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Merchant and Craft Guilds
A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades
Part III. Chapter III - Dr. William Guild and the Aberdeen Trades

DR. WILLIAM GUILD was brought into close contact with the craftsmen of Aberdeen through his father being a prominent member of the Hammermen Trade, and took an active and practical interest in the welfare and prosperity of the craftsmen and their associations during the last twenty years of his life. He gifted to them in 1633 the old Trinity Monastery and chapel to be an hospital and meeting house; founded a bursary fund that has proved a most valuable addition to the educational schemes of the Aberdeen Trades, and these benefactions alone entitle him to prominent mention in a history of the craft guilds of his native city.

William was the second son of Matthew Guild, a well-known armourer or "sweird slipper," who, as a "worthy deacon " of his own craft, gave frequent evidence that he was endowed with remarkable energy and considerable force of character. About the time that William was born (1586) the town was in the midst of serious civil and ecclesiastical troubles, and the public records furnish abundant evidence of the active part that the armourer took in the public affairs of the town. As recorded in a previous chapter, Matthew was one of a number of craftsmen who openly defied the ordinances of the town by "cumyng throw the toune" on a Sunday afternoon "with ane minstrall play and befor thaim throch the Gallowgett," for which they were punished by losing their freedom for a time. Matthew subsequently filled the office of deacon of his craft on six successive occasions, a post of no small importance and influence at that period. William was the second son of the same name, his elder brother having met a violent death at the hands of a son of John Leslie, burgess. There were also three daughters—Jean, who was married to David Anderson of Finzeauch, "an ingenius and virtuous citizen," whose skill in mechanics earned for him the name of "Davie do a'thing;" and Margaret and Christina, who survived their brother, and succeeded to a portion of his estate. Jean left two bequests to the town—one for the maintenance and education of poor orphans (present annual revenue about £75); and another for the maintenance of poor widows of merchant and craft burgesses and of aged virgins born in Aberdeen (present annual revenue about £2 5s.). Margaret married a glazier named Cushnie, and she, along with Christina, were the heirs under Dr. Guild's will who had the option of paying out of the doctor's estate five thousand merks or handing over the Bursars' House in Castle Street for the support of craftsmen's sons at Marischal College. Matthew Guild, being a man of considerable means, and carrying on what at that time was the most lucrative handicraft of the day, was able to (rive his family the best education attainable. William was sent to Marischal College, which had just been opened for the reception of students, where he made rapid progress in his divinity studies.

At the age of twenty-two Guild published his first treatise, entitled, "The new Sacrifice of Christian Incense; or, The True Entry to the Tree of Life, and Gracious Gate of Glorious Paradise," which was published in London in 1608, and dedicated " to the amiable Prince Henry, to Charles Duke of York, and to the Princess Elizabeth," the family of James I. Next came a small work entitled " The Only Way to Salvation; or, the Life and Soul of True Religion," also published in London. In the same year that he published his first treatise (1608) Guild was appointed minister of King-Edward, in the Presbytery of Turriff. Two years afterwards he married Catherine, (Catherine Rolland or Guild, who died in 1659, left several bequests to the town to provide bursaries at the University and Grammar School (present annual revenue, £214); for the help and maintenance of widows of decayed burgesses of Guild (present annual revenue, £52); and for the poor of the burgh of Aberdeen, and to the Minister and Kirk-Session of King-Edward, for the poor of the parish (present annual revenue, £93).) daughter of James Rolland (In 1682 the Convener Court bought a tenement belonging to James Rolland of Disblair, "lying on the south side of Castlegate, for 1600 merks, and possessed by Robert Mackie, skiper, for the use of the common good of the said traids." The following minute would indicate that the Convener Court was satisfied with their bargain —"February 22nd, 1683.—The said day the deacons and remanent masters and members of the said court ordalnes that James Rolland of Disblair get ace silver dish worth seven or eight dollars.") of Disblair, but they had no family. Although living in comparative retirement in the parish of King-Edward, Guild was drawn into notice by his association with Dr. Andrews, Bishop of Ely, who was selected by King James to carry out his scheme for bringing the Scottish clergy into conformity with the English Church. Although it is not exactly known what share Guild had in this movement, which did not meet with much success, it may be inferred from the fact that Guild dedicated his next work, " Moses Unveiled," to Bishop Andrews, that he had tonsiderable sympathy with the project of the king. It was also through his association with Bishop Andrews that Guild obtained his appointment as one of the chaplains to Charles I.

