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The Story of Edinburgh Castle
Chapter X. The Story of the Regalia


ON December 14, 1714, the Castle was deprived of the ecclesiastical right of sanctuary, which had existed from the time of David in 1128, when he established his first order of monks within its walls.

By a decree of the Court of Session debtors were no longer allowed to seek its shelter, and thus the privilege they had enjoyed for centuries came to an end.

After the c Young Pretender’s ’ hopeless attempt to bring General Preston and his garrison to their knees and to recover the Crown of Bruce, the story of the Castle becomes less mixed with romance and tragedy as the times become more peaceful.

Having successfully suppressed the Jacobite rebellion, the Government turned its attention to the punishment of the supporters who had fallen into its hands, and so we find the dungeons and State prisons of the Castle occupied by a continual stream of unfortunate adherents to the Jacobite cause. Notable amongst these was, perhaps, an English gentleman named Henry Payne, who was cruelly tortured by instruction of the righteous King William through his Solicitor-General saying: "There is no doubt that he knows as much as would hang a thousand; but except you put him to torture he will shame you all. Pray you put him in such hands as will have no pity on him.” After shameful torture the unfortunate man was flung into one of the dungeons in solitary confinement, where he spent a miserable ten years, despite appeals for mercy and a fair trial to the c pious King William.’ But he was not the only Jacobite who suffered extreme severity. The Duchess of Perth and her daughters were treated with disgusting brutality in one of those horrible vaults for no other reason than that the Duke had fought and was slain at the head of his men at Culloden. These poor ladies were refused a female attendant and put into the humiliating position of being under the constant supervision of the guard. Lady Ogilvie was also imprisoned in the Castle because of her sympathy with ‘Prince Charlie,’ but she was fortunate enough to make her escape disguised as a laundry-maid. About the same time a namesake of Lady Ogilvie’s lost his life in endeavouring to escape down the rocks on the south side, and his son, an officer who had fought with the Prince at Carlisle, was hanged and mutilated with horrible barbarity on Kennington Common.

The last person who was tried and executed for the rebellion was the famous Lord Lovat. He had cunningly kept in the background, and had not only abstained from any overt act, but had even affected zeal for the royal cause. He would most probably have escaped punishment had not Lord Murray of Broughton, secretary to Charles, consulted his own safety by becoming King’s evidence. The letters of Lovat to Charles, produced by Murray at the trial, and the convincing evidence of his own clansmen, fully established his guilt, and he was condemned after a trial which lasted ten days. When his sentence was pronounced he said : “Farewell, my lords. We shall not all meet again in the same place—I am sure of that.” During the short interval between his conviction and the execution he showed at first great anxiety to secure a pardon, but this being impossible he displayed the utmost insensibility to his position ; he conversed in the most cheerful manner with his friends, and spoke of his approaching execution almost with levity. He met his fate with great composure, and though in the eightieth year of his age, and so infirm that he sought the assistance of two persons in mounting the steps of the scaffold, his spirits never flagged. Turning to the great crowd, he said with a sneer: “God save us ! why should there be such a bustle about taking off an old grey head from a man who cannot get up three steps without two assistants?” Having spent a little time in devotions, he repeated the line of Horace, *Z~)ulce et decorum est pro patria mori, and, laying his head upon the block, received the fatal blow with great courage, leaving, as Scott remarks, “ a strong example of the truth of the observation, that it is easier to die well than to live well.” Following the Jacobites of the rebellion, the only prisoners incarcerated in the dungeons of the Castle were captives of the French wars, for whom the fortress continued to be used as a prison almost up to the days of Waterloo. One event of importance remains to be chronicled—the dramatic finding of the Regalia after they had lain hidden for a hundred and ten years.

After the battle of Dunbar, 1650, the Scottish Regalia were taken for safety from the Castle of Edinburgh, and after the coronation of Charles II at Scone they were deposited in Dunnottar Castle, on the coast of Kincardineshire, with the idea that Charles II should send a boat and convey them to France. The Order of the Parliament is in the following words: “[June 6, 1651.] Instrumentis taken be the Erie Mareschal upoun the production of the honouris, with his dessyre represented to the Parliament, that the same might be putt in sum pairt of securitie ; his Majesty and Parliament ordanes the said Erie Mareschal to cause transport the saidis honouris to the hous of Dunnottar, thair to be keepit by him till furthur ordouris.”

For the protection of the castle of Dunnottar a garrison was placed thereon July 8, 1651, under the immediate command of George Ogilvy of Barras, an experienced soldier, who held a commission from the Earl Mareschal to be Lieutenant-Governor of the castle. Some royal artillery was furnished at the same time.

