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The History of Brechin to 1864
Chapter IV. The History of Brechin from 1600 TO 1670

The year 1600 was the first which was held to be commenced in Scotland on the 1st day of January. Previously, the year was understood to begin on 25th March, or Lady Day. This alteration in the style was enforced by an Act of the Estates, and requires to be kept in view in regard to the precise date of any document executed between January and March before 1600. The beginning of this century was also remarkable in Scotland by the accession of James VI., in 1603, to the crown of England, and the consequent transference of the seat of royalty from Edinburgh to London. Before leaving Scotland James took a personal interest in a trial before the High Court of Justiciary in 1601, wherein Thomas Bellie, burgess of Brechin, and his son were accused of “ having and keeping of poison, mixing the same with daich or dough, and casting down thereof in Janet Clerk’s yard in Brechin for the destruction of fowls, by the which poison they destroyed to the said Janet two hens.” The accused were banished from the kingdom for life, as recorded by Burton in his Criminal Trials,—no great punishment, perhaps, some of James’ English courtiers thought. This change of the seat of government was at first detrimental to Scotland, as it drew off the rich nobles to the court in England, where they spent the ready money which Scotland so much needed. The change was the more felt in consequence of the policy adopted by both nations, which, although then made one kingdom, so far as the title of Great Britain, bestowed by James, could unite them, still remained as hostile and distinct in reality as any two nations could be, each showing its jealousy of the other by enacting that sheep, black cattle, wool, hides, leather, and yarn, should be prohibited from exportation and reserved by both nations for internal consumption. The families of Panmure and Southesk seem to have followed the court party at this period, and to have added to their titles of honour in consequence.

Patrick Maule of Panmure, who was born in 1603, was on 3d August 1646 created a peer by the title of Earl of Panmure, Lord Maule of Brechin and Navar. This noble family has been long and olosely connected with Brechin ; and, after ranking five earls in succession, is now represented by the Right Hon. Fox, Lord Panmure of Brechin and Navar, the title having been renewed to his father the Right Honourable William Ramsay Maule, the representative of the ancient family, through a female, by William IV. in September 1831. Patrick, the first earl, was much attached to Charles I., and was present with him at all the battles fought by the king during the civil wars. His Lordship died on 22d December 1661, and was succeeded by his son George, who was an equally keen royalist, and was present at the battles of Dunbar, Inverkeithing, and Worcester, in 1650 and 1652. George, the third earl, succeeded his father in 1671. He was a privy councillor to Charles II. and to James VII., and lived till 1686, when he was succeeded by his brother James, the fourth earl. This nobleman had a very checkered life. He was a privy councillor to James VII., but was removed from that office in consequence of opposing the abrogation of the penal laws against Popery. In 1689, however, he strenuously supported the cause of James VIII., and he was present, with his brother, Harry Maule of Kellie, at the battle of Sherifimuir in 1715, having previously proclaimed James at the cross of Brechin as King Regnant of Great Britain. After this battle he escaped abroad. He was then attainted of high treason, and by Act of Parliament deprived of his lands and titles. His honours and estates were, however, twice offered him if he would take the oaths to the house of Hanover, but he conscientiously declined to do so, and died in exile at Paris on 11th April 1723. His brother, Harry Maule of Kellie, was a man of a similar stamp, noted for his goodness of heart, and marked by all the characteristics of a cavalier and high-bred gentleman. The fifth earl was William, son of Harry Maule of Kellie. William was bom about the year 1700, and was created an Irish peer in 1743 by the title of Earl Panmure of Forth and Viscount Maule of Whitechurch. He represented the county of Forfar for forty-seven years, and was a general in the army in 1770. In 1764, he purchased the estate of Panmure from the York Buildings Company for £49,157, 18a and 4d., and died in 1782, leaving his estates to hiB nephew, the eighth Earl of Dalhousie, with reversion to William Ramsay, the second son of Lord Dalhousie, who died, universally lamented, on 13th April 1852, having been long known as the Honourable William Ramsay Maule, subsequently as the Honourable William Maule, and finally as Lord Panmure, and who through life made it his study to patronise every plan calculated for the benefit of Brechin. The present representative of the family is the Right Honourable Fox, Baron Panmure of Brechin and Navar, and Earl of Dalhousie, well known for his energetic services as Secretary at State for War during the Crimean contest, as well as his labours in other public situations. The late Lord Panmure represented the county of Forfar in the successive Parliaments from 1796 to 1832; and the present Earl of Dalhousie sat in Parliament, first for the county of Perth in 1835, next for the Elgin burghs in 1838, thereafter for the town of Perth in 1841, and sat for that city till 1852, when he became a peer, having been returned by that community for four successive Parliaments, and elected in 1846, 1847, and 1852 by the unanimous voice of the electors. Lord Dalhousie was created a Knight of the Thistle in 1853, and on the fall of Sebastapol in 1860 he had conferred on him the honour of Grand Cross of the Bath; his lordship is Lord of Forfarshire, Lord Privy Seal for Scotland, and a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. The family of Panmure is of French extraction. The progenitor of Maule of Panmure came over with William the Conqueror in 1066, and from various chartularies and other documents, the genealogy of the family can be traced downwards from that date to the present time.

The family of Southesk was also ennobled during the seventeenth century, and took an active part in the eventful affairs of that period. The progenitors of this family were anciently proprietors of the lands of Balinhard; but in the reign of David II. John de Balinhard obtained a grant of the lands of Carnegie, in the barony of Panmure, and from thence he took his surname. From John descended Duthac de Carnegie, who, in 1409, by a charter from Robert, Duke of Albany, obtained the lands of Kinnaird. He was succeeded by his son Walter, who joined the Earl of Huntly, on behalf of James II., against the Lindsays at the battle of Brechin, for which he had his Castle of Kinnaird burned to the ground by Earl Beardie and his followers. John, the grandson of Walter, was slain at the battle of Flodden in Northumberland, fought by James IV. in 1513. This John left a son, Robert Carnegie, who was in great favour with Regent Hamilton, and was by him promoted to be one of the judges of the Court of Session, then to be ambassador to England, and subsequently to be ambassador to France, previously to which last embassy he was knighted. He was esteemed an excellent lawyer, and was the author of a work on Scots Law, entitled “Liber Carnegij.” Sir Robert Carnegie died in 1565, leaving by his wife, Margaret Guthrie, six sons and seven daughters, and from, some one or other of these sons are descended most of the numerous families in Angus-shire bearing the surname of Carnegie. This Sir Robert Carnegie was succeeded by his eldest son John, a great friend to Queen Mary; and John again was succeeded by his brother David, a favourite with James VI., who promoted him to be one of the Lords of Session, a Privy Councillor, and a Commissioner of the Treasury. Sir David left four sons, David, John, Robert, and Alexander. David, the eldest son of Sir David, was created Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird by King James VI. on 14th April 1616, and Earl of Southesk by Charles I. on 22d June 1633. From the other sons of Sir David are descended the families of Northesk and Balnamoon. David, the first earl, who was buried at Kinnaird on 11th March 1658, left four sons, David, James, John, and Alexander of Pitarrow, whose son David was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1663. Earl David was succeeded by his son

