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Electric Scotland News

We've just come off the long weekend here in Canada entitled "Family Day". Not sure if this is a day celebrated anywhere else in the world but a nice sentiment for sure.

You'll not in the news that the "Big Yin' (Billy Connolly) has been selected as the Parade Marshall for the Tartan Day Parade in NYC in April.


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Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish.

Final resting place of revered clan chief discovered
Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, 17th chief of Clan Cameron, was regarded as a true leader of his people but the whereabouts of his grave remained unknown.

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Spectacular Highland bridge officially renamed in Gaelic
A spectacular bridge in the Highlands has been legally renamed in Gaelic to mark it gaining Grade-A listed status for its architectural merit.

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Britain’s largest Neolithic house built in Scotland
The largest Neolithic house in Britain was built in Scotland around 6,000 years ago, archaeologists have confirmed

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220-year-old map from the Hebrides is saved
The map, which dates from 1800, has been rescued by conservators at National Library of Scotland after being sent to the mainland by Stornoway Historical Society.

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The origins of handfasting at Scottish weddings
When Scots married for a year and a day

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Anger as plans to build hydro power plants in iconic Scottish glen approved
Seven hydro power plants are set to be built on a stunning Scottish glen where Braveheart and James Bond’s Skyfall were filmed - despite hundreds of objections.

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The BBC’s pro-EU partisanship has reached crisis proportions but Ofcom have dismissed my complaints
The BBC’s blatant pro-EU partisanship in the Brexit domain is in clear breach of its Charter, and has reached crisis proportions. Could its influence be a factor in sabotaging the prospect of implementation of the 2016 Leave vote?

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The Highland slave owners in 17th Century South America
Highland slave owners were acquiring vast riches in South America during the 17th Century given their direct links with the Dutch Empire, it has emerged.

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Billy Connolly to lead New York Tartan Day parade
The famed Scottish comedian will lead the parade as Grand Marshal on Saturday April 6 in front of around 30,000 spectators.

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UK posts record budget surplus in January, boosting Hammond before budget update
Briitain posted its biggest budget surplus on record in January despite a slowing economy, putting finance minister Philip Hammond on course to announce the lowest annual borrowing since 2002 in a fiscal update due just before Brexit next month.

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Flagship registration must be controlled if British fishing communities are to benefit from Brexit
The government has fulfilled a ministerial pledge that the abhorrent Electric Pulse Fishing method will be banned in all British waters post-Brexit.

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Electric Canadian

Canadian Archive Reports
Added the 1896 report.

You can read this at:

The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs
The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs for 1918 and you can read this at:

The Canadian Horticulturist
Volume 14 (1891) can be read at:

Canadian Life and Resources
A Monthly Review of the Developed and Undeveloped Wealth of the Dominion of Canada and of Newfoundland Volume 6 (1908) and you can read this at:

Czechs in Canada
Added a page for this ethnic group which you can read at:

Annals of Niagara
By William Kirby, F. R. S. C. (1896) (pdf) which you can read at:

Canadian Textile Journal
A Monthly Journal devoted to Textile Manufacturing with an up-to-date review of what is going on in the industry, E. S. Bates, Editor.

Added 2 volumes to our Magazine page at:

Farmer's Magazine
A monthly magazine for 1913 which you can read at:

The Roots of Survival
The change of empire in 18th-century Quebec could have meant the end of French culture in the province, but a tolerant governor and emerging egalitarian ideas showed another way by Louisa Blair. You can read this at:

Conrad Black

Partners in Crime

The SNC-Lavalin affair is overblown, but the Liberals still bungled it

Electric Scotland

The Scottish Review
Added volume 24 for you to read at:

Watches of the Titanic in connection with the Countess of Rothes
Got this interesting account in from Barrie Leslie which you can read at the foot of our Leslies of Rothes page at:

The Cherokees
Got up several books about the Cherokees this week...

The Cherokee Observer
Vol. 15 No.1 - January 2007 at:

Laws of the Cherokee Nation
Adopted by the Council at Various Periods and printed for the benefit of the Nation (1852) (pdf) which you can read at:

Message from the President of the United States
A communication addressed by the Secretary of War to the Cherokee Delegation. May 22, 1838 (pdf) which you can read at:

Cherokee Reservations
To accompany Bill H. R. No. 270 April 17, 1858. The Committee on Indian Affairs to whom were referred sundry memorials from citizens of Tennessee, in relation to the reservations under the treaties of 1817 and 1819 with the Cherokees, have considered the same, and report and you can read this at:

Centenary Index for Transactions of Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders of Scotland
Including Alphabetical Index of Authors and Ships Mentioned which you can read at:

The Bairds of Auchmedden and Strichen, Aberdeenshire
By John Malcolm Bullock (1934) (pdf)

You can read this at:

1st and 2nd Dukes of Gordon
By John Malcolm Bulloch and added links to both books at the foot of our Gordon page in the Scottish Nation which you can read at:

The Burns Calendar
A manual of Burnsiana; relating events in the poet's history, names associated with his life and writings, a concise bibliography, and a record of Burns relics by M'Kie, James (1874) (pdf)

You can read this at:

I decided to create a page for Wale and so have moved our text file on the history of Wales to the new page and also added the first 5 volumes of the Cambrian Quarterly Magazine and Celtic Repertory.

