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Social Life in Scotland
Chapter XIII. - Public Sports


HUNTING was the primitive occupation of every people: wild animals were destroyed, partly for their skins, but chiefly for use as food. The Scottish Celts, holding that bodily labour of all sorts was mean and disgraceful, devoted themselves mainly to the chase. They used weapons and hunting knives of flint and hard stone, while their dogs were in Roman times, noted for their strength and ferocity. The wolf was destroyed solely for its skin; it abounded in northern forests. According to a tradition, Malcolm II. on his return from defeating the Danes at Mortlach, in Morayshire, in 1010, was pursued by a wolf in the forest of Stochet. Just as the infuriated animal was in the act of attacking the ling, a younger son of Donald of the Isles came up, who thrust his left hand, covered with his plaid, into the creature's mouth, and then by his dirk swiftly despatched it with his right. For this timely service the royal follower was rewarded with the lands of Skene in Aberdeenshire. When in later times a wolf appeared in any of the northern forests, the intruder was regarded as a common enemy, and was therefore hunted by the assembled populace. He who discovered the presence of the wolf was called upon at once to convey the tidings to the chief, who forthwith to a convenient meeting-place summoned his kinsmen and allies. When the wolf-hunt began, the country was scoured in all directions in order to arouse the intruder. An ancestor of the Clan Macgregor being successful in a wolf-hunt, led to a representation of the animal being included in the escutcheon of the sept. [Innes's "Scotland in the Middle Ages," p. 125]

The wolf had his lair in the Caledonian Forest, which almost wholly covered that territory now forming the counties of Stirling and Linlithgow. In 1263 the Sheriff of Stirling was employed in repairing and extending the Royal Park at that burgh, and in connection with a payment by the Treasurer made twenty years later, it is related that a. wolf-hunter had been employed by King Alexander III. The New Park at Stirling, constructed in 1263, was bounded on the north-eastern part by a ledge of rock, which retains the name of the Wolf Crag. In the neighbourhood of Stirling wolves were hunted in the seventeenth century. In Wolf Crag Quarry, in the southern shoulder of the Ochils, near Bridge of Allan, the animals long sought shelter. In the burgh seal of Stirling, the wolf forms a principal charge. The last Scottish wolf was destroyed in 1680 by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel.

In the "War of Inis-Thona," Ossian describes his heroes as "pursuing the boars of Runa." Latterly the boar was a denizen of eastern forests, abounding in the counties of Fife, Haddington, and Berwick. Muckross, the promontory of boars, was the original name of that spot on which the city of St Andrews now stands. A district in the vicinity, eight miles in length and averaging four in breadth, was known as the Boar's Chase; it was a place of royal hunting. A hamlet three miles to the south-east of St Andrews retains the name of Boarhills. By the historian, Hector Boece, is described the destruction in these parts of a boar of vast proportions which had slaughtered both men and cattle; the tusks of the animal, sixteen inches in length, were, about the year 1528, when Boece wrote, kept in St Andrews' cathedral, and there made fast to the high altar. The family of Swinton of Swinton, in Berwickshire, derive their name from lands so called, because like Swinwood, a place in the same neighbourhood, they were in early times overrun by wild boars. Popular tradition attributes the acquisition by the Swintons of their lands in the Merse to the prowess of an ancestor in delivering the district from the ravages of swine, wild and fierce, with which it was infested. As a charge is made in 1263 by the Sheriff of Forfar, for the support of wild boars, porci silvestres, along with the king's horses and dogs, it is evident that at that time the boar had become extinct in the forests.

Wild cattle wandered in the southern and central forests. Of white colour, with lion-like manes and black nuzzles, they were remarkable for their beauty, but withal were singularly fierce. According to Bocce, they would eat nothing which the hand of man had touched. King Robert the Bruce hunted the wild ox. According to Holinshed, he in pursuing an ox, at length overtook it and was about to thrust his spear into its loins, when it suddenly turned and made a desperate charge. Just in time to save the king's life, one of his followers ran forward, and boldly seizing the animal by the horns, overthrew it by main force. In reward King Robert bestowed on the intrepid huntsman lands and honours, with the distinguishing name of Turnbull. Among the enormities perpetrated by the Earl of Lennox and his men upon Lord Fleming in May 1570, is represented the destruction of "the white kye and bulls of his forest of Cumbernauld." According to Leslie, these cattle were, in the sixteenth century, to be found in the parks of Stirling and Kincardine. Sir Robert Sibbald, who wrote about the close of the sixteenth century, remarks that in his time wild cattle roamed upon the mountains. There were formerly herds of white cattle in the Duke of Buccleuch's park at Drumlanrig, and the race is still preserved in the forest of Cadzow.

Deer-stalking, an ancient sport, is celebrated by Ossian. "'Call,' said Fingal, `call my dogs, the long-bounding sons of the chase. Call white-breasted Bran, and the surly strength of Luath. Fillan and Ryno, but he is not here! My son rests on the bed of death. Fillan and Fergus blow my horn, that the joy of the chase may arise; that the deer of Cromla may hear and start at the lake of roes.' The shrill sound spreads -long the wood. The sons of heathy Cromla arise. A thousand dogs fly off at once, gray-bounding through the heath. A deer fell by every dog, and three by the white-breasted Bran. He brought them, in their flight, to Fingal, that the joy of the king might be great."

David I. hunted the deer; he had a hunting house at Crail, in eastern Fifeshire, while localities in the vicinity, such as Kingsbarns and Kingsmuir, are evidently named in connection with the royal sportsman. Holyrood Abbey, if we are to believe a monkish legend, was founded by David to commemorate his deliverance from an infuriated stag, which, turning upon him in the chase, had almost dashed him from his horse.

In founding the Abbey of Paisley in 1160, Walter the Stewart bestowed on the monks a tithe of his hunting, with the skins of the deer slain in his forest at Fereneze. William the Lion was an ardent sportsman. When hunting the stag at Kinghorn, Alexander. III. was, with his horse, precipitated from a cliff and killed. In deer-hunting King Robert the Bruce had been repeatedly balked by a white deer, which he 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 his hounds, whereupon 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 in guerdon of success pledged his forest of Pentland Muir. From an eminence he witnessed the pursuit. Some sleuthhounds having startled the deer, Sir William slipped his dogs. They gave keen pursuit, the dog Hold seizing the stag in the March-burn, while Help, coming up, drove the creature back, and killed him on the winning side of the stream. Embracing his gallant baron, the king made him lord of the forest. A similar legend, but of earlier date, is associated with the origin of the Ducal House of Buccleuch. Two brothers, natives of Galloway, had as disorderly persons been exiled from that county. Familiar with the chase, they settled at Raukleburn, in Ettrick Forest, where their services were accepted by Brydone, the royal keeper. Kenneth MacAlpine, who then held the sceptre, hunted in the forest soon afterwards. He pursued a buck from Ettrick cleuch to the glen now called Buckcleuch, near the junction of the Rankleburn with the Ettrick. Here the stag stood at bay, but the royal hunter and his followers were unable to proceed, owing to the steepness of the hill and a dangerous morass. One of the Galloway brothers now carne up, and seizing the buck by the horns, threw, the creature upon his shoulders, and bore it to the king. As his reward the sovereign granted him the name of Scott, and appointed him ranger of the forest.

In 1288 the sum of 56s. 10d. was paid by the Chamberlain to two park keepers and one fox hunter at Stirling. The practice of salting venison was familiar in the reign of David II. In 1330, the Chamberlain paid 24s. for "a chalder of large salt for salting the king's venison at Selkirk," and in the following year 16s. for salt to venison at Ettrick Forest. On the 12th March 1424 the first Parliament of James I. passed an Act for the preservation of (leer-forests. The statute provides that:

"The Justice Clerke sall inquire of stalkers, that slayis deare, that is to say, harte, hynde, doe and roe, and the halders and main teiners of them ; and als Boone as ony stalker may be convict of slauchter of deare, he sall paie to the King, fourtie shillings: And the halders and mainteners of them sall paie ten poundes."

