Изображения страниц

and the same person, which is curiously confirmed by the fact, that a connecting link can be found between Wrychtishousis and the custumarius burgi onthe one hand, and, on the other, between the constabularis castri, and the same property.

1. In Robertson's index of charters, there is one by Robert III. in the year 1390, to " William Naper of the lands of Wrychtishousis, ane part thereof, by resignation of Adam Forrester,"&c. This most probably was a transaction between the two custumarii burgi of the very period.

2. By old charters of the Wrychtishousis which I have examined, both in the Register-House and private repositories, it appears that the tenure by which these Napiers held that property was the payment to the King of a silver penny, upon the Castle-hill of Edinburgh. This may have been connected with some particular event, such as the following. In the year 1400, the Castle of Edinburgh was beleagured by Henry IV. at the head of the whole military force of England. But the place baffled all his efforts, and had the important effect of redeeming Scotland from total subjection. Upon this memorable occasion Archibald Earl of Douglas, and his royal son-in-law the unfortunate Duke of Rothsay, threw themselves into this stronghold (of which William Naper was then constable, as he had been for many years) and so stoutly kept at bay the most insolent army that ever entered Scotland, as to compel the King of England to raise the siege. There were some knightly and romantic proposals at this warlike pageant round old Dunedin. The Prince sent a personal challenge to King Henry, and urged a decision of the contest by single combat, or its classical determination by a limited number of nobles selected from each side. The Duke of Albany, whose army hovered at some distance from the English host, announced by his herald that if the King of England would remain six days longer under the walls of the castle, he, Albany, would give him battle. This proposal better suited the experience and temper of Henry, who gave his own mantle and a chain of gold to the Scotch herald in token of eager acquiescence. But Albany only meant to mock him, and the monarch was at length constrained to depart from this impregnable rock, the " sad and solitary place without verdure," as it had been described by the daughter of Henry III., to meet Owen Glendower at home. It is interesting to compare with this historical event an item in the Great Chamberlain's accounts, which occurs very soon after, and most probably regards the dilapidation occasioned by the siege. It is to this effect, in Latin, "And for repairing the gates of the Castle of Edinburgh, and for expences incurred about its drawbridge, according to the account rendered upon oath by William Naper, constable of the said castle, eleven pounds and sixpence."

Fourteen years services as constable, including so memorable a siege, may perhaps account for the silver link between the Wrychtishousis and the castle hill, and, upon the whole, it may be fairly presumed that the custumarius burgi, the constabularis castri, and the William Naper who got a crown charter of this property upon the resignation of Adam Forrester are all one and the same person.

Cadmon, in his second letter, observes, "I am of opinion, that persons well versed in the local heraldry of this part of Scotland might, from the armorial bearings, shields, crests, and a various insignia interwoven in different places with initial letters, determine the family whose original mansion Wryteshouse has been, which seems to have been a matter of perfect uncertainty to all who have mentioned it in their writings." Yet I have been able to trace the family alliances by comparing with other records the carved stones still extant, some of which are built into the park walls and offices of Gillespie's Hospital; others were purchased by the late Lord Woodhouselee, and formed into an artifical ruin which still adorns Mr Tytler's lawn.

One of the most ancient of these stones appears to have no connection with the family of Napier. The shield carved upon it carries three crescents disposed upon the field, with a mark of difference in the centre. This might be a cadet of Seton. What connection, however, can be traced between the Wrychtishousis, and Seton? This led me to trace the history of the property upwards from Adam Forrester; and I find a charter under the Great Seal of Robert II. in the twelfth year of his reign (1383) to Adam Forrester two parts of the lands of Wrychtishousis,* near Edinburgh, by resignation of Henry de Winton and Amy Brown. Now it is a remarkable coincidence that Alan de Wyntown carried off Margaret Seton, the heiress of Seton, and married her,—a marriage that gave rise to a feud, causing more than a hundred ploughs to be laid aside from labour. Wyntoun records this in his chronicle as having happened in the year 1347;

* Maitland (Hist, of Edin. p. 507-) refutes the antiquarian opinion, that the village at the west end of Bruntsfield Links was called Wryghts Houses because the wrights dwelt there who were employed in cutting down and manufacturing the oaks that once grew on the Borough-muir. As that event occurred after the year 1508, the ancient charter quoted in the text so far confirms the refutation, but it also refutes Maitland's own theory, which is, that the village was so called because the Laird of Wryte had a house there.

A thousand thre hundyr fourty and seven
Yheiris eftyr the byrth of God of Hewyn,
Qwhen Willame of Murrawe wes lyand
In Edynburchw Castell than dwelland,
Dat yhere Alane of Wyntown
Tuk the yhowng Lady Setown,
And weddyt hyr than til hys wyf.

So Henry Wyntown, who resigned Wrychtishousis to Adam Forrester before the close of that century, may have been a cadet of that alliance, and it is possible that the stone in question was meant to commemorate that point in the history of the mansion.*


1. The armorial stone which refers to the most ancient date about the building connected with the Napers that I have discovered, is here represented, as its story is less equivocal. It is built over the well at Gillespie's Hospital, and is evidently very old, though surely not contemporary with the date carved upon it. The use of Arabic numerals in Scotland can scarcely be referred to a period so early, (a test genealogical antiquaries sometimes overlook,) and probably the stone is merely commemorative of an alliance proved by other records of the family then existing. Sir David Lindesay, in his heraldic manuscript, records the arms of Napier of Wrychtishoussis, " on a bend azure, a crescent betwixt two spur rowels ;" which also agrees with the ancient seals of that family still extant. Mr Nesbit says, "the name of Stirling has always been in use to carry buckles variously situate, but more frequently on a bend, as now used." Hence the above impalement indicates the marriage of an A. Napier of Wrychtishousis, to a J. Stirling, in 1399; and probably commemorates the marriage of the successor of the constable who acquired the lands in 1390.

* This ingenious theory, it must be confessed, is one of those liable to be overturned by the plain fact of some provoking Edie Ochiltree, a controversialist yet more to be dreaded, in these matters, than the author of the Tracts.

2.1 find an Alan Naper of Wrychtishoussis mentioned in the very ancient chartulary of St Giles, * as having lent his seal to Thomas Hogeson, in a charter dated at Leith 1st June 1451. This illustrates one of the armorial stones bearing date the previous year, as follows.


The arms here impaled with Napier are unquestionably those of Rhind, which fact corresponds with the lady's initials.

3. Their son, or at least successour, " Alexander Naper de Wrychtishouse," is one of the inquest in the re* The property of Maule of Panmure.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »