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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1601 - 1701 - Part 4


  1640.—HANGMAN AND WITCH-BURNER.—The person who held this “official situation” in Dunfermline at this period, and for long after it, was the “notorious Pat Mayne.”  Many worthy persons were “manipulated” by him.

  HELEN AND MARGARET WILLIAMSON.—“Blasphemous Speech: 29th Sept.:  This day helen williamson and marg had being before warnit, and not comperrand, this day were ordainit to be warnit againe publicklie out of the pulpit for ye blasphemous speeches an cursing of ye toune after a most scandalous manner, whishing ye same to be brunt ouer again.  And ordains ye act against such blasphemers and cursers to be extended upon them, and to be publishit out of pulpett the next Sabba for a worning to all others, qlk wes done.”  (Dunf. Kirk Session Records.)

  APPRENTICE WEAVER.—The following minute has been extracted from the “Dunfermline Weavers’ Minute Book” of this date, to show the conditions on which early apprentices to the trade were received:  “In the yeare of God 1640 It is agreed betwixt George Davidsone and Robert Collear that Robert shall serve George as an apprentice for the space of three years, and a year for meate and fille.”  (See also Annals, dates 1596, 1725 and 1732.) 

  KIRK SESSION RECORDS OF DUNFERMLINE.—These Records consist of 11 folio volumes (1842).  The first regular entry is dated 30th June, 1640.  About 12 years ago the writer copied a great many of the more curious of the entries in vol. i. 1640, and shortly afterwards published them in 12mo (see Annals, date 1865), from which small volume several entries will be transferred to the Annals of Dunf.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Peter Law, late oldest bailie, elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  THE Provincial Synod of Fife assembled in the Abbey Church of Dunfermline 6th October, 1640.  (Hist. Scot., &c.)

  LAURENCE WILSON’S HOUSE BURNT, with all his Plenishing—Collection made for him.—“James legat and thomas elder collected at the Kirk doore 9lbs.; James readdie and jon bennet at the Kirk style 21lbs. ; total, 30lbs., qlk was deliveret to ye said jon wilson for his present releefe.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Records.)

  AGAINST YULE REASTING AND RIOTING.—“Dec. 15th: This day the Act of the Presbyterie ordaining all persons to leave of zair feastening, playing, riotous and wild living on yulle day, wes red be the minister.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Rec.)

  1641.—THE EARL OF DUNFERMLINE—Act Retifying his Offices of the Lordship, &c., of Dunfermline.—In the year 1939 the Earl had the offices of Lord of the Lordship of Dunfermline and Regality thereof conferred upon him by Charles I.  These offices were ratified by the Scottish Parliament in 1641 

  REPAIRING CARNOCK KIRK, &C.—It would appear from a MS. in the writer’s possession that “the little Kirk of Carnick being out of repaire, was helpit, and a newe ruife laid on it at the expens of Sir George Bruce.”  (Vide also Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 289, and An. Dunf. date 1602.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE—Alexander Clerk, “Laird of Pittencrieff.”  (Burgh and Ses. Records.)

  WATERING WEBS IN THE KIRKYARD.—On March 9th, it was ordained that “nane water webbs in kirkzaird,” and that “if any webbs be found in bellman must castt hame out.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Record.)

  THE KIRK BELL.—“March 2d:  This day ordains ameeting of the haill elders to be upon the next Sabbath ffor advising the best way how the Kirk bell may be orderit and rung with couping, and how that the stock yron they hing by may be helpit and redrest, they being now verie weak, fearing the fall of both ym and the bells, and how the man yt shall undertak ye wark may be payit.”  (Cunf. Kirk Ses. Rec.)

  NEW FURME OR SEAT to be Erected next the Bride and Bridegroom’s Seat in the Kirk.—“5 Sept.:  This day alex. Drysdale, merchand, desyrit a seat in the Kirk for his docht to heir God’s word, and yrfore in licentiate be ye session to cuase mek a cew furme to be set next before ye pulpett (qr the brides and bridegrooms yt day yt they are marriet used to sit) to be possest be the sd alex. And his dochtr. In all tyme coming.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Rec.)

  THE Earl of Dunfermline was made a Privy Councillor by King Charles I., with consent of the Estates. 