It became, however, too obvious, from the daily successes of the English, that sooner or later Dun-nottar Castle, which was now besieged, must be surrendered. Ogilvy was pressed by the Committee of Estates to deliver up the Regalia in order that they might be sent to some distant castle in the Highlands. The Lieutenant-Governor did not conceive these instructions to be so worded as to authorize his compliance, or to relieve him of the responsibility which this important charge imposed on him \ he therefore refused compliance, and applied to the Earl of Loudoun, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, for instructions in so pressing an emergency. The reply of the Chancellor was in these terms: "I conceive that the trust committed to you, and the safe custody of the thingis under your charge did require that victual, a competent number of honest and stout sojers, and all other necessaries, should have been provided and put in the castle before you had been in any hazard ; and if you be in good condition, or that you can timely supply yourself with necessaries, and that the place be tenable against all attempts of the enemie, I doubt not but you will hold out. But if you want provisions, sojers, and ammunition, and cannot hold out at the assaults of the enemie, which is feared and thought you cannot doe if you be hardlye persued, I know no better expedient than that the Honours of the Crowne be speedilye and saiflie transported to some remote and strong castle or hold in the Highlands, and I wish you had delivered them to the Lord Balcarras as was desired hv the Committee of Estates j nor doe I know any better way for the preservation of these thingis, and your exoneration ; and it will be an irreparable loss and shame if these thingis shall be taken by the enemie, and verie dishonourable for yourself. So having given you the best advice I can at present, I trust you will, with all care and faithfulness, be answerable according to the trust committed to you.”

The urgent necessities of the moment brought forth a woman whose ingenuity was the means of saving the precious treasures. This person was the wife of the Rev. James Granger, the minister of Kinneff Church, some five miles from Dunnottar. She received permission from the English general to pay a visit to the governor’s lady. The secret of smuggling out the Regalia was successfully kept to herself and the governor’s wife, and the governor himself was not allowed to know what was done, that he might be able to declare with truth his ignorance of the whereabouts of the treasure.

Mrs. Granger took the Crown in her lap. The English general helped her on to the horse which she had left below, the castle rock being too steep to approach on the saddle, and her servant followed on foot carrying the Sword and Sceptre concealed in bundles of lint which she pretended were to be spun into thread. Passing through the English lines without the slightest suspicion, she eventually arrived at Kinneff, and placed the valuables in the charge of her husband, who handed to the governor’s wife this authentic statement as to the secret place in which they were deposited: “ March 31st, 1652: I, Mr. James Granger, minister at Kinneff, grant me to have in my custody the Honours of the Kingdom, viz., The Crown, Sceptre and Sword. For the Crown and Sceptre, I raised the pavement stone just before the pulpit, in the night tyme, and digged under it ane hole, and put them in there, and filled up the hole, and laid down the stone just as it was before, and removed the mould that remained, that none would have discerned the stone to have been raised at all; the Sword again, at the west end of the church, amongst some common seits that stand there, I digged down in the ground betwixt the two foremost of these seits and laid it down within the case of it and covered it up, as that removing the superfluous mould it could not be discerned by anybody; and if it should please God to call me by death before they be called for, your ladyship will find them in that place.”

When Dunnottar Castle fell, the conquerors reckoned on possession of the Regalia, and in their great disappointment they treated the governor and his wife with much cruelty ; even, tradition says, the minister fell under suspicion. But the Earl Mareschal’s youngest son, Sir John Keith, who had gone abroad, spread the report that he had secretly taken the Regalia to Charles in Paris. This story, which was believed, prevented search being made in Scotland. The minister’s wife had her reward after the Restoration, by an Act of Parliament dated January 11, 1661, in which it is stated: “ For as much as the Estates of Parliament doe understand that Christian Fletcher, spouse to Mr. James Granger, minister of Kinneff, was most active in conveying the royal honours, his Majesties Crown, Sword, and Sceptre, out of the castle of Dunnottar, immediately before it was rendered to the English usurpers, and that be the care of the same they were hid and preserved, therefore the King’s Majestie, with the advice of the Estates in Parliament, doe appoint two thousand merks Scots to be forthwith paid unto her be his Majestie’s thresauer, out of the readiest of his Majestie’s rents, as a testimony of their sense of her service.” Sir John Keith, who had really done nothing, received an annual salary of Granger and the maid seem to have received nothing.

The Regalia continued to be exposed at the sittings of the Scottish Parliament down to the Union, when the people of Scotland and others were up in arms against the Act. The exasperation of the populace was increased by a report that Scotland’s Crown, Sceptre, and Sword, her only emblems of independence, were to be removed to London, for the Government thought “the royal emblems would be no safe spectacle for the public sight.”