You can get to this at:

An Historical and Genealogical Account of the Clan MacLean
From its first settlement at Castle Duart in the Isle of Mull to the Present Period by a Seneachie (1838) (pdf) which you can read at:

Memoir of the Life of John Law of Lauriston
Mr John Philip Wood's account is the best which has yet been given to the British public of this extraordinary man, and the rise and fall of his fortunes.

You can read this at:

The Antient and Modern State of the Parish of Cramond
To which are added Biographical and Genealogical collections, respecting some of the most considerable families and individuals connected with that district by John Philip Wood (1794) (pdf)

You can read this at:

The Entail (Scotland) Act, 1882 (45 and 46 Victoria, Chapter 53)
With Notes and an index of the whole Entail Statutes by John Philip Wood (1882) (pdf) which you can read at:

The Annals of Cullen 961 - 1904
By W. Cramond, LL.D. (1904) (pdf)

You can reads this at:

The Earls of Aboyne
Down to the present marquis of Huntly (pdf) which you can read at:

The Story

The Master Masons to the Crown of Scotland.
By the Rev. R. S. Mylne, M.A., B.C.L., F.S.A. Scott & Ferguson: Edinburgh. 1893.

ANY satisfactory attempt at a complete survey of the various works of the royal architects in early times was a desideratum in the literary and architectural world before the opportune publication of the King's Master Masons in the late autumn of 1893. In the course of the earlier chapters of this bulky work a large amount of original information not hitherto accessible to the general public has been brought together, and will prove of special interest to all those learned persons who make a particular study of the archaeology of architecture. The record, indeed, (except as regards the ancient Bridge of Perth) does not commence before the accession of King James III. in the year 1460, but from that comparatively early date very full details are given in illustration of the closing years of the mediaeval period of Scottish history. Such minute points are the more valuable, as genuine documents prior to the melancholy death of King James IV. are not readily to be met with by the student of the archaeology of North Britain: and are, moreover, full of instruction in reference to the final close of one great period of modern history, and the marked contrast with which the next period opens.

Thus it is curious to note in the Charter and Statutes of the masons and wrights of Edinburgh, anno 1485, that the official processions of the Guild through the Scottish Capital are to be conducted in the same method and manner as is usual in the town of Bruges, showing some early business connection between Flanders and Scotland. As may be naturally expected at this date, there is an intimate alliance between the Church and the building crafts, who maintain the altar of St John the Evangelist, in the Collegiate Church of S. Giles, whose members for the first and second offence contribute wax towards the altar lights, and after that are punishable by the Provost and Bailies of the town.

The contract of 1502 for completing the Tolbooth of Edinburgh gives the current rate of wages:—10s. a week to John Marser, the principal mason, and 9s. a week to the other masons employed on this municipal work. Well hewn ashler stone cost 2d. per foot.

Of greater interest is the Precept of 1503, whereby King James IV. grants a pension of £40 per annum to Leonard Logy, his faithful priest and architectural adviser, in consideration of his diligent and great labour upon the palace beside the Abbey of the Holy Cross: because it appears certain from other contemporary records that Logy’s work includes the foundations of the present well-known Queen Mary’s Tower at Holyrood the only portion of the present palace that was erected before the Reformation. ‘Its stout walls and solid masonry,’ as the author of the King's Master Masons observes, 'have withstood the dire effects of fire and siege by the enemy, as well as the destructive influence of political change, and internal revolution.’

Another interesting document granted by the same monarch is the license of 1491 to John Dundas of Dundas, to erect a Fortress on the Rock of Inchgarvie, lying in the water of Forth, between the passages of the Queen’s Ferry. How startled would the old laird be, if he could now revisit his former haunts, and find a massive iron pier of the mighty Forth Bridge now resting on the precise spot once occupied by his solid stone castle! No remnants now of his ‘moats, and iron gates, drawbridge, tumlars, portcullises, battlements, machicolations, crenelles, skowlares' and other munitions and defences! But such are the manifold changes wrought by the lapse of time.

