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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1401 - 1501 - Part 2

  1479.—NEW CHAPLAINRY IN ST. JAMES’S CHAPEL, NORTH QUEENSFERRY.—Henry, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, this year, granted the office of a chaplainry, newly founded by him, in St. James’s Chapel, North Queensferry, to David Story, with a stipend of 10 merks yearly, to be paid from the coffers of Dunfermline Abbey, together with a garden, and two acres of ground and pasturage for one horse; also all offerings at the altar of the chapel, except the oblations of the pix and those of lights, which are to be reserved for lighting the chapel; likewise 20 shillings for supporting the ornaments and vestments of said altar; but an account is to be rendered to the Abbot how the sum is applied.  The chaplain, in consideration of these things must perform a daily mass for the souls named in the Charter of Infeudation; also, he shall continually reside at, and dwell in the manse of the chapel; and, if he undertakes any other cure, or resides elsewhere, by which the service may be neglected, the chaplainry shall be declared vacant, and fall into the Abbot’s hands.  9Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 462, pp. 359, 360; Dal. Mon. Antiq. pp. 36, 37, &c.)

  BARK PIT “in the alemosynary yaird,” Tower-burn, &c., noticed in the Burgh Records.  This note shows that there was at this period, near the north side of the Tower-hill, works for the tanning of leather.

  1480.—THE MONKS OF DUNFERMLINE.—Their right to Two Cobils and Two Nets, at the Fishery of Aldstelle, near Berwick-on-Tweed, was tried by a jury at Edinburgh, when a verdict was found in favour of the monks.  (Finden’s “Views of the Ports, Harbours, Coast Scenery, and Watering Places of Great Britain,” by Rev. W. H. Bartlett, Edited by W. Beattie, M.D.)

  SILVER BASIN AND EWER, purchased from the Abbot of Kinloss by the Conventual Brethren at Dunfermline.—“James Guthry, 19th Abbot of Kinloss, in his expenditure of the Abbey of Kinloss, had fallen short of money about this period.  To raise money, he sold the organs, which were afterwards found at Forres, and also a Basin and Ewer of silver, afterwards found at Dunfermline.  (Preface to “Records of the Monastery of Kinloss,” Edited by John Stuart, LL.D. p. xii.)

  LORD ABBOT.—Henry de Crichtoun, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, appears to have died in June, 1482.  (General Allan’s MSS.)

  1483.—ADAM, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—It is not known exactly when Adam was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot of Dunfermline (probably in January, 1483).  His name occurs for the first time in a writ in the Register of Dunfermline, regarding some parcel of land near Musselburgh, which he conceded to Thomas Tod, burgess of Edinburgh.  (See Annals Dunf. date 1490; Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 486, p. 372.)  The 27th Abbot of Dunfermline.

  THE CROSS WYND mentioned in a minute of Council this year.  (Burgh Records.)

  1484.—THE LANDS OF HAILES.—The Abbot and Monks of Dunfermline were the superiors of the lands of East Hailes till 1560.  The family of Crichton held these lands of their superiors on payment of a feu-duty.  On the forfeiture of William, Lord Crichton, in 1484, these lands reverted to the Abbot and conventual brethren.  (Cha;. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 224, 225.)

  1485.—“ORLEGE BELL.”—Henryson, schoolmaister, poet, &c., Dunfermline, in his “Schir Chatecleir and the Foxe,” written about this period, alludes to the “Orlege Bell.”  Probably this may refer to a clock that struck the hours on a bell, either in the Abbey or the Monastery of Dunfermline.  It is well known that Henryson drew much of his illustrations, figures, &c., from what he saw in his immediate vicinity.  If he does, it shows that the conventual brethren had the benefit of a clock at so early a period, at least, as this.

“Our nichtingall, and als our orlege bell,
Our walkryfe watche us for to warne and tell,”&c.
(Laing’s “Henryson’s Poems,” p. 121.) 

  1486.—WILLIAM BROWN, the eminent theologian and poet, of Dunfermline, appears to have died about this period, aged about 90.  There are several versions of Dunbar’s poem on “The Death of the Makir” (Poets).  Instead of the couplet referring to Henryson’s death (Annals, date 1499) it has been rendered perhaps more correctly as follows:--

“In Dunfermling he [Death] has taen Broun,
And gude Maister Robert Henrysoun.” 

  1487.—COLDINGHAM PRIORY withdrawn from Dunfermline Abbey, and bestowed by James III. and his Parliament on the Chapel-Royal, Stirling, 1487.  (Carr’s Hist. Coldingham, pp. 307, 308; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 241; Annals Dunf. date 1378-1487.)

 It had been 109 years under the protection of Dunfermline Abbey.

