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St Anthony's Chapel

St Anthony's Chapel

Legend states that this chapel was built as an annexe for the earliest knightly order of St Anthony, which was established 50 years or so before the Crusades, which began in 1095. These ruins are fast crumbling to decay, and have already lost a tower, which, in the time of Maitland, still adorned the western end. The site of the Hermitage and Chapel is chosen with striking propriety; they seem a fit abode for ascetic devotion, and frown from their rugged and lofty eminence upon the dwelling of Scottish monarchy, and the noise and tumult of the capital ; placed, as it were, above the vanities of human life, yet having them full in view. The history of the hermitage has not been handed down to us. The chapel has been a plain but handsome gothic building. A high rock rises behind the cell, from the foot of which gushes a pure and plentiful fountain, dedicated, of course, to Saint Anthony, the Genius loci. Tradition has it that the spring, named after St Anthony, used to flow under the chapel arches but dried up in the 17th Century and later re-emerged a little further down the slope. On May Day, the youth of both sexes used to come and wash their faces with morning dew and make a wish at this spot. It is mentioned in a well-known and beautiful Scottish song : " Now Arthur's Seat shall he my bed, The sheets sail ne'er be furled by me ; Saint Anton's well sail be my drink, Since my true love's forsaken me." The picturesque ruin of St Anthony's Chapel stands on a flat outcrop of rock, overlooking St Margaret's Loch, on the northern side of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.

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