The Earl Mareschal was called upon to surrender the 190 custody of the Regalia to the Commissioners of the Treasury, but he declined to do this in person and ordered one of the Junior Clerks of Session to deliver the Crown, Sceptre, and Sword of State to the Commissioners. They were therefore, on March 26, 1707, placed in the great black kist of the Stuarts, together with a memorandum from the Earl Mareschal minutely describing the various articles of the Regalia, and protesting that they should not be moved from the Castle without due intimation to him. The Crown Room in which the Regalia were thus deposited is a strong vaulted apartment, its chimney and window well secured by iron stanchels, and the entrance protected by two doors, one of oak and one formed of iron bars, both fastened with bolts, bars, and locks of great strength. Strange to say, the keys of this room and of the chest have never been discovered.

It was believed by some that the Regalia had been secretly removed to the Tower of London, and m 1817 his Royal Highness the Prince Regent—afterwards George IV—issued a warrant to the officers of State and other persons in public trust, permitting them to open the Crown Room and to force the famous kist. The Commissioners who assembled on February 4, 1818, in the governor’s house were the Lord President, the Lord Justice Clerk, the Lord Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court, Major-General John Hope, the Solicitor-General, Sir Walter Scott, and others.

"It was with feelings of no common anxiet\says Sir Walter Scott, u that the Commissioners, having read their warrant, proceeded to the crown-room, and, having- found all there in the state in which it had been left in 1707, commanded the King’s smith (Neish by name), who was in attendance, to force open the great chest, the keys of which had been sought for in vain. The general impression that the Regalia had been removed weighed heavily on the hearts of all while the labour proceeded. The chest seemed to return a hollow and empty sound to the strokes of the hammer, and even those whose expectations had been most sanguine felt at the moment the probability of bitter disappointment, and could not but be sensible that, should the result of the search confirm those forebodings, it would only serve to show that a national affront, an injury, had been sustained, for which it might be difficult, or rather impossible, to obtain redress. The joy was therefore extreme when, the ponderous lid of the chest having been forced open, at the expense of some time and labour, the Regalia were discovered at the bottom, covered with linen cloths, exactly as they had been left in 1707. The reliques were passed from hand to hand, and greeted with affectionate reverence, and so restored to public view after the slumber of more than a hundred years. The discovery was instantly communicated to the public by the display of the Royal Standard, and was greeted by great shouts of the soldiers in the garrison, and the vast multitude assembled on the Castle Hill; indeed, the rejoicing was so general and sincere as plainly to show that, however altered in other respects, the people of Scotland had lost nothing of that national enthusiasm which formerly had displayed itself in grief for the loss of those emblematic honours and now was expressed in joy for their recovery.”

The Regalia now lie arranged on a white marble table, together with the Crown jewels, inside a strong iron cage in a bomb-proof apartment, its chimney and windows well secured by bars, and the entrance protected by two strong doors.

The Crown is generally believed to include in its materials the circlet of the famous Bruce, according to Sir Walter Scott, whose deep interest in the Regalia helped on the cause of their restoration, and who also, it is said, encouraged the blacksmith in his mighty effort to open the chest.

The Scots are known to have employed a Crown as the appropriate badge of sovereignty at a very early period. After the tragic death of the usurper Macbeth in 1056, when Malcolm Canmore gained the Throne, the new monarch was crowned in the Abbey of Scone, on St. Mark’s Day, 1057, and among the privileges granted to Macduff, Thane of Fife, and his descendants, in recognition of his services, was that of personally conducting the King of Scotland to the royal throne on the day of his coronation—a ceremony which, of course, implied the use of a crow n. It is well known that the Scottish Crown which was used in these ancient ceremonies fell into the hands of Edward I when, in the year 1296, he dethroned John Baliol, and took with him to England every emblem of Scottish independence. The invader who carried off the celebrated stone called Jacob’s Pillow was not likely to leave behind the Crown of Scotland* not only more portable, but much more valuable. The following passage would imply that the regal ornaments were stripped from the very person of John Baliol, at the time when he surrendered his kingdom to Edward I after the disastrous battle of Dunbar. This disgraceful ceremony took place in the castle of Montrose, or, according to other authorities, in that of Brechin.