  JOHN SMART, Flesher, Fined for Selling Beef on the Fast Day and for having a Roast at his fire last Fast Day,--“Dec. 21st: This day Jon Smart, flesher, being convict for selling a carkois of beefe, and having a rost at hes fire ye last fasting day, is ordainit to pay 8 merks, qhlk he payit.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Rec.)

  1642.—JAMES ESPLIN was chaplain of St. Leonard’s Chapel and Hospital at this period.  The Chapel was about half a mile south of the lower end of Dunfermline.

  GUILDRY AND THE CRAFTSMEN OF DUNFERMLINE.—In the year 1642 the Guildry entered into a contract with the craftsmen of Dunfermline relating to their trades, &c.  (Guildry Register, 1642.)

  A SECOND MINISTER FOR DUNFERMLINE.—Much discussion amongst the parishioners regarding the desirability of having a second or junior minister for Dunfermline.  (See An. Dunf. for 1645.)

  MR. HARIE MAKGILL, 20 years minister of Dunfermline, died in December, 1642.  In the Dunfermline Kirk Session Records there is a note regarding his funeral –viz.,  “The Session is warned to be at Mr. harie makgill’s thair late minister’s burial the morne, being monday, at 10 o’clock.”   No ordained minister in Dunfermline Church until the year 1645, the service being conducted by “assistant preichars.”

    1643.—THE Provincial Synod of Fife assembled in the Kirk of Dunfermline on 4th April.

  MEETING OF HERITORS AND PARISHIONERS OF DUNFERMLINE, by desire of the Synod anent the Supplying of the parish with a Second Minister, regarding which the Kirk Session Records have the following:--

“At Dunfermline, 5th Aprile, 1643.

  “Anent the providing of Dunfermeline wt another minister, upon the advertisement given be the moderator of the provinciall assemblie of fyff, sundrie considerable herioters, parishioners, both in bru an land came at the tyme appoynted and eftir conference wt some of the sd assemblie appoynted fry t sessn, it was found that of all that appeared none were unwillingto bear burdens fr the mentenance of the sd minister except one.  As fr those who did not appear, few were found considerable, except one gentleman who excused himself by reason of his weakness, unto whom the assemblie thot fitt to send osme of zair munber, who, efter conference with him, returned, And in the face of the assemblie reported that he also was satisfied, and hade faithfullie promised to contribute wt ye rest of the heritors in bearing burdens proportionally fr the mentenance of the sd minister.  The assemblie considering the great necessitie of planting the said congregation wt two ministers, and finding so great a consent of heritors, hoping also yt the ryt noble and potent Lord Charles erle of Dunfermline, the prime heritor wtin the paroch, shall liberallie concur to advance so gude a wark, doe heartily approve sopious a designe, thank God for the same, and earnestlie exort the heritors and parochiners both of bru and land to proceed thairin, Declairing hereby that the patronage, nominatn, and presentatn of the sd minister, now and theireftir, shall belong to the parochiners and heritors, founders of the for sd provision.  Extract furthe of the registr of the said assemblie and subt be Mr. Jon moreis, clerk thairto.  Sic subr J. MOREIS, Clerk.”  (See An. Dunf. date 1645.)

  SIX WITCHES BURNT AT THE WITCH-LOAN, and Two others Die in Prison.—This was a great witch-catching and witch-burning year in Dunfermline.  A staff of officials called, “witch-watchers” and “witch-catchers,” had been appointed early in 1643 to seize and put in ward (prison) all reputed witches, in order that they might be tried for their “horrid and abominable crime of witchcraft.”  Accordingly, “a great many old shriveled-up women, with woe-begone countenances, were warded, and if any of them used the long staff in walking, so much the better for the catchers.”

  In Dunfermline Register of Deaths, notice is taken of the poor, innocent unfortunates.  During the month of May, July, and August, it seems no less than six poor women were burnt for being reputed witches!  Their names were Grissel Morris, Margaret Brand, Katherine Elder, Agnes Kirk, Margaret Donaldson, and Isobel Millar.

  These victims, having been tried and condemned to be burnt, were accordingly carted east to the loan (witch-loan) near where the railway bridge crosses the road, there was the institution of “the witches’ dub.”  Sometimes and old frail woman was thrown into it.  If she sank, and was drowned, then it was supposed that “judgment had found her out;” if she swam on the surface, which by the bulk of her clothing she might sometimes do, then it was judged that there was something “no cannie aboot her,” and on some pretence the victim got to the flames at last.  Determined not to lose their victim, they appear to have acted on the principle of “Head, I win; tails, you lose!”  Ascending the loan (the witch-loan), and about 100 yards from “the witch-dub” and on the east side of the loan road, there was a small knowe on which the witches suffered, and still further up the loan stood “the gallows” where execution was done.”

  The names of the victims who died “in ward” were Jonett Fentoun and Isobell Marr.  In the same Register of Deaths their fate is thus recorded:--“The 20th day, June 1643, Jonett Fentoun the witch, died miserably in ward [in prison], and wes bro to the witch knowe, being trailed and cared yrto and castin into a hole withot a kist” (a coffin).  Being brought out of prison, “the superstitious bigots” were probably allowed to trail her along the streets to the hole at the witch knowe.  Finding that a cart at hand would be more convenient for their work, she was thrown into it, and carted to “the hole.”  Again:--“The 17th day of Augt. 1643, Isobell Marr, being delaittit [accused] be the rest of her [neighbour] witches for a witche, and being detained yrfre in the laiche thieves’ hole, shoe hangit hersel and was cairyed to the witche knowe and yerdit.”  Let those who sound the praises of “the good old times” take such doings as these into their “earnest consideration.”  Witches, it seems, made their first debut in Dunfermline in 1627.

  THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.—The Solemn League and Covenant is thus noticed in the Kirk-Session Records of Dunfermline, viz.:--“Oct. 29.  That day the Solemne League and Covenant reformation and defence of religion, the honour and happiness of the King, and the peace and safety of the thrie Kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland, was red intimate this Sabbath be Mr. Robert Kay to the haill congregation, that nane plead ignorance thairoff, bot that they may be prepared to sweare to it and subscribe the same next Lord’s day.

  The League and Covenant was sworn to, and subscribed at Dunfermline on November 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 12th 1643.  It has most of the signatures of those who signed the Covenant of 1638.  It is printed, and contained in a quarto-bound book, having on the outside of the first board, “For the Kirk of Dunfermling.”   An entry in these records notes, that on “3d March, 1644, there was paid for binding the Covenant and a new cover yr to 46d.”

  The Covenant of 1638 and 1643 are in the possession of the Session of Queen Anne Street Congregation, Dunfermline.  The copies of the Covenant have come through a number of hands (which see Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 273, 278.)

  Hetherington, in his Church History, notes that the Covenant of this date is “the noblest in its essential nature and principles of all that are recorded among the national transactions of the world.”  (Vide Hetherington’s Ch. Hist. p. 333.)

  SMITH’S SEAT IN THE AULD KIRK.—“Nov. 12th, 1643.  it was licentat and grantit to the Smythes to tak doun the stane wall at the side and entrie of seate in the eist end of the kirk on the north side of, and instead of that little stane wall, to mak ane side entrie of tember to seate.”  (Dunfermline Kirk Session Records.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFEMRLINE—James Reid was elected Provost.  (Burgh Rec.)

  EVENING SERVICE IN THE KIRK, AND CANDLES.—From the following extract from the Kirk Session Records, it is evident that those who attended the evening service during winter had to provide themselves with candles:--“29th October, 1643.—This day, intimation was made to the people of the evening prayers to begin this week and to have yer candle in reddines.”  (Kirk Ses. Records.)

  BOOKS OF THE COVENANT.—“28 Novr. 1643, that day it was declairit, that James Murray, writer in Edin. had gotten 37 for his fie, and the lookes of the Covenant, and of the last General Assembly.”  (Kirk Session Records.)

  1644.—PUBLICATION OF FERGUSON’S SCOTTISH PROVERBS.—In the year 1597-98, Mr. David Ferguson, minister of Dunfermline, compiled the Scottish Proverbs, in alphabetical order.  They were, this year, published in quarto by Andro Hart, printer, Edinburgh. 

  THE BOOKS OF THE COVENANT.—“3 March, 1644:  That day, givin for binding of the Covenant, and a new cover yrto, 46.  (Kirk Ses. Rec.)

