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Scotland, Social and Domestic
Public Sports


Large portions of the Lowlands were covered with dense forests. These were inhabited by the wolf, the wild boar, and a species of wild cattle. The wolf made his lair in the Caledonian forest, which embraced the counties of Stirling and Linlithgow. This animal was also found in the forests of the north. According to the legend, King Malcolm II., on his return southward from the defeat of the Danes at Mortlauh, in Morayshire, in 1010, was pursued by a wolf in the forest of Stochet. Just as the animal was about to make an assault, a younger son of Donald of the Isles came up, thrust his left hand, covered with his plaid, into the animal's mouth, and, with his right, plunged his dirk into its heart. For this act of service the King rewarded his follower with the lands of Skene, in Aberdeenshire. Another anecdote connected with the wolf-hunt we have received from Mr. Skene of Rubislaw. The Macqueens of Corriebrock were a small sept dependent on the support of the more potent clan Mackintosh, one of the most considerable in the Highlands. A wolf had appeared in Strathdairn, the country of the Mackintoshes, and the chief forthwith invited his kinsmen and allies to assemble for the destruction of the intruder. Messengers ran in every direction, and a large body of clansmen rapidly assembled. Somewhat late came Macqueen and his followers. Mackintosh expressed his surprise that his ally had been so long in rallying against the common enemy. "Is it wolfie ye're makin' a' the wark aboot?" replied Macqueen; "I met the bit beastie comin' down the glen, and there's its head." Macqueen unfolded his plaid and produced the trophy. The Macqueens have since born a wolf as a charge in their escutcheon. The last of Scottish wolves was slain by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, in 1680.

The wild boar inhabited the woods of Fifeshire. The city of St. Andrews was originally designated Muckross, the promontory of boars. A district in the vicinity of St. Andrews is styled, by the older historians, Cur-sus Apri, the Boar's Chace. This territory extended eight miles in length, with an average breadth of four miles. A portion of it is still known as Boar-hills. Hector Boece records the destruction in those parts of a boar of gigantic size, which had killed both men and cattle. At the period when he wrote, (about 1520) the tusks of the animal were attached to the altar of St. Andrews Cathedral. They were sixteen inches long.

Wild cattle occupied the woods of the southern counties, and were also found in the Caledonian Forest. They are thus described by Sir Walter Scott:—

"Their appearance was beautiful, being milk-white, with black muzzles, horns, and hoofs. The bulls are described by ancient authors as having white manes, but those of later days had lost that peculiarity, perhaps by intermixture with the tame breed." King Robert the Bruce hunted the wild ox. An adventure of the monarch in pursuing an ox is recorded by Hollinshed. After a long race the King overtook the animal, and was about to thrust his spear into its loins when it turned and made a charge. The royal hunter was in the greatest peril, when one of his party rushed forward, and seizing the animal by the horns, overthrew it by main force. For his timely act of service the King bestowed on him lands and immunities, with the family name of Turnbull. Sir Robert Sibbald, who wrote about the end of the seventeenth century, remarks that in his time wild cattle were found chiefly upon the mountains. A breed of them has been preserved in Cadyow forest, Lanarkshire.

Deer-stalking is an ancient sport. David I. hunted the deer. He built a hunting-house at Crail, on the east coast of Fife; and many spots in the district, such as Kenly, Kingsbarns, and Kingsmuir, retain names derived from the practices of this royal sportsman. According to the legend, the Abbey of Holyrood was founded by this pious prince, to commemorate his deliverance from an infuriated stag, which had turned upon him in the chase and dashed him from his horse. William the Lion was an ardent deer-hunter. Alexander III. was hunting the stag at Kinghorn, in Fife, when he fell from his horse and perished. King Robert the Bruce added deer-stalking to his other kingly recreations. There is an anecdote in connection with his hunting. He had been repeatedly baulked by a white deer, which started among the Pentlands. At an assembly of his nobles he asked whether any dogs in their possession could seize the game which had baffled the royal hounds. Sir William St. Clair of Roslin staked his head that two of his dogs, Help and Hold, would kill the deer before it crossed the March-burn. The King accepted the offer, and pledged the forest of Pentland Muir in guerdon of success. He stood on a hill to witness the pursuit, while some sleuth-hounds were let loose to beat up the deer. Sir William slipped his favourite dogs and proceeded to follow them on horseback. He had just reached the March-burn, when his dog Hold stopped the deer in the brook, while Help, coming up, drove him back, and killed him on the winning side of the stream. King Robert descended from the hill, embraced Sir William, and granted him the forest as his reward.

A legend connected with deer-hunting is associated with the rise of the ducal house of Buccleuch. Two brothers, natives of Galloway, had been banished from that county for rioting. Being well skilled in winding the horn and other mysteries of the chase, they proceeded to Rankleburn, in Ettrick forest, where their services were accepted by Brydone, the royal keeper. Kenneth Macalpine, who then held the Scottish sceptre, soon after hunted in the forest. He pursued a buck from Ettrick hough to the glen now called Buckcleuch, near the junction of the Rankleburn with the Ettrick. Here the stag stood at bay, but the royal party were unable to proceed, owing to the steepness of the hill and an intervening morass. One of the Galloway brothers came up, and seizing the buck by the horns, threw him on his back, and carried his burden to the royal presence. The King rewarded his enterprising follower by appointing him ranger of the forest, and bestowing on him the name of Scott, in memorial of his gallantry.

A hunting anecdote connected with James V., and illustrative of the manners of the feudal period, may be related. The King was at Stirling Castle, expecting guests. He despatched huntsmen to the hills of Kippen, twelve miles to the westward, there to kill deer. Several fine roes were secured, but the huntsmen, in returning home, passed through the lands of Buchanan of Arnpryor, without yielding that feudal baron the customary homage. Buchanan gave pursuit, and, while allowing the huntsmen to escape from danger, appropriated the venison. When the huntsmen remonstrated against the detention, by alleging that the venison was procured for the royal table, he sternly replied, that, if James Stuart was king of Scotland, John Buchanan, meaning himself, was king at Kippen. Bold as was the laird's procedure, it did not exceed the bounds of law, and James, who relished such acts of daring, resolved speedily to make acquaintance with one who so sturdily asserted the privileges of his order. He proceeded, unattended, to Arnpryor, and knocked at the gate of that moorland fortalice. He requested an audience of the chief. The porter assured the visitor that the chief, being at dinner, might not be disturbed. "Tell him," said the stranger, "that the gudeman o' Ballingeich has come to dine with him, and he will no doubt be satisfied." The porter reluctantly obeyed. Buchanan at once discovered the illustrious rank of his visitor, and came out with all humility to receive him. With characteristic frankness the King assured him that he only desired, as a neighbouring sovereign, to partake of his hospitality. The laird entertained his royal guest most sumptuously, and James, interested by his rough humour, invited him to the castle. Buchanan was presented at court, and the King ever after made him a companion of his sports, calling him familiarly "the King o' Kippen." Queen Mary did not deem hunting an unwomanly sport. She first met Darnley while sojourning at Wemyss Castle, Fifeshire, during the progress of a deer-hunt. In Mar Forest she hunted frequently. The learned William Barclay of Angers was in his youth attached to Mary's court. In his work in defence of monarchical government he has presented the description of a hunt in Athole Forest under the personal auspices of the Scottish queen. We present his narrative in the words of Pennant's translation:—

