildings. The Old High School Close derived its name from a large and handsome mansion which stood in an open court at the foot, and was occupied for many years as the High School of the Burgh. The building was ornamented with dormer windows, and a neat pediment in the centre, bearing a sun dial, with the date 1704. The school dated from a much remoter era, however, than this would imply; it appears to have been founded in connection with the Abbey, long before a similar institution existed in the capital. It is referred to in a charter granted by James V. in 1529; and Henryson, once the pupil of Vocat, clerk and orator of the Convent of Holyrood, is named as having successfully taught the Grammar School of the Burgh of Canongate. Repeated notices of it occur in the Burgh Records, e.g. :-“ 5 April 1580.-The quhilk day compeirit Gilbert Tailyeour, skuilmaister, and renuncit and dimittit his gift grauntit to him be Adame Bischope of 1 Contemporary allusions to this Parliament render it more likely that its place of meeting was on the south side of the street, as it was battered from the Blackfriara’ Yards. Moreover, it seem8 probable that the whole of the north aide wai~ an undisputed part of the Eurgh of Canongate, aa it now ia of the pariah ;, while on the south ita parochial bounds extend no further westward than St John’s Cross. In the Act of Parliament of 1540 (ante, p. 44), the Abbot of Holyrood is referred to aa the acknowledged superior of the east side of Leith Wynd. The old house iq at any rate, one which existed at the period, and wan then a mansion of no mean note. The occupanta of it some thirty years ago used to tell the usual story of Queen Yary having resided there, and professed to point out her chapel, with the confessiondLa place certainly constructed with mme suitableness for such a purpose-the site of the altar, the prieat’s robing-room, bic., and all in e cmy attic, which, long before ita final destruction, seemed to have been deserted as past hope of repair.