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Perth, the Ancient Capital of Scotland
Chapter X

The memorable battle of the Clans took place on the North Inch in 1396, in presence of Robert III., his Queen, Annabella Drummond, the Governor of Perth, and a great gathering of nobles and people. The battle was one of the most startling events in the ancient history of Scotland. The Earls of Dunbar and Crawford failed to effect an amicable arrangement of a feud between the two clans— Macphersons and Camerons (Clan Chattan and Clan Whele)—and eventually proposed that the quarrel should be settled by open combat. Efforts were thereupon made by the King to prevent the battle, but in vain; and it was agreed that thirty on each side should fight it out before the King and nobility ; that the vanquished should be pardoned for past offences, and the victors distinguished by some recognition from the King. Barriers were erected to keep off the spectators, and a grand stand was put up for the King and his Court at the Gilten Arbor, which overlooked the Inch. The Clans marched to the battle-ground to the sound of the pibroch, armed with bows and arrows, swords and targets, knives and battle-axes. It was a warlike spectacle. As the fight was about to begin, one of the Clan Chattan lost courage, swam across the river and escaped. The rest of the Clan refused to fight unless the vacancy were filled up. One of the spectators, Harry Smith, said to have been a skilled artisan, declared that, for half a French crown of gold, he would supply the place. This offer was accepted, and a fierce contest ensued. The Highlanders are said to have rushed at each other, uttering the most hideous yells, and cutting and mutilating one another. This savage battle lasted some hours, and must have been a disgusting spectacle. It is said that Harry Smith did great execution, and that the victory of the Clan Chattan was very much due to him. When the King saw that only one man of the Clan Whele was left, he declared the Clan Chattan the victors, eleven of whom still remained, including the man who escaped; the result being that twelve men remained alive out of sixty. We are informed by a reliable writer that the three branches of Macduff or Clan Chattan are Farquharsons, Macintoshes, Macphersons. This savage encounter, which must have resembled that of infuriated wild beasts, is a dark blot on the pages of our local history; and although the author of "The Fair Maid of Perth" has thrown around it the glamour of romance, the disgrace of such needless bloodshed must still remain. What is conspicuous is the weakness of the King. A king, with any force of character at all, would at once have forbidden such a proposal, but unfortunately he was one of the weakest of all the Scottish kings. And it says little for his nobles that none of them were capable of putting a stop to an affair which is anything but a credit to our local annals.

The more we try to realise the condition of the Highlands in the fourteenth century, the stranger seems this story of the battle of the Clans. In the form in which it has been transmitted to us, it has such an air of myth and unreality that it is almost startling to find in the Exchequer accounts of the year in question this matter-of-fact entry: "For timber, iron and making of lists for 60 persons fighting on the Inch of Perth 14 2s. 11d." The usage of chivalry by which a quarrel between two states or nations might be settled by champions selected from each was neither recognised nor understood among the Highlanders. Trial by combat had, however, in a previous age been a widespread and established mode of deciding questions of civil right; and perhaps we have here a late instance of this form of judicial process surviving in the Highlands after it had become obsolete elsewhere, and resorted to to settle a dispute regarding chieftaincy.

In 1398, Robert III. held a Parliament in Perth, when the title of Duke was first introduced into Scotland, and the King's eldest son, the Earl of Carrick, was created Duke of Rothesay, and the Earl of Fife, Duke of Albany. The Earldom of Crawford was bestowed on the King's brother-in-law, Sir David Lindsay. Another Parliament was held on 27th January, 1399, when it was resolved to levy contributions for the maintenance of the Government and for suppressing the "great and horrible destructions, hardships, burning and slaughter which are so commonly committed throughout the kingdom."

In 1405 occurred the martyrdom of John Ruby, an English priest, who was burnt at the stake at Perth because he introduced the doctrine of John Wycliffe into Scotland. He was tried before a Catholic tribunal for denying the authority of the Pope, and for denying that bread and wine used in the Sacrament were changed into the real body and blood of Christ In the state of religious feeling at the time, no other sentence could be expected

On October 24, 1405, the King commanded John Reamys and three others, his sergeants, to inquire into the complaint of the merchants of Perth and Dundee that their two vessels and merchandise, while on the voyage; the one from Flanders to Scotland, the other from Scotland to Flanders, were captured during the truce by persons in the counties of York and Norfolk, and to compel restitution.

On March 30, 1406, the King ordered the bailiffs of Scarboro' to cause the goods of certain merchants of Perth and Dundee, to the value of 1,299 nobles, captured at sea about Michaelmas last by John Jolly of Norfolk and others, in violation of the truce, and discharged in their port, to be restored without delay to Rothesay, Lyon king-of-arms in Scotland, or his deputies; similar writ to the Mayor and bailiffs of Kingston upon Hull for the restoration of goods to the value of 413 nobles belonging to certain merchants of Perth and Edinburgh, lately captured at sea by Henry of Tutbury of Hull and others. On July 17, 1412, warrant was granted to the Chancellor for the safe conduct of Thomas Simpson, John of Perth and Gilbert Johnston, with six servants, to come to England in search of their goods lately taken at Hull, on the same terms as lately granted to Sir Robert Maxwell.