When James IV. was residing; at Stirling Castle, and there entertaining guests, he despatched huntsmen to the hills of Kippen to procure venison. Several fine roes were brought down on the lands of Arnprior, possessed by Buchanan, a feudal chief. As the huntsmen were passing his fortalice, Buchanan seized the venison, and when the huntsmen remonstrated by claiming it for the king, Buchanan answered, "Tell your royal master that if he is king of Scotland, I am king in Kippen." With a highland laird who dared so to assert his feudal privileges, James resolved to be in amity. To Arnprior he proceeded unattended, and on reaching the gate, requested the porter to inform his master that a neighbouring king claimed an interview. Buchanan at once realized that the sovereign was at the gate, and so came forth with all humility to receive him. Explanations ensued, and Buchanan was invited to Stirling Castle to share in the royal hospitalities. This anecdote, derived from tradition, may be ascribed to the period immediately preceding the 30th April 1491,when, according to the Treasurer's Accounts, "the man of the Lard of Buchananis that brocht venyson to the king " received a payment of 9s.

For the reception of James V. and his queen, and of the Pope's ambassador, at a deer-hunt in the Forest of Athole, the Earl of Athole constructed a palace of green timber, interwoven with boughs, and provided with a moat, drawbridge, and portcullis. During the hunt, which lasted three clays, 600 deer were captured. When the royal personages had departed, the palace was set on fire, since it was an Honoured custom of the Highlands that a hunting lodge, graced by the presence of royalty, should afford accommodation to none of inferior station. On another occasion James V. summoned his barons to attend him to the hunting-field, with their horses and dogs, when no fewer attended than 800 persons, two-thirds of whom bore arms. In progress of the hunt 540 deer were slaughtered. During the reign of James V., messengers are by the Treasurer frequently recompensed for bearing to the Palace venison from different hunting-fields.

Queen Mary did not deem hunting an unwomanly sport. At Wemyss Castle in Fife, she first met Lord Darnley during the progress of a deer-hunt. In Mar Forest she frequently hunted. Professor William Barclay of Augers, who was in his youth attached to her court, has in his work in defence of monarchical government, described a hunt in the Forest of Athole which the Queen personally promoted. His narrative, translated from the Latin by Pennant, proceeds thus:—

"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 harts, 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 were killed that day three hundred and sixty deer, with five wolves and some roes."

From the "Accounts of the Thirds of the Abbey of Cupar" in 1563, we learn that the Comptroller debited himself with the sum of 124, 10s., 8d., as "the queinis maiesteis expenses in passage throucht Athole from the huntes to Inuernes."

Alarmed at the spectacle of a naked sword, James VI. did not wince on seeing the hunter's knife. Deer hunting was his favourite sport. From a hunt in the forest of Athole he had just returned in August 1582, when he experienced that detention at Ruthven Castle which is historically known as the Raid of Ruthven.

During his visit to Scotland in 1618, Taylor, the water poet, witnessed a great deer-hunt in the Forest of Mar, which he describes in these words:

'The manner of the hunting is this. Five or six hundred men rise early in the morning, and disperse themselves divers ways, and seven, eight, or ten miles compass, they bring or chase in the deer, in many herds (two, three, or four hundred in a herd), to such or such a place, as the noblemen shall appoint them. Then when the day is come, the lords and gentlemen of their companies ride or go to the said places, sometimes wading up to the middle through burns and rivers; and then they, being come to the place, lie down on the ground, till those foresail scouts, who are called the Finchel-men, bring down the deer.* * After we had stayed there three hours or thereabouts, we might perceive the deer appear on the hills round about us (their heads making a show like a wood), which being followed close by the Finchel, are chased down into the valley where we lay. Then all the valley on each side being waylaid with a hundred couple of strong Irish greyhounds, they are let loose as occasion serves, upon the herd of deer. So that with dogs, guns, arrows, dirks, and daggers, in the space of two hours, fourscore fat deer were slain."

Prior to the reign of James I. deer might be stalked without any legal impediment; but as has been related, the first Parliament of James I. enacted in 1424 that "slayers of deer—namely, the hart, hind, doe, and roe," should forfeit 40s., and those who employed them the sum of 10. Further protective measures were passed in 1474, when it was ruled that those who killed deer in the time of snow should be amerced in 10. In 1551 "persons of whatsoever degree" were forbidden to kill deer under the pain of death and confiscation of movables. By a further statute passed in 1567, deer-slayers were, for the first offence, made liable to forty days' imprisonment; and for the second, to the loss of the right hand.

Of Scottish venatorial sports the further records are imperfect. During the sixteenth century and subsequently, clansmen proved their allegiance to their chiefs by accompanying them to the hunting-field. And summonses to kill venison not infrequently implied invitations to enterprises more daring. Border moss-troopers issued forth professedly to hunt deer, but in reality to drive off cattle and to plunder sheep-pens. Associated with a deer-hunt on the Cheviots is the old and popular ballad of "Chevy Chase." In August 1506, the Comptroller received 9s. from Sir Duncan Campbell of Breadalbane for four barrels, in which salted venison was sent to the King of Spain.

When deer were disappearing from their lowland haunts, legislative measures were re-enacted to check their destruction. It was ruled by Parliament that from June 1682 venison be not bought or sold for seven years. Such restrictive measures proved wholly unavailing, for the expulsion of the deer became essential to husbandry even in its lower or primitive forms. For two centuries herds of deer have been found only in the uplands, or under covers artificially provided. In Mar Forest, and in the western parts of Ross and Sutherland, red deer are abundant. The roebuck is to be found in some of the western isles, also in that tract which extends from Ross-shire to Loch Lomond. But the head-quarters of deer-stalking are the Black Mount of Argyle, and the Royal Forest of Athole.

The destructive character of the fox was early recognized. By the Parliament of James II. in 1457, it was enacted that "quha ever he be that slays a fox and brings the hede to the scheref, lorde, barone or bailye, he sall have sixpence." On the 16th November 1552, David Ogilvy received from the abbot of Cupar a lease of certain lands at Glenisla, when he became bound to "nurice ane leiche of gud howndis, with ane cuppill of rachis for wolf and tod," and to be "reddy at all tymes quhene we charge thane to pas with ws or our bailzeis to the hountis." In subsequent leases of the monastery there were similar clauses. For use in fox-hurting, a couple of greyhounds were to be kept on every considerable farm. In some districts a huntsman was salaried partly by the landowners, and partly by the tenants, the latter supplying him, in recompence, with farm produce. In addition to his salary, the huntsman received a special fee for every fox destroyed by his hounds. There was an annual fox-hunt, which continued several days. On the occasion all the inhabitants, young and old, passed mirthfully into the fields. In the district of Strathmore, in the county of Forfar, the yearly fox-hunt was, at the close of divine service, convened by the church beadle as the congregation retired from worship. In reference to the practice, the Synod of Angus and Mearns, early in the eighteenth century, "charged kirk beadles against making any proclamations in the churchyard."

The marten, the otter and the wild cat abounded at an early period, and were hunted for their skins. The marten, which latterly became rare, was a species of giant weasel, with a white or orange breast. possessed of short limbs, it avoided its pursuers by a succession of springs, and when hotly pressed, climbed trees and sought refuge among the upper branches. The marten made ravages in the poultry-yard, and reared its young in the magpie's nest. In summer the otter lodges on small islets covered with rushes or coarse grass, and by river banks, and during winter obtains shelter in the rocks. It was anciently hunted for its fur, which, as an article of export, was of considerable value. In the reign of David II. the custom "on ilk otyr" was by Parliament fixed at one halfpenny; the duty was subsequently increased. The otter feeds chiefly on fish, and not rarely disputes with the angler the landing of the trout secured by his hook. Capable of being domesticated, the creature will bring fish to its protector, on being allowed a liberal share of the supplies. Otter hunting is practised at night, and with a species of dog known as the otter-hound. The wild cat, like the otter, frequents the banks of lochs and rivers; also rocks and corries. In size resembling a well-sized dog, it is of greater strength, and is remarkable for a long and bushy tail. The wild cat may hardly be tamed. Quitting its lair chiefly at night, it prowls about with cunning cautious step in quest of birds and other prey. The wild cat is hunted only by those keen sportsmen who rejoice in desperate enterprises.