"This yohn the Baliol on purpose,
He took and brought him till Muntros,
And in the castle of that town,
'That then was famous in renown,
This John the Baliol despoiled he
Of all his robes of royalty;
The Pelure they took off his tab art,
(Toom-tabart he was called after wart)
And all other inseygnys
That fell to Kings on onywise.
Baith Sceptre, Sword, Crown, and Ring
Fra this yohn that he made King,
Halyly him he took thare,
And made him of the kynry k bare.
in founds “Crony kill”

The royal insignia of Scotland having thus passed into the hands of Edward, it followed that when Robert the Bruce asserted the independence of the country in the year 1306 the ancient Crown of Scotland was not used at his coronation. Accordingly, there was a circlet or ring of gold hastily prepared for the occasion, which, after Bruce’s defeat at Methven, also fell into the hands of the English monarch. This fact is established by a pardon afterward issued by Edward I, upon the intercession, as he states, “of his beloved Queen Margarate, to Galfredus de Coigniers, who is stated to have concealed a certain coronel of gold, with which Robert the Bruce, enemy and rebel of the King, had caused himself to be crowned in our kingdom of Scotland, which guilty concealment, nevertheless, the King pardons to the said Galfredus de Coigniers, by a deed executed at Carlisle, March 20, 1307.” Thus the present Crown might have been made at a later period. It cannot, however, bear an earlier date than Bruce’s establishment in the sovereignty of Scotland after the victory of Bannockburn, in 1314. “ The question remains,” says Scott, 'whether it ought to be assigned to a later reign than that of the Scottish deliverer, and several reasons incline us to decide in the negative. It is not likely that Robert the Bruce, highly valuing the independence which his own valour had procured for Scotland, would suffer her long to remain without the emblem of royalty proper to a free State, especially without a crown, which, in all countries of Europe, was regarded as the most inalienable mark of regal dignity. His successful wars in England and the confiscation of the estates of the faction of the Baliols at home, as it rendered it easy for the victorious monarch to repair Melrose and other churches which had suffered during the civil war, put it also in his power, with more convenience than most of his successors, to expend a considerable sum in replacing the regal ornaments of the kingdom. It may indeed occur as a question why, in the course of Bruce’s triumphant negotiations with England, he did not demand restitution of the ancient regalia carried off by Edward in 1306, as we know that by the treaty of Northampton he stipulated for the restoration of the stone called Jacob’s Pillow, used at the Coronation, and the various documents which had relation to the independence of the kingdom of Scotland. We are left in considerable uncertainty on this subject, as there is no copy in existence of the treaty of Northampton. Nevertheless, as none of the historians who mention its import makes any special allusion to the ancient Crown of Scotland as falling under the stipulated restitution, it may be conjectured that it was no longer in existence, having been probably destroyed for the

THE STATE PRISON, WHERE THE MARQUIS OF ARGYLL WAS CONFINED

sake of the precious materials of which it was formed. But could we even show evidence that the ancient badge of royalty was among these articles, the restoration whereof was stipulated by the treaty of Northampton, it would not greatly alter the state of the argument, as those conditions were never complied with, and the Crown consequently, with Jacob’s Pillow and other articles pillaged by Edward, must have still remained in England. The style of the present Crown, particularly of the setting of the stones, is said to correspond with the state of the jeweller’s art in the early part of the fourteenth century, and to strengthen the belief we have ventured to express that the present diadem was framed by the command of Robert the Bruce as a symbol of his own sovereignty, and of the independence which his prudence and valour had secured to his country. According to this hypothesis the present Crown was worn by David II, son of Robert the Bruce, whose coronation took place in 1329 with unusual solemnity, for by direction of a papal bull he received the royal unction from the hands of the Archbishop of Saint Andrews, and this had been no part of the ceremonial upon preceding occasions. This addition to the solemnity of the proceedings did not, however, prevent the brief usurpation of Edward Baliol, who was crowned at Scone.

How the Regalia were protected during the stormy times which followed does not appear. Probably as memorials dear to popular feeling they were respected by both parties. At any rate, it seems almost certain that the Crown was not again destroyed or mutilated. Notwithstanding the foreign and domestic wars with which Scotland was harassed, there occurs no instance of the Regalia of the kingdom having been in possession of an enemy or usurper \ and it may therefore be conjectured that the present Crown remained the same and unaltered since the days of Bruce, until the example of other sovereign princes in foreign countries induced James V to close it at the top with arches. 'Diadems, or open crowns, like that of Scotland in its original state, were generally assumed by inferior and feudatory princes, and differed so little in appearance from the coronets of the nobility that most of the monarchs of Europe, desirous of giving the regal badge a form of marked and pre-eminent distinction, began, at the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century, to use crowns arched over, or closed at the top, like those which were formerly called imperial. From this custom arose the saying that a prince wished to c close his crown,’ when he was supposed to aim at shaking off his dependence on a liege lord or superior. Charles VIII of France adopted a close or imperial crown in 1495, and Henry VII of England in 1495. The Kings of Scotland were not so long in assuming the same mark of dignity. Both James III and James IV appear on their coins with close crown, although the arches were not actually added to the ancient open diadem until James V, as appears from the characters inscribed on the arches.”

