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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of Mary: 1561 - 1565

THE regent, Mary de Guise, having died in June 1560, while her daughter Mary, the nominally reigning queen, was still in France, the management of affairs fell into the hands of the body of nobles, styled Lords of the Congregation, who had struggled for the establishment of the Protestant faith. The chief of these was Lord James Stuart, an illegitimate son of James V., and brother of the queen—the man of by far the greatest sagacity and energy of his age and country, and a most earnest votary of the new religion.

Becoming a widow in December 1560, by the death of her husband, Francis II., Mary no longer had any tie binding her to France, and consequently she resolved on returning to her own dominions. When she arrived in Edinburgh, in August 1561, she found the Protestant religion so firmly established, and so universally accepted by the people—there being only some secluded districts where Catholicism still prevailed—that, so far from having a chance of restoring her kingdom to Rome, as she, ‘an unpersuaded princess,’ might have wished to do, it was with the greatest difficulty that she could be allowed to have the mass performed in a private room in her palace. The people regarded her beautiful face with affection; and, as she allowed her brother, Lord James, and other Protestant nobles to act for her, her government was far from unpopular.

Mary’s conduct towards the Protestant cause appeared as that of one who submits to what cannot be resisted. Before she had been fifteen months in the country, she accompanied her brother (whom she created Earl of Moray) on an expedition to the north, where she broke the power of the Gordon family, who boasted they could restore the Catholic faith in three counties. What is still more remarkable, she dealt with the patrimony of the church, accepting part of the spoils for the use of the state. It is believed, nevertheless, that she designed ultimately to act in concert with the Catholic powers of the continent for the restoration of the old religion in Scotland. One obvious motive for keeping on fair terms with Protestantism for the present, lay in her hopes of succeeding to the English crown, in the event of the death of Elizabeth, whose next heir she was.

A custom, dating far back in Catholic times, prevailed in Edinburgh in unchecked luxuriance down almost to the time of the Reformation. It consisted in a set of unruly dramatic games, called
Robin Hood, the Abbot of Unreason, and the Queen of May, which were enacted every year in the floral month just mentioned. The interest felt by the populace in these whimsical merry-makings was intense: At the approach of May, they assembled and chose some respectable individuals of their number, very grave and reverend citizens perhaps, to act the parts of Robin Hood and Little John, of the Lord of Inobedience, or the Abbot of Unreason, and ‘make sports and jocosities’ for them. If the chosen actors felt it inconsistent with their tastes, gravity, or engagements, to don a fantastic dress, caper and dance, and incite their neighbours to do the like, they could only be excused on paying a fine. On the appointed day, always a Sunday or holiday, the people assembled in their best attire and in military array, and marched in blithe procession to some neighbouring field, where the fitting preparations had been made for their amusement. Robin Hood and Little John robbed bishops, fought with pinners, and contended in archery among themselves, as they had done in reality two centuries before. The Abbot of Unreason kicked up his heels and played antics like a modern pantaloon. The popular relish for all this was such as can scarcely now be credited. ‘A learned prelate [Latimer] preaching before Edward VI., observes, that he once came to a town upon a holiday, and gave information on the evening before of his design to preach. But next day when he came to the church, he found the door locked. He tarried half an hour ere the key could be found, and instead of a willing audience, some one told him: "This is a busy day with us; we cannot hear you. It is Robin Hood’s day. The parish are gone abroad to gather for Robin Hood. I pray you let [hinder] them not." I was fain (says the bishop) to give place to Robin Hood. I thought my rochet should have been regarded, though I were not; but it would not serve. It was fain to give place to Robin Hood’s men.’

Such were the Robin Hood plays of Catholic and unthinking times. By and by, when the Reformation approached, they were found to be disorderly and discreditable, and an act of parliament was passed against them. Still, while the upper and more serious classes frowned, the common sort of people loved the sport too much to resign it without a struggle. It came to be one of the first difficulties of the men who had carried through the Reformation, how to wrestle the people out of their love of the May-games.

In April 1561, one George Dune was chosen in Edinburgh as Robin Hood and Lord of Inobedience, and on Sunday the 12th of May, he and a great number of other persons came riotously into the city, with an ensign and arms in their hands, in disregard of both the act of parliament and an act of the town-council. Notwithstanding an effort of the magistrates to turn them back, they passed to the Castle Hill, and thence returned at their own pleasure. For this offence a cordiner’s servant, named James Gillon, was condemned to be hanged on the 21st of July.

July 27‘
When the time of the poor man’s hanging approachit, and that the [hangman] was coming to the gibbet with the ladder, upon which the said cordiner should have been hangit, the craftsmen’s childer’ and servants past to armour; and first they housit Alexander Guthrie and the provost and bailies in the said Alexander’s writing booth, and sync came down again to the Cross, and dang down the gibbet, and brake it in pieces, and thereafter passed to the Tolbooth, whilk was then steekit [shut]; and when they could not apprehend the keys thereof, they brought fore-hammers and dang up the same Tolbooth door perforce, the provost, bailies, and others looking thereupon; and when the said door was broken up, ane part of them past in the same, and not allenarly [only] brought the same condemnit cordiner forth of the said Tolbooth, but also all the remanent persons being thereintill; and this done they past down the Hie Gait [High Street], to have past forth at the Nether Bow, whilk was then steekit, and because they could not get furth thereat, they past up the Hie Gait again; and in the meantime the provost, bailies, and their assisters being in the writing-booth of Alexander Guthrie, past to the Tolbooth; and in their passing up the said gait, they being in the Tolbooth, as said is, shot forth at the said servants ane dag, and hurt ane servant of the craftemen’s. That being done, there was naething but tak and slay; that is, the ane part shooting forth and casting stanes, the other part shooting hagbuts in again; and sae the craftsmen’s servants held them [conducted themselves] continually fra three hours afternoon while [till] aucht at even, and never ane man of the town steirit to defend their provost and bailies. And then they sent to the masters of the craftsmen to cause them, gif they might, to stay the said servants; wha purposed to stay the same, but they could not come to pass, but the servants said they wald have ane revenge for the man whilk was hurt. And thereafter the provost sent ane messenger to the constable of the Castle to come to stay the matter, wha came; and he with the masters of the craftsmen treated on this manner, that the provost and bailies should discharge all manner of actions whilk they had against the said craftschilder in ony time bygane, and charged all their masters to receive them in service as they did of before, and promittit never to pursue them in time to come for the same. And this being done and proclaimit, they skaled [disbanded], and the provost and bailies came furth of the Tolbooth.’—D.

An Edinburgh Hammerman  1555

This was altogether an unprotestant movement, though springing only from a thoughtless love of sport. We may see in the attack on the Tolbooth a foreshadow of the doings of the Porteous mob in a later age. It appears that the magistrates, though reformers, were unpopular; hence the neutrality of the citizens, who, when solicited to interfere for the defence of the city-rulers, went to their four hours penny, and returned for answer: ‘They will be magistrates alone; let them rule the multitude alone.’—Cal. Thirteen persons were afterwards ‘fylit’ by an assize for refusing to help the magistrates.—Pit.

