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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1601 - 1701 - Part 7


  1679.—EDUCATION.—A Public School to be held at the Gellets, near Dunfermline.—An entry to this effect is made in the Kirk Ses. Records, viz.:--“13th July, 1679.  This day, the Session considering the Gellets eister, and yt quarter of the paroch to qrin it lyes, is so far remot from the toun yt that the children yr cannot convenientlie come to be educated at the publict school:  And, patarick mudie having compeird this day before  ym and desired bilertie to set up a school at the said gellets fr teaching ym yr; therefore the said Session, finding him qualified, have thought good to authorize, and by Act of Session to license him to hold a school and teach children in yt quarter, conform to his desire, providing always yt he live orderly and regularly as became ane in such a station.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket, of Pitfirrane, re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  EARTHQUAKE.—An old MS. mentions that “a verie seveer schoke of an earthquake” was felt throughout the whole of Fife, on 10th July 1679, and that it was particularly “sharp at Dunfermline, Saline, and Kinross.”

  WITCHES still “Ride” in Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, and Torryburn.—An old MS. not mentions that, notwithstanding “all the drooninn and burning of witches that hae taen place in Dunfermling, Innerkeithing, and Torrieburn, durin the long space past, they dinna decrease, but are as common and horibly at their work as ever,” &c.

  1680.—THE BLUE BLANKET.—A sheet of strong paper, 23 ½ inches long, and 18 ¼ inches in breadth, known as “The Blue Blanket,” has inscribed on it a great many ornamental scrolls, amongst which are “scroll lions supporters,” suspended “scroll-work, there is a common-place, rhythmical acrostic on the name “Dunfermling.”  To accommodate his muse to his acrostic, the rhymester has had to spell the name “Dwmfermling.”  The following is a correct copy of the acrostic, copied from the original:--

Delaited fame was never yet so daft
            as to Cry downe the merit of a Craft
What wold the World doe if trade were not
            with idle ease all wold themselves besot
Most not the King and peasent equal live
            by those supports the treadsmen does tham give
For wholl Empyers Steats wold go to Wreack
            if Hammermen their skill and art draw back
Each blaw of nipping cold wold kill us dead
            if claithing warm of tailer trade not made
Rere wormanship of various weavers Loome
            for the supplie of our weake bodies come
Most Christians like to Savadges go eat
            and not a flesher for to kill their meat
Let Records tell how Crispianus King
            the Gentle Craft did to its flourish bring
If baxters were not that supplie our teeth
            we wold Chew Chaff Instead of meall with griffe
Now Wrights the tyling of our houses reare,
            does make the plough, our great support and moer
Great steat fabricks measons builds and orders
            Corinthic, dorick, Ionic, round its borders.—W.J.  

Considerably below this effusion, at the foot of all the scrolls, is the motto: “Living long and well you Deacons all.”  At the tip left-hand corner is the following dedication:--“To the most Ancient and very Worthy the Wholl Incorporation of treades sin the famous and Royal Brough of Dunfermling.  Of the present deacons, are Thomas Elder, deacon Conveener; Patrick Allan, deacon of the Hammermen; Andrew Greig, deacon of the Tailors; Robert Peirson, deacon of the Weavers; Thomas Elder, deacon of the ffleshers; John Gibsone, deacon of the Cordwainers; and James Lindsay of Kevill, deacon of baxters; Andrew Chrystie, deacon of the Wrights; James Simmervell, deacon of the Measones Annp 1680.”  How and when this sheet of paper got the name of “The Blue Blanket” is unknown.  Very likely it is the pattern-designer’s device for the centre-piece of the Convener’s flag, which was blue, and had on it, according to tradition, “emblems of the several incorporated trades of the burgh.”  This document, mounted on a frame, was sold at Mr. Robert Birrell’s sale, on 2nd September, 1874, to a London gentleman.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE—Sir Charles Halket, of Pitfirrane, re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  SEVERE WINTER.—An old MS. note, referring to the early winter “set in at the end of 1682,” says that “the winter began with drifting snow in th end of October, and Dunfermling as the other touns in the wast of Fife sometimes were from 12 to 20 feet deep in snow; and there was greate distress be reason of fiver.”  (MS.)

  1683.—NEW GREAT BIBLE brought from Holland for the Kirk of Dunfermline.—The Kirk Session Record, referring to the purchase, &c., says—“26 April, 1683: This day the Session, having received a new great byble  for the use of the Kirk, from andro simpson, clerk, who brought ye same out of Holland, the price qhrof being 50 merks; and the session gave out to him 20lib. in part peyment.”

