21st of May

St Hospitius, recluse in Provence, 881. St Felix of Cantalicio, 1587.

 

Born. – Philip II. of Spain, 1527, Valladolid.
Died. – James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, 1650, Edinburgh; Cornelius Tromp, Dutch admiral, 1691, Amsterdam; Jacques Maboul, French Preacher, 1723, Aeth.

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

A village undoubtedly existed here previous to the year 1197, for in that year a new town and a castle were erected by William the Lyon. The Chronicle of Melrose under that year says, “Factum est novum oppidum inter Don et Ar;” which certainly implies that a town or village had formerly stood there. A few years afterwards the same sovereign granted a charter to the inhabitants erecting the town into a royal burgh. The charter is dated at Lanark the 21st May, without a year, but from the witnesses it would appear to have been granted between 1202 and 1207. 

– Select Views, pp.153-158.

 

The 21st of May, 1424, King James the First, with his Queen, Jean, were solemnly crowned at Scone. 

– Historical Works, pp.153-166.

 

As a rule the Scottish people were all trained to arms. An act of James I. (1426), which was passed in a time of perfect peace, enacts that all merchants should import some armour and arms with their cargoes. In Glasgow – encouraged by the bishops and by the men of rank, many of them soldiers, who officiated as provosts – the people were early trained to military habits. Previous to the Union they had their “weapon schaws.” There were “buttis” in the Gallowmuir for “exerceiss when schutting,”1 and where for a long time regular drillings were held; and repeatedly the city raised troops and sent them to the field. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.162-175. 

1  Burgh Records, 21st May, 1625.

 

May 21 [1650]. – The Marquis of Montrose, taken in an unsuccessful attempt to restore the king without the ceremony of the Covenant, was hanged in Edinburgh on a gibbet thirty feet high. The heroic firmness displayed at his death harmonised well with the gallantry exhibited in his short but brilliant career. It affords a striking idea of the taste of men of the highest rank in that age, that the Marquis of Argyll appeared on a balcony to see him driven on the hangman’s hurdle to the prison from which he was two days after to walk to the gallows, and that Lord Lorne took post at a window near the scaffold, to see the body cut to pieces after death. The head being stuck on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and the limbs sent for exhibition over the ports of Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, and Aberdeen, Charles II. was compelled to behold those ghastly relics of the most loyal of his subjects, when, less than a month after, he progressed through the country. If Montrose had died free of excommunication, his body would have been given to his friends; as matters stood, it was inhumed beneath a gibbet at the Burgh-moor. There was, however, a female heart that secretly wept for the untimely end of the Great Marquis. His niece, Lady Napier, sent men by night, who dug up the body and stole away the heart; and this relic she consigned to a steel case made out of the hero’s sword, which again she inclosed in a gold filigree box, which had been presented by a doge of Venice to her husband’s grandfather, the inventor of the logarithms. It will be found that, after the Restoration, when it became the fate of Argyll and others to atone by their blood for the severities inflicted on Montrose, the remains of the culprit of 1650 were gathered together and treated with a funeral that might have been honourable to a king.* The heart and its case were, however, retained in the possession of the Napier family for several generations, and only were lost sight of amidst the confusions of the French Revolution. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.278-301. 

*  The details of the ceremony attending the exhumation of the Marquis of Montrose, along with Sir William Hay of Dalgetty, are faithfully recounted in the first edition of the ‘Mercurius Caledonius’ in 1661.

 

By the contract, the bridge was to consist of five arches, three of 27 feet span, and two of 20 each; the four piers to be 13 feet 6 inches thick in the body. There were to be two abutments, 8 feet thick, with wing walls and parapets; those on the west to terminate at Mylne’s Square; those on the east to be carried no farther than Shearer’s Land. The length from the north to the south pedestal on the west side to be 1,134 feet, with 40 feet between the parapets; but 50 to be between them from the north end of the south abutment to the north end of Mylne’s Square. This difference is apparent on the bridge to the present day. 

… 

So actively and diligently did Mr. [William] Mylne set about his work, that by the midsummer of 1769 the arches were all completed, the keystone of the first of the three larger ones “was struck on Saturday, May 21, 1768.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.334-340.

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