On its being known that Queen Mary was about to arrive in Scotland from France, there was a great flocking of the upper class of people from all parts of the country to Edinburgh, ‘as it were to a common spectacle.’

Aug 19
The queen arrived with her two vessels in Leith Road, at seven in the morning of a dull autumn-day. She was accompanied by her three uncles of the House of Guise—the Duc d’Aumale, the Grand Prior, and the Marquis d’Elbeuf; besides Monsieur d’Amville, son of the constable of France, her four gentlewomen, called the Maries, and many persons of inferior note. To pursue the narrative of one who looked on the scene with an evil eye: ‘The very face of heaven, the time of her arrival, did manifestly speak what comfort was brought unto this country with her; to wit, sorrow, dolour, darkness, and all impiety; for in the memory of man, that day of the year, was never seen a more dolorous face of the heaven, than was at her arrival, which two days after did so continue; for beside the surface weet and corruption of the air, the mist was so thick and so dark, that scarce might any man espy ane other the length of twa butts. The sun was not seen to shine two days before nor two days after. That forewarning gave God unto us; but, alas, the most part were blind.

‘At the sound of the cannons which the galleys shot, the multitude being advertised, happy was he and she that first might have presence of the queen [At ten hours her hieness landed upon the shore of Leith.] Because the palace of Holyroodhouse was not thoroughly put in order . . . . she remained [in Andrew Lamb’s house] in Leith till towards the evening, and then repaired thither. In the way betwixt Leith and the Abbey, met her the rebels of the crafts . . . . that had violated the authority of the magistrates and had besieged the provost; but because she was sufficiently instructed that all they did was done in despite of the religion, they were easily appardoned. Fires of joy were set forth all night, and a company of the most honest, with instruments of music, and with musicians, gave their salutations at her chalmer window. The melody, as she alleged, liked her weel; and she willed the same to be continued some nichts after.’ —Knox.

The magistrates of Edinburgh, although all of them zealous for the reformed religion, resolved to give their young sovereign a gallant reception, taxing the community for the expenses. It was likewise thought good that, ‘for the honour and pleasure of our sovereign, ane banquet sould be made upon Sunday next, to the princes, our said sovereign’s kinsmen.’

Sep 2
The queen ‘made her entres in the burgh of Edinburgh in this manner. Her hieness departed of Holyroodhouse, and rade by the Lang Gate [A road in the line of Princess Street] on the north side
of the burgh, unto the time she came to the Castle, where was ane yett [gate] made to her, at the whilk she, accompanied by the maist part of the nobility of Scotland, came in and rade up the castle-bank to the Castle, and dined therein.

‘When she had dined at twelve hours, her hieness came furth of the Castle . . . . , at whilk departing the artillery shot vehemently. Thereafter, when she was ridand down the Castle Hill, there met her hieness ane convoy of the young men of the burgh, to the number of fifty or thereby, their bodies and thies covered with yellow taffetas, their arms and legs frae the knee down bare, coloured with black, in manner of Moors; upon their heads black hats, and on their faces black visors; in their mouths rings garnished with untellable precious stanes; about their necks, legs, and arms, infinite of chains of gold: together with saxteen of the maist honest men of the town, clad in velvet gowns and velvet bonnets, bearaud and gangand about the pall under whilk her hieness rade; whilk pall was of fine purpour velvet, lined with red taffetas, fringed with gold and silk. After them was ane cart with certain bairns, together with ane coffer wherein was the cupboard and propine [gift] whilk should be propiuit to her hieness. When her grace came forward to the Butter Tron, the nobility and convoy precedand, there was ane port made of timber in maist honourable manner, coloured with fine colours, hung with sundry arms; upon whilk port was singand certain bairns in the maist heavenly wise; under the whilk port there was ane cloud opening with four leaves, in the whilk was put ane bonnie bairn. When the queen’s hieness was coming through the said port, the cloud openit, and the bairn descended down as it had been ane angel, and deliverit to her hieness the keys of the town, together with ane Bible and ane Psalm-buik covent with fine purpour velvet.’ After the said bairn had spoken some small speeches, he delivered also to her hieness three writings, the tenour whereof is uncertain. That being done, the bairn ascended in the cloud, and the said cloud steekit.

‘Thereafter the queen’s grace came down to the Tolbooth, at the whilk was . . . . twa seaffats, ane aboon, and ane under that. Upon the under was situate ane fair virgin called Fortune, under the whilk was three fair virgins, all clad in maist precious attirement, called, Justice, and Policy. And after ane little speech made there, the queen’s grace came to the Cross, where there was standand four fair virgins, clad in the maist heavenly claithing, and frae the whilk Cross the wine ran out at the spouts in great abundance. There was the noise of people casting the glasses with wine.

‘This being done, our lady came to the Salt Tron, where there was some speakers; and after ane little speech, they burnt upon the seaffat made at the said Tron the manner of ane sacrifice. Sae that being done, she departed to the Nether Bow, where there was ane other scaffat made, having ane dragon in the same, with some speeches; and after the dragon was burnt, and the queen’s grace heard ane psalm sung, her hieness passed to the abbey of Holyroodhouse, with the said convoy and nobilities. There the bairns whilk was in the cart with the propine made some speech concerning the putting away of the mass, and thereafter sang ane psalm. And this being done, the . . . . honest men remained in her outer chalmer, and desired her grace to receive the said cupboard, whilk was double over-gilt; the price thereof was 2000 merks; wha received the same and thankit them thereof. And sae the honest men and convoy come to Edinburgh.’—D. O.

The Sunday banquet to the queen’s uncles duly took place in the cardinal’s lodging in Blackfriars’ Wynd. The entire expenses on the occasion of this royal reception were 4000 merks

Before the queen had been settled for many weeks in her capital, the new-born zeal of the people against the old religion found vent in a way that shewed in how little danger she was of being spoilt by complaisance on the part of her subjects. The provost of Edinburgh, Archibald Douglas, with the bailies and council, eausit ane proclamation to be proelaimit at the Cross of Edinburgh, commanding and charging all and sundry monks, friars, priests, and all others papists and profane persons, to pass furth of Edinburgh within twenty-four hours, under the pain of burning of disobeyers upon the cheek and harling of them through the town upon ane cart. At the whilk proclamation, the queen’s grace was very commovit.’—D. O. She had, after all, sufficient influence to cause the provost and bailies to be degraded from their offices for this act of zeal.

