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Culross and Tulliallan
Chapter IX. The Kirk-Session Records from 1650 to 1657


AT no period are the Culross kirk-session records more interesting or illustrative of the social manners of the time than at present. Presbytery and Presbyterian discipline are in their zenith—at least Cromwell and his Independents have scarcely begun to make their domination felt—and Mr Duncan, the minister, is most zealous in enforcing on his elders the propriety of increased strictness and vigilance in the exercise of their offices. All kinds of domestic delinquencies are ferreted out and adjudicated on. Drunken husbands and nagging wives are alike censured, venters of strange oaths and abusers of dignitaries are called to account and forced to do penance before the congregation, and profaners of the Sabbath and neglecters of ordinances are warned and rebuked. The parochial authorities must have held the reins very tight indeed, and there need be little wonder at the laxity of the Restoration being welcomed by many as a relief from the strict surveillance of bygone years. In many respects, certainly, the Presbyterian whips of ecclesiastical fine and penance fell far lighter than the Prelatic scorpions in the shape of military lawlessness and cruelty, ruinous fines and exactions, and denial of the liberty of religious worship. But still, considering the matter impartially, it cannot be denied that something like a mild inquisition, without its arbitrary severities and nefarious ends, was at the time established in every parish of Scotland.

“12 October 1650.

“The whilk day the minister desyred that elders should tak particular of peoples’ cariage within thir bounds, and what conscience is med of familie exercise—and thos who fell, to be delated; those who in conscience hir about the same, to be encouraged to so necessarie and excellent ane dewtie.”

From the following it would appear that some Culross men had taken part in the battle of Dunbar:—

“The names of sojours hurt at Dunbar to be brought in the next day, and something to be given them according to ther severall conditions, till they mend.”

“2 November 1650.

“The whilk day Besse Cowey cited, accused of hir viele and synful blasphemous language against honest and good people of the othersyd, and chiefly against ministers. The whole particularly red: shee denyed all. The witnesses, Archibald Buccolme and Hellen Drysdel, spous to John Hutton in Borroustounnes, cited. Besse Cowey wes asked if shee had anything to say against thes persons why they might not be admitted as witnesses, declared she had nothing to say against them. The witnesses swome to declare the truth.

“Archibald Buccolme deponed that, on Tuesday the 3 of this instant, Besse Cowey came in to his hous, and being sitting with a woman of the other syd of the water, Besse Cowey told them she had been fighting with a woman of the other syd of the water for her owne wrace; and swearing so fearfully by God Himself and by His wounds, the said Archibald reproved hir. She railled on him, calling him hypocrit; and the woman reproving hir, shee fell out against hir, and railled on hir and the people on the other syd, calling them a pack of hypocrits and puritans and suchlyk, and that we had gotten a swinger set up in the pulpit now to raill on the people, and a glyed taveme queen his wyf, and that she houped in God to see all the ministers driven yet as sheep to the slaughter, and clapping hir hands, so begid,' If every one wold doe as I wold, we should draiv the ministers out of the pulpit;’ and all this discourse was intermixed with fearful and terrible oathes, as so is.

“Bessie Cowey callit, and apoynted to be at the Presbetrie to-morrow.”

The “swinger set up in the pulpit,” so vigorously abused by Mrs Bessie Cowey, is doubtless Mr John Duncan, the incumbent of the first charge, who seems to have enjoyed par excellence the title of “ the minister.” He certainly shows himself a most vigilant inquisitor and enforcer of discipline, and may be regarded as an extreme type of Presbyterian rigour. Here he is again prodding on the elders to increased activity:—

“10 Novr. 1650.

“The whilk day the searchers declared all wes quiet. The minister yet desyrs-that elders wold be diligent in searching ther severall bounds on the Lord’s Day, and tak particular notice of the behaviour of people, and to visit eall-houses, that non either our owne people nor strangers be sitting suspending the Saboth ther, and provoking God to anger in thir sad tymes; and if any be fund so prophane resorting to eall-houses or taverns in thir tymes, when God’s hand is so havie on the land, that they be delated and censured accordingly—which they all promised: and the ministers themselves to goe doune and tak a viewe of the toune after sermons.”

“John Bumsyd reported that Besse Lyall wes over the water with Cromwel’s men, and was seen ryding behind on of them from Borrowstounness to Lithgow, and stayed with them all night in the garison, and returning, caused the man behind whom she was ryding, to light from his hors, and rob and spoyle a poore carray man, and tak butter and other goods he had from him.