  THE DUNFERMLINE WEAVERS’ BATON.—“The Incorporation of the Weavers of Dunfermline got a very handsome baton made in 1683.  It was highly polished, was tipped with silver at both ends, and had a silver shield at the top, with the date 1683 on it.  It used to be carried by the deacon of the weavers at public processions,” &c.  The baton was long in the possession of the late Joseph Paton, Wooer’s Alley, Dunfermline, and was sold for 34s. at his public sale in Edinburgh, in November, 1874.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE—Sir Charles Halket, of Pitfirrane, re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  SAWING DEALS on the Sabbath day.—“13 Dec. 1683: Jon Thomsaon’ being called before the Session, compeirt an confest his sin in sawing Daills on ye Sabbath, to be a dead kist (coffin) he was ordained to acknowledge his second sin the nixt Sabbath publictlie before ye congregation, an th testifie his repentance;” he accordingly “stood before the congregation on Dec. 16th.”

  1684.—CONVENTICLES AND NONCONFORMISTS.—“Field meetings and meeting in private houses are held for religious services by the nonconformists; strict searching and severe punishing of many who would no adhere to the Episcopalian faith.  Dr. James Welwood of Dunfermline parish was apprehended on suspicion that he keiped correspondence and gave intelligence to the fugitives in Holland.  He was delated by the Earl of Balcarhouse on some private pick between them.  He was ordered to be sent to Cowper (Cupar), there to satisfy the Sheriff’s Sentence for his nonconformity,” &c.  (Woodrow’s Hist. Ch. Scot.)  The Hill-o’-Beath appears to have been a favoured locality for these meetings.  (MS. and Tradition.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—George Durie of Craigluscar, re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  1685.—PITTENCRIEFF ESTATE.—George Murray, of his Majesty’s Gyards, was proprietor of Pittencrieff estate in 1685.

  LORD DRUMMOND—Charity to the Poor.—The Kirk Session Records have two minutes regarding his Lordship’s charity, viz.:-- “19th April, 1685: Mr Robert Norie, mod., gave in 7 14s-pieces of charitie, given be my Lord Drumond  (a scholar) to the poore, all put into the box.”  “13 Sept.: This day the moderator gave in 8lib. 8s. givin in charitie to the poore be my Lord Drumond and the rest of the nobles who are scholar, and yt for the last Sabbath and all proceedings.’  From this it would appear that previous to and at this period the children of the nobility were educated in the Grammar School of Dunfermline. 

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Captain George Durie of Craigluscar was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  1686.—STOPPING AN ENTRY IN THE OLD STEEPLE.—In the Kirk Session Records, under date April 4th, 1686, there is the following minute of payment:--“Item, given for stopping ane old entrie in the old steeple, half a leg Dollar.”  This is quoted to show that the south-west tower was called old, in contradistinction to the north-west tower, or steeple, which was then comparatively new, dating between 1594-1607, while the old tower or steeple, dated circa A.D. 1115.

  MR. ROBERT NORIE, minister of the First Charge of Dunfermline Church, demitted his office, and was translated to the Charge of the Church of Dundee in May, 1686.  (Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 32, &c.)

  CONVENER’S COURT BOOK.—The oldest record Book of the Convener’s Court of Dunfermline commences with date August 26th, 1686.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  A PAIR OF CALMES for casting Communion Tickets.—In the Kirk Session Records reference is made to casting calmes.  “5 Sept. 1686: Item, given to James Colzier, for making a pair of calmes for casting tickets for the communicants,” for which 1lib. 2s. Scots was paid.

  MR. SIMON COUPER, minister of the Second Charge of Dunfermline Church, was admitted to the First Charge thereof on 12th Dec., 1686.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 415.)

  1687.—MR. JAMES GRAME, OR GRAHAM, admitted Minister of First Charge, Dunfermline Church.  (Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 33; see also An. Dunf. dates 1701 and 1710.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  KIRKYARD STOUPS TO KEEP OUT BEASTS.—“17th July, 1687: This day , the Session allowed Andrew Curror, wright, 40s. Scots for making and placing the stoupes at the two kirkyaird stiles, for the keiping out of beasts from the kirkyaird.”  From this it would seem that, in 1687, there were no gates connected with these stiles, or stoupes.  (See Annals Dunf. date 1706.)

  1688.—MR. JOHN GRAY was one of the Presbyterian Ministers of Dunfermline in 1688.  He was the first Presbyterian Minister of Dunfermline after the Revolution.  He was translated from Orwell to Dunfermline.

  MR. WILLIAM OLIPHANT, who had been “outed” (deposed) in 1664, was restored to his charge at Dunfermline.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 585.)

  THE NEGLECTED ORDINANCE OF THE SACRAMENT to be Restored.  “22 July, 1686:  It bein gocnsidered yt the Sacrament of ye Lords hath not bee celebrat of a long time in this Church [Dunfermline], and yt now it is a fitt tyme for the administration of yt samen, it was resolved yt it should not be any longer delayed, but yt ye 12 and 19 days of August should be the tyme of its celebration, and yr of be made the next Lord’s day from ye pulpit.”  (Kirk Session Rec.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  1689.—SIR CHALRES HALKET AND THE “UNION.”—Sir Charles Halket was elected one of the Committee to treat regarding the Union Question.  After the accession of William and Mary, an attempt was made to unite the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland.  The project failed.  Sir Charles Halket, then Burgess of Dunfermline, was Member in the Scottish Parliament for the burgh, and was then, along with other members, elected one of the Commissioners on the Union Question.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 296.)

  A NEW PRESBYTERY FORMED.—THE MEETING-HOUSE, &C.—The first minute of the Register of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, after the Revolution of 1688, is an interesting one, viz.:--“24th May, 1689: The which day at the Meeting-House at Dunfermline, Mr. John Gray, at Dunfermline; Mr. Andrew Donaldson, at Dalgety; Mr. James Fraser, at Culross; Mr. William Spence, at Kinross; Mr. Robert Hodge, Inverkeithing; and Mr. William Mathie, minister at Portmoak, assistant, being present.  After invocation of the name of God, did first of all erect themselves in a Presbytery for carrying on the work of God jointly in the bounds of Dunfermline Presbytery, by . . . . . . , appointing that, when three or four ministers within the bounds of a Presbytery are settled, that they associate and meet together Presbyterially.  The said day Mr. Andrew Donaldson was chosen Moderator, and James Lamb, Clerk.  The next Presbytery day appointed to be at Dunfermline, the 21st of August, and Mr. James Fraser, appointed to preach before the sitting of the Presbytery; and concluded with prayer.”  (For “Meeting-House” see also An. Dunf. dates 1701 and 1705; Chat. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 427.)

  JAMES, EARL OF DUNFERMLINE at the Battle of Killiecrankie, 17th June, 1689.—The Earl of Dunfermline attached himself to the cause of James VII., and commanded a troop of horse, under Lord Dundee, at the Battle of Killiecrankie, June 17th, 1689, for which “act of Rebellion” he was outlawed, and his title forfeited.  “The Earl followed the king to St. Germains, in France, where he died in 1695.  This Earl was the fourth in the Earldom of Dunfermline, created in 1605.  Thus the Earldom became extinct after a tenure of 84 years.  (Douglas’s Peerage, &c.)  The Earl is lauded by the Jacobite author of the “Prœlium Gilliecrankianum,” as—

Nobilis apparuit Fermilodunensis
Cujus in rebellis stringebatur ensis;
Nobilis et sanguine, nobilor virtute,
Regi devotissimus intus et in cate.”

MAP OR PLAN OF THE COUNTY OF FIFE.—“The celebrated John Adair, Mathematician, &c., was in the west of Fife in the summer of 1689,” taking observations and measurements for a plan of the County of Fife.  Dunfermline, according to an old Note, was “his headquarters for several months.”  The Plan of Fife was done for his large Map of Scotland.  He was patronized by the Government of his day.  (Hist. Pap. and MS.)

  THE MINISTER OF DUNFERMLINE Accused of Reading the Proclamation of April 11th, 1689.—Mr. James Graham and Mr. Simon Couper, ministers of Dunfermline, “were tried by the Estates, on September 4th, 1689, for not reading from the pulpit the Proclamation of April 11th, and not praying for King William and his Queen.”  The libel against Mel. Couper was found Not Proven, while Mr. Graham declared htat the Proclamation came not to his hand, and that he had no scruple to read it.  Both ministers were acquitted.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 582.)

  THE MINISTER OF CARNOCK DEPOSED.—Mr. Thomas Marshall, who was admitted to the Charge of Carnock in 1679, was deposed for “not reading from the pulpit the Proclamation Act, and for not praying for William and Mary; but, instead, praying that he hoped to see King James on his throne before Lammas.”  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 584.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re=elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  1690.—POPULATION OF DUNFERMLINE, about 2000 souls.

  PITTENCRIEFF ESTATE.—Alex. Yeaman, Esq., proprietor.  (MS.)

  CUSTOMS OF FAIRS, Shoe Market, Handbell, &c., are alluded to in the Burgh Records of 1690.  The customs of the Fairs during 1690 term, amounted to a total of £200 Scots.  Among the item of “the total” are the Customs of the Shoe Market, £12 12s.6d.: of the Town Green grass, £29; of the Loan, £10; of the Handbell, £69, &c.