The autumn of this year, the weather was ‘richt guid and fair.’ In the winter quarter, the weather was still fair, and there was ‘peace and rest in all Scotland.’— C. F

Dec 16
William Guild was convicted, notwithstanding his being a minor and of weak mind, of ‘the thieftous stealing and taking forth of the purse of Elizabeth Danielstoue, the spouse of Niel Laing, hinging upon her apron . . . . she being upon the High Street, standing at the krame of William Speir . . . . in communing with him, the time of the putting of ane string to ane penner and inkhorn, whilk she had coft [bought] fra the said kramer, of ane signet of gold, ane other signet of gold set with ane cornelian, ane gold ring set with ane great sapphire, ane other gold ring with ane sapphire formit like ane heart, ane gold ring set with ane turquois, ane small double gold ring set with ane diamond and ane ruby, ane auld angel-noble, and ane cusset ducat.’—Pit. This account of the contents of Mrs Laing’s purse, in connection with the decorations of the fifty young citizens who convoyed the queen in her procession through the city, raises unexpected ideas as to the means and taste of the middle classes in 1561.

Dec 24, 1561
Mr William Balfour, indweller in Leith, was convicted of breaking the queen’s proclamation for the protection of the reformed religion. One of his acts—’ He, accompanied with certain wicked persons . . . . upon set purpose, came to the parish kirk of Edinburgh, callit Sanct Giles Kirk, where John Cairns was examining the common people of the burgh, before the last communion . . . . and the said John, demanding of ane poor woman, "Gif she had ony hope of salvation by her awn good works," he, the said Mr William, in despiteful manlier and with thrawn countenance, having naething to do in that kirk but to trouble the said examination, said to the said John thir words: "Thou demands of that woman the thing whilk thou nor nane of thy opinion allows or keeps." And, after gentle admonition made to him by the said John, he said to him alsae thir words: "Thou art ane very knave, and thy doctrine is very false, as all your doctrine and teaching is." And therewith laid his band upon his weapons, and provoking battle; doing therethrough purposely that was in him to have raisit tumult amang the inhabitants of this burgh.’—Pit.

Jan 1, 1562
Alexander Scott, a poet of that time, sometimes called the Scottish Anacreon, because he sung so much of love, sent Aine New
Year Gift to the queen, in the form of a poetical address in twenty-eight stanzas. ‘Welcome, illustrate lady, and our queen!’ it begins. ‘This year sail richt and reason rule the rod ‘—‘ this year sall be of peace, tranquillity, and rest!’ says the sanguine bard, speaking from his wishes rather than a contemplation of known facts. He calls on Mary to found on the four cardinal virtues, to cleave to Christ, and be the ‘protectrice of the puir.’ ‘Stanch all strife ‘—‘the pulling down of policy reprove.’

‘At Cross gar cry by open proclamation,
Under great pains, that neither
lie nor she
Of haly writ have ony disputation,
But letterit men or learnit clerks thereto;
For limmer lads and little lasses low
Will argue baith with bishops, priests, and frier;
To danton this thou has eneuch to do,
God give thee grace against this guid new year !‘

Mary would probably feel the force of the seventh line of this stanza.

With commendable prudence, seeing he was addressing a papist queen, honest Alexander says:

‘With mess nor matins noways will I mell,
To judge them justly passes my ingine;
They guide nocht ill that governs weel themsel.’

Yet he deems himself at liberty to remark—doubtless suspecting that Mary would not be much displeased—that instead of old idols has now come in another called Covetice, under whose auspices, certain persons, while

'Singing Sanct David's psalter on their books,'

arc found

‘Rugging and ryving up kirk rents like rooks?

‘Protestants,’ he goes on to say,

‘takes the friers’ antetume,’ [repose]
Ready receivers, but to render nocht.’

On this Lord Hailes remarks: ‘The reformed clergy expected that the tithes would be applied to charitable uses, to the advancement of learning and the maintenance of the ministry. But the nobility, when they themselves had become the exactors, saw nothing rigorous in the payment of tithes, and derided those devout imaginations.’

In one verse of his poem, Scott makes pointed allusion to certain prophecies which seemed to assign a brilliant future to Mary:

‘If saws be sooth to shaw thy celsitude,
What bairn should brook all Britain by the sea,
The prophecy expressly does conclude
The French wife of the Bruce’s blood should be:
Thou art by line
from him the ninth degree,
was King Francis’ perty maik and peer;
So by descent the same should spring of thee,
By grace of
God against this good new year.’

The poet here undoubtedly had in view a prediction which occurs in a rude metrical tract printed at Edinburgh by Robert Waldegrave in 1603, under the title, ‘The Whole Prophesies of Scotland, England, and somepart of France and Denmark, prophesied by mervelious Merling, Beid, Bertlingtoun, Thomas Rymour, Waldhave, &c., all according in one.’ These so-called prophecies are unintelligible rhapsodies about lions, dragons, foumarts, conflicts of knights, of armies, and of navies—how there should be fighting on a moor beside a cross, till by the multitude of slain the crow should not find where the cross stood—how the dead shall rise, ‘and that shall be wonder ‘—how

‘When the man in the moon is most in his might,
Then shall Dunbarton turn up that is down,
And the mouth of Arran both at one time,
And the lord with the lucken hand his life shall he lose—’

and much more of the like kind.

From the style of the verse, which is in general alliterative, as well as some of the allusions, it may be surmised that these prophecies were written in the minority of James V., on the basis of obscure popular sayings attributed to Merlin, Rymour, and other early sages. The special passage which Alexander Scott refers to was in Rymour’s prophecies, but also given in a slightly different form in those of Bertlingtoun:

‘A French wife shall bear the son,
Shall rule all Britain to the sea,
That of the Bruce’s blood shall come,
As near as to the ninth degree?

There can be no doubt that it is applicable to Queen Mary, who was a French wife, and in the ninth degree of descent from Bruce; and did we know for certain that it formed a part of the prophecies made up in the minority of her father, it would be remarkable. But the probability is, that the verse was a recent addition to the old rhymes, a mere conjecture formed in the view of the possibility and the hope that a child of Mary would succeed to the English crown at the close of Elizabeth’s life. What makes the allusion of Scott chiefly worthy of notice, is the knowledge it gives us of the public mind being then possessed by such soothsayings. It certainly was so, to a degree and with effects beyond what we now may readily imagine.

While Scotland was noted in the eyes of foreigners as a barren land—Shakspeale comparing it for nakedness to the palm of the hand—its own people were fain to believe and eager to boast that it was rich in minerals. In 1511, 1512, and 1513, James IV. had gold-mines worked on Crawford Muir, in the upper ward of Lanarkshire—a peculiarly sterile tract, scarcely any part of which is less than a thousand feet above the sea. In the royal accounts for those years, there are payments to Sir James Pettigrew, who seems to have been chief of the enterprise, to Simon Northberge, the master-finer, Andrew Ireland, the finer, and Gerald Essemer, a Dutchman, the melter of the mine. Under the same king, in 1512, a lead-mine was wrought at Wanlock-head, on the other side of the same group of hills in Dumfriesshire. The operations, probably interrupted by the disaster of Flodden, were resumed in 1526, under James V., who gave a company of Germans a grant of the mines of Scotland for forty-three years. Leslie tells us that these Germans, with the characteristic perseverance of their countrymen, toiled laboriously at gold-digging for many months in the surface alluvia of the moor, and obtained a considerable amount of gold, but not enough, we suspect, to remunerate the labour: otherwise the work would surely have been continued.