James, who was a Privy Councillor to Charles II. Robert, the third earl, succeeded his father in 1669. Before his succession he resided for some time in France, and was captain of one of the companies of Scots Guards to Louis XIV. He again was succeeded by his son Charles in 1688, and upon his decease, James, his son, took up the title as fifth Earl of Southesk. This James was attainted of high treason, being concerned in the rebellion of 1715, and having gone abroad, he died at a convent in France in 1729. Sir John Carnegie, second baronet of Pitarrow, grandson of Sir Alexander, fourth son of Earl David, then became head and representative of the family, the other sons of the earl having left no male descendants. Sir John was succeeded by his son Sir James Carnegie, a man of great abilities, who purchased the forfeited Southesk estates from the York Buildings Company, and was very active in making like purchases for other noblemen similarly situated, and who sat in Parliament for Kincardineshire for many years. This Sir James was succeeded by his son Sir David Carnegie, who for some time represented in Parliament the Aberdeen district of burghs, then comprising Bervie, Montrose, Arbroath, and Brechin, along with Aberdeen Having left the burghs, he was called to sit for the county of Forfar, which he continued to represent till his death in 1796. Upon the decease of Sir David the title and estates devolved upon his son, the late Sir James Carnegie, the fifth baronet of Pitarrow. Thus, Sir Alexander Carnegie of Pitarrow (fourth son of Earl David) was succeeded by his son Sir David Carnegie of Pitarrow, who again was succeeded by his son Sir John Carnegie of Pitarrow, who came to be of Southesk, and was followed by his son Sir James Carnegie, who was succeeded by Sir David Carnegie, the father of the late Sir James, who died in 1849, and was then succeeded by his son James. The late Sir James Carnegie began the prosecution of the claim to the earldom, which claim was followed out by his son. The committee of the House of Lords in July 1855 found the claim proved; and the attainder being reversed, Sir James Carnegie, sixth baronet of Pitarrow, was restored, with the original precedencies, to the dignity and titles of Earl of Southesk and Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird and Leuchars, in the peerage of Scotland, which had been forfeited by James, the fifth earl, in 1716.

It was in 1600 that the trades of Brechin were first incorporated. The seal of cause was issued on 3d October 1600 by Robert Kinnear and Robert Rollock, bailies; David Lindsay, Thomas Lyall, Thomas Ramsay, Matthew Dempster, David Dempster, John Mortoun, George Ferrier, John Leich, Thomas Liddel, elder, Alexander Gellie, David Noray, David Carnegy, and Alexander Clark, councillors; on the petition of David Noray, skinner; Alexander Gellie, cordiner; John Daw, smith; John Adam, tailor; Thomas Schewan, baxter; William Bruce, webster; John Langlands, bonnet-maker; and James Fair-weather, fiesher; and these tradesmen state that, notwithstanding of Brechin being a royal burgh infeft and established with right of guildry and deacons of crafts, yet, partly from oversight, and partly from want of sufficient numbers of master tradesmen, the election of deacons of crafts had been pretermitted, to the great hurt and decay of the crafts, and also to the prejudice of the lieges, by insufficiency of work through lack of trial; therefore, these tradesman desire the town council to fortify and maintain the crafts in their rights; and in consequence the bailies and council, with consent of the “greatest multitude of the commons convenit,” grant the prayer of the petition, and ordain that the freemen of the crafts enumerated should yearly, twenty days before Michaelmas, choose a deacon from each craft, with collector or deacon convener, officers and other members requisite, and that, “in the election of magistrates, the vote of the deacons of the crafts shall be sufficient for the haill members.” The bonnet-makers and fleshers have long ceased to be corporations in Brechin. The bonnet-makers, indeed, do not appear ever to have taken up the privileges conceded to them by the seal of cause, and the fleshers, although they formed themselves into a craft, took no part in municipal matters. The other six trades, however,—namely, the hammermen, glovers, shoemakers, bakers, weavers, and tailors,—proceeded, in virtue of this seal of cause, to choose deacons from each craft, and the six deacons annually elected a deacon convener, and the whole subsequently took an active, and often an important part in the municipal government of the town. It is interesting to observe that the copy of the seal of cause engrossed in the record of the hammermen trade bears to be signed, “Rot. Rollock, baillie, be the clerk, because he could not subscribe.” The crafts thus incorporated in 1600 were very zealous for the religion and morality of their members, as became the craftsmen of an Episcopal city. The hammermen, the principal or first in rank of these incorporations, may be taken as an example of the whole trades. Immediately on being incorporated they enacted that the whole members, with their servants and apprentices, should keep the church on the Sabbath and three week days—viz., Monday and Saturday to the lecture, and Wednesday to the sermon; that the masters should have family worship morning and evening; that if any be seen drunk or using unlawful pastime during the hours of worship on the Sabbath-day, he should pay a fine to the craft, besides the kirk’s punishment; and masters were enjoined each to have a whip in his house for punishing his servants and apprentices that took the Lord’s name in vain. Any apprentice who broke the seventh commandment was to double the years of his apprenticeship, and pay 40s. to the poor, “by and attour the penalties and punishment belonging to the kirk." Masters were to pay each time of their marriage 6s. 8d., likely to defray the cost of a little feast to the trade on the occasion, but certainly not a provocative to matrimony, although immediately after this enactment we find it ordained that it shall in no wise be “ leisum ” for an unmarried master to take an apprentice. All members of the craft were strictly prohibited from using improper language, and some are fined for misconduct in this respect. To secure a respectable attendance at funerals a fine was imposed for absence. An attempt seems to have been made to raise a fund something like a friendly society, but to have failed. The grand affair, however, always appears to have been the church; a list is given of the twelve persons who contributed in the erection of their loft in the cathedral in 1608, each of whom paid 250 merks; “ therefore, with {he arms of the trade,” which, if we mistake not, remained on the front of the loft till the church was repaired in 1806; and a list is also given of the seven persons whose wives were to be admitted, by the unanimous consent, to sit in the front seat, likely as much a matter of ambition as the right of entry of a duchess to the royal presence. In November 1687 a letter is read by His Majesty’s command, King James II. of England? ordaining the continuance of all magistrates and office-bearers* until further orders, with which illegal order of the foolish Stuart the officials readily complied; but in October 1689, during the interregnum, the craft, in obedience to the Act of His Majesty’s Council, makes a new election of deacon, treasurer, and other office-bearers. A law plea occurs in 1752 in regard to the gate penny, a tax of a penny exacted by the hammermen from every stall at the markets in the town on which was found anything of iron work, understood to have been originally an allowance made to the trade for keeping the gates of the town at market times. The result of the plea is not mentioned, but we presume it had been favourable, as the trade continued the exaction till very recently. The mode of electing the office-bearers of all the trades was regulated by a minute of the Convenery Court in 1742, and, we believe, continues to be the rule to this day.

