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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1701 - 1801 - Part 14

1796.—the town house and weavers' meetings.—"TheTown Council on 16th April, 1796, resolved that the Town House be refused to the Weavers, especially for holding their meetings in, asthey had lately formed unlawful combinations." (Burgh Records.)The Weavers of Dunfermline in those days were a "valiant class, "most of them being Friends of the People-men. (See An. Dunf,date 1794.)
Baldridge Burn—Foot-Path Road.—The Town Council directed their treasurer to "pay one guinea to assist in the making of a foot-path in Baldridge Burn Road."  {Burgh Records, 28th of March, 1796.)
The Revenue OF THE Dunfermline Post-Office IN 1796 was about £300. (Fern’s Hist. Dunf. p. 53.)
Queen Ann OF Denmark's house, and the Constable and Bailie-Houses being considered dangerous ruins, were sold in 1796, when they began to be removed. (MS. Note; also Fernie's Hist. Dunf. p. 70)
Free Honorary Burgess of Dunfermline.—The Honourable John Cochrane was made an honorary burgess of the Burgh on the 6th June, 1796. (Burgess Roll of Dunf.) Mr. Cochrane was returned M.P. for the district of Burghs on June 20.

Parliamentary Election Riots— The Provost of Dunfermline Put into Inverkeithing Black-Hole!—"The candidates for Parliamentary honours at this period [June l6th, 1796] were the Hon. John Cochrane and Sir John Henderson of Fordell. The former was the favourite, and this greatly incensed Sir John.  For several days Sir John kept his colliers parading through the streets, armed with bludgeons, to intimidate voters and the incorporated trades. They broke their opponents' windows amid boisterous huzzas, forced entry into several houses, rang the Auld Kirk and Council bells, and fired off squibs and sky-rackets thick and threefauld." When the l6th came round, the delegate for the burgh had to be elected, and the Council repaired to the Council-chamber in the Town-house  to conduct the election. It was known that Provost Moodie would be elected delegate to vote for the Hon. John Cochrane at Inverkeithing, then the returning burgh. After a great number of the Council were convened,-the doors were shut, when Sir John, along with an Edinburgh lawyer, named Law, got Tarn Thomson, the smith, to break open the Town-house doors. This having been done, the lawyer, and his abbetors or employers, rushed into the Council Chamber, and presented pistols at the Provost's breast, and took him prisoner, along with half-a-dozen of the Councillors ; brought them out to the street, and thrust them into coaches which had been hired for the purpose, when they were all driven off, by out-of-the-way roads, to the returning burgh, viz., Inverkeithing. The Provost and Councillors on their arrival there were put into the Blackhole of Inverkeithing, and kept there for several hours, in order to prevent the Provost being elected the legal delegate at Dunfermline. After the Provost and the others were released, they repaired to Dunfermline with all haste, and held a midnight meeting of the Council, when the Provost was elected delegate. The Provost, as delegate for Dunfermline, repaired to Inver-
keithing on June 20th, and voted for the Hon. John Cochrane, who was elected M.P. for the Burghs, to the great chagrin of Sir John, &c. (MS. Notes; Burgh Records.)
OLD TENEMENT FOOT OF CROSS WYND REMOVED.—This curious old tenement at the foot of the Cross Wynd, with its crooked out-side stair, was removed in 1796; it belonged to a Mr. Cusine, and was next house above the corner of the Wynd, west side, (MS. Note.)
Charity school established.—The Town Council took a ten years' lease of David Stobie's old house [at junction of Viewfield Place and east end of Queen Ann Street],.and set a-going a school long known as the "Poor School." (MS. Note; also Burgh Records, ist May, 1876.)
Provost of Dunfermline.—James Moodie re-elected Provost.(Burg Records.)
Press-gang in Dunfermline.—"The press-gang came to Dunfermline in October, 1796, and carried off some weavers and others; some of them never came back, and some succeeded well in after life with their pensions," &c. (MS. Note.)