We shall find that the search for the precious metals in the mountainous district at the head of the vales of the Clyde and Nith, did not now finally cease, but that it never proved remunerative work. On the other hand, the lead-mines of the district have for centuries, and down to the present day, borne a conspicuous place in the economy of Scotland. It must be interesting to see the traces of the first efforts to get at

‘the wealth
Hopetoun’s high mountains fill.'

John Acheson, master-cunyer, and John Aslowan, burgess of Edinburgh, now completed an arrangement with Queen Mary, by virtue of which they had licence to work the lead-mines of Glen-goner and Wanlock-head, and carry as much as twenty thousand stone-weight of the ore to Flanders, or other foreign countries, for which they bound themselves to deliver at the queen’s cunyie-house before the 1st of August next, forty-five ounces of fine silver for every thousand stone-weight of the ore, ‘extending in the hale to nine hundred unces of utter fine silver.’

Acheson and Aslowan were continuing to work these mines in August 1565, when the queen and her husband, King Henry, granted a licence to John, Earl of Athole, ‘to win forty thousand trone stane wecht, counting six score stanes for ilk hundred, of lead ore, and mair, gif the same may guidly be won, within the nether lead hole of Glengoner and Wanlock.’ The earl agreed to pay to their majesties in requital fifty ounces of fine silver for every thousand stone-weight of the ore.—P. C. R.

How the enterprise of Acheson and Aslowan ultimately succeeded does not appear. We suspect that, to some extent, it prospered, as the name Sloane, which seems the same as Aslowan, continued to flourish at Wanlock-head so late as the days of Burns.

A similar licence, on similar terms, was granted by the king and queen to James Carmichael, Master James Lindsay, and Andrew Stevenson, burgesses of Edinburgh, referring, however, to any part of the realm save ‘the mine and werk of Glengoner and Wanlock.’

The Lord James, newly created Earl of Mar (subsequently of Moray), ‘was married upon Annas Keith, daughter to William Earl Marischal, in the kirk of Sanct Geil in Edinburgh, with sic solemnity as the like has not been seen before; the hale nobility of this realm being there present, and convoyit them down to Holyroodhouse, where the banquet was made, and the queen’s grace thereat.’ The solemnity was of a kind which seems rather frisky for so zealous an upholder of the presbyterian cause. ‘At even, after great and divers balling, and casting of fire-balls, fire-spears, and running with horses,’ the queen created sundry knights. Next day, ‘at even, the queen’s grace and the remaining lords came up in ane honourable manner frae the palace of Holyroodhouse to the Cardinal’s lodging in the Blackfrier Wynd, whilk was preparit and hung maist honourably; and there her hieness suppit, and the rest with her. After supper, the honest young men in the town [the youths of the upper classes] came with ane convoy to her, and other some came with merschance, well accouterit in maskery, and thereafter departit to the said palace.’—.D. O.

There was ‘meikle snaw in all parts; mony deer and roes slain.’
C. F.

1562, Apr
The queen was at St Andrews, inquiring into a conspiracy of which the Duke of Chatelherault and the Earl of Bothwell had been accused by the Duke’s son, the Earl of Arran. In the midst of the affair, Arran proved to be ‘phrenetick.’ On the 4th of May, ‘my Lords Arran, Bothwell, and the Commendator of Kilwinning came fra St Andrews to the burgh of Edinburgh in this manner; that is to say, my Lord Arran was convoyit in the queen’s grace’s coach, because of the phrenesy aforesaid, and the Earl of Bothwell and my Lord Commendator of Kilwinning rade, eonvoyit with twenty-four horsemen, whereof was principal Captain Stewart, captain of the queen’s guard.’—D. O.

This is not the first notice of a travelling vehicle that occurs in our national domestic history. Several payments in connection with a chariot belonging to the late Queen Mary de Guise, so early as 1538, occur in the lord-treasurer’s books. [In July 1538, there is an entry in the treasurer’s books, of 14s. ‘to Alexander Naper for mending of the Queen’s sadill and her cheriot, in Sanet Androis.’ In January 1541—2, there is another: ‘To mend the Quenis cheriot vi¼ elnis blak velvet, £16, 17s. 6d.’ Besides something for cramosie, satin, and fringes.] It is not, however, likely that either the chariot of the one queen or the coach of the other was a wheeled vehicle, as, if we may trust to an authority about to be quoted, such a convenience was as yet unknown even in England.

‘In the year 1564, Guilliam Boonen, a Dutchman, became the queen’s coachman, and was the first that brought the use of coaches into England. And after a while, divers great ladies, with as great jealousy of the queen’s displeasure, made them coaches, and rid in them up and down the countries, to the great admiration of all the beholders; but then, by little and little, they grew usual among the nobility and others of sort, and within twenty years became a great trade of coachmaking.

‘And about that time began long waggons to come in use, such as now come to London from Canterbury, Norwich, Ipswich, Gloucester, &c., with passengers and commodities. Lastly, even at this time (1605) began the ordinary use of carouches.’—Howes’s Chronicle.

The author of the Memorie of the Somervilles—who, however, lived in the reign of Charles II., and probably wrote from tradition only—says that the Regent Morton used a coach, which was the second introduced into Scotland, the first being one which Alexander Lord Seaton brought from France, when Queen Mary returned from that country. It is to be remarked that the Lord Seaton of that day was George, not Alexander; and it is evident that Mary did not use a coach on her landing, or at her ceremonial entry into Edinburgh.

To turn for a moment to one of the remoter and wilder parts of the country—John Mackenzie of Kintail ‘was a great courtier with Queen Mary. He feued much of the lands of Brae Ross. When the queen sent her servants to know the condition of the gentry of Ross, they came to his house of Killin; but before their coming he had gotten intelligence that it was to find out the condition of the gentry of Ross that they were coming; whilk made’ him cause his servants to put ane great fire of fresh arn [alder] wood when they came, to make a great reek; also he caused kill a great bull in their presence; whilk was put altogether into ane kettle to their supper. When the supper came, there were a half-dozen great dogs present, to sup the broth of the bull, whilk put all the house through-other with their tulyie. When they ended the supper, ilk ane lay where they were. The gentlemen thought they had gotten purgatory on earth, and came away as soon as it was day; but when they came to the houses of Balnagowan, and Foulis, and Milton, they were feasted like princes.