These entries in the official records show that the merchants of Perth and Dundee at that period experienced a vast amount of trouble and expense in the export of wool, hides and other products to the Continent The pirates were Englishmen belonging to the shipping ports on the east coast. There was evidently no effort made by the English King to put down so disgraceful a practice.

The records of the Ancient Capital at this period are dull and without any event worthy of reproduction. Passing on to 1430, it is recorded that an important Provincial Council was held in Perth on 16th July, 1430, when in the matter of the Confirmation of the Testaments the clergy reported on oath that the practice was—first, to pay the debts of the deceased, and to divide his estate into three equal portions, whereof one was given to the widow and one to the children; the remaining third to be paid in legacies, and for obsequies and prayers in behalf of the deceased. And on this third the trustees paid five per cent for the cost of the confirmation. These were approved and confirmed by the Council.

The reign of James I. began with his capture and imprisonment, and ended with his assassination. Shortly before his father's death, he was sent to France for protection from the English King and for education. This was in 1405. On the journey to France he was captured by an English man-of-war, when at the time a truce with Scotland was actually unexpired. In these times treaties were of a very elastic nature. The Prince was, in reality, kidnapped and sent a prisoner to Durham Castle. It was not till 1424 that he returned to Scotland and was crowned at Scone. He was well treated in England, though not allowed to return, until after the lapse of nineteen years, when he arrived in Scotland in great splendour, having married the King of England's niece. The question of his ransom came up for consideration before he was liberated, and in this matter Perth played a prominent part Perth had to contribute her full share of this unreasonable "blackmail." In doing so it was stipulated that the King give his undertaking to see the amount repaid. The King's undertaking is an interesting document, e.g.:

Obligation by King James the First to relieve the four burghs of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, and Aberdeen, in reference to the payment of his ransom. 26th March, 1424, Durham.

James, by the grace of God, King of Scots. To all men, cleric and laic of our kingdom, we make known that by our royal authority we are bound, and by the tenor of these presents do firmly and faithfully oblige ourselves to keep free and scaithless our beloved and faithful burgesses, to wit the provosts, and bailies, and communities of the four burghs of our realm foresaid, that is to say, of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, and Aberdeen, and their heirs and successors, and each of them, respecting the payment of the fifty thousand merks which is to be paid to Henry, King of England, for our liberation, and for payment of which at the terms therein agreed upon, the said provosts and magistrates of our four burghs have, at our command, granted their written bond. And for doing what is above written without any exception, revocation, or impediment whatsoever, we oblige ourselves, by the authority of our royal majesty, and our heirs and successors, kings of Scotland, and that firmly without fraud, by the tenor of these presents. Moreover we promise and will be careful to make all and sundry provosts and magistrates of the remaining burghs of our realm, and their heirs and successors, oblige themselves in competent form under their common seals to assist and adhere to the provosts and magistrates of the four burghs in payment of the said sum of money (with power to distrain upon them for the same if they do not pay, either in whole or in part) and to take part in and contribute with them according to law in all burdens whether on account of the non-making of the principal payment of the foresaid sum of money or on account of the cost and expense of implementing this obligation either already incurred or to be incurred hereafter. In testimony whereof we command our seal to be appended to these presents at Durham 26th March, 1424, and the eighteenth year of our reign.

James R.

James I. was crowned at Scone, 21st May, 1424, On 26th May, a few days after the coronation, a Parliament was held at Perth, when he is reported to have said, "Let God grant me life, and though I should myself lead the life of a dog in accomplishing it, there shall not be a spot in my dominions where the King shall not keep the castle, and the bush secure the cow." He called his second Parliament to meet at Perth on 12th March, 1425. For the first eight days the proceedings were of a description not much calculated to provoke general alarm. This Parliament ordained regulations regarding trade, the imposition of new customs, a statute against the Lollards and a warning to the Benedictine and Augustine abbots to avoid suppression by reverting to their primitive discipline. Referring to the troublous times, the King said, "Let rapine and outrage no more be heard of, but every man recall himself to a civil and regular form of life; especially you, my nobles, think virtue and civility true nobility, that to be accounted noblest which is best, and that a man's own worth begets true glory." This Parliament introduced the Court known as the Court of Session. On the ninth day of the Parliament the King astounded the country by ordering the arrest of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, Walter and Alexander his sons, Archibald, Earl of Douglas, the Earls of Angus, March, and Lennox, and Sir Robert Graham, in all nearly thirty nobles and barons, some of whom he had knighted shortly before. Albany's two sons were tried and executed, and several of the nobles are recorded to have met the same fate. He at the same time seized the Castles of Falkland and Doune, and imprisoned Albany's wife, the eldest daughter of Lennox, in the fortress of Tantallon. This movement was mainly directed against the late Regent and his family. Almost all the rest were released after a very brief imprisonment It is probable that all these nobles were concerned with the starvation and death of the King's brother, the Duke of Rothesay. At this Parliament taxes were levied for payment of the arrears of the King's ransom. The tax to relieve the hostages was a curious one, viz., twelve pennies Scots per pound, and four pence on every cow, ox, or horse.