  POST OFFICE.—According to tradition, “a Post Office was established in Dunfermline by the Estates of Scotland, within two years after the great Revolution of 1688.”  (MS., &c.)

  SLEZER’S VIEWS OF DUNFERMLINE.—Captain Slezer appears to have published his “Theatrum Scotiæ” in 1690.  In this work are two engravings of Dunfermline, each about 16 ½ x 9 inches.  The first engraving is entitled “Prospectus Oppidi et Cenoby Fermilodunensis,” viz.,  “The Prospect of the Twon and abbey of Dunfermline,” and is dedicated “To the Honorable Charles Cathcart, Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Graye Dragoons,” &c.  This view, which has no pretensions to perspective, appears to have been taken from the tower Hill.  It shows the north end and west wall of the Palace with the roof entire.  The west end of the Church, Queen’s House, &c.; as also the backs of the houses in St. Catherine’s Wynd, Kirkgate, and part of Collier Row, with the Ferm Burn (Tower Burn), in shape of a large pond, &c!  This view has been frequently engraved on a reduced scale.  (See Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 124, &c.)  The wirter has one of the published views done abroad about 1720, which is titled “Ruine della Badia di Dunfermiling in Scozia.” 

  The second view is titled “Prospectus Cenoby Fermilodunensis,” “Prospect of the Abbey of Dunfermling,” and is dedicated “To the Right Honorable John, Lord Leslie,” &c.  It appears to have been taken from Per Dieu Knoll, aobut three-quarters of a mile south of the Abbey.  It shows the King’s Stables, the Frater Hall, the Bowling Green Wall, &c., in ruins, with the Church Steeple in the background.  The perspective of this view is also indifferent; size, same as the first view.

  ROSYTH CASTLE SOLD.—The family line of the Stuarts of Rosyth became extinct in 1690, when the castle and property were sold to “a stranger,” who resold them to the Earl of Roseberry in 1705; they were afterwards purchased by the Earl of Hopetoun.  The castle became ruinous about 1750.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charled Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  SALARIES OF DUNFERMLINE BURGH OFFICIALS, &C., IN 1690:--

                                                                                  Scots.

The Treasurer’s Fee                                                   £26 13 4
Clerk’s Fee,                                                                26 13 4
Procurator Fiscal’s Fee                                                 4   0 0
Town Agent’s Fee                                                       13   6 8
Three Officers’ Fee                                                      36   0 0
Drummer’s and Piper’s Fees                                        32   0 0
Feu-duty to the Earl of Tweedale                                    8  13 4
                                                                              £147   6 8

(Burgh Records; also Parliamentary Report on Municipal Corporations in Scotland, 1836.)

  1691.—SEVERE WINTER and Great Distress in Dunfermline.—A Note informs us that “Dunfermline and all the West of Fife lay knee-deep in snow from January itll the beginning of April,” and that there was great distress “be reason of a wide-spread vilent fevir.”

  MR. JOHN GRAY, who was admitted one of the minister of Dunfermline in 1688, “ceased to be minister thereof in 1691.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir. Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  1692.—MR. WILLIAM GULLANE, Presbyterian minister, was admitted one of the ministers of Dunfermline on 24th August, 1692.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 416.)

  MRS. DURRIT and her “Vapours.”—There is a curious entry in the old MS. Ledger of Patrick Chalmers, of Aberdeen, dated 1692, viz.: “Mrs. Durrit, maid to my Lady Dunfermline, paid for her vapours £5 16s.”  (Vide Scotsman newspaper extract, 15th March, 1861.)  “This Mrs. Durrit has been supposed to have been Mrs. Durrie, of Dunfermline, descendant of the last Abbot, who had come to be in straitened circumstances.”  Probably she had become touched with a mild insanity.”  (“J.P.” and Note.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected 9th October.  (Burgh Records.)

  ELECTION OF BURGESS to “sit in the Grand Assize” for Regulating the Prices of Commodities.—“The counsel by a pluratie of voices nominate and elect the persons under mentioned to sit in the grand assyse for regult(ng) the pryse of malt, eal, bread, and candle within this burgh viz., Andrew Walker, Hugh Kirk, Ja. Wals, Robert Broun, Wm. Hog, John Casing, Adam Stevinsone, Andrew Smeiton, Wm. Wilson, lits(r) John Stewart, Da. Turnbull, John main, wright, Ja. Gow, deacon, Jn Gibsone, shoemaker, Andrew Greig.”  (Burhg Rec. 1692.)

