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History of Curling
Chapter IV - Ancient curling societies


Now mony a club, jocose and free,
(xi'e a' to merriment and glee;
Wi' sang and glass, they fley the pow'r
O' care, that wad harass the hour."

Robert Ferguson.

Then to the inn they a' repair,
To feast on curlers' hamely fare—
On beef and greens and haggis rare,
And spend the nicht wi' glee, O!

And there owre tumblers twa or three,
Brewed o' the best o' barley bree,
They sing and jest while moments flee,
Around that social tee, O!"

T. S. Aitchison.

"True feelings waken in their hearts
And thrill frae heart to han'
O peerless game that feeds the flame
O' fellowship in man!"

Rev. T. Rain.

The Pillars o' the Bonspiel—Rivalry and Good Fellowship."

Old Toast.

URLING—the game of rivalry and good-fellowship—has naturally made great progress by the institution of societies or clubs. (The word club occurs very rarely in the records of last century. Excepting Dunfermline and Duddingston, the designation invariably used is Society.) The principle of association could not readily be taken advantage of in troublous times, and it is not till the eighteenth century that we find it used for the development of the game. Societies were then formed in those districts where it had been previously popular. Curlers in such districts were prepared to appreciate the advantage of societies in promoting social fellowship and scientific skill. Experience also fitted them to frame such conditions of membership as would best secure these ends. It is with the written records of the early curling societies we have now to deal in the tracing the history of the national game.

The dividing line which we have already drawn between ancient and modern curling, forces us also in this chapter to confine our attention to the records of such societies as existed in the last century. Curling societies which claim to be ancient, but whose records go no further back than the present century, must not expect from us more than a passing notice. This is the only course open when we wish to tread the sure ground of history. As illustrative cases we may give Linlithgow and Lochleven, where, as we have already said, there are traces and traditions as to curling " from time immemorial." That a club existed at the former place in the last century may be gathered from a chance entry which we have discovered in the minute-book of the Dunfermline Club, where the sederunt of the annual meeting in the house of James Cupar, 2nd February, 1792, includes:-

"Mr John Gibson, a visiting brother from Linlithgow Club."

John Gibson and his brother members at Linlithgow do not appear to have written down their doings, and by their negligence we have lost a good deal, for curling at Linlithgow in Gibson's day must have been carried on in the light of long experience. In the case of Lochleven, the members of the Kinross Club, as faithful guardians of its curling fame, after a careful inquiry by Sheriff Skelton and a committee in 1818, decided to carry the existence of a curling society there as far back as 1668. That there was curling on Lochleven long before that need not be doubted, and that the Kinross Club deserves highest honour for the careful preservation of the traditional mysteries of the game will be apparent when these come to be considered ; but the want of written records prior to the year 1818 leaves us, as in the case of Linlithgow, without that information as to the early game on Lochleven, which would here have been of the greatest interest.

On the present list of the Royal Caledonian Club we have twenty-eight affiliated clubs entitled to attention as having been formed in the eighteenth century. We give them in the order of their institution, with the counties to which they belong, as it is of importance to note the geographical area of ancient curling.

Of the forty-two societies thus enumerated, only ten possess written records of the last century, and in a few cases these do not extend back to the dates at which the societies are said to have been formed. Through the kindness of the various secretaries, all the available records have been placed in our hands, and we have perused them "at some expense of eyesight, and with no small exertion of patience." In what follows we have tried, as far as possible, to make the different minute-books speak for themselves, and tell us what they know about the manners and customs of eighteenth-century curlers and curling clubs.

MUTHILL (1739).—The honour of possessing the most ancient records falls to Muthill. It is awarded, however, with some hesitation, for the minute-book of the Muthill Society, though a neat and interesting record, is evidently not so old as the society itself. At a general meeting of the society, held in the house of John Bennet, vintner, on 14th January, 1823, [There had been no ice in the two previous years, 1821 and 1822.] there was:-

"Voted to William Gentle, clerk, for Looks and drawing out Records and Laws of this society since its formation as contained in this book, 1 5s."

The minutes are, therefore, William Gentle's work. This is borne out by the first set of rules entered in the volume, which bears to have been revised in 1820 and 1821 1 ; but it is evident that William Gentle had documents in his hands which were written at the formation of the society, and that other parts of the volume are transcribed from these. The antiquity of the records may thus be allowed to pass. The list of members of the society, as "constitute in the year 1739," begins thus:—

At first the society was not a large one, and Mr Rally seems to have been its leading spirit. [A drawing of the stone supposed to have been used by Mr Halle is i given at p. 40. The parishioners of Muthill were so opposed to Mr Hally at I his ordination in 1704 that they refused to allow the Presbytery to enter the church ; but he was afterwards much esteemed by their for his good qualities. He died in 1754. Dr Rankin, his able successor, informs us that "Mr Hally was a xnan of great physical strength, and a good wrestler] as well as curler and preacher."] By the end of the century, however, we find that 187 members had been enrolled. A kindly custom on the part of the brethren was to allow members of other societies to "initiate" into Muthill Society for 3d., being half the annual fee of ordinary members. Since they are the most ancient regulations that have come down to us, we may here give the:-

"RULES AND STATUTES to be observed by the SOCIETY OF CURLERS in MUTHILL,
November the 17th, 1739.

1. That each Member shall attend the Precess of any Quorum of the Society when called, unless they have a reasonable excuse, under the penalty of Six Shillings Scots.

2. That no match of curling shall be taken up with another Parish untill five of the Members of the Society be previously acquainted therewith, and those that shall be chosen to play in any such match are not to absent themselves therefrom, under the penalty of Five Shillings Sterling, and being extruded the Society till payment.

3. That the annual election of all the officers of the Society shall be upon the first Tuesday of -------

4. That there shall be no wagers, cursing or swearing, during the time of game, under the penalty of Two Shillings Scots for each oath, and the fines for by wagers to be at the discretion of the Precess and the other members present, and the wagers in themselves void and null.

5. That every residing Member of the Society betwixt and the next annual election shall provide himself in a curling stone, to be kept in this place under the penalty of One Shilling Sterling.

6. That all the money received by the Society for the entry of new Members or Fynes be kept for the use of the Society in general.

7. That every Member shall pay yearly to the Treasurer Four Shillings Scots, for the use foresaid.

8. That after this date at taking up any matches betwixt any two parties they are only to have choice about.

9. That there shall be no addition or alteration made of the above Rules but at the yearly meetings.

And its recommended to the Society in general to provide four right leading stones to be equally divided in all matches, etc., etc., and the Committee to draw up the men for the match."

There is little information in these as to the manner of playing the game at Muthill in ancient times, and we have no record in the old minutes of any bonspiel, but sundry charges for carting stones imply that the society had frequent matches with Ardoch, Monzie, and other parishes. Under date February 7, 1789, we have this curious entry:

"To Isabel White for whiskey for cleaning the ice, 0 1s. 8d."

How the whisky was applied to such a useful purpose the minutes do not state. At the annual meeting, December 26, 1789, it was agreed:

"That every stone handed or mended at the expence of the box is common to all the brethren, or them who puts on more than one stone if they shall choose to hold it up shall have liberty to do with it as they please."

Drawings of some of these old stones may be seen at p. 46. One stone sufficed for each player, but the records state nothing about the rinks, or the numbers composing them. It is interesting to notice the prohibition of wagering, cursing, and swearing (Rule 4). Such a rule is common to most of the old societies, and it shows how jealously the early players protected the reputation of the game, and how anxious they were to exalt its position.

CANONMILLS (1760).—Ramsay, when writing his account of curling in 1811, and referring to the tradition regarding the Town Council's patronage of the game (vide p. 91) in the beginning of last century, says:-

"Then it was practised chiefly on the North Loch, before it was drained, and at Canonmills. At which latter place a society was formed about fifty years ago, and continued to flourish a considerable time. Of late, however, it has dwindled away to nothing."

We have Given illustrations (p. C4) of stones of the earlier circular type which are supposed to have belonged to this club, but no trace can be found of any written records of its transactions. Certain sons composed for the club were, however, printed in a small volume [Songs for the Curling Club held at Canonmills. By a Member. Ediu. Printed by J. Robertson, 39 South Bridge.] in 1792, and as some of these appear to have been written soon after its formation, they entitle it to notice here. These songs are more interesting than dry minutes, and give us useful information as to the words in use at the game, and as to the social habits of the players.

"The CanonmilIs Loch," says Captain Macuair, [Preface to Curling, Ye Glorious Pastime, an excellent reprint of the Account of Curling by Ramsay, and the Canoninills Songs, in one volume, published in 1882.] "on which the members of the club were wont to assemble, has long since disappeared, having been drained and built over many years ago. In his plan of the city of Edinburgh and its vicinity, published in 1837, Hunter places it in the angle formed by the junction of the roads leading down from Bellevue Crescent and Eyre Place, adjoining the wound occupied by the Gymnasium, but better known in those days as `the Meadow.'"

This situation must have been very convenient for Edinburgh curlers when deprived of the use of the Nor' Loch for their favourite sport, and in those days of clubs, they would naturally form themselves into a company that they might more effectually enjoy the game and its attendant socialities. III many respects Canonmills was better suited than Duddingston Loch for the townsmen, and we are not surprised to find in one of the minutes of the Duddingston Club (8th December, 1824) this entry:-

"The meeting thought that a piece of ground night be obtained about Canonmills, which might be occasionally- used, as more convenient for many members than Duddingston."

As regards the membership we are left to conjecture---

we have not even the name of the author or authors of the songs; but while it existed the club could not fail to be an important one, and as the song set to the March of the magistrates comes first in the collection, it is probable that the patronage of the Town Council was bestowed on the Canonmills curlers. The songs are such as could not fail to be appreciated by citizens of wit and learning who inclined to unbend the bow at the curlers' feasts, and they are full of that enthusiasm which always animates the votaries of the game. The Curlers March is succeeded by The Blast, which calls upon the brethren, now that Phoebus has wandered south, to rear the "groom standard," for it is only fools that dread the wintry death of Nature: curlers smile at such fears:-

"As we mark our gog,
And measure off our hog,
To sport on her cold grave stone."

We are next favoured with a song in which the singer [Sir Richard Broun has, among the notes prepared for a second edit on of his Memorabilia, which never "came off," appended the name of Dr 13airnsfather to this song—on what authority we know not. The title implies that the songs are by one author, but the internal evidence is against this.] pokes fun alike at the pride of the city and the antiquity of the national game, and it is easy to imagine the hilarious mirth with which the Canonmills curlers would receive this account of:

THE ORIGIN OF EDINBURGH CASTLE.
Tune—"AULD LANG SYNE."

I. "On Calton-Hill and Aurthur-Seat,
Great Boreas plac'd his feet,
And hurled like a curling-stane
The Castle wast the street.
"But that was lang syne, dear sir,
That was lang syne,
Whan curling was in infancy,
An' stanes war no fine.

II. "An' lest it should be mov'd or stole,
(Tho' strange it seems to tell),
The handle loos'd, and left the hole
`which now serves for a well.
"But that was lang syne, dear sir,
That was lang syne,
Whan curling was in infancy,
An' handles no fine.

III. "Next, as a hint lie meant a fort,
Which Northerns might defend,
He like a flag-staff praped up,
His bosom shaft on end.
"But that was lang syne, dear sir,
That was lang syne,
Whan curling was in infancy,
And besoms no fine.