‘When they went back to the queen, she asked who were the ablest men they saw in Ross. They answered: "They were all able men, except that man that was her majesty’s great courtier, Mackenzie—that he did both eat and lie with his dogs." "Truly," said the queen, "it were a pity of his poverty—he is the best man of them all." Then the queen did call for all the gentry of Ross to take their land in feu, when Mackenzie got the cheap feu, and more for his thousand merks than any of the rest got for five."

Sep 28
This day commenced a famous disputation between John Knox and Quintin Kennedy, abbot of Crossraguel, concerning the doctrines of popery. Kennedy was uncle to the Earl of Cassius, a young Protestant noble, and the greatest man in the west of Scotland. The birth and ecclesiastical rank of the abbot made him an important person in his province, and he possessed both zeal for the ancient religion and talents to set it in its fairest light. Early in September, John Knox, coming into Ayrshire for certain objects connected with the Protestant cause, found that Abbot Kennedy had set forth, in the church of Kirkoswald, articles in support of the Catholic faith, which he was willing to defend. The fiery reformer immediately resolved to take up the challenge; and after a tedious correspondence between the two regarding the place, time, and number to be present, they met in the house of the provost of the collegiate church of Maybole, under the sanction of the Earl of Cassillis, and with forty persons on each side. The conference commenced at eight in the morning, being opened by John Knox with a prayer, which Kennedy admitted to be ‘weel said.’

We can imagine the forty supporters of Kennedy full of joyful anticipation as to the defeat which their champion was to give the unpolite heretic Knox, and the company of the latter not less hopeful regarding the triumph which he was to achieve over the luxurious abbot. Acts of parliament had done their best to put down the old church, and still it had some obstinate adherents; but now comes the valiant reformer, with pure argument from Scripture, to sweep one of these recusants off the face of the earth, and leave the rest without an excuse for their obstinacy. Now are the mass, purgatory, worship of saints, and other popish doctrines, to be finally put down. If such were the anticipations they were doomed to a sad disappointment. The disputation proved to be the very type of all similar wranglings which have since taken place between the two parties.

It will scarcely be believed, but there is only too little reason why it should not, that three days were consumed by these redoubted controversialists in debating one question. The warrant of the abbot for considering the mass as a sacrifice was the priesthood and oblation of Melchizedek. ‘The Psalmist,’ said he, ‘and als the apostle St Paul affirms our Saviour to be ane priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek, wha made oblation and sacrifice of bread and wine unto God, as the Scripture plainly teacheth us... Read all the evangel wha pleases, he sall find in no place of the evangel where our Saviour uses the priesthood of Melchizedek, declaring himself to be ane priest after the order of Melchizedek, but in the Latter Supper, where he made oblation of his precious body and blude under the form of bread and wine prefigurate by the oblation of Melchizedek: then are we compelled to affirm that our Saviour made oblation of his body and blude in the Latter Supper, or else he was not ane priest according to the order of Melchizedek, which is express against the Scripture.’

To this Knox answered that Scripture gives no warrant for supposing that Melchizedek offered bread and wine unto Abraham, and therefore the abbot’s warrant fails. The abbot called on him to prove that Melchizedek did not do so. Knox protested that he was not bound to prove a negative. ‘For what, then,’ says Kennedy, ‘did Melchizedek bring out the bread and wine?’ Knox said, that though he was not bound to answer this question, yet he believed the bread and wine were brought out to refresh Abraham and his men. In barren wranglings on this point were nearly the whole three days spent; and, for anything we can see, the disputation might have been still further protracted, but for an opportune circumstance. Strange to say—looking at what Maybole now is—it broke down under the burden of eighty strangers in three days! They had to disperse for lack of provisions.’

There raged at this time in Edinburgh a disease called the New Acquaintance. The queen and most of her courtiers had it; it spared neither lord nor lady, French nor English. ‘It is a pain in their heads that have it, and a soreness in their stomachs, with a great cough; it remaineth with some longer, with others shorter time, as it findeth apt bodies for the nature of the disease." Most probably, this disorder was the same as that now recognised as the influenza.

1563, May 19
Sir John Arthur, a priest, was indicted for baptising and marrying several persons ‘in the auld and abominable papist manner.’ Here and there, the old church had still some adherents who preferred such ministrations to any other. It appears that Hugh and David Kennedy came with two hundred followers, ‘boden in effeir of weir;’ that is, with jacks, spears, guns, and other weapons; to the parish kirk of Kirkoswald and the college kirk of Maybole, and there ministered and abused ‘the sacraments of haly kirk, otherwise and after ane other manner nor by public and general order of this realm.’ The archbishop of St Andrews in like manner came, with a number of friends, to the Abbey Kirk of Paisley, ‘and openly, publicly, and plainly took auricular confession of the said persons, in the said kirk, town, kirk-yard, chalmers, barns, middings, and killogies thereof.’—Pit. ‘After great debate, reasoning, and communication had in the council by the Protestants, wha was bent even to the death against the said archbishop and others kirkmen, the archbishop passed to the Tolbooth, and became in the queen’s will; and sae the queen’s grace commandit him to pass to the Castle of Edinburgh induring her will, to appease the furiosity foresaid.’—D. O. The other offenders also made submission, and were assigned to various places of confinement. William Semple of Thirdpart and Michael Nasmyth of Posso afterwards gave caution to the extent of £3000 for the future good behaviour of the archbishop.—. Pit.

June 4
In the parliament now sitting, some noticeable acts were passed. One decreed that ‘nae person carry forth of this realm ony gold or silver, under pain of escheating of the same and of all the remainder of their moveable guids,’ merchants going abroad to carry only as much as they strictly require for their travelling expenses. Another enacted, that ‘nae person take upon hand to use ony manner of witchcrafts, sorcery, or necromancy, nor give themselves furth to have ony sic craft or knowledge thercof there-through abusing the people;’ also, that ‘nae person seek ony help, response, or consultation at ony sic users or abusers of witchcrafts . . . under the pain of death? This is the statute under which all the subsequent witch-trials took place.

A third statute, reciting that much coal is now carried forth of the realm, often as mere ballast for ships, causing ‘a maist exorbitant dearth and scantiness of fuel,’ forbade further exportations of the article, under strong penalties. In those early days, coal was only dug in places where it cropped out or could be got with little trouble. As yet, no special mechanical arrangements for excavating it had come into use. The comparatively small quantity of the mineral used in Edinburgh—for there peat was the reigning fuel—was brought from Tranent, nine miles off, in creels on horses’ backs. The above enactment probably referred to some partial and temporary failure of the small supply then required. It never occurred to our simple ancestors, that to export a native produce, such as coal, and get money in return, was tending to enrich the country, and in all circumstances deserved encouragement instead of prohibition.