  PROMISED HELP IN MONEY to a Wright’s Apprentice.—“3 Dec. 1692: The counsel ordered ten Mks to be payed to Helen Watson, to help to put her son to ye wright trad, and this to be payd by Thomas Mitchel eftir he is entred to ye trad, and fund yt he is capable for ye trade.”  (Burgh Records, 1692.)

  1693.—LORD TWEEDDALE obtained a Renewal of the Lease of the Lordship, &c., of Dunfermline.—On 23rd March, 1693, Lord Tweedale, in consequence of his eminent services to the Crown, obtained in his own name a renewal of his lease to the Lordship and Regality, &c., of Dunfermline for three nineteen years after the expiry of his first tack.  (Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 81; Mercer’s Hist. p. 83, &c.)

  ST. MARGARET’S FESTIVAL was appointed by Pope Innocent XII. To be a festival of the Church (of Rome), and he again transferred the festival day back to 10th June.  (Hailes’ An. Scot.; see also An. Dunf. dates 1673 and 1678.)

  ROYAL ARMS IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER.—“24TH June, 1693:  This day it was ordained that John Cowie, thesaurer, pay to Layrence Henderson Twentie Merks Scotts for mending and gilding ye Ming’s Arms which hung above ye counsell [chamber] in ye Tolbooth.”  (Burgh Records.)

OATH OF ALLEGIANCE to King William and Queen Mary.—In Dunfermline Burgh Records, of 7th October, 1693, the then common form of the “allegiance oath” is entered, viz.:--“I do in the sinceritie of my hart assert, acknowledge, and declair, That their majesties King William and Queen Marie are ye onlie laill and onlie soveriaigns of this realm als well de jure yt is of right the King and Qwen as de fairls; That is in ye possession and exercise of ye government.  And Therfor I doe sincerlie and faithfulie promise and engadge yt I will with heart and hand life and good mentaine and defend their majesties title and government agt ye late King James and his adherents and will trye Enemies who either by secret or open attempts shall disturb or exercise their majesties in the possession,” &c.  (Burgh Records, 1693.)

  FREE HONORARY BURGESS.—On the 16th September, 1693, the Council of the Burgh created “Philip Abel, sone to ye deceist John Abel, somtyme procurator fiscal of ye comissuret of St. Andrews,” a free honorary burgess.  (Burgh Records.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  MR. SIMON COUPER, who had been admitted minister of the Second Charge of Dunfermline Church in 1681, and to the First Charge in 1686, was, for contumacy, deposed from his Charge by sentence of the united Presbyteries of Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy, on 28th December, 1693.

  1694.—MEAL ACT FOR THE BURGH.—The following minute of this Act is taken from the Burgh Records of 6th January, 1694:--“The which day the Magistrates and Toune Counsel statuted and ordained yt in all tyme coming That each bag of Meall bought from persons yt areint inhabitants and imported within this burg to be sold by the meal-sellers, That ye seller shall be obliged to pey Two Shillings scotts for each bag; And yt ye Buyer shall be obliged to give account to ye customer of such bag of meall they bring as sd is, and also Tht ye Buyers omit [not] to give acct yrof, or if anie way be yr fault ye custome be not peyed, That in yt case ye meall Buyer shall be leyable for ye se custom.  Also, it is statuted and ordained yt anie meall  yt is imported in ys burg by strangers to be sold on ye mercat day, that no prte of ye sd meall yt may happen to be left unsold shall not be in to ye house of ain inhabitant to be sold by ym betwixt ye mercat days, but yt ye sd meall shall be tyed up and keiped till ye next mercat day or carried out at ye and yt under ye penalty of fourtie shillings scotts to be peyd by ye persons yt ye meall within yr house and sell ye samen as if his.”

  DEBT OF THE BURGH IN 1694.—The first notice of the burgh debt is minuted in the Burgh Records of this year as amounting to 5573 merks (about £309 12s. sterg;) mortifications excepted.  (“Report in consequence of an Act of Parl. on the Common Good and Debts of the Burgh, in Dunf. Char. Chest;” Fernie Hist. Dunf. p. 11.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  ALLOWANCE TO THE TOWN CLERK for Extra Work.—“ 1604, Oct. 6th:  The said day the council allowed the clerk ane hundred mers scotts m oney; and yt in satisfactione to him of his extraordinary pains of ye Toun’s affairs.  (Burgh Records, 1694.)

  1695.—THE First Charge of Dunfermline Parish Church vacant from 1695 to 1701.  (See An. Dunf. date 1701.)