1797.—WATER SUPPY—Cairncubie Springs.—The supply of water from the head well having for some time been deemed insufficient, it was resolved by the water committee early in 1797 to have recourse to the springs at Cairncubie, two miles north-east of the town. (Fernie's Hist, Dunf. p. 14; see also Annals Dunf. dates-1764, 1765, 1774, 1805.)
The Freedom OF THE Burgh TO William Tait, Esquire, advocate.—"This day the Magistrates and Town Council created and admitted William Tait, Esq., Advocate, a burgess and guild brother of this burgh, with all the liberties, privileges, and immunities belonging thereto," &c.  (Burg Records, 13th April, 1797.) Mr. Tait was selected to be the town's depute or commissioner to vote for a member of parliament in behalf of the burgh.
Post-office Removed.—"The Post-Office, which had from time immemorial been accommodate in a house at the Tron, north-side of the High Street, and kept by Mrs. Anderson, was in 1797 removed to the foot of the Kirkgate." (MS. Note.) Probably it was then first kept by Mr. A. Angus.
The Queen's House — The Constabulary and Bailie Houses Removed.—These buildings, erected between 1597 and 1600 as before noted, were considered dangerous ruins in 1797, when they were sold and began to be taken down. By June this year, 1797, every stone of them had been removed, which very much altered the aspect of the locality to the regret of many. The writer having, in 1854, several detached sketches of these old buildings, made from them a composition view for Dr. Clalmers's Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 129; the writer also in 1865 published a lithographic view of the same buildings from the north. (For Views of Queen Ann of Denmark's House see Slezar's Theatrmn Scotiæ, and Gross's Ant. Scot.; MS. Note; also the Histories of Dunf., and An. Dunf. date 1600). Between the south front of the Queen's House and the Pends there was a large open space called the Abbey Close, or Main Court Yard, embracing an area of 940 square yards.

One of our notes on the "Queen's House" says—"This house, from about the year 1750, had a large apartment set aside for annual cock fights; the charges were—front seats, 6d; second, 3d.; and back seats, Id; and the place was generally crammed on the hansell- mondays; even after the house became a ruin, it was used for cock fighting. The removal of the old building in 1797 put an end to its glory." (MS. Notes, and Histories of Dunfermline, &c.)
The Pillory; and two delinquents.—A Note informs us that “Mrs. Templeman and Mrs. Christie stood in the Pillory at the east end of the Town-house, with chains round their necks, and" hanks of yarn tied to their bodies." They are said to have been the last who did penance at the Pillory of Dunfermline. They had been convicted of stealing yarn at Brucefield Mill. "One of the culprits was very penitent, and hung her head; the other brazened it out, and told the onlookers to take a guid glour at her, so that they might ken her again."
Tailors Female-Bress Makers.—"From time immemorial, down to at least the year 1797, the tailors of Dunfermline made female dresses, caps, &c., especially bridal dresses! William Pearson, tailor and dressmaker, Pilmuir, was the last of this sort of tailors; he died about the year 1825." (MS. Note.)
The Charity School (East-End of Town), recently instituted, was opened on August 1st, 1797 ; Mr. Alexander Balfour was chosen teacher. (Burgh Records, August, 1797.)
Provost OF Dunfermline.—James Moodie, Esq., was re-elected Provost. (Burgh Records.)
The Witch-dub acres.—In a Town Council minute, dated 25th Nov., 1797, the "Witch-Dub Acres" are referred to. These acres lay on the north side of " Halybluid Acres," foot of Gardeners' Land.

1798.—The Debt OF THE Burgh.—The Debt of the Burgh of Dunfermline, as ascertained early in 1798, amounted to about £5000. (Burgh Records.)
The Secession Church (Queen Ann Street) was founded early in the spring of 1798—Mr. McFarlane, architect and builder. (MS. Note; see also An. Dunf. date 1800.)
"FENCIBLES."—The company of Dunfermline "Fencibles," raised in 1795-1796, from that time to 1798 were all dressed in blue clothing. " In 1798, the 'Blue Fencibles' joined with the Volunteers, when they assumed the red coat" (An. Dunf; date 1795 ; MS. Note.)
