« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
tour of Archibald Naper of Merchanston as heir to his father, dated 12th December 1488;* and he is also mentioned in the ancient protocol books of the city of Edinburgh, in the years 1494 and 1505.
4. From the same records of Edinburgh it appears that Alexander had been succeeded by Robert; for, of date 11th July 1523, Robert Naper of Wrychtishoussis, Margaret Naper his spouse, and Alexander Naper their son, are all mentioned in making up titles to burgage property. Another of the armorial stones, a delineation of which is here given, affords an interesting elucidation of this marriage.
These are the respective armorial bearings of Wrychtishousis and Merchiston, impaled; and hence it appears that in the year of the battle of Flodden Field, the laird of the former had married a daughter of the latter. The heraldic distinction of the two families is here perfectly illustrated, thus affording another contradiction to the theory that Merchiston and Kilmahew were armorially identified. From the Merchiston genealogy it can be proved that John Napier and Elizabeth Menteith had a daughter Margaret, who must have been the above lady.
5. Their son Alexander is mentioned in the city records of date 5th December 1549, as clearing off annualrents which had been contracted by his father Robert. His wife Janet Uclwart is also mentioned in the same records.
* Quoted in the Memoirs of Merchiston, p. 10, where by mistake it is called the retour as heir to his mother Elizabeth Menteith.
6. In the record of deeds in the Register-House there is one dated 20th July 1592, by " William Nepare of Wrychtishoussis, merchant, burgess of Edinburgh, son of Jonet Udwart, now relict of Johne Lummisdene of Blanerne." William's wife was Eliza Park, which may account for what seems to have puzzled Cadmon, that the arms of Park appear amid the lavish heraldry of their mansion.
7. In the record of the Great Seal I find a charter to William Naper, eldest legitimate son and heir of William Naper merchant burgess of Edinburgh, of the lands of Wrychtishoussis, dated 20th December 1605. And another charter 15th April 1608, to Master William Naper and Margaret Bannatyne* his spouse, of the same lands. This last notice enables us to read the story carved upon a triangular stone, without a date, now built above the school-house door at Gillespie's Hospital, where the initials W. N. and M. B. are so lovingly mingled with the mullets and crescents growing upon the Scotch thistle. The leading insignia of the Bannatynes of Corehouse and Newhall was the mullet, that of Naper of Wrychtishoussis, the crescent; for it is obvious that the mullets on the bend of the latter is their mark of difference from the original stock, Kilmahew, whose bend was charged with three crescents. The carving upon this stone is slight and faint, as here represented.
* She appears to have been a sister of that celebrated George Bannatyne, whose exertions for the preservation of the poetry of his country during the great plague which ravaged Scotland in 1568, have obtained a grateful commemoration by the institution of the "Bannatyne Club," and an illustrious record in the compilation of his Memoirs by its first President, Sir Walter Scott.
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 qf Merchistouri's dask; 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 hebig ane dask there, providing always that the session, upon the sicht of ouy 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 propertie 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 yeresfees, 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 parish shall not exceed 12 shillings the man, and 10 shillings the woman, whether the bridal be in the house 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-portioners.
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 King'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.