“Besse Lyall to be warned against the next day.”

“19 November 1650.

"Besse Lyall cited, accused of hir cariage over the water with Cromwel’s men, and travelling with them from Borrows-tounnes to Lithgow, and staying with them in the garyson —denyed all the particulars, except that she went over to crave some debt war aughten hir on the other syd: removed. Referred to John Hallyday, baillie, and John Bumsyd, to try the bootmen, and to report the next day—which he promised.”

“Margt. Mitchel cited, accused for prophanation of the Lord’s Day, carying a burden from Easter to Wester Kin-cardin: confessed that shee wes carying some clothes to ane woman shee had waschen the night befor. Recommended to the elders of Kincardin, to be put in jougs by them.”

“James Cowey delated for his drunknes on Fryday last with troupers, so drunk that he could not walk.”

“3 December 1650.

"The searchers declared all wes quiet thir two Lord’s Dayes by passed, and that they went through ther particular bounds, and found nothing but quietnes.

“John Hallyday and John Burnsyd asked what they had learned concerning Besse Lyall’s cariage on the other syd : they declared that they had tried the bottmen and others of that syd, and so farr as they could learne, hir cariage was very unseemly and unchristianelike, and that she was in the hous with them, and went to Lithgow; bot whether they taryed all night, it is not certainly knowen for the present. Besse Layall apoynted to be banished the parische, being mala fama before, and now for her vile and scandalous cariage recommended to the baillies.

"Besse Layall hir sister, who harbours such a vile person in hir hous, to be warned and enacted not to suffer hir to come within hir hous night or day.”

“This day Besse Cowey did mak satisfaction befor the congregation for hir vile and synfull cariage in Archibald Buccolme’s hous, railling on the people on the other syd, and on the whole ministers ut supra, and that in sackcloth, according to ordinance of Presbetrie.”

The Church lays down the law to the civil authorities in reference to week - day attendance on ordinances:—

“The bailies and counsel are desyred to have the miet-ing of ther counsel on Moonday before the exercis, or on Wednesday, that so it withdraw them not from the publick worship that day.”

“18 December 1650.

“The searchers declared all wes quiet, except that ther wes a boat crossed after sermon. It is advysed for redress hierof that the bootmen’s names be taken up, and they all discharged to pass on the Lord’s Day. Recommended to the bailies to have a care therof.”

“7 Jany. 1661.

“The elders declared all wes quiet, except a number of little ones running up and doune after sermons. They are to be taken notice of by elders, and thir parents to be exhorted to keep them within doors, or els they will be challenged for them before session.”

Surely this was a “ bitter ” observance of the Sabbath that is here enjoined! The poor little children are not to be permitted to appear on the street even after church-time, but are to be kept within-doors. It is to be hoped the surveillance of the elders did not extend to the “ yairds ” with which most of the houses in Culross would be provided, so that the bairns could thus procure a little fresh air and variety without giving offence. Yet so closely is Culross built, that the houses on the right and left sides respectively of the Middle and fiack Causeways almost abut on each other, so as to leave scarcely any room for gardens. The bairns in these houses, not to speak of “ children of larger growth,” must have led a purgatorial existence indeed on warm summer evenings, mewed up in low-roofed, stifling apartments, and unable to stir out for a “turn” unless at the risk of encountering the ecclesiastical proctors.

"21 February 1651.

“Jonet Imry cited, accused for staying from the kirk on the Lord’s Day, and vaiging from hous to hous; confessed, and promised the lyk should never be hirafter.

“Isobel Donaldson, for the lyk staying at home, having helth of body, sharply rebuked; and enacted, if shee be fund hirafter, to mak publick satisfaction.”

“11 March 1661.

“It is apoynted that publick intimation be mead to all, and chiefly to strangers, of ther vaiging on the Lord’s Day after sermon, and recommends earnestly to elders to tak notice of people within ther bounds what conscience they mak of familie exercise; and if any be yet wanting in this dewtie, to delat them.

“Thomas Dunbar cited, accused of slandering Wm. Adam publickly in the Sand haven, saying that he wes a complyer and furnisher of the enemie. Denyed; bot confessed he said, if he caryed over geare to the enemie he was a furnisher of the enemie. Wm. Adam affirmed he said to his brother John Adam, ‘ It is well known your brother is a favourer of the enemie; ’ and he to prove the same the next day.”