Grand Review and Mock Fight.—"In the autumn of 1798 there was a grand review in Mr, Nicol the farmer's park, west end of Golfdrum, when a mock fight took place to the great delectation of the hundreds who witnessed it; there were also reviews and sham the Hill and other places." (J. A. and MS.)
Admiral Mitchell "in Want of Employment."—"The Council, in consideration of the well known professional abilities of Rear-Admiral Andrew Mitchell, and of his anxiety to be employed in the line of his profession at this present critical period: they unanimously agree to recommend him to the attention of the Right Honourable Mr. Secretary Dundas, and to request of him to use his influence with the Lords of the Admiralty, that the Admiral may procure suitable employment, and authorise the Provost to write a letter in their name to Mr. Dundas to that effect." (Burgh Records, 14th Feb., 1798; see also An. Dunf. date Sept., 1799.)
Drawing School,—During; the summer of 1798, John Burlin, drawing-master, Edinburgh, came to Dunfermline, and formed a drawing-class in the Masons' Lodge, Mill Port. He had moderate success. He had, it would appear, been induced to come to Dunfermline by some of the manufacturers, in order to inspire the youths with a taste for drawing patterns for the webs, &c. Mr. Burlin had, for a great number of years previous to this period, visited Dunfermline professionally; he now took up a permanent residence in it. He died about 1803. (MS. Note.)
The Post-Office Revenue for 1798 amounted to £450. (MS. Note.)
PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE-.—James Moodie, Esq., was re-elected Provost, September, 1798. (Burgh Records.)
Ruins OF St. Leonard's Chapel (near Dunfermline).—An old note states that "the south wall and door-post of the Chapel, or Hospital, of St. Leonard's fell to the ground, and thus came to an end this venerable institution. About the same time its burial-ground was disused." (J. A., and MSS.)
The Fifeshire Yeomanry . calvary was raised this year, and " frequently met for exercise in the town and vicinity." The Militia was also raised. (MS.)
The Dunfermline "Ancient Society of Gardeners" became a "Friendly Society" in 1798, and 342 members were entered on the roll, with funds amounting to £115. (Fernie's Hist. Dunf. p. 52.)
Lochgelly GIPSY Band.—An old manuscript note, of this date, referring to this notorious Gipsy Band, says : "The band consisted of about 50 persons—men, women, and children—headed by the celebrated Charlie Graham. They made pots and spoons and pans, and did all sorts of tinkering; they scoured the country for many miles around with their goods ; but their chief source of gain lay in attending public fairs, and robbing the unwary." Dunfermline Fairs were always attended by this fraternity, and many robberies and scuffles was the consequence. At Dunfermline Hairst Fair this year Charlie and his gang came to the fair, knocked down the sweetie and the claith stands in the High Streets, and a great row took place, which was just what the gang wanted, in order to ply their avocations. Charlie, it seems, "was run into the Black-hole." Shortly after, he, by aid of the gang broke out of the hole, was seized again, and, as he was wanted in Perth, he was taken there, where sometime afterwards he was executed for his misdeeds, and thus Dunfermline and district got rest. The gang then broke up and removed from the neighbourhood. (D. L. and MSS.) 
1799.—"Chapel KIRK"—The Rev. David Saville Inducted.— The Rev. David Saville was inducted minister of the Chapel Kirk on the 5th January, 1799, as successor to the Rev. James Robertson. Mr. Saville, after a short charge of ten months, was translated to the Canongate Chapel, Edinburgh, on 10th October. He is the author of " A Series of Discourses on Peculiar Doctrines of Revelation," &c.  He died before 1810. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. &c.)