The murder of James I. in the Blackfriars Monastery at Perth is one of the outstanding events of Scottish history. It would appear that in 1436 the King seized the estates of the Earl of Strathearn, as they were limited to heirs male. The Earl had no sons, but an only daughter, who was married to Patrick Graham of Kincardine. The seizure and the arbitrary treatment of many of the nobles already referred to was, as after events showed, a most unfortunate policy for the King. He also spread dismay among the nobility by another incident that occurred. The father of George Dunbar, Earl of March, had taken arms against Robert III., the King's father, but that crime had been pardoned. James, on pretext that the Regent had exceeded his power, and that it was the prerogative of the King alone to pardon treason, obtained a resolution declaring the pardon to be void and depriving Dunbar of the earldom. This proceeding created general alarm, as the nobles believed the precedent would be extended, and they might lose their estates. They resolved to unite for their own protection, and it was out of this movement that Atholl and Graham championed the conspiracy by which the King lost his life. Graham was a nephew of the King, being grandson of Robert II., and heir to the Strathearn estates. Atholl was the King's uncle In a meeting of the Scottish Parliament held at Perth in 1436, Sir Robert Graham accused the King of injustice and of the ruin he had brought on the noblest families in the State, specially the family of Strathearn. He suggested the arrestment of the King in name of the three estates of the realm, adding that "as his subjects had taken an oath to obey his Majesty, so likewise he had sworn to defend his people, to govern according to the laws of the realm, and to do them no wrong." This action of Graham was resented by Parliament, and the King ordered his arrest Graham was sent into exile and his estates forfeited. He afterwards found his way to the Highlands, renounced his allegiance, and made it plain that, when an opportunity occurred, he would assassinate the King, who had ruined his family.

The King, hearing of Graham's treasonable threats, issued a warrant for his apprehension, and offered a reward of 1,500 pieces of gold to anyone who would kill him or bring him alive to the King's presence. The King then called a meeting of Parliament, which was held in Edinburgh shortly afterwards. What occurred at this Parliament we do not know, but that there was a hot debate admits of no doubt It would appear that the Earl of Atholl and Sir Robert Stewart, his grandson (the King's Chamberlain), joined Graham, and that Graham had 300 followers to support him. Atholl claimed to be the nearest lawful heir to the throne, being the son of Robert II. by a second marriage, whereas Robert III. was alleged to have been born out of wedlock. The King's mother was Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan. On the rising of Parliament the King intimated his intention of keeping Christmas in the Blackfriars Monastery at Perth. On his way from Edinburgh to Perth he was met by a mysterious woman who told him "if he crossed the Forth he would never return alive." James disregarded this, proceeded on his journey and duly arrived at the monastery. What happened between this and Christmas (three months) is not recorded—indeed the whole history of the period is fragmentary and open to question; but Christmas was ushered in at the monastery with the usual festivals and rejoicings. These lasted some weeks. On the day preceding the fatal night (in February, 1437), the King, who evidently regarded the Graham conspiracy as dropped, began to joke with some of his Court about the woman's mysterious prediction. The evening was wiled away by games of chess, the ladies reading romances, playing on the harp, or singing love songs. About midnight the mysterious woman made her appearance and wished to see the King, but she was requested to return to-morrow. She replied," You shall all repent that I have not been allowed to see the King," and walked away. Shortly after, the party broke up and retired for the night It is not easy to explain why Sir Robert Stewart, one of Graham's followers, was one of the guests in the Blackfriars Monastery that fatal evening. On the party breaking up, he went out and opened the doors so as to let the conspirators in. The monastery, it is recorded, was surrounded by a moat Stewart bridged it by planks, and removed some of the locks from the doors that gave access to the King's bedroom. The King by this time had on his nightdress, and was standing before the fire of the room adjoining, engaged in conversation with the Queen and her ladies, when the sound of the clashing of armour and the glaring of torches startled him, and he at once suspected it was Graham and his conspirators. The Queen and the ladies ran to secure the door of the apartment, but to their dismay found it open and the bolts removed. The King commanded the ladies to prevent entrance by the door so long as they were able, and he would endeavour to escape by the windows. These, however, were protected by iron bars, which rendered escape impossible. Under the bedroom was a subterranean passage which led to an outer court, and he immediately wrenched open one of the boards of the floor and descended, one of the ladies carefully replacing the board. This was a certain way of escape, but unfortunately the passage had been built up at the farther end a few days before. The conspirators now found their way to the King's bedroom, forcing open the door amid the cries of the ladies, who heroically attempted to barricade it. One of the ladies, it is said, named Douglas, with determined courage thrust her arm across to make a bar, but it was instantly broken by the brutal violence of the conspirators, who rushed into the apartment and attacked and wounded some of the ladies as they fled out The Queen, who was overpowered by this unexpected outrage, stood paralysed in silence and did not move. One of the traitors wounded her, when a son of Graham ran forward and protected her, saying to the assailant: "Harm not the Queen. She is but a woman; think shame of yourself. Let us go and seek the King!"

