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TRON CHURCH-ROYAL EXCHANGE-ST. GILES'S CATHEDRAL
PARLIAMENT HOUSE-ADVOCATES' LIBRARY-SIGNET LIBRARY -COUNTY HALL-BANK OF SCOTLAND-CASTLE-GEORGE IV. BRIDGE-HERIOT'S HOSPITAL.
PROCEEDING as before from the Register House, the stranger will now walk along the North Bridge. This bridge was founded in 1763, and completed in 1769. On the 3d of August in the latter year, the arches of three vaults in the south abutment, in consequence of an error in construction, gave way with a tremendous crash, and filled the whole city with alarm. Five persons were killed by the accident. There is a floating prediction that a similar catastrophe is once more destined to occur. From the parapet, on each side, is an extensive view of the city towards the east and the west. For architectural effect, the buildings upon the Calton Hill are perhaps more advantageously grouped in the view from the northern end of the open space of this bridge, than from any other point, although the most prominent deformity on the hill—the Martyrs' Monument–is offensively conspicuous. In the spacious area seen immediately below, when looking over the western parapet, are the termini of the
* This Walk is coloured green on the Map.
Edinburgh and Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee, and North British Railways. The same area also contains the fruit and vegetable markets. From these, an ascent by stairs conducts to the fish, butcher, and poultry markets, which are situated upon successive terraces communicating with each other. The terminus of the North British Railway extends to the area on the east side of the Bridge; and the line being in unbroken connection with the other two railways above mentioned, uninterrupted communication is afforded to both the north and the west of Scotland. Proceeding to the upper end of the North Bridge, the stranger again reaches the High Street, part of which he traversed in the preceding walk. Its length from the Castle to Holyrood Palace is about a mile.* At the point where the High Street and the North and South Bridges cross each other, stands the Tron Church, an edifice of no architectural pretension. It derived its name from a tron or weighing beam in its immediate neighbourhood, to which, in former times, it was customary to nail false notaries and other male
* Although we have here given the general designation of High Street to this imposing line of buildings, its various divisions, commencing at the Castle, are severally known by the names Castle Hill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Netherbow, and Canongate. A more stirring spectacle can scarcely be imagined than the progress of Her Majesty along this street, from Holyrood to the Castle. From ground to roof the windows of these gigantic dwellings were crowded with fair and happy faces, while the advance of the Royal Pair was heralded by the waving of thousands of white handkerchiefs, and by the enthusiastic cheering of the populace, who lined the street on either side, and of the various public bodies who occupied the temporary platforms along the line of progress.
factors by the ears. Its clock is provided with a dial-plate of dimmed glass, which is lighted with gas from the inside after nightfall.
Ascending the High Street, the
ROYAL EXCHANGE BUILDINGS
stand upon the right hand side of the way, opposite St. Giles's Cathedral. The Council Chamber for the meetings of the Magistracy, and various other apartments for the transaction of municipal business, occupy the side of the quadrangle opposite the entrance. Parties proposing to visit the Crown Room in the Castle, will here obtain orders of admission on the terms mentioned on page 55 of the present work. The spot where the city Cross formerly stood is now indicated by a radiated pavement about twenty-five yards from the entrance to the Exchange. It was demolished in 1756. On the morning of the day when the workmen began their labours, “some gentlemen who had spent the night over a social bottle, caused wine and glasses be carried thither, mounted the ancient fabric, and solemnly drank its dirge.”
“ Dun-Edin's Cross, a pillar'd stone,
Rose on a turret octagon;
Whence royal edict rang,
In glorious trumpet clang.
Marmion, canto v. st. 25.
ST. GILES'S CATHEDRAL is nearly opposite the Royal Exchange. It derives its name from its patron, St. Giles, abbot and confessor, and tutelar saint of Edinburgh.* The date
* Mr. Stark, in his very accurate work, relates that the legend regarding St Giles, describes him as “a native of Greece, born in the sixth century. On the death of his parents, he gave al' his estate to the poor, and travelled into France, where he retired into the deep recess of a wilderness, near the conflux of the Rhone with the sea, and continued there for three years, living upon the spontaneous produce of the earth and the milk of a doe. Having obtained the reputation of extraordinary sanctity, various miracles were attributed to him; and he founded a monastery in Languedoc, long after known by the name of St. Giles. In the reign of James II., Mr. Preston of Gourton, a gentleman whose descendants still possess an estate in the county of Edinburgh, procured a supposed arm-bone of this holy man, which relic he
of its foundation is unknown. It is first mentioned in the year 1359, in a charter of David II. In 1466, it was made a collegiate church, and no fewer than forty altars were at this period supported within its walls. The Scottish poet, Gavin Douglas, (the translator of Virgil,) was for some time Provost of St. Giles. After the Reformation it was partitioned into four places of worship, and the sacred vessels and relics which it contained, including the arm-bone referred to in the preceding note, were seized by the Magistrates of the City, and the proceeds of their sale applied to the repairing of the building. In 1603, before the departure of James VI. to take possession of the throne of England, he attended divine service in this Church, after which he delivered a farewell address to his Scottish subjects, assuring them of his unalterable affection. “ His words were often interrupted by the tears of the whole audience, who, though they exulted at the King's prosperity, were melted into sorrow by these tender declarations.”* On the 13th October 1643, the Solemn League and Covenant was sworn to and subscribed within its walls by the Committee of Estates of Parliament, the Commission of the
most piously bequeathed to the Church of St. Giles in Edinburgh. In gratitude for this invaluable donation, the magistrates of the city, in 1454, considering that the said bone was “freely left to oure moyer kirk of Saint Gele of Edinburgh, withoutyn ony condition makyn, granted a charter in favour of Mr. Preston's heirs, by which the nearest heir of the name of Preston was entitled to the honour of carrying it in all public processions. This honour the family of Preston continued to enjoy till the Reformation.”—— Picture of Edinburgh, p. 217.
* ROBERTSON'S History of Scotland.