  RE-PUBLICATION OF BLACKWOOD’S WORKS.—This year a corrected edition of the works of Adam Blackwood, an eminent native of Dunfermline, were published in French and Latin  (Vide Annals, dates 1539-1623.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—James Reid was elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  THE ABBOT’S SEAT IN DUNFERMLINE CHURCH.—The following extract from Dunfermline Kirk Session Records show the position of the Abbot’s or Commendator’s seat in the Church.  “21st April:  The qlk day the elders of the Kirk Session of Dunfermline being convenit, comperit before them James Esplin, Servitor to the ryt and potent Lord, Charles Earl of Dunfermline, and declarit and shewed to the elders that noble erl hade seat in the Kirk which of old pertenat to the Abbot of Dunfermline, fixed on the South-eistmost pillar of the Kirk, situate betwixt ye pillar on the eist, the wryt’s on the west, the laird of Cavill’s on the south, and Mr. James Phin’s seat on the north, &c.; and the James Esplin cravat of the said elders thair consent and approbation thair, which was allowit and approving be them;  And they all with ane consent did ratifie the same, and ordaint yr act. To be made and given yrupon.” &c.

  THE SCHOLARS’ SEAT OR LOFT is mentioned in the Dunfermline Kirk Session Records, viz.—“12 Nov.:  That day  it is statute compeirit Johne hamiltone and george scott, lester, and desyrit licence of the elders for seats in the Kirk to themselves, to be set and fixt at the south-westmost pillar at the west end of the Kirk, under the Schollers’ seat, whilk was granted,”  &c.  The Scholars’ Laft was situate between the south-west and north-west pillars in the Kirk.

  1645.—DUNFERMLINE CHURCH BECOMES COLLEGIATE.—Mr. Robert Key admitted to the first charge, 15th January; Mr. William Oliphant admitted to the second charge, 15th January.  (See Annals Dunf. date 1643.)  

  PARTIAL DISMEMBERMENT OF THE PARISH OF DUNFERMLINE.—The following places or properties, hitherto in the parish of Dunfermline, were during the years 1643-45, disjoined from it, viz., Mortlands (or Morelands), Tinnygask, North and South Lethans, Beath, Blairbathie, Whythouse, Woodend, Thornton, Cocklaw, Kelty, Houses, Fouldford, Lassodie, Meiklebeath, Dalbeath, Hill of Beath, Urquhart, Logie, &c., and were annexed to adjoining parishes.  (Dunf. Par. Rec.)

  DUNFERMLINE MILITIAMEN.—By and “Act of the Estates,” every Country and Burgh had to furnish a certain number of militiamen.  Dunfermline contributed 12 men, Culross 12, and Inverkeithing 10.  (Domestic An. Scot., vol. ii. p. 163.)

  THE Provincial Synod of Fife assembled in the Church of Dunfermline on 10th May.

  GREAT PLAGUE IN TOWN AND PARISH.—During the greater part of the year 1645, “the plague raged with fearful violence and mortality in Dunfermline, as well as in many other places.”  “The mortality was great; many hundreds were cut down, and outlying places those who died were buried in fields.  Until the beginning of the present century many of these field burial-places were to be seen covered with throch-stanes. One of these sad memorials remains in a field adjacent to Pitbauchlie, about a mile and a half S.E. of Dunfermline.”  Trandition affirms that the whole family who then resided at Pitbauchlie were attacked by the scourge and died on the same day.  Regarding this calamitous period, the following extracts from the Krik Session Records cannot fail to be interesting:--“19th October,1645:  At this tyme meetings were not frequent because of the plague of the pestilence which then was in the parish, and increased in the same, so that many died.”  “25th Nov.:  And because the number of the poor did increase in this tyme of the plague, many tradismen put to penurie for want of ocmercing and handling of geir and money, qlk was then dangerous to use, and little alms collectit; thairfore it was thot fitt that meill should be given to the poore for thair present help, and that the present collections and moneys which were in the boxe should pay for the sayd meill till after that the Lord of His mercie withdrew his judgement of the plague, when uther courses my be taine for supplying of the poore, and for restoring of the moneys again to the boxe.”