The King, hearing no noise, and supposing the conspirators had left the apartment, told the Queen's ladies to bring him sheets and draw him out. In endeavouring to do so, Elizabeth Douglas fell down beside the King, and at that moment some of the conspirators appeared. On seeing the floor torn up, one of them, named Chambers, by the light of his torch saw the King and the lady and called for his companions. Sir John Hall at once descended with a large knife in his hand, but the King, who was a strong man, seized him and threw him at his feet. Hall's brother next descended, and the King seized him violently by the throat and threw him beside his brother. Sir Robert Graham, seeing that the King had mastered the two Halls, descended with a drawn sword, and struck the King, who cried for mercy. Graham is reported to have said: "Thou cruel tyrant, never hadst thou any compassion on thine own kindred or the nobles of Scotland when under thy power, therefore none shalt thou have here." Said the King: "I beseech thee at least let me have a confessor for the salvation of my soul." "Thou shalt have no other confessor than this sword," said Graham, giving him a mortal wound, after which the unfortunate King was despatched with upwards of sixteen wounds from Graham and the two Halls. During this appalling tragedy the Queen escaped, but the citizens were fast assembling and surrounding the monastery; and the conspirators, seeing this, fled, but not before one of them was killed by Sir David Dunbar, who had the courage to follow them. The Queen, who was a woman of great courage, instantly took steps to seize the murderers, and within a month they were apprehended, condemned, and executed The first to be executed were Robert Stewart and Thomas Chambers, whose heads were afterwards fixed on the gates of Perth.

Atholl's punishment was spread over three days. On the first day he was placed in a cart in which a donkey engine was erected, and by ropes and pulleys he was hoisted up. At the given signal the ropes were let go and he fell down. Then he was set on a pillory that every one might see him, and a red hot crown set on his head with the inscription, "The King of traitors." On the second day he was bound upon a hurdle and drawn at a horse's tail through the principal streets of Edinburgh. On the third day he was laid on a plank and disembowelled. He was then beheaded and his head set on a pole in the highest part of the city and his body quartered and sent to four cities.

The principal conspirator, Graham, was seized by John Stewart Gorm and Robert Duncanson, two Highlanders, and tried and condemned at Stirling. He met his fate in the most heroic manner, and defended his conduct as being an act of justice to the nation in respect that he had removed a tyrant He was placed in a cart, in the centre of which was a pillar; nailed alive and naked to it, and holding in his right hand the sword with which he had killed the King, he was dragged through the streets of Edinburgh, the torturers on each side of him, tearing with their pincers the flesh from his body. His last words were that "he doubted not but that they continued these torments to make him deny and blaspheme his Creator; and if he did so he appealed to Christ, who was to be the great and mighty judge in the day of universal doom ; thus the guilt would rest on their heads who had destroyed his soul." The tragedy concluded with the execution of Thomas Hall.

The circumstances which led up to the murder of the King have been very imperfectly put before us. That James was an arbitrary and determined ruler, though a genial man in private, is a fact beyond question. His removal was a great misfortune to the nation, for he was a man of good principle, with administrative qualities of a high order. He had a bright and unclouded intellect, and governed the kingdom with unquestionable ability. The reasons we have named would be quite sufficient in that age to account for the brutal event If a man could be executed for stealing a sheep or a cow, what would be the punishment for depriving a tyrant like Graham of his estate ? The punishment, however, that Graham and his companions suffered was commensurate with the crime they had committed, and was well deserved. The date of the fatal night doubtless was a profound secret, while the King believed the conspiracy had fallen through. The Queen was evidently a woman of great courage. She never moved, though the conspirators, with their clashing swords, were thick around her; and she seems to have been entirely destitute of male assistance, a circumstance that is not explained. Her conduct after the event is much to be admired. Within a month she succeeded in apprehending the conspirators, and in having them tried and executed. This is one of the most appalling events that has occurred in the history of the Ancient Capital.

It is a curious fact that all the Stuart Kings possessed this tyrannical nature to a greater or less degree. In the present case, James I. was a superior man intellectually and morally to most of the Stuarts, and while we cannot but express surprise that a man of his enlightened nature committed so foolish an act as the seizure of the Strathearn estates because there was no male heir, he might in the circumstances have yielded the point when he saw that the Grahams, through the female branch of the family, had a reasonable claim for consideration, and had a numerous following, and that an insurrection by them would follow in the event of confiscation. It also seems strange that when he banished Graham and declared his estates forfeited he did not then execute him. Had he done so, he would in all likelihood have escaped assassination. This brutal outrage sounded the death-knell of Perth as the metropolis of Scotland, and the Fair City, the pride of her citizens, fell from that enviable position, and sorrowfully witnessed the Court's removal to Edinburgh, which thereafter became the seat of Government and capital of the kingdom.