Hares and conies were anciently classed together as denizens of the cuningar, or rabbit-warren. Hares were, from economic considerations, protected during the severities of winter. Thus in the year 1400 Parliament enacted that no one might hunt hares in time of snow, under the penalty of Gs. 8d. Royal warrens were protected so early as the reign of Alexander II., trespassers being punished with death and confiscation. In 1264 a salary of 6s. 8d. was paid to the keeper of the warrens at Crail for a year's service. And in the reign of David II. William Herwart obtained a charter in liferent of the office of keeper of the king's muir in Crail and of its "cuningare" or warren. In 1358 Herwart received as his yearly fee 40s.; he exercised his office under the supervision of the Chamberlain. In 1329 the Chamberlain made payment of 8s. to four men for crossing to the Isle of May to catch rabbits. In the Rental Book of Cupar Abbey, a "warandar of kunyuzare," or keeper of the rabbit-warren, is named in 1474. And in receiving from the abbey in 1475 a life lease of two acres of the Grange of Keithock, Gilbert Ra or Rae undertook to keep the "conyngar fra all scaith and peryl, and promoofe and put that to all profit at [h]is povar." The tenants of the monastery became bound to make report to the district forester as to conies destroyed on their farms.

So early as the beginning of the fifteenth century, the rarer feathered tribes were preserved to the sportsman, or rather to the sovereign and his court. In 1427 a law was passed that partridges, plovers, black game, and muir-cocks be not killed from the beginning of Lent until August, under the penalty of 40s. And in 1551 the shooting of wild-fowl was prohibited under pain of death. It was ruled in 1555 that partridges were not to be killed before Michaelmas, under the penalty of 10, while barons and freeholders were empowered to severally enforce the provision within their bounds. An Act was passed in 1567, whereby it was provided that the shooting of herons and "fowls of the revar" with gun or bow be forbidden, under the penalty for the first offence of forty days' imprisonment, with forfeiture of movables.

In 1541 John Soutar in Millhorn was constituted fowler of Cupar Abbey, when he became bound to deliver to the cellarer of the monastery such fowls as might be "slain" by himself or his assistants. In remuneration he was to receive for a wild goose, 2s. for a crane or swan, 5s.; for a partridge, 8d.; and for a plover, dottrel, curlew, wild duck, red-shank, lapwing, teal, and other small birds, 4d. each.

Wild birds had materially diminished in number, when in 1621 an Act was passed forbidding all persons, save landowners, from destroying them. The Act was renewed in 1685. And in 1707 it was ruled by statute that no one should "kill, sell, or eat moor-fowl from the 1st March till the 20th June, or partridges from the 1st March till the 20th August, under the penalty of twenty pounds."

Of ancient Scottish birds, one little known to fowlers and sportsmen was the capercaillie. By Lindsay of Pitscottie it is named in connection with the royal hunt, which in 1529 took place in the forest of Athole. The bird is also mentioned by James VI. in a letter to the Earl of Tullibardine, written in 1617; its existence is also denoted by Burt and Pennant. The original capercaillie became extinct before 1760 but in 1829 a pair were successfully introduced from Sweden into the forest of Braemar.

Falconry was a recognised English sport so early as the reign of Alfred in the ninth century, and it is the subject of a metrical treatise which is ascribed to Edward the Confessor. Localities in England for breeding hawks are mentioned in Domesday Book. The earliest notice of falconry in Scotland is associated with the following legend. The Danes had in one of their hostile incursions penetrated from Montrose to the vicinity of Perth, when at Luncarty they were met by Kenneth MacAlpine at the head of his army. In the battle which ensued the centre of the Scottish army, under the king's command, was victorious, but the right and left wings were beaten and scattered. The fugitives got into a narrow lane, bounded by a bridge and a mud wall, where, with patriot intent, a farmer named Hay and his two sons, armed with spade and ploughshare, intercepted them, compelling their return to the scene of action. As in desperation they renewed the battle, the Danes, temporarily victorious, suspected a reinforcement and precipitately fled. By the king Hay was offered, in acknowledgment of timely service, as much land as a hound would course over in one heat, or across which a falcon would fly before resting. Hay, according to the legend, chose the latter, and thereby became owner of a vast territory, which accrued to his descendants.

Apart from legend, it is certain that falcons were held in high value so early as the reign of William the Lion. At this period Robert of Avenel bestowed on the abbey of Meirose his lands in Eskdale, reserving the eyries of the hawk, and when a dispute arose between his grandson Roger and the monks respecting the privileges of the monastery, it was ruled under royal authority that the monks might not lawfully destroy trees in which the hawk had an eyrie.

Alexander III. kept falcons at Forres, also at Dunipace. Shortly before his death king Robert the Bruce had his falcon-house at Cardross repaired and fenced. In 1342 John of the Isles, who had formerly been in league with Edward Baliol, sent a gift of falcons to David II. in token of respect or homage. In the Public Accounts the goshawk and sparrow-hawk are both named; but subsequent to the fourteenth century the peregrine was most in use. In 1489, James IV. despatched "Downy," one of his falconers, to the English court, with a trained falcon as a lift to Henry VII. In 1496 the king's falconers were recompensed for procuring hawks in the forest of Athole; also in Orkney and Shetland. Hawks had their eyries at the Abbey Crag near Stirling, also at Craigleith, a summit of the Ochils, while the birds there found were preserved at Craigforth, or in the islet of Inchkeith. But the more remarkable falcons were obtained in the northern counties. Falcons brought from the eyries of Caithness James V. sent as gifts to the King of France, to the Dauphin, and to the Duke of Guise.

By James VI. falconry was keenly enjoyed. On the 24th March 1626, the treasurer-depute was authorized by Charles I. to grant "the accustomed allowances" to James Quarrier, "ane of our falconers to have some haucks broght unto him from the northerne parts of the kingdome." Writing in 1775, James Fea, an Orkney surgeon, remarks that the Orcadian hawks "are the finest in the world, insomuch that the king's falconer sends a person annually to take them up, commonly in the month of May, when they brood." He adds: "From time immemorial the king's falconer hath a perquisite of an hen from every house in the country, originally designed for the maintenance of the king's hawks."

That hawking might, as a sport, be reserved to the principal landowners, the Parliament of James IV. ruled in 1594 "that no man . . . hawk .. . who hath not a plough of land in heritage." During the sixteenth century, barons and knights were, when unarmed, attended by falcons. Hume of Godscroft relates that when Mary of Lorraine was regent, she urged the Earl of Angus to receive a royal garrison into his castle of Tantallon, on which the earl looking towards the goshawk on his wrist exclaimed, "You greedy glede, you will never be full." Hawks were by the gentry borne to their places of worship, while in making friendly visits gentlewomen carried merlins or sparrow-hawks upon their wrists.

Falcons were of high value. For a trained bird James IV. paid 189 to the Earl of Angus, and in the reign of James VI. a pair of falcons was valued at 2000. So long as the Dukes of Athole retained the depute sovereignty of the Isle of Man, they acknowledged fealty to the British throne by offering to the king at his coronation a pair of falcons.

In prosecuting his sport, the falconer rode on horseback, accompanied by young persons as runners, also by several dogs. The king and nobles followed rapidly on foot. The sport was attended with so much injury to grain that, in 1555, an Act was passed enjoining the discontinuance of the sport from springy; till harvest.

The English falconers were Flemings; those of Scotland were of Flemish descent. The office of Grand Falconer of Scotland became hereditary in the family of Fleming of Barrochan. From James IV. Peter Fleming received a hawk's hood, set in jewels, in acknowledgment of his having defeated the king's falcon with his tiercel; the gift has been preserved in his family. At the Scottish court four falconers constituted the usual staff: A "depute-falconer" received a salary so recently as 1840, when Mr Marshall, who then held office, retired.

Archery, an early English sport, also a mode of prosecuting vigorous warfare, was, prior to the battle of Bannockburn, practised almost exclusively in the chase. But in 1318 it was ruled by the government of King Robert the Bruce that, for the purpose of defence, every person whose substance included possession of a cow should have a spear or a good bow and sheath with twenty-four arrows. In 1363 David II. undertook to furnish three hundred archers to the King of England, and in the same year Parliament consented to an arrangement whereby England, in the case of invasion, might be helped by a company of sixty archers on the understanding that in the event of attack, Scotland would with three hundred bowmen be aided by her English neighbour.

In 1362 the Chamberlain paid 18s. 4d. for twelve bows purchased by the king's order for John of Lorn, and in 1368 a further payment was made for twenty-one bows, to be kept at Stirling Castle for its defence.' When in 1424 James I. returned from his long captivity lie remarked that his subjects were, in handling the bow, much inferior to the English. Accordingly lie caused to be enacted a Parliamentary statute, which provided:

"That all men busk thame to be archars fra they be xij yeres of eilde. And that in ilk x lib worth of lande shal be maid bow merks and specialy ner paroche kirks quhar upone haly dais men may cum, and at the lest schute thrise about and haif usage of archary. And quha sa usis nocht said archary the lords of the lande sal raise of him a wedder, and gif the lords raise not the said payne the kingis treasurer or his ministers sail raise it to the king."