  In this extract it will be observed that it is stated that “the handling of gwir and money was dangerous.”  Regarding this there is a tradition that all moneys were put into a vessel filled with water, and “carefully rinsed” before being touched, and that at the ports of the town “plague-stanes,” or dishes, are of stone of a grayish tint, 17 inches in diameter, and 2 ½ inches in depth, and are rare memorials of Dunfermline in the olden time.  Besides washing the “coin of the realm,” body-clothes, &c., were fumigated; for it is on record that “clothes and bed-clothes” were “smockit” in a closed apartment in the town, by means of “peat reeke.” &c.  Such methods for the protection of the living were adopted in most places where this plague raged.

  Regarding meal, the same Record states that £240 Scots (£20 sterling) were paid for forty bolls of meal to “the ordinary and extraordinary poor of the town.”  Again, on “4th December, 1645:  That day it was thought fitt that a voluntar contribution should be collectit throw the paroche, both in brt and land, be the ministers and elders, once monethlie for the poore in this paroche, espicially in this thair great indigencie and necessitie, during this tyme of the plague; which contribution was collectit for this moneth of December, first in the burgh be both the ministers and elders in their awin quarters accompanying them thair, set down in a roll conteining the particular of what was received, and fra whome, extending in the haill to 54 lib. 9s. Scots (for £4 10s. sterling).  And next a voluntar contribution was also collectit in the landwart be one of the ministers in the north side thairof, and ane elder with him; and be the uther minister, and ane elder with him, on the south side, set down also in a particular roll,” &c.  “Same day, James Simsone (one of the elders) delyuerit xijlib. 14sh. Scots (or £1 1s. sterling) collectit be him at the Kirk dore some sabboths in November, which, with the rest of the collections and contributions, was not only distribut to the ordinar poore in this paroche at this tyme, but also to many extraordinair poore thairin, and for intrteyning of these prsones in the moore who were under infection of the plague, being poore, and myt not mtteny nor furnish themselffes, and for paying of dead Kistes and burials and vyr necessars.’

  This last entry corroborates a tradition that during this plague ratton, or rough timber houses were erected on the town muir, wherein were lodged those whose “cases seemed desperate.”

  Dunfermline was visited by “raging plagues” in 1439, 1498, 1514, 1529 and 1645.  There have been no “het sicknes’s” nor plagues in Dunfermline since 1645.

  MARGARET DONALD, THE WITCH.—Given to one “James broun, in the ferrie [North Queensferry], 30s, and to foure watchers of the witche marg. Donald, for five days and five nights, twa of thame ey being on the watch at thair seveall turns to ilk of thaim for ilk day and ilk ny vi; total vi lbs.  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Rec.)  This is a fine specimen of the withc-watching age of 1640-46.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—James Reid re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Rec.)

  1646.—DUNFERMLINE CHURCH DISCIPLINE IN 1646.—“1st March, 1646:  This day it was sufficientlie provin before the Session that Jonet Wely, spouse to Robt. Wallis, Baxter, had slandered grissell walwood, spouse to Jon alisone, wright, calling hir white bird, and heirby also slandering the dead, qhrby the Jonet was ordained to pay 4lib., qlk she did, and to mak hir public repentance before the pulpet on a Sabbath aftir sermon beforenoon, qlk she did the 15th March instant.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Red.)

  BALDRIDGE COAL PITS.—TheBawdrig Coal Pitts” are mentioned in an old deed of this date, coal being “thair wrocht for hame use an for exportin.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Peter Law elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  COLLECTION made in the Church for an Unfortunate Warrior.—An entry in Dunfermline Kirk Session Records, dated 31st August of this year, notifies that “This day the Session ordainit a publick collection to be made next Sabbath for ane alexander Kirk, in the gellett, who had his legg dung fra him at the warrs in the north.  51lb. 18p. wes collectit for him.

  A TAILOR CARRYING O HIS TRADE IN THE ABBEY.—In the Records of Dunfermline Kirk Session of 1646, mention is made of “Robt. Adam, tailor in the Abbay.”  His “place of trade” would likely be in one of the constabulary houses there, close to the west side of the steeple, or in an apartment of “the pends.”

  DEARTH.—According to tradition and some MSS., “there was ane dearthe in Dunfermline in the year after the grait plague of 1646.”