Some explanation seems necessary in reference to the above entry, and also as regards the condition of parties in Scotland in the spring of 1651. The battle of Dunbar had given Cromwell the command of almost all Scotland south of the Forth, but on the north of it his authority was still vigorously resisted, and at this very moment he was making preparations for passing the Forth and reducing the rest of the country to his sway. This he accomplished in the following month of July, when the battle of Inver-keithing laid Scotland prostrate at his feet, and compelled Charles II. to retreat into England, where the defeat at Worcester in September of that year finally sealed the fate of the Royal cause. The Presbyterians, who regarded the principles of Cromwell and the

Independents with about as great detestation as those of the Prelatists, had for the most part ranged themselves on the side of the King—though among them there were two parties, one of which would have supported Charles, as they had latterly done his father against the English Parliamentarians, whilst the other would only lend their influence on behalf of the Royalist cause when the sovereign authority seemed on the point of being entirely engrossed by the Independents, with their hateful tenets of Congregationalism and unlimited toleration. As might have been expected, the more zealous Presbyterians, including the kirk-session of Culross, with their minister, Mr Duncan, at its head, adhered generally to the latter of these parties; and hence we find them denouncing all those who had joined the “ Engagement,” or made common cause with the King against the English Parliament. But notwithstanding all this, they were strenuously resolved, in so far as they had not yet been forced to submission, to resist to the uttermost the power of Cromwell. This had now made itself pretty firmly felt on what the Culross session-clerk would term “the other side,” or south bank of the Forth, where Cromwell’s troopers seem to have been ranging much at their free will; but the Culross and Dunfermline districts were yet comparatively free. Here Cromwell’s cause was still generally spoken of as that of “the enemy”; and hence to accuse any one of favouring that cause was an allegation which, if untrue, involved a serious charge of slander. As far as we can judge, the con-

tumacious and evil-disposed about Culross were inclined to welcome the advance of Cromwell and his troopers, from an idea of the greater licence and freedom from interference which they expected thereby to enjoy.

About this time John Hamilton, Lord Bargeny or Bargamy, does penance in Culross church for his share in the “ Engagement.” He seems to have been residing here at this period.

Cromwell’s troopers have been generally credited with the reputation of saints, but such of them as took part in the invasion of Scotland hardly maintained that character. They seem to have affected much the society of the bona robas on both sides of the Forth, whose impatience of the restraints imposed by the kirk-sessions probably enlisted their sympathies on behalf of Cromwell.

“26 March, 1651.

“Effie Cornwall and Nans Broune, of the parroch of Caridden,1 accused of their wicked and scandalous cariag with the troupers on the other syd, and giving intelligence to the enemy, according to the letter sent to our magis-trats from the Captain of Blakness—denyed. Recommended to the baillies to try anent them, and to punish them accordingly.”

“19 Apryl.

“The minister did regrat the negligence of elders in keeping of session, and it is apoynted by the whole session that whosoever shall be found absent without a sufficient excuse shall be censured according to ordinance of Presbetrie.

“Besse Lyall to be put out of toune by the baillies, and thes who receave hir within ther houses to be censured according to the Act against recepters of vagabounds.”

“20 Apryl 1651.

“The session ordaines Bessie Mackie, coalleour, and hir daughters to be banished the toune for ther scandalous synful carriage: recommended to the baillies/’

“3 May 1651.

“The baillies declares that Besse Mackie and hir daughters war banished the toune, and convoyed to the port by the hangman.”

That is to say, that Mrs Mackie and her family were escorted to one of the three ports or gates of the burgh—which of them we are not informed— and there formally extruded.

The state of siege in which it was then necessary to keep the town had led to some irregularities:—

“18 May.

“The minister regrats the great abuse of watches, and desyrs that elders tak particular notice of it, and that on of ther number within toune attend it night about, and to report accordingly.

“Twentie - four shillings to be given to a distressed sojour.”

“3 June.

“The searchers declared all was quiet, except that they fand some bairns running through streets; therfor apoynted the Act publickly intimat befor, anent bairns vaiging and sporting on the way on the Lord’s Day befor or after sermon, publickly to be intimat the next Lord’s Day.”

“24 June 1651.

“Searchers declared all quiet, except that they apprehended a man of Clakmannan travelling homewirth from the faire. The session apoynts a letter to be sent to Mr Robert Wright, minister ther: the man’s name is John Thomsone.

"The fleshers, for slaying on the fasting day after sermon, and some befor, to be warned all against the next day."

“1 July 1651.

“ ohn Dalglishe, accused of slaying flesh on the fast day after sermon, confessed his guiltines on his knees befor the session, and promised amendment with the Lord’s grace.”

“8 July 1651.

“The elders searchers declared all was quiet, except that they apprehended a sojour gooing through the toune, whom they rebuked most sharply.

“The session apoynts intimation to be mead publickly of people vaiging on the Lord’s Day, and that they keep themselves and bairns within doors and goe about better exercise.

“James Gow, flesher, cited, accused for slaying flesh on the fast day; confessed as befor he slew a beast in the morning befor six o’clock, bot keept both sermons, and because no prove to the contrare, hee is sharply rebuked for the present, and confessed his fault on his knees.”

The battle of Inverkeithing or Pitreavie was fought on 20th July, and caused great commotion in Dunfermline, which was taken possession of by Cromwell’s victorious army. To judge from the kirk-session records, though barely ten miles distant, the engagement had been attended with no results whatever at Culross. Mr Duncan and his elders pursue the even tenor of their way with as strict an exercise of Presbyterian discipline as before, though in Dunfermline the meetings of the session had to be suspended for a considerable period. But from the burgh records, which are preserved in continuous order from a date shortly subsequent to the present, we learn that the authority of Cromwell and the Commonwealth—in civil matters, at all events — began soon to be felt in Culross in a very unpleasant fashion.

“2 Agvll 1661.

“Searchers declared all wes quiet.

“It is apoynted that whenever ther is a fast or day of thanksgiving, that ther be publick intimation to the people that they desist from all sort of ordinarie work and travel that day, and do the work of the day.”

Irreverent people would be tempted to remark, in reference to the thanksgiving days, that it would be difficult to discover in what respect they differed from the fasts—unless, indeed, that in the latter case the practice of physical fasting recommended, though not enjoined, in the Presbyterian standards, was actually carried out. There was doubtless a greater gloom and solemnity on the fasts; but as far as regards strict abstinence from ordinary occupations and amusements, there could have been little distinction between them and the thanksgivings.

“24 Agust 1651.

“Searchers declared all was quiet, except that they found a web of John Pollock’s wyf drying on a dyck, which they delivered to the officers. Marion Home to be warned.

“To be given upon supplication to a distressed gentlman, Wm. Laurence, 27 sh. 4d.”

“2 September 1651.

"Marion Horae, cited, accused of prophanation of the Lord’s Day by bletching her web in tyme of divine service; confessed that she laid it furth in the morning be daylight. Sharply rebuked, and mead satisfaction befor the session.

“Mr John Duncan declared before session that ther war some officious bodyes in the toune that went from house to house affirming that our ministers war all wrong, and that they wold not doe well to belive them, to try anent such persons.”

“16 October 1651.

“Those who collect the almes are to reprove them who are straggling in after the bells are roung, and that if they doe not amend they will be taken notice of particularly, and censured accordingly.

“Jonet Cairns, for carying eall on the Lord’s Day, confessed hir fait on hir knees: comanded to learne the commands.”

“24 November 1651.

“Searchers declared all quiet on the Lord’s Day, except that some bairns wer on the street, whom they rebuked sharply, and brought them to the kirk with them. The minister exhorted elders to tak notice of young ones in ther severall bounds on the Lord’s Day, that they be not found vaiging through the toune, bot be kept within doors, and put to better exercise; and who are negligent herof, that according to the Act publick intimat, parents be charged for them.”

“4 March 1652.

“David Clerk delated for trubling his neighbours in the night, drunk and crying for tobacco at Wm. Drysdell’s doore at twelve hours at even; and James Nasmith, younger, with him, to be warned.”

“10 March 1652.

“David Clerk cited, his guiltines laid out; he confessed his drunkenes and untymousness of it, and his trubling of

Wm. Drysdel’s house seeking tobacco at eleven hours at night, bot denyes that ther was any swearing at all; and is apoynted to mak repentance in publick the next Lord’s Day, and to come to the ministers every day betwixt and Sunday.”

“30 March 1652.

“Margt Dason, being examined, is fund altogether ignorant of God and His commandments; therfor declared un-worthie to enter the place of publick repentance til greater evidence of hir knowledge; therfore cited, and this intimat to hir, and exhorted to learae and to pray for knowledge.”

It would seem from the above, that even to do public penance in church was a privilege in certain cases, when the delinquent was supposed to stand in need of some previous preparation.

