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Sports and Pastimes of Scotland
Chapter VI. The Race Course


See, the course throng'd with gazers, the sports are begun,
The confusion but hear ---Ill bet you, sir,—Done, done
Ten thousand strange murmurs resound far and near,
Lords, hawkers, and jockeys assail the tired ear
While with neck like a rainbow, erecting his crest,
Pamper'd, prancing, and pleas'd, his head touching his breast,
Scarcely snuffing the air, he's so proud and elate,
The high.mettled racer first starts for the plate. Charles Dibdin.
HORSE-RACING is a sport of high antiquity.

Great was its repute among the ancient Greeks and Romans. When all that was glorious in the arts of war and peace dignified the Grecian States, the most exciting and admired features of the Olympic Games were the horse-races and chariot-races ; and famous monarchs themselves did not disdain to lay aside their pomp, and become competitors in those contests. King Hiero of Syracuse, the munificent patron of Ęseltylus and Pindar and other poets, rode his own horse, Phrenicus, and won the Olympic crown; and King Philip of Macedon entered the course mounted on the brother to Buecphalus. Pindar composed his first Olympic ode in celebration of Hicro's triumph. Sophocles, in his tragedy of Electra, has left a graphic picture of the chariot-races, which l5indar also commemorates in glowing verse; and Ovid addresses one of his Love Elegies 'to his Mistress at the Horse Race:-

"Not in the Circus do I sit to view
The running horses, but to gaze on you
Near you I choose an advantageous place,
And whilst your eyes are fix'd upon the race,
Mine are on you."

Leaving the Olympic and the Roman races, and descending the stream of time, we find that in mediaval England both Saxon and Norman amused themselves with the running of fleet steeds. Races were held in Smithfield as early as the reign of Henry II. The seasons for the sport were usually Easter and Whitsuntide, which, however, were latterly changed from religious motives. The prizes were silver bells. Several running- horses were purchased for Edward III., at the price of 20 marks, or £13 6s. 3d. each, and others at 25 marks. Down to the seventeenth century, horse-racing in England, as Strutt informs us, "was considered as a liberal pastime, practised for pleasure rather than profit, without the least idea of reducing it to a system of gambling"; but it soon afterwards degenerated, for Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, speaking of the recreations of country-folks, and characterizing horse-races as amongst "the disports of greater men, and good in themselves," satirically adds, "though many gentlemen by that means gallop quite out of their fortunes." The modern system of horse-racing may be said to date from the reign of James I. Public race meetings were then first instituted; and the prizes were still bells—gold and silver. It was long said that in a moment of extravagance, when his purse was better lined than ordinary, the British Solomon, who was a most ungainly rider, threw away £500 sterling money for an Arabian, which proved a failure, being soundly beaten by English horses, but we find from Rice's History of the British Tuif that the price was only £154 sterling. The short-lived Prince Henry was a zealous supporter of racing; and the unfortunate King Charles, before he found more serious matters to absorb his attention, was fond of the sport,—but in his time some English writers were of opinion that stout horses '.'ere decreasing in the kingdom, owing "to the strong addiction of the country to hunters and running horses which were bred only for speed." Curious to relate, the Protector, Oliver Cromwell, Puritan as he was, kept at least a couple of racers, the White Turk and the Coffin Mare!—though, when in dread of Royalist conspiracy, he dared "suffer no assemblies, not so much as horse-races," as is charged against him in Colonel Titus' extraordinary tract, Killing no Murder, which is said to have hastened the "tyrant's death. The Restoration revived all "the old familiar" English sports and pastimes, against which the sour spirits of the Commonwealth misunderstanding national character, habits, predilections, had zealously set their faces, backed by the pains and penalties of law. The Merry Monarch gave the turf every encouragement established meetings at Datchct Mead, and also at Newmarket; entered horses in his own royal name ; and bought mares from Barbary and other countries for the improvement of the English breed. Race prizes now rose in value to a hundred guineas each, and it was the custom to engrave the names and pedigree of the winning horses upon these trophies of victory. William of Orange and Mary his Queen patronised the turf liberally, adding several plates to those which Royalty had usually bestowed. More new plates were given by Queen Anne, whose husband, Prince George of Denmark, owned a number of capital racers. Silver plates as prizes were abolished by George I., who gave instead a hundred guineas, to be paid in specie. Let us notice, however, that in 1725, a diverting race was advertised to be run at Ripon, in Yorkshire, namely—"The Lady's Plate of L15 value, by any horse that was no more than five years old the last grass. Women to be the riders : each to pay one guinea entrance: three heats, and twice round the common for a heat."

