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Culross and Tulliallan
Chapter XI. The Burgh Records from 1659 to 1665


CHANGES are approaching: “coming events cast their shadows before,” and the manoeuvres of General Monk for the restoration of Charles II. begin to show themselves:—

“14 November 1659.

“The said day there being ane letter, direct from General George Monck to the burgh of Burntisland, and communicat be thame to this burgh, presentit befor the saids bailleis and counsell, shewing that his lordship did desyre this burgh to agrie amongst thameselves to send over such persone as they sould think fitt to choose from this burgh, and the rest of the burghes in Scotland, to meit with his lordship at Edinburgh the fyftene day of November, because he had ane great occasion to speak with thame about some affaires that conceme the country at that tyme; qlk being read and dewlie considered upone be the saids bailleis and counsell, they judged it meit and expedient that one of their number sould be send over as commissioner to my Lord Generali. Thairfor they did mak, nominat, and con-stitut John Bumsyde, baillie, thair commissioner; gevand to him thair full power and commissione to conveane with my Lord Generali George Monck at Edinburgh the fyftene day of November instant, and thair to confer and conclude with his lordship in effeiris concemyng the weill of this country, and to do everie other lawful thing thair-anent qlk they might doe thameselves if they war present.*’

A minute of 27th December 1659 details what Drummond in his macaronic Latin would style a “ fechta terribilis—fechta bloodaea,” between a man of Torrybum and a man of Culross, “upone the heigh streitis of this burghe, nar by the hospitall hous therof.” It seems, indeed, to have been rather a serious fight or “blood,” though neither loss of life nor permanent disablement was sustained. The narrative is very tedious, and too long for transcription.

The following extract is interesting, both as a specimen of the criminal procedure of the day, and also from its allusions to various localities in old Culross:—

“The Court of Justice holdin within the tolbuth of the burgh of Culrois, be Johne Burasyde and Johne Broun, Justices of Peace within the said burghe, upon the second day of January 1660 years.

“The quhilk day Issobell Baillie, and Margaret Baillie her dochter, in the parochin of , being presentit befor the judgement, and their dittay read, mentioning that they upon Thursday last, betwixt eleven and twelf houris in the forenoone, war found stealing and taking away ane pair of holland cloth sheits furthe of ane of the chalmers of the Earle of Kincardin his dwelling - place, and wherin they were takin in the verie fang, qlk was clearlie provin be Eister Shaw, Margaret Gib, and Barbara Johnstoun, servanda to my Lord Cardros, who apprehendit the forsaids theives therewith, and qlk they could not deny; and the forsaid justices of peace having dew lie eonsiderit upone the forsaid theft proven in maner forsaid, they, according to the power put upone thame as Justices of Peace within the said burgh, they did condemne the forsaid two theives to be scurged from the croce to the Laird of Balbougie’s yett, and from thence to the Stryne, and from thence to the Earle of Xincardin’s place, and from thence to Thomas Ezat hous at the west end of the toun, and that the hangman give ilk ane of the saids theives thrie strypes upon their naked bak at ilk ane of the places respective forsaid, and therefter to be banished the toun, and never to be found therefter therintill under the perrell of their lyves.”

The above seems to demonstrate pretty conclusively that at this period the residence of the Earl of Kincardine was then the house in the Sand Haven of Culross, built by his grandfather, Sir George Bruce of Camock. Sir George built two houses there, adjoining each other; but which of them was the one actually occupied by his grandson, cannot with certainty be learned. As the Earl’s sister, Mary Brace, had been married a few years before, in 1655, to David, second Lord Cardross, as his second wife, it is not at all unlikely, from the circumstance of their servants having witnessed the theft just detailed, that they were then occupying the other house. The Laird of Balbougie had probably a house somewhere* about the foot of the Little Causeway, and his “yett” formed the first stage on the penal march of the culprits, with the hangman and his whip at their heels. From this, proceeding eastwards, another short stage was accomplished at the “Stryne,” the rivulet which flows down from the higher grounds to the sea, and crosses in its course the principal or Laigh Causeway of Culross. Here the criminals are faced about, after receiving a third application of the whip, and marched westwards as far as Lord Kincardine’s house, afterwards known as “the Colonel’s Close,” and in recent times by the absurd designation of “ the Palace.” Having now finished their third stage, a much longer one than either of the preceding, they receive, it may be presumed, at the scene of their delinquency, a specially severe reminder of it, and are then finally conducted to the west end of the town, where they are discharged and expelled from the burgh. The brutalising practice of flogging criminals—men and women—through the public streets, continued in vogue throughout this country to a period within the memory of persons still living.

The town of Culross concurs in the general movement to welcome back Charles II. Cromwell’s rough-and-ready manners, his disregard of national prejudices and feelings, and the weak and divided Government of his successors, had rendered the country thoroughly disgusted with the Commonwealth men, and disposed to hail with acclamation the restoration of their ancient line of monarchs. It was only, however, escaping from the frying-pan into the fire.

“18 May 1660.

“The said day, in obedience of ane letter sent from the correspondents appoyntit be the burrowes to the bailleis and counsell of this bmghe, signifeing that they conceaved it ane dewty lying upon thame that, seing it hath pleased God to put it in the heart of the Parliament of England so unanimously to call home our lawful King, to the rejoys-ing of the hearts and reveiving of the spirits of all his loyall subjects in this kingdome, and that they had sent commissioneris to his Majestie to Breda for attending him in his retume to his right and possessione, of which he had bene so long deprived, and this natione depressed under insupportabill burdings; and that it was necessar for the burrowes to have ane meiting, which they appoyntit to be at Edinburgh upone the 29 of May instant, for taking of consideration what was their dewtie at suche ane joytour of tyme in all the precious interests of Kirk and Kingdome, and particularlie of the estait of burrowes that was so neirly concerned; and therfor requyring this burghe to send thair commissioner sufficientlie instructed for keiping the meiting the said day, and withall to send with him their proportione of ane thousand pund sterling, for advancing the interest of the estait of burrowes. Efter the reading and dew consideratione of the qlk letter, and in obedience therunto for purchasing of the forsaid proportione of the soume of money above exprest, the saids bailleis and counsell appoyntit and ordanit that ane monthe and ane halfs asses sould be col-lectit presentlie be the present collectoris from the persones lyabill in asses within this burghe for payment therof, and the commissioner that is to be sent to the said conventione his charges.”

The ancient glories of the inarches day are revived, and the ceremony of riding the burgh boundaries ordered to be celebrated with additional iclat:—

“28 May 1660.

“ The quhilk day the said bailleis and counsell, taking to consideratione how that in former tymes, upon that day when the magistrates and counsell did ryd the merches, it was ane vse and custome that the culloris of this burghe was careit furthe of this buighe to the Kirktoun be the captane-ensingne appoyntit for that effect; as also ane number of musqueteris went lykwayes ther for gairding therof, and for attending the saids magistratis their incomeing from visiting the marches and for convoying them in to this burghe, in such decent and comelie ordour as becomethe; and that the said exercise and pas tyme have been obstructed aud hindered thir many yearis bygane be the Ingleishe power that have bene ruling in this land; and now, seing it hathe pleased the Lord in his infinite mercie to tak away the former power that hath bene amongst , and to restoir our gratious King to his former rights and liberties, which he hes bene keiped from thir many yearis bygane: Thairfor, and consideratione of the premisses, the saids bailleis and counsell, for the better accomplishing and goeing about the said exercise, they have appoyntit and ordanit the said Johne Bumsyd to buy ane pair of good and sufficient culloris for the use of the said burghe, in regairde the former cullors is tome and unuse-full; and that the samyne be ready against Witsonday Monday next, being the ellevent of June next to come.

“Lykas, for the moir comelie and decent careing about the said exercise and pastyme, the saids bailleis and counsell have thought it fitt and expedient that thair sould be ane captane, levetenant, and ensigne chosen for that effect: Thairfor they, be pluralitie of voices, did elect, nominat, and choose thir persones following to be officers the forsaid day—to witt, William Pearsone, captane; Johne Miller, levetennent; and David Mitchell, younger, merchand, ensigne.”

"4 June 1660.

“The quhilk day the saids bailleis and counsell, for certane good respects and considerations moveing thame, and conforme to former practise and ordour observit within this burghe, have statut and ordanit that all fewars and freeholderis within this burghe and libertie therof compear in the Sandie Heavin upon Monday next, in the mornyng, in their best apparell, and suche convenient armour as they can atteane to, for accompanyng the magistrats and counsell to the mure for visiting the merches, and bak agane to this burghe, in such decent ordour as becomethe; and that they and ilk ane of them answer to their names bothe in the Sandie Heavin and at the Kirktoun, as they sail be called upone under the pane of 10 Scottis money unforgiven.”

A Parliament is summoned, and on 5th November 1660 “thair was produced befor the saids bailleis and counsell ane proclamatione, intituled, The King’s Majestei’8 Proclamatione for calling of his Parliament in Scotland; and efter the reading therof, the samyne was ordanit to be published at the mercat croce of the burghe this day.”

Of the two names of Lauderdale and Primrose appended to the above proclamation, as inserted in extenso in the council minute-book, the former was destined to become notorious as that of the President of the Scottish Privy Council, and Charles’s arbitrary minister in carrying out the merciless severities against the Covenanters and recusant Presbyterians, by which it was hoped to crush and terrify the people of Scotland into abject submission to royal authority. The other was Sir Archibald Primrose of Carrington, Clerk-Register. He was the grandson of Archibald Primrose of Bumbrae, near Kincardine, and was closely connected with Culross, his aunt Margaret being married to the great Sir George Bruce of Camock. It was he who applied to the English Government to have the records of Scotland returned which had been carried off by Cromwell. The Earl of Clarendon, then at the head of affairs, was apprehensive that the original Solemn League and Covenant, signed by the King, was among these; and therefore, to look for it, he unpacked the casks in which the papers had been stored for the purpose of being conveyed to Scotland. This he insisted on doing notwithstanding an engagement on the part of Primrose that he would search carefully for the obnoxious document on the arrival of the consignment, and send it up to London by a special messenger. So much delay in consequence took place that the records were not sent away till winter, and the ship conveying them went down off Berwick. Only a small portion was recovered; and this, after being deposited nearly a hundred years in a vault beneath the Parliament House in Edinburgh, was at last catalogued and printed.

Sir Archibald’s sister was the wife of the famous George Heriot of hospital celebrity; and he himself, after being taken prisoner at the battle of Philip-haugh, and narrowly escaping, through the interposition of the Marquis of Argyll, death on a sentence of high treason, was in 1651 created a baronet by Charles II., became subsequently Lord-Register, and in 1661 a Lord of Session, with the title of Lord Carrington. Lord Carrington’s only son by a second marriage, Archibald Primrose of Dalmeny, succeeded him ultimately in the baronetcy on the demise successively of an elder brother and nephews; and having first, in 1700, been made Viscount Rosebery and Lord Primrose of Dalmeny, he received, in 1703, a higher rank in being created first Earl of Rosebery. The magistrates make ordinance for maintaining their dignity and order of precedence in public:—

“12 November 1660.

“The said day the saids bailleis and counsell, taking to consideratione how requisite and necessarie it war that ordour and decencie war keiped be those persons that ar to accompany the magistrates of this burghe the tyme they ar goeing throw the mercat upon the fair dayes in tyme coming, and for preventing confusion in tyme coming, they have statut and ordanit that efter the rank of the bailleis for the tyme, the deane of gild, with the old bailleis to succeid them, together with the thesaurer, and they of the merchand rank to succeid them.

“The deacone of the smythes, with his associatis, next; thairefter the deacone of the weveris, with their associattis; then the deacone of the tailzeoris, with his associattis; the cordinaris to succeid, and the rest of the craftis in ordour: and that tuo officeris, with thair halberts, goe befor thame the tyme of the goeing throw the said mercat during the tyme of the fair”

The town piper is appointed:—

“The said day, in presence of the said bailleis and counsell, compeared personallie John Home; and there the said Johne most willinglie and frelie offered his service to the town in going throw the town playing upon his pype, alse weill at nycht as in the momyng, everie nycht and everie morayng, as is accustomat to be done in other burghes, and acted himself nawayes to divert himself therfra, healthe of bodie permitting, and except other lawful occasions impedit the samyne; for the qlk service he is to receave his shear of the yule wages, and his hous maill to be payed to him be the toon year lie during his service, and that by and attour any othir thing he may wynn at banquettis or brydells within this burghe in tyme coming.”

On 8th December 1660, Alexander Bruce of Broomhall, grandson of Sir George Bruce of Camock, is chosen commissioner to the Scottish Parliament from the burgh of Culross, in room of Bailie William Pearson, who had three days previously been elected commissioner for Culross both to the Parliament and Convention of Burghs, but now demits the former of these appointments. After the lapse of nearly half a century from this period, Sir Alexander became fourth Earl of Kincardine, having succeeded in establishing his right to the peerage in opposition to the claims of his cousin, Lady Mary Cochrane. He was direct ancestor of the present Earl of Elgin and Kincardine.

A female thief is convicted and banished:—

“29 January 1661.

“The quhilk day, in presence of William Hewisone, William Pearsone, and James Gourlay, bailleis of the said burgh of Culrois, compeared personallie Grissell Powie, spous to Bobert Buchanane, indweller in Culrois, who, being conveaned befor thame, and accused for the crymes of pyk-erie and theft committit be the said Grissell within the said burghe of Culrois, especiallie for stealing and taking away of eight elnes of lynning and ane spule of yeame furthe of Margaret Wilson, coalbearer, her hous, and hyding the samyne in ane midding befor the said Grissell her doore; qlk being considerit be the forsaid bailleis, they have found her culpabill and guiltie of the forsaid cryme of pykrie and theft, and therfor hes fyled and convict her therintill, and ordanes her to be banished furthe of this burghe, and never to come within the samyne agane under the pane of drouning.”

The burgh streets are ordered to be causewayed. It is curious to contrast this complacent and authoritative manner in which the magistrates of the day order the work to be commenced, with the difficulty which has been recently experienced in getting the same causeway relaid:—

"18 February 1661.

“The said day the said bailleis and counsell, taking to consideratione how requisit and necessar it war that ane calsay war laid and maid within severall partis of this burghe, to the greater decoring therof and for the better effectuatting of the said wark, they have statut and ordanit that all suche persones that hes horses, therintill yock the samyne to work for leading of stanes to the said work; and that these in the west quarter give ane dayes yocking of their horses, first for leading of the said stanes, and efter they ar led, to lay them at the west end of the town where the calsay is to be laid; and the rest in the severall other quarteris to follow, with their dayes yocking of their horses for the cause aforsaid: with certification if they or any of thame failzie to yok their horses efter they ar lawfullie wamit for doeing therof, the single hors to pay ane unlaw of 20& Scottis, and the double hors to pay the double therof; and ordains thame to be poyndit therfor. And for the better attending of the said work, the said bailleis and counsell appoynts and ordanes Patrick Sands, girdlesmythe, and Johne Halliday, to be oversearis therof at the west end of the town.”

The same day an Act of Parliament is promulgated against “ mess preistis and trafficking papists.”

The “baiters” are giving the town a great deal of trouble by their contumacious procedure. The magistrates endeavour to foil them by importing bakers from Linlithgow. On 13th May 1661 a commission is nominated to proceed thither and see if any bakers could be induced to transfer themselves from thence to Culross.

The following entry, dated 13th May 1661, seems to indicate that the Government had in contemplation at this time to form a militia or Landwehr throughout the country. The riding of the burgh marches had always been essentially a military display, and it was now determined that it should more than ever exhibit the character of the wap-penschaw or weapon-show. Such gatherings as are described in ‘ Old Mortality ’ must, as far as the burghs were concerned, have generally been held on the marches day:—

“The said day the saids bailleis and counsell, taking to consideratione that in regard the whole kingdome was pre-sentlie to be put in ane poustes1 of militia, and that the ordinarie wappenschauing day of this burghe was now ap-protching, being upone Monday next, and that it war requisite and necessar that the whole burgesses and inhabitants of this burgh that ar abill to carie armes be suffident-lie provydit thairwith against the said day and in tyme comeing: Thairfor the saids bailleis and counsell, upone dew consideratione, have statut and ordanit that the burgesses and inhabitants aforsaid be sufficientlie provydit with armour, such as musquettis, snap warks, picks, and swords, against Witsonmonday next, being the ordinarie wappin-schauing day, for accompaneing the magistratis, capitane, and other officiaris thairwith furth of this burgh and bak againe, in such decent maner as becomethe, and as hathe bene practized in former tymes upon such ane day; and that they and all of thame answer to their names and persons themselves, sufficientlie provydit with armes, as said is: with certification to the forsaid persons, if they or any of thame sail happene to contravene this present Act, that suche persons sail incur ane unlaw of ten punds Scottis unforgiven; and that informatione be maid heirof this day be took of drum.

“The said day the saids bailleis and counsell, be pluralitie of voices, did elect, nominat, and choose John Miller capitane, to goe upon the head of the burgesses within the said burgh upon Witsonmonday next; lykas they did elect David Mitchell his livetenant.”

It will be remembered that during the Commonwealth a post had been established between Culross and Edinburgh; but to judge from an entry of 17th June, the movement had not been a successful one, and a new appointment is made of that date.

Certain burgesses are summoned for refusing to assist the magistrates in mastering some refractory Valleyfield colliers:—

“20 June 1061.

“The quhilk day Robert Huntar, Andrew Craiche, James Tailzeor, and Johne Mastertoun, tailzeor, being all of thame convenit befor the saids bailleis and counsell for the great contempt uged towards the magistratis of this burghe in refusing to concur and assist them against the coalzearis the said night that war incarcerat within the tolbuthe of this burghe, off whom the bailleis and certane of the counsell bad receaved great wrong and violence within the said prissone hous throw want of their help and concurrence; and the said bailleis and counsell having considerit upone the said bussines, they have found all the forsaid persons culpabill and guiltie of ane hie and notorious wrong: Thairfor they have suspendit them, and ilk ane of them, from exercising their offices of burgesses till they supplicat the bailleis and counsell of new againe, and ordains Bot. Huntar and Johne Mastertoun to remayne in ward till the morrow, but liberate Andrew Craiche and James Tailzeor furthe therof in regard they war there all the last night.”

The colliers themselves receive sentence for their violence in fine and imprisonment on 25th June following.

On 1st July 1661 occurs the following entry, which, short as it is, may be said to shadow forth the troubles which, for a long period of years now to come, were to beset the people of Scotland in connection with the re-establishment of Episcopacy:—

“The said day, in presence of the saids bailleis and counsell, there was ane proclamatione produced befor thame con-cemyng the settlement of the Kirk of Scotland; qlk being read in judgment, the samyne, immediatlie efter the dissolving of the counsell, was published at the mercat croce of this burghe in ane most decent and solemn maner as becomethe.”

A tax is imposed by the burgh authorities on foreign wines and liquors. At this period Culross enjoyed the dignity of being presided over by a “lord provost,” the office being held by Alexander Bruce, heir-presumptive to the earldom of Kincardine. A notice also appears about this time of a gift to the town of Culross by Sir William Bruce of Bal-caskie, younger brother of Thomas Bruce of Blairhall, and brother-in-law to Sir Alexander Bruce of Broomhall. He had been very active in promoting the Restoration, and had, in consequence, been rewarded by an appointment to the lucrative office of Clerk of the Bills. Sir William Bruce was the most distinguished architect of his time, and designed the greater part of the present structure of Holyrood House, after the original building had been destroyed by fire. Besides Balcaskie, he acquired from the Earl of Morton the estate of Kinross; and here he built on the banks of Loch Leven a splendid mansion, which still remains. I have little doubt that he was also employed by his kinsman Alexander, second Earl of Kincardine, in designing for Culross Abbey a third storey, which was added in 1670, and also in laying out the gardens with their pavilions and terraces. His gift to Culross is of a peculiar and official kind, and is designed as “the wholl benefits and pryces that sail happen at any tyme after the dait heirof to be due to me as Clerk to the Bills, for passing of all and whatsomever bills of advocatione, lowaings of arreystment, and suspensions of whatsomever nature or quality, whether foundit upon debts or lawborrowes, or otherwise with the acts of cautione following therupon.”

A minute of 30th September 1661 show the state of matters which the Government of the day were striving to introduce, so as to crush the national liberties. A proclamation of the Lords of the Privy Council is read, in which they

“Inhibit and discharge the electing of any person to be magistrate or counsellor within burgh bot suche as ar of knowene loyaltie and affectione to his Majestie’s government, qualified as is exprest in the last Acts of Parliament, and order made for that effect; and in their carriage concerning the said lait troubles, hes given no evidence to the contrair: with certificatione that if any election shall be otherwise made, the said election shall be declared voyd, and the persons elected and those who shall elect them shall be censured with all rigour as persons disaffected to his Majestie’s government. And ordains this present to be furthwith published at the mercat croce of all the royall burghs of this kingdom, that none pretend ignorance of the same. Extract. Sic subtr. Pat. Wedderburn.”

The old grudge against the guildry on the part of the town council is revived, and loyal principles are put forward as a pretext for annulling an institution which had been established in the days of the Commonwealth. This order is, however, afterwards rewill do no harm to the person or property of another. When any one can produce good grounds for believing that another man designs him an injury, he is entitled to obtain from such an obligation, with sufficient security, that he will refrain from prosecuting his evil intention. In itself this provision is calculated to afford a salutary protection to the lieges, but it was most iniquitously perverted by Lauderdale to an engine of intolerable tyranny when he caused writs of lawbur-rows to be issued by Charles II. against his Scottish subjects, the recusant Presbyterians, as though he stood in danger from their projects.

The following entry, dated 25th November 1661, records the construction of the well in the Laigh Causeway of Culross, now known as “ Baby Sands,' or, more briefly, “ Baby’s "Well”:—

“The samyne day the saids bailleis and counsell, for consideratione of the digging doun of the well be James Sands, tailyeor, within his owne bounds, it was ordered by thame that the nychbouris dwelling at the east end of Culrois that ar accustomat to gett water furthe therof for the use of thair housholdis, help and contribut for making of the well fermeabill in tyme comeing, for preventing of danger that might happen to young bairns living near by the samyne.”

The town council of Culross extends active sympathy to the burgh of Linlithgow in the protestation of the latter against the proposed erection of Borrowstounness into a royal burgh. Alexander Bruce of Broomhall is sent by the town with instructions on this subject to the Convention of Royal Burghs at Edinburgh.

Sir George Preston of Valleyfield complains to the Culross magistrates of the clandestine sale by his colliers of coals to the inhabitants of Culross, and undertakes, if this is put a stop to, to serve the town duly with coals, and refrain from any future augmentation of price.

Elspeth Craich, the witch, who had formerly been imprisoned in the time of the Commonwealth, and liberated, as formerly related, is again apprehended:

“17 March 1662.

“The said day the wholle counsale hes unanimouslie voyced that Baillie Gourlay, and two counsellors with him, go and bring in to the prison Elspethe Craiche, who wes formerlie apprehendit and imprisoned for witchcraft, that she may be examined and putt to a try all gifif she will stand and adhere to her former confession of witchcraft; and immediatlie after she is brought to prison, the councile ordaynes two honest men to be warned to come and watch her day and night, that she do no evill to herselfe—ilk persone that shall be warned and refuse to come to the watche under the payn of 12s. Scots.”

A tax of twopence Scots, or a sixth of a penny sterling, is imposed of the same date on “ ilk pynt of ale and beere that shall happen to be mashed, brewed, ventit, and sold within this burgh and libertie therof in tyme comeing.”

A race is intimated for Whitmonday. Such an announcement—more especially of 'a race of such a description—would hardly have been made in the days of Presbyterian or Puritan ascendancy:—

“6 May 1662.

“The said day the drum is appoyntit to be send throw the toun upon Fryday next, to intimat that upon Whitson Monday next thair is a pair of stockings to be run for in the common mure by men, and a pair of bodies and aleeves of red freia to be run for by women.”

A young lad is, on 30th June, convicted for pilfering fruit from “my Lord Kinloss his orchard.” This was another designation for the Earl of Elgin, who must accordingly have been at this time proprietor of Culross Abbey and the adjoining orchard. Thomas, first Earl of Elgin, and third Lord Bruce of Kinloss, was then still living, but died about eighteen months afterwards, in December 1663. The greater part of his life seems to have been spent in England, and little connection kept up with his native country, —a severance which was rendered still more complete by his having married successively two English ladies, and become himself an English peer, with the title of Baron Bruce of Whorlton, in the county of York. His son Bobert, second Eaxl of Elgin, became still more English in his connections, having been created Baron Bruce of Skelton in the county of York, Viscount Bruce of Ampthill in Bedfordshire, and Earl of Ailesbury in Buckinghamshire. These circumstances appear to have led to the disposal of Culross Abbey and its appurtenances — a transfer which was probably made, upon the first Lord Elgin’s death, in favour of Alexander, second Earl of Kincardine, whom we find occupying the Abbey and making extensive additions to it very shortly after this period.

An edict is issued against “playing at the bul-letts.” The “ playfield ” there mentioned is the field on the slope immediately to the west of the Bal-gounie stables. I have elsewhere given my views as to the origin of the name:—

“The said day it is statute and ordayned that the drum be send throw the toune this day afternoone, to discharge all playing at the bulletts in the hie way foranent the playfield at any tyme comeing, under the payne of fyve punds to be incurrit be ilk transgressor.”

Troubles, both civil and religious, which were to afflict the country for many a year to come, are foreshadowed in the following extract. Episcopacy has now been re-established:—

“16 Octr. 1662.

“The said day, continewis the proclamatione of the Act of Secret Council made at Glasgow, 1st October instant, anent the ministers, untill first the magistrates and council of this burgh be fully and clearly setled, and that the Act of Parliament concerning the declaratione to be signed by all persones in public trust, made at Edinburgh, 5 Septr. 1662, be first subt.”

On 1st November the burgh takes the New Mill in feu from the Laird of Blairhall, at the yearly duty of 1000 merks Scots, and 500 merks of entry.

A minute of 10th November records the following strange

“Deposition, Johne Fynnie&one anent Archibald Buchanan his cursing.

“The said day John Finnysone, burges of this burgh, upon his great oathe deponed that upon Fryday last, the 7 of Novr. instant, the baillies and visitors of the fleshe mercat perceaving a blawine mutton boulk at the mercat croce belonging to William Patotm, flesher, they causit the officer take the samein away, to be send to the hospitall; and that immediatlie therefter, as the baillies and visitors were going down the little calsey the lenthe of John Dal-gleishe, elder, his flesher boothe, the deponent saw Archibald Buchanan louse, running in a fury and to the place where the blauin mutton wes lyand, and saw that the mutton wes away, he cryed out, * The divell blaw them all in the air.’

“The said day Thomas Finlay and David Scotland and the drummer ar ordayned to be warned in agayn the next councill day, as also the said Archibald Buchanan, to be farder examined upon the words above deponed against him.”

We are not favoured with any further details in this case. The reader will not fail to notice the charitable act of the magistrates in ordering the fly-blown carcass of mutton, which they deemed unfit for ordinary burgess consumption, to be taken to the “ hospitall ” (Lord Bruce’s Hospital most probably) for the use of the inmates. One recalls. to mind Sir Walter Scott’s bridge-warder in the * Monastery/ ordering his wife to keep for the next pilgrim the “ ill-baked bannock that the bairns couldna eat and also Gibbie Girder’s injunction to his household in the ‘ Bride of Lammermoor/ to distribute to the puir folk “ onything that’s totally uneatable.” When butcher-meat nowadays is condemned and seized in the public market as unfit for human food, an order is not infrequently made for its being taken to the Zoological Gardens. Our ancestors devoted such treasure-trove to more exalted uses.

An unacceptable visitor to the town is ordered to be dismissed:—

“18 Decr. 1663.

“The said day Bot. Bade, cordiner, is ordayned to eject and cast oat of his hous that uncouth vagabound stranger qlk he has sheltered and harboured thir divers days and nights bygane without any testimonial^ and that it be done this same night, under the payn of the unlay conteinit in the Act of council made against the resetting of such persones ; qlk the said Bobert engadged himself to the counsale to do.”

About this time a great commotion is excited in Culro88 by the project of Sir George Preston and his son William to have the estate of Valleyfield immediately adjoining, with its village, erected into a burgh of barony. It is resolved to resist the attempt, as fraught with imminent danger to the privileges and prosperity of the burgh—apprehensions which, as regards at least the monopoly of girdle-making enjoyed by the Culross hammermen, turned out to be only too well founded:—

“14 Jany. 1664.

"The said day the mutuall agreement amongst the wholle inhabitants of this buighe and libertie therof anent the burgh of barony of Valeyfield wes judidallie subscryvit be the wholle magistrates and counsellors that wer present, and be the wholle inhabitants who wer present, and ordayned to be subscryvit be the wholle remanent inhabitants as occasione shall offer.”

The above is registered at fall length in the minute-book, and signed by 107 persons, including the magistrates and town council. These comprised probably all the householders who at this time were capable of writing their names. Many of the signatures are very beautiful. The subscribers engage themselves—

“Us and ilk ane of us, our wyffes, baimis, and servanda, in all tyme comeing after the daite heirof, neither to buy anything that shall be to be sold at any of the above written frie faires or weekly mercats;2 and that we nor our foresaids shall never at any tyme heirafter take, carry, or convey anything whatsumever to be sold at the said faires or Weekly mercats; neither that wee nor our forsaids shall buy anything that is made or shall be made by any artificer within the saids bounds, nor that we shall not imploy any of them for making of any sort of manufactures or handy works: under the payn of fourty pounds Scots money for ilk failzie being lawfully proven.”

Such is a specimen of seventeenth-century “ boycotting,”—of a rather more justifiable kind, it must be allowed, than we have been recently made familiar with on the part of certain natives of the Green Island. One cannot help suspecting that some greedy Government officials of the day had been active, for the sake of the fees and perquisites involved, in promoting the erections of new burghs like Valleyfield and Borrowstounness, to the detriment of more ancient institutions like Culross. It is not unworthy of notice that the hostility between the people of Culross and Low Valleyfield, thus engendered, continued for many long years to act as a memorial of division and rivalry, and is not altogether extinct even at the present day, when the original cause has become altogether forgotten.

A delinquent is ordered as a punishment to make a pair of branks for the town's use:—

“25 Jany. 1664.

“The said day Bot Kymmen wes arrestit in prison till he find cautione to make a pair of sufficient branks for skalds and flyters, cursers and swearers; and that in satisfaction of his former insolences, ryots, and disorders within this burgh.”

“1 February 1664.

“he said day John Blyth, cautioner for Robert Kymine, is ordained to employ Robert Sands to make a pair of sufficient new branks for the tounes use again Weddnesday next at night, and to pay him for making therof, under the pain of imprisonment.”

“15 Feby. 1664.

“The said day Robert Kymmen, and John Blyth, his cautioner, gave in before the counsell a pair of branks for fiytters, raillers, cursers, and swearers.”

Two burgesses are imprisoned for employing weavers in Valleyfield, the new opposition burgh :—

“The said day William Witherspoones and Bessie Crane ar ordeined to be keipit still in prison during the baillies pleasure for imploying weavers in the Valeyfield to work webs, qlk they confest themselves; and are fread from the 40 pund incurred be either of them for transgressing the Act of council made theranent.”

“The depositione of David Mitchell and Wm. Craiche anent the speatches uttered be Wm. Pearsone and Wm. Fynniesone to others at David Gourlay s wyff's lait wake.

“13 June 1064.

“The said day David Mitchell, younger, and Wm. Craich, thesaurer, witnesses, being sworne, depones, both eodem modo, that William Finnison, merchant, upon Saturday bygane 20 dayes, at night at David Gourlay’s wyff’s laite wake, fell on railling upon William Pearsone and abused him with his tongue, in challenging him, and saying that he had made him dearer nor himself about the peck to the boll paying to Robert Andrew, and that the said Wm. Pearsone had muche more trade nor he hes, and that he could prove that Wm. Pearsone took a peck to the boll of 60 bolls bear from William Hutton; wherunto William Pearsone sayd, it was ane untruthe, and that if William Finnisone could make it out, he should pay Finnisone’s fyne dew be him to Rot. Andrew, bot giff he could not mak it guid, he was but a knave in saying of it; wherunto Finnisone answered, that altho* he wear a blew bonnet, yett he was as honest a man as himself, or any that wear a hatt.”