IV. " Wha, thinks it's fase that we alledge,
May carefu' search the hole
If he finds not the handle-wedge,
He then may doubt the whole.
"For 'twas there lang syne, clear sir,
'Twas there lang syne;
An' what needs fo'k dispute about
What happened lang syne."

The song which follows this humorous sally is a melancholy one, and bemoans the long absence of frost:-

I. "I've mony winter seen an' spring,
But like o' this did I ne'er see—
Three open winters in a string—
An' may the like again ne'er be.

Chorus--"Alake my walie curling-stanes
Ha'e no' been been budged thir winters three
'Tween the rain's plish-plash an' a fireside's fash
They have dreary winters been to me.

* * * * *

V. "When I on former winters think
How on the ice we met wi' glee,
And cheerfu' swat to clear a rink,
It gars inc sigh right heavylie.
"Alake, &c.

VI. "When we had mark'd our gob an' hog,
And parties form'd o' four or three, [*]
Ilk ane wi' crampits an' broom scrog,
How anxious yet how blythe played we.
"Alake, &c.

VII. "When we had keenly played a while,
Brose comes, an' whisky, cawld to flee,
We Sol and Boreas to beguile,
'Tween shots wi' spoon or glass make free.
"Alake, &c.

VIII. "When anes our game or light was done,
We marched to dinner merrylie,
Wi' saul an' body baith in tune,
Wba shu'd be blythcst a' our plea.
"Alake, &c.

[*] This seems to imply that the number on a rink was less than in other clubs of the early times.

IX. " When comes the bowl we drink an' sing,
An' crack o' bonspales till ha' free,
Syne part in peace—a happy thing;
Sic times again I fain wad see.
"Alake, &c.

X. "May Boreas hasten frae the north,
Gi' silver lokes to bush and tree;
I`d rather he wad plank the Forth
Than Thetis ever on us be.
"Alake, &c."

The lament over Three Open. Winters is followed by The Welcome Hame, sung to the chorus:-

"There's nae luck about the house,
There's nae luck at a' ;
What luck can winter days produce
Whan curlers are awa'."

Now that the loch is bearing, the "deam" is ordered to set her wheel aside and put the house in order; to "ram the chimley fu'," and "get on the muekle pat," while "mine host" himself hastens to the "bot" and wails a "breast" to make fat brose for the curlers, who will readily be recognised as "kin" to the moderns by this touch of nature-

"Gae, ladie, seek their crampits out,
For they will a' be here
To get a dram, without a doubt,
Afore the ice be clear."

When everything has been set in order against their coming—the "substancials" ready, the "muckle room dusted, and the tables placed—the anxious host breathes a sigh of relief, as well he might.

"Hech, now I think the warst o'ts o'er,
Sae they may come their Wa'
May this frost staun thir fortnights four,
Gar beef and whisky fa'."

In the last song of this ancient and interesting collection, the praises of the game as a health-giving, innocent, and social amusement are quaintly set forth, and it would be difficult to find among the thousands of poetical panegyrics of this century anything better than The Choise of the old Canonmills Club.

This curlers' weather is, I trow -
O weels me on the clinking o't;
Fo'k may good ale and whisky brew,
Well line fun at the drinking o't.
For now we'll meet upon the ice,
Air.' in the e'enin ; blythly splice,
To drink an' feast on a' that's nice,
My heart loops light wi' thinking o't.

By Boreas bund in icy chain,
Fu' weel we loo the linking o't,
Nor xish't to be soon loos'd again,
But rather fear the shrinking o't.
United by his potent hand,
In gleesom friendly social band,
We eith obey his high command,
Nor ever think o' slinking o't.

"The lover Boats on Menie's eye,
His Iife lies in the blinkincr o't,
For if it's languid he maven (lie,
He canno' bear the winking o't.
But curlers wi' unfettered souls,
That ane another's cares controuls,
On ice conveen like winter fowls,
An' please them wi' the rinking o't.

"The sportsman may poor rnawkin trace
Thro' snaw, tir'd -,ci' the sinking o't
Or if his bray-hound gi' her chase,
He's charmed ivi' the jinking o't.
But curlers chase upon the rink,
An' learn dead stanes wi' art to jink
When tir'd wi' that, gae in an' drink,
An' please them wi' the skinking o't."

COUPAR-ANGUS AND KETTINS (1772).—The record-book (as it is entitled) of this club begins rather abruptly with a genuine sheet of antique writing, which informs us that—

"The silver medal or curling ston was challanged, played for and gained by the following persons in Bendochie and Blairgowrie."

Eight names follow, and as a ninth there conies that of Isack Low, "the brandey or oversman." This is the first designation of a skip which we have found in the old records. The rink evidently consisted of nine men. David Campbell was "brandey or oversman" in the losing (Coupar) team, which also included nine names. The victors on this occasion were challenged by the parishes of "Alith and Rattray," and were beaten on 14th February, 1772. The following challenge is then issued from Coupar-Angus, 11th January, 1774:-

"I take the Liberty to address your as the Head of a Partie of Curlers who chalanged our silver medall or Curling Stone upon the 14th Feby. 1772, when you were fortunate enough to wine it from the united Pairishes of Blairgowrie and Bendochie, then the Holders of the medall. In hopes of your having complied with the terms contain'd in the 7th Article of our Table of Regulations, upon which this medal! can and only can be play'd for by this Society, I hereby am impowered to signifie to you a resolution of our meeting you and the other curlers in the Pairishes of Alyth and Ratrey, upon Saturday the 15th current, by nine o'clock forenoon, leaveing you to fix the place anywhere in our Pairishes, in order to do our best to regain our medall. Your answer is expected on Thursday by twelve o'clock."

This challenge was accepted and the match played, at Welton of Palbroaie, on 22nd January, 1774, Peter Constable being "brandey" for Coupar, with seven other players on his rink, against Charles Rae and seven players of Alyth and Rattray. The latter were victorious, and thus retained the medal.

In the Annual of 1843, p. 122, we are informed that the silver medal thus competed for from 1772 to the end of the eighteenth century was the gift of Colonel Hallyburton of Pitcur, and that it resembled "an old-fashioned iron crusie." The winners of it attached each year a silver plate to the "medal" recording their victory; but when Coupar was victorious nothing was added, so that these plates recorded the defeats of the society in place of heralding its victories. In 1836 a fine of one guinea was imposed on David Davidson for having lost the ancient trophy, but it does not appear from the minutes that the fine was ever paid or the trophy recovered.

The articles of this society, like those of Muthill, give little or no light regarding the method of playing the game. They provide for the annual election of a president with "the powers which commonly belonged to the presidents of other courts," and a clerk, whose duty is "to keep a book containing the regulations of the society, a list of the members, and such transactions as they shall judge proper to be recorded." There were no other offices, the brandeys or oversmen in matches being elected for the occasion. Each member was taken bound under a penalty of ten shillings sterling to supply two "proper curling-stones" within a year after his admission, and (Rule 7).

"He is likewise to take care never to appear on the ice with a design of playing without being furnished with a sufficient broom, under such a. penalty as the first Curling Court having received information shall think proper to inflict."

If a member left the parish his stones became the property of the club; and in matches he was not to he accepted as an antagonist after his removal "out of the Parishes of Coupar or Ketins." The fine for not providing stones seems to have been rigidly- enforced, and many " brothers " suffered for their neglect. It was quite out of proportion to the value of stones in these days, as this is given in the following items of expenditure :—

The articles of this old club, like those of Muthill, impose certain fines upon their unruly and gambling members. It is enacted:-

"Rule 14. That if any brother in the course of play, or at society meetings, shall be guilty of swearing or giving bad names to any member, he shall pay two pence for the first offence, and be at the mercy of the court for repeated acts of said crimes.

"Rule 15. That no brother shall engage to play with an other brother in this society for above the value of one shilling sterling for one game, under the penalty of five shillings, to be paid in to the Clerk of the Court."

Few offences against these moral laws are recorded in the old minutes, but that such offences were not uncommon in the end of the century is evident from the following entries in the treasurer's account :—

In one case, occurring some twelve years before this, the cash was not received without some trouble, as these extracts skew:-

"Coupar-Angus, 30th December 1783.

"At a meeting of the Curling Society held here this day—Jno. Bett, Esq., Preses, and James Campbell, junr., Clerk—it was reported by some of the members that Jno. Crockett, one of the members, was this day on the ice curling, and had been guilty of swearing several tunes, also had lost one sixpence at play, therefor he should be culled to court and make payment of the usual fines in like cases ; that after being several times sent for to appear for the above crimes and make payment of the fines, and never appearing, a part- of the members, consisting of Chas. Ducatt, Jno. Edward, Jno. Bruce, and Alex. Henderson, was accordingly sent to bring him; and after having ;one to his house and asked him to come, he presented a gunn to them, and swore that be would shoot the first person who should attempt to lay-hands on him, and struck Chas. Ducatt on the breast.

"The Preses, considering the conduct of the above Jno. Crockett, hereby dismisses him front being a member of this society, and hereby secludes and debarrs any of the members from hereafter curling upon the ice with him until he shall in a full meeting hereafter acknowledge his faults, and make such compensation to the society as they shall think the nature of the crime above requires, and appoint the members present to intimate the above resolution to their absent brethren.

"(Signed) Jno Bett."

"Coupar-Angus, 12th January 1786.

"The within-designed Jno. Crockett appeared before the meeting, and made full and ample satisfaction to them for the faults he committed against their rules ; therefore they, in consideration thereof, hereby admit him again as their brother, to enjoy the haill priviledges of a member of this society as formerly.

"(Signed) CHAS. DUCATT."

On the ex-pede-Hereulem principle, the curlers of Coupar and Kettins, accustomed to use such stones as we have before described (Ch. II. p. 42), must have been men of great strength : it was creditable to themselves, and fortunate for their offending brother, that they did not "sit upon " him more heavily.

SANQUHAR.—The minutes of this club carry us back to the year 1774, when the society was formed, and with the exception of blanks between 1809-17, 1819-1829, and 1832-1841, they contain a careful record of the doings of the society for the long period of one hundred years. They supply us with more information as to the ancient game than any we have previously noticed, and as this information has for some time been available in a little volume which holds a worthy place in the literature of curling, [History of the Sanquhar Curling Society. By James Brown, Secretary. Published on the occasion of the centenary of the society, 21st January, 1874.] Sanquhar has hitherto held an advantage over the clubs of the last century, and has been better known than most of its contemporaries. The first minute runs thus:--

"Sanquhar, 21st January 1774.

This day the married and unmarried men in this parish had an engagement at curling upon Sanquhar Loch, twenty-seven on each side. The unmarried men gained the victory in both dinner and drink. In the evening they dined all together at the Duke of Queensberry's Arms in Sanquhar. After dinner it was proposed and agreed to, that they should form themselves into a society under the name of the Sanquhar Society of Curlers, and that a master should be chosen annually, with several other regulations. Accordingly one of the oldest curlers present being chosen preses appointed a committee of the best qualifyed to examine and try all the rest concerning the curler word and grip. Those who pretended to have them, and were found defective, were fined, and those who were ignorant, and made no pretentious, were instructed. John Wilson, Schoolmaster in Sanquhar, was chosen clerk to the society, and Mr Alexander Broadfoot in Southmains, was chosen master for the present year. The terms and prices of admission into the society were submission and obedience to the master, discretion and civility to all the members of the society, and secrecy. Fourpence sterling to be paid by every one in the parish, and sixpence sterling to be paid by every one without the parish at their admission. And liberty was granted to the clerk and some other members to add what new members, where (sic), and to report them to the society at their next election of a master."