The bakers of the burgh had surely been in repute at this time, for in the accounts of the town of Aberdeen there is this entry: “1603-4.—Item, to the post that brocht hame thrie loodes of quhyt breid fra Edinburgh, Donde, and Brechin, to try the baxteris with,' 6s. 8d.” But the next year the same accounts have an entry of a different kind, still, however, showing the intimacy between the two burghs; it is this, “To Caddell the post to gang to Brechin at command of the Provost for inquisition of the pest at Killimuir, lib. 10s.” The plague did not become serious in Brechin till more than forty years after this. The Brechin bakers do not appear to have been the only tradesmen from that burgh held in repute in Aberdeen, for in the accounts already alluded to we have, under date “ 1626-27.— Item, at command of the magistrates, given to ane calsie maker (paviour) that cam to this town from Brechin for undertaking the bigging of the town’s common calsies, for making his ex-pensiss forth and hame, £61. 13s. 4d.”

A few years afterwards, in 1629, the guildry incorporation was commenced, for this seems the proper term for a body whose records begin thus: “The said day and several days before, these persons undemamed, who were then actual merchants, traders within the burgh of Brechin, taking to their consideration, that for themselves and their posterity, and for respect and love that they have to the welfare of the burgh wherein they were living and residing, they should lay out and improve themselves to their utmost, to be example to those who should survive them, to advance the interest of merchandising, and for that end, the surest mean so to do was, that they should incorporate themselves into a body who were to keep order and rule, and with common consent to make such laudable acts as should be performed by them so convened, and obeyed in all burghs for the weal of each other and the common good of the whole body, ay, and until they should attain to that perfection that other royal burghs do brook and possess of late, that is, to have a dean of guild established, under whose jurisdiction they were to be, and to be governed by the laws of the guild/1 This preamble is followed up by a statement that a loft in the church had been bought for the use of the guildry, and mortcloths (palls) provided to be used at the interment of members and their families, and then a list of the contributors to the guildry is given. For many years afterwards, nothing is entered in the guild records but simply the names and contributions of persons admitted; but, in 1666, there is a long decree engrossed from which it appears that the merchants had applied to the convention of burghs, and that that body had appointed commissioners, who met at Brechin on 5th September 1666, and, after hearing parties, ordained “ that at the next election of the burgh of Brechin, and yearly at elections, in all time coming, in the said burgh, there shall be strictly kept and observed, without the least change or seeming alteration, these rules following: to wit, that the whole number of the council, magistrates, and others who shall have voice, shall consist of the number of thirteen only, whereof there shall be still eight of the said thirteen such as either has been or are actual trafficking merchants or maltmen who are not incorporate with any other handicraft; and if any be presently on the council under the name of merchants or maltmen, or yet incorporate in any of the trades, or meets with them, that they are hereby obliged, before they can be leeted as councillors for the merchants, to renounce the said trade both before the collector at the meeting of trades, as also in presence of the council, and that the said thirteen shall not leet any to be magistrates but those who are merchants traffickers, and that at the said next election, and in all time coming, there shall be chosen out of the said merchant councillors so leeted, their magistrates, conform to their ancient custom, with ane dean of guild and treasurer, with ane master of the hospital; and the said dean of guild is hereby declared invested and empowered as fully and freely in all respects as any royal burgh of this kingdom, with all the power, rights, and privileges that is or can belong thereto in any other royal burgh, as said is; and that of the said thirteen of the council in all time coming, seven shall be a quorum, the haill councillors being always cited either personally or at their houses, to keep each council day, with this provision always, that the said dean of guild and his council shall not have power to quarrel, stop, or impede any burgess residing within the town, and bearing burden with the rest of the burgh, whether merchants or tradesmen, already made, in their privilege, that is, cannot challenge them, nor force them, or either of them, to enter of new as burgesses, or pay anything to the guild box” John Donaldson, who was the first contributor, in 1629, to the voluntary association then formed, was the first dean of guild of Brechin. His election is entered in the record on 8th October 1669. Probably some delay had arisen with the convention, and the guildry had not been brought into play till that time. Like other corporations, the guildry is now on the wane. The maltmen have long ceased to exist.

The authority of the bishop, though considerably abridged, was sufficient to constitute him the principal man of Brechin for the greater part of the seventeenth century. Andrew Lamb was bishop of the see from 1606 to 1619, and was one of the bishops sent to England in 1610 by King James for the purpose of receiving Episcopal Ordination from the English bishops, as some doubts existed regarding that of the Scottish bishops. The Bishop of Brechin was accompanied by the Bishop of Galloway and the Archbishop of Glasgow, so we may infer that Lamb was considered a man of some importance.

David Lindsay held this diocese from 1619 to 1634, when he was translated to Edinburgh. He is not more indebted to the popular rhymes of the day than are his brother bishops; but, notwithstanding of the insinuations of the reformers and bards of that period, Lindsay appears to have been a man of unspotted virtue, and he certainly was a man of undoubted ability. Bishop Lindsay was one of the most spirited of all the prelates, and hence drew upon himself the especial hatred of the Covenanters. It is related of him, that being one time threatened with personal violence in case he should read the service-book in his cathedral, he went into the pulpit with a pair of pistols in his belt, and resolutely read out the liturgy; and his minister having become recusant, and refused to read the prayers as appointed in the service-book or Scottish edition of the liturgy, the bishop caused his own servant ascend the desk and read the service regularly. It would appear that King Charles held Lindsay in high estimation, for he selected this bishop to act when he wa& crowned King of Scotland, at Holyrood House, on 18th June 1633. The ceremonies on this occasion are described with great minuteness, and seem to have attracted no little attention from their near resemblance to Popish practices.

Bishop Lindsay, when translated to Edinburgh, met with ruder treatment than he had ever experienced in Brechin. On the Sabbath of 16fh July 1637, an order was promidgated from the different pulpits in Edinburgh, for the introduction of the Scottish liturgy on the Sunday following. Accordingly, on 23d July 1637, the dean of St Giles’ appeared in his surplice, and began to read the prayers, when an old woman, named Janet Geddes, rising with the tripod on which she had been seated, exclaimed, “Villain, dost thou say mass at my lugI” and made the stool fly at the clergyman’s head. All was immediately confusion ; Bishop Lindsay, who was present, ascended the pulpit and endeavoured to allay the ferment; he was answered by volleys of sticks, stones, and stools; and had it not been for the assistance of the magistrates and influential nobility who attended this cathedral, in all probability the bishop would have been killed. As it was, Lindsay was much injured, and being then “a corpulent man,” and not able to defend himself as he had done in his earlier days, he was carried off with great difficulty in the coach of the Earl of Roxburgh.

The great bell, as the session-house tablet informs us, was recast during Bishop Lindsay’s incumbency. The session records state, that on 17th August 1630, “there was no session, because the minister was in Dundee agreeing with a skipper to take the great bell to Holland and found her of new, because she was riven." Immediately following this entry we find it recorded that James Peires left £300 to the kirk-session, “£200 thereof to the poor, and the third hundred to help the bell."

In 1629 there is a disposition by John Mortimer of Craigievar to Robert Arbuthnot of Findowrie of his desk and seat in the kirk of Brechin, which sometime pertained to Symer of Balzordie, with the ground whereon the same stands, but reserving the liferent use thereof to Craigievar and Helen Symer his spouse;—so the conveyances of seats in the church, whether legal or not, had commenced at an early period.

Bishop Whiteford, who succeeded Lindsay in the diocese of Brechin, met with pretty much the same treatment in the kirk of Brechin, in November 1637, as Lindsay had done under Mrs Geddes in Edinburgh; and in consequence of the irritation of the inhabitants, and the pugnacious spirit displayed by them, Whiteford was obliged to flee from his see, his palace having been plundered, and his wife and children threatened, if not ill-used. The burgh records contain no account of these transactions, but we observe that for several weeks about the end of the year 1637, there was no session, “because the minister was in Edinburgh.” In 1638 Whiteford fled the kingdom and went to England, where he obtained, in 1642, the see of Waldegrave in Northamptonshire, from King Charles, to whose person and fortunes he appears to have been decidedly attached. Whiteford died in England.

A curious agreement is extant, dated in 1637, between Bishop Whiteford, “ with advice and consent of the chapter of the said bishoprick,onthe first part,” the Right Honourable Patrick Maule of Panmure, “ one of his sacred Majesty’s bed-chamber, on the second part,” and the bailies, dean of guild, and town-treasurer, "with the advyce and consent of the counsell” of Brechin, on the third part. This document states that Mr Maule stood heritably infeft, “by his sacred Majesty” Charles I., with whom he was a great favourite, in the heritable offices of justiciary and constabulaiy within the city of Brechin, with power and liberty of election of one of the bailies of the burgh, “ upon the resignation of Umquhile John, Earl of Mar, who was infeft therein, upon the resignation of Umquhile David, Earl of Crawford,* authors to the Laird of Panmure; ” but that disputes having arisen about Mr Maule’s right, the king had, in 1635, directed a commission to the archbishop of St Andrews, and other prelates, for settling of all controversies, and that, in terms of the recommendation of these commissioners, it was agreed, in 1635, that, for the future, one bailie should be chosen by the bishop, one by the Laird of Panmure, and one by the town of Brechin, and that the Laird of Panmure should give a deputation of the offices of justiciar and constable to the bailie whom he named, “by doing whereof, all controversie betwixt the depute of the justiciar and the town, anent the jurisdiction therein, will be removed, whereas of before there has been still debait and contention, in matters of riot or bluid, the justiciar and his deputes claiming the samen to them, and the bailzies of the town also pretending right thereto.” The charter chest of Panmure contains some long processes, in reference to the right to judge and punish in matters of “riot and bluid,” claimed by the town and by the justiciar. The present magistrates, we daresay, would be most happy if Lord Panmure would relieve them of the trouble of deciding such “bluid wits” occurring now-a-days. This agreement, with some partial interruptions, was acted upon till the forfeiture by the Panmure family in 1715.

The disturbances in Scotland during the reign of Charles, have afforded materials for many volumes. It is not our province to detail these civil wars, but we must glance at them in so far as Brechin was affected by them. Suffice it for us to say, that the despotic attempts of James, and the still more despotic attempts of Charles, to force upon a rude people a mode of worship which certainly bore, in some of its forms, a likeness to the Roman Catholic ceremonies, led to serious wars between the king and the people, which finally terminated in the decapitation of Charles, and the establishment of a miscalled republic, under the dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell. Many and severe were the struggles of parties before matters were thus settled. In March 1638, the solemn league and covenant was subscribed in the Greyfriars Church of Edinburgh, by the great majority of the barons and leading men of Scotland. Copies #were immediately transmitted through the land, and were received with exultation in almost every quarter. The Bishop of St Andrews is reported, on hearing of these proceedings, to have exclaimed, “All we have done these last thirty years is at once undone." At this time a Committee of Estates, as it was called, assumed the temporary government of Scotland. In 1643 this body raised a regiment of horse, and “appointed 140 to come out of the sheriffdom of Forfar.” Most likely these men were furnished by the landed interest; but subsequently—as we are informed by Spalding, in his “ History of the Troubles in Scotland and England ”—there were “lifted out of the town of Edinburgh 1200 men, out of Dundee 180, out of Brechin and Montrose 110 men;” and these assuredly were raised by the burgesses. Presuming Montrose and Brechin to have borne to each other the relative proportion of inhabitants which they now do, this would give about 36 men for Brechin; and holding again that the proportion was just between Brechin and Edinburgh, it would show that the inhabitants of Brechin were then as one to thirty-one of those of Edinburgh, while at the last census they were about as one to twenty-three. “ Ilk soldier (of this period we are told) was furnished with twa sarks, coat, breeks, hose and bonnet, bands and shoon; a sword and musket, powder and ball for so many, and others, some a sword and pike, according to order; and ilk soldier to have six shillings (sixpence sterling) every day, for the space of forty days, of loan silver; ilk twelve of them a baggage horse worth £50, (Scots,) a stoup, a pan, a pot for their meat and drink, together with their hire or levy, or loan money; ilk soldier estimate to ten dollars.”