The form of the Crown is remarkably elegant. The lower part consists of two circles, the undermost much broader than that which rises over it j both are composed of the purest gold, and the uppermost is surmounted or relieved by a range of fleurs-de-lis, interchanged with crosses leurees, and alternating with the fleurs-de-lis and the crosses are knobs or pinnacles of gold, each topped with a pearl. At the base of each fleur-de-lis is set a diamond, and at the base of each cross a blue enamel suggesting a sapphire. On a broad band between the two circles are twenty-two stones, carbuncles, topazes, amethysts, jacinths, and rock crystals ; alternating with these stones are five large pearls. These two circles and the band between them thus ornamented seem to have formed the original diadem or Crown of Scotland until the reign of James V, who added two imperial arches rising from the circle and crossing each other, and closing at the top in a globe of gold enamelled blue, which again is surmounted by a large cross patee, ornamented with black enamel and pearls, and bearing the characters J. R. V. These arches are attached to the original Crown by tacks of gold, and there is some inferiority in the quality of the metal. The bonnet or tiara worn under the Crown was anciently of purple, but is now of crimson velvet, turned up with ermine, a change adopted in the year 1685. The tiara is adorned with four superb pearls set in gold, and fastened in the velvet which appears between the arches. The Crown measures nearly eight inches in diameter, twenty-seven inches in circumference, and about six inches and a half in height from the bottom of the lower circle to the top of the cross.

The Sceptre was presented to James IV by Pope Alexander VI, and was remade by James V. It is a slight and well-proportioned rod of silver gilt, thirty-four inches in length, of hexagon form ; the lines are broken by three fluted rings, surmounted by a capital of chased dolphins supporting three figures representing the Virgin Mary, St. Andrew, and St. James, which again support a large crystal ball. Such crystal balls have long been invested with superstitious associations, and are still known among the Highlanders as c stones of power.’ The whole design is topped by an Oriental pearl.

The Sword of State was presented to James IV by Pope Julius II in 1507. It has a scabbard of crimson velvet covered with filigree work. The belt of the Sword was restored to the Regalia only in May 1893, by the Rev. Samuel Ogilvy Baker, descendant of Ogilvy of Barras. When the Sword was removed along with the Sceptre and Crown from Dunnottar Castle the belt was left behind, and became the property of the Ogilvys of Barras. It bears the emblems and insignia of Pope Julius II, designed in the same style as the ornamentation of the scabbard. Besides these c Honours of Scotland,’ there are also the jewels that were bequeathed to King George IV by Henry Benedict, Cardinal of York, the last of the Stuarts, and deposited in the presence of officers of State in 1830. They are four in number, as follows: The Badge of the Order of the Garter (the St. George , and the Collar, in gold richly enamelled and set with diamonds a Ring, mounted with a ruby surrounded with diamonds, sometimes, but erroneously, said to have been the coronation ring of Charles I; the Jewel of St. Andrew, which is not only a very beautiful jewel, but one of exceptional interest. It was worn by Prince Charlie in the ‘’45,’ and belonged to his father, the Chevalier St. George. It was the badge by which the Prince was to be recognized by his adherents on landing in Scotland. This information has not previously been made public, although long known in Jacobite circles. On the Badge of the Thistle, the fourth of the jewels, there is a secret opening, in which is placed a fine miniature of Clementina Maria Sobieski, the mother of Prince Charlie; the image of St. Andrew on the other side is cut on an onyx set round with diamonds.

These treasures are displayed with the 'Honours,’ which are the only ancient regal emblems in Britain, for those of England were destroyed by the Great Protector. The Crown has shone on the head of Bruce, has been placed over the head of each King James, and has adorned the auburn hair of the beautiful Queen Mary; and to preserve that of which it is the symbol many thousands of Scotland’s brave sons have laid down their lives on the field of battle. The kist in which the Regalia were found is worthy of attention. It is a huge chest of oak, strengthened and held together by iron bands. Its dimensions show that it was brought into the Crown Room in panels, and the screws and nuts that hold it together can be seen inside it. The old hasps that were broken in 1818 still remain, and it now bears also three large padlocks.

The iron-grated door of the room is of an entirely characteristic Scottish type. The ingenious method by which the bars are interlaced will well repay investigation, for it is perhaps the strongest form of gate known.


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