The Freemasonry of ancient curling is here for the first time clearly indicated, but we still look in vain for rules by which curlers were then guided at play. They seem to have been very chary of committing these to writing—perhaps they had no hard and fast rules by which they could act. The omission is at any rate a noticeable feature in all the older records. The Sanquhar Society had, however, a system of organisation worthy of notice. On the 16th January, 1776, according to their second minute,

"The society agreed to form themselves into six rinks of eight players each, and to appoint some of their number as commanders over them, these six rinks to be kept up as a standing veteran army: and also to have some of those that remained over above these six rinks as a corps-de-reserve with a proper commander over then. Into this seventh rink or corps-de-reserve the young men are first to be admitted, to be preferred to the veteran rinks as their merit deserves and occasion requires. These rinks are to be called after the names of their respective commanders."

It was the duty of the commander of the youths' rink to instruct those under him in the art of the game, and we believe this kindly interest in the initiation of the young is still kept up in Sanquhar and surrounding districts. It is a custom, we fear, "more honoured in the breach than in the observance," but Sanquhar deserves honour from all who love the game for instituting it. With such excellent organisation we are not surprised to find that the members of the Sanquhar Society entered into the game with enthusiasm, and enjoyed the social intercourse which pleasant matches with other parishes brought about.

"In former times," says Mr Brown (p. 12), "the periodical bonspiels that took place between parishes were the source of much pleasure apart from the game itself. In these days there was little intercommunication, particularly- in winter, in country districts. Every little country town was shut up as it were in itself, and out from the rest of the world, social intercourse being confined to the inhabitants of the place. A spiel between two parishes, therefore, was looked forward to with much interest as affording the opportunity of seeing new faces, gathering up some scraps of news, and forming new friendships. They were the subject of much joyful anticipation, and great preparations were made for its advent. So great was the flurry and excitement into which the curlers were thrown that a certain scab used to say of Crawick Mill, then a spirited and happy little place, 'It was an unto nicht in Crawick Mill. They were running wi' teapots and razors the haill nicht."'

Among the regulations of this old society there are only two which may be quoted as interesting:-

"Article V.—The masters are to give due warning to the players at all times when any game is to be played either among the rinks, or with a different parish, and in case of neglect to be liable to pay the sum of One Shilling: and any player so warned either refusing to come forward, or not giving a plausible reason for his non-attendance, shall forfeit the sum of Sixpence. The masters are to have the principal charge of their respective rinks, assisted by such of their own rinks as they shall appoint, not exceeding two, and every player is to submit 'without murmur, complaint or reluctance, to the master's judgment, or those nominated by him. The masters are to use their endeavour to suppress swearing or abusive language on the ice among their players, and every person offending shall be fined of a sum not exceeding Twopence.

"Article IX.—At any play among the rinks the reckoning not to exceed Sixpence each player."

In the former of these "articles" the right of a master or skip to appoint two assistants on his rink, and his responsibility for the good behaviour of his players are worthy of notice. Regarding the latter Mr Brown in his History (p. 19) writes:

"The ninth Article, dealing with the subject of `reckonings,' points to a custom prevalent at one time of meeting in the evening at the end of an important play, such as the playing for the Parish Medal, in a social capacity. In connection with inter-parochial games, again, this social entertainment took the form of a dinner with a liberal supply of toddy. These `dinners and drinks,' as they were called, were for long the stake played for between parishes, and were grand affairs, the ticket being Five Shillings. This is a rather startling figure, as money went in those days, and considering that the members of the societies were, for the most part working men. Still it was so, and it came to be regarded as a point of honour with every curler to attend these dinners. Many were reduced to the direst shifts; frequently borrowing had to be resorted to by way of concealing their poverty from all but the lender.. . . The practice of playing for dinner and drink appears to have prevailed more or less down to 1830, when at the annual meeting of that year a resolution was passed on the motion of Mr Hislop, weaver:—`That at all parish spiels there should be no dinners, which being put to the vote, it was agreed that dinners should be done away with in a general way, but that any remember or rink may dine with the challenging party if they agree to it."'

The two brief notes that here follow prove that the ancient curlers of Sanquhar were not behind their brethren at Coupar in the exercise of charity towards offenders:-

"Jany, 1782.

"Walter M'Turk, surgeon, was expelled the society for offering a gross insult in calling them a parcel of d-----d scoundrels."

"17th Dec. 1788.

The meeting proceeded to chose officers for the ensuing year, when Mr Walter M'Turk, surgeon, was chosen Preses."

Besides covering a multitude of sins, the charity of the old curlers of Sanquhar soothed the sorrows of those to whom the frosty season brought misery, when it brought happiness to the curler's heart. Games were played for oatmeal and for coals to be distributed among the poor, and this laudable practice is kept up in the district to this day. Long may it continue: In many parts of the country the same custom has for a long time prevailed. It is one of the brightest and best features in the history of our national game, and if it should happily become universal, curling shall then take even a higher place than it does now as "a sweetener of life and solder of society."

HAMILTON (1777).—The minute-book of the old curling club of Hamilton—a neat octavo—begins with this manifesto:-

"We, Subscribers—curlers in Hamilton, considering that the lovers of the sport of curling have never yet incorporated themselves into a society, and are still labouring under the want of many valuable advantages which might be attained thereby.

"The accumulated benefits which accrue from an united body, and which are enjoyed by each individual are priviledges which every social spirit longs to be possessed of.

"Partly animated with the hopes of attaining those invaluable ends, but more especially excited thereto by the following circumstance (having formerly each of us severally contributed to the forming and maintaining of a canal for the purpose of curling, in the Aluir of Hamilton, upon a liberty being granted by the magistrates of the said place so to do, and having done the same at a considerable expense. The honorable magistrates in consideration of which have been pleased again to confirm the same priviledges to us as a society by honorary promise, investing us with the exclusive power of managing, supporting, and employing that canal in all respects as we shall find necessary for enjoying the sport of curling, and by their authority to maintain these powers granted to us when occasion requires).

"Actuated by these flattering inducements we do now hereby constitute and form ourselves into a regular society for the purpose of managing the above mentioned canal, and likewise ordering ourselves in other respects as becomes a company of curlers."

The "Articles of Regulation" that follow the manifesto, like others we have noticed, refer chiefly to the conduct of business. A. Preses and four "managers" are appointed, to whom are "committed the executive powers of the society to act agreeable to their resolution, and in every other respect as they may find necessary for the interest thereof": the entry-money is fixed at one shilling and sixpence sterling, to be paid "by way of annual supply," to keep up the canal and meet other expenses. Members are to be admitted by ballot or general consent, and in all Baines they are to be "preferred in the draught before strangers." In the list of original members some are marked "dead" and others "run awa'," a distinction which we may safely presume is not now necessary. The society was evidently more cosmopolitan than its neighbours, for we have under date 1796, December 27, the following admissions:—

The magistrates and the curlers of Hamilton seem to have worked very amicably together, and some of the council must not only have been patrons of the society, but proficients at the play, for several Dailies in the early times held office as masters. Magisterial protection does not seem, however, to have extended to the loch, for we find frequent payments for "publishing with the drum," offering rewards for information as to Parties who destroyed the ice and the bank of the loch; while the "watching" of the loch by the officer is an expensive item in the yearly accounts. This personage, destined in the future to be one of the "institutions" of every well-regulated society, meets us for the first time in the following minute:-

"14 Nov. 1781. The curlers met at John Eglinton's, and," inter alia, "appointed Robert Bruce as their officer, to warn the meetings and attend on the ice, etc., for which he is to have a pair of shoes annually at Candelmas."

The cost of the shoes was 5s. 9d., rising gradually to 10s. towards the end of the century, and this leather salary seems to have been regularly paid. To supply plenty of "cows for the curlers" was one of the duties included in it, besides those mentioned above: In 1788 an officer's widow gets 6s. by way of a solatium, as she was doubtless unable to fill her husband's shoes; and in 1792 another widow (the office must have had some fatality about it) is paid one guinea. The officer's inner man was not neglected, as several entries of the following kind show:-

"To drink to the officer when cutting the loch, 1s."

In the hour of disgrace the poor fellow is also allowed a "consideration" in which apparently to drown his feelings, for we read:-

"HAMILTON, 8th Nov. 1791.

"... The meeting dismissed their officer, and the managers appoint to meet this (lay fortnight at Humphrey Crearrer's in order to make choise of a new officer. Every member that chooses is desired to attend, and dinner to be on the table precisely at 3 o'clock. The meeting agree that the clerk when dismissing the oj7icer fire him 2s. 6d. to drink for warning extra meetings."

It is only indirectly that the Hamilton records furnish any information about the game as it was then played. Each rink, or rack, as it is called, consisted of seven, sometimes of eight players, and up till 1836 one stone was used by each player. The Hamilton player, in delivering his stone, did not use the hack; in the ice as he now does, but steadied himself on the crisp, an iron cross with prongs for fastening it in the ice, of which we have here a specimen said to be 200 years old. The article was certainly not costly, as appears from this entry in the accounts:-

"1782. April 16. By cash paid for crisps 0 2 0."

Some years later there occurs the following reference to some mechanical appliance for describing, the broughs not unlike that now in use:-

"To Thomas Miller for making the wood with pricks for marking the toesee and circles on the ice . 0 1 0."

The earliest notice of a bonspiel occurs in 1792, January 21, when

"Five racks [rinks], four out of the town and one of the parish, met with five racks from Cambusnethan on the Dead Waters and played a bonspele, 155 game."

The "box" of this ancient club was not replenished, as in the clubs we have noticed, by any extensive system of fines, though fining was at times resorted to, and that even in the case of members of the High Court.

"12 Nov. 1793. James Mack never having attended during the whole last year as a manager, it was unanimously agreed he should be fined. The vote carried 5s."

No rule against profane and insulting language seems to have been needed. These good old curlers were evidently true to their original bond of union, and able without the force of fear to order themselves in all respects "as became a company of curlers." They had meetings for business and social enjoyment twice a year, and the different hostelries in the town—"John Klinton's," "The Fox and Hounds," and about a dozen others—were all patronised in turii, the evenings being spent, as the records relate, " with the greatest possible conviviality and hilarity," and "with all the mirth and glee of curlers." Nor was the sympathy that sweetens the curler's cup of enjoyment unknown to them, as the following proves:-

"HAMILTON, Jan. 29, 1795.

"This night a quorum of curlers met in the house of Wm. Clark, and," inter alia, "appointed a general meeting of the society to-morrow night to take into consideration to give something to the poor, as a subscription is opened for that purpose in the town."

New members were formally initiated by the society at these meetings, and had the "word" and the ''grip " communicated to them, the secrecy and correctness of which they were held bound to preserve.
John Frost in these days, as in ours, was a fickle friend; he would take offence and not visit Cadzow for a season, and all the arts of the warlock Taira Pate, and the prayers of Tam's contemporaries, could not avail to bring him out of the sulks. This will spew how they acted then:

"HAMILTON, 5th April 1791.

