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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1701 - 1801 - Part 6


  1742.—REV. JAMES WARDLAW, Minister of the Second Charge of The Established Church, died at Dunfermline on the 2d May, 1742, in the sixty ninth year of his age and 24th year of his ministry.  He lies near the site of the old pulpit.  (Burgh Records.)

 

  SCHOOL IN THE QUEEN’S HOUSE.—Mr. Francis Paterson had a School in one of the rooms of Queen Ann of Denmark’s House in 1742, which he taught with ability and success.

 

  THE REV. RALPH ERSKINE finally left off Preaching in the Auld Kirk.—Although he was deposed by the General Assembly in May, 1740, yet, in defiance of the act of deposition, he continued to preach once every Sunday in the Auld Kirk, until 11th May, 1742, when he, by eminent legal and other advice, entirely “gave up preaching in his old pulpit.”  Previous to this period there had been some unseemly “clerical passages at arms, and it was well for all parties that such clerical bickering had now ceased.”  As already mentioned, Mr. Erskine, besides preaching in the Auld Kirk every Sunday after his deposition, “also conducted divine service every Sunday in his tent, or in the barn, from 1739 to June, 1741.  After the later date, till 11th May, 1742, he made use of his newly-elected Church, and continued to do so till his death.  (See MS. by David Inglis Wright; Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. pp. 126-133; Fraser’s Life of Ralph Erskine; see also An. Dunf. dates 1739, 1740, 1741 and 1752.)

 

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 27th Sept., 1742.)

 

  1743.—HORSE-STEALERS IMPRISONED IN THE TOLBOOTH—One of them hangs himself in his cell.—The following is a note regarding the circumstances:--     

 

“James Hay and William Gordon, natives of Aberdeenshire, were apprehended at Torrie, near Dunfermline, on a charge of horse stealing.  They had two horses in their possession when taken.  Hay and Gordon were lodged in the tollbooth of Dunfermline.  They were put into separate cells, and examined separately.  Bothe said that they had bought the horses, but gave different accounts of the circumstances.  Next Sunday (1st Feby.) the jailor of Dunfermline tollbooth, on returning from the church, found that Gordon had hanged himself in his cell.  Shortly afterwards Hay was conveyed to Cupar0Fife, where he was tried for his crime; was found guilty, and executed pursuant to sentence passed by the court.”  On the examination of Hay, “compeared Alexander Richardson, jaylar in Dunfermling, witness, aged Sixty and upwards—married.  Purged of all partiall council, solemnly sworn and interogat, depones that upon the twenty eight of January last the panel and William Gordon were committed prisoners in the tollbooth of Dunfermline, by warrand from Sir George Preston, Justice of Peace, for Horse Stealing; that they were put in separate rooms in the prison, and upon Sunday thereafter, the deponent having gone into the prison in the morning, saw Gordon well, and having again gone into prison after Sermons, found that he had strangled himselfe causa scientiæ patet; and this is the truth, as he shall swear to God.”  (Extract from Minutes of the Trial before the Sheriff of Fife at Cupar: see also Rec. Reg. Court Dunf. date 1743.)  It is probable that Hay was executed at Cupar-Fife.

 

  POTATOES PLANTED IN FIELDS AT FOD, near Dunfermline.—An Old MS. states that “potatoes were first planted in the open fields, in the West of Fife, at a farm called Fod, near Dunfermline.”  The Fods are about two miles east of Dunfermline.

 

  THE NORTH WALL OF THE ABBEY, &c.—“7th March, 1743:  This day the council, after considering the many complaints of the walls of the under isde of the north wall of the monastery of Dunfermline (Canmore Street), being insufficient, some part of already fallen, and other parts of hanging over, so that  it is dangerous for passengers and travelers: Ordered that the heritors and possessors of land there to make the wall sufficient.”  (Burgh Rec.)  It would appear that what was done to the wall was a make shift.  (An. Dunf. date 1744.)

 

  THE REV. JAMES THOMSON, for 14 years a minister of the 26th Regiment of Foot, was admitted Minister of the First Charge of the Established Church, Dunfermline, on May 4, 1743.  (An. Dunf. 1790.)

 

  EXCESSIVE USE OF TEA AND FOREIGN SPIRITS.—“9th July, 1743:  Which day there was laid before the council by John Wilson, Commissioner to the Royall burrows, a printed paper signed by William fforbes, Clerk to the Royal Burrows, anent the preventing the Universal and excessive Use of tea and fforeign spirits in order to obtain their opinion anent the samen,” &c.  The council ordered the baillies, on 31st August, to write to “the Clerk of the burrows, that it is the couoncills mind and opinion that the putting a stop to the use of tea and fforeign spirits as mentd in ye act is for the interest of the country if proper methods can be fallen upon to prevent the same.”  (Burgh Records.)

 

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

 

  KEEPING OF THE TOWN CLOCK.—“15 Dec.:  The council ordered the treasurer to pay to Robert Bonnar, wright, thirteen pounds ten shillings Scots for his attending and rectifying the toun clock yearly.”  (Bur. Rec.)

 

  1744.—THE BLEACHFIELD.—“18 Feb. 1744:  Which day the council taking to serious consideration the hazard that the bleachfield is in, throu the proprietors of houses on the west side of the new raw having an entry or door on the east dyek of the bleatchfield (Abbey Wall); and that the masters or possessors of ye sd tenements can’t account or answer for their servants their fidelity.  Ordered all doors at the back of such houses to be closed up by the 1st April next,” &c.  (Burgh Records.)

 

  DESCRIPTION OF THE PARISH OF DUNFERMLINE, by Mr. Alex. Livingstone—MS. in Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh:  The following are a few notes extracted from the MS.:--

 

            “The Parish of Dunfermline, in the Shire of Fife, is bounded on the West by the parish of Torryburn, on the north west by the parish of Carnock, on the north by the parish of Saline, on the north east by the parish of Cleish, on the east by the parish of Beath, on the south east by the parish of Dalgetie, and on the south by some points to the east, by the parish of Inverkething,” &c.

            “About a quarter of a mile from the Church, south side of the town, the Line Burn, from whence the name of the town in Latin, viz., “Dunum Fermilinum,” is thought by some to have taken its arise.  The fountain from whence it springs if Moss Morrovine, three miles east of the town, and falls into the Forth at the Iron Miln three miles south west of the church.

            “About a large mile north of the church is the Town Loch, about a mile in circumference, which produces some few Perches.  About two large miles north east of the Town is Lochfitty, about two miles in circumference, which produces Pikes and Perches.  About two miles north of the Town in Lochend, which produces Perches (about a mile in circumference.)  About two and a half miles north of the Town is Dunduff, which produces a few Pikes and Perches, (of a quarter or little more in circumference.)  About six miles north east of the Town is Lochgloe, which produces plenty of Pikes and Perches, and is about a mile in circumference,” &c.

            “About a large stone cast west of the church in the Tower-hill, commonly called ‘King Malcolm’s Tower,” or his dwelling-place at Dumfermline.  It is nearly surrounded with a little water, called the back burn, which takes its rise from the Town Loch, aobut a large mile north of the Church, and falleth in with the Line-burn about a quarter of a mile south of the town.  Over it is a bridge of two arches, which leadeth into the town from west to east,” &c.  (Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections, MS., vol. i., Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh; Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 182-187.)  [The most of Livingstone’s description is taken up with distances of place from Dunfermline, and the relative bearings of “gentlemen’s houses within the Parish.”]

 

  ADDRESS TO THE KING—Threatened Invasion—Royal Marriage and Birth.—“10th April:  The council order and appoint the baillies to form and sign an address to his majesty the King on the late threatened invasion:  The marriage of princess Mary to the prince Royall of Denmark, and the Birth of the prince of Wales’s third son:  And to transmit the same to the honorable Mr. James Erskine, our member of parliament, to be presented to his Majesty accordingly.”  (Burgh Records.)

 

  THE REV. THOMAS FERNIE admitted Minister of the Second Charge of the Church of Dunfermline, on 19th April, 1744.  (Ses. Records, see An. of Dunf. 1788.)

 

  ONE THE THE BAILIES “HORRIDLY INSULTED.”—“15th Sept.:  Which day Baillie Scotland laid before the council a written complaint against Robert Meldrum, town officer, complaining of a horrid insult and indignity made and offered by Robert Meldrum against the Baillie Scotland on Wednesday night last, when the baillie went civilly to the tollbooth to curb some disturbance that he heard was among the prisoners.”  Meldrum was dismissed from his office, and ordered to be prosecuted.  (Burgh Records.)

 

  ABBEY WALLS IN A DANGEROUS STATE.—“22nd Sept.:  Which day on a complaint from some of the burgesses, that no person can come or go from the Maygeat to ye Newraw without great hazard of their lives by the abbay wall falling”:  the council ordered that the wall be inspected and “the faulty parts taken down.”  (Bur. Records.)  The Abbey wall, all along “in below the walls” (Canmore Street), had been much shaken by the great thunderstorm in 1733.

 

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records.)

 

  THE TOWN CONSTABLES’ ANNUAL DINNER.—“20th Oct., 1744:  This day the council taking to yr consideration the inconveniencys attending ye constables of this burgh having it in yr power to go to any house they please to spend money in use to be given to them by the town for a dinner; some of them wnanting it to one house and some to another.  The council yrfor to prevent any dispute yt may arise for the future yranent, Statute and ordained yt in all time coming the Constables shall spend ye money that ye town gives ym after michaelmas , yearly in any house in this place qr the council pleases, and shall appoint ym to go to, otherways, the transgressors to get no money off ye town.”  (Burgh Records.)

 

  1745.—STEEL MILLS.—“6th Feb., 1745:  Which day Baillie Scotlland informed the ocuncill that William Bruce, tenant of the Heugh Mills, acquainted him that the Corporation of Weavers intended this day to sell their two Steel Mills, presently standing in the Coalliaraw Mill at a public roup, and desired the baillie in his name to beg the favour of the council to buy the sd two Steel Mills for his use of the tack.  The council agreed to send some one to the said roup to bid to the extent of three pounds ten shillings, sterling for ye sd mills.”  (Burgh Records.)

 

  LITERATURE.—“Faith no Fancy; or a Treatise on Mental Images, Discovering the Vain Philosophy and Vile Divinity of a late Pamphlet, entitled ;Mr. Robe’s Fourth Letter to Mr. Fisher’; and showing that an imaginary idea of Christ as Man (when supposed to belong to Saving Faith, whether in its act or object) imports nothing but Ignorance, Atheism, Idolatry, Great Falsehood, and Gross Delusion.  By Ralph Erskine, A.M. Minister of the Gospel at Dunfermline, who was very confidently, but ignorantly, charged with Blasphemy and Heresy in the said pamphlet for condemning that imaginary Doctrine; with an Appendix relating to part of the late writings of the Reverend Messrs. Williams and Currie, especially touching some points of Gospel Doctrine, injured by their Defence of the Act of General Assembly, 1722, &c.  ‘Nunquam periclitatur religio nisi inter Reverendissimos’.—Luth. Edinburgh: Printed by W&T Riddimans, &c. M.D.CCXLV.”  This now very scarce work is an 8vo volume of 372 pp., with an appendix of 40 pp.  “This is esteemed them ost philslphical and learned of all Ralph Erskine’s works—a quotation would not suffice to give an estimate of the work, it must be read through.” &c.

 

  WIEGHT OF BREAD, &c.—For some time previous to this year many complaints had been sent to the Magistrates regarding the light weight of bread; on June 17th, 1745, the Magistrates and council issued the following Table of Weights and Prices:--

 

  SIR PETER HALKET, who was so frequently elected Provost of Dunfermline between 1705 and 1733, died in the 1745, at the advanced age of eighty  seven years.

 

  A NEW TOWN OR KIRK CLOCK ORDERED.   --The following minute of the Town Council relates to the ordering of a new Town or Kirk Clock:--

 

            “26th June, 1745:  Which day the baillies informed the council that Mr. Andrew Dickie, watchmaker in Edin., was come over to this place as he was desired by the council, anent a new clock to the Kirk Steeple of this burgh; and that after the baillies, &c., some of the members of council had gone up with said Mr. Dickie to the present clock in said steeple, which is reckond quit useless and takes more expence to uphold the same than will go a good way to get a new clock,  The baillies and these members heard Mr. Dickie yranent.  And Mr. Dickie offered to funish a sufficient new clock to said steeple, the two big wheels yrof to be fourteen inches in diameter and vry nigh and inch think, and these wheels and ye oyr wheels to be of brass, and ye rest of ye wheels to be in proportion to ye two big wheels, to go for about thirty hours, and a minute hand wtin, all for forth pounds (sterg.); and that he declaird he could do the thing cheaper but could not attest a cheaper clock; which being considered by the council, they appoint, warrand and impowr the two baillies and dean of gild in name of the town to contract with said Mr. Dickie for a new clock to the Steeple at said forty pounds sterling of price, and if the baillies and dean of gild think fit to agree with Mr. Dickie for a minute hand to the outside, although the town should pay a guinea more for ye said minuter hand or so.  And whatsoever the baillies and dean of gild shall so contract, the council engadges to relieve ym yrof.  And they enjoin the said baillies and dean of gild to agree with Mr. Dickie to make ye said clock to have and hour hand to the West, and the north broad or plate to have an hour and minute hand together, and allow ym to contract with Mr. Dickie in ye cheapest way for ye west hand also; and the whole price not to exceed forth three pounds Sterling.”  (Burgh Records.)

 

  It would appear from this that the Council were anxious to have a dial with an hour-hand on it, to point out the hours on the west side of the steeple, and thus show the time to those on the west road, which then went by way of Tower Hill to Urquhart Bridge, but this was abandoned in consequence of “the difficulty there would be in piercing a hole through the thick wall of the Steeple.”

 

  On the 31st August of the same year, the Town Council received a letter from Mr. Dickie, which will be understood by the following minute of council:--“31 August:  “Which day the baillie laid before the council a letter from Mr. Dickie, of the 28th current, relative to the clock, signifying that it will be a troublesome job to pierce the hole in the west side of the Steeple, and to put up the broad on the west side thereof; and, wishing that the council would let it alone and he’ll discouont a guinea of the price:  Which being considered by the council, they unanimously resolve and agree that there shall be no hand nor broad to the west side of the Steeple, and appoints the baillies or any one of them to write to Mr. Dickie accordingly, and also to desire Mr. Dickie to provide a sufficient dyall-broad of good fir, and six fot in diameter, and to cause sufficiently paint the same, with gold leaf of large figures for the hour hand and the minute figures in proportion.”  (Burgh Records.)

 

  THE TOLBOOTH PORT.—This port is mentioned in a minute in the Burgh Records, under date July 2d, 1745, as follows:  “Which day on application from Robert Bryce and John Adie, tacksmen of the town’s landwart flesh stands, the council authorized and impowered the said tacksmen ofn ye own expence to fix and place two threes and an overtree for the benefit of the landwart fleshers yt bring flesh to this burgh, and yt at the east end of the stone shop near ye tollbooth port to Adam Walker’s heirs,  wt kleeks on ye said trees.”