Through Bishop Andrews, Guild was introduced to Dr. Young, Dean of Winchester, who was in high favour at the court, and who in turn introduced him to the king; and Guild's next work, " The Harmony of all the Prophets," was dedicated to Dr. Young, to whom he acknowledges his many obligations. Into the reformation controversies, Guild, now a doctor of divinity, entered with great zest. In 1625, he wrote " Ignis Fatuus; or, The Elf-fire of Purgatory," and an annex on the same subject, dedicated to the Earl and Countess of Lauderdale. In 1626 he published a treatise on the pretensions of the Romish Church to antiquity, entitled "Popish Glorying in Antiquitie turned to their Shame," which he dedicated to Sir Alexander Gordon of Cluny, and in 1627 "A Compend of the Controversies of Religion," both works having been printed by Edward Raban, in Aberdeen. Raban printed no fewer than thirteen works for Dr. Guild. In 1631, Dr. Guild was appointed successor to Mr. James Ross, one of the ministers of Aberdeen, after, as the Council Register bears, "having preached in the pulpits of the town, several times, to the contentment and general applause of the whole congregation, and withal knowing him to be a man of learning, good life, and conversation."

The peculiar circumstances under which Dr. Guild subscribed the covenant have laid him open to very severe strictures by some of his contemporaries. In 1638, when he declined to sign the covenant except under certain limitations, he was not by any means singular in so acting, and little notice would have been taken of his reservation, but for the fact that two years after, when the Principalship of King's College was vacant through the resignation of Dr. William Leslie, who was deprived of office because he would not sign the covenant in accordance with the Act of 1640, which cornmanded "the confession covenant to be subscribed by all his Majesty's subjects of what rank and quality soever, under all civil pains," Dr. Guild agreed to sign it unreservedly. The reservations or limitations which Dr. Guild stood out for in 1638 are fully set forth in the following interesting certificate granted by the Commissioners of the Covenanters—the Marquis of Montrose, Lord Couper, the Master of Forbes, Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys, Laird of Morphie ; Mr. Alexander Henderson, minister of Leuchars in Fife; Mr. David Dickson, minister of Irwin ; and Mr. Andrew Cant, minister of Pitsligo :—

Doctor William Guild and Mr. Robert Reid have subscribed the Covenant made by the Noblemen, Barons, Gentry, and Ministers, anent the maintenance of religion, his Majesty's authority and laws, with these express Conditions, to wit; That we acknowledge not, nor yet condemn, the Articles of Perth, to be unlawful or heads of Popery, but only promise (for the peace of the church, and other reasons) to forbear the practice thereof for a time.

Secondly, That we condemn not episcopal government, secluding the personal abuse thereof.

Thirdly, That we still retain, and shall retain, all loyal and dutiful obedience, unto our dread Sovereign the King's Majesty; and that in this sense, and no otherwise, we have put our hands to the foresaid Covenant, those Noblemen, Barons, and Ministers, commissioners, under subscribing, do testify at Aberdeen, the 30th July, 1638.


Likeas we under subscribers, do declare, that they neither had, nor have any intention but of loyalty to his Majesty, as the said Covenant bears.

(Signed) MONTROSE. COUPER, &c.

In the same year that he signed the covenant, Dr. Guild was appointed a Commissioner to the memorable General Assembly which met in Glasgow and abolished the hierarchy of the Church of Scotland. Dr. Guild does not seem to have been a silent member of the Assembly, for on his return to Aberdeen he found the feeling against him so strong that he deemed it advisable to leave the country for a short time. (The following entry in the Kirk-Session Records is significant of the state of feeling at the time :—" 10 Nov., 1639.—Doctore Gul. Guild, moderator—This day, James Davidson, servant to Alexander Gordoun, wobster, being convicit be the depositions of sindrie famous witnesses admitted, sworne, and examined for speiking some injurious disdainfnl words againis Doctor Williame Guild, and saying `dirt in Doctor Guilde's teith,' wes therefor ordainit to be put in the jogger the morrow, and thairefter to be quheipet at the staik in the correction hous.") After residing in Holland for a few months he returned and published a tract on the covenant entitled "To the Nobilitie, Gentrie, and Others, a Friendly and Faithful Advice," in which the doctor argues with great earnestness in support of the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance.