Other early writs of the King have been collected by our author with much care and pains, including one to Nichol Crawford, Justice Clerk, containing an important clause dispensing with all future Acts of Parliament! Mr. Mylne draws a brief parallel between this ancient writ of James V., and the well known dispensing power claimed by Charles I., and the later sovereigns of the House of Stuart, which so materially helped to bring about their final downfall.

But we must pass on to the conclusion of the first chapter, which contains the remarkable record of all the principal householders along the High Street of the old town of Edinburgh, immediately before the disastrous battle of Flodden. A list of this kind so early in date is somewhat uncommon, and it is curious to note what a large proportion of the owners were ecclesiastics. Mention is also made of the printing premises of Walter Chepman, a genuine pioneer of all true learning, distinguished as having set up the first printing press in the Scottish Capital.

We imagine that the map of the siege of Edinburgh under the Earl of Hertford in 1544, which is inserted between the first and second chapters of this book, will form a complete novelty to most readers. The original sheet is preserved amongst the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum. Apart from its reproduction for the Bannatyne Miscellany, it has never before been given to the public: and there is no plan of so early a date existing in the North. The Cowgate would not naturally come into the view of a besieging army approaching from the northern side of the town, but in defiance of the rules of perspective, we are shown these lower houses as well as those situated in the High Street, the object being to give a complete idea of the city.

Chapter II. gives the public career of Alexander, Abbot of XXIV. Cambuskenneth—ecclesiastic, statesman, lawyer, historian, architect Space forbids any attempt at enumerating in full detail the wonderful industry of this energetic and powerful character, who seemed able with equal success to lay his hand upon all the various threads of public life, and was capable of shining as a bright luminary amongst the heads of both Church and State. In the midst of secular occupation he never forgot his high ecclesiastical position. He was, in fact, one of the last of those noble ecclesiastical statesmen who throughout the middle ages were illustrious in the romantic annals of Scotland. Possessed of the confidence of the people as well as the King, and in favour with Pope Leon, his public position was secure. His zeal for the practical welfare of the nation was shewn in the erection of bridges, the careful preservation of ancient documents, and the undertaking of the laborious duties of first President of the Court of Session, still the supreme legal tribunal of Scotland. No one can study the record of his life without pronouncing him great as well as pious, of wide and statesman-like views, as well as devoted to the Christian Church.

Incorporated in this second chapter is the Dunkeld Bridge Account, a long document which has been translated from the original Latin MS. preserved in the Advocates Library in Edinburgh with great pains and care. Not only on account of its antiquity, but also on account of the thorough light shewn in reference to later mediaeval customs and habits of life, this particular document possesses a very special interest. We see plainly both the organisation in detail of a mediaeval diocese, and the general system of building bridges in vogue amongst mediaeval bishops. When the masons did not dine with the Bishop of Dunkeld, he always sent them an extra penny apiece. The mention of steel is remarkable, and there are some curious words without Latin equivalents, as wesps, nops, plancheour, garroun, brandier, croy, hames, and thettis. Noonschanks was afternoon tea, or rather a light supper. If a workman died, they were careful to provide his 'wyndyn-schet’ as in the case of Robert Cawquhyn, who had 3 ells of linen. George Brown, Lord Bishop of Dunkeld, bequeathed the bulk of his personal property for the completion of the Bridge, charging Alexander Mylne, the Canon of that Cathedral, and James Fentoun, the Precentor, to execute the directions contained in his last will and testament. This they were very careful to do. Nothing, however, now remains of the handsome bridge then erected.

Concerning the family of Franche, whose architectural record is preserved in Chapter III., we may note how Thomas, the most distinguished of this name, commenced his public career under that noble Bishop of Aberdeen, William Elphinstone, in the honourable capacity of builder of the famous old bridge over the river Dee, still used for ordinary traffic, though widened with judgment as well as elegance between the years 1841 and 1844. From the service of the Bishop he passed to that of the King, and left his permanent and enduring mark on the royal palaces of Linlithgow and Falkland. In the year 1535, when James V. was at Kelso, the writ under the Privy Seal of Scotland was issued whereby he became Master Mason to the Crown 'for all the dais of his lif.’ Henceforth he was one of the chief architectural advisers of this artistic Stuart sovereign. Thomas Franche’s public career, as our author justly observes, ‘illustrates the great historic fact that at the beginning (or rather perhaps the middle) of the sixteenth century the Church ceased to be the great builder amongst the nations, and the civil government began to occupy the public position so long held by the Episcopate.’ In the same year that Thomas Franche was appointed King’s Master Mason, he also received a bounty of £20, and an interesting photograph of the original document will be found opposite to p. 41 of the book we are now considering. The sign manual is appended, a somewhat uncommon occurrence in writs of this class. On the upper portion of the same page is exhibited a facsimile of the last sheet of the royal accounts for building purposes for the year 1529, with the authentic signatures of the Lords Auditors subjoined. First amongst these signatories is Alexander Cambuskenneth.

