Изображения страниц

ference from the original stock, Kilmahew, whose bend was charged with three crescents. The carving upon this stone is slight and faint, as here represented.

St Cuthberts was a most conspicuous and exemplary parish, under the auspices of its celebrated pastor Robert Pont, and still more celebrated heritor John Napier, during all the contentions of the clergy with King James VI. In its old records I find the following characteristic entry, of a date two years before the publication of the Logarithms : "Upon Thursday the 25th of June 1612, convenit, Mr William Arthur, Mr Richard Dicksone, ministers, &c. The quilk day, anent the supplication givin in be William Naper, laird of Wrytishouse, craving in effect that he myt have libertie to affix ane dask at the west end of the Laird of Merchistouris dash; the session, because they knaw that he is ane honorabile gentelman, quho bruiket office in the town of Edinburgh sundrie times, and lykwise ane of the mayst ancient heritors in the parochin, and that he has borne burdene in the King's and kirks stents, be ther presents grants and condescends that he big ane dash there, providing always that the session, upon the sicht of ony uther ressonable or important cause, sall have liberty to transport and use the former sait quhen and quhair they plies, so that be thir presents the said William Naper clame no pro


pertie nor heritage to the said sait and dask in the kirk, for the session nether may nor can give sick richt.” In the register of deeds there are two, dated 4th December 1618, which mention Robert Naper son lawful to umquhile William Naper of Wrychtishousis. Probably this was a younger brother of the following. 8. Upon the 6th December 1621, Sir George Touris of Gairltoun, Sir Archibald Naper of Edinbelly, (afterwards 1st Lord Napier,) Sir William Nesbit of the Dean, Sir William Fairlie of Bruntsfield, Mr John Cant of the Grange, and Mr William Naper of Wryteshouses, are a committee for laying on an assessment for repairing the kirk and kirk-dykes. Upon the 8th November 1627, William Naper of Wrytshouses is elected kirk-treasurer. These notices are from the old session books of the West Kirk, where I also find the following characteristic entry. The justices of the peace in the year 1629, pass an act for “suppressing of dear bridal lawyings,” when, in presence of “Sir William Nisbet of the Dean, Mr William Naper of Wrightshouses, Mr John Cant of St Giels Grange, Justices of Peace, with consent of Mr William Arthor, minister, hail elders, &c. compeirit personale certane of the heritors, fewers, fermours, and inhabitants within the said parish, and declarit that they wer gritlie prejudyced and hurt be their servandis in giving to them exorbitant fees, the lyk whilk they wer never accustomet to pay of before, and they enquiring of the said servandis what was the cause of the heightning of their fees, their answer was that twa brydell lawings wald ballance the best of their hale yeres fees, and that their frequent going to bridals and paying abun reason for their lawing was the only cause of the heichtning of their fees.” The Justices for remedy thereof ordain, “That all bridal lawings within this

[ocr errors]

parish shall not exceed 12 shillings the man, and 10 shillings the woman, whether the bridal be in the bouse or out the house," and that under certain penalties.

9. Upon the 28th January 1640, Mr William Naper of Wrytshouses is unanimously elected kirk-treasurer. This may have been a new generation of the favourite family name, derived from William the constable.

There is something almost pathetic (a rare property) in Lord Stair's report of a case, which affords melancholy symptoms of the passing away of this ancient and respectable family. "February 6, 1680,—Napier of Wrightshouses having died without issue, two women of his name, of a far relation, gave in supplications," &c. claiming to be served heir. One of these ladies and the representative of the other were afterwards served heirs-portion ers.

The property latterly passed through the hands of several proprietors, in particular, General Robertson of Lawers, and Hamilton of Bargeny, who all kept up the ancient muniments and grandeur of the place in a style very creditable to their taste and feeling. This armorial structure made a narrow escape during the rebellion of 1745. Upon one occasion a small party of the adventurers took refuge there from the rung's troops, and were complimented with a shower of cannon balls from the Castle of Edinburgh. Not a ball of the Castle would touch its old ally the Wrightishousis, but many buried themselves in its park, and an old man of the name of Adamson, who related the story, had nearly lost his head from one of them when a boy, as he was looking out of a window in the adjacent village.*

* I was favoured with this anecdote by Mr Smellie, printer, who is curiously informed in the antiquities of Edinburgh.

There is nothing particularly distinguished about this ancient race of quaint and quiet lairds; but they are interesting as having possessed for so long a period that beautiful suburban Castle, whose traditionary history is rife with ancient legends and modern ghost-stories. Its heraldic history, as proudly recorded on the walls as if theirs had been the House of Valois, claims no connection with the Lennox, further than the obvious cadency from Kilmahew, and indicates no cadency with Merchiston, whose Lennox saltier is contemporary with the oldest record I have discovered of the Napier bend. This is a marked separation of a very ancient date between these families. The insignia so multiplied about the old Castle we have explored, clearly indicate a cadency from Kilmahew, yet there is not a vestige of the shield of Merchiston having been upon the

[merged small][graphic]

But there was the marriage between the families in 1513, and " the dask at the west end of the Laird of Merchiston's dask" in 1612; and no doubt the stately Baron of that gaunt and grim-looking tower, with his constant companion, and alleged familiar, the jet-black chanticleer, was very popular in the " goodly dwelling and a rich" of his neighbour and cousin, who might greet him with—" By cock and pye, Sir, you shall not away to-night."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »