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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1701 - 1801 - Part 7


1746.—CONGRATULATION TO THE DUKE OF CUMERLAND, &C.—“10th February, 1746:  Which day the baillies laid before the council a letter, dated the 6th current, from Thomas Allan, signed by order of the annual committee, representing that a quorum of the annual committee having met that day, they thought it necessary that such of the members of the committee who are not at a great distance from the place, viz., Ed, should meet there, on the 13th current, to concert what measures were necessary to be taken for the welfare of the burrows at this juncture, and particularly to name a deputation of their number to wait upon his royall highness the Duke of Cumberland, and in the name of the royall burrows to congratulate his highness upon his arrival in this country, and his success against the rebels, and for expecting that the council will send a member duly instructed to meet that day for thee purposes, which letter being read and considered by the council, They appoint and commissionat the Clerk, in name of the toun council, to go to Edward and wait on ye annual committee of burrows ye said thirteenth Feb. current for the end fords appoint ye baillies in yr name to unite along with him.”   (Burgh Records.)

  MILLER’S PAINTING OF DUNFERMLINE.—This is a very fine painting of Dunfermline, taken from the West Park of Pittencreiff; supposed to be the second view ever taken.  On the extreme right of the view is the Monastery, the roofless Palace Wall, the Queen’s House, and Steeple of the Church; the left being iflled up with the backs of the houses in St. Catherine’s Wynd, Kirkgate, and Collier Row (Bruce Street), with a mass of trees in the foreground.  In the centre rises the Tower Hill, with the fragment of the west wall of Canmore’s Tower on its top; and at the foot of the hill, the upper arch of the Tower Bridge.  This view, from a copper-plate engraving, fronts page 69 of Fernie’s Hist. Dunf., and is entitled, “View of Dunfermline form the West Park of Pittencrieff; from a painting by Miller in 1746, in possession of Mr. Beveridge, Edinburgh.”  The painting is 32 inches by 29.  It was in the possession of the late Mr. Thomas Beveridge, S.S.C., Edinburgh, from 1810 till his decease, in 1859.  Shortly after his death, at the sale of his effects, it was sold to the late Mr. Matheson of her Majesty’s Board of Works.  The engraving of this view in Fernie’s Hist. of Dunf. is very fine and tolerably accurate. 

  ANCIENT SOCIETY OF GARDENERS.—Francis, Earl of Moray, elected Chancellor of the Society.  (Abrid. Hist. Soc. Gardeners.)

  BOUFIE’S BRAE, at the back of the dam, first mentioned this year.  (Gardeners’ Records.)

  THE TOWN AND THE KIRK CLOCK.—It will be seen from the following Town Council Note, that “the Auld Kirk clock” was finished and placed in the steeple in March, 1746.  “29th March, 1746:  Which day the baillies acquainted the council that Mr. Andrew Dickie, watchmaker, informed them that the new clock made by him to the town, in virtue of the contract betwixt the town and himm, is now place in the Church Steeple, and tha he says it goes, and that he is demanding twenty pounds four shillings and sixpence sterling as the half of the price of the clock already due, with three pounds eleven shillings sterling as the price of making and gilding the dyall plate yr of, with seven shillings sterling as the expence of carriage of the dyall plate from Edinburgh to the ferry payd out by him.—Which being considered by the council, they warrand and impower John Knox, treasurer, to pay Mr. Dickie the several sums, extending in whole to twenty four pounds two shillings and sixpence sterling; but order the sontract to be kept, that so Mr. Dickie may fulfill the obligations of presentable by him.  As also the council order said John Knox to give Mr. Dickie’s servent a crown of drink money.—the same day the council agreed with Robert Meldrum, officer, to pay him half-a-crown for his due and regular and dayly rolling up the said new clock for half of a year, commencing this day, and for oyleing ye same during that space.”  (Burgh Records.)  This “clock disbursement came hard upon the town so soon after the highland insurgent payment.  The winder of the clock, however, was not overpaid.”  From a Note appended to Mr. Dickie’s Letter of this date, it appears that there was a great number of people all round about, gazing on the dial-hands being fixed.  When this was done, and the hands set to the time, a loud and ringing huzzah arose from the multitude of lookesr-on.

  DOCTOR OF THE GRAMMAAR SCHOOL.—Between 17th March and 30th April, 1746, there are several minutes relative to the doctorship and the new doctor; but these are too long for insertion.