Franche’s influence, however, was soon eclipsed by the French masons, who came to Scotland in the train of James V.’s French bride, Mary of Lorraine. Nicholas Roy was the chief of this class, and became King’s Master Mason under writ of the Privy Seal in 1539. Moyse or Mogin Martyne received custody of the Castle of Dunbar, while Peter the Flemishman carved the figures that yet survive on the southern front of Falkland Palace. Bartrahame Foliot was employed in paving the streets by the corporation of Edinburgh.

After careful examination, it appears easy to trace at the present time the definite results of this French influence at both Stirling Castle and Falkland Palace. The somewhat fantastic figures placed along the battlements, the decorative work superadded to the simpler wall structure, the buttress of Renaissance design in front of mediaeval walls, alike point to the blending of foreign and native skill, and the joint labours of French and Scottish workmen. Upon the facts given above Mr. Mylne thus comments :—

'All authorities note the remarkably French characteristics of the details—the distinct hint of the Renaissance style superadded to the Gothic after Parisian fashion, or Orleanois type, so different in detail to the later influence of the Renaissance throughout the whole of Europe, and Great Britain in particular. The fantastic decoration, and the peculiar figures that fill the niches, are more in keeping with the quaint phantasy of Gaul than the sterner forms prevalent in the North. The mere exuberance of fancy is permitted to run riot, producing a gorgeous but somewhat extravagant effect. There is great richness, but a lack of purity in this particular style.’

The close conuectiou with France is also shewn by various quotations from contemporary documents. Thus in the Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer for 1539 the following entry occurs:—

Item, for the vj. masonis expens quhilk the Duke of Groys sends to the kingis grace xu.

In the same year Anthoinette de Bourbon, Duchess of Lorraine writes to her daughter, the Queen of Scotland :—

'Je esté bien ayse voir vous estes contente des massons, etc.’

Moreover, Nicholas Roy was succeeded in the office of King’s Master Mason by another Frenchman, John Roytell. He was also a burgess of Edinburgh, having been admitted at the special request of the Prior of Holyrood.

‘Johannes Ryotell lathomus Gallus effectus est burgensis in judicio et datur eidem gratis ad requestum prioris monasterii Sancte Crucis qui prepositum et ballivos in dicto monasterio predie existentes eosdem bene tractabat.’

At the foot of p. 54 will be found a list of the signed letters of King James V., preserved in the National Library at Paris.

In the month of June, 1567, Mary Queen of Scots left Holyrood for Lochleven Castle, never to return. At once the French influence was swept away, and the leaders of the Reformation in religion obtained the upper hand. There was much confusion in Church and State for more than a decade of years.

Harie Balfour became Master of works in 1561, and Sir Robert Drummond of Carnock in 1579; who executed works at Doune Castle, and elsewhere. His successor, however, William Schaw, was a man of greater distinction. He was a prominent Freemason, and his name is of frequent occurrence in the early records of the Incorporation of Mary’s Chapel, Edinburgh. He was also a favourite with Queen Anne, and while he carried out some works at most of the Royal Palaces, his name will be always chiefly remembered in connection with the Abbey of Dunfermline. On his sudden death in 1602, an elaborate monument was erected to his memory by his Royal Patroness in this noble Church.

We must now turn to the family of Mylne, first distinguished in the annals of Scotland under James III., in connection with the art of building. At this period, however, John Mylne of Dundee, wins for himself an assured position of prominence, which is continually maintained by his descendants in after generations. He was employed by Lord Somerville to build Drum House, and also erected the old Cross of Dundee, whose original shaft has recently been erected beside the principal church of the town. For putting the whole of the harbour works in a state of efficiency, he was made a Burgess of the town gratis, while in 1589 he undertook to erect a gallery and certain other additions for Thomas Bannatyne, in his house at the Kirktoun of Newtyle. The original contract is given pp. 66-9, and contains some curious regulations and quaint expressions. Thus 'lummingis’ is the chimney shaft, 'kaip' equals cope, and ‘doucat’ the dovecote.

After executing various other works in the town of Dundee, in the year 1604 or 1605 he removed to Perth, and spent the remainder of his life in building the stone bridge of eleven arches over the water of the Tay, which was swept away by a tremendous flood on October 14, 1621. The builder had died earlier in the same year, and thus avoided seeing the bridge’s terrible downfall.