“That some thing be spoken the next day in publick against people standing in the kirkyaird befor and after sermon.

“Intimation mead of a collection for the comanders who did supplicat the Presbetrie: the baillies to collect”

“4 May 1662.

“The minister did mor particularly recommend to the session what wes publickly intimat anent the necessare duetie incumbent to us in thir tymes, of private fasting in families, and that they should be exemplare in the same.”

The above entry shows that actual fasting was expected to be practised, in addition to attendance on public ordinances and cessation from work. It is not likely, indeed, that abstinence from food was ever attempted to be enforced, as in Roman Catholic times.

“18 June 1652.

“To intimat publickly that people keep ther little ones at home in the house; or if they bring them to the kirk, to keepe them at the and not suffer them goe through and truble the kirk.”

“4 Agutt 1652.

“It is apoynted to wame such as lyes in the kirkyaird betwixt bells, and such as stay betwixt doores in tyme of worship, to leave of, or els to be censured.”

“Betwixt doores” means the space between the outer and inner doors of the ground storey of the tower, which serves as a lobby or porch to the church.

A very important matter is involved in the following entries. Up to the present date the parish of Culross, in addition to what it still contains, comprised a large tract of territory on the west which is now occupied by the modem town of Kincardine, with the lands of Bumbrae, Lurg, Sands, Kellywood, and others. These all now go to make up the estate of Sands, and a considerable portion of that of Tulliallan. Shipping and foreign trade in the end of the last and beginning of the present century converted Kincardine into a thriving commercial place, with many substantial streets and houses; but in 1653, and for nearly a hundred years afterwards, its population, though large, consisted mainly of those employed in the extensive coal and salt works of the Earl of Kincardine and his successors—an industry which, in this quarter, is now entirely extinct. The parish of Tulliallan comprehended then merely the barony of that name, whose population in ancient times comprised only the lord of Tulliallan Castle, with his servants and tenants, the inhabitants of the little hamlet of Dalquhamy, and those of a few scattered houses. These were all easily accommodated in the little old church of Tulliallan, situated in Tulliallan Park, about a mile to the north of the present castle. But immediately adjoining, within the parish of Culross, was a large and teeming population, occupying the lands of Kincardine, which, more than fifty years before, had been acquired by that great captain of industry, Sir George Bruce. These persons, though residing fully four miles from the church of Culross, and little more than one from that of Tulliallan, were yet, under the pain of severe ecclesiastical censure and penalties, obliged to attend regularly the former place of worship, as that with which they were parochially connected. It is readily perceptible that where it was regarded as an incumbent duty on a kirk-session to keep a strict surveillance over the walk and conversation of every individual parishioner, it was absolutely necessary that his attendance on the parish church should be rigidly required. The only remedy for such a state of things, where a district with a large population was situated at an inconvenient distance from its own and within more convenient access of another place of worship, was to have it disjoined from the original and annexed to the more suitable parish. The commencement of such a process, to disjoin Kincardine from Culross and annex it to Tulliallan, is recorded in the following entries. We have no record in the session-books of its completion, but it was accomplished in 1672, and in 1675 a new church was erected for Tulliallan to accommodate the influx of new parishioners.

“17 May 1663.

"The whilk day ther was a supplication given in by the people of Kincardine and Lurg for a disjunction of them from ther parish kirk of Culros to Tulliallan kirk. The supplication was read; the session considered upon it, and thought it a mater very considerable, and a work very necessarie, and will contribut to ther uttermost for the advancement of the samen. Others being present at the reading of the supplication, approved verrie weill of that work. The supplication followeth:—

“The Supplication of the Indwellers of Lurg and Kincardine,

“Humbly Sheweth,

“That whereas it is weill known that we dwell and live at a great distance from our parioch kirk of Culros, and the most part of us being work people that serves at a sore, wearisome, and laborious work in coal hewes and salt pans, and being a numerous people besides, ther being lykwise many among us of age, many infirm, and many young ones, so that wee cannot attend upon the Lord’s worship in his ordinances upon the Sabboth-day at our parioch kirk, not being able to travell so long a way of mor nor two long maills,2 and yet might goe to kirk if they were near one, so that our poore souls are defrauded of the benefit of the means of grace, which should be dearer to us than our ly ves, wherby we find ourselves in a very sad and pitiful condition that cannot be remeaded while we are lyable to attend the said parioch kirk, and seeing ther may be some way provyded for our ease and accommodation in this particular by joyning us unto the congregation of Tilliallen, which is bot a very little congregation, and to *vhom we lye very near, and may have a kirk and house of meeting for God's worship hard at our doors, to the building wherof we will contribute to our power, that our land lairds and masters shall be litell burdened but so far as they please: These, therfor, are to desyr your to take our hard condition to consideration, and to use all means together with us wherby so good and commendable a work may be brought on, and to give us advice, aide, assistance, and concurrence, that a number of poor sterving souls lying in ignorance of God and of the gospel may heave the meanes of salvation mor commodiouslie, and our souls may bless you for acting in so necessarie a work, and your answer we humblie expect.”

“12 Julie 1663.

“Jhon Gray, Gilbert Miller, James Anderson, David Gray, all those being cited for the playing at cards on the Sabbath-day after sermon, confessed the faults all of them upon ther knees with tears, for they war sharplie reproved; and they are to be marked and inacted, that if they ever be apprehended in the lyk fall, they shall make their repentance in publick for it, to the which act they did bind themselves by touching the pen. Jhon Grey, James Anderson, Gilbert Miller, David Gray, sic suiscribuntur”

“Compeared Cathren Mackleren, being cited for flyting and being drunk, was accused; confessed she called Margaret Halliday ill-gotten geate,3 and that she was gotten at a coall pitt. She is to be noted as a vile person. Both to be cited againe the next day.”

“19 July 1653.

“Jhone Hunter and Jonnet Cunninghame, being cited, he for suffering bis folks to pull sybows on the Lord’s Day, and she for the pulling, he compeared and denyed that he knew of it—referred; shee compeared not—referred.”

“26 July 1663.

“Christian Blyth and Jannet Cunningham, being cited for pulling sybows on the Lord’s Day, compeared, denyed— referred. John Sharp to be cited, who saw them.”

“2 Agust 1653.

“Jannet Cunningham, being cited for pulling sybows, compeared—denyed; was sharply rebuked.”

It does certainly appear rather strange that the pulling of a few early onions for the Sunday’s kail-pot should he visited with a severe rebuke, whilst no higher penalty is inflicted for playing at cards on the Sabbath—an act which, at the present day, would be regarded generally as a gross profanation, and scarcely ever be witnessed, at least in country places. But extremes meet.

Here is a parent summoned on account of his children, somewhat after the manner of a modem school board:—

“4 October 1653.

"James Nasmith, cited for his children vaiging on the Lord’s Day, compeared—declared that he could not gitt them restrained. They are recommended to the magistrates to be taken order with for their wickedness.”

“13 December 1653.

“Peter Kennedie, the poore blind scholler in Saint Andrews, to gett 3, 15s. 4d.”

“20 December.

“All quiet on the Lord’s Day, only Jhone Robertson and his son going from the afternoon’s sermon; to be cited againe the next day.

“Intimation to be mead out of pulpit on the next Lord’s [Day] that a collection be everie quarter of the yeare for poore schollers.” •

“3 January 1654.

"All quiet on the Lord’s Day. On of the elders appointed to look the loft evrie Lord’s Day, that ther be no dinne in it.”

“17 January 1654.

“The scholars of Kincardine and Tulliallan delated for fighting on with ane other the last Sabbath-day, the 8 of January; the names of them to be gotten, that they may be scourged at the sight of some elders and the minister, and word to be sent to Tulliallen about that busines.”

“18 April 1654.

“The poore in the hospitall to be spoken to be the minister and William Hewison, that they may abstene from ther drinking.

“It is enacted that if any of the poore of the hospitall be found in eal-houses, that the wholl mony that is allowed upon them in the week shall be detained from them.”

The hospital here referred to must have been the one founded by the second George Bruce of Camock, who left the distribution of the funds in the hands of the minister and kirk-session. It was situated at the west end of the town, near the site of the present Balgownie House. The other hospital, generally known as Lord Bruce's Hospital, and then situated at the foot of the Abbey Orchard, was wholly under the control of the first Earl of Elgin, who at this time was still alive.

“Intimation to be mead out of pulpit that the thrid bell ring evrie day at eight hours, and that the scholars repeat the carages1 in the kirk evrie Lord’s Day.”