Probably the Scots practised the amusement of competing with fleet horses at as early a period as their neighbours south of the Tweed, though, in process of time, the English became the chief promoters of the sport. Or, it might be conjectured that as Horse-racing was common among the Normans and Saxons, the influx of both into Scotland, after the Conquest, may have introduced this pastime to the northern people. But without wandering in the antiquity of that era, we shall farther descend to the sixteenth century, when public horse-racing took place statedly at several towns in Scotland. Respecting the conditions of the sport we have no information, nor do we know anything about the breed and training of the horses. All that we are able to do is to gather together a variety of scattered notices showing that horse-racing existed in Scotland at the period mentioned.

The earliest notices of the sport occur in 1504, during the reign of James W. On 15th April that year, the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland enters in his Accounts a payment "to Thomas Boswell, he laid down in Leith to the wife of the King's Innis, and to the boy that ran the King's horse, 18s.:" and on 2d May following there is a payment of 28s. "to Dande Doule whilk he wan frae the King on Horse Racing." Our next authority is Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, Lord Lyon King at Arms under James V. In Sir David's poem, the Complaint, where he enumerates the different games and pastimes which the King enjoyed in his boyhood, horse-races are included :-

Some gart him raiffell at the racket,
Some harled him to the hurly-hacket
And some to show their courtly corsis (persons)
Wad ride to Leith, and rin their horses,
And wichetly wallop over the sands
Yea neither spared spurs nor wands
Casting galmounds, with bends and becks,
For wantonness, some brak their necks.

The sands of Leith continued to be used as a Race- ground till the year 1816, when the annual meeting was transferred to Musselburgh. The neighbouring town of Haddington had a Horse-race in 1552, the prize being a silver bell. Under date of 10th May, the records of the burgh contain an entry to this effect: The whilk clay, John Forrois, burgess of Haddington, came cautioner that ane worthy and mighty Lord, George Lord Scytoun, shall bring the Silver Bell that his horse von upon the 10th day of May, the year of God!" Ve Fifty twa years, to the said burgh of Haddington upon the third day of November the same year of God, and present the same to the Provost and Bailies of the said burgh of Haddington, with an augmentation like as the said Lord pleases to augment for his honour, and the same Bell to be run for the said day, sa the winner thereof may have the same again; and for observing of thir vemss the said John Forrois has acted (bound) himself in the common burgh of Haddington, the said X day of May, the year of God above specified." From this it would seem that the race for the bell was held half-yearly.

Towards the end of 1575, the Regent Morton visited the Border for the purpose of holding Courts of Justice and while he was at Dumfries, "there entered many gentlemen of England," says the contemporary author of the Historie and Life of King James the Sext, "for to behold the Regent's Court, where there was great pro- vocation made for riding of horses; and by fortune, my Lord Hamilton had there a horse so well bridled, and so speedy, that although lie was of a meaner stature from other horses that essayed their speed, he overcame them all a great way upon Solway sands, whereby lie obtained great praise both of England and Scotland that time."

It is said that the defeat of the Spanish Armada, in 1588, had some influence in promoting the taste for Horse-racing in Scotland, from the fact that one or two of the ships being wrecked on the vest coast, a number of fine Spanish horses got ashore, and prove remarkable for their swiftness. But the tradition seems to rest on tangible foundation.

An old annual festival held at the town of Peebles, on Be/lane, or the second of May, was distinguished by horse- races ; but such gatherings on the Border was frequently attended with broils and bloodshed. In 16oS, therefore, the Peebles race was prohibited, as a nuisance, by the Scottish Government. The Lords of Secret Council issued all on 28th April, to the effect that being "informed that there is ane Horse-race appointed to be at Peebles the-day of May next to come, whereunto great numbers of people of all qualities and ranks, intends to repair, betwixt whom there being quarrels, private grudges, and miscontentment, it is to be feared that at their meeting upon fields, some troubles and inconvenients shall fall out amnangs them, to the break of His Majesty's peace and disquieting of the country, without (unless) remeed be provided; therefore the Lords of Secret Council has discharged, and by the tenor hereof discharges, the said Horse-race, and ordains that the same shall be nowise holden nor kept this year for which purpose ordains letters to be direct, to command, charge, and inhibit all and sundry His Majesty's lieges and subjects by open proclamation at the Market-cross of Peebles and other places needful, that none of them presume nor take upon them to convene and assemble themselves to the said race this present year, but to suffer that meeting and action to depart and cease, as they and ilk ane of them will answer upon the contrary at their highest peril." We shall return to Peebles at a later stage.