The conspiracy, it has been said, was essentially a dynastic plot, an attempt to vindicate the right of the second family of Robert II. as against the first, and its real head one on whom the King had heaped repeated benefits—his uncle, Walter, Earl of Atholl. This opinion we do not endorse. In point of fact, the dastardly deed aroused the indignation of the whole country, while the attitude of Graham, the principal conspirator, shows that, as far as he was concerned, it was purely a personal matter. Contemporary writers and later historians have alike left untold the fact that the heart of James, like that of his ancestor Robert Bruce, was removed from his body before interment, and carried on a pilgrimage to the East. James I. was buried in 1437 in the Chapel of the Carthusian Monastery at Perth, founded by him, and the only establishment of that order in Scotland.

There is an official entry of a payment of thirty pounds in customs account for twenty "vangis" or "wavis" of Spanish iron for the making of a railing for the protection and enclosure of the King's tomb. The iron was delivered to Friar John of Bute, a Cistercian, whose name appears in the records. There is also an entry by the Prior of the Carthusians, attested by John of Bute, of 48 12s. 5d. for further outlay in connection with the manufacture of this railing, and also for celebrations on the anniversary of the King's death. Entries in the Rolls tell of the arrival of the heart of James in Scotland, brought by the Knights of St John from Rhodes and exhibited and presented to the Carthusian monks at Perth, but there is no mention of its final resting-place, which doubtless was this monastery. There is also an entry of 90 paid to the Knights of St John from the customs of Edinburgh, and of 1 from the customs of Perth in connection with the matter.

The Queen and young King James II. fled from Perth to Edinburgh Castle, of which Sir William Crichton was Governor. It is said that dissembling her enmity to Crichton, the Queen afterwards devised means to remove her son from Edinburgh Castle by stratagem. Starting on a tour to the Church of St. Mary at Whitekirk, she concealed the young King in a chest which formed part of her luggage, and instead of going to Whitekirk, which was a proposal to hoodwink Crichton, she went on board a ship at Leith, and made her way by water to Stirling Castle.

James I. was a man of decision. A story is told by Fordoun that in 1431 a Highlander, named Donald Ross, had carried off two cows belonging to a poor woman, and that the latter said she would never wear shoes till she had carried her complaint to the King. Says the Highlander, "I'll have you shod myself before you reach the Court," and the story goes on to say that he effected his purpose by nailing shoes to her naked feet In the course of time the poor woman found her way to the King, who had the freebooter seized and sent to Perth, where he was tried and condemned. A coarse linen shirt was thrown over him, on which was painted a rude representation of his crime, and after being paraded in this through the streets of the town, he was dragged at a horse's tail and then, with twelve of his company, executed, presumably on the Burghmuir. Another anecdote is told of James: Two nobles had quarrelled, and one struck the other on the face. James had the offender seized and ordered him to stretch out his hand on the council table, and giving his own cutlass to the man who was struck, ordered him to strike off the offender's hand, threatening him with death if he refused The Queen at this crisis stepped forward, and falling on her knees implored forgiveness for the offender, which eventually was granted, but he was banished from Court.

James, it is said, was the most accomplished prince of his age. He was at great pains to inquire into all the characters and learning of his several professors, and often honoured their public acts with his presence. He kept a diary, in which he wrote down the names of the learned men who deserved his patronage and preferment; and he reproved such Churchmen as lived unsuitably to their character. Observing the dissolute lives of the clergy, he brought over the Carthusian monks, whom he endowed, and to whom he allotted a monastery at the west end of Southgate (South Street), and sometimes resided there. Archery was an indispensable branch of education under James. He abolished football and put archery in its place. The Queen of James died in 1446. This was shortly after the death of her second husband, Sir James Stewart. She bore the King two sons and six daughters, and to Sir James Stewart three sons, viz., John, Earl of Atholl, James, Earl of Buchan, and Andrew, Bishop of Moray.

A fortnight after the death of the King, the following official paper on behalf of the young King was sent to the Corporation of Perth:—

We charge you that for resisting of the felonious traitors who horribly murdered our progenitor of full noble mind whom God assoilzie, and for defence of your said burgh, you fortify it with walls, fosses, and otherwise to secure keeping thereof, both with your persons and goods, under all the pain and danger ye may have against us ; and if any such traitors or rebels invade you sorely notify that to us, and we shall provide proper remedy therefor, after the advice of our Council, to the welfare of said burgh and you, the which we desire and trust to find true and firm to us. Edinburgh, 7th March, 1437.

After this event, our local history seems to have been for four years a blank. In 1441 a General Council was held at Perth, at which an order was issued for the support of the St. Ninian's altar in the Church of the Carmelites or Whitefriars; and at a Parliament held in Perth in 1445, and a General Council in 1450, the foundation of the Carthusian Monastery was ratified.

