The History of Leith

September 19, 2012

The transepts of St. Giles

The transepts of St. Giles, as they existed before
the so-called repairs of 1829, afforded distinct
evidence of the gradual progress of the edifice.
Beyond the Preston aisle the roof differed from
the older portion, exhibiting undoubted evidence
of being the work of a subsequent time ; and from
its associations with the eminent men of other
days it is perhaps the most interesting portion of
the whole fabric. Here it was that Walter Chapman,
of Ewirland, 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 s.
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 on 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, Flodden.
Field, and adversity and ignorance again replaced1
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." source-Old and New Edinburgh

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