In 1644, Brechin was made the place of rendezvous for the Covenanters, and the Marquis of Argyle is said to have been joined in the September of that year, by the Earl Marischal, the Lord Gordon, Lord Forbes, Lord Frazer, Lord Crighton, and other noblemen who-met him at Brechin. In the following years the Covenanters again made Brechin their rallying-point, and Hurry and Baillie, the covenanting generals, assembled their troops at Brechin, in January 1645, with the view of intercepting the Marquis of Montrose in his descent upon the low countries. Hurry, who was a man of considerable abilities, left Brechin, with six* hundred horsemen, one morning early in March, to reconnoitre the royal army, then lying at Fettercairn, but was led into an ambuscade and defeated by Montrose at the planting of Haulkerton, a little beyond the North Water Bridge. The covenanting army, although superior in numbers to the royal army, was deficient in training, and its generals were obliged to waive a battle, and to allow Montrose to proceed westward by the ridge of the Grampians ; the Covenanters keeping between the Marquis and the low country. The covenanting and royal armies thus both marched westward at the same time, in parallel lines, but at a respectful distance from each other. Montrose, however, proved himself a second time an overmatch in policy for Generals Hurry and Baillie. By a stratagem, he passed the Covenanters, came down upon Dundee, sent his baggage and part of his troops on to Brechin in the end of March; and, after plundering Dundee, came with the rest of his army, by forced marches, to Arbroath, and then up to Careston, and so away into the Highlands over the Grampians, where he was joined by the baggage and the party which he had despatched to Brechin; and thus he eluded General Baillie, who was again in full pursuit after him. The citizens of Brechin are alleged to have been not a little alarmed when the royal troops came to visit them, and apparently they had too much reason, for Montrose is said to have burned and destroyed some fifty or sixty houses in the burgh. The kirk-session records state, that on 23d March 1645 there was “ no preaching, neither collection, by reason of the enemies being in the town;11 and on 31st March, there is an entry to the same effect. On 29th July 1645, a similar entry is repeated; and on 16th November of that year, we are informed there was no session in consequence of the absence of the ministers, “and of the enemie, Lodovick Lindsay, approaching near to the town.” A minute under the date of 28th June 1647, is still more graphic: “No session, neither collection, by reason the sermon was at the Castle of Brechin for fear of the enemie.” Another equally graphic entry occurs in November 1646: “Taken out of the box, (says the record,) to buy a mortcloth, £80; the first mortcloth was plundered by the common enemy and taken away.” This “common enemy” seems, however, to have had some friends in Brechin, at least the session records insinuate as much, for on 28th February 1647, “the minister demands of the whole elders if any of them had drunken James Grahame’s good health,” which,.of course, they all denied. Spalding, in reference to the visit by Montrose's troops in 1645, says, “The town's-people of Brechin hid their goods in the castle thereof and kirk steeples, and fled themselves, which flight enraged the soldiers; they herried their goods, plundered the castle and haill town, and burned about sixty houses.” In the Balnamoon charter room there is a list of the losses sustained by the Laird of Findowrie and his tenants, through the Marquis of Montrose in 1646, and “ by burning of his Ludging in Brechine,” so that lairds as well as burgesses had suffered from the great marquis. General Baillie, however, having returned and again made Brechin his rendezvous, the courage of the people was somewhat restored, the more especially when they saw the covenanting general joined in Brechin by the Earl Marischal, the Viscount Frendraught, the Lord Frazer, the Master of Forbes, the Lairds of Boyne, Echt, Craigievar, Leslie, and most of the gentry in the surrounding country. Fortune was at this time against Montrose and the royal troops; and the glorious victories of the Covenanters were unfortunately tarnished by the delivery of Charles I. to his English subjects in 1647; a transaction which reflected small credit upon either the buyer or seller, for, disguise it as we may, the delivery of Charles was little else than a money bargain between England and Scotland; although we Scotsmen are fond enough to think that our ancestors were misled by the Southerns. Against this transaction, we are happy to say, the commissioner for the burgh of Brechin stood out, along with the commissioners for Forfar, Ross, and Tain. We regret we cannot record the names of these worthies, who showed themselves persons of sense and deliberation, when overzeal seems to have blinded the feelings of most men. Montrose, although de-feated in 1647, was not a man to be easily put down. In 1650, he again raised the civil war in Scotland for behoof of Charles II., who then claimed the throne of his ancestors, but the Covenanters met Montrose with spirit, overcame him, and finally beheaded him. No sooner was it known that Montrose was in Scotland for another campaign, than the Estates, the covenanting party, directed David Leslie, their commander-in-chief, or as Father Hay, a keen royalist, was pleased to designate him, “Argyle's Postilion,” to gather together, at Brechin, all those parties of horse and foot which, since the termination of the first campaign, had been dispersed over the country for its protection. During the wars of Montrose, therefore, it would appear that Brechin was esteemed the key of the covenanting army, and its situation immediately on the line between the Highlands and Lowlands, and commanding the only bridge then in existence over the South Esk, seems to have rendered it of importance in such a civil warfare. The burgh was much annoyed by this distinction, which rendered it an object to both parties. For several weeks in the end of August, and during the months of September and October 1651, there were “ no sermon, collection, nor session, by reason both the ministers were absent, the English forces lying in garison round about this town and a garison in the Castle of Brechin,” so the kirk records bear; and they further inform us, that on 2d July 1651, there was “ no session, neither sermon this Wednesday, by reason all within this burgh was called to go to Aberbrothock to assist them against the pursuing enemy by sea; ” although in what manner the landsmen of Brechin were so to assist is not explained. Again, in November, we are told there was “no sermon this Wednesday, be reason twelff hundreth English were in the town, Tuesday all night, and on Wednesday till the time of Divine Service was past.”

The country in the seventeenth century seems to have been much infested with vagrants. In 1615, John Mill, kirk-officer, and bailie John Liddle, are enjoined by Bishop Andrew Lamb and his session to go daily through the town and expel the “ vagabonds and stranger beggars; ” and in subsequent years, these enactments are renewed in the records of the session of Brechin. Similar proceedings were adopted in most other parishes. The natural consequence of this state of things was, that the poor were compelled to feed on filthy garbage, and became infected with disease, wliich rose from the lowest to the highest, and raged in various shapes in different parts of Scot-hind, for several years, about this period. In 1604, the Scottish Parliament was obliged to meet at Perth to avoid the plague then raging in Edinburgh, and the disease seems to have gone on increasing and travelling northwards for many years afterwards. Great frosts and snow, which occurred in the seed-time of 1640, still further tended to increase the evil. Brechin was visited with the pestilence in 1647. The session records, after informing us that there was a public fast on 4th April, state “ there was no session, neither collection, from the 4th April, by reason the Lord inflicted the burgh of Brechin with the infecting sickness until the 7tli November; ” and even on the 7th November, when a collection is made, there is no session, by reason the minister and elders are afraid to keep company, or, as the records of the Landicard session bear, “ be reason the moderator and remanent sessions feared to convene under one roof." Indeed, the regular meetings of the session scarce seemed to have recommenced till 26th December 1647, although all business was not interrupted, for the records inform us, that “ when it pleased the Lord that the sickness began to relent there were some persons contracted and married; ” such is life. Clearness were at this time brought from Edinburgh, who, if we may judge from some of the entries in the session records, were not men of the best character, but what these cleansers did we have no means of ascertaining. Other parts of the session minutes show, that amidst this scene of death, there were scenes of folly. The terror of the disease seems to have extended to the country. The records of the parish of Menmuir of 11th April. 1647, bear that “ because of the forthbreaking of the plague in Brechin, the minister preached in the fields, therefore no collection;” and from that date till 26th September, a similar entry is made every Sabbath. A stone built into the wall of the churchyard of Brechin, records that in 1647, no less than six hundred died of the plague in Brechin in the course of four months. The inscription is comparatively modem in point of workmanship, but most probably has been copied from an older stone. It runs thus:—