The assassination of Douglas by James II. is a curious episode. It would appear that Sir Patrick Gray of Kinneff was sent to Douglas by the King to request the release of Sir Patrick M'Clellan, Gray's nephew. Aware of the object of Gray's visit, he gave orders immediately on Gray's arrival that M'Clellan should be led out to the courtyard of the castle, and beheaded during the time he and Gray were at dinner. Having concluded dinner, Gray handed Douglas the King's missive. Douglas took his guest out to the castle green. "Yonder," says he, "lies your sister's son; unfortunately, he wants the head, but you may take his body, and do with it what you like." "My lord," said Gray, "since you have taken the head, you may dispose of the body as you will," and calling for his horse, rode across the drawbridge to be out of danger. Then addressing Douglas in a stern voice, said, "My lord, if I live you shall be rewarded according to your demerits for this day's work." Douglas, incensed at this speech, called for his horse, and pursued Gray to Edinburgh; but the fleetness of Gray's horse saved him. When Gray reached Stirling and acquainted the King of Douglas's brutal conduct, the King was greatly incensed, and invited Douglas to attend the Court on 22nd February, 1451, which Douglas did, after first obtaining a safe conduct under the Great Seal, duly signed. He began to upbraid the King for depriving him of the offer of lieutenant-governor of the kingdom, and declared he would not renounce an engagement he had made with Ross and Crauford for any living man. The King, who was incensed at Douglas for beheading Sir Patrick M'Clellan, lost all self-command at this insolent defiance, and passionately exclaiming, "By Heaven, if you will not break the league, I shall!" drew his dagger, and stabbed Douglas first in the throat and then in the lower part of the body. Upon this, Sir Patrick Gray, who had sworn revenge upon Douglas for the murder of his nephew, struck him with his battle-axe, and the rest of the nobles present completed the deed. The dead body, pierced by twenty-six wounds, was cast out into the open court adjoining, and was ignominiously buried on the spot.

In 1457 James II. visited Perth and the Blackfriars' Monastery, which, since his father's assassination, had ceased to be a resort of Royalty.

It would appear that when the neighbouring barons quarrelled with the magistrates of Perth, they prohibited their tenants from furnishing the town with provisions and other necessaries. It is recorded that the Magistrates on certain occasions issued out at the head of the citizens, and burnt down the barons' castles. The Town's Records have preserved some instances of remission and fines paid for these outrages, as for instance the following, dated in the reign of James III. in 1491:—

Be it known to all men by these presents we, Laurence, Lord Oliphant of Aberdalgie, have quit, claimed, and discharged, alderman, council, and community of the burgh of Perth, and their successors, heirs, and executors for now and ever of the down casting of the house of Dupplin, and of the spoliation of it and Aberdalgie; and of all and sundry actions, quarrels, and pleas, debates, questions, and demands depending betwixt us and them until the date of the making of these present writs, but reserving fraud or guile. In witness whereof we append our seal, etc.

There is also a record of a high penalty paid by the town to Sir Thomas Bruce of Clackmannan for burning the mansion house of Gasconhall, about five miles from Perth; also a remission under the Great Seal granted to the magistrates, council, and community of Perth for burning the House of Craigie in the neighbourhood of Perth, 5th February, 1526.

In June, 1488, James III. paid a visit to Perth and issued a proclamation for the neighbouring gentlemen to meet him there, and to assist him against his rebellious subjects. David, Lord Lindsay, of the Byres, came to him with 3,000 foot and 1,000 horse. Lindsay was riding a beautiful grey horse, from which he alighted and did obeisance to the King. He then presented this horse to His Majesty, telling him it would beat all horses in Scotland in pursuit or flight, and would do it well. Lord Ruthven, Sheriff of Strathearn, brought 1,000 horsemen well equipped, and 2,000 foot The men of Perth went all with the Sheriff. The King thanked Lindsay heartily for his horse, and graciously accepted the gift. He rode it at the Battle of Sauchie. At that battle he was defeated and fled, but the horse jumping a burn, probably the Bannock, the King was thrown, and afterwards murdered.

In 1490 James IV. visited Perth. The house where he lodged is supposed to have been on the east side of the Watergate, the houses there being at that period occupied by the nobility, or by officers of the Crown. The King's house belonged to Sir John Tyrie, Provost of the Collegiate Church, Methven. The King in 1510 granted to Tyrie the charter of the lands of Busby, near Methven, in return for this house in the Watergate. This seems a very doubtful transaction, as the Watergate house would be no recompense for the lands of Busby.

In 1493 a quarrel arose between the town and the Ruthvens, as is indicated in the following very brief entry from the Council Records:—

Protest by the Town of Perth against William Lord Ruthven and his Son.

Edinburgh, 24th October, 1493.—Before the Lords of Council, Andrew Charteris and Robert Mercer appeared as procurators on behalf of the provost, bailies, and town council of Perth, and protested that because William, Lord Ruthven, and William Ruthven, his son, were summoned at their instance for certain actions contained in the summons, and would not compeer, therefore they should not be heard in judgment against the town, until they pay to them their costs and damages, and until the town be of new summoned. Extracted from the Acts of Council by John Fresale [Fraser], dean of Restalrig, Clerk of the Rolls.