  THE CASISAGAIT (He-Gate, or High Street), named in the Burgh Records this year as “Casisagait” and “Causagate”, being then the only street in the burgh laid with “causey-stanes.”

  “RATTON ROW”.—In the Burgh Records of this date, the Ratton Row is mentioned in connection with a barn in the Raw.  Ratton (not Rotten) is the proper orthography of the name, meaning a row of houses, built of rattons, or undressed timber.  A tradition, referring to the year 1624, when three-fourths of the town was burnt, avers that “a week before the great fire at Dunfermline, on 25th May, 1624, the ‘rattins’ [rats] left this Row in a body.”  This was afterwards taken as a sign of the sagacity of the rottens, and hence the Row was called “Rotten Row.”  Tradition is here at fault; for it is here shown that the said Row was called the Rotten Row in 1487, or 137 years before the great fire.  (See also Annals of Dunf. dates 1624, 1809, 1845.)

  1488.—EAST PORT, AND ALMSHOUSE.—In the first, or oldest, volume of the Burgh Records, mention is made of an Almshouse, under date 4th August, 1488, which stood “without ye est yet [or Port] on the north sid of ye Causay.”  This is the third notice of a Port of the burgh on record. (See Annals, date 1326, 1477.)  Tradition points to the site of this old Almshouse, as standing on ground at the foot of Shadows Wynd (now Bonnar Street).  (Vide also Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 449.)

  ALDERMAN.—Sir John Cockburn was the Alderman or Provost of Dunfermline this year.  (Burgh Records.)

  PRÆPOSITUS, or Provost.—David Coupir, elected 1st Oct.   (Burgh Records.)

  BURGESSES.—Several persons, mentioned in the Burgh Records, 14th October, receive burgess privileges at ½ merk each.

  BURGESS.—Andrew Loton made a burgess “by reason of his wyff.”  (Burgh Records.)

  MAY-GAIT.—The Maygate is noticed in a minute of Council, held in August 1, this year.  (Brugh Records.)

  FIRST ELECTION OF THE TOWN COUNCIL OF DUNFERMLINE.—The first election of Magistrates and Council entered in the Town Council Records occurs in 1488.  The old Council had met in the Prætoria (it is here called the “Tolbucht”), and the honours of office had fallen on the following persons (the heading of the notice of this Court is “Assisa in Principa” Sancta Maria, holdyn in the tolbuth”):--“David Couper is elected Præpositus, or Provost; David Litser and William of Balloune are elected Bailies; Wat Caldwell and Jamy Gerviss are appointed sergeants;” and the names of 14 Councillors are given—nine of the fourteen, viz., “Jamy Spens, Jamy Malcom, Adam Alan, John Brysson, Paul Wallas, Morris Stevyn, Sandie Clerk, Andrew Craufurd, and Morris Thomson, are appointed Flesh Pricers” )or, to give the Latin title, “Appreciatores Carnium”).  Three of these officials, viz., Jamy Spens, John Brysson and Paul Wallas, are pluralists, for they are to act as Ale-Tasters (or in Latin, say Gustatores Cervisiæ); while Andrew Butler, R. Law, R. Gibson, John Peirson, and John Huym are elected Liniatores; (Inspectors of Weights and Measures) and John Wallas, Andrew Craufurd, and T. Angus, as Birlawmen (Assessors of Fines).  Such is a complete list, the first list, of Dunfermline Town Council in 1488.  (Dunf. Town Coun. Records; Dr. Ross’s “Burgh Life in Olden Time,” p. 7.)

  CULPRITS AND BURGH FINES.—In the Burgh Records, under date September 15th, 1488, the following fines are imposed on delinquents for misdemeanours—viz., “Imprimis, Jock Saunders, viii; Thome Murra, iis; Marione Logan, viiid; Jamy Peterson, viid; Rob. Hutone, viiid; Jok Myllar’s wyff, vid; John Thomsone, viiid; John Wrycht, viiid; Davy Sege, xiid; John Strang, xiid; John Fithison, xiid; Andro Dewar, xiid.”  It would appear that early punishments were by fining.  The old Burgh Records abound in such entries.  This one, among the earliest, will suffice as a specimen.

  PROVOST, OR PRÆPOSITUS OF DUNFERMLINE.—William Stewart, elected on October 6.  On November 3rd, same year, he is styled Alderman.  Would this be the transition period, when the designation of Alderman and Provost were acknowledged as equivalent terms just before the now common title Provost was finally adopted?  Provost William Stewart’s Bailies were David Litster and William Spittall.

  FOIRSPEAKER, OR FORSPEAKER.—Henry Spittal was one of the Fore-speakers or Advocates who pled in the “Assize Courts,” Dunfermline.

  1489.—SECRET YETT—The Nethertown and Hospital.—Henrysoun, in his “Testimony of Cresseid,” referring to the conveying of a female leper privately from the Abbey, says—

“He opnit ane secrit yet, and out thairat
Convoyit hir, that na man suld espy,
Unto ane village, half ane myle thairby,
Deliverit hir in at the Spittaill hous,
And daylie sent hir part of his almous,” &c. 

The Secret Yett, or postern gate, refers to a gate in the south wall of the Monsastery, Priory Lane, long since removed.  “Ane village, half ane mile thairby,”  undoubtedly refers to the Nethertown, and “the Spittaill house” to St. Leonard’s Hospital.  (See Laings’s “Henryson’s Poems,” p. 89.)

  MAY GAIT is referred to in the Burgh Records, under date 12th May, 1489.  The origin of the name is not clearly known.

  1490.—THE LIGHTS OF “OUR LADY’S ALTAR.”—In the Burgh Records of this date there is a “Rentall of Our Lady’s Licht Silver,” noting the “the landis of David Couper, beneath the Tolbuith, paid the annual sum of 7 shillings, or else he must uphald ye litill herss of wax.”

  ADAM, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, ceases to be Abbot on June 20th, 1490; but as to whether he died, resigned, or was deposed, history is silent.  He was 27th Abbot of Dunfermline.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 372, 372.)

  GEORGE, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, succeeded Adam as Lord Abbot.  His name, for the first time, occurs in a Charter of date 20th June, 1494.  (Kennedy’s History of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 61.)  He was 29th Abbot of Dunfermline.  (Vide An. Dunf. 1494.)

  THE FOUL VENNEL.—This vennel, or dirty lane, is mentioned in the Burgh Records.  It was about eight feet broad.  Afterwards it was called “In-below-th’-wa’s,” because it proceeded along the north side of the northern boundary wall of the Abbey, from east end of the Maygate to the Newraw.  It is now known as Canmore Street—(see An. Dunf. date 1500)—“a wide street, and one of the best in town.”

  SKLAT HOUSE, “on the Kirk-Yeard dyke,” is noticed in the Burgh Records under date 12th May of this year—perhaps then the only slated house in Dunfermline.

  ALTARS IN THE ABBEY.—In the Burgh Records, of date 23rd June of this year, the following Altars in the Abbey are noticed—viz., “Our Lady’s Altar; Sanct Thomas’s Altar; and Haly-bluid Altar.”  These Altars were served by the monks.

  DAVID COUPER, Alderman, or Provost, elected in October, 1490.  (Burgh Records.)

  ST. PETER’S ALTAR in the Abbey noticed, of which Dean Thomas Couper was tutor or priest.  (Burgh Records.)

  ST. JOHN’S ALTAR in the Abbey, and “Dene Davy Sim,” its tutor or priest, are mentioned in the Burgh Records of this date.  The Town Council of Dunfermline held the patronage of this Altar.

  BURGESS.—David Bennit was made a burgess of Dunfermline this year, “be reasoun of his modir.”  (Burgh Records.)

  OUR LADY’S AISLE IN THE ABBEY.—In a Court, holden on September 24th, 1490, it is noted—“Yat ilk day ye alderman and pairt of ye communitie has consentit yat Schir James Alanson haf the ii dais service yat Schir John Orok had of umquhil mariane Thomsone gaff umquhil Schir John has ye service of our Lay ile or other service,” &c.  (Burgh Records.)

  1492.—It is not known when the now staple trade of weaving originated in Dunfermline, but six wabsters, “strubblers,” of John Schortrig, were tried on 10th January, 1491, by the magistrates of Dunfermline.  This is the first notice on record of Dunfermline weavers.  (Dunf. Burgh Records.)

  STRUBLANCES, OR NEIGHBOURS’ QUARRELS—Between William Hart and Agnes Bower.—The affair comes before the bailies, and it is decided that “gyf Agnes Bower falt to Will Hart in tym to cum, or any other nychbor, to be put on the gowe; and gyf Will Hart falt to her, to pay xis to Sanct Salvatoris Altar onforgyffen.”  (Dr. Ross’s Burgh Life Dunf. p. 15;Burgh Records, vol. i.)

  JOHN OR MONTEITH elected Alderman, or Provost, 19th October.  (Burgh Records.)

  THE MORNING SERVICE.—Schir John Robertson receives a gift of the morning service in the Abbey, with its emoluments.  (Burgh Records.)

  “OUR LADY’S ISLE” AND “ST. JAMES’ ALTAR” (Schir Henry Barbour, chaplain) in the Abbey, are noticed in the Burgh Records.

  SANCT SALVADOR’S ALTAR.—In the Burgh Records, of date 19th October of this year, it is stated that the service at St. Salvador’s Altar in the Abbey was given to Schir James Gudswain.

  PARISH ALTAR OF DUNFERMLINE is mentioned in October of this year, in connection with a marriage celebrated at it by Schir Alex. Logan.  (Burgh Records.)

  MORNING SERVICE OF THE ABBEY.—The following are the names of those elected to ”uphold the morning service in the Abbey:--Schir Robert Normans, Sir Richard Hartsed, Schir Richard Myche, Schir John Alenson, Schir Davy Roger; the fe to be gyffen to Schir Robert Norman for his tyme.”  (Burhg Records.)

  ABBOTOF DUNFERMLINE.—Raffaelle Sansoni de Riari, Cardinal Deacon, was elected Abbot of Dunfermline on August 12th, 1491.  Raffaelle Sansoni, Deacon of the Roman Church, by the title of “S. Georgio in Velabro, Vice-Chancellor and Camerlengo,” was appointed Commendator of the Abbey of Dunfermline by Bull of Pope Innocent IV.  This Italian Abbot was non-resident, but still he must be enrolled in the succession of Abbots of Dunfermline.  This Abbot has hitherto escaped the notice of all historians and ecclesiastical writers.  (General Allan’s MS.)  He appears to have held the Commendator Abbotship for two years only.

  1492.—JOHN OF MONTEITH re-elected Alderman, or Provost, October 2.  Bailies: David Litster and William Spittall.  (Burgh Records.)

  Burgh Seal.—Sir John Cokburn is mentioned in the Burgh Records as being the “Keeper of the Burgh Seal,”  (See Seal, under date 1395.)

  SANCT MARGARET’S ALTAR.—Schir Andrew Peirson, Chaplain of the Service; Schir Thomas Moffat, Chaplain of the Morning Service.  (Burgh Records.)

  1493.—GEORGE, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, and also Treasurer of Scotland, appears to have been elected and consecrated this year.  (Sib. Hist. Fife et Kin. p. 260, &c.)

  ST. MARGARET’S ALTAR LIGHTS.—In the Burgh Records of this date a minute entry notifies that “John Kellock has a cow quilk giffs to St. Margaret’s Altar half ane pund of vax yearly.”  (i.e. the tax on the cow).

  NICHOL FLECHOUR AND HIS “MARYNALLS.”—In the Burgh Records, of date 1st October of this year, Nichol Flechour and his mariners appear before the Head Court at Dunfermline regarding a dispute about a barrel of soap.  It has been supposed that Nichol and his “mariners,” or sailors, were probably the captain and crew of the Abbot’s boat or ship.

  1494.—GEORGE, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, was elected one of the “Lords of Council.”  (Kennedy’s Hist. Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 51, &c.; See An. Dunf. date 1499.)

  ST. MARGARET’S ALTAR.—Schir Andrew Peirson, Chaplain; Schir Steven Stirling, Chaplain of the Morning Service.  20/ out of the common purse promised.  (Burgh Records.)

  ALDERMAN.—DAVID COUPER, elected Alderman, or Provost, of Dunfermline in October; Dean Thomas Couper, monk in the Abbey, “Master of the Petty Common,” near the burn.  (Burgh Records.)

  CADGERS AND FISH.—In the Burgh Records there is a minute ordering the cadgers to provide six loads of fish weekly for the community—two loads on Wednesday, two on Friday, and two on Saturday.  To this the cadgers agreed.

  1495.—“STRUBLANCE.”—The Burgh Records, in February this year, have the following entry:--Gilbert Hardy, accused of “the Strublance of Andro Morrison and the gude toune.”  Gilbert denied the charge; and, in the usual phrase of the time, not entirely free of the charge of levity, “takes him to ye knowledge yrof of God and a gude assize.”  The assize having “repely advised,” find Gilbert innocent and Andrew Morrison and his wife guilty.  (Dr. Ross’s Burgh Life in Dunf. p. 14.)

  1496.—OLD SANITARY NOTICE.—There is a minute in the Burgh Records (October) “anent the furth castin’ of water, and ither abominables.”

  THE BURN.—In the Burgh Records, of this date, is the following entry:--“The Burn: The quhilk day the communitie of Dunfermlyn has consentit til open the burn at the west gavil of the tolbuith.  This ‘burn” was afterwards known as the “back burn,” and is the same rivulet that runs from north to south under Bridge Street.

  THE STOCKS.—The Stocks are referred to in the Burgh Records of date October 6th.  They were generally place near the Pillory in burghs.  These Stocks of Dunfermline have not been used for the last hundred years; but they are “still to the fore.”  They were discovered in the garret of the Town-house in 1841, and evil-doers may yet get a practical knowledge of their use.

  OUR LADY’S “LICHT” is again noticed in the Burgh Records in connection with “the littil herss.”  This “littil herss” was a little canopy suspended over the Altar of St. Margaret, in the Lady Aisle, or Chapel.  (See An. Dunf. woodcut, date 1250.)

  1497.—BAKERS OF CUNFERMLINE, WEIGHT OF BREAD, &C.—This year the Town Council enacts that “ye pace of bred be 15 units the wastell.”  (Burgh Records, date 1497.)

“PRÆTORIUM” OF THE BURGH.—As early as this date, Town Council meetings are entered in the Burgh Records as being held in the Prætorium (Tolbooth of the burgh).  This designation continued down so late as the beginning of the 18th century.

  BURGESS.—A person was “made a burgess of Dunfermline, at the command of my Lord of Mar.”  (Burgh Records.)

  1498.—THE ABBOT ORDERS THE RELEASE OF ALEXANDER AITTON.—At a meeting of the Chapter of the Abbey, the Abbot, through his Treasurer, and Tom Buquhanan, took Alexander Aitton “furth of the tolbuth.”  This was a most unwarrantable act of the Abbot—an usurpation of the prerogative of the Provost of the burgh.  (Burgh Records, date 1498.)

  “PRÆPOSITUS”.—William Symson was elected Provost of Dunfermline in October of this year.  (Burgh Records.)

  SLAYING OF CATTLE IN THE NIGHT-TIME!—There is a minute in the Burgh Records regarding “the alleged wrangis slaying of cattal all of unfreemen under silence of nicht.”

  THE “RIVULET OF GARVOCK” AND LYNN BURN.—The name “Rivulet de Garvock” occurs in the Register of Dunfermline shortly after the middle of the 13th century.  About the middle of the 15th century, the name became “a compound one,” viz., “Rivulet de Garvock,” or “Lyn Burn” probably from the small Lyn, or Lin, at Woodmills, about a mile and a-half east of Dunfermline.  In 1498, the Rivuket de Garvock disappears, and henceforward in writs, &c., the rivulet is designated the Lyn Rivulet, or Lyne Burn, which name it still retains—and, no doubt, with this name

“Twill murmur on a thousand years,
And flow as now it flows.”

From this it is obvious, that this second name “Lyn” or “Lyne,” originating about the end of the 15th century, has no connection whatever with the affix lyn of Dunfermline, of date circa 1100, so often used as such by writers when treating of its etymology.  (See also Annals Dunf. date 1270.)

  1499.—THE PEST or Plague, “rages in Dunfermline” this year.  (Vide Burgh Records of 1499.)  This pest was also know as the “Grandgore.”  It reached Edinburgh in 1497, where it carried off hundreds of “victims.”  About a year and a-half after the scourge reached the metropolis, it is found cutting down victims in Dunfermline and vicinity.  It is probable that “gude Maister Robert Henrysone,” the “schoolmaster in Dunfermling,” hearing of the approach of this plague in Edinburgh, composed his serious poetical effusion, entitled “Ane Prayer for the Peat,” of which the following are the opening lines:-

“O Eterne God! Of power inginyt,
To quhois hie knawlege na thing in obsure
That is, or was, or evir salbe, perfyt,
In to thy sicht, quhill that this warld indure;
Haif mercy of us, indigent and pure,
Thou dois na wrang to puneiss our offens;
O Lord! that is to mankind haill secure
Preserve us fra this perrelus pestilence,” &c. 

Many of the stanzas of the poem of 88 lines ends with “Preserve us fra this perrelus pestilence,” which shows that this pest had not as yet reached Dunfermline, and therefore it may have been composed in 1497-1498.  If this pest can be connected with the poem, then it would settle a point in dispute, viz., “In what year did Henrysoun die?”  Dunbar, in his “Lament for the Death of the Makaris,” which appears to have been written about 1506, and published in 1508, notices the death of Henrysoun thus—

“In Dunfermline he (Death) hes done roun
Gude Maister Robert Henrysoun.”
(See Annals of Dunf. date 1486.)

If these lines were penned in 1506, it is evident that Henrysoun was dead before that year; and, if he was alive just before the pestilence reached Dunfermlin—say, in 1497—then we have two certain dates, showing that he must have died between the years 1497 and 1506.  Perhaps 1497-1504 my be the near dates, because he may have been dead for some time before Dunbar wrote the “Lament.”  We think it not improbable that Henrysoun, an old and infirm man (then about 75 years old), would be carried off by the plague in Dunfermline in 1499; plague and dysentery together were likely the complaints of which he died.  If he did not die during the time the plague raged in Dunfermline in 1499, then the middle date between 1499 and 1504—viz., 1502, may be taken as the date of Henrysoun’s death.  As we think 1499 is the probable year of his death, a few remarks will be necessary.

  ROBERT HENRYSOUN probably died this year (1499), aged about 76 years.  Little is known of his history.  It is not known where he was born, most probably in Dunfermline or its neighbourhood; at all events, he died in Dunfermline in the winter of say 1499—(see the couplet by Dinbar)—and most likely was interred in the Abbey grounds.  It would appear from two Charters in the Register of Dunfermline, that he was a notary in Dunfermline Abbey in the years 1477, 1478.  These Charters refer to the lands of Spittalfields, near Inverkeithing, granted by the Abbot of Dunfermline to George de Lothreisk, and to Patrick Barone, burgess of Edinburgh, and to Margaret, his spouse.  In each of these charters, or deeds, appears probably—from at least 1478 to his death, circa 1499—the Abbot’s notary, and also the schoolmaster of the Abbey.  In the year 1462 he was a Licentiate in Arts and Bachelor in degrees of Glasgow College and hence his right to the prefix of Master.  In those days no one could legally use the designation Master without graduating as M.A. at a College.  Henrysoun’s latter years, at least, appear to have been spent in Dunfermline.  He is usually known as “Robert Henrisoun, scholemaistr of Dunfermling,” and he is so distinguished by the Earl of Kellie about the year 1619.  He appears to have been a good and learned old man, an excellent poet, and witty.  The following anecdote is usually quoted as connected with his last moments:--“Being very old, he died of a diarrhea, or fluxe, of whom there goes this merry, though somewhat unsavoury tale,--that all phisitians having given him over, and he lying drawing his last breath, there came ane old woman unto him who was held a witch, and asked him whether he would be cured?  To which he said, ‘Very willingly.’  ‘Then,’ quod she, ‘there is a whikey-tree in the lower end of your orchard, and if you will goe and walke but thrice round it, and thrice repeat these wordes, “Whikey-tree, whikey-tree, take away this fluxe from me,” you shall be presently cured.’  He told her, that beside he was extreme faint and weake, it was extreme frost and snow, and that it was impossible for him to goe.  She told him that unless he did so, it was impossible he should recover.  Mr. Henryson then lifting upp himselfe, and pointing to an oaken table that was in the roome, asked her, and seid—‘Gude dame, I pray ya, tell me if it would not do as well to repeat thrice these words, Oaken buird, oaken-buird, garre me s------a hard t-------.’  The woman seeing herself derided and scorned, ran out of the house in a great passion, and Henrysoun within halfe a quarter of ane houre, departed this life.”  (Dr. Laing’s Memoir of Henrysoun, prefixed to his edition of the “Poems and Fables” of Robert Henrysoun, 1865, p. 20.)  This anecdote may  well be doubted; he was too pious a man to trifle in jokes, especially within “half a quarter of ane houre” of his death. 

  The “Poems and Fables” of Henrysoun have been often published piecemeal.  In 1865 the whole of his works were collected and published in one volume.  This was done by that literary veteran David Laing, LL.D., Signet Library, Edinburgh, from which work we extract the “Table of Contents,” in order that the reader may see the titles of the various productions of the poet.


            1. Robine and Makyne.
            2. The Garmond of Gude Ladeis.
            3. The Bludy Serk.
            4. The Abbey Walk.
            5. Agaoris Haisty Creddance of Titlaris.
            6. The Prais of Aige.
            7. The Ressoning betwixt Aige and Yowth.
            8. The Reasoning betwixt Deth and Man.
            9. The Three Deid Powis.
            10. The Salutation of the Virgin.
            11. The Want of Wyse Men.
            12. Ane Prayer for the Pest.
            13. Sum Practysis of Medecyne.
            14. Orpheus and Eurydice.
            15. The Testament of Cresseid.
            16. The Complaint of Cresseid.

The Moral Fables of Æsop (in Scottish Metre).

            17. The Prologue.
            18. The Taill of the Cock and the Jasp
            19. The Taill of the upolandis Mous and the Burges Mous.
            20. The Taill of Schir Chantecleir and the Foxe.
            21. The Taill how this foirsaid Tod made his Confessioun to Freir Wolf Wait-skaith.
            22. The Taile of the Sone and Air of the foirsaid Foxe, called Father Ware;
                         Alswa the Parliament of Fourfuttit Beastis haldin be the Lyoun.
            23. The Taill of the Dog, the Scheip and the Wolf.
            24. The Prologue.


            25. The Taill of the Lyoun and the Mous.
            26. The Preaching of the Swallow.
            27. The Taill of the Wolf that gat the Nek-herring throw the Wrinkis of
                        the Foxe that begylit the Badgear.
            28. The Taill of the Foxe that begylit the Wolf in g the Schadow of the Mone.
            29. The Tail of the Wolf and the Wedder.
            30. The Wolf and the Lamb.
            31. The Taill of the Paddock and the Mous.”

It has already been mentioned that it is not known with certainty when or where Henrysoun was born.  Be that as it may, his name has always been inseparably connected with Dunfermline.  It is certain that within the walls of Dunfermline he spent the greater part of his life, and probably here he was buried—

“. . . . . . Here he dwelt,
How many a cheerful day these ancient walls
Have often heard him, while his legend blithe
He sang of love—of knighthood, or the wiles
Of homely life; through each estate and age.
The fashion and follies of the world
With cunning hand pourtraying.” 

  THE PLAGUE, OR PEST.—The Burgh Records, of date July 9th, 1499, notify that it was thought expedient by the whole community that no victual should be sold out of the town “indurying the tym of this plague,” and that whoever was found doing so should be apprehended, and the victual confiscated, “bot allanerly bred and aill in small quantitie.”  (Dr. Ross’s Burgh Life in Dunf. p. 27.)

  SMITHS, MASONS, WRIGHTS, &C.—The Burgh Yett.—Awright gets fourpence for “ye fellyn of ane tre to ye zet” (of the burgh); rafters are bought at a shilling each, and fourpence is paid for “ye upbringing of ye buirds yat are zet at Innerkethyn.”  A key for the kirk-door cost fourpence; and two shillings are paid for “ye lousing of Jamy Malcome’s pot fra David Philp.”  (Dr. Ross’s Burgh Life in Dunf. p. 26; Burgh Rec.)

  THE NAME OF GEORGE, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, occurs for the last time in a Charter, dated 24th Feb. 1499.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. p. 374.)

  THE LEAR-STANE.—The “Strublers,” or disturbers of the peace of the burgh, and their lying excuses in defending themselves before the Bailies’ Court, had so much increased at this period, that the bailies, &c., of the burgh enacted by assize, on 17th March, 1499—“Yat ye lear-stance suld be set up againe in ye place where it was wont to stand, or el sane as gude stane.”  It thus appears that the lear-stane was an old institution in Dunfermline.  (Dr. Ross’s Burgh Life in Dunf. pp. 16, 17; Burgh Rec.)

  ST. RINGAN’S (St. Ninian’s) ALTAR, and the ALTAR OF ST. CUTHBERT, in Dunfermline Abbey, are noticed in a minute of the Burgh Records of this date.

  NAMES OF MONKS AND CHAPLAINS OF THE ABBEY.—Between the years 1480 and 1500 there are to be found incidentally in the Burgh Records of Dunfermlin the following names of some of the Monks and Chaplains of the Abbey.  The Monks have the prefix of Dene, the Chaplains that of Schir (Sir), to their names, viz.:--

(Vide Burgh Records.)

                                            Adam Forman.                 Patrick Falset.
                                            John Wardlaw.                 William Lavrock. 
                                            James Kinnimont.            Davy Sim.
                                            Thomas Couper.              Robert Swinton.
                                            John Ra.                           John Spenluff. 

(Vide Burgh Records.)

                                             John Alanson.                 William Fleming.
                                             John Tirwet.                    Richard Hartsed.
                                             Robert Grant.                  Robert Norman.
                                             John Orok.                      Thomas Moffat.
                                             Alexander Sword.           John Tarbat.
                                             Richard Wrycht.              Robert Atkyn.
                                             James Alanson               John Scot.
                                             Andro Pierson.                John Law.
                                             John Robertson.              David Kingorn.
                                             James Gudswain.           Thomas Currie.
                                             Davy Roger.                    John Mason.
                                             Thomas Beny.                 William Jackson.

These must be taken as only a few—not the whole—of the Monks and Chaplains of the Abbey during 1480-1500.  They occur in the Burgh Records in connection with legal proceedings instituted in the Burgh Courts against parties who had not paid up their “annuals” to certain Alterages.  (Vide also Burgh Life in Dunf. in the Olden Time, by Rev. Wm. Ross, LL.D. p. 30.)

  During the period 1480-1500 there were three Abbots of Dunfermline, viz.:--Henry Creichton, 1482; Adam, 1483-1490; George, 1490-1499.

  “HEAD COURT OF YULE” AND PRICE OF ALE.—At the Head Court of Yule [in 1499], it is statute and ordainit that na man nor woman sel derer ail nor viid, a gallone, under pane of viis.”  (Burgh Rec. 1499.)