"I had a sight of a very extraordinary sport. In the year 1563, the Earl of Athole, a prince of the blood-royal, had, with much trouble and at vast expense, made a hunting-match for the entertainment of our most illustrious and most gracious Queen. Our people call this a royal hunting. I was then a young man, and was present on the occasion. Two thousand Highlanders were employed to drive to the hunting-ground all the deer from the woods and hills of Athole, Badenoch, Mar, Moray, and the countries about. As these Highlanders use a light dress, and are very swift of foot, they went up and down so nimbly, that, in less than two months' time, they brought together two thousand red deer, besides roes and fallow deer. The Queen, the great men, and a number of others were in a glen, when all these deer were brought before them; believe me,, the whole body moved forward in something like battle order. This sight still strikes me, and will ever strike me, for they had a leader whom they followed close wherever he moved. This leader was a very fine stag, with a very high head. The sight delighted the Queen very much, but she soon had cause for fear, upon the Earl (who had been from his early days accustomed to such sights) addressing her thus:— 'Do you observe that stag who is foremost of the herd? there is danger from that stag; for, if either fear or rage should force him from, the ridge of that hill, let every one look to himself, for none of us will be out of the way of harm, as the rest will all follow this one, and having thrown us under foot, they will open a passage to the hill behind us.' What happened a moment after confirmed this opinion; for the Queen ordered one of the best dogs to be let loose upon one of the deer. This the dog pursues; the leading stag was frightened, he flies by the same way he had come there ; the rest rush after him, and break out where the thickest body of the Highlanders was. They had nothing for it now but to throw themselves flat on the heath, and to allow the deer to pass over them. It was told the Queen that several of the Highlanders had been wounded, and that two or three were killed. The whole body would have escaped had not the Highlanders, by their skill in hunting, fallen upon a stratagem to cut off the roes from the main body. It was of those that had been separated that the Queen's dogs and those of the nobility made slaughter. There was killed that day three hundred and sixty deer, with five wolves and some roes."

Alarmed at the spectacle of a naked sword, James VI. did not wince at sight of the hunter's knife. Hunting was his favourite sport. He had just returned from a hunt in the forest of Athole, in August, 1582, when he experienced that detention at Ruthven Castle, historically known as the Raid of Ruthven.

Taylor, the water-poet, has described the manner in which deer-hunting was conducted in the Highlands during the sixteenth century. Five hundred men, he writes, would, early in the morning, enclose a circuit of eight or ten miles, bringing the deer to such a place as the hunters might appoint. The deer were collected in different herds of several hundreds each. The hunters lay down on the ground, and despatched scouts, called Tinhhell, to drive forward the deer. When the herds descended from the hills, the hunters proceeded to destroy them with their firelocks and dirks.

Royal warrens were protected during the time of Alexander II., who began his reign in 1214. Trespassers were punished with death and confiscation. David II. granted a royal charter to William Her wart, as keeper and "cunningare" (conie-keeper) in "the king's muire in Craill, in life-rent." Game laws applying to the royal forests were passed in 1594, and it was enacted by the Estates, in 1621, "that no man hunt or hawk at any time thereafter who hath not a plough of land in heritage."

On the breaking up of the larger forests, fox-hunting took the place of the deer-hunt. Both landowner and yeoman, actuated by mutual interest, concerned themselves in the destruction of the fox. A huntsman was kept in every district, who was recompensed by money payments from the landowners, and by grants of farm produce from the tenantry. He received a special reward for every fox which he destroyed. Every farmer kept a couple of greyhounds. Several days were occupied annually in the pursuit of the fox, when the entire inhabitants of the district turned out. In Forfarshire these gatherings were convened by the parish beadle while the congregation left church. An ancestor of the writer heard a beadle in Strathmore summon a dispersing congregation to attend at the hunting-field, in these words :—

"Ilka man and mither's son,
Come hunt the tod on Tuesday."

Hawking, or falconry, was a royal sport. According to the legend, the Danes had made an incursion on the east coast of Forfarshire. They penetrated from Montrose to Perth, devastating the country in their progress. The Scottish army, under Kenneth III., attacked them on the field of Luncarty, where a bloody engagement took place. The centre of the royal army, commanded by the monarch, maintained its ground, but the right and left wings were broken and pursued by the enemy. In the course of their flight, the fugitives got into a narrow lane, formed by a hedge and a mud wall. A farmer, named Hay, and his two sons, intercepted the passage, each armed with a plough-share. They reproached their flying countrymen with their cowardice, and called on them to rejoin their sovereign in his conflict with the invaders. Thus intercepted, the fugitives turned upon their pursuers. The Danes, dreading a reinforcement, threw down their arms and fled. Hay was brought into the presence of the monarch, who offered him, in reward of his service, as much land as a hound would course over in one heat, or across which a falcon would fly before resting. Having chosen the latter, the patriotic yeoman obtained possession of the western district of the Carse of Gowrie. If this story is well-founded, hawking must have been practised in Scotland so early as the tenth century.

The restoration of James I. from his lengthened captivity in England was due to an incident connected with falconry. The regent, Murdoch, Duke of Albany, had a valuable falcon, which was coveted by his eldest son, Walter Stewart, who frequently expressed a desire to possess it. The Duke refused to part with his favourite, which so aggravated the youth that he seized the bird and destroyed it. Shocked by his son's cruelty, the Duke resolved that he should not succeed him in the regency, and negotiated for the recall of his lawful sovereign.

James I. was fond of falconry. It was a favourite sport with James IV. James V. procured falcons from the eyries of Caithness."" He sent falcons as royal gifts to the King of France, the Dauphin, and the Duke of Guise. When a youth at Stirling, James VI. practised falconry. He got falcons from Craigleith, a rocky summit of the Ochils. During his reign a pair of falcons were valued at £2,000 Scots. So long as the Dukes of Athole retained the depute-sovereignty of the Isle of Man, they acknowledged fealty to the British sovereign, by presenting a pair of falcons at every coronation.

The Grand Falconer was an hereditary officer connected with the Scottish Court. For a succession of generations the office was retained in the family of the Flemings of Barrochan Tower. Peter Fleming received a hawk's hood set in jewels from James IV., for having defeated the King's falcon with his tiercel; it has been preserved in the family. There was a salaried depute-falconer. The last who held office, Mr. Marshall, retired in September, 1840. Among the latest promoters of Scottish falconry were Archibald, Lord Montgomerie, great grandfather of the present Earl of Eglinton; Sir John Maxwell, Bart., of Pollok, grandfather of Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Bart.; and the late Mr. Wallace of Kelly, M.P. As a national pastime falconry has ceased.

Archery, an early amusement of the English people, was much encouraged by James I. That monarch enacted, in his first Parliament, "That all men busk themselves to be archers, from the age of twelve years; and that in each ten pound worth of land there be made bow-marks, and specially near parish churches, where, upon holy-days, men may come, and at the least shoot thrice about, and have usage of archery, and whosoever uses not the said archery, the lord of the land shall raise from him a wedder, and if the lord raises not the said penalty, the King's sheriff or his ministers shall raise it to the King."