Chapter VI. gives a complete sketch of the history of the various attempts to span the water of Tay beside the town of Perth, from the days of King William the Lion to the time of King Charles II. Those who care for such archaeological lore would do well to look into this portion of the work with care and attention, and incidentally they will find mention of other matters connected with the old town, as the annual race for the silver bell held at Eastertide, and the strong objection maintained by the Kirk Session to any citizen travelling in Spain or Portugal. Alexander Lowrie, having visited the latter country, was ‘admonischit nocht to trawell to thess parties agane, except that thay wer wthervyss reformit in religione.' Yet he was careful to state that he had never attended high mass. The geographical importance of Perth is fully appreciated by our author, as by all familiar with the neighbourhood. ‘Situated at the southern outlet of wild mountain passes in the Grampians, accessible to the North Sea by means of the broad water of Tay, half way between the Western Highlands and the chill East Coast, Perth was well adapted for the royal residence, and the capital of the kingdom. The swift flowing river was a dividing line, and the absolute necessity for easy means of transit was keenly felt with the first dawn of civilisation.’

We must now pass on to other matters. William Wallace became King’s Master Mason in 1617, was an active member of the Lodge of Mary’s Chapel, and executed much work about the Royal Palaces. In the earlier entries, he is generally called the Carver, and in the midst of his great work at Heriot’s Hospital, he suddenly died. Though the general plan was sent from London by the Dean of Rochester, due credit for the elaboration of detail must be given to this eminent master builder, while all critics agree in the acknowledged beauty of the result.

On Wallace’s death John Mylneof Perth became Master Mason to Charles I. Commencing his professional career by assisting his father in the erection of the stone bridge over the water of Tay, he was called to Edinburgh by the Town Council to complete the statue of the King upon the Netherbow Port, as well as to re-erect the Town Cross. His next task was the building of the Parish Church of Falkland, under contract with David Lord Scone; and then the construction of a new steeple for the Tolbooth of the City of Aberdeen. In 1629-30 he made the sun-dial at present in the beautiful gardens of Drummond Castle, and re-built portions of this romantic Perthshire residence. In 1633, together with his two sons, he constructed the famous sun-dial now in the royal gardens of Holyrood, so richly decorated with the initials and appropriate emblems of the noble Princes of the House of Stuart. Afterwards he worked at Heriot’s Hospital, of which there are some good engravings in the book. When he had held the office of Master Mason five years, he resigned in favour of his son John, and retired to Perth, where he died Master of the Lodge of Scone and Perth in 1658. The curious lists of masons working on the royal castles and palaces form a special feature of this seventh chapter, as well as the full particulars concerning the foundation of the Bishopric of Edinburgh, the masonic document relating to Perth, and the brief notice of Alexander Mylne, the sculptor, who died at the early age of thirty.

We think, however, that the account of John Mylne of Edinburgh, contained in the next chapter, will prove of greater interest. This remarkable man came into prominence at the early age of twenty-five, when he became Master Mason to Charles I., and in the next year Master Mason to the City of Edinburgh. Amongst his architectural works we may note the Tron Church in the High Street of Edinburgh, Panmure House in the county of Forfar, now the property of the young Earl of Dalhousie, and the Town Hall of the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow. He also executed repairs on many important buildings, notably the famous Church of S. Giles, and the magnificent Abbey of Jedburgh. The official report on the latter sacred edifice concludes by saying, ‘the Master of Works wonders how either the minister dare be bold to pray, or the people to hear.’

Beside making various additions to the College in Edinburgh, John Mylne also became Master Mason to Heriot’s Hospital, and executed various minor works in and about the good town, so well known to fame as the capital of Scotland. In other departments, however, beside architecture, John Mylne left distinct traces of his genius and influence, for in the year 1646 he became Captain of Pioneers, and Master Gunner for the Castle of Edinburgh and all Scotland, and in 1652 was sent to London as one of the official Commissioners to arrange a Treaty of Union with the Parliament of England under the authority of the Lord Protector Oliver Cornwell. He was at the same time one of the members for Edinburgh in the Scottish Parliament.

On the restoration of King Charles II., he was confirmed in all his offices by that sovereign, and was employed to make plans of Holyrood, one of which has recently been discovered in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Great interest attaches to this document, because it shews alterations and extensions which had been intended to have been carried out by earlier Stuart Princes. According to a learned paper recently read by W. W. Robertson, Esq., Surveyor for Scotland to H. M. Office of Works, it also shews the condition of the palace at the actual date of the Restoration. Of course, the lordly designs of that unfortunate monarch Charles I., altogether failed of realisation. What terrible irony is there in the words of the text with which he crowned such work as he was enabled to execute!


John Mylne died in December, 1667, and the Incorporated Trades placed an appropriate inscription to his credit and renown over the entrance door of their hall, S. Mary’s Chapel, in Niddry’s Wynd, now destroyed, from which we quote a few suitable lines:—

Rare man he was, who could unite in one
Highest and lowest occupation.