  1647.—THE SUM OF £205 SCOTS to be paid for the Fare of 1000 Horse and Riders and 1100 Foot Solders Crossing at North Queensferry.—Regarding this charge, the Kirk Records of Dunfermlien has an entry, viz.:--“5th January, 1647:  This day the Kirk Session gave their consent to pay to Jean Moubray, in North Queensferry, the sum of 205lb. Scots (£17 1s. sterling) for the freight of a thousand horse, with their riders, and 1100 foot soldiers,” &c.

CHURCH OF DUNFERMLINE in need of repairs, &c.—“The Session, considering the ruinous caice of the Kirk, especially of the roofe and stock of the bells, liklie to fall doune, if not no speedie remeid be provided for preventing the same,.  It is resolved to supplicate the Lords of the Exchequer for aid to repair it.”  (Kirk Ses. Rec. date April, 1647.)

SCHOOLS TO BE ESTABLISHED in the Lnadward Part of the Parish.—A minute in Dunfermline Kirk Session Records notes that on “This day [2nd May, 1647] the Session , considering the great ignorance of children and the youthe of this paroche, especially of the poorest sort, for lack of education at schools, their parents not being able to sustain them thereat, whilk occasions grosse ignorance and great increase of sin following thereupon: therefore the Session has thought fit that schools be set up in the several quarters of the landwart of this paroche, espicially in those parts that are remotest, and stand most in need thereof, and fittest for the same, and that men or women teachers be sought and provided thereto, recommending the same to the care and diligence of the ministers, elders, and others who are able in these quarters to see the same done.” &c.

  PROVOST OF Dunfermline—James Reid.  (Burgh Records._

  A BLUE GOWN.—In the Kirk Session Records, of date 21st Sept. this year, there is an “item to ane old man with a blew gown, 6s.”  The “blew gowns” were “privileged alms-lifters.”  They were permitted by the magistrates to beg from house to house on certain days of the week, when they walked about in a blue sort of gown, on “the sleeve of which” was attached a large circular pewter badge indicating their license, and having on it in large raised letters round the circumference—

DUNFERMLINE  PARISH  NO  5  1648

(See Annals, dates 1792 and 1820.)

  1648.—DUNFERMLINE PRANKS AND HOT IRON PUNISHMENTS.—As examples of the power exercised by the Kirk Session in 1648, the following may be interesting:--“5th March, 1648:  It is ordainit that Margaret Nicholson, spouse of Alexr. Dempster, the fiddler, shall stand with branks on her mouthe the next Friday, being the market day, two hours before noon, for her common scolding and drunkenness, and that for the publick example of others.’’  On 22nd October, 1648, “It is enacted that as Janet Robertson still goes on with her lownerie and profanity, notwithstanding the act formerly toun, and market with ane hot iron, and to be banished from the paroche, and refers the execution hereof to the magistrates.”  (Chambers’s “Book of Days”—Branks.) 

  SNUFFING IN THE KIRK in Time of Preaching and Prayer not to be Allowed.—“March 26th:  This day it is thought fitt that public admonishing be given out of pulpit to those yt offers and takes Snising in the Kirk in tyme of preaching and prayer.”  (Dunf. Kirk Ses. Rec.)

  THE LYMEHOUSE.—The Parish Records of this date has the following minute:  “item, to Katherine Kirk, upon the 5th July, for furneishing bread and drink to Marione hutton, the space she was in the Lymehouse, at direction of the minister, Mr. Robert Kay, xlijs.”  The Lymehouse appears to have been some cellar below the Tolbooth for holding “the toon’s lime,” and, when empty, used for female delinquents. 

  WILLIAM CRICHTON, THE WARLOCK, BURNT.—The following minute is from the Dunfermline Krik Session Records:--“6th August:  This day Wm. Crichtoun compeired, and being posed upon the decal given in against him, he was remitted to the magistrates to be imprisoned, which was done; and some few days yraftir being straitlie posed and dealt with be the ministers and watchers, he came to a confession of sundrie things, and yt he hade made a paction wt the Devill to be his servand 24 zeirs and more since.  He was condemned to be burnt’ and a dew dayes yraftr he was burnt”—most likely burnt on the Witches’ Knowe, Townmill Road (Witch Loan).  Probably Crichton was one of the great originals who “came out in 1627.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Peter Law elected Provost.  (B. Rec.)

