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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1801 - 1901 - Part 9


  1838.—COAL.—From time immemorial, down to January, 1838, the Burgh of Dunfermline worked its own coal at Townhill.  At this period the workings, which extend to about 700 acres, were let on lease to a company.  (MS Note)

  DEATH OF THE REV. GEORGE BELL BRAND.—On 21st February, 1838, at his house, east end of Abbey Park Place, died suddenly, the Rev. George Bell Brand, of St. Andrew’s Church, in the 52nd year of his age, and 21st of his ministry.

  THE HERITABLE JURISDICTION FEU AND TEIND DUES.—In 1748, these dues, &c, reverted to the Crown.  In 1780, the vassals, represented by the Earl of Elgin and the Countess of Rothesay, obtained a nineteen years’ lease of them, which lease expired in 1799. The vassal rights were held by tacit relocation (silent acknowledgement) until March, 1838, when the quiet lease came to an end.  The dues, payable to the Crown, are now managed by the “Commissioners of Woods and Forests.”  (MS Notes)

  THE DUNFERMLINE SAVINGS BANK was established in 1815.  In 1838 it was connected with the National Security Savings Bank. Since then the business of the Bank has very greatly increased.  This year 430 accounts were opened; amount deposited, £5,370 12s. 9d. principal sums and interest paid, £107 3s. 1d. transactions, 605. (MS Note)

  VIEW OF THE ABBEY.—In Beattie’s “Scotland Illustrated,” pp. 144-146, published in 1838, there is a short description of Dunfermline Abbey, &c along with a view of the Abbey and Fratery, taken at a point about 50 yards south-east of the new Abbey Church.  The view, although in many respects good, is not very correct.  The great eastern window is stanted, and the great western window of the Fratery is not correctly taken. 

  WEAVING STATISTICS.—In the month of July, 1838, a Committee of the Weavers of Dunfermline compiled the following table for the use of the Hand-loom Commissioners:--

  Looms belonging to Single Men in the burgh, &c.,                   475
       “             “          Married Men            “                           2,098
       “             “          Warehousemen        “                              156
       “             “          Manufacturers          “                             218
                                              Total                                        2,947

  Owners of looms who work, and who are unmarried                279
       “             “             “              “         married                     695
       “             “             “               “   Journeymen unmarried     762
       “             “             “               “          married                    231
       “             “             “               “   Apprentices bound            44
       “             “             “               “          unbound                  554
       “             “             “               “          married weavers       926

  Number of families—married                                                4,422
  Of these at the loom                                                             1,394
  Winding of pirns                                                                  1,155
  Not of age                                                                            1,873 

In July, 1838, there were 617 weavers unemployed.  (These statistics were sent to the writer by Mr. Alex. Halley on September, 1838.)

  THE Stagnation in the Weaving Trade greatly abated, and consequently the distress was much reduced.  (MS Note)

  A LARGE DRAWING, entitled “Fight between Bothwell and Balfour” (“Old Mortality”), was this year designed and drawn by Mr. Joseph N. Paton.  This was this celebrated artist’s first work. 

  MAYGATE SECESSION CHAPEL.—The Rev. Thomas Smith was ordained minister of this church 24th April, 1838.  He was deposed 26th November, 1839.

  A PLAN of the Town and Parish of Dunfermline was drawn in 1826, and corrected to 1838, from astronomical observations by E. Henderson, F.R.A.S.  It was published in 1838, price 1s. 6d. Size, 19 in. by 15 in., drawn on stone, and lithographed.

  BALDRIDGE WORKS, north west end of Golfdrum, was built by Mr. R. Robertson, manufacturer, for the weaving of table linen, &c., by steam-power.  It did not succeed, was given up, and sold to the Government for military barracks in 1855, and re-sold to Mr. Mordaunt Gray, Edinburgh, 1859.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Jas. Morris, Esq., elected Provost. (Burgh Records, Nov., 1838.)

  LITERATURE.—“Summer Months among the Mountains.  By Andrew Mercer.  Published by Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh. 1838.” This is a 12 mo volume of 200 pages and contains thirty nine poetic pieces.  The following will suffice as a specimen, page 89:-- 

DUNFERMLINE ABBEY—Time, Midnight.