Dr. Guild was chosen Principal in 1640, but it is said he accepted office with great reluctance. And the fact that he did not consent to the fixing of a day for his installation till about a year after his election, gives colour to the statement that he " accepted the office of Principal rather in compliance with the wishes of others than to gratify any desire of his own.

After holding office for about ten years Dr. Guild got into trouble in consequence of his too pronounced adhesion to the royal cause. A Commission of Inquiry visited King's College in 1649 by whose orders the Principal, Sub-principal, and two of the professors were deposed, but the order was not carried into effect; and it was not until two years after, that Dr. Guild was finally deposed from office by a body of five commissioners from the army of General Monk. On the appointment of Rev. Mr. Row, one of the ministers of Aberdeen to the Principalship in 1652, Dr. Guild applied to be restored in his old pastoral charge, but was unsuccessful; and he then retired into private life. During his retirement he wrote a number of works, including "An Explication and Application of the Song of Solomon," "The Sealed Book Opened: or an Explanation of the Gospel of St. John," "An Answer to a Popish Pamphlet, called the Touchstone of the Reformed Gospel made specially out of themselves," and "The Novelty of Popery discovered by Romanists out of themselves." Guild died in 1657, and was buried in the north-west portion of St. Nicholas Churchyard, where a handsome monument, bearing the following inscription, was erected by his wife. The monument was recently renovated by the Incorporated Trades.

It is beyond our function here to discuss the different estimates of the character of Dr. Guild. A strong polemic and ecclesiastical controversialist himself, he did not fail to have his detractors as well as his admirers. Spalding indulges in some specially severe strictures upon him in his "Journal of the Troubles and Memorable Transactions of Scotland, from 1624 to 1645," making a number of grave charges against him, more especially with regard to the demolition of the Bishop's house in Old Aberdeen, which, however, was the doctor's own property, having been gifted to him by Charles I. in 1641. Alluding to this and other acts of Dr. Guild which he strongly condemned, Spalding says:—"John Forbes and Thomas Mercer, by the tolerance of Dr. Guild, principal, caused masons to throw down to the ground the bishop's dove cot (whilk indeed was ruinous and unprofitable), to be stones to the bigging of a song-school, whilk by some was not thought to be sacriligious, but yet was evil done as others thought. . . . In the same manner, he (Dr. Guild), dang down the walls of the Snow Kirk to big the college dykes. . . . Now he is demolishing the Bishop's house, pitiful and lamentable to behold; kirks and stately buildings first casten down by ruffians and rascals, and next by churchmen under colour of religion. . . . Dr. Guild at his own hand cause break down the great oaken joists within the bishop's house, and transported them therefrae for reparation of the college. Pitiful to see so glorious a building thus thrown down by dispiteful soldiers, and then demolished by Doctors of Divinity." And, finally, Spalding adds:—"Dr. Guild goes on most maliciously and causes cast down the stately wall standing within the Bishop's close, curiously builded with hewn stones, and took the stones down to the college for such vain uses as he thought most expedient (such was the iniquity of the times), and break down the ashler work about the turrets, raised the pavement of the hall and caused laid them down to lay the floor of the common school."

All this may be highly objectionable in the eyes of many, but this at least can be said for Dr. Guild, that he was not using the old buildings for his own private ends, but for the benefit of the college; and it is only right to state that, after all his bitter denunciation, Spalding himself makes the apologetic admission—"It is true this house, yards, and precincts were given to him by the estates whereof he might have made a more godly use by upholding rather than demolishing the same."

Our business here, however, is not so much with what Dr. Guild "dang down" as with what he built up. In 1631 he purchased the Trinity Monastery and Chapel, for the purpose of founding an hospital and providing a meeting-house for the Incorporated Trades, and it may truly be said that to this benefaction the remarkable financial prosperity of the Aberdeen Trades is largely due. Up to that time they had existed as detached bodies; their meetings were held in the deacons' houses, or public ale-houses; they did not possess any common bond of union. The Convener Court existed more in name than in reality. It had no functions recognised by law; the Deacon-Convener's office was honorary, not administrative, and his services were only sought on the occasion of public demonstrations and festivals, or to convene the craftsmen to take common action with regard to their trading privileges. The funds of the individual Trades were also at this time but trifling. All the money that was collected during the year barely met law expenses and the pressing necessities of the poor. A very small sum indeed would represent the total wealth of the Trades when they became linked together under the charter obtained by Dr Guild from Charles I. for the administration of their common hospital.