  CLOSE OF THE REBELLION—Congratulatory Address.—“11th June, 1746:  Which day the council agreed to send a congratulery address to his Majesty on the happy success of his army, under the command of his royall highness, the Duke of Cumberland, against the rebels at the late battle near Culloden, And orderd the Clerk to write out the same, and when signed by the baillies, appoint ym to transmit the same to Mr. Erskine, our member of parliament, to present ye same to his Majesty.”  (Burgh Records.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 29th Sept., 1746.)

  1747.—HERITABLE JURISDICTION BILL—A Sheriff for Dunfermline.—“16th March, 1747:  Which day the council caused read a printed copy of the bill depending before the parliament for abolishing jurisdictions, and therefore the council ordered the baillies to write to the Marques of Tweedddale, Lord Charles Hay, and Mr. Erskine of Grange, that they would be pleased to use yr interest to get one of the Sheriff Courts to sit in this place as being most Centricall for the liedges.”  (Burgh Records.)

  THE EARL OF ELGIN AND KINCARDINE.—“The Earl of Kincardine died in 1747, and the title lapsed to his nearest of kin, the Earl of Elgin, who henceforth bore the double title, viz., The Earl or Elgin or Kincardine.”  (Heralds’ Office; Newspapers, &c., of 1747.)

  THE BREACH—Burghers and Anti-Burghers.—An old MS. paper notifies that “a great disturbance and commotion took place this year among the congregations of the Burgher Kirk in Scotland regarding ‘the Burgess Oath.’  A small party of members seceded from Ralph Erskine’s Kirk, Dunfermline, and formed themselves into a new congregation, in conjunction with the Carniehill members, and they were known as Antiburghers,  The often met for worship near Gillanderston toll, with other members from Torrieburn, Carniehill,” &c.  It would appear, from a Note, that the Dunfermline Antiburghers were for upwards of twenty years a very small body, numbering about 80 or 100 members.  Somewhere about their thirtieth anniversary they got a new start, and greatly increased in numbers, so much so, that they were enabled to build a kirk for themselves in Dunfermline.  “The were served by itinerant preachers previous to this year in Dunfermline.  In Carniehill they had a regular minister, to which place the Dunfermline worshippers often went.”  In Dunfermline, it appears, “they had worship in a large room in the Queen’s House, at the Steeple, and at other times in some large room in the town.”  (See An. Dunf. date 1789, 1820, 1861, &c.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE,--Lord Charles Hay of Blansh re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 28th Sept., 1747.)

  ADMITTED A BURGESS BY PAYMENT IN CASH AND BY A BILL.—Alexander Paul, residenter in Dunfermline, petitioned the council to be admitted a burgess, offering to pay five pounds Scots in cash, and “ye remainder payable by him and Baillie Miller on yr conjunct Bill.”  The council agreed to the terms.  (Bur. Rec., Dec. 19, 1747.)

  1748.—A SHERIFF-COURT FOR DUNFERMLINE.—“5th March, 1748:  Which day the council commissionat Bailllie Wilson, senior, to go to Edinburgh in name of yr toun, and wait on Mr. Peter Haldane and Captain George Haldane his son, member of parliament, by his letter to ye toun desires to get Mr. Peter’s advice to his in relation to getting a Sheriff or regality court to sit here as ye toun wrote to said Captain Haldane.”  (Burgh Records.)

  DUNFERMLINE REGALITY, &c.—An Act of Parliament abolished all heritable jurisdictions in 1748, but compensations were granted to all who had a legal interest in them.  John, Marquis of Tweeddale, heritable hailie, &c., of the regality of Dunfermline, estimated the value of his holding at 8000 ster., for which he received 2672 7s. in compensation; and his clerk, William Black, the sum of 500.  The Marquis of Tweeddale still receives the fees or salaries belonging to the offices of heritable baillie, mayor and serjeant, but all the Courts of the Regality, Judges, &c., were then for ever abolished.  (Vide Histories of Dunfermline.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh re-elected Provost, Oct. 1st.  (Burgh Records.)

  COAL PICKS TO BE USED.—“The council order twelve additional coal mine picks to be made for ye touns use for carrying forward ye touns stone mine, yr being necessary use for them,”  (Bur. Records, 10th December.)