"This night met in the house of John Eglinton, by desire of the Preses, the following persons, and took their dinner, as they had no bonspel this season, there being no frost."

Were not these ancients wise? Why should they lose their dinner because they had lost their play?

BLAIRGOWRIE (1783).—The earliest records of this old club are found in a small volume which covers the period 1796-1811. The story of its first thirteen years cannot therefore be told. In the next minute-book of the club, which has been very carefully kept by the different secretaries from the time of James Duffus to that of John Bridie, we find, however, an old document that gives indisputable evidence of the club's earlier existence. This is a reply to a challenge which had evidently been sent from Coupar-Angus to Blairgowrie, and is as follows:-

"To the Reverend  Mr Thomas Hill, , C. Angus.

The curling society of Blairgowrie present their respectful compliments to Mr Hill, and will do themselves the pleasure of meeting eight of the Coupar Society on the Loch Bog in terms of their challenge.

"BLAIRGOWRIE, Thursday forenoon, ten o'clock, 1784."

A minute-book of the club, containing records previous to 1783, is said to have been lost; and there is one amusing tradition which would lead its to believe that the Blairgowrie curlers played for beef and greens as far back as the Rebellion of 1745. Both sides on that occasion lost the prize, and the landlord more than likely lost the reckoning. In an "ode" written by Mr Bridie, and recited at the centenary celebration of the society in 1883, we have, in the style of the Address to a Mummy, a history of the Blairgowrie Club, in which a certain incident of the Rebellion is thus detailed:—

"Tradition tells a story of the village,
About the `forty-five' or still more early,
Of rude invasion, foraging, and pillage
By some bold soldiers following Prince Charlie
Who on a winter evening came to Blair,
And greedily ate up the curlers' fare.

"Ah, who can faithfully depict the scenes,
How these marauders rallied in a body,
And made a mess of all the beef and greens,
And swallowed rather than discussed the toddy,
And put the innkeeper in consternation,
Awed by the military occupation

"What could he do? Though in himself `an host'
He was confronted by an armed band
Of hungry fighting men, each at his post,
Obeying his superior in command
What wonder if he got a little nervous,
So cavalierly pressed into `the service.'

"Then who can realise the blank despair
Of all the curlers, tired and hungry too?
Winners and losers of the game were there,
Prepared to cline as curlers always do,
And round the festive board to meet, and sink
Their petty quarrels in a friendly drink."


The rules of the Blairgowrie Club were framed in 1796 by the Rev. Mr Johnstone, minister of the parish—the president, and a committee. An annual dinner is the first thing to receive attention in the rules, and this seems to have been of great importance. Members who sent an apology and did not dine were fined sixpence. Those who neither sent an apology nor came to dinner were afterwards fined one shilling; and as this did not secure a full attendance, a fine of two shillings and sixpence was imposed on all absentees. "The utmost harmony and conviviality,' according to the common entry in the minutes, prevailed at these gatherings. Tom, Dick, and Harry were not eligible, for the rule as to membership was this:-

"No person can be admitted a member of the society unless recommended by one of the members as a person of good character, who has formerly played on the ice."

But notwithstanding this protecting clause, it was still thought necessary to enact the following:

"RULES FOR THE REGULATION OF THE MEMBERS WHILE ON THE ICE AND IN SOCIETY.

"No member, while on the ice and in society, shall utter an oath of any kind, under the penalty of twopence teties quoties.

"No brother curler shall give another abusive or ungentlemanlike language when on the ice and in society, or use any gestures or utter insinuations tending to promote quarrels: otherwise he shall be liable to be fined for the same at the discretion of the members then present."

The utmost conviviality mentioned above was scarcely consistent with the following rules as to the quantity of drink to be consumed on special occasions:-

"The members, when playing among themselves in a birled game, shall not spend more in a publick-house upon drink than sixpence each for one day. If, however, a regular challenge is given and accepted by one class of curlers to another, the expense on such an occasion may amount to but not exceed three shillings each to the losers, and the gainers half that sum."

Most of the earlier minutes record sundry fines for failing to observe the rule that each person:-

"Shall be bound within three months from the date of his admission to provide himself with two curling-stones, which must be approved of by the society; or in case he fail to do this within the above period lie forfeits five shillings that the society may therewith provide stones for him, and lie shall not be at liberty to carry them away, as they are understood to belong to the society."

A supply of stones, "not less than three dozen," was also provided and kept in repair at the expense of the club. These were got from the Ericht when it was "in ply," and the work of finding them does not seem to have been very easy, for we read on 15th July 1799, that a committee at the command of the Preses.

"Proceeded up the water of Ericht, and they have to report that they found and laid aside a considerable number of stones out of which eighteen or twenty very excellent curling-stones may be picked, and the committee request, as they have been at considerable pains in searching out the stones, that another committee should be named to bring them home."

The cost of "handling" them after their home-coming may be reckoned from the following account:—

An inventory of these stones (of some of which drawings are to be found at p. 41) is now and then entered in the record, and at one time their number is put down at "fourteen dozen." They would appear for a long time to have been protected by no covering, but simply to have been kept together by a chain. In the beginning of this century, however, a house was erected for theirs at a cost of twelve shillings and elevenpence, from which cost four shillings fell to be deducted as "the price of the old chain sold!" [In 1819 a stone and lime house was built for 7. In 1881 a brick one cost 150. Such is the benefit of civilisation.]

No information is given in the earlier minutes as to the form of play. But in this, as in other old clubs, the rink generally consisted of eight, and was presided over by a director. Grips were used for footing in delivering the stone, and Rule 8 prescribed that

"No member shall be seen on the ice as a player without a broom, under the penalty of twopence stg."

Members would appear to have been "initiated," though the traditiont as to "white-headed Jamie Cammell" and the Coupar-Angus Club having been the means of communicating the sign and secret to Blairgowrie (Annual, 1842, p. 60), finds no support in the records. Prompted by that sympathetic spirit to which we have had to refer in the case of other old clubs, the Blairgowrie curlers in the early part of this century organised a "charitable fund" for the benefit of members requiring occasional relief, and for "any other charitable purpose." The "fund" only continued for a few years, but while it lasted it seems to have done good service.

MUIRKIRK (1784).—The Rev. Mr Sheppard, in his Account of Muirkirk, written about the end of last century, informs us (ride p. 107) that curling was the people's chief amusement in winter, but he makes no reference to any society of curlers which may then have existed in the parish. As the minute-book of this society has recently gone amissing we are unable to do justice to its antiquity, or to give therefrom extracts illustrative of eighteenth-century manners and customs. That the Muirkirk people are proud of their old club, and ready to do honour to its age, is sufficiently proved by an account of the centenary celebration in the Cumnock Express of date February 16, 1884. At this happy and enthusiastic gathering, which was presided over by J. G. A. Baird of Muirkirk and Adainton, the secretary, Alexander Donald, schoolmaster, gave an interesting account of the history of the society, from which, in the absence of the records, we may be allowed to quote:-

"The celebration of the centenary of a society wakens up imagination, and is a particularly suggestive occasion. In the first decade of the eighteenth century all Scotland was in agitation over the loss of the Edinburgh Parliament; and as debate followed debate the fury of the people grew more intense, till at length the Duke of Hamilton summoned all the Lowlanders to muster to the fray. Muirkirk made a brave response, and raised a large volunteer corps, which only awaited the signal to march to Edinburgh. Now, it was the sons of these patriots who met in 1784 and founded the Muirkirk Curling; Club. henceforth they believed that `peace bath her victories no less renowned than war'; they beat their fathers' swords into curling-stone handles, and studied war no more. lien with such blood in their veins could never sit through the long dreary winter by the cheerless ingle-cheek in

`The Auld clay biggin'
An' hear the restless rattons squeak
About the riggin'.'

..... These old farmers were public-spirited, and beguiled the tedium of winter by playing at the kuytiny stane. A stone was obtained in the channel of the river; a niche was chipped out for the forefinger and thumb, the stone being partly cuist or cuited along the ice. Then came large hemispherical blocks, the handle being fixed at one side.

The earliest historical document I can get my hands on is of date 1791, when reference is made to a match between Douglas and Muirkirk, and it is added that nearly thirty years had elapsed since the two clubs had met, thus carrying the existence of a curling society back to 1760. . . . . The regular minutes begin in 1783, and continue up till date."

DOUGLAS (1792).—A neat little quarto volume, entitled Minute-Book, Douglas St Bride's Curling Club, gives us a good many interesting notes about the early days of curling, of some of which we shall defer making use until we come to deal with subsequent chapters. The organisation of the club, as set forth in the riles adopted by the ice-players in the parish of Douglas on 25th January 1792, does not differ much from that of other societies already noticed. The office-hearers were president, vice-president, six directors, and a treasurer and clerk, all of which "must execute their respective offices without any salary or gratuity whatsoever"; and of the two first-named one "must always reside within a mile of the town." An officer was also appointed "to warn all the players whenever desired by the president or any of the directors"; his salary to be five shillings yearly. The entry-money of members (who were duly initiated on entry by receiving the word and grip) was sixpence, and the annual subscription threepence. This was a small sum, but it seems to have been amply sufficient for the society's wants in those days, for the only expenditure we hear of in the earlier record is at a meeting in the house of Douglas Sleigh, vintner, on 25th January 1793, when

"Thomas Brown presented his account for carrying stones to Muirkirk, amounting to six shillings, which, being examined and approved, orders were given to the treasurer to pay the same—also five shillings to the officer as his salary. And two shillings and sixpence to John Brown's daughter at Claydubs, as a small recompense for the trouble he is at with the curling-stones belonging to the society."

In regard to the arrangement of players in rinks, Rule 4 thereanent was to this effect:-

"The players shall be divided by the office-bearers into racks, and places in these racks in all parish games, and any person refusing to play in the place allotted to him shall be fined in the sum of sixpence."

The Douglas Society seems to have kept up a series of matches with certain parishes in the neighbourhood, such as Muirkirk, Carmichael, Lesmahagow, Lanark, and Crawford-john, the results of which are faithfully recorded in the minute-book. These seem to have been looked upon as of the very greatest importance, for it was enacted in Rule 6 that

"Any person refusing to play a parish game, when warned by the officer (unless he can give such an excuse as the majority of his rack shall approve of) shall be fined in the sum of one shilling."

Previous to such matches coming off, the racks (eight players each) practised carefully at home among themselves. It was wisely stipulated that these matches should not cost any of the players more than two shillings sterling.

The jubilee of the St Bride's Club was celebrated in 1842 by a dinner presided over by James Paterson, president.

"On the right of the chair," says the minute, was Thomas Haddow, the senior member of the society, being then in the 80th year of his age, and 63rd as a player: he was a member at the first constituting of the society in the year 1792, and from recollection could relate many of the most eventful circumstances that had occurred in curling duriiia the bygone half century."

In a poem [The Douglas Bonspiel: A Poem. Though written in 1806 the poem was not published till 1842.] written by Captain Paterson about the beginning of this century are duly celebrated the deeds of Thomas Haddow (who is said to have been the prototype of Lazarus Powhead in Scott's Castle Dangerous), and of other ancient worthies among the curlers "of that loved place called Douglasdale." Skipper Tam (Haddow) draws the broughs with "knife and string." Another hero is described as glancing up the rink

"With stone in hand and foot in natch
In attitude of dire despatch;"

while of Bailie Hamilton it is said

"A better drawer ne'er clapped foot in natch;
He once, near Bothwell Brig, with dext'rous cunning,
Drew through a ten inch port for three times running
The rink in length was forty yards and nine,
As measured by Tam Haddow with his line;
And when the stone they in the port did place,
On neither side was there an inch of space;
The ice in length was forty-two yards good,
Down from the pass to where the bailie stood;
The plaudits loud from lookers-on and all,
Alarmed `The Douglas' in his castle hall."

