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The History of Glasgow
Chapter XLVI - Bailieship of Regality—Earls of Lennox and Arran—Succession of Provosts—Bonds of Manrent—Craftsmen—Seals of Cause to Tailors, Weavers, and Hammermen—Acts of Parliament

GEORGE COLQUHOUN who is designated provost-depute of Glasgow in 1514-5 and again in 1519-20, [Glasg. Chart. i. pt. i. p. 533; antea, 319-20.] is referred to as provost of Glasgow in 1523-4, [Historical MSS. Commission: Col. D. Milne Home (1902) p. 34. In a letter to the Duke of Albany, dated 21st January, 1523-4, David Home of Wedderburn stated as the reason he could not attend upon his grace, that the Earl of Lennox had caused him to remain in the country with his (the earl's) "awin servand, George of Colquhoun, provost of Glasgow," to apprehend some evil doers.] and though there is no definite information on the subject it is probable that he acted both as depute-bailie of the regality and provost of the burgh till the death of the earl of Lennox in 1526. The latter's successor, Earl Matthew, born in 1516, was in pupillarity, and his estates having thus fallen to the crown in ward were bestowed on the Earls of Arran and Angus jointly. Angus resigned his half to Arran's natural son, Sir James Hamilton of Finnart; and in connection with these arrangements the Earl of Arran seems to have obtained the bailieship of the regality. On 18th October, 1527, Sir Robert Stewart of Minto, who was provost of the burgh from that year till 1537, bound himself, so long as he remained provost, to be "man and servitor" to James earl of Arran. [Historical MSS. Commission, Report xi. Appx. 6, p. 34.] Keeping in view the position of the earl as bailie of the regality, this bond can scarcely be regarded as conflicting with the statutes of 1457 and 1491 forbidding any man dwelling in a burgh to bind himself in manrent with any one except the king or his officers or with the lord of the burgh. [Antea, p. 308.] The archbishop of Glasgow was lord of the regality within which the burgh was situated and the bailie of the regality was at least nominally his officer.

Whatever may have been the effect of the provost's bond of manrent while it remained in force its duration was cut short by the death of the earl in or before July, 1529. His successor, the second earl, was a minor, and as Lennox was in the same position neither of them would be qualified for the office of regality bailie and it is not known who was entrusted with the duties of that office during the intermediate period which elapsed before they could be personally undertaken by Lennox.

In 1531 the young earl of Lennox obtained the governorship and revenues of Dumbarton Castle, where he was born fifteen years previously, but the guardianship of that important stronghold must have been entrusted to a deputy and William Stirling of Glorat seems to have been continued in that office. [Irving's Dumbartonshire (1857) p. 158; Glasg. Chart. i. pt. i. Abstract, p. 34, No. 314.] The earl entered the service of the King of France in 1532 and did not return with the intention of residing in this country till 1543, but though his personal activities were not available in Glasgow barony there was no abatement of his interest in its affairs. By a letter written from Edinburgh, dated 15th August and supposed to be of or about the year 1535, he desired his brother, Sir John Stewart, captain of the Scots Guard in France, to obtain letters from his royal master and others to the Pope, to the French ambassador at Rome, and to the College of Cardinals, for expediting some business which the archbishop of Glasgow had to transact at Rome with reference to the privileges and freedom of the kirk of Glasgow. In this letter the earl reminds his brother that " the house of Lennox were servants to St. Mungo and bound to defend the interests of that kirk." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report iii, p. 395, No. 190.]