 

  According to several aged inhabitants of Dunfermline with whom the writer in early life held frequent converse on “the days of old, the years of ancient times,” and who, in their “boyhood days,” had often passed through this port, all agreed in their statements regarding it, viz.:  In front of the Old Tolbooth, removed in 1769, there projected out into the street and immense fan-formed stone stair, which led up to the Council Chamber in the second storey.  The stair was about ten feet in breadth at the top landing, and widened out as it came down to the street, so much so that the lower steps that rested on the street were at least twenty feet in length.  The upper steps of this stair, and the stone landing at the top, rested on an archway or pend of about ten feet in height, eight feet in width, and the road through this arch, below the big stair, was about twelve feet in length.  This roadway connected the Kirkgate with the Collieraw (now Bruce Street).  A gate hung on the northern exit of the arch or pend, and served as the Tolbooth port, which in ancient times was closed each night with the rest of the ports.  Such are all the details known regarding “the Tolbooth Port.”  (For the other ports, see An. Dunf. 1327, 1488, 1585, 1735,1752, and 1780.)  Also, for view of this remarkable stair, see the view of it in Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 4, which was supplied by the writer.    

 

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE,--Lord Charles Hay of Blansh was re-elected Provost, 30th Sept., 1745.  (Burgh Records.)

 

  THE REBELLION, AND PRINCE CHARLES’S DEMANDS ON THE BURGH.—In the Burgh Records, between October 4 and December 27, 1745, there are five minutes of meetings of the council of the Burgh regarding “Prince Charlie’s demands on them.”  As the minutes are interesting, we shall give them in full:--

 

            “4th Oct., 1745.—The said day the letter from Mr. Murray of Broughton, by command of his prince, was again read this day as it was on munday last before the council, the tenor follows:--

                                                            “Holyrood House, 28th Sept., 1745.

            “Sir,--Your are here by orderd upon  receipt of this to repair to the Secretary’s Office at the Palace of Holyrood-house, there to have the contribution to be pay’d by your town of Dunfermline for his Highness use of excyse arising out of the said town of Dunfermline ffor the repayment of which contribution the said duty shall be assigned.  This you are orderd upon pain of rebellion forth with to obey.—By his Highness command,

                           “Sign’d       J.   Murray.”

Directed on the back “To the Provost of Magistrates of the burgh of Dunfermline.”

 

            Whereupon Baillie Adie and Baillie Crawford, verbally commissioned by the Council on munday to goe over to Ed. in name of the toun in obedience to the above forced sommission or letter, Reported that they went to Ed. and  met with Mr. Murray’s under Secretary’s as they called themselves, viz., messieurs Stuart and Lumsdean, who demanded eight pounds Sterling as the lowest contribution to be pay’d by this burgh, and to be pay’d tomorrow at furthest, and that for the touns repayment a proper assignment is to be given.  The council therefore, before they proceed to give judgment in the above affair, recommend to and appoint the dean of gild to meet his brethren and each deacon of croft to meet and assemble yr seall crofts for advice how the said contribution is to be pay’d or by whom in the meantime.  The saids Baillies Adie and Crawford also reported that on payment of the contribution no more in name of excyse on that score was to be pay’d by this burgh for near six months.  And the council appoints ye dean of gild and deacons to report this day by 12 midday.—Council of the Burgh of Dunfermline held within ye writing chamber on Friday the 4th October, 1745.

__________________________________

 

            Council of the burgh of Dunfermline, held within ye writing chamber on Friday ye 4th October, 1745, at 12 midday, by adjournment.

 

Sederunt, &c.

               Alexander Miller,   Bailie                           Ja. Crawford

               David Adie,           Bailie                           Robert Wilson

               John Lindsay, dean of gild.                       John Walker

               Andrew Dickie,  treasurer                         Alex Conventry

               John Black                                              Wm. Walker

               Thomas Scotland                                     Wm. Anderson

               Wm. Hutton                                             John Kerr

               David Sands                                            John Pierson

               George Kellock                                       George Meldrum

               John Knox

 

