The History of Leith

January 31, 2012

History of Parliament Hall

Beneath the old roof consecrated to these, says one of its latest chroniclers, ” the first great movements of the Civil War took place, and the successive steps in that eventful crisis were debated
with a zeal commensurate to the important results involved in them. Here Montrose united with Rothes, Lindsay, Loudon, and others of the covenanting leaders, in maturing the bold measures that formed the basis of our national liberties ; and within the same hall, only a few years later, he sat with the calmness of despair, to receive from the lips of his old compatriot, Loudon, the barbarous sentence, which was executed with such savage rigour.”
After his victory at Dunbar, some of Cromwell’s troopers in their falling bands, buff coats, and steel morions, spent their time alternately in preaching to the people in the Parliament Hall and guarding a number of Scottish prisoners of war who were confined in ” the laigh Parliament House ” below it.
On the 17th of May, 1654, some of these contrived to cut a hole in the floor of the great hall, and all effected their escape save two ; but when peace was established between Cromwell and the Scots, and the Courts of Law resumed their sittings, the hall was restored to somewhat of its legitimate uses, and there, in 1655, the leaders of the Commonwealth, including General Monk, were feasted with a lavish hospitality.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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