  1649.—EXECUTION OF CHARLES I.—The unfortunate Charles was beheaded at Whitehall, London, on Jany. 30, 1649.  There is no minute in any of the Dunfermline Records touching this lamentable occurrence.  There can be no doubt, however, that when the news of his violent death came to Dunfermline—“his ain town” as it was styled—the great body of the inhabitants would, with the nation at large, “express their sympathy for his untimely end, mourn his loss and esteem him a martyr;” while others who went in with Cromwell, would refer to his “unrighteous war, his insincerity, and his bigotary.”  His last word on the scaffold was, “Remember,” part of an unfinished, short ejaculation.  The following is a copy of the Death-Warrant of King Charles I.:--

  “At the High Court of Justice for the Tryinge and Trial off Charles Stewart, King of England, January xxix. Anno. Dom. 1648.

  “Whereas Charles Stewart, King of England, is, and Standeth convicted, attaynted, and condemned of High Treason, and other high crimes:  And sentance upon Saturday last was pronounced against him, by this Court, to be put to death by the severinge of his head from his body:  Of which sentance execution yet remayneth to be done:  These are therefore to will and require you to see the said Sentance executed, in the open Streets before Whitehall, upon the morrow, being the thirtieth Day of the instante month off January, between the hours of ten in the morninge and five in the afternoone off the dame day, with full effect.  And for so doing this shall be your sufficient warrant:  All these are to require All Officers and Soulders, and other good People of this Nation of England, to be asistynge unto you in this Service.—Given  under our Hands and Seales.

  “To Collonell ffrancis Lyaik, Collonell huntlie, and Lieutenant-Collonel Phayre, and to every of them.”

(From Lithograph Fac-simile, by T. Tegg, London: also, vide “The Portfolio,” vol. i. p. 386.)  The original is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.  Then follow in seven perpendicular short rows the signatures of 59 of those constituting The Court of Justice, with their seals appended:--

            Js. Bradshawe               Rc. Deane                     Tho. Horton
            Tho. Grev                      Robert Tichborne            J. Jones
            O. Cromwell                  J. P. Edmonte               John Reme
            Edw. Whalley                Daniel Blagrave              G. Ffleetwood
            D. Linessy                     Owen Rowe                   G Gilbt.l Millington
            John Clay                      Wilton                           T. Steured
            J. Dauers                      As. Scrope                    Robt. Lilburburn
            Jo. Bourchier                 James Temple               Will Gay
            H. Preston                     J. Carland                      Anth. Ffapley
            Tho. Mauleneve              Edm. Ludlow                 Gre, Norton
            Har. Waller                    Henry Martin                  Tho. Challoner
            John Blakiston               Dnl. Potter                     Tho. Wogan
            J. Hutchinson                Wm. Constable              John Denn
            Will. Goff                       Rich. Ingoldsby              Gregory Clement
            T. Horusse                    Will. Cowley                  Jo. Downes
            Pe. Temple                    J. Barketead                  Tho. Wayte
            T. Harrison                    Isac Ewer                      Tho. Scott
            J. Heweson                   John Dixwell                  Jo. Carew
            Henry Smythe               Valentine Wanton          Miles Corbet
            Pet. Pelham                  Symon Mayne 

The Warrant is addressed for execution to Colonel Francis Hacker, commander of the troops at the Execution.

  Immediately after his decollation a great many books, pamphlets, and leaflets, in prose and verse, were published for and against him.  In one of these works, entitled “Reliquiæ Anitquæ,” there is an epitaph based on his initials of “C. R. the First,” or “C.R.I.,” of which the following is a copy:--

“-------------Here doth lye C. R. I.
Read those letters right, and ye shall find
Who in this bloody-sheet lyes here inshrin’d
The letter C his name doth signifie;
Roth express his royal dignitie;
And by the letter I is this great name
From his sad son’s distinguished; the same
Three letters, too, express his sufferings by
Cromwell, Rebellion, Independency.
Then join them in a word, and it doth show
What each true loyal subject ought to doe—
CRY, cry—oh, cry aloud!—
Let our crys outcry his blood.”
(Reliquiæ Antiquæ, p. 21.) 

  The opinions of writers regarding the actions and the sufferings of Charles are so numerous and so various, that, for full details, the reader is referred to such works, and Histories of Scotland. 