Viewed from a mere money point of view, Dr. Guild's benefaction was not so very large, but looked at as the main factor in establishing a visible bond of unity among the craftsmen, and taking into account the spirit of mutual helpfulness which he encouraged during the twenty years that he continued to take an active part in the affairs of the Trades and the hospital, the influence of Dr. Guild's gift upon the Trades of Aberdeen cannot be over-estimated. He was, as his contemporaries well knew, and were always ready to acknowledge, a sagacious man of business as well as an able ecclesiastic. He was quick to perceive what the craftsmen were most in need of; and he helped them to supply that need in a manner that reflected credit on his sagacity and foresight; in short, he made the motto of the craftsmen—"vis unita fortior" —a living reality, and to him more than to any other man was due that concord and unity which have enabled the craft burgesses in Aberdeen to hold their own against their more wealthy brethren, and to accumulate funds for assisting the aged, the widowed, and the fatherless. Dr. Guild was also instrumental in inducing a number of other generous citizens to assist in establishing the Hospital. (A list of donations and bequests to the Incorporated Trades will be found in the appendix.)

The history of the venerable Monastery and Chapel which Dr. Guild gifted to the Trades—for they were in a sadly dilapidated condition when he bought them in 1631—carry us back to a very primitive and ancient Aberdeen—to a period when very little is accurately known regarding the inhabitants and institutions of the town. Like other religious institutions elsewhere, the Trinity Monastery passed through many vicissitudes. It twice reverted to the crown; was sacked and set on fire by religious mobs, and otherwise abused and ill-treated during the days of the reformation. But, notwithstanding all these ups and downs, the titles and charters, dating from 1381, have been carefully preserved, and are at present in the custody of the Master of Trades Hospital.

King William the Lyon, who established in 1211 a branch of the Order of the Holy Trinity, called the Red Friars, which had been instituted by Pope Innocent III. in 1200, gifted to this branch of the Order his palace which he had erected in 1181 "on the south side of the Green," to be used by them as a convent or monastery. This order of friars, says Kennedy, " was sometimes distinguished by the name of Mathurines, after their house at Paris, which was dedicated to Saint Mathurine. Their principal occupation was soliciting money from the benevolent for the redemption of Christian captives taken by the Turks or the piratical states of Barbary. They pretended to be canon regulars, their houses were denominated hospitals or convents, and their superiors ministers. . . . The habit of the Order was white, with a red and blue cross patte upon the scapular."

From the deeds and papers in the possession of the Trades pertaining to the Monastery it appears that on 29th Septeinber, 1381, William de Daulton, predicant or Black Friar, gave a donation of 13 shillings 4 pennies Scots to the Trinity Convent to be paid annually from his house and land in the Shiprow for the weal of his soul, the souls of his father and mother, and all the faithful departed. This charter of donation has appended to it the seal (Fig. I.) of the Dominican Friars. The following note descriptive of this seal (which is in a good state of preservation) is given by Laing in his well-known work on seals:—

A full-length figure of St. John the Baptist, holding in his left hand a circular disc, on which is the Agnes Dei, to which the right hand is pointing. In the background are two trees and foliage. The inscription appears to be, " Sigillum commune fratrum ordinis predic de Abyrden." Appended to a charter by William de Daulton, brother of the Order, granting to the minister and Trinity Friars of Aberdeen an annual rent of 13s 4d. out of his lands at Aberdeen, 30th September, 1381.

The next document is a precept of sasine on ten merks Scots, granted annually by Isabella de Douglas, Countess of Mar and Garioch, to the Trinity Convent, from the lands of Westin, Kyncragg, and '1'erlayn, for the support and maintenance of a priest of their order, to celebrate a daily mass for her and her friends' souls, dated 8th June, 1405. A charter confirming this donation was granted by the Earl of Mar and Garioch at Kildrummy Castle on 5th December, 1406, in presence of the Bishop of Ross.
Then follows a charter of donation by Andrew Straton, burgess of Aberdeen, of 8 shillings 4 pennies Scots, to the Trinity Convent, to be paid annually from his house on the north side of the Netherkirkgate for the celebration of an anniversary service, viz., a placebo and diri ge on the Sunday after Corpus Christi day, or on the day of his burial, with a trental of masses the following, for his soul, the souls of his wife and children, and the faithful departed in the pains of purgatory.—Dated June 20th, 1522.

William Blinshell, cooper, and burgess of Aberdeen, left 13s. Scots to the Trinity Convent in 1522, to be paid annually from his house on the south side of the Shiprow, for celebrating an anniversary service on the second Sunday after his decease in the following manner :—The Friars, on that day, were to give the Town's Crier two pence to perambulate the town and summon the people to pray for his soul, afterwards to toll the bells and place six lighted tapers before the altar of the Virgin Diary, and then sing a solemn mass and dirige for his soul, and the souls of Margaret Chalmers and Annabell Scroggie, his wives, the souls of his father, mother, brothers, sisters, benefactors, friends, and all the faithful departed, and particularly for the souls of those persons whose goods he had unjustly obtained without making restitution or recompense to them for the same, and a trental of masses to be said during the following week.

We have next a charter of donation by John, Earl of Caithness, of 10 merks Scots to the minister and friars of the Trinity Convent, to be paid annually from the rents of the Island of Stroma, for founding a trental of masses to be continually celebrated by them, viz., five masses every week of the year, two of which to be sung, one on Friday for his father William's soul, and the other on Wednesday for himself; the other three to be sung on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for his friends; and besides these, also four other solemn masses with placebo and dirige to be sung at the quarters of the year, one to be for his father William, another for himself, to be celebrated on the day of his decease, and the remaining two for his friends, successors, etc., etc., making the whole number to be annually performed amount to 264. This charter is dated at Wick, Caithness, 19th October, 1523.—(Scotch parchment). A sasine on the above was delivered in the Earl's name by "John o' Grot, of Duncansbay, baillie to the Earl in these pairts." An additional grant was made by George, Earl of Caithness, of 10 merks, upon condition that at all times of public worship in Trinity Chapel, the officiating curate, preacher, or minister, and the poor or beadsmen of the said hospital shall offer up the suffrages of their prayers to God for all heavenly and earthly blessings, prosperity, honour, and happiness to the said George, his successors, and honourable family. This second grant is dated 20th December, 1673.

The Monastery remained in the possession of the Trinity Friars until about 1589, when the whole property passed into the hands of the Crown. In that year a charter was granted under the broad seal of James VI., giving a life-rent of the place and monastery of the Trinity Friars, with all the revenues, privileges, &c., thereof, in feu-farm to Thomas Nicolson (brother of John Nicolson, advocate and commissary, &c., Edinburgh), he paying to the Crown, as annual feu-duty for the same, of 40 shillings Scots, and an augmentation of 40 pennies above the former feu-duty. About thirty years after this charter was granted by James VI., Thomas Nicolson disposed of the place and monastery, with all the buildings, lands, revenues, and privileges, to James Mowat of Ardo for the annual payment of a feu-duty of £2 Scots and 40 pennies of augmentation during his lifetime, and thereafter paying the same to the Crown. By a second charter under the broad seal of Charles I. the place and monastery was granted to Thomas Mowat, son of James Mowat of Ardo, "the said place and monastery having reverted to the Crown upon the decease of Thomas Nicolson of Coldbrandspeth, who had a life-rent under the charter from James VI." This second charter is dated at Whitehall, May 10th, 1628. Three years after, the Monastery was purchased by Dr Guild, with all the lands, houses, rents, revenues, rights, and privileges belonging thereto, on payment of the annual feu-duty of 40 shillings and 40 pennies Scots, during the lifetime of the said Thomas Mowat.

At this time the property appears to have been in a very ruinous condition. In 1559, when a general attack was made upon all the religious houses in the town, the Trinity Convent suffered to a greater extent than any of the others. The reformers not only set fire to the buildings and tore down the walls, but one of the monks, named Friar Francis, was stabbed, and his body thrown into the fire and burned.
The following is a "trew double of the annuities and fewes due to the said Hospital trew subscribed aff the principal coppie, collationed and attested be Alex. Cruickshank, and whairof this is ane double, he being clerk to the Trades":—

From the following entry in the Council Register it would appear as if the town had oflcred to buy the convent in 10-97, but there is no record of the transaction having been carried through :—

25th April, 1597.—The said day the haill toune being convenit as said is consentit to the buying of the Trinitie Freris place within this burght, yardis and kirk theirof, and willit and desyrit the prouest and baillies to deal with the heretabill propritaris of the said place, and to gif the sowme of sax hundrath merks therefor, of the reddiest of the patrimonie and yeirlie rent of this burght, gif the same may be had of that price, and na taxation to be stentit nor imposit upon the inhabitants for hying thereof, upon quhilk lykvayes the said Alexander Rutherfurd, prouest, cravit act of court and instrument.— Coumil Register, vol. xxxvi., p. 715.

It is worthy of note that one of the first ships built at Aberdeen was constructed in the gardens adjoining the Monastery, the south wall of which overlooked the upper part of the then harbour, or rather part of the estuary of the Dee. Authority to build a bark was granted to a "tymber man" from St. Andrews, by the magistrates, in the following terms :-

20th February, 1G06.—The samyn day, anent the bill geivin in by Alexander Davidsoun, tymber man in Sanct Androis, mackand mention that he hes agreet with the honest men that hes bocht the Wod of Drum for als mekill tymber as will big ane bark, quhilk bark he intendis, God willing, to big within this towne, and becauss the kirkyard of the Trinitie Freris, quhilk is filthilie abusit be middingis, is the maist meit and convenient place for bigging of the said bark, he humblie desyred for sic service as he micht do to the towne, that lie may have licence and guidwill of that rowme for bigging of the said bark, seing the tymber is redie in ane flott to cum to this burght as at mair lenth was contenit in his said bill ; quhairanent the prouest, baillies, and counsall advysing, they fund the desire thairof eerie reasonable, and grantit and gaive licence to the said Alexr. Davidsoun to big his schip in the pairt foresaid, viz.: in the said Trinity Freris Kirkyaird, conform to the desyre of his said supplication, and for that effort ordanis all those qho has laid middingis in the said kirkyaird or thairabout, to remove and tak avay the same within aucht dayes next efter the dait heirof vnder pain of ane unlaw of fyve merkis to be uplifted of the persone failzeand, and ordanis intimation to be maid heirof to those quho has the saidis middina s at the pairt forsaid. —Council Register, vol xlii., p. 582.

When Dr. Guild acquired the buildings in 1631, he obtained subscriptions from the different Trades to assist in reconstruct-in them, the contributions he received being entered as follows in the Convener Court Book :—

15th June, 1632.—The said day the haill traids according to their abilities, did enter in to Doctor William Guild for building and repairing their meeting house and chappell, everie traid proportionallie as follows, but since that tyme everie particular man's offering is notted in ane book whilk is keepit always in the custody of the present master of the Traids Hospital.

HAMERMEN.—Imprimis—W illiam Udny, Deacone of the Hamermen, payit in that day in name of his craft to the said foundator, in part of payment of their offerings, the sum of fyve hundred thirty-three pounds six shillings eight pennies Scots.

BAKERS.—Item, George Leslie, Deacon of the Bakers, payit the said day in name of his craft to the foundator, in pairt of payment of their offerings, the sum of two hundred pounds Scots.

WRIGHTS AND COOPERS.—Item, Robert Irvine, Deacon of the Wrights and Coopers, payt the said day in name of his traid to the foundator, in part of payment of their offerings, the sum of five hundred and forty merks.

TAILZEOURS.—Item, Thomas Gardin, Deacon-Conveener for the tymn, in name of the Tailveour Craft, payt in the said day to the foundator, in pairt of payment of their offerings the sum of three hundred merks, by and at+.our ane hundred thirty nyne pounds, which the said Thomas Gardin had debursed upon the said work, as his particular compt given in by him did bear.

CORDINERS.—Item, Thomas Robertson, Deacon of the Cordiners, did pay in name of his craft to the said foundator, in pairt of payment of their offerands, the sum of three hundred and fifty merks money with ane bond of John MIercles, containing ane hundred and fifty merks payable at Martinmas next to come.