At St. Andrews a portion of ground by the margin of the bay retains the name of "the Butts." There is a Butts Well at the base of Stirling Rock, and a small village adjoins, styled Raploch, the place of archery. The ancient "Butts" at Peebles is still pointed out. James I. composed his ballad of "Chryst's Kirk" to promote a love of archery among his subjects. It amusingly depicts the awkwardness of inexperienced bowmen. James II. caused the Estates to enact that bow-marks should be made at every parish church, and that all who did not repair thither on certain days, and shoot at least six shots, should be subjected to a penalty of "twa pennies Scots." The marriage of James IV. to the Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII., led to the promotion of Scottish archery. The Queen was an expert archer ; she shot a buck at Alnwick Park, in the course of her progress from England to her future home. During the reign of her son, James V., she was wont to boast of the superiority of Englishmen in the use of the bow. On one occasion, according to Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, she brought representatives of the two countries to engage in a public competition at archery. "There came," writes the chronicler, "an ambassador out of England, named Lord William Howard, with a bishop with him, and many other gentlemen, to the number of threescore horse, which were all able men and waled men for all kinds of games and pastimes, shooting, louping, running, wrestling, and casting of the stone, but they were well sayed (tried) ere they passed out of Scotland, and that by their own provocation; but after they tint, till at last the Queen of Scotland, the King's mother, favoured the Englishmen, because she was the King of England's sister ; and therefore she took an enterprise of archery upon the Englishmen's hands, contrary her son the King and any six in Scotland that he would wale, either gentlemen or yeomen^ that the Englishmen should shoot against them, either at pricks, revers, or butts, as the Scots pleased. The King hearing this of his mother, was content, and gait her pawn a hundred crowns and a tun of wine, upon the English-men's hands, and he incontinent laid down as much for the Scottish-men. The field and ground was chosen in St. Andrews, and three landed men and three yeomen chosen to shoot against the English-men : to wit, David Wemyss, of that ilk, David Arnot of that ilk, and Mr. John Wedderburn, Vicar of Dundee; the yeomen, John Thomson, in Leith. Stephen Taburner, with a piper, called Alexander Bailie: they shot very near, and warred the Englishmen of the enterprise, and won the hundred crowns and the tun of wine, which made the King very merry that his men won the victory."

James V. presented silver arrows to the royal burghs, to which the winners in the annual competitions might attach silver medals in memorial of their skill. These arrows have disappeared, but others substituted in their places, at different periods, have been preserved at St. Andrews, Selkirk, Peebles, Musselburgh, and other towns. Queen Mary was an accomplished archer. It is recorded, to her discredit, that she shot at butts with Bothwell, at Seton Palace, two days after Lord Darnley's murder. James VI. included archery among his " Sunday games."

A body of 7,000 archers was despatched to France in the reign of James I., to assist the Dauphin and the House of Valois against Henry V. of England. These troops, commanded by the Earl of Buchan, gained the Battle of Beauge, which turned victory to the side of France. Many of these archers settled in France, and, receiving the designation of the Royal Scottish Guard, had important privileges bestowed upon them. Scottish nobles and persons of distinction enrolled themselves in the corps, and attracted to France numbers of their countrymen. During the regency of Mary de Medicis, widow of Henry IY., the Scottish Guard lost the royal favour, and were subjected to open affront. They made a complaint to James VI., who interfered on their behalf. He threatened that, unless their immunities were respected, he would order their recall. Charles I. was also called upon to interfere in maintaining the rights

P. 147. The quaint historian might well exult in this incidental triumph, for the English greatly excelled the Scots in the use of the bow. Eoger Ascham quotes a proverb, in these words: "Every English archer beareth under his girdle twenty-four Scottes," referring to the greater skill of the southerners in the art of archery. of his expatriated subjects, the Scottish Archers, in France.

When the Duke of Buckingham was sent, in 1628, to Rochelle, to aid the Huguenots against Cardinal Richelieu, a levy of 200 Highland bowmen, under Alexander McNaughten, proceeded to his assistance. But the Duke's troops were driven back to their ships, ere the bowmen had an opportunity of proving their efficiency and prowess.

The Company of Archers at Edinburgh is privileged to rank as the Queen's Scottish Body Guard. Its original records have perished. In 1792 the company consisted of a thousand members; they met weekly, exercising themselves in the meadows by shooting at butts or rovers. The latter name denoted a game, which consisted in the marks being placed at a distance of 185 yards. The prizes belonging to the company are, a silver arrow, presented by the Corporation of Musselburgh, and shot for so early as 1603 ; a silver arrow, presented by the town of Peebles in 1626; a silver arrow, presented by the city of Edinburgh in 1709; a silver punch-bowl, made of native silver, in 1720; and a piece of plate, value twenty pounds, called the King's Prize, presented in 1627. The prizes are held by the winners for a year, when they are restored to the company.

Laurence Oliphant of Gask belonged to the Royal Archers. When nineteen years old, he served, in 1745, as one of the aide-de-camps to Prince Charles. Gask, his father's house, was pillaged in the following year. In 1777 he was asked to send his old coat as a pattern for the new generation. He writes thus, on November 6th in that year:— "It is odd if my archer's coat is the only one left. It was taken away in the Forty-six by the Duke of Cumberland's plunderers; and Miss Anny Grahame, of Inchbrakie, thinking it would be regretted by me, went out to the Court, and got it back from a soldier, telling him it was a lady's riding-habit. But putting her hand to the breeches, to take them too, he, with a thundering oath, asked her if the lady wore breeches?": Oliphant was the father of Lady Nairne, the poetess. His grandson James, was one of those who escorted Queen Victoria on her visit to Edinburgh in 1842.

A game, practised by the Edinburgh Company of Archers, was called the Goose. This sport was attended with much barbarity. A live goose was built in a turf butt, with its head exposed. The competitors took aim at the head, and the first who hit it became winner of the goose prize. This inhuman practice has been abandoned. The uniform of the company is a handsome tartan, lined with white and trimmed with green and white, a white sash with green tassels, and a blue bonnet with a St. Andrew's cross and feathers.

The Kilwinning Archery Company existed, in connection with the abbey of that place, so early as 1488. The members practised archery of two sorts. Point-blank archery consisted in shooting at butts, about twenty-six yards distant. Papingoe archery implied higher skill. The papingoe is a bird known in heraldry. It was cut out of wood, fixed on the end of a pole, and placed on the steeple of the monastery. The archer who brought down the papingoe was hailed: "Captain of the Papingoe," received a parti-coloured sash, was privileged to attach a silver medal to an arrow preserved in memorial of his skill, and presided at meetings during the year. In 1688 the sash was substituted by a piece of silver plate.

An Archery Company flourished at St. Andrews from 1618 till 1751. Three silver arrows, with silver medals attached, which belonged to the company, are preserved in the buildings of the United College. There are medals bearing the names and arms of James, Earl of Montrose, afterwards Marquis; Archibald, Lord Lorn, subsequently first Marquis of Argyll; and seventy-seven others. The last medal was appended by Charles, fifth Earl of Elgin, in 1751. In 1833 an attempt was made to revive the St. Andrews Company of Archers, but unsuccessfully.