  As before noted, Charles I. was born in the Palace of Dunfermline, on 19th November, 1600; consequently, when he was beheaded, he was in his 49th year.  It may be further noticed that, at this period, the English New-Year began on March 25th; in Scotland, on Jan. 1st.   Hence the cause of the distinction 1648-1649.  Charles suffered on January 30th, 1648, according to English reckoning, January being then the 11th month of their year; but, according to the Scottish, the present mode of reckoning, the event occurred on Jan. 30, 1649.

  LORD BROOMHALL—Sir George Clark, of Carnock, was elected to the dignity of a Lord of Session in 1649, under the title of Lord Broomhall, and was at the same time appointed one of the Commissioners for revision the law and the Acts of Parliament.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 291.)

  LEGATES BRIG AND NETHERTON BRIG—The Kirk Session Records notify that “this day, 6th Feb., Mr. James Phin gave in a compt of timber and uthy charges furnished and sustenit be him in building of Legates-brig, and the brig at the nethyton end.”  Would these bridges at this period be timber bridges?

  THE PROVINCIAL SYNOD OF FIFE assembled in the Church of Dunfermline, April 1st, 1649.

  WITCHCRAFT.—Supplication of the Presbytery of Dunfermline for the Parliament.—Notwithstanding the very severe measures hitherto taken by the ministers, magistrates, and ruling elders of Dunfermline, &c., the “sin of witchcraft” continued to flourish.  The following is a copy of an endorsed “Supplication of the Presbytery of Dunfermline for the Parliament.”  It speaks for itself:--

  “Vnto the Rycht Honourabill the Estates of Parliament, presently convenit of Edinburgh, humblie supplicates—

  “We, the moderator, reuerant breithren, and rweling elders of the Presbyterie of Dunfermlane, and more particularlie the parishes Innerkeithin and Dalgatie:  That, whereas it pleaseth the Lord for his owne glorie, and the good of his charge, dailie more and more to discover among us the works of darknes and the seurvantis of that prince who rewles in the childrene of disobedience, whereof the most part are so depauperit, that they have nothing to intertain themselves in prison, especially in these tymes of dearth, nor to enterteine men to attend in seiking [and paying] dailie commissions:  Therefore wee humblie supplicat your L. that yee will be pleasit ather to command ane of the justice deputis to attend in the forsaid Presbyterie and parishes above written, ffor holding of justice courtis, and putting to the tryell of ane assye such as are or shall be found gwiltie of the sinne of witchcraft, as they shall be desyrit, or to graunt ane standing commissione of --------gentlemen as  your L. shall judge----------the withine----------parishes thereof--------effect foresaid, especiallie-------ane overtoure of the Generall Assemblie in anno j. v. fowritie thrie (J. vi. fowritie thrie) 1643:  That standing commissionis shall be supplicat for in scuh exigencie, or at least it may please your L. that wee may have commissionis gratis, lest throu the want of mone this worke, which the Lord hes so miraculuslie begunne, and so wiselie theirtofore carried on, perish in or hand.  And your Lo. Gracwas answer wee humblie expect.

“Mr. Geo. Colding, Moderator,
In name of the Brethrein.”

The original is in the General Register House, Edinburgh.

  ST. MARGARET’S WELL.—This well, like other saints’ wells in the district, continued to be decorated with flowers on their saints; days annually, when they were visited by hundreds of persons “with song-singing and superstitioys awe,” until about 1649, when kirk-sessions interfered and put a stop to the holywell annuals, in virtue of the following order of the General Assembly, held at Edinburgh on 4th April, 1649, viz.:--“The Assemblie, being informit that some went superstitiouslie to wellis denominat from Saints, ordains Presbytries to take notice thairof , and to censure these that are guiltie of that falt.”

  As previously mentioned, St. Margaret’s Well is about a mile to the north-east of Dunfermline.  On St. Margaret’s Day (19th June), this well was decorated with flowers, and a procession of monks and “religious inhabitants” visited St. Margaret’s Well “in joy, praise and song.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—William Walker elected Provost.  (Burgh Rec.)

  PATRICK MAYNE, the Hangman, &c., received orders from the Kirk Session to keep beggars from entering into the “kirkyard, and that they be not sufferit to stand at the collect to hinder the alms fra y.  (Kirk Session Records.)


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