Darkness descends on the players, and when " the fun " is thus ended,

"Reluctantly they think upon their homes,
And now in Flecky's barn they lodge their stones;
Then future matches made—wi' muckle sorrow
They all depart, resolved to meet to-morrow."

DUNFERMLINE (1784).—The minutes of the old curling club of Dunfermline extend from 2nd February 1784 to 2nd February 1808. After the latter date the club seems for a time to have been inactive till 1821, when a new club was formed, into which the few surviving members of the old club were admitted. The old minute-book was then handed over to the united club. From the list of members we infer that the club existed for some time previous to the date of the first minute in the volume, for we find Adam Paterson and five others entered as members in 1778, and the first meeting recorded is called the "Anniversary Meeting of the Curlers." The designation of club is used in 1785, and as far as we can judge this is the earliest use of the word among the old curling societies. This club ought in our estimation to be held in honourable remembrance because it was the earliest to recognise the necessity of having a chaplain among the office-bearers, and to "William Peebles" belongs the honour of having been the first spiritual adviser of any curling club. The other office-bearers were president, vice-president, clerk, and treasurer. It would appear that these offices were objects of ambition among the members, for in the first minute we find it declared

"That if any member in the society shall at, or preceding any future election, either ask or solicit, or employ for them to ask or solicit, a vote for any office herein [the member] that shall so solicit or employ any for him so to do, shall not only be declared incapable of any office, but shall be expelled from the society for so doing, and this regulation shall be a standing rule in future."

The entry-money of members was fixed at two shillings and sixpence, of which one shilling only was applied to the society's use, and one shilling and sixpence was spent by the meeting as usuall—i.e., we presume in enabling members to drink "a few toasts suitable to the occasion," as they seem always to have done at their anniversary gathering. While the office-bearers were not allowed to canvass, they seem to have been allowed to pay cann (a donation to the funds, which we hear of in no other society), for we have under date February 2, 1795, the following appended to the minute:-

"N. B.—Praeses cann 2s. 6d., vice do., 1s., secretary, 6d., chaplain, 6d. Treasurer being always contd. pays no cann."

Penalties were inflicted on those who did not respect the sociality of the club, and any person who did not attend the anniversary meeting was fined two shillings and sixpence, unless he had a valid excuse.

In 1784---

"The meeting unanimously declared their displeasure at so many new entrants neglecting to attend the anniversary meeting, lays them under the bane of the society, and shall admit none of them without a satisfactory excuse, or repeating their entry."

Twenty years later we have the society dealing smartly with three members who had promised to cline, but did not appear—they were fined "five shillings each, being their proportion of the bill." Like their contemporaries, these Dunfermline melt as they (lined did not forget the needy, for it is stated that after dinner on February 2, 1785, the meeting

"Distributed five shillings to the boor and other necessary uses."

We look ill vain in this old record for any news about the method of play. Each "entered curler" was bound to have two curling-stones of his own property upon the ice, but we cannot determine whether at that early date these two stones were—contrary to the custom of the time—used by their owner in the practice of the name. There is no mention of directors or rinks, or of any "word" or "grip" in use, and it is not till the minute of 2nd February 1804, that any notice is found of the implements of war. Then, after passing an account of six shillings for crampets and for preserving the stones,

"The meeting authorize the Preses to get the stair on the south side of the pond taken down and enlarged, and door and lock put upon it to hold the curling-stones, crampets, brooms, &c., and that the expense be defrayed by the club."

DUDDINGSTON (1795).—No records have been preserved of a curling society which is said to have been instituted at Duddingston about the middle of last century. The later society, instituted in 1795, and the minutes of which, with a few blanks, extend onward from that date to 1853, is by far the most important of all the eighteenth-century curling societies. Dr Cairnie, writing in 1833, says:

In mentioning societies of curlers, the Duddingston certainly merits to be placed the first on the list as containing many members who are highly eminent for scientific knowledge, wealth, respectability, and worth."

In the strict order of time, Duddingston, however, falls into the last place in this chapter, though we cordially agree with Cairnie's verdict. This is not unfortunate, as the transition from ancient to modern curling is distinctly connected with the formation of the Duddingston Society. The regulations drawn up in 1795 differ but little from those we have already described; the ideas of our forefathers as to the high character of the game, and its power to promote health, mental vivacity, loyalty, and religion, are well expressed in the Resolutions; while the Laws of Curling adopted by the club are the embodiment of the collective wisdom and experience of the earlier societies. These Regulations, Resolutions, and Laws, while shedding light on the bygone century, open up at the same time a new era in curling, and their influence is manifest in all the societies which were formed between the time of the Duddingston decrees and the formation of the Grand Club in 1838, when a greater than Duddingston arose to guide the destinies of the national game. The Duddingston Club was, in the end of the last and the earlier part of the present century, a kind of Grand Club. Its name went far beyond its local habitation, and it numbered among its members distinguished curlers from all parts of Scotland. Besides, the old Duddingston curlers did more than exercise themselves on the ice during the day and meet for dinner and drink at night—they turned attention to the past, and sought to collect all available information as to the origin and progress of the game, and under their auspices the first history [Ramsay's Account of the Game of Curling, 1811. The work was read and approved of by a Committee of the Society before it was put into the publisher's hands, and on being published its sale was promoted by the members. Songs and all documents in the society's possession were handed over to Ramsay for use in the volume.] of it was published. Like their brethren at Canonmills, they also had songs specially written for their annual meetings, some of which have perhaps done more than all the rules and regulations to popularise the national game. As the precursor of the Grand Club, at whose instance we write, we may therefore well award the place of honour among last century clubs to the Duddingston Society.

The minutes open with this formal document

"Duddingston, 24th January 1795.

"Curling bath long been a favourite amusement in many parts of Scotland for many ages past. It is an exercise very conducive to health, tends to promote society, and often unites its votaries, who come from north, south, east, and west, in the strongest bonds of friendship.

"The inhabitants of the small parish of Duddingston have long been famed for their attachment to the manly exercise of curling; this was greatly promoted by their having a large loch conveniently situated and near to the Metropiles. Some years ago a society was formed to keep up the spirit of this diversion, which seemed to be fast falling into decay. Of late several gentlemen who have already joined the society, and others who wish to do so, have expressed a desire that a few rules might be drawn out and laid before them to be inspected by the society, and, if approved of by the majority of the members, would be adopted for regulating the future conduct of the society. A committee of their number was appointed for the purpose of drawing up the rules--viz., Messrs Thomas M'Kill, Michael Linning, David Scott, and John Edgar—which they accordingly did, and were approvers off by all the members present, and is here inserted as follows, viz.:--

"RESOLUTIONS AND REGULATIONS OF THE CURLING CLUB OF DUDDINGSTON.

"'1. Resolved that the sole object of this institution is the enjoyment of the game of curling, which, while it adds vigour to the body, contributes to vivacity of mind and the promotion of the social and generous feelings.'
"'2. Resolved that peace and unanimity, the great ornaments of society, shall reign among them, and that virtue, without which no accomplishment is truely valuable and no enjoyment really satisfactory, shall be the aim of all their actions.'
"'3. Resolved that to be virtuous is to reverence our God, religion, laws, and king, and they hereby do declare their reverence for and attachment to the same.'

"The said curling club, in order to the permanent and regular existence of their institution, have adopted the following regulations."

The "regulations" which then follow are, as we have remarked, very like those which have been given from other clubs. We have our old friend protesting against "strong language" in

No. 4 "He who utters an oath or imprecation shall be fined in the suns of threepence."

To this is added a new and salutary prohibition in rule 5

"Any member introducing a political subject of conversation shall be fined in a penalty of sixpence, to be paid immediately."

Besides president, vice-president, and secretary (the last-named receiving remuneration for his trouble, and having his fees as a member remitted), .Duddingston Club created quite a number of ornamental and useful offices. They had a chaplain as at Dunfermline, the first being the Rev. Mr Bennet, minister of Duddingston, who seems to have been very liberal toward the club in giving a site on the glebe for a curling- house, and otherwise doing a great deal for its prosperity. Their "officer" was an important personage, and had, besides his salary, "a coat with suitable uniform provided for him. When assessments and fines were imposed, the officer was sent to "the respective lodgings" of those who had not paid, to collect the same, and he had to see to the safety both of curlers and skaters; the skating club, which seems to have worked amicably with the curlers, having provided a ladder and ropes, which, in case of accidents, were under the officer's care. One of the members was elected "Master of Stones," and his duty was to see that each member on entry lodged a pair of stones in the curling-house, which, in the event of the member's removal, remained the property of the club. There was also a surgeon to the society (Mr Bairnsfather, Liberton, being the first elected to that office); a poet-laureate, a medalist, and a body of counsellors composed of "gentlemen permanently residing in Edinburgh," whose duty it was to assist the president and judge as to applications for admission to the club.

Parties who wished for admission had to apply in writing, and on being approved by the council their names were submitted to the general meeting. The entry-money was at first three shillings sterling, and if the entrant did not bring along with him two curling-stones he had to "pay down five shillings in lieu thereof." There does not appear to have been any ceremony of initiation, but in 1802 a motion was carried that a silver medal. "with proper insignia as a badge, to distinguish the members from any other gentlemen," should be worn, and the entry-money was thereupon raised to one guinea, which covered the extra expense of the medal. This badge, under the penalty of one shilling, had to be worn on the ice and also at the anniversary dinner. Mr M'George having given the "dye" for the same gratis, "in the most polite planner," was appointed medalist to the society. Some years after, the price of admission was raised to three guineas, and as there were frequent extra assessments, the membership of the society must have been rather an expensive luxury. In the course of its existence the Duddingston Society seems to have become very much a legal one, for we find that on one occasion, when no fewer than seventy new members were admitted, there were in the number twenty-nine advocates, twenty-two writers to the signet, nine writers, and two accountants. No society of the kind, notwithstanding this preponderance of "wig and crown," ever numbered in its ranks such a company of peers, baronets, judges, and representatives of the different learned professions, as these names prove:-

"Marquis of Queensberry, Marquis of Abercorn, Sir Thos. Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, Sir George Mackenzie of Coull, Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, Sir Alex. Muir Mackenzie, Sir George Clerk of Penicuick, Sir Patrick Walker of Coats, Sir Chas. G. S. Menteath of Closeburn, Sir Wm. Gibson-Craig of Riccarton, Sir Charles Gordon, Sir Charles Douglas, Sir John Hay, Sir William Hamilton, Sir John Dick, Sir Alex. Macdonald Lockhart, Sir Patrick Walker, Sir Robert Burnett, Sir John Gillespie.

"Lords Murray, Cockburn, Ivory, C Moncreiff, Fullarton, Cunningham, Jeffrey, and Gillies, Colonsay

"Major Iamiltou Duudas of Duddingston, Colonel Macdonald of Powderhall, Lieut.-Col. White.