Luna quater creacens,
Sexcentos peste peremptos,—
Diace mori,—vidit.
Pulvia et umbra aumua.'’

Close by the stone is another, placed between double columns, supporting a Saxon arch, and recording in bold alto relievo lettering, the death in that year of Bessie Watt, spouse of bailzie David Donaldson, and their daughters, Elspet and Jean, all of whom most probably also died of the plague. The inscription is in very simple language: “ Heir lyes Bessie Watt, spoke to David Donaldson, bailzie of Brechin, and Elspet Donaldson, and Jean Donaldson, their Dochters, 1647/' From a sasine found amongst some old papers belonging to' the town, it appears that, in 1633, Bailie Donaldson and Bessie Watt were owners of the house now belonging to Mr Thomas Ogilvy, on the High Street, the adjoining house, on the south, having then belonged to Lord Airly, the head of the clan Ogilvy, to whom it yet pays feu-duty.

The plague seems to have continued in and around Brechin for the greater part of the year 1648, for in January the treasurer of the session takes credit for thirty shillings, (Scots of course,) “given to William Ross lying in ane hutt;" while in August it is twice recorded there was “ no session be reasen the infection was begun again in the toun; ” and finally, in October £3, 12s. additional are given “ to buy malt and meall to those in the hutte!' These huts are said to have been erected in the Glen of Murlingden, and before the present garden of that property was made out we remember small mounds at different places which were reported to have been huts or houses pulled down over the inmates who had died there of the plague. It is to the honour of the then inhabitants of Brechin that amidst their own troubles they did not forget those of their neighbburs, for in October 1648, no less than £42,14s. 2d. (Scots we believe) are collected for the “distressed people in Montrose,” where by this time, we presume, the “infecting seeknese” had been worse than in Brechin.

In 1634 the South Esk suddenly subsided, from what cause was not known, at least is not reported ; but the fact is recorded and imputed as a sign of the troubles which then hung over the kingdom. Tradition has it, that the bed of the river was wholly dry for twenty-four hours, except at the Ee-o’-the-weil, and Stannachee, and that the water gradually subsided, and as gradually returned. Most probably the circumstance had arisen from a great drought. The subsequent winter was one of severe storm, and the greater part of the shipping on the east coast of Scotland was destroyed.

The town council possess few records of this period, but the kirk-session have several old volumes relating to this time. On the fly-leaf of one of them, there is the following note: “The town register evidencing that, in James Watt, reader and session-clerk, his time, the town and landward kept session weekly; and for the landward collections an elder was appointed, for receiving and keeping the same, which was distributed by the direction of the minister and remanent elders, to the landward poor. Upon the 20th June 1624, the minister and landward elders, taking into their serious consideration, that the landward elders could not conveniently attend the town-session weekly, by reason of the distance of place, and their urgent and necessary labour and affairs at home, particularly in the oat and bere seed time, in summer season for casting, winning, and leading eldon, and in the harvest time: Therefore, after mature deliberation, resolved, and thought it expedient and most necessary to separate. Whereupon, it was condescended and agreed by the minister and elders, to keep the landward session on the Sabbath day, betwixt sermons, and to have a box for keeping the collections, and a register containing their acts, collections, penalties, and processes, and distributions. The book from the year 1624, containing these particulars above expressed, was taken away by the common enemy, and this book, de novo, begun on the 3d of March 1644.* The sessions thus disjoined, continued separate till about 1708, when Mr Willison, then clergyman, seems to have taken considerable trouble in getting the burgh and landward sessions again united. The session have another volume, commencing in 1615 and ending in 1677, containing the “ acts and ordinances of the kirk and session of Brechin/’ and thus, amongst the different volumes, there is a pretty correct report of the proceedings in the session. In these volumes there are many curious entries. John Duncanson, Baxter, in 1619, applies to have “ an act of slander against all such as should object anything to him concerning Marion Mar-now, a witch, that was burnt, which the session refused, till further advisement” The same year the session resolved that for every burial in the body of the church between the pillars, there should be paid £20, and in the aisles and toofalls £10, “all to the use of the kirk.” On 13th December 1620, we have this entry in the records of the church, “ Given to the session by John Donaldson and his brother, David Donaldson, at their return from their sea voyage, £4, 4s., to be bestowed on the poor.” From similar subsequent entries, we learn that the voyage was to London. In the same year, 1620, application is made for assistance in building a bridge over Noran water, at Courtford, when the session appoint a. collection to be made through the town, “both to help that bridge, and the Pow Bridge betwixt Kinnaird and Auld Montrose, which our sovereign, King James the Sixth, caused lay over for leading of his Majesty’s provision to Kinnaird, in 1617.” Hence we might infer, what we find elsewhere to be a fact, that James that year visited David Carnegie at Kinnaird, whom he had the year previous raised to the peerage, by the title of Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird.

James was a mighty hunter, although a most awkward horseman, and was fond of pursuing the game in the muir of Monroumonth or Montreuthmont, adjoining Kinnaird. In “ Adamson’s Muse’s Welcome,” printed at Edinburgh in 1618, there are some curious addresses presented to the king on his visit to Scotland in 1617. One says:—

“Stay then, (dread Leige,)
O stay with us a while,
With pleasing sports the posting time begyle;
Thy fynest hawks and fleetest hounds shall finde
Of fowls and beasts, a prey of everie kynd.
For morning both and evenyng flight, each day
Each hawk thou hast, shall have her proper prey
Each fowl that flies shall meit thee in thy way,
And in their sorts shall Are Ca$ar say.”

These events are all during the time that Episcopacy was the form of worship recognised by the state.