            The dean of gild and deacons of Crofts, in consequence of the appointment this day made the following reports, viz.:--The dean of gild reported he met his brethren and they are unanimously of opinion that the contribution should be payd off the touns common good rather than the toun be plundered, but delayed giving judgement how much they will contribut for touns help or assistance till afterwards.  And the whole deacons reported that it is the mind of their seall trades that the contribution should be payd by ye toun off the touns common good; and in case that the toun shall not recover it, or get repayment form the brewers and those liable in excyse, that in case that they will severally contribut to yr abilities, save ye corporation of Weavers and Taylors, who declined giving any advice in ye matter.—Which reposts being considered by the council, and they considering that tother royall burrows have apyd yr contribution money, the council yrfor agree to the said eight pounds sterling of contribution money.  And the council having asked John Knox, treas. what money is in his hands of ye touns, at the time, who declares yt he has only twenty two pounds sterling.—Where upon the council appoint, warrand, and authorize John Knox, late treas., in name of ye toun and on the touns credite, to borrow the remaining fifty eight pounds Sterling, and when borrowed, also appoints him, ye said John Knox, to send the said eighty pounds Sterling with Robert Meldrum, one of the touns officers, to Ed. and Robert Meldrun to give it to Mr. fflockart, the touns agent, to pay the same acourdingly and also warrand ye baillies to sign a conjunct bill or bills from ye persons one or more from whom ye said £50 Str. Is to be borrowed.                                        Signd.   ALEX MILLER.”

 

            The same day also, John Knox, late treas., represented that as it is reported yt the highlanders are by force to levy and uplift the land cess tomorrow or very soon, so he wanted the council’s judgement how to behave.  That is, whether he should pay ye touns land cess to ym or not.  Which being considered by the council, they are of opinion and agree that the said John Knox pay the land cess as in case other gentlemen pay theirs to them.

                                                            (Signed)     ALEX. MILLER

 

  THE EARL OF KELLIE and a small party of Highlanders come to Dunfermline demanding money.  The council meet to consider it along with former demands, viz.:--

 

  Council of the Burgh of Dunfermline holden within the Writing Chamber on Saturday the 5th October, 1745, at 10 o’clock before noon.

 

          Sederunt, &c.—

          Alexander Miller,   baillie                              Wm. Hutton

          David Adie,   baillie                                      John Black

          John Lindsay,   dean of gild                          James Crawford

          Andrew Dickie,   treas.                                John Kerr

          David Sands                                               John Walker

          George Kellock                                           Wm. Anderson

          John Know                                                  William Walker

          Thomas Scotland

 

Which day the baillies acquainted the council that yesterday they and John Knox, in consequence of the council act of yesterday, borrowed thirty four pounds sterling from Baillie Scotland, and fourteen pounds sterling from Crawford, and ten pounds money for said from Robert Adie, making in whole the £58 ster. Which was, with the 22£ ster. In said John Knox’s hands, sent to Edward with Rot. Meldrun, offr, in terms of yesterday order.  All which the council approves off.

 

  The same day also, Baillie Adie represented to the council that this morning he was sent ofr, and went to the Earl of Kellie and a party of highlanders who are just now in the place, and that they demanded from him in name of the touon, the toun’s cess, or supply in use to be payd to the generall receiver.  And yt they threaten, if it is not payd immediately, military execution and plundering, and this beside the touns land cess. The council delays the consideration of this matter to three o’clock this day in the afternoon, to which time the council adjourned, and the council were warand apud acta to attend tm.

 

___________________________________

 

 

 Council held within the Writing Chamber on Saturday, the 5th Oct., 1745, at 3 o’clock afternoon, by the magistrates and toun council as mentioned in the forenoon’s Sederunt.  Baillie Miller, Dean of gild Lindsay, and the Clerk, verbally appointed by the council in the forenoon to meet with some of the principal persons on the highland party to make and get matters as easy for the toun as possible.  Reported that before they went to ym they met with Clerk Walker in Innerkeithing, who told ym yt he saw the toun of Kinghorn pay them yr toun’s cess or supply, and yt Immerkeithing had also payd their cess to ym.  And yt after meeting with Mr. Seton, commonly called Coll. Seton, yt Mr, Seton proposed on the touns paying about twenty pounds sterling, presently, in part payment of the toun’s by gone cess or supply.  Which being considered by the council, they warrand and appoint John Knox, late treas. in name of the toun to pay ym any sum not exceeding twenty pounds sterling, to account of ye touns supply.

