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The History of Glasgow
Chapter XLIII - Earls of Lennox—Manses of Govan and Renfrew—Battle of Flodden—Provosts-Depute—Altar of St. Christopher—Seal of Cause to Skinners and Furriers—Duke of Albany, Governor of Kingdom---Insurrectionary Movements—Siege of Archbishop's Castle


REFERENCE has been made to the negotiations with Duncan, Earl of Lennox, and his daughter Isabella, the Countess of Lennox and Duchess of Albany, regarding the Hospital of Polmadie, and benefactions bestowed by them on the Friars Preachers of Glasgow. [Antea, pp. 196, 233.] The earldom subsequently passed to Sir John Stewart of Dernely, grandson of Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of Earl Duncan. His grandfather and father had likewise taken an interest in the Friars, as in 1419 and 1433, respectively, the latter had obtained from these Dernely lairds yearly pensions of victual and money. [Lib. Coll. etc. pp. 162, 165.] Sir John was created Lord Dernely about the year 146o, and some years afterwards he got possession of the earldom of Lennox. His son Matthew, second earl of the Stewart line, succeeded in 1494, and it was during his time that the intimate relationship existing between the Lennox family and the city and regality of Glasgow is first referred to in a contemporary record. Earl Matthew was provost of the burgh in the year 1509-10, and at that time he acquired the Stablegreen property where the Lennox mansion stood till near the end of the century. It is supposed that in 1509-10 the earl must have held the office of bailie of the barony and regality of Glasgow, as in the year 1578 it was stated that his grandson, another Earl Matthew, who had been regent of the kingdom, his father and grandfather, and their "foirbearis, wer kyndlie baillies" of the lordship and regality "and broukit the office thairof past all memory." [Privy Council Reg. ii. p. 697. ]

South of the property acquired by Earl Matthew the Stablegreen ground, as already mentioned, [Antea, pp. 228-9.] was apparently at one time vested in the administrators of St. Nicholas Hospital. In the year 1507 Sir William Silver, subchanter and master of the hospital, with the approval of the archbishop and the magistrates of Glasgow, conveyed to Mr. John Gibson, prebendary of Renfrew, and his successors, "a tenement belonging to the said hospital, lying in the city of Glasgow, near the palace of the archbishop, on the west side thereof, between the manse of the prebendary of Govan on the south and the lands of Patrick Colquhoun of Glen on the west and north." It was declared that this tenement should be for ever annexed to the prebend of Renfrew, and it thus became the parson's manse, a designation which the property bears in title deeds at the present day. As shown by the description of 1507 the manse of Govan had already been planted to the south of that of Renfrew, but at what date has not been ascertained. On 17th June, 1508, Gibson, as prebendary of Renfrew, complained against Adam Colquhoun, prebendary of Govan, for having appropriated part of his manse, and in presence of the dean and chapter he protested against the encroachment. Both manses paid feuduties to St. Nicholas Hospital, thus showing that Govan manse as well as that of Renfrew had been erected on a site derived from the hospital. [Dioc. Reg. Prot. Nos. 235-8, 323 ; Glasg. Prof. No. 3531 ; Chiefs of Colquhoun, ii. p. 260; Maxwells of Pollok, i. p. 179 ; Rottenrow (Regality Club, iii.) P. 57• In the cited protocol, No. 237 (26th May, 1507), Patrick Colquhoun is designated " prepositus Glasguensis pro tempore." See remarks as to his relationship with the Earl of Lennox and as to the provosts and provost-deputes, antea, p. 229, and postea, pp. 319-20.]

The acquisition of the Lennox mansion or its site is narrated in a protocol dated loth August, 1509. Adam Colquhoun, parson of Govan, a son of Patrick Colquhoun of Glens, on that day resigned in favour of Matthew earl of Lennox what is described as a tenement in the Stablegreen, situated between the lands of George Colquhoun on the north and the manses of the archdeacon of Teviotdale and of the prebendary of Renfrew on the south, with the garden and pertinents, the price payable by the earl being ten merks, yearly, for church services, on the seller's foundation. [Dioc. Reg. Prot. No. 384. In this place the earls of Lennox had for many years their town residence. In consequence of the forfeiture of the second Earl Matthew in 1545 the mansion reverted to the crown, and it was bestowed on John Hammylton of Neilisland in 1550, and on John Stuart, commendator of Coldingham, in 1556. With the rescinding of the forfeiture in 1564 it is understood that the mansion was restored to the earl, whose son, the ill-fated Darnley, probably occupied it in the month preceding his murder at Kirk of Field in Edinburgh (Glasg. Chart. i. p. dxxxiv.). About the year 1584-5 the grounds were broken up and disposed of in building lots (Glasg. Prot. Nos. 2666-7, 2673-4)]