"The Bowmen of the Border" are composed of a number of noblemen and gentlemen in Roxburghshire, who assemble in virtue of a diploma from the Royal Company of Archers. The members are restricted to eighty; there are first and second captains.

The joust and tournament were among the sports introduced by James I. Between the joust and tournament there was this difference, that the former was a single combat, while in the latter a troop of knights were engaged on each side. The tournament was held at the will of a sovereign, who despatched a king of arms through his dominions and to foreign courts, intimating his intention to hold a grand assembly for the clashing of arms. The intending combatants came forth in military array, their armorial bearings being depicted on their shields and surcoats and the caparisons of their horses. Each knight was preceded by an esquire, who bore his spears in the right hand, and in the left his helmet and crest, adorned with silken streamers bestowed on him by his mistress.

The spot fixed as the scene of the tournament was enclosed with wooden rails, and gates formed of bars. When the knights reached the barriers, they announced their arrival by trumpets, on which the heralds came forth and recorded their names and arms. Then they suspended their shields on the barriers, in proof that they were worthy.

A knight, traversing the field, singled out from the different shields, that of the knight with whom he desired to engage in combat. He signified the weapon to be used by ringing on the shield of his antagonist with the arms he had selected. Two pages attended the shield, arrayed as Moors or monsters; these, who were termed supporters, informed the challenged knight of the decision of his competitor. The usual weapons were blunted lances and swords. The combat was commenced on horseback, but the combatants often ended their encounter on foot.

Each knight, whether at joust or tournament, contended for the honour of a lady, to whom he dedicated his prowess. Not unfrequently the knights adopted as their heroines fair charmers whom they had not seen, and married ladies, in whom, unless for their pre-eminent beauty, they could not be interested. James IV. professed himself the knight of the Queen of France. Tournaments were witnessed by dames and damsels of noble rank, who encouraged their favourites. The hero of the tournament received a prize from the Queen of Beauty, a lady specially selected by the -sovereign to preside.

In 1449 a tournament attended with a sanguinary result took place at Stirling, in the presence of James II. The combatants were, on the one side, two Burgundian knights, brothers of the noble house of Lalain, and the Sieur de Mariadet, Lord of Longueville; and on the other side three Scottish knights, two of whom were Douglases, and the third, Sir John Boss of Halket. The weapons used were the lance, battle-axe, sword, and dagger. The combatants commenced with the lance, but speedily abandoned it for the battle-axe, when one of the Douglases being killed outright, the King threw down his gauntlet and stopped the contest. On this occasion, the Earl of Douglas, brother of one of the combatants, was attended by five thousand followers, at the head of whom he conducted the Scottish champions to the lists.

James IV. was a chief promoter of jousts and tournaments. He issued frequent proclamations to his nobles to assemble at Stirling and Edinburgh, for the prosecution of these and other chivalrous sports. The successful competitors at the joust received his adversary's weapon, and had further bestowed on him by the Kiug a lance mounted with gold.

Among the military spectacles which followed the reception of the Princess Margaret, in 1502, was a series of jousts and tournaments, which took place at Edinburgh. On this occasion the competitors were the border chiefs, many of whom contended with each other with such vehemence that the victor left his opponent stretched lifeless on the field.

Like his royal sire, James V. keenly promoted these knightly recreations. Many tournaments took place during his reign. On these occasions foreign knights presented themselves to challenge the skill of the Scottish nobles. The conflicts were often disputed so warmly that the monarch had to interpose to prevent bloodshed.

The death of Henry II. of France, in June, 1559, resulting from his eye being pierced by the Count de Montgomery, in a joust at Paris, led to the suppression of these chivalrous amusements. In 1594 jousting was practised among the sports which attended the baptism of Prince Henry at Stirling Castle.

A magnificent tournament was held by the late Earl of Eglinton. This spirited nobleman assembled at Eglinton Castle, on the 28th August, 1839, an extraordinary gathering of noble and distinguished personages of both sexes, to assist in reviving the fetes of old chivalry. The proceedings continued three days, and were conducted with a splendour not excelled on those occasions when the Scottish monarch led his knights to the lists. The costumes of the knights were chiefly of the reigns of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. Some were attired in the fancy dresses of the old knights of France, Prussia, and Spain. The national costumes were superb. Lady Seymour, the Queen of Beauty, wore a coronet of jewels, a jacket of ermine, and skirt of violet velvet, with the front of sky-blue velvet, on which was represented her arms, embroidered in silver. Among the distinguished visitors was Prince Louis Napoleon, now Emperor of the French. He wore a polished steel cuirass over a leather jacket, trimmed with crimson satin; a steel vizored helmet, with a high plume of white feathers; buckskin tights, and russet boots.

On Thursday, the 29th August, ten knights engaged in conflict. Among these were the Marquis of Waterford, the Earl of Eglinton, Lord Glenlyon, afterwards Duke of Athole, the Earl of Craven, Lord Alford, and Sir Francis Hopkins. All exhibited skill and prowess; their lances split almost at a touch ; nor did any untoward occurrence mar the pleasure of the spectacle. A combat with broad-swords, between the Prince Napoleon and Mr. Lamb, an English gentleman, was, on both sides, conducted with skill and vigour. A splendid banquet, followed by a ball, terminated the second day's sport. On Friday, a grand equestrian welce with broad-swords was carried on by the Scottish and Irish knights against those of England. A social entertainment closed the pageant.

Tilting at the Ring, an elegant amusement, was practised on horse back. The sport consisted in riding at full-speed, and thrusting the point of a lance through a ring, suspended in a case by means of two springs, but which might be readily drawn out by the force of the stroke and remain on the top of the lance. A right to engage in this game was granted by James I. to the chapmen or merchant burgesses of Stirling. The late Major John Alexander Henderson, of Westerton, was the last "Principal" of the order. Major Henderson died in 1858. A tilting lance used at the chapmen's sports during the reign of James V. is preserved in the armoury of Stirling Castle.

When the feats of the joust and tournament were concluded, the knights sat down to an open-air repast near the field of conflict. This out-of-door banqueting place was designated the Round Table. It was an octagonal mound, of a diameter sufficient to contain several hundred knights, and of such height as to afford comfortable seating. In the centre of the enclosed space a mound was raised for the accommodation of the sovereign and the members of the royal family. The Round Table was contrived to enable the knights to feast together on a footing of equality. According to the legend, a Round Table was constructed at Winchester by King Arthur, for the use of his nobles. The project was revived by Roger, Earl of Mortimer, at Kenilworth, in the reign of Edward I. In 1344 Edward III. constructed a Round Table at Windsor, at which he entertained the knights of Europe. Just a century later, James I. caused a Round Table to be constructed at Stirling. This scene of ancient chivalry was, in 1867, restored to its original condition by H. M. Board of Works, owing to a representation made by the writer of these pages some years previously.

The tournament and its festivities were succeeded by an annual display of arms and other rural sports, which were included under the designation of the wapping-shaw, or weapon-show. In 1535 an Act was passed, making it imperative on the lieges owning land to the value of £50 and upwards, to appear "at the weapon-shawing with hagbuts, culverings, and other instruments." The weapon-show was in later times celebrated on the 1st of May. At early morn the maidens anointed their faces with dew on the hill-tops, while the aged made pilgrimages to wells reputed for their sanctity. The May-pole was erected in a convenient centre, and young persons of both sexes danced around it with merry hearts. Then followed a variety of sports, including archery, fencing, running, and leaping.

In his ballad of the "Siller Gun," John Mayne has celebrated the annual weapon-show at Dumfries, when the competitors sought possession of a silver tube or gun, presented to the burgh by James VI. The following stanzas illustrate the peculiar character of the sport:—

Louder grew the busy hum
O friends rejoicing as they come,
Wi' double vis the drummers drum,
The pint-stowps clatter,
And bowls o' negus, milk and rum,
Flow round like water.

And bonny lasses, tight and clean,
Buskit to please their ain lads' een,
Lasses whose faces, as the scene
Its tints discloses,
In glowing sweetness intervene
Like living roses.

But a' this while, wi' mony a dunner,
Auld guns were battling off like thunner,
Those parts o' whilk in ilka hunner
Did sae recoil,
Fowk thought their liths and limbs asunner,
In this turmoil.

The muse is sorry to portray
The fuddled heroes o' the day;
Nae
camp, when war has reft away
Her brightest sons,
Cou'd sic o' messin' scene display
O' men and guns.

With the alleged intention of making "the Protestant religion less offensive to Papists," the people "more able for warre" and less addicted to "filthy tippling and drunkenness," James VI. issued, in 1618, an injunction, commanding that, on Sundays, at the close of Divine service, no lawful recreation should be withheld from his subjects. Among the recreations pronounced lawful for Sunday observance were archery, Morris dances, leaping, and vaulting.

The manifesto of James VI., on the subject of Sunday games, is historically known as the "Book of Sports." Both to the Scottish Presbyterians and to the English Puritans it proved a source of disquietude. Some years after its republication by Charles I., the Long Parliament, in May, 1643, issued the following edict:—"That the. Booke concerning the enjoyning and tollerating of sports upon the Lord's Day be forthwith burned by the hand of the common hangman, in Cheap-side and other usuall places." A broadside copy of the edict is preserved in the British Museum.

Foot and hand-ball are ancient pastimes. Foot-ball long remained popular. Nearly every district had its annual ba playiri. The able-bodied men of one district challenged those of another, or two parties were chosen from the assemblage. If the contending parties were few, the exercises were toilsome. Forty on each side implied much individual exertion. Certain rules of the game may be mentioned. It was not allowable to touch the ball with the hand after it had been cast upon the field. An opponent might be tripped when near the ball, and more especially when about to hit it with the foot, but a competitor could not be laid hold of, or otherwise interfered with, when at a distance from the ball. The party who, out of three rounds, hailed the ball twice, was proclaimed victor. The Rev. John Skinner, in his poem of "The Monymusk Christmas Ba'ing," has depicted the merriment attendant on this sport:—

Like bnnibees bizzing frae a byke,
Whan birds their riggins tirr;
The swankies lap thro' mire and syke,
Wow, as their heads did birr!
They yowff'd the ba' frae dyke to dyke,
Wi' unco' speed and virr,
Some baith their shou'ders up did fyke,
For blythness some did fiirr
Their teeth that day.

The hurry-burry now began,
Was right weel worth the seeing,
Wi' routs and raps frae man to man,
Some getting and some gieing;
And a' the tricks of fut and hand
That ever was in being;
Sometimes the ba' a yirdlins ran,
Sometimes in air was fleeing
Fu' heigh that day.

John Jalop shouted like a gun,
As something had him ail'd,
"Fy, sirs!" quo' he, "the ba' spels won,
And we the ba' ha'e hail'd."
Some greened for hauf an hour's mair fun,
'Cause fresh, and no sair failed,
Ithers did Sanny gryte thanks cimn,
And thro' their haffats trail'd
Their nails that day.

Has ne'er in Monymusk been seen
Sae mony weel-beft skins;
Of a' the ba'-men there was nane
But had twa bleedy shins;
Wi' strenzied shou'ders mony ane,
Dreed penance for their sins,
And, what was warst, scoup'd hanie at e'en,
May be to hungry inns
And cauld that day.

The sport of hand-ball was more common in southern districts. During the period of border warfare the southern chiefs would summon meetings ostensibly for foot-ball sports, when they meditated leading their neighbours and retainers to an English foray. In the year 1600, Sir John Carmichael, Warden of the Middle Marches, was killed by a band of Armstrongs, on their return from a match at football.

The most remarkable hand-ball match in modern times took place in 1815, at Carterhaugh, near the junction of the Ettrick and Yarrow, Selkirkshire. The border banner of Buccleuch, which "blazed over Ettrick eight ages and more," was displayed on the occasion, but the originator of the match was the Earl of Home. His lordship conceived the idea of changing into defeat the triumph assigned to the burgesses of Selkirk, in the old ballad:—

"Up wi' the souters o' Selkirk,
An' clown wi' the Earl o' Home,
An' up wi' a' the braw lads
That sew the singled soled shoon.

 * * * *

Then up wi' the souters o' Selkirk,
For they're baith trusty and leal,
An' down wi' the men o' the Merse
An' the Earl may gang to the Deil."

Lord Home matched the shepherds of Ettrick Forest against the burgesses of Selkirk. The men of Ettrick were headed by his lordship and the Ettrick Shepherd. The burgesses of Selkirk were conducted to the field by their chief magistrate. There were about two thousand spectators present, including many noble and distinguished personages. Proceedings were commenced by the Duke of Buccleuch throwing up the ball between the competing parties. After a conflict lasting an hour and a half, the first game was gained by the burgesses of Selkirk. The second game lasted upwards of three hours, and was, after various fortune, ultimately won by . the men of Yarrow. According to rule, the combatants should have engaged in a third conflict, but, as the day began to close and great excitement prevailed, it was deemed better to bring the proceedings to a close. A grand social entertainment at Bowhill, the Duke of Buccleuch's hunting-seat in Ettrick Forest, concluded the day's sports.

Golf is a Scottish game of unknown antiquity. Tn 1457, James II. and the Estates of Parliament passed an Act prohibiting golf, and recommending archery in its stead. The prohibition proceeded on the plea that the practice of golf might render the people effeminate ! During the reign of James VI. golf was a common pastime. The King frequently practised the game at Dunfermline, in a locality which still bears the name of Golfdrum. The parish of Kingoldrum, situated on the southern slope of the Grampians, was another scene of the sport. On his accession to the English throne, James introduced the game of golf at Blackheath, in Kent. During his royal visit to Scotland in 1641, Charles I. played golf on the links at Leith. James VII. was a keen golfer.

Golf is played on links, or downs, that is, tracts of sandy soil covered with short grass. The best links for golfing are St. Andrews, Prestwick, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Carnoustie, and Montrose. The following description of the game is quoted from Chambers Encyclopaedia. It is concise and acccurate :—

"A series of small round holes, about four inches in diameter, and several inches in depth, are cut in the turf, at distances of from one to four or five hundred yards from each other, according to the nature of the ground, so as to form a circuit or round. The rival players are either two in number, which is the simplest arrangement, or four (two against two), in which case the two partners strike the ball on their side alternately. The balls, weighing about two ounces, are made of gutta-percha, and painted white, so as to be readily seen. An ordinary golf-club consists of two parts spliced together, namely, the shaft and head; the shaft is usually made of hickory or lance-wood, the handle covered with leather ; the head, heavily weighted with lead behind and faced with horn, of well-seasoned apple-tree or thorn. Every player has a set of clubs, differing in length and shape to suit the distance to be driven and the position of the ball. . . . Some positions of the ball require a club with an iron head. The usual complement of clubs is six, but those who refine on the gradation of implements use as many as ten. . . . The object of the game is, starting from the first hole, to drive the ball into the next hole with as few strokes as possible, and so on round the course. The player, or pair of players, whose ball is holed in the fewest strokes has gained that hole, and the match is usually decided by the greatest number of holes gained in one or more rounds ; sometimes it is made to depend on the aggregate number of strokes taken to 'hole' one or more rounds." The head-quarters of golf is St. Andrews. A golfing society or club was established there in 1754. Two great meetings of the club are held annually, in May and October, when the public competitions are commenced with befitting ceremonial. The victors are saluted at the close of the competitions by the discharge of artillery and other honours. The rules of the St. Andrews Club regulate all other golfing societies throughout the country.

Curling has existed for a course of centuries. The name of the game and most of its technical phrases, such as rink, tec, hack, wick, witter, and bonspiel, are derived from the German, which would point to its continental origin. The game has never been practised by the Celtic population, and an opinion obtains that it was introduced by those Flemish emigrants who settled in Scotland about the end of the fifteenth century. Kilian, a German writer of the seventeenth century, describes a pastime like quoitirtg on the ice, but no game resembling modern curling is now to be found among the out-door sports of Germany.

Scottish curlers originally made use of round stones, taken from the strand of brooks and rivers, those stones being preferred which possessed indentations or orifices, to suit convenient grasping. Hence the game was anciently known as "the channel-stane." When curling-stones began to be fashioned with the hammer and chisel, small niches were scooped out in them for the insertion of the fingers and thumb. In the Carse of Gowrie is preserved the model of a curling-stone in silver, which is played for annually by several parishes ; it was presented for that purpose by James IV. During a severe winter he spent at Peebles, the unhappy Lord Darnley prosecuted "the roaring game" on a meadow, which is now included in the parish glebe. There are two ancient curling stones preserved in the Burgh Museum at Stirling. One, found in the Milton Bog at Bannockburn, had evidently been procured from the bed of a river. The other is considerably heavier; it is inscribed on one side,—

"St Js B
Stirling 1511"

The word "gift" is engraved on the other side. Both these stones present artificial indentations for the fingers and thumb. A curling stone of oblong form, neatly finished with the hammer, was found in clearing out the foundation of the old house of Loig, in Strath-allan, in 1830. It is inscribed "J. M. 1611." Camden, in his Britannia, published in 1607, remarks, in describing the Isle of Copinsha in Orkney, that "there are found upon it plenty of excellent stones for the game called curling." A Bishop of Orkney, in the reign of Charles I., evinced his delight in curling by practising it on Sunday. WilHam Guthrie, who, in 1644, was ordained minister of Fenwick, is described, in his memoir, as "fond of the innocent recreations which prevailed, among which was playing on the ice." The poet Pennicuick, whose compositions were published in 1715, describes the game in these lines :—

"To curl on the ice doth greatly please,
Being a manly Scottish exercise;
It clears the "brain, stirs up the native heat,
And gives a gallant appetite for meat."

Pennant, in his "Tour," thus alludes to the game in 1775:—"Of all the sports in those parts, that of curling is the favourite. It is an amusement of the winter, and played upon the ice by sliding, from one mark to another, great stones of 40 or 70 lbs. weight, of a hemispherical form, with a wooden or iron handle at top."

Edinburgh is the head-quarters of curling. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the magistrates headed a curling procession every frosty day to Duddingston Loch, whence they returned at the close of the bonspiel with similar formality. Local curling clubs have existed for many years. These are regulated by the "Royal Caledonian Club," a central association, which forms the governing body of about 300 others. The Caledonian Club have constructed a curling pond at Carsebreck, Perthshire, where a grand bonspiel is played anuually.

Curling is common to the Scottish Lowlands, and is especially popular in south-western districts. It is not played in the Highlands. A description of the game we present in the words of the ingenious writer in Chambers's Encyclopedia,;—

"Curling is played with flattish round stones, about nine inches in diameter, prepared by stone-hewers, each stone weighing from 30 to 45 lbs. Each of the players has a pair. The stones are provided with handles, to enable the player to hurl them on the ice with the proper degree of force. As at bowls, the stones are hurled to an assigned point or mark. The game is as follows:—Sides are made up, usually consisting of four against four, with a director, styled skip, for each, after which a certain length of ice, of from 30 to 40 yards in length, and 8 or 9 feet across, is chosen. This is called the rink. Certain marks are then made at each end of the rink, consisting of several concentric rings, called bronghs, and a centre called the tee. A certain number is game, usually 31, and the keenness displayed by rival sides, in competing for victory, is perhaps without a parallel in any other pastime whatever. One on each side plays alternately. The chief object of the player is to hurl his stone along the ice, towards the tee, with proper strength and precision, and on the skill displayed by the players in placing their own stones in favourable positions, or in driving rival stones out of favourable positions, depends nearly all the interest of the game. At a certain distance from each of the tees, a score, the hog-score, is drawn across the ice, and any stone not driven beyond this mark counts nothing, and is laid aside."

In certain parishes of Lanarkshire females practise the game of curling. Wives are matched against unmarried women, and each party has a man in attendance to lend an arm to those who are afraid of slipping.

Some local clubs have "Curling Courts." These are held during the progress of a festive entertainment, A president and an officer are elected. The president bears the title of "My Lord," by which designation he must be addressed. His lordship's "officer" is provided with a pint-stoup, to receive penalties for any violation of the laws of court. The laws are so framed that their violation is constant. They prescribe that all honorary designations are abolished, and that each member is to address his neighbour only by his Christian and family names. No member may designate another without the prefix of "Brother." Scratching the head is prohibited ; nursing the limb or "leg ouram" is disallowed; hands in pocket or bosom are prescribed. Penalties are enforced by "my lord causing his officer" to shake the pint-stoup in the ears of the defaulter. Any coin is accepted, but applications for change are disallowed. The court usually continues an hour, and at its conclusion the contents of the pint-stoup are put lip to auction, and knocked down to the highest bidder. Should the fund fall short of his offer, the purchaser is compelled to make it up, and all profits are denied him. The initiation of a curler into the mysteries of the craft is a peculiar ceremonial, of which the proceedings may not be divulged to the uninitiated. Curler's fare at these social banquets is beef and greens.

Cock-fighting was formerly common. This cruel sport was introduced into Scotland by the Duke of York, in 1683. A cock-pit under the auspices of His Royal Highness was established at Leith. To this cockpit the public were admitted at charges varying from ten-pence to fourpence. The sport attained such popularity that, on the 16th February, 1704, the Town Council of Edinburgh interfered to prevent its becoming an impediment to business. Later in the century, it was largely patronised by the aristocracy. Every landowner kept a number of game-cocks. On Shrovetide each child carried a cock to the school-room, to take part in these barbarous conflicts. The slain birds and ftigees became the property of the schoolmaster.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century, the Town Council of Dumfries adopted the following regulations in connection with the annual cock-fight :—

"That at Fastern's Even, upon the day appointed for the cocks' fighting in the school-house, the under teacher cause keep the door, and exact no more than twelve pennies (Scots) for each scholar for the benefit of bringing in a cock to fight in the school-house; and that none be suffered to enter that day to the school-house but the scholars, except gentlemen and persons of note, from whom nothing is to be demanded ; and what money is to be given in by the scholars, the under teacher is to receive and apply to his own use, for his pains and trouble; and that no scholars, except who pleases, shall furnish cocks, but all the scholars, whether they have cocks or not, are to get into the school, such children as have none, paying two shillings (Scots), by way of compensation."

For nearly forty years the cock-fight has ceased.

Horses were anciently held in high regard. They were not used for tillage ; the plough was drawn by oxen. Travelling was entirely performed on horseback. Even in the reign of Queen Mary, few if any of the nobility possessed carriages or family conveyances. The ancient Scottish soldier was generally mounted. In 1327, Randolph, Earl of Moray, made an incursion into England at the head of 20,000 cavalry. A statute was passed in the reign of William the Lion, providing that everyone, who possessed landed or movable property, should keep at least one horse for use in the public service. Horses might not be exported prior to the reign of James I. By that monarch the sale of horses in England was encouraged as a branch of commerce. In 1359, a passport was obtained by Thomas Murray, Dominus cle Bothwell, and Alan, second son of William, fifth Lord Erskine, to enable them to proceed to England with horses for sale. James II. brought horses from Hungary to improve the breed. James IV. selected horses in Spain and Poland for the same purpose ; he received a present of valuable horses from Louis XII. of France, in return for which he sent four of his best amblers to the French monarch. James IV. was an enthusiastic lover of horses. The first notice of horse-racing in Britain, occurs during his reign; it appears in the following entry in the treasurer's accounts, "April 15, 1503. Item, to Thomas Boswell, he laid doime in Leith to the wife of the Kingis Innis, and to the boy rane the Kingis hors xviij s." An entry in the following month records a bet lost by the King. "May 2, 1503. Item, to Dande Doule, quhilk he won fra ye King, on hors rynnyng xxviii s." James IV. is said to have ridden from Stirling to Elgin, by Perth and Aberdeen, in one day, a distance of 150 miles. James V. was much interested in the breed of horses. He kept a noble stud ; and sent his grooms to Sweden to purchase steeds. From Henry VIII. he received a valuable gift of horses. On his Master of the Horse he bestowed a landed estate. He established horse-racing as a royal sport. During the reign of Queen Mary, district horse-races first began. In 1552 an annual horse-race was established at Haddington, the prize promised the winner being a silver bell.

"Horse-racing," writes Mr. McDowall, "was an established sport at Dumfries from a remote period. When the Regent Morton, towards the close of 1575, held a criminal court in the burgh, for the trial of some offending borderers, 'he,' according to an old chronicle, 'judiciously relieved his grave duties by lighter pursuits.' 'Many gentlemen of England,' we are told, 'came thither to behold the Regent's Court, where there was great provocation made for the running of horses. By chance my Lord Hamilton had there a horse sae weel bridled, and sae speedy, that, although he was of meaner stature than other horses that essayit their speed, he overrun them all a great way upon Sol way Sands, whereby he obtained praise both of England and Scotland at that time.'"

During the reign of James VI., horse-racing became common. Annual races were held at Paisley, Dumfries, Leith, Peebles, Cupar-Fife, and other towns. In 1608 the Town Council of Paisley constituted an annual horse-race by special edict, and voted a silver bell to decorate the winning horse. The resolution of the Council is in the following terms :—

"April, 1608. It is concluded that ane silver bell be made of 4 oz. weight, with all diligence, for ane horserace yearly, to be appointed within this burgh, and the bounds and day for running thereof, to be set down by advice of my Lord Earl of Abercorn, Lord Paisley, and Kilpatrick."

The restoration of Charles I. led to the following advertisements being published at Edinburgh in 1661:— "The Horse Race of Lanark, instituted by King William about 600 years since, but obstructed these twenty-three years, by the iniquity of the times, is now restored by Sir John Wilkie, of Foulden, as being loath so antient a foundation should perish, and for that effect he hath given gratis a piece of plate of the accustomed value, with a silver bell and saddle, to the second and third horse; it is to be run the third Tuesday in May."

"The Race of Haddington is to be run on the 22 of May next; the prize is a most magnificent cup. This same antient town, famous for its hospitality, has many times sadly smarted by the armies of enemies, yet this glorious Revolution hath salved up all their miseries, as very well was made appear by the noble entertainment given to the Lord Commissioner at the Lord Provost, William Seaton, his lodging, when his grace made his entry to this kingdom."

The Town Council of Dumfries, in a minute dated 15th April, 1662, ordered the treasurer to provide "a silver bell, four ounces in weight," as a prize to be run for, every second Tuesday of May, by the work-horses of the burgh, "according to the auncient custome;" the regulations being that whenever the bell was borne away by one rider and one horse three consecutive years, it was "to appertain unto the wooner thereof for evir." Two years after, the Council offered "a silver cup of ffourty unce weght or therby," to be run for at the ordinary course within the burgh, by the horses of such noblemen and gentlemen as were duly entered for the race.

From vessels belonging to the Spanish Armada several valuable horses were thrown on the coast of Galloway. The spirit and swiftness of these animals were generally remarked, and a fresh impulse was consequently imparted to the sport of the turf. The enthusiasm for horse-racing reached such a height that an Act was, in 1621, passed by the Estates, ordaining that no person should win more than 100 marks, the surplus of all bets being granted to the poor.

Annual meetings for horse-racing continue to be held at Lanark, Ayr, Paisley, Musselburgh, and other places, but those who especially delight in the sport have long been in the practice of joining in the English celebrations.

As in other parts of Europe, the mysteries or miracle-plays of the Romish Church had, in Scotland, degenerated into buffoonery at a period considerably prior to the Reformation. There is an unpublished MS., entitled "Superstitious Customs of the People of Perth," written by Mr. James Scott, in 1798. The writer says:— "The religious festivals before the "Reformation received from the vulgar the name of play-days. The people on these days were exempted from labour, and prohibited by Acts of Parliament from holding fairs or mercats. They therefore employed themselves in such diversions as they found suitable to their several humours, except during the short time in which they attended the service of the Church or assisted at the ceremonies. The annual processions were called plays, either because of the pageantry which accompanied them, or because of their emblematical representations, or the acting of the mysteries."

For many years before the Reformation municipal corporations annually elected an "Abbot of Unreason," to lead the sports which were practised in the name of that mock ecclesiastic on the first Sunday of May. The Town Council of Aberdeen chose two personages, who were respectively designated the Abbot and Prior of Bon-Accord. These originally conducted exhibitions of a sacred description, latterly they commemorated persons and events of a precisely opposite character. At the period of the Reformation the Abbot and Prior of Bon-Accord arrayed themselves in green, with yellow bows and brass arrows, as imitators of Robin Hood and Little John, whose lawless conduct they imitated. The Abbot of Unreason became, at length, so unpopular, that burgesses were everywhere indisposed to undertake the duties, and were content, on being elected, to pay the penalties exacted on its declinature. On this subject, some excerpts from the Town Council Records of Haddington may be read with interest:—

"24 April 1537. The qlk day the Sys delyueris that George Rychartson sail pa to the tressaurer 20s at Whitsonday next heir aftir, and oyr 20s at zoull next thair aftir, quhilk 40s George wes awand the town becaus he would not be Abbot of Unreason."

"8 April 1539. The qlk day the baillies after the takyn of the ayts of the 25 personis aboue written, present requirit the said personis quether thai thocht expedient till haif ane Abbot of Unreason this zeir or not, to the qlk ane certain answer it and said thai thocht it expedient to have ane Abbot, and ane uther certain quhais names eftir folio wes thocht it not expedient, viz. Nicholas Swynton and 7 others."

"The qlk day the baillies and names aboue written that thocht expedient till have ane Abbot for this zeir thynkis thai will gif four pounds and ane burgesschip till him that the town chesis A bbot of Unreason for this zeir and all that refusis it sail gif XLs, the first XLs to be given till him that taks it on him and the laif to cum to the common-weill of this town."

"The qlk day Thos. Ponton wes chosen Abbot of Unreason for this zeir and he had to do service usit and wont and failing of him Thos. Sinclair and failing of the said Thos. Sinclair, Thos. Burrell, and failing of Thos. Burrell, John Aytoun."

"14 April 1539. The qlk day John Payrson ane of the baillies in name and on behalf of the Town askit instruments that the baillies had causit the counsall to convene to the towbuy on Tuysday last bypast for chesing of the Abbot of Unreason and allegit that the maist part of the counsall had disassented till have ane abbot as he allegit testibus comunitate!'

"The qlk day the Counsall aboue wrytten thinks to put the acts mayd on Twisday till execution and thinks thaim orderlye done in the chesing of the Abbot and ordainis the Baillies to cause thair officer till profer the horn till him that the office is layd on or ellis gif he taks it not till poind him for XLs and the town and common guid till warrand and defend the baillies gif ony pley happen thireafter, and gif that he that is layd on first gives XLs to profer it to the next that it is layd on and syne the third and syne the feyrd and all the comunitie ratifies the samyn &c."

"23rd April 1539. The qlk day the Counsall dely-veris that the baillies pass and put the act to execution of the Abbot chesyng as thai will answer on thair ayt8 and that incontinent but delay."

"6 May 1539. The qlk day Davd. Furrous Thesaurer grantit hym ressavit XLs from Thos. Ponton for the forsakyn of the Abbot-chyp and syklyk of Thos. Synclar XLs &c."

The miracle-plays were, on account of the ridicule which they cast on the doctrines and ceremonies of the Romish Church, not discountenanced at the Reformation. At Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Perth, and other places, these practices lingered long after the establishment of the Presbyterian Church. The clergy only interfered when the plays, instead of exposing Romish errors, seemed to foster superstition, or tended to desecrate the Sabbath.

The festival of Corpus Christi was observed on the second Thursday after Whitsunday. In the Kirk-session records of Perth, it is recorded, under date July, 1577, that "Mr. John Row, minister, and the elders of the Church at Perth, regretted heavily that certain inhabitants of the town had played Corpus Christi play upon Thursday, the sixth day of June, which was wont to be called Corpus Christi day; that this had been done contrary to the command of the civil magistrate, and also contrary to the minister's command, which he had intimated from the pulpit; that thereby the whole town had been dishonoured, and great offence given to the Church of God, for that the said play was idolatrous and superstitious." The Kirk-session further issued a declaration as to the doctrinal errors implied in the celebration of the festival.

St. Oberts Play was celebrated at Perth, on the 10th of December, with a procession of torches, accompanied by a band of musicians. St. Obert was patron saint of the baxters or bakers. The performers wore masquerade dresses. One of them personated the Devil. A horse was walked in the procession, with its hoofs inclosed in men's shoes. The Kirk-session imprisoned the leader, and succeeded in suppressing the celebration.

James I. promoted theatrical entertainments. On the occasion of the marriage of James IV., a company of English comedians performed before the Scottish Court. In 1538, when Mary of Guise arrived to become Queen, dramatic performances took place at Edinburgh and Dundee. The drama of "The Three Estates," by Sir David Lindsay, was represented at Linlithgow, in 1539, and afterwards at Edinburgh and Cupar-Fife. Theatricals were, in the seventeenth century, performed in the parish schools, and were countenanced by the magistrates and educational authorities. In 1693, the Town Council of Dumfries record a payment of "£7 5s. Scots for 10 pr. deals at 14s. 6d. each, for a stage to the scholars when they acted Bellum Grama-tical." The first licensed theatre in Scotland was formally opened at Edinburgh on the 9th December, 1767. Eleven years previously, the tragedy of "Douglas," by Mr. John Home, had been performed on its boards, an event which necessitated the reverend author to resign his living in the Church, in order to avoid the menaced censures of his Presbyterian brethren. The Edinburgh theatre stood in the Canongate, near the site of St. John's Cross. Theatrical entertainments are now provided at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, and some other towns.

The existing sports of Scotland may be enumerated:— Fox-hunting is vigorously prosecuted. Deer-stalking is conducted with the skill of former times. The grouse of the northern hills have attracted sportsmen from the south, and augmented the revenues of Highland landowners. Anglers continue to find abundant sport in southern rivers and Highland lochs. In the waters of Lochmaben is procured a rare fish, named the vendace. It resembles a small herring in size and shape ; the skin is bright and silvery, and the head, protected by a transparent substance, through which the brain is visible, exhibits on the upper surface the representation of a heart. This fish dies on exposure to the air.

Salmon-fishing was prosecuted at an early period. During the reign of Robert III., the killing of a salmon in close time was punished by a fine of £100 Scots. The ancient method of capturing salmon was more creditable to the skill than to the humanity of the sportsmen. During night, torches were suspended over the rivers, so as to cast light into the depth of the water. Some of the sportsmen attended the torches in boats, while others ran along the river's sides. All were provided with barbed spears, or a sort of shafted trident, called a leister or waster. With these instruments they struck the salmon, which made unavailing efforts to escape from their pursuers. This system of salmon-hunting has long been superseded by the less revolting methods of fishing with the rod and net. The constitution of fishery boards, by the Act of 1862, has largely conduced towards the protection of rivers and estuaries, and must ultimately result in improving the value of the fisheries.


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