"Henry Fergusson of Craigdarroch, John Clerk Maxwell of Middle-hie, Lauderdale Maitland of Eccles, Robert Dundas of Arniston, James Maidment, Cosmo Innes.

"Principal Baird, Professor Dunbar, Professor Ritchie.

"Revs. John Ramsay of Gladsmuir, John Thomson of Duddingston, Dick of Currie, James Muir of Beith, John Somerville of Currie, James Macfarlane of Duddingston, G. S. Smith, Tolbootlh, Wm. Proudfoot, Strathaven.

"Drs Cairney, Berry, Dyniock, Bairnsfather, Dumbreck, Mackenzie, and Stewart."

"In order to prevent disputes and ensure harmony argon; the members," it was resolved by the society in 1803 to prepare a Code of Laws by which the play should be regulated. Messrs Home, David Scott, Millar, Linnin„ M'George, Edgar, Trotter, Ewart, and Muir were the committee appointed to do this work. In presenting their report they stated that

"The rules had been prepared with the greatest care, most of which are strictly observed in those counties in which the game of curling prevails."

When we meet with this first Code of Curling Laws s we have crossed the border line of the beginning of the century, for they were not finally adopted till January 6, 1806; but as the outcome of the experience of the eighteenth-century clubs and the basis of our present code, these rules will ever be historically interesting to curlers, and they are therefore given in ertenso:-

RULES IN CURLING To be observed by the DUDDINGSTON CURLING SOCIETY

"I. The usual length of a rink is from thirty-six to forty-four yards inclusive ; but this will be regulated by circumstances and the agreement of parties. When a game is begun the rink is not to be changed or altered, unless by the consent of the Majority of players; nor is it to be shortened, unless it clearly appears that the majority are unable to make up.

"II. The hog score to be one-sixth part of the length of the rink distant from the tee, and every stone to be deemed a hog the sole of which does not clear the score.

"III. Each player to foot in such a manner that, in delivering his stone, he bring it over the tee.

"IV. The order of playing adopted at the beginning must be observed during the whole course of a game.

"V. All curling-stones to be of a circular shape. No stone is to be changed throughout a game, unless it happens to be broken ; and the largest fragment of such stone to count, without any necessity of play-in- with it more. If a stone rolls or is upset, it must be placed upon its sole where it stops. Should the handle quit a stone in the delivery, the player must keep hold of it, otherwise lie will not be entitled to re- play the shot.

"VI. A player may sweep his own stone the whole length of the rink; his part%, not to sweep until it has passed the hog score at the farther end, and his adversaries not to sweep until it has passed the tee. The sweeping to be always to a side.

"VII. None of the players, upon any occasion, to cross or go upon the middle of the rink.

"VIII. If in sweeping or otherwise a running stone is marred by any of the party to which it belongs, it must be put off the ice; if by any of the adverse party, it must be placed agreeable to the direction which was given to the player ; and if it is marred by any other means, the player may take his shot again. Should a stone at rest be accidentally displaced, it must be put as nearly as possible to its former situation.

"IX. Every player to be ready when his turn comes, and to take no more than a reasonable time to play his shot. Should he, by mistake, play with a wrong stone, it must be replaced where it stops by the one with which lie ought to have played.

"X. A doubtful shot is to be measured by some neutral person, whose determination shall be final.

"XI. Before beginning to play, each party must name one of their number for directing their game. The players of his party may give their advice to the one so named, but they cannot control his direction, nor are they to address themselves to the person who is about to play. Each director, when it is his turn to play, to name one of his party to take the charge for hint. Ever, player to follow the direction given to him.

"XII. Should any question arise the determination of which may not be provided for by the words and spirit of the rules now established; each party to choose one of their number in order to determine it. If the two so chosen differ in opinion, they are to name an umpire, whose decision shall be final,"

Three years after the passing of the above Code of Laws we find the Duddingston curlers moving quite away from the past, and originating point competitions, about which nothing is heard in the eighteenth century. This was alone in 1809, on the ground that

"As no sport was more deserving of encouragement, and as none seemed to offer a juster or more interesting competition than curling, it would be proper to the society to institute a prize medal, which should be played for once every winter."

A gold medal, "with proper inscriptions and embellishments," was accordingly secured, the winner of which was

"To have his success announced in the newspapers, and to be allowed, if he chooses, to append a small badge thereto, expressive of his having been victor for the year."

It is notable that only three points were at this time thought worthy of being played—viz., Drawing, Striking, and Inwicking at each of which competitors had four chances.

The point medal day seems to have been popular, and Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, a member of the club, dedicated a poem to its honour, the first three stanzas of which may be given as indicating the enthusiasm aroused by the annual battle of the Points:-

"Let lads darn the water in ilka how trough,
For cheerin' frost comes wi' December
And curlers o' Scotland on Duddingston Loch
The glorious MEDAL remember.

Chorus—"Duddingston Loch!
Duddingston Loch!
Strain ilka nerve, shouther, back-bane, and hough.

"Let rogues and let fools rin to cards and to dice,
And gamblin', sit girnin' and gurlin'
But honest men ken that tho' slipp'ry the ice,
Still fair play an' fun gang wi' curlin'.

Chorus.

"Then ring it round Reekie, our auld bizzin' byke,
That the rinks are a' measured an' soopit;
And out flee the lads, to draw, inwick, and strike,
Frae plough, counter, desk, liar, and pu'pit."

Chorus.

The Duddingston curlers seem to have had many of their meetings enlivened by the muse of Sir Alexander Boswell. These meetings were at first held at the Curlers' Hall, Duddingston, but they seen to have been removed to Edinburgh, and in the minute of 11th December 1816, written at M'Ewan's Tavern, we have the following entry:-

"A duet composed by Mr Boswell was sung to the meeting by that gentleman, and received with unbounded applause; [the duet] was ordered to be recorded in the minute-book of the society, and the thanks of the meeting were voted to Mr Boswell."

This is the first we hear of Boswell's famous duet between Lochside and Damback—one of our classic curling pieces, the first verse of which, in the best o' braid Scotch, is enough to justify the " unbounded applause " with which the song was received by the Duddingston Society.

"Let feckless chiels like crucket weans,
Gae blaw their thums wi' pecks and granes,
Or thaw their fushionless shank banes,
And hurkle at an ingle.

"But lads o' smeddum croose and bauld,
Whase bluid can thole a nip o' cauld,
Your ice stages in your grey plaids fauld
And try on lochs a pingle.

Chorus—"When straw lies white on ilka knowe,
The ice stane and the guid broom kowe,
Can warm us like a bleezin' loge,
Fair fa' the ice and curlin'! "

One name among the members of this old society deserves especial honour—that of James Millar, advocate. At the meeting in

"Archers' Hall,
[The meetings were held there after the society had secured a piece of ground adjoining for playing the games of quoits and bowls in the summer season.]
8th Dec. 1824,

"The secretary stated that since the last meeting the society had suffered a severe loss by the death of Mr James Millar, advocate, one of the presidents. The secretary felt it a duty incumbent upon him, and die to the memory of a gentleman highly esteemed by the members, to mention a few of the many services rendered by their late friend to the Duddingston Curling Society.

"Mr Millar had been a member for upwards of twenty-three years, during which period he laboured incessantly to promote the welfare and prosperity of the society. To his exertions, chiefly, the society is indebted for the excellent rules now adopted and observed by the members when on the ice. He was among the first, if not the first, who suggested the idea of a Medal to be worn by each member and furnished the motto for that medal [Sic Scoti, &c.] He it was also who first suggested the idea of instituting a gold prize medal to be played for annually, which has excited a keen spirit of emulation among the players. The secretary from his official situation had occasion to witness the unwearied endeavours of the late Mr Millar to have the society established on the most respectable footing, and he lived to see these endeavours crowned with success. On the ice it is well known to us all that he was the life of the curlers."

This statement of the secretary was approved of by the meeting, who joined "with Mr Ewart in lamenting Mr .Millar's death." From the account above given of Mr Millar's work in the Duddingstoit Society, it is evident that lie must ever be regarded as one of the greatest benefactors of the national game.

On the same evening on which "Mr Boswell " sang to the society his duct of Lochside anal Damtack, we find that

"A poem composed by Mr James Millar was read to the meeting and received with unbounded applause, and ordered to he recorded in their minute-book, and the thanks of the society were voted to that gentleman."

For "feast of reason and flow of soul" that night must surely have been a memorable one in the history of the club. A short time afterwards Mr Millar was elected to the high position of poet-laureate. As a memorial of one who did so much for the game as a member of the Duddingston Society, we give the words in which Mr Millar himself, after recounting the various joys of The Scottish Sportsman as shooter, fisher, archer, and golfer, exalts the joy of the curler above them all:-

"Such, such are my joys, yet one dearer unsung
The bold Caledonian claims for his own;
'Tis when winter her white robe o'er Arthur has flung,
And the loch at its base under icy chains thrown.

"Then eager we haste, with the slow-rising sun,
To enter the lists on the slippery vale
Where defiance to combat, or prize to be won,
Prolongs the fond strife until darkness assail.

"How ardent the conflict when curlers engage!
The keen piercing north wind unheeded may blow-
Let the cit or the coxcomb fly trembling his rage
No feeling have those but to vanquish the foe."

"Nor inglorious the wreath that the victors entwine;
'Tis the meed of sage counsel which brilliant deeds crown
Just eye, steady nerves, active strength must combine
With devotion to toil and a love of renown.

Now the well-polished whin-stone wins calmly its way
With nicest `momentum' in the ring to repose;
Now strikes like the bolt, as resistless its sway,
Yet, the guidance so sure, it strikes only its foes.

"But who can describe the still varying game?
New efforts, new schemes, every movement demands,
Tho' each change but augments the enthusiast's flame,
And each crisis loud praise or censure commands.

"And oft it will chance, as the doubtful war burns,
That victory rests on one high-fated blow
Hope and fear fill the combatants' bosoms by turns
These pray it may hit ; those, that erring it go.

"All eyes bend on him who decides the great stake
Dread pause! the stone's sped. Hark! 'He has it'. 'they cry.
He has it!' resounds throughout Duddingston Lake,
And the rocks of proud Arthur, 'He has it,' reply.

"Thus passes the day; ah! too brief. Yet belong
Other charms to the eve; then the feast and the bowl,
Feats recounted or threatened, the laugh and the song,
Till social delights pervade every soul."

It must ever be a matter of regret that the Duddingston Society, which to Ramsay, when he wrote in 18 I1, seemed "to be fast rising to a degree of celebrity unexampled in the history of curling," should have been allowed to perish. The success of its efforts to extend the ganie and make it more than ever national became, how ever, the society's ruin. The Grand Caledonian Club took up the duty which the society had so nobly tried to perform, and with the formation of other clubs in Edinburgh, affording greater facilities to the curling citizens, the pond at Duddingston was gradually deserted. [We would venture to suggest to the Coates CIub, which is now the careful guardian of the minutes of this society, that when the centenary year-1895—comes round, the Iiterature of curling might be enriched by a small volume containing an account of the society, and some extracts from its valuable records. Such a publication would give pleasant glimpses of the social life of bygone times, and illustrate the development of our national game.]