"St. Patrick's Day IN THE morning" in dunfermline, 1799. —Regarding this ludicrous affair of "St. Patrick's Day in the Morning" which caused great terror amongst the inhabitants, we have several
notes, which, when condensed, read as follows :—

There was a large camp of soldiers in Dunfermline early in 1799—the greater number being Irish. As it turned out, these soldiers, on the day before St. Patrick's-day, had resolved to honour St. Patrick early on the following morning, viz., Sunday morning, 17th March, in marching order, accompanied with all their music. Accordingly, they all met at their guard house, in the Town-House, and just as twelve o'clock had struck out Saturday night from the calendar, and introduced Sunday morning, the 17th, up struck the music. Drums beating, trumpets blowing, and fifes in. plenty augmenting the din, off they marched through the principal streets at this early hour on Sunday morning. Up went all the windows in the route of march, asking what it meant. Some of the soldier wags cried out that " Bonaparte had landit!" A general putting on of clothes was the result. " To your tents, 0 Israel!” cried some of the valiant burgesses, while those of a pious turn of mind thought that such an unheard-of noise on a Sunday morning was something more serious than the landing of Bonaparte, and went to their devotions. These soldiers were shortly afterwards removed for their misconduct. Their guard-house was removed to the Crosswynd, and their black-hole to the Maygate. This occurrence was long remembered in Dunfermline, It is still often referred to. (MS. Notes; Edinburgh Newspapers, &c.)
The Earl of Elgin, Ambassador to Constantinople.—"The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine was appointed ambassador to Constantinople in 1799, and continued there until 1801. During his ambassadorship he collected the Elgin Marbles; these were afterwards purchased from him by Government for £30,000, which has been supposed to be only about half the money it had cost the Earl." (MS. Note.)
Admiral Mitchell's victory OVER THE Dutch.—"9th Sept., 1799: Which day the Council, taking into consideration the important Victory obtained by Admiral Mitchell over the Dutch Fleet (in the Texel), and the Provost having suggested to the Council the propriety of having a full-length painting of the Admiral, to be put up in the Town-Hall, as a mark of respect for the eminent services he had rendered the Country, The Council agree to open a subscription for that purpose, and authorise the Provost to Subscribe Ten Guineas in name of the Council." (Burgh Records.) The Dutch Fleet, in the Texel, surrendered to Admiral Mitchell, after his taking the Helder, 29th August, 1799. The Admiral presented a set of flags to the burgh at this period.
The REV. Rowland Hill, Mr. Greville Ewing, AND Mr. James Haldake.—These three preachers visited Dunfermline in 1799; they conducted their services in the open air. "In Dunfermline, the places selected for their meetings were Williamson's Wood-yard (north-west corner of Chalmers Street), the Back Brae, and a Park at Halybluid Acres, near the Town Green, in which green it could not be allowed, in consequence of so many cows grazing in it at rents. Mr. James Haldane preached in Williamson's Woodyard to a large congregation on Tuesday evening, May 7th, and also on the following morning, May 8th, 1799. In June, 1799, the Rev. Rowland Hill, accompanied by Mr. Greville Ewing, visited Dunfermline." On the 20th of that month, Mr. Ewing, with much acceptance and great power, preached from the words, ' Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in nowise enter into the kingdom of heaven.' This sermon was long remembered, and was followed by the most salutary effects on many."  On the evening of July 16th, 1799, the Rev. Rowland Hill preached in Halybluid Acres, Dunfermline, to about 2000 people, from the words— " The great day of his wrath is come," when "many a waverer was brought into the fold, and accounted the evening of July 16th as the date of his new life—the day on which he was born again." (MS- Notes.)
It may be noted that, between 1797 and 1804, "a great many itinerant preachers of celebrity visited Dunfermline, and preached in the open fields; the minds of people then were much disturbed by wars and rumours of wars! and not a few believed that the 'beginning of the end' was at hand ; religious truths were everywhere pondered over, and many were converted to the faith." (MS, Notes; also Mis. Mag. 1799, p. 460; Rowland Hill's Tour, &c,)
The Races.—"The Fife Hunt Races" were instituted this year. They were run on the Town Green. A fine horse got its leg broken, and had to be shot. (MS.)
The Famous Neil Gow in Dunfermline.—According to several old notes, "the famous Neil" attended the race dinner professionally, and gave the utmost satisfaction. "He was followed by crowds on the street." (See An. Dunf. 1801.)
THE original burgher congregation.—"A congregation of Original Burghers was formed in Dunfermline in the summer of 1799 ; they were generally known as the 'Auld Lights.' During the year they increased in numbers, and resolved to build a church of their own."  ( MS. Note; see An. Dunf. date 1800.)
Provost of Dunfermline.—James Moodie, was re-elected Provost. (Burgh Records.)
