Herbert Maxwell.

Official guide to the Abbey-church, palace, and environs of Holyroodhouse online

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ceedings were brought to a close by a drawing-room, some-
times a ball, for the ladies in the picture gallery.

It is vain to speculate what might have been the result

had Charles Edward listened to the chief Scottish Jacobites

and been content to defend the realm of Scotland

against all comers. The rising would then

The March ,

to Derby, become national in character, on the traditional
November \i nes , instead of being partisan and sectarian.
The ancient War of Independence would have
been renewed, bringing in its train the loss and suffering,
the heroism and treachery, which marked its course during


three centuries. France, as of yore, would have been
intermittently helpful, in such measure as it suited her
purpose to strengthen Scotland as a foe on the flank of
England, and England must have gone forward upon her
troubled course without the advantage derived from her
best recruiting-ground. All men at this day, however
warm may be their sympathy with the gallant young
Chevalier, must be grateful for the impetuosity which
hastened, if it did not bring about, the ruin of his cause.
Charles Edward was bent upon marching south to en-
counter Marshal Wade. The hardships of a winter cam-
paign had no terrors for him. He left Holyrood Palace on
the 3ist October, slept that night at Pinkie House, marched
southward next day, and crossed the border in Eskdale,
about 5000 strong, on 8th November. On 2oth December,
dispirited by retreat, decimated by desertion, and drenched
with rain, the Highlanders recrossed the flooded Esk ; on
the 26th they entered Glasgow, having marched in this
astonishing expedition 580 miles in fifty-six days.

The star of the royal Stuarts having set for ever at

Culloden on i6th April 1746, Holyrood received royalty

once more in the person of the Duke of

The Duke ot

Cumberland Cumberland, on his return from that dolorous
? 74 H 6? lyr00dl cam P ai g n - H e slept, it is said, in the very

bed in which Prince Charles reposed during
his brief splendour in the previous year.

In 1758 the attention of the Barons of Exchequer was

directed to the dilapidated condition of the

TfthL Ab^y roof of the Cha P el R y al > which, being no
church, and longer used as a parish church, had become too

December , . .

1768. dangerous to permit of service being celebrated

during the annual visit of the Lord High Com-
missioner to the General Assembly. They employed a


builder to put on a new roof, apparently without the ad-
vice of a competent architect. The result was disastrous.
The ancient walls were called upon to support a mass of
masonry and flagstones; they did so until 1768, when,
on the night of 2nd December, the whole fell in with a
crash, drawing down with it the whole of the vaulting and
clerestory. Next morning the rabble swarmed in upon the
ruins ; once more the royal tombs were rifled, Captain
Grose testifies to having seen the bones thrown about from
hand to hand. Since then the hallowed walls have stood
mouldering, exposed to all the winds of heaven, a forlorn
monument alike of the piety and the checkered fortunes
of the Scottish monarchy.

For forty years after Culloden, neglect and damp wrought
their silent mischief upon Holyroodhouse ; moths and
rats held revel with little hindrance, until, in like manner
as our own royal Stuarts had sought and found refuge in
France in the hour of tribulation, so the heir -presumpt-
ive of the Bourbons, an exile from his own country,
was offered and accepted shelter in the ancient Palace.
In 1795 the apartments on the east side of the quad-
rangle were hastily repaired and refurnished for the recep-
tion of the Comte d'Artois, who afterwards
TheComte succee ded his brother Louis XVIII. on the


(Charles x.) French throne. He lived at Holyrood for
?,?%?' four Y ears - The Duchesse de Grammont

'/ya' '799'

continued there until her death in 1803, when
she was buried in the royal vault ; but her remains were
removed to France after the restoration.

The summer of 1822 found Holyrood in a bustle of
preparation for the coming of King George IV. Except
the Duke of Cumberland, in his punitive expedition of
1746, no prince of the House of Hanover had ever set


foot on Scottish soil. The Jacobite cause had been laid
visit of to rest > never to wake again; but there were

? e * '" reasons for misgiving as to the reception which

AUJfUSt 1822. - ? ..

King George might receive in his northern
capital, arising out of recent domestic dissension in the
royal family. But his Majesty had entirely gained one
leal Scottish heart ; and it was mainly owing to the enthus-
iasm and personal popularity of Sir Walter Scott that
the visit turned out a perfect success, and all unpleasant
memories were buried out of sight. Time had been when
the kilt and belted plaid were looked upon with little
favour in Edinburgh, but Sir Walter now decreed that it
should be reckoned the national costume of the realm
of Scotland. Not only did he don the tartan himself
(choosing that of Argyll Campbell in virtue of a great
grandmother in that clan), but he persuaded grave burgesses
to do the same, and paraded besides all the real Highland
gentlemen he could find in Queen Street Gardens.

" Lord ! how the pibrochs groan and yell !
Macdonnell's ta'en the field himsel',
Macleod comes branking o'er the fell
Carle, now the King's come ! "

The King, having arrived off Leith in his yacht on i 4 th
August, was conducted in procession to the Palace on the
1 5th, and passed thence to Dalkeith Palace, where he was
the guest of the Duke of Buccleuch. It was on his return
to Holyrood to hold his first levee that the full extent was
realised to which Sir Walter had Celticised the sober Scot,
for here was his Majesty arrayed in the garb of Old Gaul,
as interpreted by a nineteenth -century tailor, glowing in
royal Stuart tartan from head to heel, barring the orthodox
interval in the region of the knees. Nor he alone, for


rivalling his Majesty in stature and bulk came a London
alderman, upon whom Byron has imposed immortality.

"He caught Sir William Curtis in a kilt,
While thronged the chiefs of every Highland clan
To hail their brother Vich Ian Alderman. " l

Among the good results of King George's visit to Holy-
rood must be reckoned the sum of ,2 4,000 voted by
Parliament for much-needed repairs on the Palace and for
setting the grounds in order.

The next royal visitor was Charles X. of France, once
more a fugitive, who in 1831 reoccupied the rooms in the
Palace which had sheltered him in 1795. With him came
the Due and Duchesse d'Angouleme, the Duchesse de
Berri, and her son the Due de Bordeaux.

In September 1842, when Queen Victoria and Prince
Albert first came to Edinburgh, they did not take up their
residence in the Palace ; but, returning in 1850,
Victoria at they occupied the royal apartments, and in later
loiyrood. vears often made Holyrood a resting-place on
their way to and from Balmoral. It was under Prince
Albert's direction that the present approaches to the Palace
were made, superseding the ancient way through the
Canongate. He also caused the ground to the east of the
Abbey Church to be levelled and laid out as at present.
It strikes the eye as somewhat bleak and bare, but it would
not be difficult to restore the pleasance and gardens, to a
considerable extent at least, according to the design shown
in Gordon of Rothiemay's plan. The date of Gordon's
work is 1646-47, and probably it represents the general
disposition of the gardens as Queen Mary knew them.

The lowness of the site of Holyrood has caused the

1 Age of Bronze.


drainage of the Palace to be a recurrent source of anxiety
ever since the thirteenth century, when Abbot Elias laid
out the great sewer of the monastery on a new plan. So *

Edward vn * n ^P r ^ I 93> wnen King Edward VII. paid
at Hoiyrood, his first visit to the northern capital after his
coronation in the previous year at Westminster,
it was a disappointment to all Scotsmen that he could not
establish his court at Hoiyrood, owing to the drains being
under repair. 1 However, his Majesty drove in on two days
from Dalkeith, where he was the guest of the Duke of
Buccleuch, held a levee in the Palace, entertained a large
number of peers, privy councillors, and city dignitaries at
luncheon, and reviewed his bodyguard, the Scottish Archers,
in the grounds to the south of the Palace.

1 During these repairs a dagger was found in one of the drains, with
an iron handle of elegant design, probably once gilt.




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Online LibraryHerbert MaxwellOfficial guide to the Abbey-church, palace, and environs of Holyroodhouse → online text (page 13 of 13)