WEAVERS.—Item, Thomas Clark, Deacon of the Weavers, did pay in the said day in name of the said craft to the said foundator, in pairt of payment of their offering, the sum of three hundred merks.

FLESHERS.—Item, It is to be remembered that at the tyme the fleshers was not as yet received with the traids, but at the time of their admission, which was in the year 1657, Andrew Watson, their present deacon, did give in for the use of the hospital funds in name of the said traid two hundred and forty pounds Scots.

Notwithstanding these contributions, amounting in all to about £2200 Scots, the following appeal had to be made to the Town Council, a petition which reveals that, at that time, the Trades had very little funds at their command :—

19th September, 1632.—The said day anent ane supplicatioune given in to the Prouest, Bailies, and Counsell, be Thomas Gairdyne, tailzeour, deacone convenir of the -haill craftis of this burghe, for himself and in name and behalf of the remnant deacones and bretherne of the said craftis, makand mentioune that they hed causit build and repair the Trinitie Frieris Plais of this burghe, quhilk Mr. William Guild, ane of the towne's ordinar ministers, hed laitlie conqueist and mortifiet to be ane hospitall for decayet craftismene within the samen ; upon the bigin quharof thay had bestowit the best pairt of thair monies quhilk thay bade to the fore in thair comon boxis, sua that thair stock and rent for the present will be verra meane, and seeing that poore decayed craftismene hes no plais in the gild bretherene's hospitall, and the nichtbouris of the craftis are most willing to contribute to the worke according to thair power, quhairby thair brethren may be supplyit, and the toune and sessioune easit of ane burdeine: Thairfor they humblie desyrit thair Wisdomes of the Counsell to put to thair helping hand to the furtherance of the worke, and in regard that they ar memberis of this commoun wealthe, to grant unto thame thair charitabill help and support thair unto, for the quhilk they sail endeavour to approve thame selffis thankfull, and both redie and forward in anything concerning the guid and weil of the toune, according to thair power, as in the raids supplicatioune at lengthe wes contenit. Quhairanent the saidis Prouest, Bailies, and Counsell, advysing and considdering the necessitie and gudness of the wark, thay gave and grant to the deacones and maisteris of the craftis of this burghe the composition of ane Gild Burgess sic as thay sail present to the Counsell (except the wyne siluer), quhilk will be twa hundreth markis, yeyrlie, and ilk yeir for the space of fyve yeirs nixt efter the dait heirof, to be employit on profite, and maid furthcumand be thame in al tyme curving, to the behoof of the decayit craftismen quho sail happen to be admitit in the said Hospitall as bedalls thairoff : with conditione alwayis that the decones, maisteris, and friemen of the said craftis, and thair successouris, earie and behave thame selffrs dewtifullie in al thingis to the counsell, which sail tend to the comon

Gateway of Old Trades Hall

well and benefite of the toune, and beare burdeine thairin with the gild bretherne thairof, according to thair power. And at the expyring of the saidis fyve yieris that they mak just compt and rekoning to the counsall Raring of the saidis moneyes, quhilk sail acquire be the saidis compositiounes, togedder with the yeirlie annual rent that sail accrue thairupon. Council Register, vol. lii., p. 73.

Some time after the buildings were restored, a fine gateway was erected, bearing the following inscription :—

Fundavit Gulielm' Scot 1181.
[The Imperial Crown and ensigns armorial of the kingdom.]
To ye glorie of God
And comfort of the Poore
This Hows was given
To the crafts by Mr. William Guild, Doctour of Divinitie
minister of Abd : 1633.

Underneath are the family arms of Dr. Guild with the letters D. W. G. Foundator, and the words

He - That - Pitieth - The - Poore - Lendeth - To - The - Lord - And - That - Which - He - Hath - Given - Ile - Repay - Prov. 1911.

This gateway was removed entire when the new hall in Union Street was erected, and was built into the wall on the Denburn-side where it can still be seen.