In ridicule of the prevailing awkwardness in the use of the bow, James I., in his ballad of "Christis Kirk," thus indulges his native humour:—

"Ane bent a bow, sic sturt could steir him,
Great skayth wes'd to have scard him;
He chesit a flane as did affeir him
The toder said dirdum dardum;
Throw baith the cheikis he thocht to cheir him,
Or throw the erss have chard him,
But be ane aker braid it carne not neir him,
I can nocht tell quhat marr'd him Thair,
At Christis-Kirk on the grene that day.

With that a freynd of his cryd. Fy!
And up ane arrow drew
He forgit it sa furiously,
The bow in flenderis flew;
Sa wes the will of God, trove I!
For, had the tre bone trew,
Men said, that kend his archery,
That he had slane enow
That day."

Under the sanction of James II. Parliament enacted in 1457 that-

"Wapinshawing be halden be the lords and barouys spiritual and temporal four tymes in the yore. And that fut ball and golf be utterly cryit doune and not usyt. And that the bowe marks be maide at ilk paroch kirk, a pair of butts and schuting be usit ilk sunday. And that ilk man schut sex schotts at the list under the payne to be raisit upone thame that comes nocht at the list; ijd. to be giffen to thame that cumis to the bow marks to drink. And this to be usit fra pasche till alhollomes efter, and by the next mydsomer to be reddy with all graith without failye."

Subsequent to his marriage in 1503 to the Princess Margaret of England, James IV. promoted the practice of archery. His queen was an expert archer; she shot a buck at Alnwick Park, in her northward progress. A narrative in relation to Queen Margaret's interest in the use of the bow is related by Lindsay of Pitscottie. To her son, James V., she was wont to boast of the superiority of her countrymen as archers, and at length to establish her contention she brought together representatives of the two countries, at a public competition. "There came," writes the chronicler:

"An ambassador out of England named Lord William Howard, with a bishop, and many other gentlemen, to the number of threescore horse, which were all able 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 quit 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 winners at the annual competitions were privileged to attach medals in memorial of their skill. These have disappeared, but substituted arrows belonging to Selkirk, Peebles, and Musselburgh, have been preserved. They are kept in the Archers' Hall, Edinburgh, and are in the towns to which they severally belong shot for periodically. The Musselburgh arrow bears medals from the year 1603. Queen Mary was an accomplished archer. In the society of Bothwell she indulged the sport of archery at Seton Palace two days after Darnley's murder. James VI. included archery among his "Sunday games." At St Andrews a portion of ground by the margin of the bay is known as the Butts. A. locality at Peebles is so named. There is a Butts Well at the western base of Stirling Rock; a small village which adjoins is named Raploch, that is, the place of the bow. The old archery field at Stockbridge, Edinburgh, is now converted into recreation ground for the youth attending the higher schools.

Prior to the legislative revival of archery under James I., Robert, Duke of Albany, had despatched a body of archers to France to aid in the defence of the Dauphin against the formidable hostilities of Henry V. The Scottish archers under their captain, Alexander de Alexandry, numbered 300, and formed the principal contingent of that auxiliary force which, on the 17th May 1419, landed in France under command of Sir William Douglas, and at the battle of Beauge restored supremacy to the House of Valois. Many members of the archers' company made settlements in France, these as a body receiving the name of the "Royal Scottish Guard." In the corps Scottish nobles sought enrolment, and in their turn drew to France many enterprising countrymen. During the regency of Mary de Medicis, widow of Henry IV., the Scottish Guard was exposed to insult. Making complaint to James VI., to whose sceptre they continued to adhere, he remonstrated successfully on their behalf. Charles I. also asserted their immunities and upheld their rights. When the Duke of Buckingham was sent in 1628 to Rochelle to aid the Huguenots against Cardinal Richelieu, a levy of two hundred Highland bowmen, under Alexander M'Naughton, proceeded to his assistance. But the duke's troops were driven back to their ships ere the bowmen had an opportunity of proving their skill.

During the fifteenth century the Scottish archers in France used a steel bow, two feet eight inches in length, two inches wide at the centre, and half an inch in thickness. They wore a close-fitting jacket of white cloth, spangled with silver gilt and embroidered with a crown in gold thread. Suspended from a white silver belt they carried a, sword and a partisan, the staff of the latter being studded with golden nails. ["The Scots Men-at-Arms and Life Guards in France," 1418, 1830, by William Forbes-Leith, S.J., Edin., 1882, passim.]

When the abbey of Kilwinning was founded in 1488, a company of archers was there established. Of this company the members practised point-blank archery, which consisted in shooting at butts twenty-six yards distant; also papingo archery, implying high skill. The papingo is the figure of a bird peculiar to heraldry. When used in archery it is carved in wood, and decked with party-coloured feathers; at Kilwinning it was fixed on the end of a pole, and placed in the steeple of the monastery. The archer who brought down the papingo was hailed "Captain of the Papingo;" he received a party-coloured sash, and was privileged to attach a silver medal to a silver arrow which was kept in memorial of skilful archery. For the sash was substituted, in 1688, a piece of silver plate. An Archery Company, established at St Andrews in 1618, flourished till 1751, when it was discontinued. Three silver arrows, bearing seventy-nine medals, the property of. the Company, are deposited in the University Museum. Among the medals are those bearing the names of the celebrated Marquis of Montrose; Archibald, the first Marquis of Argyll ; and Charles, fifth Earl of Elgin, which last was appended in 1751.

The Royal Company of Archers (as successors to a community of archers who held competitions at Edinburgh early in the seventeenth century) were as a sodality constituted in 1676, and on the 6th March 1677 were sanctioned by the Privy Council. Discovered at the Revolution to be secretly disaffected, their assembling was disallowed; but having on the accession of Queen Anne appointed Sir George Mackenzie, Lord Tarbet, Secretary of State, their captain-general, they were reinstated in royal favour. From the Queen, on the 6th March 1704, they received a charter of incorporation, in which, among other privileges, they obtained the right of assembling with arms. They held no specific meeting till ten years later, but in 1714 when the state of the Queen's health suggested a further opportunity of abetting the exiled. House, they met in Parliament Square, thence proceeding in a grand procession first to Holyrood Palace, afterwards to the butts at Leith. Subsequent to the Rebellion of 1715, in which not a few of the Royal Archers covertly joined, the corps did not reassemble till 1724, when in magnificent array they marched from Edinburgh to Mussel-burgh. On this occasion Allan Ramsay, the poet, was elected a member; with others he celebrated in verse the valour and patriotism of his associates. On the 10th June 1732 was enacted another celebration, the majority of those who took part in it being all but avowed Jacobites. Among them were the Earl of Kilmarnock and Sir Archibald Primrose of Dunipace, who, joining Prince Charles Edward in 1745, were in the following year convicted and executed as traitors. Another ardent Jacobite, connected with the corps, was James Oliphant of Gask, father of the gifted Baroness Nairne. Oliphant was an aid-dc-camp to the Prince, and as such was forfeited. Subsequently pardoned and permitted to return to his estate, lie was asked, on a revival of the corps, to supply a pattern for a new uniform, the old being lost. To the application lie, in a letter dated "Gask, 6th November 1777," made the following answer:—

Dr. Martin,—Few things could give me greater pleasure than to hear of the revival of the RoyaI Company of Archers; it is a manly and agreeable amusement, and associats the best of the Kingdom together. I lose no time in acquainting you that my Archer's coat is still preserved, and shall be sent you Tuesday next by the carryer directed to your lodgings in Edinburgh. I desire you will make my compliments with it to whoever is Precess to the Company. I think myself happy to have it in my power to contribute my mite in forwarding a March, which I think is an appearance that does honour to our countrie; it is pretty odd if my coat is the only one left, especially as it was taken away in the Forty-six by the Duke of Cumberland's plunderers; and Miss Anny Graeme, Inchbrakie, thinking it would be regrated by me, went out to the court, and got it back from a soldier, insisting with him it was a lady's riding-habit, but puting her hand to the briches to take them too, he, with a thundring oath, asked if the lady wore briches? They had green lace, as the coat; the knee buttons were more loose, to show the white silk puff'd as the coat sleeves. The Officers' coats had silver lace in place of green, with the silver fringe considerably deeper, fine white thread stockings, the men blue bonnets, the officers' were of velvet, with a plate jepan'd of white iron, representing St Andrew, in the middle of a knot or cockade of, I think, green ribbons. An old embroidery of a former generation I have sent, in case it may be of use. The bonnet was tuck'd up and the St Andrew plac'd in the middle of the brow; the bonnet rim watered with a green ribbon and tyed behind. The bonnets of a small size, to hold the head only, scrog'd before to the eyebrows ; the hair and wigs were worn in ringlets on the shoulders. The bow cases were linnen, with green lace like the coat, one on each side ending in silk tufts or tassels; these were worn during the march, as sashes about the waist, and two arrows stuck in them—the bow carry'd slant-in, in the left hand. But I am probably mentioning circumstances that others will remember better than I; therefore shall only add my hearty wishes for prosperity to Scotland, and the ancient Company of Archers." 

The effective restoration of the corps was diligently proceeded with, and on the 15th August 1776 was founded the Archers' Hall, near Hope Park End, in the fine dining-room of which are now represented portraits, by eminent artists, of the more distinguished members. Since Jacobite times pre-eminently loyal, the Royal Archers are the Sovereign's Body Guard for Scotland, and are allowed precedence even of the royal guards. One of the Queen's Body Guard, on her Majesty's first visit to Edinburgh in 1842, was Lawrence Oliphant of Gask, grandson of that James Oliphant who, a century before, had hazarded his life and fortune on behalf of the House of Stewart.

As from the early use of the bow in securing human food arose the sport of archery, so on the primitive system of determining right by the ordeal of single combat were based the chivalrous practices of the joust and tournament. A joust was a combat between two armed knights; in the tournament the conflict was maintained between slumbers on either side.

Tournaments were held by sovereign princes, who, through the instrumentality of a king-of-arms or his heralds, convened all persons of knightly rank, both native, and foreign, to attend a meet for the clashing of weapons. Those summoned came forth in military array, their armorial bearings depicted on their shields and surcoats, also on the caparisons of their horses. Each knight was preceded by an esquire, who in the right hand bore his spears, and carried with the left his helmet and crest. The tournament ground was enclosed with timber rails, defended by high-barred gates. As each knight reached the barrier he announced his arrival by sounding a trumpet, on which the heralds came forth to enter on the chivalric roll his name and arms. The knight then hung his shield upon the barrier.

As the hour of combat approached, each knight, traversing the field, chose from the different shields that of the knight with whom he preferred to combat he also signified his weapons by ringing with those selected on the shield of his opponent. By two pages who attended the shield, fantastically attired, the challenged knight was informed of his adversary's choice. The usual weapons were blunted lances and swords. And the combat which was commenced on horseback usually terminated on foot.

Whether at joust or tournament, each knight contended for the honour of a lady to whom lie dedicated his prowess. And not infrequently the knights adopted as their heroines fair charmers whom they had not seen, and even married ladies in whom they could possess no personal interest. 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 of high rank selected by the sovereign to preside.

So early as the reign of William the Lion tournaments were held at Edinburgh ; but the authentic history of the sport does not commence till considerably later. The chamberlain's accounts for 1329 exhibit a payment of 6, 13s. 4d. to the sheriff of Edinburgh for constructing a jousting park in the vicinity. In his several tournaments David II. personally took part. In his rein a tournament was attended with a sanguinary result. For in 1338, William, Lord Douglas, having expelled the English from Teviotdale, Henry of Longcastle, Earl of Derby, offered to engage him in single combat. Douglas, who accepted the challenge, was obliged to abandon it on account of a dangerous wound inflicted by the breaking of his own lance. Longcastle now summoned Alexander de Ramsay to appear at Berwick with twenty knights in armour, to be opposed by an equal number of the English chivalry. The tournament which ensued continued three clays, while two combatants were slain on either side."

In 1449 another tournament which issued fatally was, in the presence of James II., enacted at Stirling. On one side the combatants were two Burgundian knights, brothers, of the noble house of Lalain, and Sieur de Meriadet, Lord of Longueville; on the other, three Scottish knights, two of whom were Douglases, and the third Sir John Ross of Halket. Commencing with the lance, the combatants speedily abandoned it for the battle-axe. One of the Douglases being now mortally wounded, the king threw down his gauntlet, thereby arresting the combat. The Earl of Douglas, brother of one of the combatants, had led the Scottish champions to the lists at the head of 5000 followers.

For "jousts, tournaments, and other games," James II., on the 13th August 1456, granted to the burgh of Edinburgh a portion of ground at Craigingelt Well, afterwards Greenside. Tournaments at Edinburgh were also practised near the King's Stables, under the wall of the Castle. On the 4th April 1618, Robert Scott was served heir to his brother in the King's Stables, Edinburgh, "with the office of observing the tournament, and a piece of green land at the West Port." At Stirling, tournaments were conducted in "the valley," a level hollow on the castle rock.

At Stirling James IV. frequently assembled his barons for the sport of jousting; on each successful combatant he bestowed a lance mounted with gold. Early in 1495-6, he removed from Stirling to Edinburgh, where, in honour of the marriage of his guest, Perkin Warbeck, the alleged Duke of York, which took place on the 13th January, he held a series of tournaments. In the lists the king seems to have sustained an injury, for which a "mittane," a bandage of silk, and a sling of taffeta were provided. Warbeck's "spousing goune" of white damask was presented by the king; also tournament dresses for himself, his six servitors, his two trumpeters, and his armourer.

Among the military spectacles which, in 1503, under the direction of James IV., followed the reception of his queen, the Princess Margaret of England, were a series of tournaments held at Edinburgh. At these demonstrations attended the border chiefs, many of whom contended with each other so violently that the victor left his opponent lifeless on the field.

As a promoter of tournaments, James V. imitated his royal father. In his reign many tournaments were conducted. On these occasions knights from foreign parts challenged the skill of Scottish nobles, while the conflicts were disputed so warmly that the king had to interpose to prevent bloodshed. The death, in 1559, of Henry II. of France, consequent on his eye being pierced by the Count de Montgommeri, in a joust at Paris, gave a check to these chivalrous sports. A species of jousting was renewed at Stirling in August 1594, at the baptism of Prince Henry.

In connection with the tournament was instituted "the Round Table;" it existed in the reign of Stephen in the twelfth century, and a century later, under the rule of Henry III., was fully established. During the reign of Edward I., in 1280, Roger de Mortimer established a Round Table at Kenilworth, where, in connection with military pastimes, he entertained a hundred knights and an equal number of gentlewomen. To the Kenilworth Round Table many foreign knights were attracted by the splendour of the hospitality. In 1344, Edward III. convened a hrand tilting at Windsor, which was commenced by a Round Table feast, and was continued for a week. The festivities of the Round Table were followed by the institution of the Garter, an order which, in its arrangements, symbolizes the usages of the tournament.

When, in 1424, James I. established his residence at Stirling, he there constructed a Round Table on the model of that at Windsor. The Tables at Windsor and Kenilworth embraced a circular area each two hundred feet in diameter; the diameter of the Table at Stirling is twenty-five feet. By H. M. Board of Works, in 1867, on the suggestion of the present writer, the Stirling "Round Table" was restored to its original condition; the form is octagonal.

Associated with ancient tilting was the knightly pastime of running at the ring. To a tall post, placed upright in the soil, was attached an iron rod or arm, upon which, by two springs, was suspended an iron ring, which, by the force of a stroke, might readily be borne off. Competitors mounted on horseback, and each bearing a lance of light wood, started in succession from a point about one hundred yards from the post, while all riding at full speed endeavoured to bear off the ring upon their lances. By the Stewart kings, the chapmen of Stirling, who on horseback bore their goods to the surrounding country, were privileged to practise this regal sport; hence the recreation is locally remembered as "the chapmen's sports." These sports were also conducted on the "green" at Leslie in Fife, the scene of James I's ballad of "Christis Kirk."