The royal burgh of Stirling had its annual Horse-race in the end of the sixteenth century, if not earlier—an entry in the Town Council books, of date 18th April, 1598, being to the following effect: "Ane bell of fine silver, weighing twa ounce and ane half, to be provided eight days before Pasch (Easter), and delivered to the Magistrates on Pasch Tuesday," as the prize for a Horse- race."

Paisley, too, bestirred itself in patronage of the Turf. The Council minutes of April, mGoS, contains an order that a silver bell be made of four ounce weight, with all diligence, fora Horse-race yearly to be appointed within this burgh, and the bounds and day for running thereof to be set down by my Lord Abercorn, Lord Paisley, and Kilpatrick." At Paisley, in May, 1620, there were two prizes given for the principal race: 1st, the silver bell, "with the Burgess arms thereupon, for that year, together with the rest of the gold that shall be given in with the said bell;" and 2nd, a double angel; while another prize for "an after-shot race," was "a furnished saddle." The Paisley bell is still preserved, and is considered as old as that of Lanark. Generally the prize-bells of the time weighed about 4oz., and remained as the property of the towns which offered them—the winners being allowed to retain them for a year respectively.
Racing appears to have been in great vogue at Cupar Fife and Dunfermline about the beginning of the seventeenth century. A curious Act of Caution, dated 4th April, 1610, concerning the Races at the latter town, is copied in the burgh books, and quoted in Seton's Memoir of Alexander Seton, Earl of Dunfermline :—

Coutiary for production of the Race Bell upon the fourth day of April, 1611.

At Dunfermline 19 day of April, ano 1610, in presence of Julia Anderson and James Mochrie, Bailies of the burgh.

The whilk day, in presence of the said Bullies, compeared personally Mr. James Douglas, the Schoolmaster, burgess of the said burgh, and upon his awin proper confession, acted him, his heirs, executors, and assigns, as cautioner and surety for David Boswell, brother german to Sir John Boswell, of Balmuto, knight That the said David, or others in his name, shall exhibit and produce, before the Provost and Ballies of the said burgh, in the Tolbooth thereof, upon the fourth day of April, in the year of God sixteen hundred and eleven years next to come, at ten hours before noon, the silver Race bell double overgilt, his Majesty's name and arms graven thereupon, weighing pertaining to sac noble lord, Alexander Earl of Dunfermline, Lord Fyvie and Urquhart, high Chancellor of Scotland, Bailie heritable principal of she regality of Dunfermline, delivered this day to the said David, in custody and keeping, by command and ordinate of the said noble Earl, by reason of the said David's black- horse winning the custody and keeping thereof by ruining frae Conscience Brig to the Brig of Urquhat in company with other twa horses, viz., ane dapple grey horse belonging to Sir William Monteth of Kcrs, knight, and the other sue brown horse belonging to Lewis Montesh, his brother german, and won frae them the race. And that the said David Doswell shall deliver and produce the said bell in the like and also good state as he now receives the same, under the pains of five hundred merks money Scots, to be paid by the said Cautioner to the sai(l noble Earl in case of failure, and the said David Doswell compearing personally, demitting his awin jurisdiction, and duly submitting him in this case to the jurisdiction of the Provost and Dailies of the said burgh, of his awin confession, acted him to free and relieve the said Mr. James Douglas, his Cautioner, of this present Cautioisry between him and the said Dailies, and of other penalties. The said Bullies interponed their authority thereto, and ordains execution of poinding and warding to pass hereupon in case of failure of production of the bell at the day and in manner above specified. 4th April, 1611.

This act delete be reason David Boswell produced the horse race bell, inducia this day.

John Anderson, Bailie

In 1621, the Lords Morton, Boyd, and Abercorn, entered into an Indenture at Hamilton regarding a proposed race : the agreement providing that the course was to be "three mett miles of Cupar race in Fife," the stakes ten double angels for each horse, the winner receiving the whole; and each rider "eight Scots stane weight."

But by this time betting on races seems to have risen to such a height that the Pariiatnent of Scotland, in August, 1621, passed an Act declaring that all money won at cards and dice, or in wagers at horse-races, above 100 inerks Scots, should belong to the poor of the parish in winch it was won :-

If it shall happen any man to inn any sums of money at Carding or Dicing, attour (above) the sum of an hundred merks, within the space of twenty-four hours; or to gain at wagers upon horse races, any sum attour the said sum of an hundred merks; the surplus shall be consigned, within twesty-four hours thereafter, in the hands of the Treasurer of the Kick, if it he in Edinburgh, or in the hands 'of such of the Kirk-Session, in country parochines, as collects and distributes money for the poor at the same, to be employed always upon the poor of the parish where such winning shall happen to fall out. And to the effect that either excess in play may be thus restrained, or, at the least, excessive winning may be employed as said is, our Sovoreign Lord, by Act of his supreme Court of Parliament, gives full power and commission to the Bailies and Magistrates of Burghs, the Sheriffs and Justices of Peace in the country, to pursue and convene all such persons, for all winning at Cards, Dice, and horse-races, which shall happen to be made by any person, by and attour (over and above) the said suist of an hundred merits money aforesaid: and in case the Magistrate informed thereof refuse to pursue for the same, the party informer shall have action against the said Magistrate for double the like sun,, the one half whereof to be given to the poor, and the oilier half to the party informer.

We shall come to an instance in which this statute was made operative at the distance of a century and a half after its enactment.

The first notice of Horse-races at Perth, where the North and South Inches afforded the requisite facilities for the sport, occurs in the Town Council records for 1613. That year, a prize, consisting of a silver bell, presented by Ninian Graham, laird of Garvock, in name of John Graham, laird of Bogside, was run for and won. The course was then, and for a considerable while afterwards, on the South Inch. On the 6th of May, 161 5, the Council ordered six stakes to be placed there "for the riding of the horse-race in time coming." Not long after this period, a change in race-prizes began to take place gradually over the country—cups, bowls, or other pieces of plate, being substituted for the bells. Under date of 14th May, 1625, the Town Council of Glasgow "ordains the Horse Race to be proclaimed to the 25th day of May instant, and the Cup to be made." On 14th February, 1631, the Perth Town Council resolved to convert three silver bells, weighing in all eleven ounces, into a prize Cup, to be run for after Palm Sunday. Next month, 21st March, the minutes speak of the new prize cup, weighing S oz., obtained in lieu of the three silver bells, as these had been found "unsuitable." The race was held on the day after Palm Sunday posts were erected on the South Inch and the cup was won by Thomas Tyrie of Drumkilbo, with his horse called Kildair.

The silver race-bell which the burgh of Lanark possessed at the period under notice is still extant, and has been frequently competed for on the course in our own times. According to the Lanark tradition, it was presented to the burgh in 1160 by King William. the Lion, but the story is palpably absurd. The bell does not seem older than the early part of the seventeenth century. It is of the usual form, four inches high under the ring handle, and four inches across the circular mouth, which is closed with a dome-shaped silver plate, having a cross- shaped opening in the centre, terminating in quatrefoils. It bears engraved on the front the Lanark arms, and also the monogram, " R. D.," which probably denotes that it was the work of Robert Denneistoun or Danielstoun, who became a freeman of the Edinburgh Goldsmiths' Incorporation on 23rd April, 1597, and was Deacon of his craft from 16oS to 16io. Attached to the bell by silver chains are twenty-two small silver tablets, bearing the names of various winners—the weight of the bells and tablets being 30 oz. 2 dwt. The oldest tablet is inscribed thus—

Vin + Be me +
Sir Iohne +
Hamilton
Of + Trabro
vn + 1628

The others are quite modern, dating between 1852 and 1$88. In the year 1661 the bell went amissing, and was not recovered till 1852, when it was found in the repositories of the Lanark Town Council. It was exhibited in the "Sports and Arts Exhibition" of the Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 1890, being then held by Mr. A. H. Laidlay, Edinburgh, the last winner with his horse Horton. An engraving and descriptions of the bell appeared in the Field of 22nd and 29th March, 1890.

The following Obligation, of date 12th April, 1631, entered in the Town Council books of Stirling, shows that the sport was kept up there, and that the prizes were as yet unchanged

In presence of the Provost and Bailie;, compearcd peasonally Mr. Thomas Rollok, younger, burgess of the said burgh of Stirling, and became acted and obliged of his sin confession, as cautioner and surety for John Drum. mood of Garrick, that he shall exhibit, present, and deliver to the Provost, or any one of the Bullies of the said burgh of Stirling, within the said burgh, upon the first day of March next to come, all and hailI these silver bells, extending to the number of aucht bells, weighing in the haill aucht unce and nine drape weight, which he wan this day, being Peace Tuesday, at the Bell Race, to be run again, the next Peace Tuesday, betwixt Bannockburn and Stirling, and that under the pain of 50 merks money of this realm, to be paid to the Treasurer of this burgh, to the town's use, in case of failure.

The Palm Sunday race of 1633 at Perth was for a piece of plate of the value of 40; and the cup of 1637 was won by Francis Story, servant to Lord Fenton. The troublous days of the Covenant were now at hand. But it does not appear that horse-racing was specially proscribed in Scotland during the Covenanting era—although there could be very little public pastime in a period of national confusion. Races seem to have been run at Cupar Fife in April, 1642. That year a charge was lodged with the criminal authorities by James Stewart of Ardvoirlich (afterwards the assassin of Montrose's friend, Lord Kilpont) against Laurence Mercer, son of Sit- Laurence Mercer of Meikleour, and other three students at St. Andrews, accusing them of having murdered the complainer's son, Alexander Stewart, in a tumult between two classes" of students. The matter was taken up, and Laurence Mercer and the others s'crc summoned to appear before the Lords of Privy Council oil 8th June, 1643. These parties attended; but the Stewarts failed so to do and after further procedure, the Council acquitted Laurence Mercer and his "condisciples" of the charge, as it was proved that young Ardvoirlich died from natural causes, and not from the injuries received in the fight among the students of St. Andrews, the said Alexander having afterwards attended the Cupar Races in April following, in good health, and there "bursted a poor man's horse" by riding it to death.

"Peebles to the Play!" Although the troubles of the nation were thickening in 1647 and 1648, Peebles kept up its horse-races. The prize was the Silver Bell described in the burgh books of those years. On 20th April, 1647, William Jonkesone, younger, burgess of Peebles, became cautioner "for John Stewart, servitor to my lord Earl of Traquair, who having this day received the Silver Bell of Peebles, with two little bells and eight pendicles thereat, that the said John shall re-deliver the same great bell, with the said two little bells, and eight pendicles, together with his ain addition, betwixt and the third day of May next, under the pain of 200 merks Scots money." Next year, on 4th May, "compearecl personally ane noble and potent. lord, George, Lord Ramsay, who having with ane gray stoned young horse won the Silver Bell of Peebles by running thrice about the stowpes (posts) of Whythauch, has received the said Bell, having appended thereto three little bells and eight pendicles, all weighing one pound, two ounces, and eleven drop weight of silver," finds caution that the same will be returned on 4th May next year, "with his lordship's addition thereto."

After the Restoration there was a great revival of Racing in Scotland. The Mercurius Caledonius, in March, 1661, advertised the "Race of Haddington," which was to be run on 22nd May, for 'a most magnificent cup" and also that "the Horse race at Lanark, institute by King William above 600 years since, but obstructed these 23 years by the iniquity of the times, is now restored by Sir John Wilkie of Fouldon, as being loathe so ancient 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 of May." It is suggested in the Field that Sir John Wilkic's plate and bell were probably the prizes described as siller tanker and bell," which were run for in June, 1719. Previously, the Lanark Town Council, on 21st March, that year, appointed "their race for the siller tanker to be run in the usual place upon Thursday, the i4th of June next to come, and the magistrates to be judges in the riding."

In 1661, Ilorscraccs were also held on the Sands of Leith every Saturday ; and at Cupar Fife there was a Race meeting, the prize being a silver cup of the value of £i3. Next year, in May, the Dumfries Town Council offered a silver bell of four ounces, to be run for every second Tuesday of May, by the work-horses of the burgh, "according to the ancient custom ;" and if the prize was won by the same horse and rider for three years consecutively, it was to become the property of the winner. Again, in 1664, the Council offered a silver cup of forty ounces, to be run for by noblemen and gentlemen's horses. The Town Council of Stirling, in 1665, 1673, and 1674, offered a silver cup : the course being on the Bridgc-haugh, and the time the month of May.

This was probably about the time when the far famed Habbie Simson, Piper of Kilbarchan, blew his enlivening strains at Race-meetings in the west country,—as commemorated by the facetious poet of Beltrees in elegiac verse:

"---- At horse races many a day,
Before the black, the brown, the gray,
He gart his pipe, when he did play,
Baith skirl and screed.
Now all such pastime's quite away,
Sin Habbie's dead!"

Some entries in a volume of accounts preserved among the Aberdeen papers at Haddo house, show how the Earl of Aberdeen, who was Chancellor of Scotland from 10th May, 1682, to 21st November, 1684, patronized Leith Races:

1682, July 17. To my lord going to Leith to his race, per Account, £S Ss. For weighing the men at Leith that rade, £1 Ss.
To the man that ran the night before the race, 18s.
Item to the two grooms drink money at winning the race at Leith, £8 8s.
Item to the Edinburgh Officers with the cup, £14
Item to the Smith boy plaitt the running horse feet, 14s.

Until the Revolution year, 1688, the race at Perth was called "The Bell Race;" but thereafter, by authority of the Magistrates, it was denominated "the race for a cup and other prizes."

At Dunfermline, as we learn from Dr. Henderson's Annals of that town, the Town Council, on 16th July, 1702, "ordained the Treasurer to put out a Saddle on town's account, to be ridden on morn after July market, betwixt the Town-green and Buckieburn, back and fore; the input, each horse, £1 10s.; the horse not to be above £5 sterling value; and ordained the Treasurer also to buy a bonnet and a pair of stockings, to be exposed for a Foot-race on same ground immediately after the Horse-race, with ribbons to the bonnet." Again, on 4th August, 1707, the Council "warrants the Treasurer to pay the Saddler, £6 for the saddle ridden at July market last."

New attractions for the Race-meetings were provided at Stirling. The Town Council, on April, 1706, "appoints intimation to be made by tuck of drum that there is ain Goose Race to be ridden for by the maltmen of this burgh, Uj)Ofl the Saturday immediately before Whitsunday next, a little without the Burrows gate, which is to begin at nine o'clock in the morning: as also ane Horse Race for anc new saddle and furniture, to the value of £12. 14S., to be ridden for the said day at one o'clock in the afternoon, betwixt the Burrows gate and William Shirray's in Cambusbarron, back and fore, value of each horse to run not to exceed £6o: as also ane Foot Race betwixt the Burrows gate and Whytchill, at three o'clock the same day, for ane pair of stockings, new shoes, and blue bonnet." In the following year there were additions to the programme. The Council, on 21st April, 1707, "appoints ane Horse Race to be run at Stirling, upon the day of May next for ane Silver Mug, to the value of , which is to bear in great letters 'Stirling Prize:' as also ane Foot Race to be run for by Men only, for ane pair of shoes, ane pair of stockings, ane pair of gloves, and ane bonnet: as also recommends to the Guildry to order ane Race for ane large Gold Ring, to be run for upon horseback with lances the foresaid day; and to the Maltmen to appoint ane Goose Race the same day; and the Omnigatherum (the Carters) to appoint another Race for ain load Saddle, ane pair of Sods (a sort of saddle used by the lower classes, made of cloth stuffed), and ane new sack full of coals, the same day: and appoints all the foresaid Races to be put in the weekly Gazette for six weeks to come, to the effect the lieges may be acquainted therewith." A minute of 21st July following, states the Town's part of the expense of the Races as being £52. 0s. 6d.

The race meetings of 1714 and 1715 are said to have given the Jacobite party in the south of Scotland opportunities for plotting in the interest of the Chevalier de St. George. At the Lochmaben races the plates bore political devices: and on one of these occasions, when the races were over, a party of the Jacobite gentry went to the Cross of the burgh, and drank the Pretender's health on bended knees! In 1720, a variety of race-meetings at Scottish towns were advertised. Chambers, in his Domestic Annals, enumerates—"  race at Cupar in Fife; one at Galarig, near Selkirk, for a piece of plate given by the burgh, of L12 value; a race at Hamilton Moor for £10; a race on Lanark Moor for a plate of £12, given by the burgh; a race on the sands of Leith for a gold cup of about a hundred guineas value, and another for a plate of £50 value, given by the city of Edinburgh ; finally, another race at Leith, for a silver punch-bowl and ladle, Of £25 value, given by the captains of the Trained Bands of Edinburgh."