The records which we have thus noticed may be held to indicate the nature of those other curling; societies of last century, whose minutes have not been preserved, and of many other societies which, without any formal constitution, are known to have existed in the south and west of Scotland, and more especially in Galloway, where the game is of great antiquity, and where memories of famous bonspiels in olden times are still fresh. There is a family likeness about them which proves that curling had been long practised in Scotland, for in districts widely separated, when intercommunication was difficult, such general agreement could only have come about very slowly.

The formation of societies in the last century had much to do with the development of curling and its promotion to the dignity of a. national game. Curling-stones, to begin with, were improved. They might be natural boulders from the channel of the river, but as we see in the case of those taken from the Ericht at Blairgowrie, they had to pass examinations in which the fittest only survived, while the huge cairn and the three-neukit specimens were "plucked" and went to the wall. The circular type thus gradually came into fashion, and with it scientific skill became of more importance than mere physical force—a change which, as we have noted, (lid much to popularise the game. Kindlier feelings were shewn to the stone when its character was thus improved, and greater care was taken of it. Instead of being left on the margin of the loch to be tugged out, as Graeme describes, when frost came, it was comfortably housed at the expense of the society. Duddingston was not the first to show such humanity, but the better feeling of the time is reflected in this minute:—

CURLER'S HALL, 7th Feby. 1795.
`. . . . . The meeting taking into consideration the reduced situation of their curling-stories, owing to their being left in a destitute state in the open field, and no person to look after them when the dame is over, they therefore crave the sympathy of the members; which being considered by the meeting, they unanimously resolve and agree to build a house for the stones at the expense of the society."

Curlers themselves were also improved by the societies. There were "rough blocks" among them also, if this sketch of Cairnie's (Essay, p. 89) be true:-

"The Laird of Barr (Hamilton of Barr) was a curler too. He was a middling player; but he was fond of hearing himself swear! He was a grand banner [swearer], not from anger, but out of amusement. He used the following usual form of expression: `Lard, Gad, conscience, that is a gran' shot.' The curlers felt joy when they heard the jolly and uproarious laird swear."

In the societies all such coarse conduct was, as we have seen, punished severely, and the Laird of Barr would have had to atone for the looseness of his manners by the loss of his money. The Rev. I)r Somerville of Currie, a distinguished curler, says in 1830, in a letter to Sir Richard Broun:--

"Amon; those who are truly imbued with the spirit of the ;acne there exists a degree of punctilio and etiquette, even among the commonest artizans, which would reflect credit upon many in a far superior station; and though it is confessedly somewhat of a boisterous game--a `roarin' play,' as Burns has it---yet I can honestly aver, to the best of my recollection, I never heard an oath or an indecent expression made use of upon the ice."

If there are any "blocks" among us nowadays whose tongues are not so polished as their Ailsas, they may "aiblins tak' a thocht and mend" as they read the early laws which, to their credit be it said, were generally framed and adopted by working men; for in the lists of membership the names of noblemen and gentlemen are at the first conspicuous by their absence.

Decorum in speech and behaviour, respect toward authority, obedience to law, and the duty of each to contribute to the happiness of others were all enforced by a system of fines which had no respect of persons. Into the pocket of every offender the brethren put their hands, and took out sufficient to satisfy their regulations and quench their thirst; and if any one demurred, they simply extracted more or expelled hint from the society. It is a wonder there were not more John Crocketts in such times; but "heaven's first law" is often enforced with penalties to the ultimate advantage of the sufferer, and by such stern enactments curling and curlers had a character given to them which they have never lost.

By the formation of societies not only the stones and the manners but also the style of play was improved. The society when formed was generally parochial, and if the nobility were not to the front there was sufficient scope for emulation among the "ministers, surgeons, writers, blltcliers, fishers, weavers, masons, wrights, grocers, farmers, smiths, tailors, shoemakers, publicans, and sinners," who, with a few others that might be added to Cairnie's list, usually made up the roll of membership. It was their, as it is now, an object of ambition to be elected a master or director ; and unlike the feudal baron who, when he made a bonspiel with a rival, stuck himself at the bead of his vassals, who could generally curl better than himself, or the cock-lairds, at whose curling broolzies

"Their farming slaves a hail' maun lend,
And neither whinge nor swither,"

the society acted on the detur digniori principle, and elected the best man to direct them. The haughty big-wig and the reckless stone-breaker were set aside, and skilful players like Deacon Jardine [Deacon Jardine, according to Sir R. Brous, "'flourished' from the beginning of the eighteenth century downwards, and was the oldest Preses of the Lochmaben rinks, whose name has survived the lapse of an hundred and thirty years." "Of Deacon Jardine's forte, it was said that he could with his stone birse a needle—i.e., he could wick a bore so scientifically that he would undertake, having first attached, with a piece of shoemaker's tvax, two needles in the side of two curling-stones, just the width of the one he played with apart, and upon two stones in front, similarly apart, and iu the line of direction, having affixed two birses, to play his stone so accurately that, in grazing through the port, it should impel the birses forward through the eyes of the needles!" (Memorabilia, pp. 25 and 60). ] and Tam Haddow took command of the rink, and kept it as long as they kept their reputation. Promotion in the ranks was thus the reward of true merit, as it should always be in well-regulated societies ; and when this was the case the members played their best, that they might attain honour among their fellows.

While the pillar of i•i ralry was thus satisfactorily adjusted iii its position, that of good fellowship was securely and happily set up in the social gatherings that were convened on the ice and ended in the inn, when the frost paid a visit to the parish, and in the anniversary meetings of the society, which took place "fither or no." They might have their political and religious differences and their social distinctions, but the lines of Norman Macleod were as true then as they are now:-

"In fine frosty weather, let a' meet thegither,
Wi' brooms in their haun's, an' a stane near the 'T';
Then, ha! ha! by my certies, t'e'll see hoo a' parties
Like brithers will love and like brithers agree!'

In the High Jinks of the Curling Court, which were then, perhaps, more common than they are now, members were all brothered, and in a rough-and-tumble way they were jumbled together, and all distinctions forgotten in the presence of "My lord" and his "officer," and and the excitement of "the roupin' o' the stoup."

An honest countryman, when he was once asked if he was a total abstainer, is reported to have answered in pious indignation, "'Deed no, sir, 'am the verra opposite." Society gatherings in the olden time were not cold water conventions, but it would be defamation of character to say they were the very opposite. Excessive drinking was prohibited, as many of the records have shewn. The eighteenth century was the age of clubs, and the vice of intemperance was then common in clubs and outside of them, but intemperance was not encouraged by the clubs of the curlers. The reverse was rather the case. They certainly loved curling more than drinking. Over their pap-in, their cappie-ale, or their bowl of whisky-punch, they recited the adventures of the day's healthy amusement and cemented the ties of friendship, and by the song and sentiment and sociality that graced them, their meetings were redeemed from the Scottish self-indulgence and debauchery that disgraced the period.

If these old curlers did not quite conduct themselves as their descendants do in this cultured and enlightened acre, they were certainly better employed than in cracking skulls and shedding blood as their ancestors had been accustomed to do. Nor must it ever be forgotten how benevolence mingled with their conviviality, and how they often caused the hearts of the widow and the orphan to sing for joy by their kindly distributions of food and eldin, thus making curling what we hope it will ever be—a trusted ally of "the charities that soothe, and heal, and bless."

We are now in a position to conclude our History of Ancient Curling; by a summary account of the conditions and customs that have come cinder our notice as we proceeded with the divisions under which we have seen fit to arrange the subject. In no separate chapter have we found it possible to detail accurately such conditions and customs, but from a conjunct view we may, with the aid of some additional light, present them in outline that they may be compared and contrasted with those which now prevail.

Nature is so faithful to us that she never changes her methods, and by breaking the connection between the present and the past renders useless the little knowledge we have gained of her ways. So the original patent granted by her to John Frost, by which to "bind the mire like a rock," has never been improved upon. We may therefore premise that our forefathers curled on ice similar to ours, with variations of crunklie and clean, dour and gleg, drug and keen, laugh and smooth, dauchie and clear, slagie and crisp, according to the weather—sufficient to test the versatility of the players. But if the quality was similar, the quantity was greater. When drainage had not sucked the life away from pits, ponds, dubs, dams, tarns, and pools, and water as a motive power had not been converted into steam, curlers were, when frost came, literally beset with glittering temptations of "crystal brigs." And frost came oftener then than it does now, though wise men tell us that poor old Sol is growing feebler like ourselves with age. When his rays come forth no longer and heat is uniformly diffused, we frigid nations will be on a level with our less fortunate torrid neighbours, and there will then be no curling and "no nothing." We could reconcile ourselves to the consummation if only in our little day the lessening of the sun's heat gave us more ice, but what with gulf-streams, sun-spots, and other "new inventions," we have a poor time of it compared with our great-great-grandfathers, and never once in our lifetime have we had such a luxury as the Beith curlers had at Nicol Buntin's burial, when they "had the drops from their noses frozen like shuckles." Let us hope that 'John Frost will see it to be his dirty- to work his patent more effectively, or else hand it over to the Royal Club to make better use of it.

The portion of ice set apart for a curling spiel was called the lead, ran/c, or rinse (by which last name it is still described), and as it was then shorter than it is now—its ordinary length being, 30 yards—this partly explains how early curlers were able to play such heavy stones.

At each end of the rink was the tee, toe-see, cock, cockee, wiittyr, gog, or gogsee, as it was variously called. Then, as now, it was what all aimed at, the centre of attraction, the cynosure of every eye. A Lawbee, a pinch of snuff, or a plain button inserted in the ice was enough to mark the interesting spot, but a later improvement was "a circular piece of iron with a hole drilled in the centre and having a small prong immediately opposite, which is pressed down into the ice to keel) it fixed" (Fir;. 39).

We have a relic of antiquity in the form of a wooden pin about a foot high, which was used the better to indicate the tee from a distance. It is rather a dowdy edition of the fairy form which artists are accustomed to sketch hovering over the gog, and looks not unlike a champagne bottle dying of consumption; but though its intentions might be good, its existence need not be prolonged, as its purpose is sufficiently served by a "besom shank."

 Bound the toe-sec were drawn several concentric circles, called the broughs, varying in diameter from 2 to 12 feet. The space about the tee and the broughs was called the boardhead. The coal, collie score, hoq, or hog-score, a line (generally wavy or serpentine, so as to

distinguish it from an accidental crack in the ice) was drawn at a distance from the tee of one-fifth or one-sixth part of the whole rink, so that when the rink was 30 yards the hog; was either 6 or 5 yards distant from the gog. The dread Rubicon was therefore easier crossed when the rink was shorter.

Rink or rack was the terns applied to a team of players. This was generally composed of eight men, though the number varied from three to nine, and was presided over by a brandey, director, master, oversman, hin-haun, leader, or douper, [The designation skipper or skip is not found in the last century records examined by us.] as he is variously called, whose duty it was to direct the gatlie and to play the last stone.

Sir George Harvey's picture of the Curlers in the beginning of this chapter, and the figures [From drawings by the late James Drummond, R.S.A. (1842), in the possession of Captain Mlacnair. While the drawings are in many respects interesting, the " brethren " will detect some deficiencies which lead us to infer that the artist was not a curler.] on the two foregoing pages (;ire a good idea of their ordinary accoutrements in the end of the last and the beginning of the present century. The kowe, cove, or broom, without which no player [The player is said to be the Rev. Dr Aiton of Dolphinton.] was allowed to appear on the ice, is conspicuous, and there is a picturesqueness in the ancient article that we miss in our modern besom. Of the stones used we need acid nothing to what has already been said. The one which has left the hand of the player in Harvey's illustration, and which "nods in conscious pride" as it moves along the hozaee, attended by the excited dog, who is no doubt oii his master's side, and by the faithful sweepers, has, it may be noticed, a ring-handle, and is rather more antique in appearance than those which are at rest around the tee.