A patriotic effort to revive the ancient tournament was made by Archibald-William, thirteenth Earl of Eglinton. On Wednesday, the 28th August 1839, this enterprising nobleman assembled at Eglinton Castle a number of distinguished persons, by whom chivalrous sports and pastimes were conducted for three days, and with a splendour befitting a revival of ancient jousting. At the Eglinton Tournament were worn dresses of the reigns of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, but several knights were attired in the old costumes of France and Spain. As Queen of Beauty, Lady Seymour wore a coronet of jewels, a. jacket of ermine, and a skirt of violet velvet, with the front of sky-blue velvet, on which in silver was embroidered her family shield. Prince Louis Napoleon, afterwards Emperor of the French, who was present, wore a polished steel cuirass over a leathern jacket, trimmed with crimson satin; a steel vizored helmet, with a high plume of white feathers, buckskin breeches, and russet boots. On the second day ten knights engaged in conflict, among whom were the Marquis of Waterford, the Earl of Eglinton, Lord Glenlyon, afterwards sixth Duke of Athole, the Earl of Craven, Lord Alford, and Sir Francis Hopkins. A combat with broadswords between Prince Louis Napoleon and Mr Lamb, an English gentleman, was on both sides admirably sustained. On the third day, an equestrian melee with broadswords was conducted by the Scottish and Irish knights against the knights of England. Grand festivities closed the pageant.

The wappinschaw, or weapon-show, was established by Edward I. under "the statute of Winchester;" and from an extant fragment of early Scottish law, in which the "Book of Wyntoun" or the Winchester "lawes" is quoted, it would appear that the periodical exhibition of arms in Scotland had been derived from the southern practice. By the Scottish statute it is provided that every male between the ages of sixteen and sixty shall provide himself with arms, according to the extent of his lands or goods. The possessor of land of the value of 15, or of goods of forty merles value, was called on to keep a horse and provide himself with a hauberk, an iron helmet, a sword, and a dagger. A landowner with a rental not under forty nor above one hundred shillings was required to equip himself with a bow, arrows, and a dagger. And he whose lands or goods were under the value of forty shillings was required to keep, instead of a dagger, a "gysarnis" or hand-axe. Common persons were each to possess a bow and arrows, and all sojourning in the forest a bow and pike or bolt for a cross-bow. By the same statute it is provided that wapinschaws be held twice a year.

Assigning the adoption in Scotland of the Winchester statute to the reign of Alexander III., it would appear that for one hundred and fifty years after the first introduction, shows of arms had been discontinued. But in 1424 Parliament enacted that "wapinschaws" be held four times a year in each shire, while in 1425 the practice was extended to burghs. By the Parliament of James II., in 1456, it was ruled that "wapinschaws be made in the morning after the lawe days after Yule,"—those who attended without being properly armed being amerced in penalties. By the same Act it was provided that wapinschaws were to be continued monthly. In 1475 the tenants of the Cupar Abbey became bound to provide themselves with arms for the national defence, including "jakkis" [leathern coats], "hattis and splentis" [plated armour for the head and legs], "bowis and schawis" [bows and arrows], and "swurdis, bukklaris and aksys" [swords, bucklers, and axes]—all of which were to be held in readiness for display at the district wapinschaws.

In prospect of an invasion by the English, it was ruled in 1481 that a wapinschaw be held every fifteen days. Two years later, sheriffs were required to make a return as to the number of fencible persons within their jurisdictions, and to inform the Court where they held wapinschaws, that the king might provide suitable inspectors.' When, on the 20th November 1495, James IV. received at Stirling Perkin Warbeck, he commanded the several sheriffs to hold wapinschaws in compliment to his guest as well as in token of his being ready to afford him military support. In 1503 a statute was passed authorising the holding of wapinschaws on the 15th June and 20th October of each year. When in 1540 shows of arms had long been out of use, sheriffs and bailies were authorised to appoint captains in the several parishes to train those bearing arms the mode of using them; this training was to be continued during the months of May, June, and July. In 1574 a display of arms was decreed to be held on the 20th July and the 10th October, while, on each occasion the nobility and landowners were to be horsed and harnessed, and others were to display their habergeons.

When in August 1617, James VI. made a state visit to Dumfries, he presented to the magistrates a small silver gun, mounted on a wheeled carriage, that it might be competed for as a prize at the annual wapinsehaws. But periodical exhibitions of arms had now become rare, May-day sports having generally taken their place. Along with these sports, possession of the silver gun, was at Dumfries, the subject of an animated competition, and the local poet, John Mayne, in his "Siller Gun," has graphically described the merriment with which it was associated. Proceedings commenced with a procession of the traders, which by the poet is thus described:—

"As through the town the banners fly,
Frae windows low, frae windows high,
A' that could find a neuk to spy
Were leaning o'er;
The streets, stair-heads, and carts forbye
Were a' uproar.

Frae rank to rank, while thousands hustle
In front, like waving corn, they rustle;
Where, dangling like a baby's whistle,
The Slier Gun,
The royal cause o' a' this bustle,
Glean'd in the sun."

May-day diversions included athletic sports and some quaint practices. "Tossing the kebar" was a favourite pastime, as were "casting the bar" and "throwing the hammer." "Climbing the greasy pole" never failed to excite hearty laughter. The performers sought to secure a leg of mutton by ascending a smooth round pole, rendered slippery by greasing. Increasing in ardour by each defeat, some one at length bore off the prize amidst noisy plaudits.

"Hurling a wheel-barrow blindfolded" was a favourite recreation, owing to the difficulty of reaching the right spot; a longer step being taken with the right than the, left foot, every performer inclined to turn to the left, some actually describing a circle, and so returning to the place whence he started.

"The sack-race" excited much humour. Each competitor stepped into a corm-sack, which was made fast about his neck, his uncovered head alone escaping the ludicrous disguise. Each started at a pre-concerted signal, and by vigorous effort sought to reach the goal first. But in the course of a few seconds half the competitors were hors de combat, while their useless struggles to resume an upright posture caused intense mirth. With those who in a rollicking fashion speeded onward, the race-course was ere long strewn at intervals. Not infrequently, all the competitors became prostrate and failed to reach the goal. By Dr William Tennant in his poem, of "Anster Fair," the awkward evolutions of the sack-runners have been humorously described. Thus:—

"So leap's the men, half sepulchred in sack,
Up-swinging with their shapes be-monstring spy,
And cours'd in air a semicircle track
Like to the feath'ry-footed Mercury;
Till, spent their impetus, with sounding thwack,
Greeted their heels the green ground sturdily
And some, descending, kept their balance well,
Unbalanc'd some came down, and boisterously fell."

May-day sports have ceased, yet the national games, including, bagpipe competitions and highland dancing, are conducted on the annual holidays and at the national gatherings. Among the more remarkable gatherings for the practice of public sports are the "Northern Meeting" at Inverness, and the great annual "Gathering" at Braemar. A yearly celebration at Innerleithen was formerly noted.

Of the Scottish game of golf the precise origin is unknown. In 1457 the Parliament of James II. passed an Act prohibiting the game, and recommending archery in its stead. The prohibition proceeded on the plea that the practice of golfing might render the people effeminate. In the, reign of James VI. it was a common pastime. Along with the members of his court James practised golf at Blackheath, in Kent. During his visit to Scotland, in 1641, Charles I. played daily on the links of Leith. There, too, James VII., when Duke of York, indulged the pastime; he played so skilfully that he excelled all competitors save one Paterson, a shoemaker, by whom he was frequently overcome. When at length he could excel the leather worker, his satisfaction was intense.

Golf has a Teutonic origin; the word is derived from the German kolbe, in low Dutch pronounced kolf, and which signifies the game of the club. It is played with a club and ball—the club being nearly four feet Iong and laden with lead; the ball about the size of an egg, and composed of stout leather stuffed with feathers. Golf is played on links or tracts of sandy soil covered with short grass. Suitable golfing links exist at Prestwick, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Carnoustie, and Montrose. But the chief place of play is at St Andrews. In that city was established, in 1754, a society or club which on its roll has included the principal nobility. The St Andrews golf club meets in May and October, when competitions are conducted with a befitting ceremonial. At the close of each general competition the victors are saluted by the discharge of ordnance. The rules of the St Andrews' club regulate other golfing societies throughout the country.

Shinty, a primitive description of golf, and not improbably its pioneer, is played with a small hard ball of wood or leather, impelled by a piece of bent timber or club. A boundary is marked on the soil, beyond which each competitor endeavours to drive his ball so as to out-distance his opponent.

The game of bowls, a product of the middle ages, has in Scotland been traced to the thirteenth century; a bowling-alley or bowling-green was attached to every manor-House. During the eighteenth century the game was practised generally, a public bowling-green being constructed in the principal hamlets. In 1769 a Society of Bowlers at Edinburgh obtained from the Governors of Heriot's Hospital a lease of ground for a public bowling-green.

Tennis, a favourite English sport, was, under the name of "catchpel," played by James IV. and his successors. The Duke of York, in 1680, constructed a Tennis Court at Holyrood Palace, near the Water Gate. John Law of Lauriston, the celebrated financier, was noted as a tennis-player.

Quoits, a game common in the south, was introduced to Scotland by James I. In an exchequer account rendered at Stirling on the 10th December 1364, the sum of 17, 12s. is allowed to Adam Thore, burgess of Edinburgh, for thirteen silver quoits and six salt cellars supplied for the king's use. A native of Alva, named Rennie, was, about thirty years ago, declared champion of British quoit players.

In both kingdoms football was practised at a remote period. In order to the progress of archery, Edward III., in 1349, prohibited football to his subjects, and for the same cause it was denounced by the first Parliament of James I. A prohibitory statute of the 26th May 1424 proceeds thus----

"That na man play at the fute-ball, under the paine of fiftie schillings to be raised to the lord of the land, als oft as he be tainted, or to the Schireffe of the land or his ministers, gif the lorries will not punish sik trespassoures."

Though this provision remained unrepealed, James IV. personally indulged the sport. On the 18th June 1601, the Privy Council had under consideration the subject of a quarrel which at a football match at Lochtoun in the Merse had occurred between Cockburn of that Ilk and two of his brothers on the one side, and James Davidson of Burnierig and his brother. The quarrel had been attended with pistol shooting and other violence.

Football was included among the Sunday games which, in 1618, were prescribed by James VI. as "lawful to be observed." During the eighteenth century it was common in the northern and southern provinces, also in the central counties. In Aberdeenshire the able-bodied men of every hamlet enjoyed their usual "ba' playing," the inhabitants of one parish challenging those of another. The game was usually played in the village churchyard, while forty competitors would ordinarily enter on either side. In the "Monymusk Christmas Ba'ing," a humorous poem, composed after the manner of James I.'s ballad of "Christis Kirk," Mr John Skinner has effectively depicted the coarse rough wrestling associated with the sport. Writes the reverend bard:—

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

The ball might not be touched with the hand after it had been cast upon the field. An opponent might be tripped when near the ball, especially if he was 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. At Scone a game of football was played annually on Shrove Tuesday, the combatants being the married men and the single. Commenced at two o'clock, it was continued till sunset. The object of the married men was to put the ball in "the dool," a small hole in the green, while the unmarried sought to cast it into the river Tay which flows near. The party who could effect either of these objects the greater number of times was proclaimed victor.

Football sports much prevailed on the Scottish Border. Under sanction of the Duke of Buccleuch and the Earl of Home, a great match took place in the year 1815, at the junction of the Ettrick and Yarrow, between the shepherds of Ettrick and the burgesses of Selkirk; the former being led by the Ettrick Shepherd, the burgesses by their Provost. Of the three games which were determined upon, the first was gained by the burgesses, the second by the shepherds. But the third game was undecided, and terminated in confusion.

Curling, a game pre-eminently Scottish, is played upon the ice, on an open space which is called the rink. Originally played with smooth round stones taken from the strands of rivers, it was called the sport of the channel-stave. At Christmas 15G5, Lord Darnley prosecuted the game at Peebles on a flooded meadow, which now forms part of the minister's glebe. In 1840, in the course of draining a marsh. near Dtinblanc, the workmen du; up a cullin; stone, oil which may be traced the date of 1551; it is undressed, further than in presenting two holes to which a handle had been attached. Curling stones were originally fashioned with the hammer and chisel, small niches being scooped out for inserting the fingers and thumb. Such stones were in the eighteenth century used in the more secluded districts.

Curling is noticed in the "Muses Threnodie" of Henry Adamson, published in 1633, while William Guthrie, who in 1614 was ordained minister of Fenwick, is in his memoirs described as "fond of the innocent recreations which prevailed, among which was playing on the ice." In 1684 it is in his "Scotia Illustrata" mentioned by Sir Robert Sibbald; also in the "Description of the Orkney Isles," published in 1693 by the ingenious Mr James Wallace, minister of Kirkwall. [An allusion in Wallace's "Orkney" as to stones suitable for curling being found in the isle of Copinsha, was, in 1695, quoted by Bishop Gibson in his translation of Camden's "Britannia," and in consequence some writers on the game have erroneously set forth that it is mentioned by the illustrious topographer in his original work.] Early in the eighteenth century, the magistrates of Edinburgh, when frost had set in, yearly marshalled a procession, and, preceded by a band of music, opened the winter sports. These were conducted at the North Loch, near the present Waverley Railway Station ; also on a sheet of water at Canonmills.

In 1795, when the Duddiii ston Curling Club was instituted, the Edinburgh magistrates beaded a curling procession every frosty day to the Loch, returning in the evening in similar order. There are at present 300 provincial clubs, hol(ling of the "Royal Caledonian Club," a central association which meets at Edinburgh. Under the direction of this representative body, several "Grand Matches" have been conducted. Of these, the first was, on the 15th January 1847, held at Penicuik. In 1853 a great curling pond was by the Caledonian Club constructed at Carsebreck, in Perthshire, on which have since been played five great national matches. The "roaring game," as curling is familiarly called, has been poetically celebrated by Allan Ramsay, Sir Alexander Boswell, Janes Hogg, Dr Henry Duncan, and Dr Norman Macleod; it has also been mentioned by Burns. Writing in 1715, the poet-physician, Dr Alexander Pennecuik writes of the game not inappropriately:

It clears the brain, stirs up the native heat,
And hives a gallant appetite for meat."

The modern curling-stone is of a flattish, round forma, weighing from thirty to forty-five pounds; it is provided with a moveable handle. [For a full account of the game, see "Curling: The Ancient Scottish Game," by James Taylor, D.D., Edin. 1884, 8vo.]

Prior to the twelfth century horses were used solely for riding. During the reign of William the Lion a statute was passed providing "that everyone who possessed landed or moveable property should keep at least one horse for use in the public service." Early in the thirteenth century Roger Avenel kept a stud in the valley of Eskdale. In preparing for his departure to the Holy Land, Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, sold, in 1247, to the monks of Melrose, his stud of brood mares, kept in Lauderdale. By Alexander III. a stud of horses was maintained at different stations. In 1327 Randolph, Earl of Moray, made an incursion into England at the bead of 20,000 cavalry.

Prior to the reign of James I. the exportation of horses was unlawful, but by that sovereign the sal of horses in England was encouraged as a matter of commerce. In 1359 a passport was obtained by Thomas Murray, Dominus de Bethwell, and Alan, second son of William, fifth Lord Erskine, to enable them to proceed to England with horses for sale. By James II. horses were imported from Hungary, while James IV. added to his stud by transacting with dealers in Spain and Poland. On receiving a present of valuable horses from Louis XII., James IV. sent him in return four of his best amblers. In his reign, horse-racing was instituted as a royal pastime. On the 15th April 1503 Thomas Boswell paid at Leith 18s. to the boy that "ran the Kingis hors." And on the 2d of May following, David Doule was paid by the Treasurer 28s., which "he won from the king on hors rynning."

Much interested in horsemanship, James V. kept a great stud, and sent his grooms to Sweden, there to procure the best horses. In token of affection, his uncle, Henry VIII., presented him with a valuable stud. Upon his Master of the Horse he bestowed a lauded estate, and approved horse-racing as one of the royal sports. During the reign of Queen Mary district horse-races were instituted. In 1.552 an annual horse-race was established at Haddington, the winning prize being a silver bell. The silver bell competed for at the Lanark races probably belongs to this period. To this bell, which is 4 inches in length and 4 inches at greatest diameter, are attached seventeen shields inscribed with the names of the winners. The oldest shield bears the name of "Sir Iohne Hamilton of Trabio," with the date 1628.