The session records of 15th April 1650, state that the town and landward elders being convened after sermon, and it being shown by the minister that Mr John Fyfe refused to take the charge, to be an actual minister in this congregation, “ they all being inquired whom they would nominate to that charge, they all, una voce, after due deliberation, nominated Master Laurence Skinner, to be conjunct minister with Mr William Raitt.” We have not observed any previous mention of Mr Fyfe in the records, but whether there is such entry or not, this minute proves that the session then exercised the right of choosing the minister. The volume of records, commencing in 1615, gives a somewhat different version of the matter. There it is stated, “ that on 13th March 1650, the minister, provost, bailies, council, and others within the burgh, and commissioners direct from the landward session, being convened for nominating and calling ane actual minister to this vacant kirk, and that be reason Mr John Fyfe refuses to embrace the charge, all in one voice did nominate Mr Laurence Skinner, minister at Navar, to be their minister, and colleague with Mr William Raitt; ”and on 24th May, the same record tells us Mr Skinner“ was heartily received by the magistrates and others of the parish, as their minister.” The magistrates appear always to have formed constituent members of the session at this time, and every two or three years a list of the elders and deacons is made up, commencing with the provost and two bailies. Hence, the acts and ordinances of the session have much the character of the proceedings of a lay court, the magistrates carrying with them to the session their magisterial powers, and sending to ward, or jail, persons who did not implement the orders of the session. On the one hand, the session then assumed powers which are now vested wholly in the town council, and we find them repeatedly admitting individuals to the benefit of the hospital, and making a regulation, that applicants for this privilege shall be both examined and catechised publicly before the session, and that the person who has best insight in the grounds of religion shall be preferred: this entry is dated 24th November 1646. On the other hand, the absence of the magistrates was deemed sufficient reason for not holding a session; thus 21st May 1662, “ No session holden this day, by reason the magistrates went, immediately after sermon, to bring in the Trinity fair; ” and similar entries frequently occur. Amongst other crimes which then engaged the attention of the dignitaries of the kirk, Sabbath-breaking frequently occurs; some are punished for selling ale, others for winnowing corn, a few for frolicsome behaviour, and a good many for “yolking their carts, both in the burgh and landward,” and going “to the moss.” Where this moss was situated is not mentioned; but apparently it had been at some distance, as the offenders are occasionally accused of commencing their labour l)efore twelve o’clock of Sunday night; and it may thus be inferred, that they wished to have a long day for bringing home their eldon. A serious discussion is entered upon the minutes of the session in December 1649. One woman complains to the session against another for scandalising her, by calling her a witch ; and the party complained upon undertakes to prove that the complainer is actually a witch. Witnesses are called. One person swears that the suspected witch rubbed the witness's side, and then followed such a pain, that the witness could not bow herself for weeks; another, that his mother having refused to give the witch a little butter, could make no more butter that season; a third, that the witch spoiled her brewsts; and others, that a suspicious dog kept company with the witch, who was over-kind to the animal. The session sent the matter to the presbytery, and as we hear no more of it, we flatter ourselves that they gave the silly affair the go-by. The trial of witches was, however, common in this part of the country; and the minutes of the kirk-session of Menmuir, of 2d and 23d December 1649, tell us that there was “no lecture this week, because the minister was attending the committee appointed by the provincial assembly, for the trial of witches and charmers in their bounds/ Tradition also informs us that unfortunate beings did suffer in Brechin for this imaginary crime; and the hollow where the gas-work is now erected, bears the name of the Witch Den; digging in which, some years ago, a gentleman found a quantity of ashes mixed with human bones, and a piece of iron chain, tending to confirm the tradition, that witches had been burned in this place. Amongst the archives of the town is preserved an instrument called the witch’s branks, an iron frame made to embrace the head, with a piece shaped like an arrow contrived to enter the mouth and prevent the criminal from speaking, and the whole fastening behind with a padlock, which might have been easily attached to a stake or a building. We should be truly thankful that the march of intellect has now banished such superstitions from Brechin. Amongst other minutes in the records of the session of 1650, there is one illustrative of the price of books in these days; stating that the session had “ given to Catherine Williamson, to buy a New Testament, 16s.”—Scots of course, but almost then equal to sterling money of the present time. In October 1654, there was a collection “for helping to build the bulwark of Aberbrothick; ” and in October 1657, a similar collection for building the shore of Montrose; while the bridge of Tayock got an aid in October 1660.

All these events, for the proof of which we are indebted to the kirk-session records, being subsequent to 1640, of course, took place while Presbyterianism was predominant.

On 26th January 1662, the records of session state, “This day it was shown by the minister, that it is appointed by authority, that no session be keeped within this land till afterwards a way and liberty be opened and granted by authority hereafter; but only to keep session for writing up the collection and distributing charity to the poor.” This entry is explained by another occurring on 3d August 1662, which says there was “ no session holden this day, by reason it was the first Sabbath of the bishop his entry, and preached this day/’ This was Bishop David Strachan. Episcopacy was thus again re-established by Charles II.; and the ministers and elders went on under the bishop, in pretty much the same style as they had done during his absence. An elder is punished and deprived of his office, for permitting piping and dancing in his house on a Sabbath, and “having many more at his daughter's marriage than was appointed;” others are punished for less peccadilloes; and in April 1670, there is a collection made to assist the inhabitants of Dundee in rebuilding their shore.

The different clergy of the period embraced in this chapter seemed to have vied with each other in gifts to the church, probably with the view of purchasing the good opinion of their hearers. In 1643, as a tablet affixed to the wall of the session-house informs us, “Mr Alex. Bisset, minr. at Brechin, gifted a silver cup for the communion table; ” and in 1648, “Mr Wm. Bait, minr. at Brechin ” made a similar gift. These silver cups, presented by Presbyterian clergymen, are still in use. The same authority tells us that in “1655 Mr Laurence Skinner, minister at Brechin, gave the church’s great Bible;” and that in “1665 Dauid B. of Brechin gifted the orlidg on the steepel,” a clock which, we believe, continued to mark time to the people of Brechin till pulled down, when the cathedral was repaired sixty years ago. But the greater dignities of the church were not the only benefactors of it. The tablet referred to informs us that in “1660, John Mil, church-officer, gave three tinne basins for serving in administration of the sacrament,” which basins continue to be so employed at the present time, and are interesting as illustrative of the state of popular feeling in 1660, each having a pretty good likeness of Charles I. embossed in the centre. Bound the margin of each plate or basin, there is an inscription to this effect:—“Pelvis Ecclesi® Brechineensi Dedicata Ut Eeidem In Administratione Sacramentorum Inserviat, Anno 1660.” The inscription varies slightly on the different plates. A rose, impressed on the margin of each basin, would lead us to infer that the basins are of English workmanship.