 

_______________________________

 

 

  Court of the burgh of Dunfermline held within the house of Baillie David Adie, on munday the 16th Dec., 1745.

 

              Sederunt—

              Alexander Miller,   baillie                              John Knox

              David Adie,   baillie                                      David Sands

              John Lindsay,  dean of gild                           James Anderson

              Andrew Dickie,   treas.                                Wm. Walker

              George Kellock                                           Wm. Anderson

              Thomas Scotland                                        John Pierson

              Wm. Hutton                                                John Ker

              James Crawford                                          George Meldrum

              John Black

 

Which day the baillies informed the council that Mr. Douglas and a party of the highland army are here just [now], demanding the touns cess under pain of military execution.  The council considering the force, they appoint the treasure to pay the touns land cess to him.

 

  THE HIGHLANDERS.—A large party of “Heelander Sogers” from the Highland army arrived in Dunfermline, demanding the town cess, &c.  (Burgh Records.)  Their trumpeter lodged in the garret of the house in St. Catherine’s Wynd, which house was long known as “the Trumpeter’s Land.”  (MS.)  The following is the minute of council, convened to consider the matter:--

 

            Council of the burgh of Dunfermline held within Baillie Millar’s house, on Friday, the 27th Dec., 1745.

Sederunt, &c.—

                        Alex. Miller,   baillie                       John Black

                        David Adie,   baillie                        James Crawford

                        John Lindsay,  dean of gild             James Anderson

                        Andrew Dickie,   treas.                  Wm. Anderson

                        Thomas Scotland                          Wm. Walker

                        David Sands                                  Robert Wilson

                        George Kellock                             John Kerr

                        John Knox                                    John Pierson

 

Which say John Knox, late treasurer, informed the council that a great party of the highland army came yesterday to raise the cess, excyse, &c.; and yt in consequence of the council’s act of the 16th current, he went to pay the touns land cess, but that they want and demand not only the touns land cess, but the touns supply or cess, under the pain of military execution, &c.—All which being considered by the council, they warrand and impower John Knox, late treasurer, to pay not only the touns land cess, but their supply, providing yt the supply do not exceed sixteen pounds sterling, and yt to Mr. Douglas, who is just now in town with the said party demanding ye same as said is.

                                                            (Signed)         ALEX. MILLER

 

  NARROW ESCAPE OF THE PROVOST BEING SHOT.—An old MS. notifies that, “a few days after a party of the Highland army had left Dunfermline, Lord Charles Hay, of the Tweeddale family, Provost of the town, and an officer in the King’s army, was taking a view of the surrounding country from the lofty station of the Church Steeple, when a Highlander, who had remained behind as a spy, aimed a pistol at his Lordship, and to the amazement of all who saw the action, shot away on the ear-curls of military peruke”—Dec. 30th, 1745.   (Chamber’s Pict. Scot. 1834, vol. ii. pp. 160, 161.)

 

  DISTAFF SPINNING AND THE SPINNING WHEEL.—An account of these arts was sent to the writer about forty years ago, by the late Mr. Laurence Wilson, of Midmill, near Dunfermline.  We shall condense a few of his items of information.  Mr. Wilson observes that “Distaff Spinning, which had so long been practised in Dunfermline, had begun to decline as early as 1730 and that by 1745m scarcely a Distaff was to be seen, having become superseded by the Spinning Wheel.  The wheel kept its place in Dunfermline till so late a period as 1820.”  Mr. Wilson adds, that “the distaff was a simple concern, consisting of a long stick or staff, mounted on the top with lint or tow, which was kept fast to the spinner’s side by her left arm, and by drawing off the ling and twisting it as it came off the rock, thread was produced.  The wheel employed both beet and hands, and did the work much more rapidly.”  (See An. Dunf. date 1820.)  “In 1745, and for many years afterwards, the north side of the Tower Hill, and Part of St. Catherine’s Yard, were used as Bleaching-greens by the Spinners.”


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