  1749.—THE BRITISH LINEN COMPANY AND WEAVING.—This year “the British Linen Company sent an agent to Dunfermline to employ as many looms as could be procured in weaving table linen; and it has been surmised that the looms then belonging to the town weavers did not exceed 400.”  (Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 55, &c.)

  HALY BLUID ACRE TO BE LET.—“The council warrand and authorize the baillies, or any one of them, in name of the toun, to sett the Haly blood acre, and such of the Deals of the Dawsdean whose tacks are out, and that by public roup, by tuck of drum, eight days before the Roup.”  (Burgh Records, 10th March.)

  THE DUNFERMLINE REGALITY COURT held its last sitting in February, 1749, “after having ruled and given law to the district for six centuries or so.”  (MS.)

  FEU-DUTIES AND KINDS, DUNFERMLINE.—The Marquis of Tweeddale obtained by char5ter a prorogation for 27 years of these duties.  The tack-duty during these 27 years is said to have amounted to 5 11s.1d. only (June, 1749)!

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh was re-elected Provost 2d October.   (Burgh Records.)

  THE TOWER HILL, and Colonel Forbes of Pittencrieff.—Colonel Forbes, being proprietor of the Tower Hill, wished to have possession of it; but, as the burgh had a lease of it, he addressed a letter to the Town Council.  The following note from the Burgh Records shows the affirmative result:--“16 Dec. 1749:  The council resumed and took under consideration a letter directed to them by Collonel Arthur Forbes of Pittencrieff, dated the 16th of May last, bearing, that the council might please to know that the most honourable the Marquis of Tweedale had been pleased to add to the Excambion Betwixt his Lordship and him, The Tower Hill pertaining to his Lordship and now to him by the said addition, but as the said Tower hill was in the Towns Tack, along with the Milns from his Lordship, the said Collonel Forbes thereby offers to take a subset of the said Tower Hill during the Touns Tack or possession, and to pay yearly rent thereof as Newtrall Men should determine.  As he was intending to ornament it, which would add a Beautie to the Toun, as the said letter bears:  And the council also considering that the said Collonal fforbes hath agreed to grant a Right and Disposition To the Magistrates, Council and Community, and whole Burgesses and Inhabitants of this Burgh To the Washing place in the Tower Burn, on the North side of the said Tower Hill, with free ish and Entrie thereto and liberty and priviledge to the Burgesses and Inhabitants to lay down their Cloath and yearn, &c., the time of washing thereof on Both sides of the said Tower burn, providing the Council would Grant the desire of his letter, And after full Reasoning upon the affair, it was put to a vote—Grant the desire of the letter or not—and carried by a good majority, Grant the desire of the Letter;” and therefore a Subsett was granted to the Colonel during their tack, &c.

  CANDLE WORKS “were established, this year, in Dunfermline, by John Henderson, which gave employment to a number of persons.”  (MS. Note.)

  1750.—A SCHOOL IN THE QUEEN’S HOUSE.—This year, Mr. Arthur Martin (an Episcopalian) had a school in one of the apartments of Queen Ann of Denmark’s House, which he is said to have taught with great success.  (Histories of Dunfermline.)

  CARTS AND MIDDENS ON THE STREETS, &c.—“26 May, 1750:  The council Recommend it of New, To the Baillies to put in Execution the former Acts of Council Against Carts and Middings standing on the Streets; And also appoints the Baillies To order the Touns Scaffinger to keep Redd the holes for receiving the water off the Tower Bridge.”  (Burgh Records.)

  HORSE HIRERS.—“The council taking to their consideration that the horse hirers in this place are oppressive to the Liedges by Demanding Extravigant hyres for Carriages, &c.  They therefore appoint the Two Baillies, the Dean of Gild, the Conveener, Deacon Kirk and Deacon Buntine as a committee of council, To meet and make up a scheme anent the said hirers to be laid before Council for their Consideration and approbation, and joins Baillie Wilson (Elder) to the above committee.”  (Burgh Records; for “Table of Regulations’ for the “hyrers’ charges in future, &c., see Burgh Records, date 25th April, 1752.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay of Blansh re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 1st Oct., 1750.)

  FASHIONABLE PARTS OF THE TOWN.—A MS. Note states that “the Fashionable parts of the town in 1750 were the Kirkgate, Maygate and St. Catherine’s Wynd.”

  1751.—WEAVING.—It was customary about this period for the weaving tradesmen to work during the winter months at ticks and checks, and during the summer months at table-linen.  (Mer. Hist.)

  DANCING-SCHOOL.—“The first known dancing-school in Dunfermline was opened in a room of the Queens-house this year, at 10s. a quarter, and was pretty well attended.”  (MS. Note.)

  THE NETHERGATE REMOVED.—According to Old Notes, the archway in the south-west corner of the Abbey wall (foot of Gibb Street) had for some time been in a very ruinous state, and was removed early in 1751.

  REPORT ON THE ROOF OF THE TOLBOOTH.—“16th July, 1751:  This day Baillie Morison reported to the council That he had Attended at the visitation of the Roof of the Tolbooth By Robert Aitken and Thomas Noble, Slater, and David Henderson, Wright, and that it was all their opinions That the timber roof of the said Tolbooth was very good, being of Oak, But that the Slates were altogether in Disrepair;  And also it was their opinion that it be a Right thing to thatch the foreside of the Tolbooth with Scailzie and Repair the Back side thereof with the slates, as above” [mentioned.]  (Burgh Records.)—“9th Aug., 1751:  Deacon Henderson reported that he went to Leith and took of 3500 scailzie for the Tolbooth at Twenty Six pounds Scots, and gave a Draught to the merchant upon the treasurer.  Also, he reported that he had taken off 160 deals for the said work, at 12s. 6d. per Deall, from Baillie Wilson in Edinburgh, Which the council approves of.”

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Lord Charles Hay  of Blansh re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 30th Sept., 1751.)

  TWO FEMALE THIEVES to be Whipped Through the Town by the Stirling Hangman.—“1st Oct., 1751:  Which day the council Authorized and hereby Authorize, the two Baillies in name of the TounTo give Receipt to the Magistrates and Town Council of Stirling for their Hangman in order to Scourge Margaret Kilpatrick and Grizell Ferguson thro this toun on Friday Next for theft and Resett of Theft, agreeable to a Sentence of the Baillies of this burgh on 20th of Sept. Last; And further, the council order Alexander Robertson, Andrew Rolland, and Thomas Fisher, three of the touns Militia, along with Robert Meldrum, officer, to Repair to Stirling on Wednesday first, and bring the hangman here on Thursday thereafter, As the magistrates and council of Stirling have already agreed to send him on Receipt as above mentioned.  And after the Sentence shall be Execute, the council order Robert Alice, Thomas Hoggan, and Robert Henderson, other three of the touns militia, with David Christie, to take him Back Again, and Deliver him safe to the Toun of Stirling.”  (Burgh Records.)

  ANTI-BURGHERS.—It would appear from an old MS. document the “the Anti-Burghers of Dunfermline had got tired of attending worship at Carniehill ilka Sabbath, in the barn there, and resolved to have a meeting-house built in the town.  They applied to their Presbytery in Kirkcaldy.  The application was refused.”  (An. Dunf. 1747, 1749.)

    NORTH QUEENSFERRY ROAD OBSTRUCTED.—“14th Dec., 1751:  The council hearing that the tenant or possessor of the lands of Castle Land hill, near N. Queensferry, had obstructed the King’s High Way there by casting a ditch across the road to shut it up, An instrument of interruption ordered to be served on the offender.”  (Burgh Records.)

  PROCURATOR-FISCAL DISMISSED.—The “Procurator” had been long “remiss in duty” by “reason of Old Age.”  James Alexander was appointed in his stead.  (Burgh Records.)

  1752.—CUSTOM PUT ON COAL CARTS, &c.—“11th Jan., 1752:  The council, this day, taking into their consideration that Several Country people Who caw coals from Baldridge Coal hill to the Sea and otherways to the leigh of Dunfermline, doe not take the Newraw street with these carriages, But traverse the high street of the burgh yreith, particularly the Coallieraw Street [Bruce Street], whereby the Streets are very much damnified.  The Council therefore in order to prevent such a practice for the future, Authorized and hereby Authorize the Touns Customer to Exact Customs from all and Sundry persons whatsoever who shall after munday first Caw these Coals through the Streets of Dunfermline, Except from such as caw them doun the Newraw and Back Street [Queen Ann Street] leading thereto.  Appoints the customs for each back load to be sixpennies Scots, and for each cart of Coals Ninepennies Scots, And this to be intimated by Placards on the Church doors here on Sabbath first That none may pretend ignorance.”  (Burgh Records.)