The records of the burgh for this period, as already said, are extremely scanty, arising no doubt from the unsettled state of the times; but amongst the few records which do exist, we find one dated 26th June 1656, “By his Highness* council in Scotland,” bearing that the council having received good information that the town of Brechin was, in former times, the seat where the commissary court for the shires of Forfar and Kincardine respectively were kept, and that it is the most convenient place for the two shires; therefore, the council directed “ that from henceforth the commissary court of the said shires respectively be kept at Brechin, aforesaid, until further orders.” This document is signed “Broghill, president;” and was issued during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, when the civil administration of Scotland was committed to a council of state, composed of nine persons, seven Englishmen and two Scotsmen, of which council Lord Broghill was president. The name of the commissary of this period is not extant; but as most of the com-missariots were then filled by English military officers, very likely the commissariot of Brechin was put under similar command. When the commissary court of Brechin was abolished in 1824, and the duties of it transferred to the sheriff, the parishes of Strachan, Glenbervie, and Caterline were the only places in Kincardineshire which were connected with the commissariot of Brechin. But, curiously enough, Michael Hill, within the policies of Brechin Castle, was understood to be in the diocese of Dunkeld, while part of Aldbar was in the commissariot of St Andrews. All these anomalies were corrected in 1824, by making each sheriff the commissary within his own county.

During the seventeenth century, the exports of Brechin consisted chiefly of malt and half-tanned hides; and to almost every property in the burgh belonged either a kiln and coble, or a tan-pit. The other manufactures were few, and such only as supplied the most pressing wants of the immediate neighbourhood; bonnets, shoes, blankets, and coarse cloth. Altogether the state of the people seems to have been very uncomfortable, deprived of the support which they formerly received from the church, distracted by civil wars, and without manufactures, and on many occasions without food.

We must, however, bring this long chapter to a close. The period of time embraced in it is not great, but this period, from 1600 to 1670, witnessed events of no small importance to Scotland: the accession of James VI. to the English throne; the succession, dethronement, and death of his son Charles I.; the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell; the succession of Cromwell’s son Richard to, and retirement from, the same proud eminence; and the recall of Charles II. to the throne of his ancestors; the abolition of Episcopacy; the establishment of Presbyterianism; and the restoration of the authority of the bishops. It was during the currency of the time embraced in this chapter, also, that a very melancholy event occurred in Brechin. Robert

Symmer, son of the Laird of Balzordie, having quarrelled with David Grahame, son of James Grahame of Leuchland, the two met on the “Hauche of Insche, neir to the Meiklemylne of Brechin,” on 30th April 1616, when Symmer struck Grahame “ throw the body with ane rapper-sword; quhair of sex or seven days thereafter he decessit.” For this crime Symmer was tried before the High Court of Justiciary on 18th March 1618; found guilty by the verdict of assize, and sentenced “to be tane to the mercat-croce of Edinburgh, and thair his heid to be striken from his body, and all his moveable guidis to be escheit,”—forfeited to the Crown.

The most remarkable literary character of this period was Thomas Dempster, who by one author is said to have been born of a family of little note in Brechin, and by another to have been the son of the Laird of Muiresk in Aberdeenshire, where he was bom in 1579. He was educated first at Aberdeen College, and afterwards became a student at the University of Cambridge. Being a zealous Catholic, he went to France about the time of the Reformation, and obtained a professor's chair at Paris, “ when,” says Boyle, “ though his business was to teach a school, he was more ready to draw his sword than his pen.” In consequence of his quarrelsome disposition, he was obliged in a short time to return to England, where he married Susanna Waller, a woman of uncommon beauty, with whom he soon after went again to Paris. Here the lady, vain of her charms, while walking the public streets, exhibited more than an ordinary portion of her breast and shoulders, which attracted such a mob, that she and Dempster were both nearly trodden to death. Dempster obtained, by competition, a professorship in the university of Nimes, and soon after a vacant chair and a large salary in the University of Pisa. But here his comfort and usefulness were suddenly marred by the conduct of his “beautiful wife," who eloped with one of his scholars. Leaving Pisa, Dempster proceeded to Bologne, and was appointed professor of Greek, in the university of that town, in which situation he continued till his death, in 1625. Chambers describes Dempster as “a learned professor and miscellaneous writer, Bora at Brechin, in the county of Angus." During his life he enjoyed an extensive reputation; his published works were many and various; but the principal of them was an “Ecclesiastical History of Scotland” in “XIX beuks.” Speaking of him as an author, an eminent critic says, “It would perhaps be difficult to point out another Scottish writer of his time, who had the same intimate acquaintance with classical antiquity.” King James, in 1615, appointed Dempster to the office of Historiographer Royal.

Another literary man of this period connected with Brechin was William Guthrie, a person of a very different character from Dempster. William Guthrie, author of the well-known work, “ The Christians Great Interest,” was born at Pitforthy, near Brechin, in the year 1620. His father, who was proprietor of that estate, had five sons, four of whom devoted themselves to the minifitry. Of these William was the eldest, and to qualify himself for the profession he had chosen, he acquired a very superior classical education, studied divinity at St Andrews under Mr Samuel Rutherford, received licence to preach in 1642, and in 1644 was ordained minister of Fenwick in Ayrshire. During the “ troublesome times ” that followed, Mr Guthrie was by no means an idle spectator. When not engaged in his parochial duties, he was with the army as a chaplain, or assisting in conducting the business of church courts. At the restoration of Charles II. and re-establishment of Episcopacy, he was ejected from his living, and returned to Pitforthy, where the affairs of the family required his presence. He had only been there a short time when a complaint which had preyed upon his constitution for many years, rapidly increased. After some days of great pain, in the intervals of which he cheered his relations with his prospects of happiness in another *nd better world, he died in the house of his brother-in-law, the Rev. Lawrence Skinner, at Brechin, on the 10th of October 1665, and his body was interred in the cathedral church, below the pews belonging to the estate of Pitforthy.

Various donations were given to the church during the period we have been considering, as recorded on a board in the session-house, which, as stated in the session minutes of 1683, was then put up to record the mortifications that till then had been made to the church, and those which might afterwards be made;

showing a grateful sense of favours expected, a gratitude still existing. In 1680 Walter Jameson, bailie and kirk-master, gave two quart stoups for the communion table, which are still in use; Bishop Strachan’s widow, Mrs Anna Barclay, gifted £33, 6s. 8d. in 1682; and in 1690 Mr John Glender, dean of Cashels and prebend of St Michael's, Dublin, who had likely been a native of Brechin, gave £40.

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