21st of November

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St Gelasius, pope and confessor, 496. St Columban, abbot and confessor, 615.

Died. – Marcus Licinius Crassus, Roman triumvir, slain in Mesopotamia, 53 B.C.; James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, poet and miscellaneous writer, 1835, Altrive, Selkirkshire.

On this Day in Other Sources.

When [Mary] departed, on her journey, to Edinburgh where she arrived, on the evening of the 21st of November, [1562,] after an absence of nearly four months. But, what was the result? Her whole journey was founded, in imposture, and conducted, by fraudulence, and force, for the benefit of her minion. Being, egregiously, imposed upon, by a thousand of his fictions, and falsehoods, the Queen was at once made the victim of his ambition, and the instrument of his murders.

The moment, that the Queen arrived, at Edinburgh, on the 21st of November, after four month’s absence, she was taken ill of a disease, which would now be called the influenza, which detained her in bed six days. Of that illness, her youth, and constitution, easily obtained the better; so that she soon became quite well: But, of her political diseases, under the infection of Elizabeth, and the management of Murray, she never recovered; though she had some moments of ease, and quiet.

– Life of Mary, pp.62-77.

In November 1569, broke out the rebellion of the Earls of Northumberland, and Westmoreland. They are said by Camden to have aimed at the freedom of the Queen of Scots. But, their first declaration was grounded, on the Catholic religion; the second, on the want of a law, for settling the succession. The Scotish Queen is not mentioned; nor even alluded to, unless the mention of the succession bear such an allusion. On the 21st of November, the rebels even came, as far as Tadcaster, towards Tutbury: And Huntingdon, and Hertford, came there to assist Shrewsbury, in the difficult charge of the Scotish Queen: 

– Life of Mary, pp.235-244.

In a sheltered spot called Greenside, near the northern skirts of the Calton Hill, a small monastery of Carmelite Friars had had a brief existence before the Reformation. On its desolate site, a merchant-burgess of Edinburgh, John Robertson by name (whom we soon after find in the office of bailie), now erected a small house for the reception of lepers, led thereto, it is stated, by a sense of gratitude to God for a signal deliverance vouchsafed to him. The town-council concurred in his object, and undertook the oversight and direction of the establishment (Nov. 21 [1591]). Five men afflicted with leprosy,and two women, the wives of two of these men, but not themselves lepers, were admitted, each leper being allowed four shillings Scots money – equal to 4d. sterling – weekly, and also having a privilege of begging under certain restrictions. They were on no account to go about for alms, or to stir from the house at all, or to admit any visitor, under penalty of death, and, to show how earnest was the spirit of this rule, a gibbet was erected at the gable of the hospital, ready for the instant execution of any transgressor. From sunset to sunrise, their door was to be kept fast locked, under the same penalty. Each patient was to take his turn of sitting at the door ‘with ane clapper,’ to attract the attention of people passing between Edinburgh and Leith, and to beg from them for the general benefit. The rest were meanwhile to stay within doors. The two wives, Isobel Barear and Jonet Gatt, were to be allowed to go to market to purchase vivres for the lepers and for themselves, but not to call anywhere else in the town, under penalty of death. A person was appointed to read prayers to the inmates each Sunday, and a weekly oversight was confided to the Masters of Trinity Hospital. The leper-house seems to have been extinct since the middle of the seventeenth century. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

The Thane of Cawdor offered the required rent, and satisfied the Council that he could perform the task of bringing the Islesmen to obedience, with such slender help of cannon and ammunition as the Scotch Government of that time could afford him. So much being settled (and “relying upon his Majestie’s gracious acknowledgement eftir the seruice be well accompleissed,” as writed Secretary Lord Binning to Patrick Hamilton at Court), he set forth on his expedition to win his island kingdom. The following documents mark in some degree his progress in his undertaking, and some of the earlier precede, in date, the Crown Charter, which conferred on Sir John Campbell of Calder and his heirs-male, heritably in few-ferme, “the Yle and landis of Ylay and Rynnis and middle-waird of Ylay, Ilyntassan, with the castell toure fortalice and maner place of Dwnyvaig.” – (Reg. Mag. Sig. 21 November 1614; ratified in Parliament 1621.) 

– Sketches, Appendix X.



Born, 1583; died at Edinburgh, 1646. 

An eminent minister of the Church of Scotland. He held in succession the offices of Professor of Philosophy at St. Andrews, 1611-1614; minister of Leuchars, in Fife, 1615-1639; first minister of Edinburgh, and Rector of the University there, 1640-1646. He drew up the renewal of the National Covenant in February, 1638, and was Moderator of the memorable General Assembly which met at Glasgow, November 21st, 1638. He resided in London nearly three years, as one of the Commissioners of the Westminster Assembly, in which he took a prominent part. 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

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