  PROCURATOR-FISCAL DISMISSED.—The “Procurator” had been long “remiss in duty” by “reason of Old Age.”  James Alexander was appointed in his stead.  (Burgh Records.)

  1752.—CUSTOM PUT ON COAL CARTS, &c.—“11th Jan., 1752:  The council, this day taking into their consideration that several country people who caw coals from Baldridge Coal hill to the sea and otherways to the leigh of Dunfermline, doe not take the Newraw street with these carriages, but traverse the high street of the burgh yrwith, particularly the Coallieraw Street [Bruce Street], whereby the streets are very much damnified.  The council therefore in order to prevent such a practice for the future, authorized and hereby authorize the Touns Cuctomer to Exact Cyntoms from all and Sundry persons whatsoever who shall after munday first caw these coals through the Streets of Dunfermline, except from such as caw them doun the Newraw and Back Street [Queen Ann Street] leading thereto.  Appoints the customs for each back load to be Sixpennies Scots, and for each cart of Coals Ninepennies Scots, and this to be intimated by placards on the Church doors here on Sabbath first that none may pretend ignorance.”  (Burgh Records.)

  LAGAT’S HOUSE TO BE PURCHASED AND A NEW STREET FORMED.—“2d May, 1752:  Which day Baillie Wilson represented to the council that  James Legat, Baxter burges of Dunfermline, was now about to expose to sale by public Roup his Tenement and Yeard opposite to and immediately on the South Side of the Mercate Cross; Which, being considered by the Council, they were unanimously of opinion that the Toun should purchase the same if it could be got Reasonablem in order to serve for a Street Southwards from the Cross [Guildhall Street], which would be a Great Ornament to the Toun.  Orders were given to Bailie Scotland and William Dickie to bid for the subjects, and buy them if at a Reasonable price.”  (Burgh Records.)  On 16th May, the subjects were “purchased by the Toun on Wednesday last for 1250 Merks Scots money, and the council approved of the purchase.”  Shortly afterwards David Wilson’s yard, on the south of Legat’s old house, was purchased to get the street extended farther to the south.

  DYE HOUSE built by David Turnbull, dean of gild, and dyer in Dunfermline, on ground “by east the Baxter’s Nether Miln, in front of Frater Hall.’’  (Burgh Records, 9th May.)

  REV. THOMAS GILLESPIE—Relief Church.—The following noted refer to the rise and formation of the Relief Church:--On the 23d of May, 1752, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland deposed the Rev. Thomas Gillespie from his Charge of Carnock Parish for insubordination.  He retired to Dunfermline and formed a congregation there, under the designation of the Relief Church.  (The first Relief Church in Scotland.)  His congregation was partly formed by many of his old hearers from Carnock, and many in Dunfermline.  It would appear, from an Old MS. Note, that “at this period Mr. Gillespie’s congregation met in the barn used by the Rev. Ralph Erskine (1737-1741.)  Shortly afterwards a Relief Kirk was built on the site of the barn for the congregation.”  (An. Dunf. 1774, 1775.)

  CAIRNEY-HILL KIRK BUILT (Antiburgher).—The members of the Antiburgher meeting, who had for some years previous worshipped in a barn in Cairneyhill, “found themselves financially strong enough to erect a meeting-house for their use.”  (Kirk Record and MS. Note.)

   SIX PUBLIC LAMPS ORDERED.—“16th June, 1752:  This day, the council, after a full communing, were of opinion that it would be a Right good thind, and very convenient and Serviceable for the Inhabitants, and ornamentall to the burgh to have Lamps or Lights Sett up and fixed at different places of the Toun Where proper, for furnishing Light to the Inhabitants in Dark Nights, and they therefore agree that these should be provided:  And hereby Authorize the person who shall hereafter be chosen by the council as member to the burrows (at the Ensuing Convention) to purchase Six Lamps for tha5t purpose to the best advantage.”  “25 July:  Bailie Wilson reported to the council his buying the Six Street Lamps for Twelve Shillings Sterling the piece, which is approved of, and the two Bailiis, Dean of Gild, Conveener, and Treasurer are appointed to see the lamps place at proper places,”  (Burgh Records.)

  THE “NEW STYLE” INTRODUCED.—By Act of Parliament, the 3rd September of 1752 was reckoned as the 14th September.  Of this the Town Council take no notice in the Records!

  PRIORY LANE (anciently known as the Abbey Road, and afterwards as The Common Vennel) “ began to be built in 1752.  (MS. Note.)

  STREET LAMPS—Where they are to be Place, &c.—“16th Sept. 1752:  Baillie Wilson Reported that the Six Street Lamps are now come over and Ready to be placed up.  One of them being seen by the Council, They declared their satisfaction therewith; And after some communing amongst the Councill, They were unanimously of opinion that these Six will never answer the purpose, or give satisfaction to the Inhabitants, and therefore the Council order other Six to be provided, and appoints the Committee of Council formerly named to oversee and order these Lamps to be put up at the following places, viz., at John Buntine’s house, one; one at ye Clerk’s stair; one at the East Corner of Baillie Wilson, Stationer, his house; one upon the South-East corner of the house possest by John Anderson, Skinner, at the Cross; one at the East Port; one in the Collieraw, at the house possest by James Blaikiter; one at the East End of the Maygate; one in the Collieraw, So as to afford light to the Rottenraw; one at Thomas Anderson’s, one at the Crosswind head; one at the flesh Mercate Tenement; one at or about Trumpeter’s Land.” 

  “CLOCK SMITH” (Clockmaker.)—Previous to the year 1752, clocks were made and repaired in Dunfermline by Adam Stevenson, smith.  Andrew Dickie, clockmaker, was the first who commenced business in Dunfermline as a clock and watchmaker (in 1752).  MS. Note.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMINE.—“The honourable Sir Peter Halket of Pitfirran, Baronet, elected Provost.  (Burgh Rec. 2d Oct., 1752.)

  A DEAN OF GILD COURT Proposed to be Legally Established—“7th Oct., 1752:  Which day the Magistrates and Town Council of Dunfermline took under their consideration how great a loss it was to the Inhabitants of this burgh, and others of his Majesties Leidges, the there was not a Legally Established Dean of Gild Court or Council here To Administrate Justice to the Leidges in Terms of the Laws of the Land.  It was therefore agreed that a Dean of Gild Court be established in this burgh, after the form and practice of the City of Edinburgh; and that the Court or Council of the Dean of Gild of this burgh, in all time coming, consists of seven members,” &c.  (Burgh Records.)

  “HUMAN ATTIRE.”—A quaint Old MS. Note informs us that “the dress of the men in the town and district was very plain and homespun.  Beginning at the tap, it was covered with a large broad bonnet; then came a gravit; then a terrible big slouching coat, decorated with great buttons, coming down below the knees; then a large pull of a waist coat; then came the gun-mouthed breeks, tied at the knees.”  Below “were rig and furrow stockings; then came the well-roomed shoon, held together by either buckles or clasps; then came the six-feet long walking-stick.”  The women “wore plain gowns and short-gowns, plaids and wrappers; mutches, with great spread borders, sometimes decorated with notes of ribbons, adorned the head.  During week-days the poorer sort of females wore the short-gown, wrapper, and bauchels.”

  REMOVAL OF THE OLD MARKET CROSS.—The following minute is taken from the Burgh Records of this year:--

            Council of the Burgh of Dunfermline, holden within the Tolbooth thereof, upon the 18th day of Oct., 1752.

Sederunt—

John Wilson, baillie John Mackie, Treasurer

Alex. Miller baillie William Steedman, Smith

John Morison, Dean of Gild Thomas Baxter

William Dickie, Treasurer James Turnbull

John Grahame Gavin Love

David Turnbull Robert Wallwood

William Bonnar, Deacon Wright John Wilson

Which Day the Council, after a full Communing Ss to the Situation and Bulk of the Mercate Cross of the burgh, Were of opinion that it was a Great Incumberance on the Street, and had a bad Aspect, Especially since James Legate’s house was taken down, and thereby a New Street opened Southward.—The Council therefore order the said Cross to be taken doun, and in Lieu thereof ordain a Large Stone to be Laid where the said Cross presently stands flat with the Ground, and a Cross to be Cut out upon it, At which all public intimation and publications are an shall be made in time Coming, As they have been in use to be made at the said Mercate Cross now to be taken down.  And the council Appoint a proper post to be fixed up at some proper place thereabout, for public advertisements, and the Like to be affixed thereon, And Appoint the Two Baillies, the Dean of Gild, and Conveener, to Employ Men to take doun the said Cross, &c., and to oversee the same done.”