The oldest type of foot-hold used by the curler for delivering the stone and attending; to the sweeping was the crampbit, crampct, cramp, or tramp—a piece of iron take some particular shot. Sketches of a few of these gabions now in the possession of some of our older clubs are

here furnished, from which it will be seen that their variety of form was extensive.

The hack; or notch in the ice, which some of the best clubs and most skilful players still prefer before any other, is a later style of foothold. With a strong knife a longitudinal hollow is made in the ice in which one foot is fixed as shewn in Fig. 55, which also indicates the relative position of the other foot. The hack is so simple and so natural that it might be supposed to be the most ancient form of foothold, but it is really an indication of further improvement in the mode of play. While

"The trimling player stell'd his tramp
Wi' mony a stumping stog,"

and moved about "like a hen on a het girdle " till lie got into suitable position to take the shot he wanted, or adjusted the triekers with the same uncertainty, the use of the hack permitted no such liberties, and the "capering combatants" had to play from one position and deliver the stones so as to make them cross the tee. The hack is, however, liable to weaken the ice and let up the water, and it is unsuitable for the artificial ponds now so common, so that for sake of uniformity it would be better for curlers generally to adopt the foot-iron.

The game in early times generally consisted of a certain number of shots, "31" being a common number, and the bonspiel, which was generally played between five rinks of eight men each, was in such a case only decided when one side reached the score of "155," and unless a majority of rinks on one side were uppermost, a more majority of numbers did not secure a victory. This anomalous custom has been discontinued, but in the south of Scotland the game of numbers has not given place to the game of time, as it ought to have done. ["27" (instead of "31 ") was the old number in Galloway. Later it was "21." Now the game generally consists of a certain number of "heads" or "ends."]

The great " field-day of the ice campaign " was the bonspiel, in which parish met to measure strength with parish and decide which was to look up to the other, for a year at least, as superior. The curling society, where it was formed, carried out the preparations for the great event, and took the honour of the parish into its keeping. Mimic battles were previously fought on the home ice, that the generals who had been chosen to do battle in naive of the parish might discipline their forces and test their efficiency before the struggle came off.

With "the neb o' the morning" all were astir when the eventful day came which was to decide for another year their curling fate. The stones had been carted off at midnight, and after a hurried breakfast the warriors sped over the hills to the scene of action followed by the good wishes of the whole parish. The gudewives had (lone their part in preparing a good supply of vivres.

"These consisted of bread and cheese with porter ad libitrm, and such of the company as chose had hot pints prepared, consisting of porter, eggs, biscuit, sugar and whisky, of a consistence as thick as ordinary porridge, and well might be called meat and drink." [Cairnie's Essay, p. 63.]

These were safely deposited at the side of the pond, as Harvey's picture does not fail to indicate, and the artist has not forgotten to assist Mr Cairnie's memory by putting the "Grey Beardie" at the side of them. With appetites whetted by their early drive in the crisp morning air, the curlers might have been excused for falling upon their stores at once, but they must first open war and test the enemy's mettle with the aid of "only a thimblefu."

"An' are they did the play begin,
Ilk stamock got a canker,
For nane did think it was a sin
Most bonnily to tak' her.
Ahin' the quickly toomed lass
how the wee finger twirled,
Then up in air a bawbee was
For heads or tails hie birled
To lead that day."

Not more keenly did their forefathers fight for civil and religious liberty than did the "glorious congregation of incomparable curlers "for the honour of their parish, with channel-stanes for swords and kowes for spears. Supplesinewed, broad-chested, brawny-armed young fellows and aged men smit with the eagerness of youth" alike nerved with the love of conquest, and fired with a desire for glory, put forth every energy they could command, as if the struggle were one of life and death. Uncouth and clumsy as their stone-weapons were, they drew hey guarded, they ported, they brittled, they chuckled with a dexterity which was simply marv`eIlous. A brief pause hurriedly to despatch the said vivres by the loch-side; then faster and more furious grew the fray—the one side anxious to regain what they had lost, the other determined to retain what they had won. They ran, they soopit, they roared till they were hoarse; yet with all the uproar there was no disorder, each rink moving with the precision of a tried regiment under a skilful general. Their ponderous granites "growled" along the rink; and though the ice "rairded" under their crampeted tread, they heeded not, as they watched with eagerness the effect of each shot on the enemy, and plied their brooms and played their stones as their commander directed. Often, as it happened, fate hung upon the last shot of all, and as the stone of destiny left the hand of the cident director, every nerve of every player quivered with excitement till the deed was done which decided the fortune of the day. Besoms and Kilmarnock bonnets "cuist " high into the air, with "hollas loud and lang," proclaimed the joy of a victory more important than Waterloo to its victors; while Edinburgh after Flodden was no sadder spectacle than the village of the vanquished parish, when the stragglers came back from the scene to tell in tears the story of defeat. Thus closed the day of rivalry; but the evening had to succeed, with its merry gathering around the table in the muckle room," and its finishing touches of mirth and fellowship, without which no bonspiel was considered perfect in the olden time. In the steam of "beef and greens," and the flowing cup of kindness, all unpleasant remembrances of the day's feud melted away. Heart opened out to heart under the genial glow of sympathy, and with song and sentiment the winged hours flew past ; the old ties of brotherhood were strengthened, and new friendships were formed, as the curling heroes of two parishes met, no longer in rivalry but in good-fellowship ; and thus the pillars of the bonspiel were established more firmly than ever.

These parish bonspiels and their attendant festivities marked the dawn of Scotland's better day. They were only possible among a free, loyal, and independent people, and so they brighten up the landscape of Scottish history when religious wars, clan quarrels, border lawlessness, and Jacobite risings no loner trouble the land. We have been a fighting nation, and such we are, and will be to the last but if we could only (rive up the war-cries that cause strife and bitterness anions us, and confine our energy to such healthy conflicts as curlers engage in, our fighting would be good for us; it would brace our nerves and strengthen our sinews, and bring us into a condition of healthy equality and fraternity.

This story of Ancient Curling has taken up more time and more space than our first intentions had allotted to it. When so many old documents and relics were handed over to us by various clubs, and when fresh interest was aroused in the past by the great commemorative gathering of curlers on November 28, 1888, it seemed to us that we should in the circumstances best discharge our duty by preparing such an account of the gain as would embrace all the new information furnished to us, and all that writers on the subject since Ramsay's time had set down. Our desire has been to snake as clear as possible the history of curling up to the he-ginning of this century. There is for those who come after us a rich and wide field in the records of later clubs, into which we shall only enter to take a rapid survey of the ground. Others will no doubt take up and complete the story of curling, and perhaps by fresh investigation supplement what we have written about ancient times. It is enough for its now if, by what we have written, curlers at home and abroad are brought into closer fellowship with those who, from the time of George Puthven to that. of James Millar, did such good pioneer work, and even in far-off times, established for curling the reputation it has ever held as the best, the healthiest, and the manliest of all Barnes. Truly, they were a set of noble fellows, and we cannot give them the "word" and the "drip," as they look out upon us from the dim past, without having our enthusiasm warmed and our devotion to curling increased. As the Caine increases in popularity, and finds for itself a home, as we trust it shall, in lands even more suited for its development than our own, we may look for many further improvements in the method of play. One thin, however, is certain—and it is sufficient excuse for the time and space we have given to the subject of Ancient Curling—we shall never improve upon the good-fellowship of the curlers in the old times on the ice and by the social board, and we shall never give a better account of ourselves than did the founders of the Duddingston Society, when in the name of the brotherhood of the last century they resolved that "to be virtuous is to reverence our God, religion, laws, and king"; that virtue, without which no accomplishment is truly valuable, and no enjoyment really satisfactory, shall be the aim of their actions"; and that "peace and unanimity, the great ornaments of society, shall reign anion; them." It seems to us that the best we can do is simply to uphold these ancient traditions of the game, and to be true to the spirit of them.

That we have lifted the veil of obscurity from the origin of the game, and settled the question in favour of Scotland, we do not profess. Perhaps it may never be possible to do this; but that Scotland has been the chosen guardian of curling from infancy to manhood can never be doubted or denied. Nor can it be denied that the child of our adoption in its every feature proclaims its parentage. "That sport," as Christopher North once truly said, "stirs the heart of auld Scotland till you hear it beating in her bosom." Our pawky humour, our canniness, our keenness, our love of independence, our sociality, our per fervidunn inyenium, are all reflected in our curling, and all at their best—for curlers are the "wale" of their countrymen, and the truest exponents of our national character. What it gives of insight into our inner life is, however, not so important as what it does in return for our fostering care, in mitigating for us the ills of life, and ministering to us sympathy, strength, and joy. Curling converts what would otherwise be the bitterest into the most delightful part of the whole year, and at the very time when no stranger would think of visiting our bleak shores, in the seemingly inhospitable season of frost and snow, we are found amusing ourselves together, and pitying those who have no enjoyments like ours. In curling our youth have an outlet for their enthusiasm and energy, and a means of cultivating strength of body and vigour of mind, by an amusement which is in no way associated with vicious temptations while from are it wards off disease and infirmity, and gives new life to the stiffening limbs. It conies to the labourer at the time he most needs relief, when the fields are at rest and he does not require to work ; it makes him forget the burden of toil, and cheers his heart, and makes his life more worth living. It draws the professional man and the man of business away from care and worry, and removes the wrinkles of anxiety from the troubled brow. It brings rich and poor together in a way that nothing else does or can do, and without taking from the one his dignity or from the other his self-respect, it makes them feel that thew are "a' John Tam son's bairns," and that beneath and above all social distinctions there is a deeper, higher relationship - that of sympathy and common humanity.

As something more than "a mere amusement;" as, in fact, an important force in the development of our national character, the student of Scottish history may find much instruction in the history of the national game. The lover of humankind may also watch with interest its progress and seek its prosperity, and from what it has done in this country in the past he may infer how much it is possible for curling to do in helping on the time

"When man to man the world o'er
Shall brithers be an' a' that."

We in Scotland may well be thankful, as we are, for our inheritance, and proud, as we are, of our game. Our pride and thankfulness will, however, only be complete. when every country under the dominion of the ice-king shares the inheritance with ourselves. Wherever Scotchmen go (and where on earth do they not go?) let them therefore carry with them their brooms and their channel-stanes, and give the blessing to every country of their adoption where the old friend of their fatherland—John Frost—is permitted to visit them. They can take from auld Scotland no better gift, and keen, keen will be our delight when the brotherhood is as wide as nature will allow it to be. With those who remain at home the future of curling is in safe keeping. Not till Scotland herself passes into oblivion shall any true son of hers allow the noble game to be forgotten. Together they have prospered and together we wish them prosperity—the Land o' Cakes and her ain game o' curlin'.

"Lang wave the thistle on the lea,
Lang live this northern land,
Lang rove her burnies to the sea,
Lang live her curling band.

"O Scotsmen, aye be Scotsmen true,
And on the icy plain
Still joyful swing and bravely fling
The roaring channel-stane!"


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