To sit with Statesmen, Councillor to Kings, To work with tradesmen in mechanick things. May all Brethren, Myln’s steps strive to trace, Till one, withall, this house may fill his place.

The long Latin inscription in the Greyfriars’ churchyard, over his actual place of burial, is too well known to require quotation. His nephew, Robert, was appointed his successor as King’s Master Mason, and made for himself an enduring name as the builder of the present Palace of Holyrood. Why Charles II. and his administration in Scotland were so anxious to rebuild the ancient Palace of Holyrood is not very clear, considering the great scarcity of money in the royal exchequer. On this point our author writes as follows:—

‘Perhaps the close association for so many years with the Royal House of Stuart was the principal reason that prompted the large expenditure of ill-spared money that actually took place. The old Tower of Queen Mary was regarded as a visible badge of the real sovereignty of her princely descendants. The ecclesiastical associations of the Chapel Royal recalled the monarchical theory of the divine right of kings. The remains of the Abbey beside the Palace suggested to the mind the valued connection between the authorities of the Church and the State. The same idea was in some sort implied by the very name of Holyrood. More truly than with Linlithgow, or Falkland, or Stirling, the royal residence in Edinburgh seemed bound up with the supreme rights of the House of Stuart. Yet King Charles II. was wedded to Whitehall and Windsor, both by necessity and by choice. He can never have seriously intended to take up his residence in Scotland for any length of time.’

Nevertheless, the new works were proceeded with at such pace as was possible. His Grace the Duke of Lauderdale, his brother, Sir Charles Maitland, commonly known as Lord Hatton, Sir William Bruce, Sir William Sharp, and Robert Mylne all did their best to push the business forward, and held frequent conferences, in the King’s name and under his royal authority, in order to expedite the matter. In the book we are now considering the fullest details will be found, extending from pages 160 to 212. Suffice it to say on the present occasion, that the principal contract, from which the present palace may be fairly dated, was signed in the month of March, 1672, for £57,000 Scots, and there were other subsidiary contracts involving further expense. In the original plans, never before printed, and also the numerous private letters between the King and the Duke of Lauderdale and other eminent persons in Scotland, a very interesting light is thrown on the general circumstances of the times. Those who were fortunate enough to be in the possession of high office seem oftentimes ambitious of further preferment, while those who were out in the cold knew they had chance of none. In the actual building operations the best materials appear to be obtained from the most suitable quarter, as England, France, or Holland, and free use of the harbour of Leith is made for shipment. There is no attempt made at the consumption of exclusively Scottish glass, or wood, or stone, or iron. In each case the best material is sought for under the most favourable circumstances, and the excellent quality of the goods is carefully maintained. Jacob de Wet, the well known Dutch painter, was employed upon the interior decorative work; and David Binning supplied French glass; while English lead-gold was provided by Henry Fraser. The wainscott for the King’s own apartment came by sea from Rotterdam, and Jan Vansantvoort carved the chimney-pieces in the royal chambers. Sir James Stansfield received £800 Scots for 60 great trees, and John Halbert, together with George Dunserfield, English plasterers, £252 Scots for plastering the third room of the third story of the inner side of the north quarter of the Palace. But lack of space forbids any attempt to enter upon all the details connected with the building of Holyrood. They may be studied at length in the ninth and tenth chapters of the King's Master Masons. Opposite page 166 will be found a facsimile of an autograph letter written by Lord Lauderdale in 1671, and above it a view of Holyrood under the Commonwealth. The last of the six original drawings relating to the Palace consists of a curious map showing the titles in 1670 to the various plots of land immediately adjoining the royal residence. It may not be generally known that some of these (marked 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 28, on the aforesaid map) were obtained by purchase from the Lord Bishop and the Dean of Edinburgh. It is further curious to note how strongly John Evelyn objected to corner chimney pieces, noting in his diary that in his opinion the King had in this manner spoilt his new hunting box at Newmarket. The lengthy contract, pp. 176-81, is a good specimen of a contemporary document, and throws a side light on the manners and customs of the building trade in the seventeenth century. On page 187 there is an interesting list of all the materials in hand in December, 1674, for the building of Holyrood. This list was made by Charles Maitland, as also the elaborate account of the various weapons of defence in the Castle of Edinburgh in the year 1679, which will be found, pp. 203-9.

Of the present Palace, the western facade was the last portion completed, owing partly to the necessity of taking down stone-work erected by ‘ the usurpers,’ z>., the English in the days of Cromwell, and owing also to some difference of opinion amongst the constituted authorities as to the best way of finishing this portion of the whole structure. In the month of July, 1676, the contract for the above mentioned work was signed at Holyrood-house between Sir W. Bruce, Sir W. Sharp, and Robert Mylne, at £4,200 Scots.