July 2
Henry Sinclair, Bishop of Ross and President of the Court of Session—’ a cunning and lettered man as there was,’ remarkable for his ‘singular intelligence in theology and likewise in the laws,’ according to the Diurnal of Occurrents’ ane perfect hypocrite and conjured enemy to Christ Jesus,’ according to John Knox—left Scotland for Paris, ‘to get remede of ane confirmed stane.’ This would imply that there was not then in our island a person qualified to perform the operation of lithotomy. The reverend father was lithotomised by Laurentius, a celebrated surgeon; but, fevering after the operation, he died in January 1564—5: in the words of Knox, ‘God strake him according to his deservings.’

At the same time there were not wanting amongst us pretenders to the surgical art. In this very month, Robert Henderson attracted the favourable notice of the town-council of Edinburgh by performing sundry wonderful cures—namely, healing a man whose hands had been cut off, a man and woman who had been run through the body with swords by the French, and a woman understood to have been suffocated, and who had lain two days in her grave. The council ordered Robert twenty merks as a reward.

Sep 13
Two gentlemen became sureties in Edinburgh for Marion Carruthers, co-heiress of Mousewald, in Dumfriesshire, ‘that she shall not marry ane chief traitor nor other broken man of the country,’ under pain of £1000 (Pit)—a large sum to stake upon a young lady’s will.

This was a year of dearth throughout Scotland; wheat being six pounds the boll, oats fifty shillings, a draught-ox twenty merks, and a wedder thirty shillings. ‘All things apperteining to the sustentation of man in triple and more exceeded their accustomed prices.’ Knox, who notes these facts, remarks that the famine was most severe in the north, where the queen had travelled in the preceding autumn: many died there. ‘So did God, according to the threatening of his law, punish the idolatry of our wicked queen, and our ingratitude, that suffered her to defile the land with that abomination again [the mass]... The riotous feasting used in court and country wherever that wicked woman repaired, provoked God to strike the staff of breid, and to give his malediction upon the fruits of the earth.’

It was of the frame of the reformer’s ideas, that a judgment would be sent upon the poor for the errors of their ruler, and that this judgment would be intensified in a particular district merely because the ruler had given it her personal presence. He failed to observe, or threw aside, the fact, that the same famine prevailed in England, where a queen entirely agreeable to him and his friends was now reigning, and certainly indulging in not a few banquetings. Theories of this kind sometimes prove to be two-edged swords, that will strike either way. It might have been replied to him: ‘Accepting your theory that nations, besides suffering from the simple misgovernment of their rulers, are punished for their personal offences, what shall we say of the Protestant Elizabeth, whose people now suffer not merely under famine, as the Scotch are doing, but are visited by a dreadful pestilence besides, from which Scotland is exempt?’ [In England, the spring of 1562 had been marked by excessive rains, and the harvest was consequently bad. Towards the end of the year, plague broke out in the crowded and harassed population of Havre, in France, then undergoing a siege, and from the garrison it was imparted to England, which had been prepared for its reception by the famine. There it prevailed throughout the whole year 1563, carrying off 20,000 persons in London alone. ‘The poor citizens,’ says Stowe, ‘were this year plagued with a threefold plague—pestilence, dearth of money, and dearth of victuals; the misery whereof were too long here to write. No doubt the poor remember it.’ On account of the plague at Michaelmas, no term was kept, and there was no lord-mayor’s dinner! The plague spread into Germany, where it was estimated to have carried off 300,000 persons.]

1564, Jan 20
‘God from heaven, and upon the face of the earth, gave declaration that he was offended at the iniquity that was committed within this realm; for, upon the 20th day of January, there fell weet in great abundance, whilk in the falling freezit so vehemently, that the earth was but ane sheet of ice. The fowls both great and small freezit, and micht not flie: mony died, and some were taken and laid beside the fire, that their feathers might resolve. And in that same month, the sea stood still, as was clearly observed, and neither ebbed nor flowed the space of twenty-four hours.’—Knox.

Feb 15 and 18
In the ensuing month meteorological signs even more alarming to the great reformer took place. There were seen in the firmament, says he, ‘battles arrayit, spears and other weapons, and as it had been the joining of two armies. Thir things were not only observed, but also spoken and constantly affirmed by men of judgment and credit.’ Nevertheless, he adds, ‘the queen and our court made merry.’

The reformer considered these appearances as declarations of divine wrath against the iniquity of the land, and he is evidently solicitous to establish them upon good evidence. There can be no difficulty in admitting the facts he refers to. The debate must be as to what the facts were. Most probably they were resolvable into a simple example of the aurora borealis.

The crimes of unruly passion and of superstition predominated in this age; but those of dexterous selfishness were not unknown.

Thomas Peebles, goldsmith in Edinburgh, was convicted of forging coin-stamps and uttering false coin—namely, Testons, Half-lesions, Non-sunts, and Lions or Hardheads. It appeared that he had given some of his false hardheads to a poor woman as the price of a burden of coal. With this money she came to the market to buy some necessary articles, and was instantly challenged for passing false coin. ‘The said Thomas being named by her to be her warrant, and deliverer of the said false coin to her, David Symmer and other bailies of the burgh of Edinburgh come with her to the said Thomas’s chalmer, to search him for trial of the verity. He held the door of his said chalmer close upon him, and wald not suffer them to enter, while [till] they brake up the door thereof upon him, and entered perforce therein; and the said Thomas, being inquired if he had given the said poor woman the said lions, for the price of her coals, confessit the same; and his chalmer being searched, there was divers of the said irons, as well sunken and unsunken, together with the said false testons, &c., funden in the same, and confessit to be made and graven by him and his colleagues.’ Thomas was condemned to be hanged, and to have his property escheat to the queen.—Pit.

May 22
In consequence of the slaughter of the Laird of Cessford, in an encounter with the Laird of Bucclench, at Melrose, in 1526, a feud had ever since raged between their respective dependents, the Kerrs and Scotts. In 1529, there had been an effort to put an end to this broil by an engagement between Walter Kerr of Cessford, Andrew Kerr of Ferniehirst, Mark Kerr of Dolphinston, George Kerr, tutor of Cessford, and Andrew Kerr of Primsideloch, for themselves and kin on the one part, and Walter Scott of Branxholm, knight, with sundry other gentlemen of his clan on the other side, whereby the latter became bound to perform the four pilgrimages of Scotland— that is, to the churches of Melrose, Dundee, Scone, and Paisley— as a reparation for the slaughter. Bad blood being nevertheless kept up, Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm, Laird of Buccleuch, was slain on the streets of Edinburgh by Cessford, in 1552.

At the date now under attention, a meeting of the heads of the two houses took place in Edinburgh, and a contract was drawn up, setting forth certain terms of agreement, and arranging that, ‘for the mair sure removing, stanching, and away-putting of all inimity, hatrent, and grudge standing and conceivit betwin the said parties, through the unhappy slaughter of the umwhile Sir Walter Scott of Branksome, knight, and for the better continuance of amity, favour, and friendship, amangs them in time coming, the said Sir Walter Kerr of Cessford sail, upon the 23 day of March instant, come to the perish kirk of Edinburgh, now commonly callit Sanct Giles’s Kirk, and there, before noon, in sight of the people present for the time, reverently upon his knees ask God mercy of the slaughter aforesaid, and sic like ask forgiveness of the same fra the said Laird of Buccleuch and his friends whilk sail happen to be present; and thereafter promise, in the name and fear of God, that he and his friends sail truly keep their part of this present contract, and sail stand true friends to the said Laird of Buccleuch and his friends in all time coming: the whilk the said Laird of Buccleuch sail reverently accept and receive, and promise, in the fear of God, to remit his grudge, and never remember the same.’ A subsequent part of the agreement was, that the son of Cessford should marry a sister of Buccleuch, and Sir Andrew Ker of Fawdonside another sister, both without portion.’

This singular meeting would of course take place, but with what effect may well be doubted. It appears that the feud which had begun in 1526 still remained in force in 1596, ‘when both chieftains paraded the streets of Edinburgh with their followers, and it was expected their first meeting would decide their quarrel.’

Mar 24
At a time when the most prominent events were clan-quarrels and the rough doings connected with the trampling out of an old religion, it is pleasant to trace even speculative attempts to enlarge the material resources and advance the primary interests of the country.

At the date noted, the queen granted to John Stewart of Tarlair, and William Stewart his son, licence to win all kinds of metallic ores from the country between Tay and Orkney, on the condition of paying one stone of ore for every ten won; and this arrangement to last for nine years, during the first two of which their work was to be free, ‘in respect of their invention and great charges made, and to be made, in outreeking of the same.’ In the event of their finding any gold and silver where none were ever found before, they had the same licence, with only this condition, that the product was to be brought to her majesty’s cunyie-house, ‘the unce of gold for ten pund, and the unce of utter fine silver for 24s.’ It was too early for such an enterprise, and we hear no more of it in the hands of the two Stewarts of Tarlair.

1564, March
John Knox, at the age of fifty-eight, entered into the state of wedlock for the second time, by marrying Margaret Stewart, daughter of Lord Ochiltree. She proved a good wife to the old man, and survived him. The circumstance of a young woman of rank, with royal blood in her veins—for such was the case—accepting an elderly husband so far below her degree, did not fail to excite remark; and John’s papist enemies could not account for it otherwise than by a supposition of the black art having been employed. The affair is thus adverted to by the reformer’s shameless enemy, Nicol Burne: ‘A little after he did pursue to have alliance with the honourable house of Ochiltree, of the king’s majesty’s awn bluid. Riding there with ane great court [cortege], on ane trim gelding, nocht like ane prophet or ane auld decrepit priest, as he was, but like as he had been ane of the bluid royal, with his bands of taffeta fastenit with golden rings and precious stanes: and, as is plainly reportit in the country, by sorcery and witchcraft, [he] did sae allure that puir gentlewoman, that she could not live without him; whilk appears to be of great probability, she being ane damsel of noble bluid, and he ane auld decrepit creature of maist base degree, sae that sic ane noble house could not have degenerate sae far, except John Knox had interposed the power of his master the devil, wha, as he transfigures himself sometimes as ane angel of licht, sae he causit John Knox appear ane of the maist noble and lusty men that could be found in the warld."

May 17
‘. . . . the Lord Fleming married the Lord Ross’s eldest daughter, wha was heretrix both of Ross and Halket; and the banquet was made in the park of Holyroodhouse, under Arthur’s Seat, at the end of the loch, where great triumphs was made, the queen’s grace being present, and the king of Swethland’s ambassador being then in Scotland, with many other nobles.’— Mar.

In the romantic valley between Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, there is still traceable a dam by which the natural drainage had been confined, so as to form a lake. It was probably at the end of that sheet of water that the banquet was set forth for Lord and Lady Fleming’s wedding. The incident is so pleasantly picturesque, and associates Mary so agreeably with one of her subjects, that it is gratifying to reflect on Lord Fleming proving a steady friend to the queen throughout her subsequent troubles. He stoutly maintained Dumbarton Castle in her favour against the Regents, and against Elizabeth’s general, Sir William Drury; nor was it taken from him except by stratagem.’

At the beginning of this month, Queen Mary paid a visit of pleasure to the Highlands of Perthshire, where the Earl of Athole was her entertainer. It is understood that Glen Tilt was the scene of a grand hunt, in the characteristic style of the country, at which the queen was present, and of which an account has been preserved to us by a scholarly personage who was in the royal train. ‘In the year 1563,’ says he (mistaking the year), ‘the Earl of Athole, a prince of the blood-royal, had, with much trouble and vast expense, a hunting-match for the entertainment of our most illustrious and most gracious queen. Our people call this a royal hunting. I was then,’ says William Barclay, ‘a young man, and was present on the occasion. Two thousand Highlander; of wild Scotch, as you call them here, were employed to drive to the hunting-ground all the deer from the woods and hills of Athole, Badenoch, Mar, Murray, and the counties about. As these Highlanders use a light dress, and are very swift of foot, they went up and down so nimbly that in less than two months’ time they brought together 2000 red deer, besides roes and fallow-deer. The queen, the great men, and others, were in a glen when all the deer were brought before them. Believe me, the whole body of them moved forward in something like battle order. This sight still strikes me, and ever will, for they had a leader whom they followed close wherever he moved. This leader was a very fine stag, with a very high head. The sight delighted the queen very much; but she soon had occasion for fear, upon the earl’s (who had been accustomed to such sights) addressing her thus: "Do you observe that stag who is foremost of the herd? There is danger from that stag; for if either fear or rage should force him from the ridge of that hill, let every one look to himself, for none of us will be out of the way of harm; for the rest will follow this one, and having thrown us under foot, they will open a passage to this hill behind us." What happened a moment after confirmed this opinion; for the queen ordered one of the best dogs to be let loose upon a wolf;’ this the dog pursue; the leading stag was frightened, he flies by the same way he had come there, the rest rush after him, and break out where the thickest body of the Highlanders was. They had nothing for it but to throw themselves flat on the heath, and to allow the deer to pass over them. It was told the queen that several of the Highlanders had been wounded, and that two or three had been killed outright; and the whole body had got off, had not the Highlanders, by their skill in hunting, fallen upon a stratagem to cut off the rear from the main body. It was of those that had been separated that the queen’s dogs, and those of the nobility, made slaughter. There were killed that day 360 deer, 4ith five wolves and some roes.’

[‘William Barclay, De Regno et Regali Potestate adversus Monarchomachos. Parisiis, 1600. This author was a native of Aberdeenshire, but finally settled at Angers, in France, as Professor of civil Law in the University there. He died in 1604.

Bishop Geddes, in introducing this extract from Barclay’s forgotten work to the notice of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland (1782), remarks that a still more grand entertainment of the same kind was given in 1529 to King James V., his mother, Queen Margaret, and the pope’s legate, by the then Earl of Athole, and that an account of the affair has been preserved in Lindsay of Pitscottie’s History of Scotland. The venerable bishop adds: ‘Need I take notice that the hunting described by Barclay bears some resemblance to the batidas of the present king of Spain, where several huntsmen form a line and drive the deer through a narrow pass, at one side of which the king, with some attendants, has his post, in a green hut of boughs, and slaughters the poor animals as they come out almost as fast as charged guns can be put into his hand and he fire them. These are things sufficiently known; and the same manner of stag-hunting is practised in Italy, Germany, and other parts of Europe.]

Queen Mary's Harp

The queen, in the course of her excursion, is believed to have taken an interest in the native music of the Highlands, in which, as in Ireland, the harp bore a distinguished part. It is even reported that a kind of competition amongst the native harpers took place in her presence, at which she adjudged the victory to Beatrix Gardyn, of Banchory, Aberdeenshire. Certain it is, that the Robertsons of Lude possessed a harp of antique form, which family tradition represented as having come to them through a descendant of Beatrix Gardyn, who had married a Robertson of Lude; and the same authority regarded this harp with veneration, as having been the prize conferred on the fair Beatrix by Queen Mary, for her superior excellence as a performer on the instrument. Queen Mary’s harp, as it is called, is now in the possession of Mr Stewart of Dalguise. It is a small instrument compared with the modern harp, being fitted for twenty-eight strings, the longest extending twenty-four inches, the shortest two and a half. There had once been gems set in it, and also, it is supposed, a portrait of the queen. It was strung anew and played upon in 1806.

This summer there was ‘guid cheap of victuals in all parts. The year afore, the boll of meal gave five merk, and this summer it was 18s. There ye may see the grace of God.’—C. F.

‘.... William Smibert, being callit before the kirk [session of the Canongate] why he sufferit his bairn to be unbaptised, answers: "No, I have my bairn baptised, and that in the queen’s grace’s chapel," because, as he allegit, the kirk refusit him; and being requirit wha was witness unto the child, answers: "I will show no man at this time." For the whilk, James Wilkie, bailie, assistant with the kirk, commands the said William to be halden in ward until he declare wha was his witness, that the kirk may be assurit the bairn to be baptisit, and by wham.’—Kirk-session Rec. of Canongate.

1565, Jan
The queen making a progress in Fife caused so much banqueting as to produce a scarcity of wild-fowl: ‘partridges were sold for a crown a-piece.’-—Knox.

Apr 1
The communion was administered in Edinburgh, and as it was near Easter, the few remaining Catholics met at mass. The reformed clergy were on the alert, and seized the priest, Sir James Carvet, as he was coming from the house where he had officiated. Knox tells us with what an absurd degree of leniency the offender was treated. They ‘conveyed him,’ says he, ‘together with the master of the house, and one or two more of the assistants, to the Tolbooth, and immediately revested him with all his garments upon him, and so carried him to the Market Cross, where they set him on high, binding the chalice in his hand, and himself tied fast to the said Cross, where he tarried the space of one hour; during which time the boys served him with his Easter eggs.

‘The next day, Carvet with his assistants were accused and convinced by an assize, according to the act of parliament; and, albeit for the same offence he deserved death, yet, for all punishment, he was set upon the Market Cross for the space of three or four hours, the hangman standing by and keeping him, [while] the boys and others were busy with eggs-casting.’

The queen sent an angry letter to the magistrates about this business; from which ‘may be perceived how grievously the queen’s majesty would have been offended if the mess-monger had been handled according to his demerit’—that is, hanged. Knox.

A discovery of antique remains was made at Inveresk, near Musselburgh, revealing the long-forgotten fact of the Romans once having had a settlement on that fine spot. Randolph, the English resident at Mary’s court, communicated some account of the discovery to the Earl of Bedford. ‘April 7, For certain there is found a cave beside Musselburgh, standing upon a number of pillars, made of tile-stones curiously wrought, signifying great antiquity, and strange monuments found in the same. This cometh to my knowledge, besides the common report, by th’ assurance of Alexander Clerk, who was there to see it, which I will myself do within three or four days, and write unto your lordship the more certainty thereof, for I will leave nothing of it unseen.’ ‘April 18, The cave found beside Musselburgh, seemeth to be some monument of the Romans, by a stone which was found, with these words graven upon him, APPOLLONI GRANNO Q. L. SABINIANUS PROC. AUG. Divers short pillars set upright upon the ground, covered with tile-stones, large and thick, torning into divers angles, and certain places like unto chynes [chimneys] to avoid smoke. This is all I can gather thereof.’

The reader will be amused at the difficulty which Randolph seems to have felt in visiting a spot scarcely six miles from Edinburgh. He will, however, be equally gratified to know that the queen herself became interested in the preservation of the remains found on this occasion. Her treasurer’s accounts contain an entry of twelvepence, paid to ‘ane boy passand of Edinburgh, with ane charge of the queen’s grace, direct to the bailies of Musselburgh, charging them to tak diligent heed and attendance, that the monument of grit antiquity, new fundin, be nocht demolishit nor broken down.’

The monument here spoken of was, in reality, an altar dedicated to Apollo Grannicus, the Long-haired Apollo, by Sabinianus, proconsul of Augustus, while the cave with pillars was the hypocaust or heating-chamber of a bath, connected with a villa, of which further remains were discovered in January 1783. The spot where the antiquities were discovered in 1565 is occupied by the lawn in front of Inveresk House. Camden reports the following as an accurate copy of the inscription, made by Sir Peter Young, preceptor to King James VI.—’ APP0LLINI GRANNO Q. LUSIUS SABINIANUS PROC. AUG. VSSLVM.’—which is thus extended and translated by the ingenious Robert Stuart in his Caledonia Romana (1845): ‘Appollini Grannico Quintus Lusius Sabinianus Proconsul Augusti, votum susceptum solvit lubens volens merito;’ that is, ‘To Appollo Granicus, Quintus Lusius Sabinianus, the Proconsul of Augustus [dedicates this], a self-imposed vow, cheerfully performed.’

Napier alludes to the Inveresk altar in his commentary on, the Apocalypse, and it appears to have attracted the attention of Ben Jonson, when he was in Scotland in 1618. We last hear of it from Sir Robert Sibbald, who died in 1711. In Gordon’s Itinerarium, published a few years later, it is not noticed; wherefore it may be conjectured that this interesting relic of antiquity was lost sight of or destroyed about the beginning of the eighteenth century.

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