  FREE HONORARY BURGESSES OF DUNFERMLINE.—It was ordered by the Magistrates and Town Council of the Burgh “that the Captain, Cornet, Agitant, the Sergants, and Corperals of the Lord Jedburgh’s troop quarted here be made burgesses; and also ordains Wm. Garrock to be made a burges.”  (Burgh Rex. 25th May, 1695.)

  A NEW HAND-BELL ordered for the Burgh.—“25th May, 1695: Ordered that a new hand-bell be bought, and recommends John Chalmers to do it; and orders the bell to be kept for ordinar proclamations and allenerly for burials.”  (Burgh Records. May and July, 1695.)

  THE “MERCAT” CROSS REPAIRED.—This year the “Mercat Croce” was repaired, and a new centre pillar erected.  The date “1695” is still to be seen on the stone pillar, near the foot.  (See An., date 1868.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Rec.)

  1696.—THE DARIEN COMPANY.—To this scheme, according to the Burgh Records, the Town Council of Dunfermline in 1696, subscribed the sum of £10.  It may be noted here that the :Darien scheme” appears to have been projected and floated by “Paterson, the schemer,” in 1695, for the purpose of colonizing and trading on the Isthmus of Darien (the narrow neck of land joining North and South America).  The scheme took the national fancy—the wealthy and the poor, town councils and incorporated bodies voted moneys for the furtherance of the scheme; every one who had, or who would subscribe to it were to become in a few short years very rich.  Public rejoicings in 1696-98 became the order of the day.  The frenzied excitement was at its height between March, 1699, and January, 1700.  During this period, thanksgiving sermons and thanksgiving prayers were promulgated from almost every Scotch pulpit.  Suddenly a reverse came.  The Company, which was entirely a Scotch Company and excited the jealousy of English Companies and speculators, many of whom had the ear of the King.  By misrepresentation and mean machinations of these speculators, the Scotch Company of Darien came to grief, and the country nearly to the verge of national bankruptcy.”  (See Histories of Scotland for an account of the unfortunate scheme,)

  MR. SIMON COUPAR, who had been deposed by the Presbyteries of Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy, in December, 1693, and the deposition ratified by the Synod of Fife, 9th May, 1694, continued to officiate as Minister of the First Charge of Dunfermline Church till this year (June, 1696.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Rec.)

  BREWING.—“The counsel ordains each breuar within the burgh from the date hereof [14th December], to breu two sorts of ale, the one to be sold for 3s. the pint, and ye oyr for 2s. 4d.”  (Burgh Records.)

  1697.—THE BURGH TREASURER “STRAITENED.”—600 Merks Borrowed.—“18 May, 1697:  Which day the treasurer having represented yt he was straightened for monie to do ye touns affairs, the counsel ordered ye thesaurer to borrow from David Adie 600 merks Scots, and to give bond in name of ye communitie, bearing annl rent from Whitd last.”  (Burgh Records.)

  CHARITY TO WILLIAM REID, Son of the late Provost.—The threasurer, by order of the council, is requested “to furnish William Reid, son to the deceast James Reid, late Provost, six lippies of meal and seven pence weekly for his maintainence, from the beginning of May, 1697, to ye first Sept. 1698, and that is respect that he was almost starving at the time.”  (Vide Burgh Rec. the 29th of May, 1699.)

    BURGH CHARITY.—“Oct. 1697:  Ordered yt ye thesaurer give in chartie to Helen Watson for buying medicaments for her daughter, who is sick of ye passion.”  (Burgh Records.)

  DEARTH.—This summer the dearth began to be felt, and continued for nearly two years.  “The baillies intimate to the burgesses that thir severall years bygone, for relief of the inhabitants in this time of dearth, had payed the public cess out of the common good which the burgesses approved, and entreated they might continue in so doeing untill that the inhabitants be in better condition.”  (Burgh Records, Oct. 5, 1697.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Charles Halket of Pitfirrane was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, Oct. 4, 1697.)

  SIR CHARLES HALKET of Pitfirrane, Provost of the Burgh, died October 21st 1697, and was interred in Dunfermline Abbey.  (See under.)

  FUNERAL OF THE PROVOST.—The Provost, having died in office, the Magistrates and Town Council came to the following arrangements, &c., for attending the funeral:--“The magistrates and town counsel, considering it their duty to doe all in their power to honour the funerals of Sir Charles Halket their hojnourable and worthie provost, now deceast” they ordered “the thesauter to buy als much black searge as would compleatlie cover the counsel [laft] in the Church, and that this be done against Sabbath coming eight  days.  Also, ordered that there be a particular number of the Crafts to be nominat by the deacon convener, and of the common burgesses to be nominat by ye baillies, do on horseback attend the funerals and go out with the magistrates to Pitfirran, and that all of them who can conveniently put themselves in mourning do it.  Also, that none of the inhabitants presume to go to Pitferran but such as go on horseback.  Likeas that the other burgesses that go not to Pitfirran on horseback, wait upone the funerals at the Port.  In like manner that the thesaurer provide als much crape as will be mourning things, and shoulder bands for the officers to be worn by them at the buriall.  Moreover, that the magistrates and toun counsel take their post upon the front immediately after the burial enters the east port, the officers goeing before them with their hallberts in their ordinary mourning and liveries forsd, and thus continue untill they come to the Church stile, and yt there the Counsellors in mournings advance and go immediately before the corps until the grave, and the officers go immediatlie after the corps trailing their halberds.”  (Burgh Rec. Oct. 23, 1697.)  The funeral cavalcade, it will be seen, entered Dunfermline by the East Port.  The West Port, in St. Catherine’s Wynd, had too small an archway to permit a hearse, &c., to pass through it.  The funeral party would, therefore, proceed from Pitfirrane by the low south road to the Netherton, go up the New Row, and at the top of it, enter the East Port (a wide archway), then down High Street and Kirkgate.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Patrick Murray of Pitdinnes elected Provost.—“Nov. 12th, 1697:  The said day the magistrates and counsel did nominate and elect Sir Patrick Murray of Pitdinnes to be provost of this burgh till Michaelmas next, in place of Sir Charles Halket, laitlie deceased, and ordained him to appear before the ordinary counsel, and there accept the said office, and give his oath fidele.”  Similar notices are appended to the elections of the other Provost.  Pitdinnie is about three miles west from Dunfermline.  (Burgh Records.)

  1698.—CLOCK-KEEPER.—“5 Feb. 1698:  The said day the counsel agreed with Adam Stevenson (younger), Smith, that he should not only daily row up and wait upon the knock, and to mend and keep right all parts of her that shall become faulty, or amek new wheels or other materials, and to keep her goeing right, for which the Counsell ordain their thesaurer to pay him yearlie the sum of twentie pounds Scots money, beginning the first term’s payment at the term of Lambemas next to come, 1698, for the year immediately preceeding, and siclike yearlie yrafter during his dressing, repairing, and keeping right said knock;” and when he leaves, “Adam to leave ye sd knock in good condition and usell goeing.”  (Burgh Recourds.)

  ROSYTH CASTLE.—An old note states that “parts of the roof of auld Rosyth Castle fel in this yeare,” 1698.  (See also Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 394.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Patrick Murray of Pitdinnes was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  REPAIRING THE KIRK.—“The counsel being informed that the fabrick of the Kirk, in the roof and otherways, was in ill case; and the counsell recommend a joint action with the heritors to have the necessary repairs made.”  (Burgh Records.)

  St. JOHN’S LODGE, DUNFERMLINE (N0. 26).—The oldest Minute Book extant of St. John’s Mason Lodge, Dunfermline, begins with 27th December, 1698, and ends with 27th December, 1728.  It is an unbound folio of 84 pages, and is chiefly filled up with entries of masons’ apprentices, sums received for “entries to the Ludge,” Elections of deacons, wardens, &c.  The several entries are generally dated on a St. John’s day (27th December).  (See Mason Lodge Register; also, An. Dunf. date 1598.)

  BADGES FOR THE POOR.—“The counsel ordered the thesaurer to cause run 36 badges, to the effect they may be delivered to the poor within the burgh, to te effect the poor may beg through the toun upon Tuesday and Saturday each week, and als ordains ye constables and officers to carry of ye strangers, beggars, forth out of the toun to next landward.”  (Burgh Records, 5th Feb. 1698; also Annals Dunf. date 1792.) 

  1699.—GREAT DEARTH.—There was a great dearth throughout Scotland this year.  “It was felt severely in Dunfermling and the parish.”  The following minute regarding the calamity is extracted from the Burgh Records of date “15 July, 1699:  This day the saids magistrates and toun counsellers considering the Great dearth of victual, and that many poor people within the burgh who had had numerous families and others were at the point of starving; they therefore ordered the thesaurer to give in charity to the saids poor inhabitants fourty pounds scot, and ordained the bailiies to cause severall honest men in the severall quarters of the toun to bring in list of the poor householders who do not come out and beg to them, and the baillies to divide ye sd sum among the said poor householders as they should see just, and to give the thesaurer a list thereof.”