  After being removed, the shaft or pillar was built into the corner of the adjacent house, to “paste public notices on it.”  (See An. Dunf. date 1868.)

  Such was the end of the Market Cross of Dunfermline.  All antiquaries have regretted the removal of these old crosses.  Sir Walter Scott’s lines in “Marmion” may be transferred to this place without much alteration:--

“Dunfermline Cross—a pillar’d stone—

Rose on a turret octagon;

But now is razed that monument

Whence royal edicts rang,

And voice of Scotland’s law was sent

In glorious trumpet clang.”

  A FEMALE SORCERER.—“The celebrated and notorious Peggie Pearson, the Witch, known through the haill toun and countryside,” died, it is thought, about the end of this year.  “The old woman lived in a house at the east end of the horsmarket,” and it appears that “the best of the toun went to her to get their fortunes spaed.”  She generally lay in her bed when she told fortunes, while her “extraordiner unearthlie big black cat kept sentry on her bed-cod.”  This was the last of the genuine Dunfermline witches.

  THE EAST AND CROSSWYND PORTS TO BE REMOVED.—At the sitting of the Council, viz., “8th Oct, 1752,” it was ordered that “the Remains of the Old Ports at the East port adjoining William Bonnar’s house, and that at the head of the Crosswynd, adjoining to the house presently possest by James Inglis, To be Taken down.”  (Burgh Rec.; see also dates 1327, 1488, 1585, 1735, 1745, 1786.)  Probably the remains of these ports were “fragmental,” and likewise “incumbered ye streets.”  The south pillar of the East Port, connected with an old house, remained  until 1787, when this last vestige of “the principal Port of Dunfermline” was removed.  This port is mentioned in the Burgh Records as early as the 1488, when it is mentioned as the “east yet,” ie., the East Gate.  (See An. Dunf. date 1488.)

  DEATH OF THE REV. RALPH ERSKINE.—The Rev. Ralph Erskine, minister of the Secession Church, Dunfermline, “died of a virulent fever, after al illness of eight days,” on 6th November, 1752, in the sixty eighth year of his age and the forth second of his ministry.  Twenty seven of these years he officiated in the Established Church, Dunfermline, and the last fifteen in his meeting house there.  “His mortal remains were interred in the Churchyard of Dunfermline, on Thursday, Nov. 9th, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators, deeply and justly lamenting the loss of so valuable minister.”

  In an account of the life of this eminent minister, prefixed to an edition of his works published in 1794, his character is summed up as follows:--

            “He was a man who possessed not only a very extraordinary degree of the most valuable natural gifts and endowments, such as cheerfulness, good nature, modesty, and gratitude, uniting in him; but remarkable for genuine piety, a heavenly disposition of mind and well acquainted with vital religion and practical godliness.  Yea, in him centered all the ornaments of the the minister and amiable qualities of the Christian, without the least affectation or smallest appearance of vanity.  He was a shining instance of the truth and amiableness of Christianity, and an exemplary pattern of spiritual mindedness and sincere devotion.”

  The following is a free translation of the Latin inscription on his tombstone:--

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
R A L P H   E R S K I N E ,

WHO DIED ON THE 6TH DAY OF NEVEMBER, 1752, IN THE 68TH YEAR

OF HIS AGE.

____________________

HERE LIES THE DUST OF A MAN OF UNTAINTED PIETY;

HIS FLOCK HE INSTRUCTED WITH UNIFORM FIDELITY;

HE FIRMLY OPPOSED THE CORRUPTIONS AND FAULTS OF THE CLERGY OF HIS AGE.

TO BYE-PATHS HE TURNED NOT ASIDE,

BUT

REVERENCED THE LAW OF GOD.

The Rev. Ralph Erskine was the author of a large number of works, especially sermons.  Many of them, at the earnest request of his congregation, were published during his life time.  “His works have gone through numerous editions, and his name continues to be well known of the Continent of America and other lands.”

An Old Notes states that this eminent divine lived and died in a house down a close leading from the south side of the High Street to the junction of Maygate with Abbot Street.  His house is an old one; the date 1607 is on the “lintel-stone” of the door.  The too-fall on the west side of this house is said to have been his library; and here it was where the Associate Brethren held their celebrated meeting with Rev. George Whitefield.


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