The History of Leith

September 4, 2012

Marmouset idol

To this hour the arms of Preston still remain in
the roof of the aisle, as executed by the engagement
in the charter quoted; and the Prestons
continued annually to exercise their right of bearing
the arm of the patron saint of the city until
the eventful year 1558, when the clergy issued
forth for the last time in solemn procession on
the day of his feast, the is:
September, bearing with them
a statue of St. Giles—” a marmouset
idol,” Knox calls it—
borrowed from the Grey Friars,
because the great image of the
saint, which was as large as life,
had been stolen from its place,
and after being ” drouned” in
the North Loch as an encourager
of idolatry, was burned
as a heretic by some earnest
Reformers. Only two years
before this event the Dean of
Guild had paid 6s. for painting
the image, and izd. for
polishing the silver arm containing
the relic. To give dignity
to this last procession the
queen regent attended it in
person; but the moment she
left it the spirit of the mob
broke forth. Some pressed close
to the image, as if»to join in
its support, while endeavouring
to shake it down; but this
proved impossible, so firmly was
it secured to its supporters; and
the struggle, rivalry, and triumph
of the mob were delightful to Knox, who described
the event with the inevitable glee in which
he»indulged on such occasions.
Only four years after all this the saint’s silverwork,
ring and jewels, and all the rich vestments
wherewith his image and his arm-bone were wont
to be decorated on high festivals, were sold by
the authority of the magistrates, and the proceeds
employed in the repair of the church.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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