Earl Matthew, bailie of the regality and presumably provost of the city of Glasgow, was likewise sheriff of Dumbarton, and in 1513 he is understood to have led the men of Lennox and the citizens of Glasgow to the field of Flodden, where he was slain. Little information is procurable as to the number of Glasgow people who accompanied the earl; but of one citizen, Michael Flemyng, it is recorded that, three weeks before the fateful day, he gave instructions that if he happened not to return to Glasgow but should die in battle against the English, or elsewhere, an obit should be founded for certain religious services to be celebrated in the cathedral yearly. [Dioc. Reg. Prot. No. 651.] But Flemyng had better luck, as he lived to return to the city, and, on 29th November, 1514, he and his mother founded an obit in the church of the Friars Preachers. [Lib. Coll. etc. pp. 211-2.]

Glasgow people may not have had a very prominent share in the active preparations for the expedition to England, but there was one incident which brought the military movements vividly under their notice. The Irish chieftain O'Donnell was in Scotland in July, 1513, about which time there was some idea of creating a diversion in Ireland which might occupy the attention of the English King. A big cannon drawn by thirty-six horses and accompanied by proportionate ammunition was sent from Edinburgh to Glasgow, probably with the intention of being shipped to Ireland, and the force included seven quarriers "for the undermyning of walls." In addition to this cavalcade sixteen "tume" or empty carts were sent for bringing home wine expected to be landed on the west coast from France. But owing to a change of plans, it being perhaps found that artillery could not be spared at that time, the guns never got to Ireland. On 14th August more carts were despatched to Glasgow to bring them home again, a journey which it took ten days to accomplish. [Lord High Treasurer's Accounts, iv. pp. lxxx-i. 527.]

After the battle, which was fought on 9th September, we have two or three contemporary notices incidentally connected with it. On 7th December Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, relict of the Earl of Lennox, in presence of notaries and witnesses, assembled in her Stablegreen residence, made arrangements with her son and heir as to the disposal of revenues from her deceased husband's estate; [Dioc. Reg. Prot. No. 659.] and on 24th January a meeting of the magistrates, held in the court-house of the burgh, was attended by John Schaw, "provost-depute," the first occasion on which that designation has been noticed on record. [Dioc. Reg. Prot. No. 255.] Unluckily Cuthbert Symson's protocol book ends in 1513, and its only other reference to affairs connected with Flodden is the statement that "King James V., King of Scots, was crowned in the castle of Stirling by James, archbishop of Glasgow, 21st September, 1513." [Ibid. No. 663.] The other Scottish archbishop had fallen with his father on the field of battle.

During the year of his tenure of the provostship, John Schaw, with consent of Marion Crawfurd, his spouse, founded a chaplainry at the altar of St. Christopher, on the south side of the nave of the cathedral, and for its maintenance he assigned property acquired by him "by labor and purchase, through the-divine favour." These endowments consisted of several lands and buildings situated in various crofts and streets throughout the city. The founder provided that after he had " departed from this vale of tears " the magistrates and community were, to be patrons of the chaplainry which was to be bestowed only upon the son of a burgess of the city, "learned and meet for the office." On the "day" of the founder's "obit," which, by an unusual stipulation was conventionally fixed for 13th June, yearly, the chaplain was to give twelve pennies each to twelve priests to celebrate mass for his soul, at the altar, together with the obsequies of the dead, on the night preceding, and the ringing of St. Kentigern's bell. The foundation charter is dated 30th May, 1514, and on the following day, in, presence of the two bailies of the city and the burgesses, assembled in the burgh court-house, "in a great number and overflowing multitude," John Scot, Schaw's nephew and apparent heir, appeared and solemnly ratified the endowment. The first chaplain was John Schaw, a natural son of the founder, he having been appointed by his father with concurrence of the bailies and community as patrons. [Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. pp. 101; ii. p. 458. In the foundation charter Schaw is designated "provost" and in the ratification "provost-depute." It is doubtful if any distinctive meaning was attached to the alternative designation. It was only on about half-a-dozen occasions, when the names of John Schaw and George Colquhoune appear, between 1514 and 1520, that the term depute occurs, and once it is omitted. Both Schaw and Colquhoune are likely to have been bailies-depute of the regality and a similar affix may have inadvertently crept into their civic designation. In no year when a provost-depute is named is there mention of another person holding the office of provost. Perhaps the expression provost-depute was used in the same sense as sheriff-depute, the designation of the principal sheriff of a shire.

After the Reformation the town council, as patrons, devoted the revenues of St. Christopher's chaplainry to educational or charitable purposes. On the decease of Sir Andrew Walker, the last pre-Reformation chaplain, St. Christopher's chaplainry was given to Sir James Fleming on condition of his restoring St. 1Iungo's chaplainry then held by him. Court proceedings were resorted to for enforcement of this arrangement, but these ended with Fleming's resigning the former chaplainry. St. Christopher's being thus again at their disposal, the town council, in March, 1575-6, gave it to Michael Wilson, son of James Wilson, mason, for the space of seven years " providing he remane at the scholes in this toun." Eight months before the expiry of the seventh year Michael Wilson resigned in favour of John Wilson, his brother, "beand blinde," and to this brother the chaplainry was bestowed for the space of other seven years. (Glasg. Rec. i. pp. 19, 30, 48, 96.)]

Two years after the date of Provost Schaw's foundation the skinners and furriers of the city applied to the town council for confirmation of their rules as a society, one of the declared purposes being augmentation of divine service at the altar of St. Christopher, their patron. In 1450-1, the skinners of Edinburgh undertook to give their support to the chaplain and altar of St. Christopher in the church of St. Giles, and their seal of cause, obtained in 1474, provided for contributions to that altar. Edin. Rec. i. pp. 9, 28.]

Complying with this desire the provost, magistrates and council, with consent of the archbishop, granted to the Skinner and Furrier Crafts a seal of cause on 28th May, 1516, this being, so far as can be ascertained, the first example of such procedure in Glasgow. Though the skinners and furriers, as well as most of the other craftsmen of the city, must have been formed into separate societies, under various sorts of voluntary arrangements, before this time, it is not improbable that this was the first occasion on which the town council and the archbishop had interposed their

authority in the constitution of a craft incorporation; and if this be so it may further be surmised that the prospect of augmenting the revenues of the new chaplainry, of which the town council were to be the patrons, acted as an inducement for adopting such a course at that particular time.

Craft guilds or fraternities are known to have flourished in many European countries long before the date at which our limited knowledge enables us to trace them in Scotland. From the tenth century onwards, associations adapted to various social and political purposes are traced, and so far as can be gleaned from the scant glimpses of their inner life they seem to have existed almost entirely for secular purposes. But from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when knowledge on the subject is fuller and more accessible the religious element becomes conspicuous, though in this country at least the regulation of trade and industry remained the leading object of these confederations.

As regards Scotland an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of James I., on his return from English captivity, seems to indicate that, bodies of craftsmen had been organised by that time; and for their more effective regulation it was enacted that in each town, and of each "sindry" craft therein, a wise man should be chosen by the majority of that craft, "and be the counsall of the officiaris of the toune," to be "dekyn," with power to try all made work, so that the King's lieges should not be defrauded and injured in future, "as thai have been in tyme bygane, through untrew men of crafts." [Ancient Laws, ii. p. 5 (12th March, 1424).] Subsequent statutes likewise deal with the appointment of deacons, and more than once the power to choose them was temporarily withdrawn, but with such exceptions the practice, of appointing deacons has been continuously observed.

Associations of craftsmen could thus be organised and ruled by deacons under the general law, though in course of time it came to be the invariable practice in Scotland for each body to be constituted under special regulations sanctioned by the town council of the burgh, and expressed in a writing which was sometimes called a" Letter of Dekynheid," but more commonly a "seal of cause," on account of its being authenticated by the appending of the seal of cause of the burgh. In this country seals of cause are believed not to have come into use before the fifteenth century, so there is nothing unreasonable in supposing that the practice had not been introduced into Glasgow before 1516.

Neither the formation nor the efficient working of an associated body of craftsmen could be satisfactorily undertaken without the services of a qualified clerk, especially as it seems to have been the practice of such societies to keep records of their official proceedings. Such clerical duties would naturally devolve on a priest and it may be assumed that in most cases the craftsmen's choice would fall on the chaplain serving at their altar. When confirmation of a craft's rules became desirable the preliminary supplication to the town council would usually be framed by the priest acting as clerk and chaplain, a circumstance which was likely to ensure due prominence being given to altarage claims. But by the beginning of the sixteenth century there was not much latitude allowed in that procedure, the seals of cause being very much of an established formal type and, as expressed in the petition of the skinners and furriers, "according to the lawis and consuetis of grete townis of honour of uther realmes and provinces."

The seal of cause of 1516 was granted on the supplication of the "kirkmaisters and the laif of the maisteris of skynner craft and furrier craft," being "tua craftis and unyte ourself in cherite togidder," which supplication was presented to the provost, bailies, council and community of the burgh "sittand in jugement, counsalie gaderit." The kirkmaster, a name primarily applied to the official having charge of altarage arrangements, sometimes acted as deacon, and the reference here to "kirkmaisters" shows that previous to 1516 the skinners and furriers had each an official bearing that designation.

Besides the kirkmasters, who are not named, eleven masters of craft, all named, joined in the desire that, for loving of Almighty God, the honour of the realm, the worship and profit of this good town, the profit of the King's lieges, and for augmentation of divine service at the altar of St. Christopher, within the metropolitan kirk, the statutes and rules set down by them should be authorised and put in force. Briefly stated these were to the following effect: (1) No member of the crafts to set up booth unless found qualified and admitted by the town council and sworn masters of the crafts, and each to pay, if a freeman's son 5s., and if an unfreeman's son 10s., towards the repair and upholding of divine service at the altar. (2) No master of craft to hire or reset any other master's prentice or freeman, under penalty of a pound of wax candles to the altar and punishment at the discretion of the town council. (3) Each master holding booth within burgh to pay a weekly penny towards the repair and adornment of the altar and sustenance of the priest. (4) No false stuff to be sold, under the penalty of half a pound of wax to the altar, and the false stuff to be forfeited. (5) Provision made for collection of the dues and upholding of divine service. As craved by the supplicants, the magistrates and community, with the approbation of the archbishop, ratified the rules, and the common seal of the burgh and round seal of the archbishop were appended to the writing. [6 Annals of the Skinners Craft (1875), pp. 114-8; facsimile of seal of cause, the original of which is in the possession of the Incorporation of Skinners.]

Before marching to England James IV. had named Queen Margaret as regent, associating with her the archbishop of Glasgow and several noblemen. Following out these instructions the Scottish estates met and appointed Queen Margaret guardian of her son and regent of the kingdom, while the archbishop of Glasgow, holding the office of chancellor, and the earls of Huntly, Angus and Arran were associated with her as councillors. But in the absence of central control, and with not a few members of the nobility more concerned about their own aggrandizement than the common weal, rivalry and strife soon manifested themselves, and the marriage of Margaret to the Earl of Angus, in the first year of her widowhood, brought on a crisis. A new regent became a necessity, and the choice lay between two noblemen, the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Arran. John, fourth duke of Albany, was son of the younger brother of James III., and, after the young King, next heir to the crown. James, second lord Hamilton and first earl of Arran, was the son of that Lord Hamilton whose donations to Glasgow college and benefactions for religious purposes in the city have already been noticed. The earl's mother was Princess Mary, eldest daughter of King James II., and be and Albany were thus in the same degree of kin to the King, though the earl's descent being through a daughter, his claim ranked second to that of the duke, whose descent was through a son of James II. Albany had been brought up in France, where his chief estates lay, and he was unacquainted with the Scottish customs and people; but, through the influence of Bishop Elphinstone and others, he was chosen regent. Before Albany's arrival in this country the Earl of Arran, with his nephew, John, Earl of Lennox (who had succeeded his father in 1513), and the Earl of Glencairn, had taken up arms against the Earl of Angus and his party. On a tempestuous night in December, 1514, Lennox seized the castle of Dumbarton, which was then regarded as the key of the west, and Erskine, the governor, who held it for the Queen, was expelled.

On 18th May, 1515, the Duke of Albany arrived at Dumbarton with a squadron of eight ships laden with ammunition and warlike stores. He was eagerly welcomed by a concourse of the nobles and gentry of the western shires, received a like cordial reception in the capital, and at a parliament held in July was installed in the office of regent and proclaimed Governor and Protector of the kingdom. Part of the imported artillery and stores seems to have been brought by water from Dumbarton to Glasgow, whence it was removed to Edinburgh and other places. In July payments were made by the King's treasurer for bringing the guns and other pieces of artillery out of the water at the "brig" and storing them at "Blakfreris." Between August and October, men, horses and carts, in considerable numbers, were from time to time employed in the transfer of the material, and even so far on as 4th February, 1515-6, there was a payment of £72 18s. for carts and carriage of artillery out of Glasgow and Dumbarton to Edinburgh.

About this time the Earl of Arran had entered into a league with Lennox, Glencairn, and other barons, for the purpose of depriving Albany of the regency. [Treas. Accounts, v. pp. 16-i8, 30, 38, 68, 71.] It was perhaps in apprehension of these disturbing times that Archbishop Beaton fortified his episcopal palace by enclosing it with a strong wall about fifteen feet high towards the east, south and west, with a bastion on the one corner and a tower on the other, fronting Castle Street. The tower must have been of considerable strength so long as it was maintained in good condition, for even after it had stood for nearly three centuries, and had latterly fallen into decay through neglect, it still showed an imposing exterior at the time of its removal to make way for the erection of the Royal Infirmary about the year 1792. [Trans. Arch. Soc. (Macgregor), 2nd series, i. p. 232 ; Medieval Glasgow, p. 242.]

In course of the insurrectionary movements of the western lords, the castle of Glasgow was besieged and taken from the archbishop by John Mure of Caldwell, who had joined the league of the Earls of Lennox, Arran and Glencairn. The assailants obtained access to the castle on 20th February, 1515-6, but the regent marched to the city with a strong body of troops and recovered possession for the archbishop. Letters were sent to the sheriffs and bailies of shires and burghs, summoning the lieges to convene at Glasgow, artillery drawn by oxen was brought from Falkirk, and the Regent himself was in Glasgow on list February. [L. H. T. Accounts, v. p. 73.] Through the archbishop's mediation a settlement was adjusted at this time and Arran made his peace with the Governor on 7th March. To judge from a series of " respites," or letters of remission, granted by the King and his council between 1st July, 1526, and 29th May, 1527, and which seem to refer either to this rising or to that which was suppressed in the end of 1515, the proceedings of these months must have been of a somewhat formidable character. By the first of the letters of remission the Earl of Arran, and others to the number of five or six thousand, conform to a list to be verified by him, were respited "for the treasonable arraying of batell, insurrection and feilding, aganis Johne, duke of Albany, etc., tutour to the Kingis grace, protectour and governour of his realme, cumand with the kingis autoritie and his banner being displayit for the tome at Kittycrocehill, besyde Glasgw." All the letters of remission referred to mention the array at Kittycrocehill, [Reg. Sec. Sig. i. Nos. 3409, 3440, 3728, 3765, 3787.] but though there are several places in the vicinity of Glasgow called Crosshill none of these has the prefix " Kitty," and consequently the precise locality of the military display has not been identified. There is a place called Kittymuir in the parish of Stonehouse and situated a few miles from Hamilton Castle, which castle Albany besieged and took in his military operations against the Earl of Arran in 1515. Perhaps it was this locality, though incorrectly described as "besyde" Glasgow, which was the scene of the rebellious array referred to in the letters of remission.

The facts connected with the occupation of the archbishop's castle by the insurgents are narrated in a decree by the lords of council, dated 4th March, 1517-8. The archbishop had raised an action against Mure "for the wranguis and violent ejection and furthputting of his servands out of his castell and palace of Glasgow and taking of the samyn fra them; and for the wranguis spoliation, intrometting, away taking and withhalding fra the said maist reverend fader "of certain goods, such as beds, clothing, jewels, utensils, provisions, ammunition and arms, all specified in detail; "and for the wranguis destruction of his said castell and place, breking down of the samyn with artalzary and utherwais." The lords ordained Mure to restore to the archbishop what had been taken away or to pay the value. [Caldwell Papers, i. pp. 54-58 ; Trans. Arch. Soc. (Macgregor), pp. 232-6; Glasg. Chart. i. pt. i. p. dxxxv. There was also an action at the instance of the governor of the kingdom and the porter of the castle resulting in an order by the lords of council for the restoration of goods and money abstracted from the porter's lodge at the castle. Glasg. Chart. i. pt. i. P. 12, No. 307 [45b]. Through the misreading of a passage in Buchanan's History of Scotland Macgregor supposed that there was another attack on the Bishop's castle in 1517, but the siege referred to by Buchanan was that of February 1515-16.]


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