During the reign of James Vi. horse-races were established in the principal centres. In 1608 the Town Council of Paisley appointed an annual horse-race, voting a silver bell for the winning horse. At Cupar-Fife a horse-race was established in 1621, at which a large silver cup of the value of 18 formed the chief prize. In that year Parliament enacted that at horse-racing no person should be allowed to win more than one hundred merks, the surplus to be given to the poor.

The national frenzy which attended the Restoration culminated in a keen renewal of racing and feats of horsemanship. From the announcements in Mercurius Caledonius we derive that horse-racing was in 1661 actively revived. During the same year appeared at Edinburgh these two notifications:—

"The Horse Rice 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 22d 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 impulse to horse-racing which obtained at the Restoration widely predominated. On the 15th April 1662 the Town Council of Dumfries ordered their treasurer to provide "a silver bell, four ounces in weight," as a prize to be run for, every first Tuesday of May, "by the work-horses of the burgh according to the ancient custom." Two years later the same Town Council voted "a silver cup of forty ounce weight 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." On the 23d February 1663 the Town Council of Peebles voted a silver cup to be run for annually on Mayday. In the hope of propitiating the royal favour similar donations and honours to the riders of swift horses were voted by other burghs. The worst consequences followed. At these celebrations congregated) idle and dissolute persons bent on mischief, while scenes of strife were so common that it became a proverb that all who had variances reserved their settlement till the race-day. Even owners and riders of horses did not forbear rude conflict. At Haddington, in connection with the races, the burgh carters prosecuted a sport so utterly inhuman as wholly to demoralize all who might engage in it. By a local writer it is thus described

"A cat was confined in a dryware cask containing soot, and hung at the end of a beam fixed to the top of the cross. Each rider was armed with a wooden mell, and rode at full speed under the barrel, and gave it a blow with his mell, which operation was continued until the barrel was staved. The poor frightened cat on its release was pursued by the assembled crowd, and was very often trampled to death. The magistrates felt it their duty to put a stop to this barbarous custom; but the carters, as long as their play existed, continued to ride their `Bassies' for three times in a circle opposite the cross."

Horse-racing had as a national sport become extremely degraded, when an attempt to effect its purification was made at a period when arose a strong desire to dissociate the national revels from political discontent upon the one hand, and a coarse licentiousness upon the other. On the 2d August 1777 was instituted, under the auspices of the Dukes of Hamilton, Buccleuch, Roxburgh, and Gordon, and other persons of high rank, a racing society, designated the Hunters' Club, but of which, on the 9th January of the, following year, the name was changed to the Caledonian Hunt.

The membership of the hunt, restricted at the outset to forty-five, was afterwards increased to eighty, and in 1849 was fixed at seventy. The entry-money, at first a guinea, was in 1818 raised from five guineas to forty. The annual subscription, originally five, was in 1814 fixed at ten guineas. The dining hour was four o'clock until 1832, when it was altered to half-past five; in 1858 it was changed to seven. From the commencement the members used their own wine, allowing "a corkage" to the innkeeper. The cost of dinner, at first half-a-crown, was in 1808 increased from 5s. to 7s. 6d. Convivial excess was discountenanced, and gambling, under a heavy penalty, was prohibited. At the first meeting, which took place at Haddington in October 1778, proceedings continued two weeks, but subsequent to 1816 the yearly races were restricted to a single week. When the first race was instituted at Kelso in 1779, the length of race was fixed at four miles; it was subsequently ruled to consist of "three four-mile heats." The weight to be carried was in July 1782 increased from ten to twelve stones. The original riding costume was a red hunting frock, and a green cape, with a horn fixed to one of the button holes; but in 1818 every member was called on to provide two coats, one being the original uniform, the other a scarlet double-breasted coat, with flaps for pockets, and seven buttons, bearing a fox and a thistle, attached to each side. In 1822 a member was, on account of having on his coat only five buttons, amerced in a penalty.

The Hunt was eminently beneficent. On the 10th January 1787 was framed the following minute:—

"A motion being made by the Earl of Glencairn, and seconded by Sir John Whitefoord, in favour of Mr Burns of Ayrshire, who had dedicated the new edition of his poems to the Caledonian Hunt: The Meeting were of opinion that in consideration of his superior merit, as well as of the compliment paid to them, that Mr Hagart [the Secretary] should be directed to subscribe for one hundred copys in their name, for which he should pay to Mr Buries Twenty-Five Pounds upon the Publication of his Book."

At this time the Hunt numbered not more than sixty members, so that the copies subscribed for were very considerably in excess of those required for actual use. Nor had the poet's inscription of his volume been actually carried out, for the dedication is dated the 4th April 1787, or nearly three months subsequent to the Hunt's act of subscribing.

True to patriotic traditions, the Caledonian Hunt has continued to exercise a strong benevolence. To their musician, the famous Nathaniel Gow, they, in 1798, presented ten guineas beyond his ordinary recompense, while in 1807 they resolved that for performing at their balls he should receive a stated yearly salary of twenty guineas. When, in 1827, he had become aged, and "quite unable to attend the meetings," they granted him an annuity of fifty pounds, and resolved to patronize a ball to be given for his benefit. After his death in 1833, they, in the Greyfriars' churchyard, erected a monument to his memory.

After long service, other officers were pensioned, and benefactions voted to their widows. In 1780 they granted one hundred guineas to the Charity Workhouse of Edinburgh, and twenty guineas to the Dispensary at Kelso. When in 1793 a fire occurred during their meeting at Kelso, they gave 50 towards the relief of the sufferers. About the same time they voted fifty guineas for the army abroad. To the Patriotic Fund in 1854 they contributed 100, and they each year give a sum not exceeding 100 in charity in and around the place where their annual race meeting takes place.

In 1811, on the motion of Mr Boswell of Auchinleck, afterwards Sir Alexander Boswell, a narrative of the proceedings was prepared, and in 1865 it was resolved that the likenesses and signatures of members should be preserved. The "King's Hundred," which, in 1788, the Hunt received from George lII., has since been continued from year to year, and this token of royal approval has largely tended to perpetuate the institution. Members are admitted by ballot.

As a mode of subsistence, angling in the lakes and rivers was familiar to the early Britons. By David I. fisheries were, as a source of wealth, zealously promoted; and it was an ordinance of his reign that from Saturday evening till Monday at sunrise, angling should be foreborne. During the reign of William the Lion, the abbot of Holyrood sent his men to the herring fishery off the Isle of May, where, as a. station, the fishing-boats usually assembled. Under the government of Alexander III. considerable fisheries were established, both on the coast and upon inland waters. Estuaries yielded salmon, lamprey, and the royal sturgeon; the lochs produced eels and trout; and from the various inlets on the western coast were procured vast stores of excellent herring.

To the abbot and monks of Cupar, King Robert the Bruce granted, in May 1327, the, privilege of fishing for salmon in the river Tay, at times prohibited by statute. A payment of 57s. 1d. was made by the Chamberlain for two chalders and twelve bolls of large salt for salting six hundred salmon, with the carriage thereof. By a statute passed in the year 1400, the killing of salmon from the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin till Martinmas was prohibited under the penalty of 100s., while for a third offence the punishment was death.

While the waters of Lochfine have, from the earliest times, maintained a reputation for their abundant yield of herrings of a superior flavour, Lochleven has long been celebrated for the excellence of its trout, and Lochmaben for its interesting "vendace." By a statute passed in 1633, the trout at Lochleven were specially protected. The vendace of Lochleven, which continues to find lodgment in that solitary lake, resembles the herring in size and form, with a silvery skin, and the head protected by a transparent substance, representing on its upper surface the appearance of a heart. The ordinary fresh water fishes naturalized in or natives of Scotland are the salmon, char, trout, pike, and perch, while two other sorts, the bream and the roach, are peculiar to Dumfriesshire. For salmon-fishing the more remarkable waters are the Dee and Don in Aberdeenshire, the Awe and Orchy in Argyleshire, the Ness and Spey in the county of Inverness, also the Tay, Tweed, and Forth, and the rivers and lochs of Sutherland and Caithness. In southern districts a practice formerly prevailed of hunting salmon by torch-light. After the subsidence of the October floods, hunting parties were formed, provided with torches of pitch, resin, and flax. By holding torches over the water, and so casting light into its lowest depths, the hunter with a shafted trident or lister struck the salmon, which, surprised and stunned, could not possibly escape. A practice so repellent to humanity might only be excused through the unreflecting habit of those by whom it was indulged. The torch-light salmon-hunt has now all but ceased.


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