The Town Council of Dunfermline, on 26th April, 1723, "resolved to put out a Saddle for a race to be run on Wednesday next at two o'clock afternoon: and commissioned the two Bailies, the Dean of Guild, and Treasurer, to buy the Saddle, and draw out the Articles." Farther, on 30th April, same year, "the Council, for encouraging of the Gardeners' Race, to be kept up here, they agreed that the town shall next year contribute 30s. sterling for buying and putting a plate for next year."

At Perth, on 9th September, 1734, the lowi] Council agreed to give ten guineas towards making up 75 guineas, or three purses, for the Horse-races "to be run here next week." On 1st July, 1737, the Council agreed to give a silver plate of £15 value, or that Sum in money, to the races; and on 27th August, 1738, they agreed to give a prize of £15 15s. At sometime during the century, it was found convenient to transfer the race-course to the North Inch; which, however, was then only half its present dimensions, being bounded on the north by a wall called the White Dyke, which the Town Council ordered to be built on 6th November, 1727, and which ran across from Balhousie Castle to the bank of the Tay, dividing the town's property from that of the Kinnouli family. This wall was erected as a check to the encroach- merits of the Muirton tacksmen, who, when ploughing their land, occasionally took a furrow or two from the Inch; and the expense is traditionally (probably erroneously) said to have been defrayed out of the fines imposed on the bakers and brewers of the burgh for fighting with the weavers.

In a Tack, dated 1761, granted by the Town, of the grass and pasturage of the North and South Inches, a clause appears to the effect that "liberty is reserved for the Golf, Archers, and other pastimes, conform to use and wont ; and liberty for the running Horse-races, and for airing and sweating the said horses for three weeks before the week of the Race ; and that the Races be no sooner in the year than September." In 1803, the North Inch was enlarged to its existing size under an excambion with the Earl of Kinnoull but, previous to that bargain, the race-course was nearly the same as it is at this day, the Earl permitting it to go through his grounds by tem- porary openings being made in the boundary wall.

Eventually the annual Races on the Sands of Leith lengthened out until they lasted a week in July or August, being run daily during the recess of the tide. The patrons were the Magistrates of Edinburgh, who marched in procession to the scene every day, attended by the Town Guard; and the inhabitants of the capital and its seaport kept high holiday throughout the week, affording ample scope for the manners-painting muse of Robert Fergusson, who celebrates "Leith Races" in one of the most characteristic and mirth-provoking of his effusions.

A memorable race was run in January, 1769. Two country gentlemen, Mr. Maxwell of Dalswinton and Mr. Blair of Dunrod laid a wager of £200 sterling which of them should ride soonest from Dumfries to Kirkcudbright, a distance of about 27 miles. They started; but Mr. Blair became ill on the road, seven miles short of Kirkcudbright, the goal, and yielded the race, giving a Bill for the amount Of the wager. He died before the Bill became due. His heir refused payment, and the winner took the matter into the Court of Session. The case was fully argued and on 16th December, 1774, the Court gave final judgment, finding that under the Act of James VI. in 1621, cap. 21, all money won at Cards and Dice, or in wagers at horse-races, above 100 merks Scots, belonged to the poor of the parish.

A year or two after this date—namely in August, 1777 —the Caledonian hunt was instituted at Hamilton House, the original members being twelve in number ; and its turf-meetings lasted a whole week. About 1784, the Perthshire Hunt was established by the county, gentry, and proved a success. The races on the North Inch, under its auspices, took place in October, also continuing for a week, with ordinaries and balls daily. The palmy days of the Perth Turf saw it as numerously and influentially frequented as any other in Scotland : and when the Caledonian Hunt came thither, according to rotation, the assemblies, it is stated, were prolonged for a fortnight,— the Fair City then becoming the centre of attraction as a resort of fashion.

With the close of the eighteenth century, our discursive task must end, as we are persuaded that the foregoing details really exhaust most of what the general reader may be supposed to reckon curious and interesting in the history of the Scottish Turf. And we will conclude with the judicious remark of a popular sporting writer ("The Druid," in his Post and Paddock) that while believing that the Turf would sicken and droop without betting, as completely as commerce and business without speculation, we cannot but deeply deplore that men with ample means will not consider such a noble sport quite amusement enough, without the extra stimulant of 'the jingle of the guinea.'"


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