  DUNFERMLINE MARKET CROSS, PRICE OF ALE, PENALTY, &c.—In the Burgh Records of this date (1499), there is the following minute:--“Head Court of Yule, 1499.—The quhilk day it is statute and ordainit in jugement, be ye alderman and balzeis of yis burch, and be ye haill communitie, yat nane brew aill derer nor viiid. Ye galoun, under ye pain of takyn furth of yair caldronis and veschalls and dingin out of ye bodumis at ye mercat cross.”  This is the first notice on record of the Market Cross of Dunfermline; but there can be little doubt that there was a “mercat cross” as early as 1396, immediately after the burgh had received its important Charter from the Abbot.  (See Annals, date 1395; “Burgh Ports,” 1396; “Extent of Burgh,” &c.

  1500.—ROBERT (n) BLACADER was Lord Abbot of Dunfermline this year.  The precise date of his election and consecration to the office is not known.  The only note referring to him is to be found in Drummond’s (of Hawthornden) Hist. Scot., viz.:--“King James IV., intimating that, out of remorse for bearing arms in the field where his father was slain, he had a resolution to leave his kingdom and visit the Holy Sepulchre.  To prepare his way, Robert Blackader, Abbot of Dunfermline, is directed to accompany him, but dies on the way and the King findeth other hindrances,” &c.  This Robert is the 29th Abbot of Dunfermline.

  NAMES OF ALTARS IN DUNFERMLINE ABBEY IN 1500.—In the first, or oldest of the MS. Burgh Records, the names of the following Altars occur between 1488 and 1500, viz.:--

            1. The High, or Great Altar.                              11. St. Laurence’s Altar.
            2. Our Lady’s Altar.                                           12. St. Margaret’s Altar.
            3. The Haly Bluid Altar.                                     13. St. Ninian’s Altar.
            4. The Rood, or Holy Cross Altar.                     14. St. Mary’s Altar. 
            5. St. John’s Altar.                                             15. St. Nicholas’ Altar.
            6. St. Peter’s Altar.                                            16. St. Cuthbert’s Altar.
            7. St. James’s Altar.                                          17. St. Stephen’s Altar.
            8. St. Thomas’s Altar.                                        18. St. Trunzean’s Altar.
            9. St. Michael’s Altar.                                         19. St. Catherine’s Altar.
            10. St. Salvator’s Altar.                                        20. The Parish Altar. 

Probably there were more Altars, although not on record.

  NAMES OF STREETS IN DUNFERMLINE IN A.D. 1500.—Strictly speaking, there were no streets in Dunfermline in 1500.  The thoroughfares were designated as Rows, Gates, Wynds, and Vennels.  Of these, the following existed in 1500:--

            1. The Casigate—Hie-Gate, and latterly High Street.
            2. The Colzier Raw; now Bruce Street.
            3. Rottan Row; now West Queen Ann Street.
            4. The Cross Wynde; stills retains the same name.
            5. The Kirkgait;            “                “
            6. St. Catherine’s Gait; now St. Catherine’s Wynd.
            7. May Gait; still retains the same name;
            8. Newraw;                 “                 “
            8. Nethertown;            “                 “
            9. The Foul Vennel; afterwards known by the name of “In-below-the-wa’s,” “being a dirty
                  foot-road, about eight feet broad, which ran east from the east end of the
                  Maygate, along the foot of the north wall of the Abbey to the Newraw.”
           10. The Common Vennel, which was then a narrow footway, “running east from the lower
                 Yett (or Port) to the Newraw.”

The only street paved with causeway stones at this period was the principal street, the High Street—then called the Causagait, or Casigate, afterwards Hie Gait and Height.

  TRADES IN DUNFERMLINE IN A.D. 1500.—In the first or oldest volume of the Dunf. Burgh Records (between 1477 and 1500), the following trades are mentioned:--

            1. Smiths.                        8. Fleshers.
            2. Weavers.                     9. Litsters, or Dyers.
            3. Masons.                     10. Brewsters (Brewers, &c)
            4. Wrights.                     11. Walcars (Waulkers).
            5. Tailors.                       12. Fullers.
            6. Bakers.                      13. Cadgers (fish for Abbey and inhabitants, &c.).
            7. Shoemakers.

It does not appear that any of these trades were incorporated at this period.  (Vide notices of “Seals of Cause,” in the pages of the Annals.)

  ALDERMAN.—DAVID COUPAR elected Alderman, or Provost, of Dunfermline; Robert Swinton, Treasurer.  (Burgh Rec.)

  WEAVING, AND THE WEBB OF “CANNE.”—In the Burgh Records of this date there is notice taken of a charge of Christian Marshall against Thomas Wilson for the “wrangous spillyn of anew ebb of canne.”  (Canvas?)


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