Continued entries/extra info

[Page] 89
Parish of Old Machar

(Description of Bridge of Don continued )
"To enter Old Aberdeen you cross the Don by a Stupendous Single Gothic
arch, about 70 feet from the surface of the Water. Henry Le Chen, bishop here 1281-1329, for joy that Bruce's fortune turned, and himself was able to come back from England, applied all the revenues of his See for the time of his absence, to build this bridge, which is 72 feet wide at the water, and 60 feet high to the top of the arch. (Keith's Cat.[Catalogue of Scottish Bishops] p.65.) Elsewhere Keith says, it is 66 feet 10 inches wide, 34½ feet perpendicular height to the water, depth of water from the surface to the bottom under the arch at low water 19½ feet (ib.[ibidem] p. 242). The north bank of of the river is formed of romantic perpendicular cliffs. From hence it is near a mile to the town, by a handsome modern house of George Middleton, Rector or Vice-Chancellor of King's College. Bishop Cheyne was a nephew of the Red Comyn, who was slain by Bruce and Kirkpatrick, in the church of the Minortes at Dumfries; and had thus stronger motives than those common to most churchmen, for espousing the interests of the party opposed to the Sacrilegious, though patriotic author of Comyn's death. On Bruce's acquiring the ascendancy, the Bishop withdrew to England the common asylum of the party to which he belonged. After a residence there of several years, he was recalled by Bruce, and reinstated in his See, the rents of which had accumulated to a considerable sum during his exile. From this last circumstance, and from the fact that the Bridge of Dee was erected by Bishops Elphinston and Dunbar, has probably arisen the commonly received opinion that the Bridge of Don was the work of Henry Le Cheyne. If, however, the bridge had been erected at the Bishop's expense, or had he even been entitled to share in the honor of its erection, we cannot suppose that it would have escaped the notice of his minute and credulous biographer Hector Boece. The latter, however, not only does not ascribe the work to Bishop Cheyne, but states, that Robert Bruce, on reinstating him in his See, ordered the accumulated revenues to be expended on the restoration of the Church, lest they should be applied to less appropriate purposes. Sir Alexander Hay, who in 1605, granted certain annuities for the support of the Bridge of Don, states in the Charter which he then granted, and on the authority of certain "annals" (quia annales testautur), that it was erected by the orders, and at the expense (ex mandato et impensis) of King Robert Bruce. The inhabitants of Aberdeen were early and steady adherents to Bruce's fortunes; and during the struggle which preceeded his establishment on the throne, and the distractions which followed his death, suffered severely for their loyal attachment to his cause and family. During the few years that Robert was able to devote to the Civil interests of his country, he bestowed on Aberdeen Early and substantial proofs of his gratitude for its unshaken loyalty, and among these ought to be reckoned the erection of the bridge of Don."
Extracted from "A description of The Chanonry, Cathedral and King's College of Old Aberdeen, by William Orem, Town Clerk of that City. 1725.

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