The above entry marks an important epoch in the history of Scotch Presbyterianism. The Larger and Shorter Catechisms, as compendia of Calvinistic faith and doctrine, had a few years before been drawn up by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and were now being regularly introduced into Scottish schools and families for the religious instruction of youth. I am not aware, however, that the committal of the Larger Catechism to memory was ever enforced. As regards the Shorter Catechism, it was taught in every school, and the schoolmaster was expected to see that his pupils made themselves proficients in it, and were able to repeat correctly the answers to the questions on Sundays before the minister and congregation. There were also special diets of examination for old and young in the church, when all were thoroughly “ targed ” and examined in the Bible and Catechism as to their religious knowledge. And though the custom has now fallen much into desuetude, it was long the practice of every well-regulated household in Scotland for the head of the family to drill all the members of it, servants included, in the Shorter Catechism every Sunday evening. Some even had a preliminary drill on the Saturday night.

“30 May 1664.

“The session thinks fit that (because of the great abuse is in eall-houses by selling too much drink at once to people) that some elders goe with the ministers and for-bidde those that sell eall not to sell till people be drunke.”

Many will think that the above is about the wisest edict ever issued by a kirk-session.

“6 June 1654.

“The minister, Jhone Sands, William Huison, shew that did visit the eall-houses in the east end of the toune.”

“8 August.

“No misorder on the Lord’s Day,except some litell boyes that trouble the kirk to be punished.”

“19 September.

“Recommended to Alexr. Eizat, who was gone to Dunfermline to try what is given to the man who cuts children of the stone.”

In reference to the above singular entry, the following extracts, belonging to the same period and evidently referring to the same “man,” may be quoted here from Dr E. Henderson’s 4 Extracts from the Kirk-session Records of Dunfermline':—

“1654. 5 Septr.—This day the collector of the contribution for the baimes paind of the stane reported yt they had collected 281ib. 12s. 6d.

“12 Septr.—The session considering that the money col-lectit will not be able to pey the doctor who is come from

Glasgow, and it being reported be James Reid, provist, yt he hade with great difficultie agried wt him for 36 lib. money Scotts for ane of the baimes—it is thot fitt yt the minister and James Huton deal with the doctor for more ease of the peyt.

“19 Sept.—This day it is reported (to the session) be those who were appoynted, yt they hade spoken the doctor, and that he would have no less nor for ilk childe cutting and curing, by payt. for his chairges and interteny-ment the tyme he was heir, and drink money to his men. Mr Oliphant, minstr., reported yt he had collectit 301b. from gentlemen and uther nytbors sen the last day to help to pay the doctor. It is thot fitt yt a collection be gatherid fra the gilde, the trades, an comon burges’s, as also that the ordinar collection of twa Sabbaths be given for this use. The doctor got peyd. . . .

“1657. 20 Aug.—The session appoint Thomas Stevenson, collector, to give 121ib. to James Brunt to help to pey the doctor, called Doctor Sutor, for cutting his childe of ye stone.”

As Dr Henderson remarks in his notes to these extracts, there is something very unaccountable in so many children being affected at the same time with this malady. It is devoutly to be hoped that many little lives were not sacrificed to the cruel quackery of a charlatan. Dr Souters charges seem to have been extortionate, and to have deterred the good people of Culross from availing themselves of his services. At least we have no further reference to him or his operations.

About this period Mr John Duncan, incumbent of the first charge, seems to have died, though there is no special record of the event. He had been twenty-four years minister of Culross; and though admitted in 1631, in the days of Episcopacy, he had readily conformed to the new state of things introduced in 1638, and become a most zealous champion of Presbytery. Active and zealous he certainly was, though his zeal appears occasionally to have been without discretion, and even approximated him to the character of a Protestant Torquemada.

In March 1655 a new set of elders is announced as about to be formed. A curious list of objections is given in against certain persons who either already hold or are proposed to be nominated to that office. The following is the entry in the session-book:—

“Objections against the Elders Listed.

“24 March 1655.

“1. Adam Masterton was mala famce—that is, he was given to drink, and that it was reported he was . . . ; and that Robert Sands said that he heard him say, that if he were a gentleman and upon the session, he rather see Will. Burn and Will. Adam hanged over the steeple befor they gott there will.

“2. Jhone Blaw was scandalous for drinking and breaking glasses with his goodfather, and that he uses no familie exercise.

“3. Sir George Prestone, objections to be against him the next day.

“4. Doctor Colvill was no residenter.

"5. Blairhall, for negatives he hes qualifications, but positives he hes non.

“6. Bordie, for negatives he hes qualifications, but wants positives.

“7. George Henderson, for negatives he hes, and positive qualifications lykwyse.