A scold receives sentence for speaking evil of dignities:—

“20 June 1664.

“The said day Margaret Haleyday, for rayling upon the Dean of Gild upon the Heighe Street, near the mercat croce, upon Fryday last, was ordered to sitt doune upon her knees in presence of the counsale, and to confess her fault, and crave the Dean of Gild pardon, whilk she did; lykas the counsale ordeins her to be unlayed in 20 pund iff ever she fall in the lyke.”

The council is not above turning an honest penny by letting out the town ladders:—

“23 June 1664.

“The said day Thomas Leyes, officer, is ordeined be counciU to be comptabill to them for the tounes two ledders, and ordeins him to lend out the ledders to any of the burgesses and inhabitants of this burgh for dayly payment of 12 pennies1 for ilk ane of them, and takeing a sufficient pledge of the borrowers for payment therof dayly, and for the worth of the ladder; and the councill allows the officer the half of the 12 pennies for his own paynes.”

The following entry shows the general apprehensions which were being entertained in Great Britain of the approach of the plague, which, however, never visited Scotland subsequent to 1646. It was shortly after this to make its last and most appalling visit in “ the Great Plague of London ” in 1665, in which it is computed that nearly 100,000 persons perished:

“26 July 1664.

“The said day, by reasone of the increase and daylie spreading of the infection of the playgue in Holland, it is ordayned that two men in every quarter of the toune be appoynted to watche at the east, west, and north parts of this burgh, and to begin this night, and to continue untill the tent day of August next, and farder during the magistrates and councill their pleasour.”

Orders are issued for providing halberts as the insignia of the magistrates, also for checking juvenile delinquents:—

“29 Augutl 1664.

“To be advysit agayn the next counsale day anent the furnishing of halberts to be caryit befor the magistrats every fair day.

“Item, to be advysit anent the taking of ane present course concerning idle young boys within this burgh.”

In consequence of the impending war with Holland, an order is sent to Culross for a quota of six seamen to man the fleet:—

“19 Sept. 1664.

“The said day ane missive letter, direct from the Earle of Rothes, Lord High Thesaurer of Scotland, to the magistrates of this burgh, wes presented before the counsale, anent the listing of six seamen furth of Culross, to be send to Leith betuix and the first October next, for his Majestie’s service; which being read, the counsale ordaynes the drum to go throw the town m order therto.”

“11 Octr. 1664.

"The said day Baillie William Pearsone is nominat and ordayned to go to Leith the morrow with the seamen, and to delyver them to Thomas Moncrieff, and gett his note upon his receat of them.”

In the following entry “the horologe of the steiple,” which is ordered to be renewed, must be the church clock, as the picturesque bell-tower of the town-house was not then in existence:—

“21 Nov. 1664.

"The qlk day, Bailie Sands being preses, the counsale, with consent of my Lord Provost, hes unanimouslie con-descendit that the horologe of the steiple of Culross .be renewed, and a plate of lead or copper to be provydit for with all possible diligence.”

In the two following entries regarding a prohibition of intercourse with Holland, the first has probably reference to the apprehension of the plague being imported from that country; the second is evidently in connection with the war against the Dutch:—

“21 Nov. 1664.

“The said day William Drysdale, John Chiysty, James Baid, James Miller, and Robert Chattow, were every one of them decerned in ane unlaw of ten punds Scots for eating, drinking, and conversing with George Bruce, sone to um-quhile George Bruce, the last weik, both in Borrowstounness and Culross, he having laitly come from Holland in Thomas Stock’s schip of Borrowstounness.”

“12 December 1664.

“The said day their was producit the secret counsell’s orders, daited 2 December 1664, anent the seising upon all veschells upon this road or harborie belonging to the United Provinces, as also intimating to this burgh not to send out any ships till convoys be provydit.”

In 1665 the proportion of taxation payable by Culross to the general revenue of Scotland was 400 Scots. This is only inferior among the other Scottish burghs to that imposed on Edinburgh (7999, 15s.), Dundee (1555, 13s.), Glasgow (1444, 6s.), Perth (889), St Andrews (604, 13s.), Kirkcaldy (533, 6s.), Inverness (488, 18s.), and Montrose (444, 10s.) Culross pays the same proportion as Haddington and Linlithgow, and is far above Cupar or Dunfermline, the former of which is rated at 244, 9s., and the latter at 188, 18s. Dysart and Ayr are rated each at 311, 4s.; Dumfries at 370, 8s.; Anstruther Easter at 177, 15s.; Pittenweem at 148,3s.; and'Inverkeithing at 111,2s. 2d. The whole tax imposed on the kingdom at this time was 133,333, 6s. 8d., of which the proportion paid by the burghs was 22,222, 4s. 6d.


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