The History of Leith

February 3, 2012

Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney

Descending the High Street, after passing Bank Street, to which we have already referred, there is situated one of the most remarkable old edifices in the city—the mansion of Adam Bothwell, Bishop
of Orkney. It stands at the foot of Byres’ Close, so named from the house of Sir John Byres of Coates, but is completely hidden from every point save the back windows of the Daily Review office.
A doorway on the east side of the close gives access to a handsome stone stair, guarded by a curved balustrade, leading to a garden terrace that overlooked the waters of the loch. Above this starts
abruptly up the north front of the house, semihexagonal in form, surmounted by three elegantly carved dormer windows,”having circular pediments, and surmounted by a finial. On one was inscribed Laus ubique Deo ; on another,Feliciter, infelix.
In this edifice (long used as a warehouse by Messrs. Clapperton and Co.) dwelt Adam, Bishop of Orkney, the same prelate who, at four in the morning of the 15th of May, 1567, performed in the chapel royal at Holyrood the fatal marriage ceremony which gave Bothwell possession of the unfortunate and then despairing Queen Mary.
He was a senator of the College of Justice, and the royal letter in his favour bears, “Providing, always ye find him able and qualified for administration of justice, and conform to the acts and
statutes of the College.”
He married the unhappy queen after the new forms, ” not with the mess, but with preachings,” according to the ” Diurnal of Occurrents,”.in the chapel; according to Keith and others, ” in the great hall, where the Council usually met.’But he seemed a pliable prelate where his owninterests were concerned; he was one of the first to desert his royal mistress, and, after her enforced abdication, placed the crown upon the head of her infant son ; and in 1568, according to the book of the ” Universal Kirk,” he bound himself to preach a sermon in Holyrood, and therein to confess
publicly his offence in performing a marriage ceremony for Bothwell and Mary.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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