It is not till twelve years after the Skinners got their seal of cause that we have record of another craft obtaining official confirmation of its rules and consequent recognition of its status as an incorporation. But on loth October, 1527, the town council, responding to the desire of the Tailor craft, as represented by four of their number, designated "kyrkmaisters," and by the remaining masters of craft, sanctioned the articles or rules submitted to them. By these rules, which closely correspond with those passed by the town council of Edinburgh in favour of the tailor craft of that city, in 1500, [Edinb. Rec. i. p. 82. The Edinburgh tailors made provision for religious services at the altar of St. Anne, "oure matrone," within the collegiate church of St. Giles. There was an altar of St. Anne in the newly founded collegiate church of St. Mary and St. Anne, in Glasgow, and it may have been there that the Glasgow craft maintained religious services. No altar to St. Anne in Glasgow cathedral has been identified.] apprenticeships were to last for four years, each apprentice on his entry paying half a merk to the altar of St. Anne; craftsmen were not to set up booth till they were qualified workmen and had become freemen and burgesses of the city; no master was to harbour any other master's apprentice or servant; each booth-holder was to pay to the altar ten shillings on setting up booth and thereafter one penny weekly; and any spoiled cloth was to be made good to the owner. Any one disobeying the deacon, whom the craft were authorised to choose yearly, had to pay a pound of wax to the altar and a fine of eight shillings to the magistrates. Like all the known pre-Reformation seals of cause, with one exception, this seal of cause was granted with the express consent of the archbishop. [Original Seal of Cause in the possession of the Incorporation of Tailors. As this document has not been printed elsewhere and is illustrative of former methods of procedure, the following quotations are given. It begins thus: "To the hie honor, laude, glor, and perpetuall lovyng of the blissit Trinatie, Fadir, Sone, and Halegast, the blissit Virgene, modir of God, our halie patron Sant Mungo, and Sant Anne, and all the halie cumpanie and blissit falloschipe of hewyng, the commone weill and guid publice of our Soverane Lordis legis and of the burghe and ciete of GIasgwe, the induellaris and inhabitaris tharof: We provest, balzeis, consall and communitie of the burghe and ciete of Glasgwe, to all and syndrie, present and fortocum, to quhais knawalagis thir present letteris sall cum, greting, to all burrouis and universiteis we make it knauing that thar comperit now laitlie befoir us, universalie gadderit, efter the sownd of our commone bell, within our tolbutht of Glasgu, our weilbeluffit nychtburis, cietounris and comburgessis, that is to say, Jhone Strwddirris, Rynzen Marchell, Thomas Garddinar, Jhone Clark, kyrkmasteris, and the laif of the masteris of the Tailzour craft within our said burgh and ciete, and present thar suplicatione tyll us, makand mentione that the said craft and faculte was misgidit and distrouit in the falt of gude rewle and reformatione of the said craft and gud statutis to be maid tharin for the commone weill of the realme and the kyngis legis of this ciete and towne: And tharfor thai desirit for thir premisis, and the loving of God and agmentatione of his serwes and to the honor of Sant Anne to be thar matrone, thir puntis and articulis efter folluand:" (Here follow the articles summarised in the text.) "Quharfor my lordis sene thir our racionable and sempille desiris and petitionis conformis to equite and ar consonant to honour and pollici, according to the use and consuetis of gryt townis of honour in other realmis, and desiris that ye wald grant till us tham ratifiit, approvit and confermit be you."

On 3rd February, 1546-7, another seal of cause was granted to the Tailors. It is in similar terms to that of 1527 but has an additional "article," to the effect that the deacon and masters of craft should prevent unfreemen doing tailor work within the city unless they conformed to certain conditions. This document is printed in full in Mr. J. M. Taylor's Records of the Incorporation of Tailors (1872) pp. 101-4. On 11th May, 1569, the town council granted a third seal of cause (also printed Ibid. pp. io8-i2) introducing alterations and additions rendered necessary by the changes of the Reformation and superseding the two earlier "letters of deaconheid." Thenceforth support of the poor and meeting the common charges of the craft were substituted for altar payments, and "dennars and sumptuous bankets" were discontinued, the saved money being placed in the " ommon box."

Glossary:—at, that; at tha, that they; aucht, owned; beand, being; bwtht, booth; cietounris, citizens; distrouit, destroyed; fortocum, future; frathinfurth, thenceforth; fundment, foundation; gryt, great; gud, guid, good; guid publice, public good; halie, holy; hewyng, heaven; knauing, known; kyrkmaister, one in charge of church or altar affairs; laif, remainder; legis, lieges; ourman, oversman; pratik, practice; puntis, points, conditions; quhais, whose; racionable, reasonable; sene, since; serwes, service; tolbutht, tolbooth; tyll, to; universiteis, all, every person concerned.]

That bodies of craftsmen were formed into societies before being incorporated by seals of cause is illustrated in the case of the Weaver's craft which appears to have obtained a seal of cause for the first time in 1528. One of the minute books of this incorporation contains an entry dated 8th February, 1658, bearing that their "haill old actis, extractit out of the buikis for the yeir 1514 and sensyne" were at that time read, allowed and approved. This earlier minute book has not been preserved, but from the terms of the quoted entry and other incidental information obtained elsewhere it may be inferred that it was the common practice for craftsmen to be joined in voluntary association and to work under their own. rules and regulations before formal seals of cause were applied for and obtained.