Mr. Mylne’s concluding remarks on the completion of Holyrood Palace seem worth quoting at this place in our review.

'Perhaps the most elegant feature in this palatial structure is the neat blending of the columns of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian order on the three stories of the garden front. If the King had not made objection, there would have been considerably more external decoration. As it is, the whole structure falls far short of the intentions of the earlier kings of Scotland, though sufficient for all actual needs. As the Palace was then finished, it has since remained a noble and enduring memorial of the Sovereign Princes of the ancient House of Stuart'.

From the portrait of the builder, opposite page 217, he seems to have been a genial man, and amongst his other notable works we may mention the Cross of Perth, Wood’s Hospital at Largo, the bridge over the River Clyde at Romell-weill Crags, 29 miles above Lanark, MyIne’s Square and Mvlne’s Court in the High Street of Edinburgh. It was in a 'laigh shop’ or cellar on the basement floor of a tenement in the above mentioned square that, according to the old tradition, the famous treaty of Union was signed and sealed in the days of good Queen Anne. The Commissioners had assembled in an ornamental summer-house at Moray House, to affix their signatures ; but, driven out of that place by the infuriated mob, they took refuge in the ‘ laigh shop ’ already mentioned, and there completed the deed destined to have so beneficial an influence on the fortunes of both countries. Unlike Sir Robert Mylne of Barnton, whose fortunes rose and fell with the House of Stuart, Robert Mylue, the builder of Holyrood, seems to have been on fairly good terms with the administration of King William III., though of course all his preferment was due to Charles II. and the powerful Duke of Lauderdale.

Late in life he executed some work at Heriot’s Hospital, and fitted up a house in the Writers Court for the due accommodation of the Writers to the Signet, and finally died in his own house at Inveresk, on December 10th, 1710, at the age of seventyseven. His handsome monument in the Greyfriars is well known to the great majority of the visitors to Edinburgh.

In consequence of the Act of Union, passed after much strenuous opposition in the year 1707, many changes were made in the entire system of the Scottish administration, the office of King’s Master Mason became of less importance, and in the end passed into disuse. Here then, in the strict sense, our subject comes to a natural conclusion. The succession of the King’s Master Masons has been traced with the greatest care and diligence from the accession of King James III. to the death of Queen Anne. With the commencement of the eighteenth century, we come upon a new order of things; and we are essentially in modern times. The author of The Master Masons, however, cannot resist the natural impulse to add a fourth and last section to his great book, in which he traces what befel the direct descendants of the Master Mason to Queen Anne. We can only briefly notice this section. While chapter xii. gives the public career of Thomas Mylne, Surveyor to the City of Edinburgh, and William Mylne, the architect of the ponderous North Bridge, which is now threatened with demolition, the next chapter is full of interest on account of the remarkable career of Robert Mylne of London, as highly distinguished as any of the earlier members of the family in the past annals of architecture.

When but a youth he had the inestimable advantage of studying art in the great city of Rome. As our author finely observes:—

‘Once within the vast walls of the Eternal City, he found countless objects of the greatest interest to study—priceless specimens of antique and mediaeval art, huge monuments of architectural skill and daring, constructed by the autocratic order of mighty Emperors and Popes, who seem to have thought the whole race of mankind chiefly formed for the particular purpose of carrying out their imperious will. Like many another visitor from every quarter of the civilised world, the young architect, hitherto accustomed to the grey skies and the bleak lands that border the cold North Sea, was utterly astonished at the warmth of beauty and the haughty magnificence of the whole scene. He lingered in the mighty old-world city, and entered upon a serious course of study, enduring for the space of nigh four years.’

And his study was not without fruit, for in 1758 he obtained the Papal silver medal of the Academy of S. Luke, as a first prize in architecture: a fact which Andrew Lumisden, Secretary to the Stuart Princes then exiled in Rome, was careful to note in his private correspondence with Lord George Murray.