The providing of money for the maintenance of the Perth Bridge, so often washed away, was a matter which demanded the constant attention of the authorities. On 10th July, 1508, an order was issued by Andrew, Lord Gray, High Justiciary north of the Forth, in favour of the Magistrates of Perth, to uplift 100 Scots of the Justice Ayre for upholding the Bridge of Tay.

Edinburgh, 10th July, 1508.—Whereas at a court held at Perth on 29th June, 1507, John Lord Oliphant and Alexander Scot in Flawcrag were fined as pledges for the entry of George Moncreif your neighbour, we therefore command and charge you that, from the said John Lord Oliphant and Alexander Scot, often called to enter George Moncreif foresaid to underly the law for crimes to be laid to his charge, as they became pledges for his entry, and not compearing, ye levy 100 and that ye distrain for the same; which sum ye shall expend upon the upkeep of the Bridge of Tay; also ye shall make your account of said sum and disposal of the same in the Exchequer of our lord the king under the usual penalty.

This year there is an important entry respecting the Drummond family. John, first Lord Drummond, had taken through life a position beyond his rank as one of the smaller barons, owing to the relations of his family with the Royal House, through Annabella, wife of Robert HI., and with several noble families. He appears in the accounts as Chamberlain of Strathearn, to which he was appointed by the Queen in 1514. To his original lordship of Stobhall he had added the nucleus of what afterwards became the Earldom of Perth ; and he had also built the original keep of Drummond Castle about 1487. The offices of seneschal or steward, and coroner of Strathearn, in the abeyance of the old earldom, gave him the chief power in that district; and he distinguished himself both in military and diplomatic affairs during the reign of James IV. His daughter, Elizabeth, married George, master of Angus, eldest son of " Bell the Cat," and was mother of Archibald, sixth Earl of Angus. Beatrice married James, first Earl of Arran. The remaining daughter, Annabella, became the wife of William, first Earl of Montrose. Lord Drummond had abetted the unfortunate match of his grandson Angus with Margaret Tudor, and he took part in the revolutionary proceedings at Perth in 1514 when Beaton was deprived of the Great Seal, and when Comyn, the Lyon king, who had summoned Angus before the Council, was struck by Lord Drummond. For this offence Lord Drummond was sent to Blackness Castle, and was tried and condemned to death by Parliament, 15th July, 1515, but was afterwards pardoned. He died at Drummond Castle in 1518. Lord Drummond was for a time keeper of Stirling Castle.

Another daughter, Margaret, is said to have been a lady of rare perfection and singular beauty. With her James IV. was so deeply enamoured that, without acquainting his nobles or council, he was affianced to her in order to make her his Queen. But so soon as this was known, objections were made by the nobility and clergy—the latter declaring that they were within the degrees of relationship forbidden by law. She had an illegitimate child to the King named Lady Margaret Stuart, born 1497. He rejected all propositions of marriage so long as Margaret Drummond lived. She died in 1501, or four years after the birth of the child, and is supposed to have been poisoned by those opposed to her marriage with the King. She had two sisters, Euphemia, wife of Lord Fleming, and Sibylla, staying with her, who were also poisoned at the same time. All three lie buried in the choir of Dunblane Cathedral. This is one of the most melancholy incidents in Scottish history, but when we consider the administration of Scotland at that period, and the morals of its insubordinate lords and barons, we need not be much surprised.


In old times there was a regular ferry under the charge of the Magistrates, at the top of the North Inch, and two boats were regularly employed for the conveyance of passengers. This ferry was rendered necessary by the constant destruction by spates of the bridge across the river. In 1536 an agreement was entered into in the following terms by Lord Stormont and the Magistrates:—

At Perth and Scone, 20th and 23rd March, 1563. It is appointed and agreed between the Provost, Magistrates, Council, and Deacons of Crafts of the burgh of Perth on the one part, and Mungo, Viscount of Stormont, Lord Scone, on the other part, and that by the counsel and advice of William, Earl of Errol, Lord Treasurer and High Constable of Scotland. The Provost, Magistrates, etc., for themselves, and their successors in office grant license to the said Viscount Stormont during all the days of his life for the passage and service of two boats at the head of the North Inch where they have served these several years past; for serving his lordship's family, servants, and our sovereign lord's lieges as they have done hitherto without obstacle or molestation, without prejudice always to the said burgh's rights and liberties which shall in no way be affected thereby. In witness thereof, etc., (Here follow the signatures.)

The popular name of this ferry was the Kincarrathie boat, and two hundred years after the date of this agreement we find an important despatch from Laurence Craigie, advocate, Edinburgh, under date, July 7, 1735, addressed to the Town Clerk in the following terms:—

When my brother Glendoick was in town we had a conversation to try if possible and get the difference between Kincarrathie and the Town Council made up. I told the Provost that having no apprehension respecting Kincarrathie's title, I would propose that he should allow his boat to be put under such regulations as would prevent inconvenience to the town; and, besides, should pay as much to the town as any boat on this passage. Failing this—arbitration. The matter was submitted to Duncan Forbes of Culloden, Lord Advocate. The magistrates pointed out that this boat on the river landed passengers on the North Inch and at Kincarrathie, and was injurious to the toll on Perth Bridge. The Kincarrathie fishing boat gave occasion for putting on passenger boats when the Stormont boat ceased. The magistrates stopped the carrying of bestial by these boats, as it involved the cattle going along the North Inch. The town officers were sent on market days to stop the landing on the North Inch. The magistrates imprisoned the Kincarrathie boatman for encroaching on the town's property. They also caused to be destroyed, by sinking under the water, the Kincarrathie boat The town's boatmen on the Bridgend passage always plied Kincarrathie passage when they pleased.