The weavers' seal of cause of 1-28 is not preserved but its. terms are narrated in an act of parliament passed on 17th September, 1681. From this source it is shown that on 4th June, 1528, the masters of the webster craft, within the burgh, presented a supplication to the magistrates and council mentioning that the craft was misguided in default of good. rule and statutes and desiring ratification of the points and articles then submitted for approval. Prominent among these are contributions to the altar of the craft's patron saint whose name is left blank. Fullers, and presumably other workers in cloth, were regarded as under the protection of a saint named Sever or Severin. [The weavers of Edinburgh, who obtained a seal of cause on 3 1st January, 1475-6, contributed to the altar of "Sanct Severane" in the church of St. Giles (Edin. Rec. i. P. 33)] In Glasgow cathedral there was no altar to St. Severin but as there was one to St. Serf or Servanus [Between 1214 and 1249, Alexander. sheriff of Stirling. gave three merks ycaily from the mill of Cader for the sustentation of a chaplain at the altar of St. Servanus, constructed by him in the church of Glasgow (Reg. Episc. Nos. 121-2). On i 8th June, 1446, Mr. David Cadyhow, precentor in the church -of Glasgow, gave , yearly, for maintaining services at the altar of St. Servanus, which he had rebuilt (Ibid. No. 348).] it was probably to the latter altar that the Glasgow weavers paid their dues, and these were of considerable amount. A prentice on his entry paid 5s.; a freeman on setting up booth paid 2 merks; each booth-holder paid a penny weekly; for insufficient work a pound of wax was exacted for the altar; each servant of the craft, except prentices, had to pay a half-penny weekly; and any one disobeying the deacon was to give a pound of wax for the lights of the altar. The few remaining rules of the seal of cause, which it may be mentioned was granted by the magistrates and council with consent of the archbishop, included provisions for apprenticeships lasting five years and for the yearly appointment of a deacon, disobedience to whom involved, besides the wax contribution, payment of a fine of 8s. to the magistrates. [Old Glasgow Weavers (1905) pp. 2, 6 8; A.P.S. viii. p. 396.]

The next of the Glasgow crafts to obtain a seal of cause was the society of Hammermen, embracing the various classes of artizans styled blacksmiths, goldsmiths, lorimers, bit and bridle makers, saddlers, bucklemakers and armourers, who -obtained a seal of cause from the magistrates and council with consent of the archbishop, on iith October, 1536. St. Eligius or Eloy was the patron saint of goldsmiths and to his altar the offerings of Glasgow hammermen were rendered. No other mention of an altar dedicated to St. Eloy in the cathedral, or any other of the city churches or chapels has been traced, but it is acknowledged that we have no complete list of the chaplainries and altarages which existed in the city in early times.

The main provisions of the hammermen's seal of cause are of the usual tenor, aimed at securing sufficiency of workmanship, a careful inspection of progress being made each Saturday. Qualified craftsmen, on being admitted and setting up booth, contributed 20s. each to the altar ; prentices on their entry gave to it 10s.; and for each breaking of the statutes a pound of wax was exacted for its lights. Indicating a somewhat extended existence as a society before this time, all the members were bound to fulfil their "auld use and consuetude" in all things for the uphold of divine service at the altar and "ane honorable chaplain thairto."  [Hammermen of Glasgow (1912) pp. 251-2. The original seal of cause is not preserved and it has here been printed from comparatively modem transcripts, containing in some parts obvious misreadings, though in most cases the meaning can be guessed. If, as the printed document indicates, the headsmen and masters of the craft petitioned the king and the archbishop, and not the magistrates and council, for ratification of their rules, this was a peculiarly exceptional course, but in transcribing this passage some words seem to have been omitted or altered.]

The benefits secured to individual burghs by salutary regulations laid down in seals of cause to the respective craftsmen within their bounds were sought to be conferred on burghs in general through the medium of public statutes. Thus in June, 1535, parliament had under consideration the great oppression suffered by the lieges through exorbitant prices charged by cordiners, smiths, baxters, brewsters and other craftsmen, and it was resolved that a commission should be issued for causing craftsmen to produce sufficient work for sale at suitable prices, and repairs were to be attended to by competent workmen. Such cloth as was found on inspection to be of proper manufacture was to be sealed by an officer appointed for the purpose.

In preparation for defence of the realm the orders for holding periodical wapinshawings were renewed and each burgh was called upon to report how much artillery it could supply. Owing to a scarcity of guns and ammunition merchants trading to foreign countries were instructed to bring home hagbuts and armour, or at least metal for the making of such and also supplies of powder. But at this time peaceful relationship existed with England, and parliament could give its attention to such home subjects as the ticketing of beggars to their own parishes, the uniformity of weights and the ratification of the privileges of burghs. The act passed against the importation of the works of "the great heretic Luther " and his followers was also renewed. [Ancient Laws, ii. pp. 65-71 ; A.P.S. ii. p. 341.]

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