Returning to London the following year with a high reputation, Robert Mylne was fortunate enough to be chosen architect of Blackfriars Bridge by the Lord Mayor and Corporation out of sixty-nine competitors, amongst whom was Sir William Chambers. The foundation stone was laid with much ofiicial display and ceremony, on November 30th, 1760, and this noble bridge took near ten years in building. The great arch of 100 feet span was formally opened on October 1st, 1764, when the Lord Mayor, sheriffs, and aidermen were rowed underneath in the gorgeous city barge. As Andrew Lumisden, in the kindness of his heart had prophesied, the new bridge, built of Portland stone, was a decided success, and 'honour and fortune were the consequence of the undertaking.’ A long and useful professional career at once opened out for the young architect. Indefatigable in work, patient in business 'with inexhaustible energy he seized the opportunities of life' and when he had passed the three score years and ten deemed to be the alloted span of humanity, there was hardly any district of Great Britain which had not received the benefit of his engineering skill or architectural advice. It were tedious to enter upon details in these matters, but in Scotland alone he left his permanent mark on Inverary Castle, to which he made extensive additions for the Duke of Argyll, the old bridge of Glasgow, upon which he was consulted by the Corporation, from whom he received a handsome silver salver, the Heriot’s Park Reservoir in Edinburgh, S. Cecilia’s Hall, and the reservoir on the Pentland Hills. The noble head of the Argyllshire clans also consulted him in reference to Rosneath Castle, and his country farm-steads in Glenshire. Yet London was the centre of his professional activity, and as Engineer to the New River Company, he resided above forty years at the New River Head in the parish of Clerkenwell. In this important capacity he was charged with the onerous duty of maintaining the purity and efficiency of the water supply for the chief portion of the rapidly growing metropolis of the British Empire. There is grace and elegance in the monumental inscription which he placed upon one of the islands in the stream to the memory of the brave Sir Hugh Myddelton, founder of the New River in the days of James I.:—


If, moreover, we should judge of the practical success of a commercial company by the high value of its original shares, every one will agree that at the present time the New River occupies a perfectly unique position in the financial world. In this special department, he was succeeded by his son, who held office for exactly 50 years; and executed many important improvements in the water system. For further particulars we must refer the reader to the elaborate details contained in the book at present under consideration.

As surveyor to the Stationers’ Company, Robert Mylne designed and erected the east front of their Hall on Ludgate Hill during the first year of the present century.

As surveyor to the Dean and Chapter of S. Paul’s he had charge of the noble fabrie of their magnificent Cathedral from 1766 to 1811, and upon his death in the latter year was buried according to his own desire in the crypt of that great church beside the remains of Sir Christopher Wren, the great stone of whose well known monument he had himself duly set the previous year, as he was careful to note in h’is own diary. As may be seen from the two beautiful engraved portraits, he was a man of dignity and determination, not easily swayed from any purpose which he might have in hand. The artistic excellence of these two engravings is indeed a marked feature of the book, especially perhaps that delicate plate executed in Paris in the last century, which could hardly be surpassed by any modern work. True lovers of art, apart from the general contents, will prize the volume for these superb illustrations.

Another example of this kind is the highly finished plate of Blackfriars Bridge by Piranesi, the distinguished engraver to the Pontifical Court towards the close of the eighteenth century. We also think highly from the artistic point of view of the two Papal medals shown as an illustration opposite to page 266. We believe that Freebairn, the Scotchman who executed this fine work, is now dead, while the portraits of the two Popes, Clement XIII. and Clement XIV., will well repay the free use of the magnifying glass. But throughout the entire volume the standard of illustration is decidedly high, and to some minds will doubtless form the most attractive feature in this elegant publication. At the end of all, after the close of the last chapter, which records the public career of William Chadwell Mylne, F.R.S., Engineer to the New River, and Surveyor to the Stationers’ Company, and of Robert W. Mylne, F.R.S., Surveyor to the Stationers’ Company, we must draw attention to the spirited reproductions of the Four Crown Steeples of the northern parts of Britain. Perhaps, however, we ought only to speak of three, as the Crown Steeple of Linlithgow was taken down iu 1820, to avoid the necessary cost of repair, and has never been replaced. In their way these Crowns are unique in Gothic architecture, coming as they do half-way between a spire and a tower. Have they any connection with the monarchical form of government that prevailed in Scotland, or the close union between Church and State existing in the Middle Ages?

Another remarkable picture is the general view of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh engaged in their several crafts in front of the royal Palace of Holyrood. Painted by Roderick Chalmers in 1721 for the Lodge of Mary’s Chapel, the original production has since been destroyed in the various changes that have taken place in Edinburgh. It illustrates the practical difference between early and modern work, in as much as we here see the various trades at work in harmony, doing their respective portions side by side, the Master Mason putting his baud to it with the rest of the labourers.

Some of the earlier illustrations are also highly creditable, particularly the engravings of Stirling and Linlithgow, and opposite page 48 will be found an interesting example of French workmanship of a decorative character, superadded to earlier Scottish masonry. The small human figures over against the old battlements are certainly suggestive of the age to which they belong, and form an effective picture. Opposite page 41 are photographs of original MSS., which show the great trouble incurred by the author in compilation, and one of these exhibits the sign manual of King James V. It may be noted that the original of the portrait of John Mylne, opposite page 104, is now in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Altogether, we have but one complaint to make of this book, and that is its excessive weight, amounting to 10 pounds: yet, perchance, we will pardon this little fault for the excellence of the quality and material. This is the right way to write family and professional history, and to make permanent record of an important office under the Crown.

You can read this book at:

And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend.