The History of Leith

September 7, 2012

The altar of St. John the Evangelist

Walter Chapman, of Ewirlani, a burgess of Edinburgh, famous
as the introducer of the printing-press into Scotland,
and who was nobly patronised by the heroic king
who fell at Flodden, founded and endowed a
chaplaincy at the altar of St. John the Evangelist,
“in honour of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St.
John the Apostle and Evangelist, and all the
saints, for the healthful estate and prosperity of
the most excellent lord the King of Scotland, and
of his most serene consort Margaret Queen of
Scotland, and of their children; and also for the
health of my soul, and of Agnes Cockburne, my
present wife, and of the soul of Mariot Kerkettill,
my former spouse,” &c.
“This charter,” says a historian,.” is dated ist
August, 1513, an era of peculiar interest. Scotland
was then rejoicing in all the prosperity and
happiness consequent <5n the wise and.beneficent reign of James IV. Learning was visited with the highest favour of the Court, and literature was rapidly extending its influence under the zealous co-operation of Dunbar, Douglas, Kennedy, and others, with the royal master-printer. Only one month thereafter Scotland lay at the mercy of her southern rival. Her king was slain; the chief of her nobles and warriors had perished on, Plodder* Field, and adversity and ignorance again replaced the advantages that had followed in the train of the gallant James's rule. Thenceforth, the altars of St. Giles received few and rare additions to< their endowments."

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