  LADY HALKET, widow of Sir James Halket of Pitfirrane, died 22nd April, 1699, aged 77 years.  The maiden name of this worthy, pious lady was Anna Murray, daughter of Thomas Murray, Provost of Eton.  During her widowhood of about 28 years she resided in the Comendatory House, Maygate, Dunfermline.  She was a great writer on religious subjects.  The following is a list of some of her 21 MS. books still extant:--1. A book of 152 pp. of Meditations Prayers, &c.; 2. A book in folio of 376 pp. Meditations on the Lord’s Supper, the Soul’s Progress, &c.;  3. A small folio of 59 pp. Meditations on the 25th Psalm;  4. A book in folio, 73 pp. Meditations on Death;  5. A folio, 150 pp., Meditations on Prayer, Faith, &c.:  6. An 8vo, 35 pp. Meditations on various Select Subjects;  7.  A 4to, 300 pp., on Prayer, &c.;  8. A 4to, 315 pp. Meditations and Prayers, &c., on to No. 21 on kindred subjects.  Her Meditations on Psalm XXV., &c., was published in 1778, prefixed by an account of her life, which see for further details. 

  LAURATION.—“28 July:  The said day the Counsell ordered the thesaurer to pay to Thomas Andersone, son to John Andersone, a Dollar to help to pay the College dues at this lauration.”  (Burgh Records.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir Patrick Murray of Pitdinnes was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

  STAFFMAN’S HOUSE MEAL.—“28 Oct. 1699:  The said day ordained the thesaurer to pay ye Staff-man’s house meall at a ducat doun yearly, commencing from Lambmass last.”  (Burgh Records.)  The duty of the “Staffman” appears to have been somewhat similar to that of the after town-keepers.

  1700.—TOWN’S PIPER.—“15Jan. 1700:  The said day the counsel elected John Bell to be their pyper.”  (Burgh Records.)  This is an important, noisy functionary.

  DEPUTY COAL HILL JUDGE.—“27th May, 1700:  The said day the counsel granted power to Patrick angus, tacksman of the toun coall, to keep Courts at the coall hill for punishing and fining the Coalliers, Bearers, callers, and others employed about the Coall work, for their faults, reserving power to baillies to judge betwixt the tacksman and coalliers, if appealed to.”  (Burgh Records.)

  BALDRIDGE ESTATE, near Dunfermline, was this year purchased by Henry Wellwood, Esq. of Garvock.. Before the year 1720 he is reported to have cleared £30,000 from the coal alone on the estate, (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 315.)

  DEARTH.—The great dearths, first felt in the burgh in the summers of 1697-1699, was “littel felt in the summer of 1700,” and before the end of this year, “the dearth was at an end.”

  HAND BELL.—“30th Sept. 1699:  This day the counsel ordained Katharen Gibsone to find new caution for the hand bell, with certification yt if she fail so to doe betwixt and this eight days, the baillies are hereby ordained to roup ye bell with all haste.”  (Burgh Records.)

  HALBARD.—“The same day the counsell ordained baillie belfrage to pay James Cusine fourty shilling Scots for a halberd furnished to Thomas Patisone, town officer.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Sir James Halket of Pitfirrane was elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 8th Oct. 1700.)

  THE ANCIENT FOREST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Tradition informs us that, “down to the year 1700, a remnant of the old wood, or forest, of Dunfermline was in existence in the heighbourhood of Golfdrum and Boofies Brae.”  A local rhymester of other days (D.P.) in referring to the remnant of the old wood, says—

“In dayis of ould, I have been told,
that here it was ane’s dailie habit
To shoot the craws doon af the trees,
Or nail a wild bit hair or rabit.”

  As the last remnant of the old wood existed in the immediate vicinity of the top of Woodhead Street, perhaps this name was given to the street in remembrance of this old tradition.  It is likely that it was in this high-land wood or forest, that the immortal hero, Sir William Wallace, concealed himself for a short space from his English enemies in1303.  Vide An. Dunf. p. 109, where, it will be observed that Langtoft says, in rhyme:--

“Turn we now other weyes unto ower geste,
And speke of theh Waleys that lies in the foreste;
In the forest he-landes of Daunfermelyn,” &c.

A NEW BURGH FAIR WANTED.—“2 Dec., 1700:  Ordained this day that the baillies write to Bangour (their agent) to petition the parliament for a fair yearly on the second Wednesday of Januar.”  (Burgh Rec.)  James Hamilton of Bangour was the Commissioner of Dunfermline to the Convention of Royal Burghs.

  STAFFMAN’S CLOTHING.—“24 Dec. 1700:  Ordained this day that thesaurer buy a new coat, shoes, and hose and breeches, to the Staffman, and to make them.”  (Burgh Records.)  It would appear that the Treasurer was Deacon of the Tailors.

END OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.


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