“8. Borrowen does not pray in his familie.

“9. George Miller prays.

“Referrs the list of the elders till the next day, and Adam Masterton’s scandalls to be tryed.”

"The minister shew that the Presbetrie had appointed Mr James Sibbald to come and preach in Culross, and to shew to the congregation that the place was vaiking by the removall of Mr Jhone Duncan.”

“11 October 1666.

“The Ladie desyred a Ion of the kirk Bible,
which was granted, upon condition that shee make it not worse.”

“2 March 1656.

“Intimation to be mead the next Lord’s Day for a collection for the people which had ther houses brunt in Edinburgh.

"No session on the 11 of May, because the minister might not goe to preach by reason of ane sore laigge, which he gott coming from Edinburgh.”

“18 May 1656.

“All the elders was present this day.

“No misorder on the Lord’s Day, save two boys of George Wilsone was seen out of the kirk in tyme of divine service; to be cited—all references reserved.”

Mr Matthew Fleming succeeds Mr Duncan in the ministry of the first charge, Mr Robert Edmonstone continuing in that of the second. A diminution in zeal and energy is perceptible in the tone of the session minutes after Mr Duncan’s death, and ere long they cease altogether. But I anticipate.

“1 June 1656.

“Intimation to be mead the next Lord’s Day that people may not lay in the kirk-yeard on the Sabbath-day betwixt the second and third bell, but that they come in and heare the catechizes: every who does so to be censured/*

“16 December 1656.

“Intimation to be mead on the Lord’s Day for a collection to the imprisoned ministers amongst the Turks.”

“The heritors and sessioners and counsellors being desyred to meet 21 of December, did meett, and having mett, the minister shew them that the Presbetrie desyred them to use means to gitt Kincardine disjoyned from this parioch, and joyned to Tulliallan; 2d, that they would purchase ane other manse; 3d, that they would setle the localitie of the stipend: all to be advysed on.”

“24 December 1666.

“The whilk day Mr James Sibbald, moderator, preached on the 2d Thess. 5 chap. 22 verse, and after sermon Mr Matthew Fleming was received in an orderly way to bear burden in the work of the ministrie, according to the Acts and constitutions of the Kirk.

“Intimation of a fast was mead, 28 day, for a blessing to the labours of the ministers, to be keeped the 30 day of December 1656: the fast was keeped accordingly.”

Though the keeping of Yule or Christmas and other ecclesiastical holidays was proscribed, there seems to have been no interference with such occasions as Hogmanay and New Year's Day. It is probable, therefore, the Culross people would fully indemnify themselves for their austerities on the penultimate day of the year.

“27 January 1667.

“Jhone M'Queen, a sillie daft bodie, who was mead drunk, was complined of in the session. The people that gave him drink to be discharged, otherwise to be censured.”

“10 March 1667.

"James Peacock, appoynted be the session to sitt in the quier to still the children that maks dinne in tyme of dyvine service on the Lord’s Day.

“Jhone Midletone, the bedles man, to waitt on the kirk doors on the Lord’s Day to take notice of the children that maks dinne there in tyme of divine service.”

“24 March 1667.

“Intimation to be mead on the Lord’s Day out of pulpit, first, that people sleep not in the kirk in tyme of sermone; 2nd, that there be no standing in the kirk-yeard when the children are saying the catechises in the kirk; 3d, that non vaige on the Lord’s Days,, either in tyme of sermon or after sermone.”

“6 May 1667.

“No session thir dayes bygone, by reason both the ministers was sick.

“Intimation to be mead to the people that the first bell will ring at seven hours, and the last bell at 8 hours on the week days, that people may come sooner then they use to do.

“Becaus the great bell in the steeple is ryven, the session recommends it to the thesaurer and the baillie to cause shear hir, that shee may be mead ready for ringing with all diligence.”

“30 June 1667.

"It is recommended to the elders that evrie on of them visit there own bounds evrie Lord’s Day after the sermons, that people may not sitt at doors or without doors craking their ordinarie discourse.”

“21 July 1667.

“Two elders are appoynted to goe through the streets evrie Sabbath about fyve hours after sermon, to see that ther be no people sitting at doors, or children playing in the streets.”

With the last two enactments for the rigid observance of Sunday, even to the suppression of friendly gossip on the doorstep and children running about, all that is of interest in the second volume of the session records of Culross terminates. A gap now occurs in these records of nearly twenty years, and when they are resumed, times and circumstances have greatly altered.


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