The chapel which was attached to the Monastery has entirely disappeared, having been taken down in 1794 and a new kirk erected by the Established Church. The old chapel was long used by the craftsmen as a place of worship; but as they had also seats in the church of St. Nicholas and in old St. Paul's Church, it was subsequently let to different religious sects at a rental of from five to seven pounds a year, the Crafts reserving the right to a certain number of seats and lofts for their own use. The following interesting minutes about the Trinity kirk appear in the Convener Court Book:-

6th December, 1688.—At Aberdeen at ane meeting of the DeaconConveener, Deacons, and remanant masters and members of the DeaconConveener Court of the traids in Aberdeen, holden within the Trinity Hall of the said burgh upon the 18th December, 1688, in presence of John Leslie, Deacon-Conveener, the maisters and members of the said Conveener Court having taken to their consideration the great profit and advantage that would redound, not only to the spiritual good of the haill traidsmen within the said burgh, and to their emendation to have ane good and faithful minister to preach in this Trinity Church, but also that it would be very useful and advatageous to the spiritual good of the number of old and decayed persons who lived adjacent thereto ; and the haill Conveener Court present for the tyme having agreed to and pitched upon Mr. William Mitchell, last preacher of the gospel at Aberdeen, to serve thereat the said kirk, it was desyred by the said Deacon-Conveener that the members of the said Conveener Court should have ane voyce whether or not the traids in the said burgh should give the said Mr. William ane call for that effect, and trye if he would accept thereof ; lykas by voice of the masters and members of Court convened for the time, it was voyced and ordained nemine contradicente that the traids in the said burgh grant bond such ane manner as they shall after discern upon. And the said fir. William Mitchell did give his oath anent the premises whereupon the said conveener in name of the said traids asked and required act and instrument.

21st February, 1704.—The said day the Conveener, Deacons, and remanent masters and members of the said Conveener Court statutes, appoints, and ordains that all persons who shall be permitted to build seats or dasks in the Trinity Church of Aberdeen that they first apply themselves to the Conveener and Deacons, and they, or knowing wrichts at their order, shall appoint places in the said church for the petitioner, and that the said dasks or seats be of good work, and that they be built regular for avoiding confusion, and also ordains that none shall put their arms on their seats or dasks built by them, but allenarly their names or marks ; and also that no person building seats shall have liberty to lift, demolish, or take down the same, but that they shall remain in the said church as mortified thereto in all tyme coming.

8th January, 1723.—The said day the Court ordained David Cruickshank, officer of the Traids Hospital, to ring the Trinity Bell each Sabbath day hereafter at the second and third bells in Sanct Nicholas for the better warning the inhabitants, for which cause the Court allows him six shillings of addition off of each traid, which makes now three shillings off of each traid. And this to be observed from and after date of their presents.

In 1793 the chapel and grounds were feued to William Michie, wright, at an annual rent of £14, the Trades taking him bound to build a church or place of worship, and reserving to themselves the bell, clock, arms, hearses (chandeliers), and any other antiquities they might wish to preserve. The bell, which was subsequently erected over the school-house attached to the hospital, was twice recast—once in 1763, when, says an entry in the Convener Court Book, it was "sent to London and cast of new with the same inscription, and done with the addition of being recast—James Noris, Convener, in the year 1763, the bell to be sett with the same tune and bigness." In 1811 it was again recast, but this time there was no direction as to preserving the old inscription, and it came from the hands of the founders with the bald record—"Recast by the Trades of Aberdeen, 1811. John Webster, Convener; John Chalmers, Hospital." It is to be regretted that the old inscription was not preserved. It may be of interest to be informed that John Webster (who, by the way, was the grandfather of Mr. John Webster, LL.D., for some years M.P. for the city of Aberdeen) and John Chalmers were in office at that period, but it would have been a thousandfold more interesting to have had the old inscription preserved. The bell now hangs in a side vestibule in the new Trinity Hall, and its deep and sonorous tones must be familiar to those who have happened to be present at any of the annual election dinners.

In 1794, when a division occurred in the East Church congregation on account of a minister being presented to the charge who was distasteful to them, an application was made to the Presbytery for permission to erect a Chapel of Ease. This permission having been granted, a new church was erected on the site of the old Trinity Chapel, which was demolished. A manse was also erected adjoining the new church; but neither church nor manse was long devoted to the purposes for which they were erected. They were fated to undergo even greater changes than the friars' monastery and chapel, for the Chapel of Ease is now a Variety Music Hall, and the manse forms part of an adjoining public-house!

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