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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rutherglen A Sair Place for Ministers in the Olden times


THE inhabitants of Rutherglen, or some of them, in the olden times, are blamed for conduct, in matters ecclesiastical, anything but accordant with propriety, as will be abundantly evident from the following curious facts extracted from the records of the Presbytery of Glasgow.

"On 8th May, 1593, the Preshytery ordered their clerk to write a letter to my Lord Paisley, to repair the choir of Ruglen Kirk, and at the same time prohibiting the playing of pipes on Sunday from sun-rising to its going down, and forbade all pastimes on that day. This order to be read in all kirks, but especially that of Ruglen.’"

On the 20th of May, 1595, we find the same reverend court complaining of the introduction of profane plays into the burgh on Sunday, and also of the drawing of salmon and the paying of accounts on that day.

From the same source we learn that on the 20th March, 1604, Sir Claud Hamilton of Shawfleld interrupted the minister of Ruglen during sermon in a most barbarous manner. And that Andrew Pinkerton boasted that he had put away four ministers from Ruglen, and hoped he would put away Mr. Hamilton also. He alterwards drew a whinger and held it to the minister’s breast, while David Spens said—

"He would stick twa ministers and would not give a fig for exconununication."

Two or three years subsequent to these outrageous proceedings, we find a certain James Riddel cutting grass in the kirkyard on Sunday, and sitting down to the communion table in spite of minister and session. Altogether, it would seem that in those days the parish of Rutherglen was not in a condition much superior to that of the notorious Dunkeld, the inhabitants of which according to popular rhyme,—

"Hanged their minister,
Drowned their precentor,
Pu’d down the steeple,
And brak the kirk bell."


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