  “On abbey wall, and palace hall           “O’er many a rood of holy glade
  The winter moon is gleaming;              Their fabrics huge extended;
  Those ruins dun-their race now run-    And architecture gave its aid,
  Huge skeletons are seeming!               And strength with beauty blended.
  Yet rose their towers magnificent         Rich grants munificently given
  Throughout the ancient ages                By kings, in their emotion
  Adorned with every ornament             Of saintly peity, to Heaven—
  That eye and heart engages.                Their homage of devotion.”
  They rose, amid the wilds around,
  Like some fair isle on ocean found.       

 (See also Annals of Dunfermline, dates 1813, 1816, 1819 and 1828, for Mercer’s other works.)

  GEOLOGICAL LECTURES.—Mr. Rose, geologist and mineralogist, Edinburgh, finished his popular course of lectures on Geology, &c., in 1838.  

  1839.—LEGAL Assessment for the support of the Poor was first introduced early this year, in consequence of the refusal of many heritors, farmers, and others to continue their voluntary contributions.  (MS Note.)

  ASTRONOMICAL LECTURES.—A short course of three lectures on Astronomy (with apparatus, &c.) was delivered in January, 1939, in the Maygate Chapel and St. Margaret’s Church, by E. Henderson, LL.D., the writer of the Annals.  There were large audiences.

  ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH.—The Rev. Andrew Sutherland was  ordained minister of this church on 28th March, 1839.

  LORD DUNFERMLINE.—The right Honourable James Abercrombie, M.P., and Speaker of the House of Commons, on being “called to the House of Peers,” in 1838, took the title of Lord Dunfermline.  He died in April, 1858, and was succeeded in the title by his son.

  ASSESSED TAXES.—The amount of assessed taxes in t he burgh, from April, 1838, to April 1839, was £576 13s.

  DUNFERMLINE AND CHARLESTOWN RAILWAY.—“Between 15th May, 1838, and 15th May, 1839, there were 22,940 passengers shipped and landed at Charlestown.  The most of these used this railway.” (Mr. Wilson.)

  THE Original Burgher Church, Canmore Street (the Auld-Licht Kirk), was erected into a quoad sacra church in connection with the Establishment in 1839.  It was removed in 1843 to make way for a site for the Free Abbey Church.  (See “Free Abbey Church,” An. Dunf. date 1843, 1844.)

  NATIONAL Security Savings Bank.—In 1839 there were 435 accounts opened; £8,203 7s. 2d. deposited; £3,276 13s. 2d. principal sums and interest repaid; transactions, 2,508.  (MS Note.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—James Morris, Esq., re-elected Provost, November, 1838.  (Burgh Records.)

  POSTAL and Stamp Revenues.—Revenue derived from the Post Office, £1,611 7s. 6d.; from Stamp Office, £2,402 11s. 9d.

  1840.—PENNY POSTAGE—19th January, 1840.—A note written shortly after this date, states that “a great deal of letter-writing by both old and young was done in Dunfermline on January 9th and 10th, to send through the Post to “friends at a distance.”  Many thought that this cheap post was “too good to last!”  The postage boon was, as in all other places, hailed with joyous satisfaction in Dunfermline.

  LITERATURE.—The Rev. Mr. Chalmers’s Prize Essay on the Dunfermline Coal Field was printed in the Quarterly Journal of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for June, 1840.  (See also Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 18-27.)

  WATER-PIPES.—In consequence of a deficient supply of water, and the old pipes becoming encrusted and filled up, a new line of water-pipes of cast-iron, 8 inches in diameter, was this year (1840) laid down between Grant’s Bank Toll and the Reservoir.  (MS.)

  PRINTING.—Mr. William Clark, bookseller, High Street, com-menced printing and shortly afterwards published the first number of his Dunfermline Journal.  (See An. Dunf. dates1862 and 1872.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—James Morris, Esq., manufacturer, was re-elected Provost, Nov., 1840.  (Burgh Records) 

  THE NORTH CHURCH (Golfdrum), founded early in 1840, was finished and opened for public worship in November, 1840; sittings for 800.  (MS)  Cost of the building, £1,673, of which £1,002 was raised by subscription and £41 received from the General Assembly’s Extension Fund.

  WEAVING—Beaming Machine.—“In the month of July, 1840, the Operative Weavers’ Committee offered a premium of £10 to any one who should invent and construct an apparatus for facilitating the beaming of webs.  Several persons entered the lists, but at last the reward was equally divided between Robert Lawson, weaver, and James Robertson, wright, their machines being equal in merit.

  1841.—MAYGATE CHAPEL—Ordination.—The Rev. James Gib-son was ordained minister of this chapel on the 20th of January, 1841.  (Mackelvie’s Statis. p. 178; see also An. Dunf.)  He demitted his charge on the 20th of June, 1847, and went to Brechin.

  STREET LAMPS.—In 1841 it was found that there were 250 public lamps in the town—a great contrast to the number in 1752, when 12 lamps were considered sufficient for the service.  (MS Note)

  OLD SILVER COIN FOUND.—A ten shilling piece of King James VI was found un a garden in Woodmill Road, in 1841—obverse, a bust of the King, with sword; reverse, “Honor Regis, 1582, “Scotch arms, crowned, “J.R.” and Xsh.”  at the sides; it was in the possession of the Rev. Mr. Chalmers.  (Vide Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 283.)

  THE ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY was instituted in Dunfermline “for rearing and improving singing birds, in plumage and melody.”

  LITERATURE.—A small volume, consisting of three lectures and thirteen sermons, by the late Rev. George Bell Brand, was published in 1841, under the editorial care of the Rev. David Dickson, West Church, Edinburgh.

  CENSUS.—the Fifth Government Census of Dunfermline was taken in April of this year.  The population of the Town and Parish of Dunfermline was 20,239; town and Suburbs, within the new Parliamentary Boundary, 13,323; of which 6,741 are males, and 6,582 females.  (For further particulars, see Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 327-331; also Dunf. An. Regist. for 1842.)  In 1831, the population within the Old Royalty Boundary was 10,625; that of 1841, within the new Parliamentary Boundary, 13,323, showing an increase of population in the 10 years of 2,698, partly arising from the natural increase, and partly by taking the enumeration over a wider area.

  ASSESSED TAXES.—The amount of Assessed Taxes in the Burgh for 1841 was £617 11s. 3d. (MS Note)

  LITERATURE.—“Scotland: It’s Counties, Cities, Chief Town, &c., with their Localities.  Interspersed with numerous Anecdotes, Descriptive and Historical.  In Verse; for the use of Schools and Private Families.  By Andrew Thomson.  Published by W. Clark, Dunfermline, 1841,” 12 mo, 32 pp.

  THIS year the Municipal Boundary of the Burgh was extended and altered “to suit the increased population, and other circumstances.”  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 399.)

  THE RECHABITES.—The “Robert the Bruce” Tent of Rechabites was formed in Dunfermline in 1841.

  NORTH CHURCH, GOLFDRUM.—The Rev. Charles Marshall was inducted minister of this Church in June, 1841.  (MS Notes)

  SCOTTISH BAPTIST CHURCH, JAMES STREET.—In 1841 this small church, originally formed in 1805, broke up into two congregations, one worshipping James Street, and the other in the Music Hall, North Inglis Street.  (MS Note)

  THE Railroad or wagon road connecting Townhill and Halbeath coal works with the Port of Inverkeithing completed.  (MS Note)

  THE Professorship of Systematic Theology and Church History was conferred on the Rev. Neil M’Michael by the Relief Synod in 1841.  (Newspaper)

  THE Charlestown Sick Fund was instituted in 1841.  (MS Note)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—James Morris, Esq., was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, Nov. 1841.)

  DEATH OF THE EARL OF ELGIN.—Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin, and eleventh Earl of Kincardine, died at Paris on the 14th November, 1841, in the seventy sixth year of his age.  He was succeeded by his eldest son James, eighth Earl of Elgin, and twelfth Earl of Kincardine.  (MS Newspaper., &c.)

  MORTALITY FOR 1841.—The number of interments in Dunfermline Churchyard, during the year 1841, was 513; “the largest number ever known.”  (MS Note)

  GAS.—Webster’s Improvement for purifying and cheapening gas was introduced into Dunfermline Gas Works on 19th December, 1841.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 393; Gas Book, &c.)

  1842.—CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.—This Church is in Can-more Street, “was founded in 1841 and opened for worship on the 2nd of January, 8142; sittings for about 700.”  It was a handsome façade, and is furnished with an excellent organ—the Rev. George Thomson, pastor.

  ODDFELLOWS.—The Malcolm Canmore Lodge of Oddfellows was instituted on the 19th of April, 1842.  (See Chal. Hist. Dunf.vol. i. p. 461.)

  ON the Dunfermline and Charlestown Railway, between 15th May, 1841 and 15th May, 1842, “there were 24,485 passengers who traveled on this railway.”  (MS)

  SAVINGS BANK.—In 1842, in the National Security savings Bank, there were 212 accounts opened, and £6,611 12s. 10d. deposited; principal sums and interest repaid, £7,585 12s. transactions, 2,956. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 386; Bank Ledger, &c.)

  THE OLD CHURCHYARD.—This ancient burying ground had long been in bad condition.  This year it was leveled, many of the grave stones removed and others laid flat.”  (MS Note.)

  DEATH OF MR. ANDREW MERCER.—On July 12th, 1842, Mr. Andrew Mercer, historian, poet and drawing master, died in the 70th year of his age, and the 32nd of his residence in Dunfermline.  He was a native of Stow, in Midlothian, and in early life studied for the ministry of the Associate Synod, under Dr. Lawson, of Selkirk, in 1796; but after a time relinquished such studies.  In 1804 he edited the North British Magazine, and, through his position as editor, became acquainted with many of the celebrated literati of the day.  In 1810 he came to Dunfermline, having been engaged by Mr. John Johnstone to take charge of the higher classes in his academy and to teach Drawing.  Mr. Johnstone, in 1816, abandoned the profession of teacher, and went to Inverness to conduct a newspaper in that town.  Mr. Mercer was thus thrown upon his own resources.  By the advice of friends he formed a Drawing Class, which, along with the sale of his literary works, was his sole dependence for a great many years.  His productions will be found noticed in the “Annals,” under the date of their publication, viz.:--“Dunfermline Abbey; a Poem,” 1819; “History of Dunfermline,” 1828; “Chronological Table of Dunfermline” (by E. Henderson), 1834; and “Summer Months among the Mountains,” 1838.  Mr. Mercer, with whom the writer was long on intimate terms of friendship, was a most worthy man, and excellent classical scholar, and a kind hearted cheerful friend. He died in his lodgings in the old Mason Lodge House, top of Bruce Street, and was interred in Dunfermline old churchyard, where a small tombstone, erected by some friends to his memory, indicates his last resting place. 

  WEAVERS’ STRIKE.—In the autumn of 1842 there was a great strike of weavers in Dunfermline for a rise of wages, which caused much loss both to masters and men.  (MS Note; vide also Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 50.)

  COIN of King Robert the Bruce Found—A silver penny of King Robert the Bruce was found in the Churchyard, in 1842, while a grave was being dug.  It was claimed by “the Barons of the Exchequer.”

  THE Trinity Episcopal Church, in Queen Ann Place, was founded at the end of the year 1841, and was consecrated and opened for worship on 25th October, 1842.  This is a handsome building.  The front faces the east, is highly ornamented.  The church has a fine toned organ.

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—Erskine Beveridge, Esq., manufacturer, was in November this year elected Provost.  (Bur. Rec.)

  THE M’Lean School, Golfdrum, was “opened for scholastic duties, November, 1842.”  (Newspaper)

  NUMBER of School in the Parish.—In 1842 it was ascertained that there were 33 schools in the Parish, with a total attendance of 2,200 scholars, of which number 1,200 were boys and 1,000 were girls.

  POSTAL AND STAMP REVENUES.—The revenue of the Post Office, Dunfermline, for 1842, was £2,787 11s. 6d.; Stamp Office, £2,625 6s. 4d. (MS Note)

  THE Old MS. Chartulary of Dunfermline Abbey, which is in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh, was published at the end of the year 1842, by the Bannatyne Club, under the editorship of Professor Cosmo Innes, and entitled, “Registrum de Dunfermelyn.”  It is a thick quarto of 562 pages, containing 604 charters, writs, Popes’ bulls and memoranda from 1128 to 1560.  (See An. Dunf. under different dates.)


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