Rear-Admiral Mitchell of the Hill was, in 1799, raised to the rank of Vice-Admiral, when he was appointed Commander-in-Chief at Sheerness. (MS, Note; also Hist. Dunf)
Murder.—"Mr. Gibson was standing at his door at Leadside. near Dunfermline, with a spade in his hand ; a stranger man came up to him, took the spade out of his hand, and cruelly killed Mr. Gibson with it. Great sensation in the town and country; the strange man was never seen or heard of after." (Newspaper.)
Colliers fully emancipated.—The Act of 1775 emancipating Colliers "from slavery and thraldom," being found insufficient, another and more stringent Act was passed in their favour in 1799, which made the men free for ever, without any legal flaw. "The Dunfermline district of colliers hailed the event with acclamation and rejoicings." (MS. Note.)
Tan Works, Clay Acres, established at the close of 1799, by Mr. Forfar. (MS. Note.)
1800.—the secession church, Queen Ann Street, Finished— This church was opened in January, 1800, during a snow-storm. "It is large and very commodious, and is seated for about 1800 hearers. There are two ministers, Rev. Mr. Husband and Rev. Mr. McFairlane. In December, 1799, the original church, built for Rev. Ralph Erskinc in 1740-1742, and which stood close on the street, a little to the south of the present edifice, was cleared away, and, shortly afterwards, the old site was levelled and covered with gravel." (MS. Note.) According to Mackelvie's Statistics, this church has "1642 sittings, and cost  £2306." Chambers in his Pictures of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 156, refers to this church as "an enormous barn-like meeting-house, raising its rectilinear ridge above all the houses in town." The late Mr. Wemyss, of Cuttlehill, a very public-spirited gentleman, and of great taste, proposed in 1803 to have a steeple on the front, to relieve the heavy appearance; it is said that above £300 was subscribed for this laudable purpose, but as some wanted the steeple on the front, and others on the west gable, they could not agree about it, and so the scheme fell to the ground.  It should be carried into effect in these days of improvements; a steeple on this church would have a splendid effect, both near and at a distance. (See An. Dunf. date 1740, &c.)
The Chapel Kirk.—The Rev. Christopher Greig was inducted minister of this church, as the successor of the Rev. Mr, Saville, on 17th April, 1800. (Ses. Records.)
South Chapel Street.—"The Provost reported in council this day [4th April, l8oo], that Mr. John Kirk had informed him that it was proposed to purchase that subject presently belonging to David Morris, late George Angus’s, for the purpose of opening a communication by a public street betwixt the High Street and Rottenrow. The Council agree to pay £25 of the purchase money, and also to pave the street upon the same being declared a public street," (Burgh Records.) Between this period and 1803, South Chapel Street was opened and causewayed. (Burgh Records, and MS.)
Admiral Mithcell and Dutch flags.—Early in the year 1800, Vice-Admiral Mitchell of the Hill presented to the Burgh of Dunfermline a set of Dutch flags which he had taken from the enemy in the Texel. (MS. Note.)
Humble Address to the King.—"The Provost moved that an humble address should be presented to his Majesty on his late escape from assassination."
Post-Office Revenue.—The revenue of the Post-Office of Dunfermline in the year 1800 amounted to £500.
Butter and Cheese Dealers.—"The Council, taking into consideration the many abuses practised by Dealers in Butter and Cheese, &c., from the want of uniformity in the weights used in selling the same. They therefore Resolve that in future no Butter shall be sold unless by Tron-Weight of twenty-two ounces to the pound, and all Scotch Cheese with the same weight, and that an advertisement
be published by the Drum to that effect, Certifying all who shall do in the contrary that they shall be punished according to law." (Burg Records, 26th May, 1800.)
The Dearth.—Regarding this second occurrence of the dearth, within a few years, our Note says :—" The dearth of 1800 was severely felt. Two of the squares of glass in the east room of the ground-flat of the town-house were removed, and the space converted into a door, out of which was handed, to such as had meal-tickets, Indian Corn meal, at 2s. 6d. and 3s. per peck. The 4 lb. 5 oz, loaf sold at 20d. A Girniel was established at the top of Chapel St., and Guarded."
Recruiting Soldiers IN Dunfermline.—A very large party of recruiting soldiers were in the town in 1800. Their Guard-House was in the Cross Wynd, afterwards in Queen Ann Street. Their Black-Hole was in the Maygate. (J. A.)
Vaccination.—Our Note, referring to this, states that "vaccition was for the first time tried as a preventive of small-pox in Dunfermline on some members of the family of Mr. Blackwood, the manufacturer, by Dr. Stenhouse, in the year 1800, with success. After this,vaccination became general here, and worm-eaten faces began to disappear."
A small english congregation was formed in Dunfermline In 1800, Mr. Walter Grieve, preacher. (MS. Note.)
Costume.—" In the year 1800, the old men of Dunfermline, as in other towns, wore large blue bonnets ; gravat round neck; the clothes hodden grey; the coat, of very large size, coming down all round to the knees, embellished with metal buttons before and behind, 1 ¼ inch in diameter; a tremendous size of waistcoat, with corresponding poutches [pockets], which was also decorated with metal buttons; then came either hodden grey or cordouroy breeks; and those who could afford it had watches, metal chains hanging out, to which were attached coins, buckies, watch-keys, &c.; last of all, soled shoes, full of sparabils. Thus equiped, he was ready for Kirk or Market—not forgetting his five-foot staff. The young men were less clumsily fitted, but in a somewhat similar manner.  The women-folks were encased in gowns of a coarse sort, top'd by a plaid, plain or embroidered, and were crowned with mutches or coal-skuttle caps. As late as the year 1816 many of the women went to church in their mutches." (MS. Note.)
An Excessively Hot Summer.—The months of June and July 1800 were excessively hot. The thermometer in the shade, at the north side of the town, at two o'clock in the afternoon, July the 17th,_stood at 92°, and in the sun at 119°.
Young Men's Religious Society.-—In the year 1800, the following young men in Dunfermline formed themselves into a Religious Society for Prayer, Praise, Reading the Scriptures, and for Recitations, viz., Adam Kirk, Thomas Morison, Douglas Cousin, Ebenezer Henderson, David Hatton, David Dewar, William Meldrum, Richard Gosman, and Archibald Harley. They met once a-week in Poor’s School, east end of East Port Street: and the meetings were frequently attended by many of the inhabitants. These young men had become seriously impressed with the importance of a religious life, by having heard the discourses of the Haldanes, Ewing, and Rowland Hill, &c.  Douglas Cousin became an eminent missionary, and died at Karass, in Russia, in 1804.   Regarding the Rev. Dr. Henderson, uncle of the writer, see An. Dunf. date 1858.
Pittencrieff Estate.—William Hunt, Esq., Dunfermline, purchased the Estate and Superiority of Pittencreiff from Captain George Phin for £31,500.
Provost of Dunfermline.—James Moodie, Esq., re-elected Provost, September, 1800, (Burgh Records.)
The Netherton Races "were established about the year 1800." Martin Meldrum "was the great conductor of these races," "He was elected annually, till his death, to the office of "the Race Provost,” and the town drummer, as well as printed notices, advertised the public on the day of the races, that "all those who intended to hook themselves for the races" were to "apply to Martin Meldrum immediately."
(MS. Notes.)
The "Auld-Licht" Kirk.—"This small church was founded late in 1799, by the 'Original Burgher' Congregation, in Canmore Street, foot of the Open-yards close. Near the close of the year 1800 it was finished and opened for public-worship with about 600 hearers, the Rev. Mr. Campbcll, minister." (MS. Note.)
Grammar School Fees.—Mr. Ramsay, Rector of the Grammar or High School of Dunfermline, applied to the Town-Council for an increase of salary. In his petition to the Council, he says :—" During the last ten years (1790-1800) his scholars had decreased from 60 to 20," not from any fault in him, but owing to "the Change of Mode of Education.—The Council agree to augment his present salary of £,17 . 7 . 6 to £25 sterg. yearly—this additional salary to be continued during the Council's pleasure," {Burgh Records, 10th Nov., 1800.)


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