The matter seems to have been amicably settled at this stage, for nothing further is recorded. The municipal authority in the sixteenth century was weak and insufficient, as the following ludicrous event shows. In 1588 William New at Quarrymill complained to the Privy Council, and pointed out that on the 2nd March while he was in the Meal Vennel, Oliver Peebles, meeting him accidentally and violently addressing him, ordered him to be imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Perth without having the authority of the Magistrates. In the Tolbooth he was detained, though he was a free citizen. He desired the King and Council to set him at liberty. Procurators having appeared for both parties, there was produced a paper by the magistrates, dated 14th March, bearing that New was apprehended and imprisoned, and because of a complaint by Peebles, founded on a paction between him and New, he had been appointed to remain in ward till he found caution, which caution not having been found,he was detained in the Tolbooth. In respect of this defence the Lords assoilzied the magistrates and Peebles from a highly illegal transaction.

Passing on to the year 1544, it was memorable in the annals of Perth as being the year of the martyrdom of six well-known citizens: Robert Lamb and Helen Stark his wife; William Anderson, James Ronald, James Hunter, and James Finlayson. These people were accused of interrupting Friar Spence in a sermon in which he said that there was no salvation without intercession and prayer to the saints. A wooden image of St Francis had been put up to adorn the entrance to Greyfriars Monastery. Anderson, Ronald, and Finlayson were also accused of nailing two ram's horns to St Francis's head and putting a cow's rump for a tail to represent the devil; while Helen Stark was accused also of refusing to pray to the Virgin Mary. They were imprisoned in the Spey Tower, being all found guilty, and condemned. Great intercession was made for them by the citizens, but it was of no avail. Cardinal Beton ordered the men to be hanged and the woman to be drowned. The sentence was duly carried out, Beton watching the execution from the windows of the Spey Tower.

Another important event happened this same year. The Regent, James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, was a weak man, and a tool of Beton's. He, at Beton's instigation, turned Ruthven out of the Provostship and put John Charteris of Kinfauns in his place. Charteris was a Roman Catholic The citizens resented this, and a quarrel ensued. Charteris prevailed on Lord Gray to assist him. Gray and Charteris came with an armed force and attacked the town from the bridge, while another division came by the river and attacked the South Port. At the bridge port the drawbridge was up, and the iron-bound gates of the tower, which opened to High Street, were barred and bolted. Ruthven had withdrawn his guards from the bridge into the neighbouring houses and lanes. Gray fell into the snare, and marched unmolested into the town. Ruthven immediately sallied out, gave charge and defeated him, his soldiers taking to flight, while sixty are said to have been killed. This skirmish took place on 22nd July, 1544, and established Ruthven and his party in power.

Within these bars were killed above three score,
Upon the bridge and waters many more,
But most of all did perish in the chase,
For they pursued were unto the place
Where all their baggage and their cannon lay,
Which to the town was brought as lawful prey.

Ruthven was afterwards, in 1546, appointed Keeper of the Great Seal.

This was not an ordinary contest for the Provostship, and to understand it aright we must go back to 1542. The community was divided into two sections, viz., that led by Cardinal Beton and that led by Lord Ruthven. In 1542 there was a violent contention between parties to get their own nominee put into the civic chair, and both complained to the King (James V.). The King on 6th October, 1542, replied: " Convene your old council and new, and your best neighbours, and elect a gude and common man to be your Provost for the weill of our burgh." Three days after, the Council met and elected John Christison as Chief Magistrate. Evidently Christison must have died, for in August following, the Regent Arran— the King also having meanwhile died—ordained the Council to elect John Charteris as Provost, and to reject Ruthven. Charteris was thereupon appointed, but the Regent, in January following, removed him from office, and put Councillor Alexander M'Breck in his place. On 15th April thereafter there was a proclamation by the Regent to the Sheriff and Magistrates of Perth, and to those of the neighbouring counties, intimating that John Charteris of Cuthilgourdy, Thomas Charteris of Kinfauns, and their accomplices, to the number of eighty persons, were declared rebels, and ordaining them to be apprehended and brought to justice. Following on this, Lord Ruthven was elected Provost at Michaelmas, 1544, without opposition. On 26th January following, Ruthven was removed from office by the Regent at the instance of Cardinal Beton, and the office of Sheriff and Provost given to John Charteris, notwithstanding the proclamation referred to. The burgesses declared they would not stand this, denounced Beton, refused to recognise Charteris as their chief magistrate, and resolved that Ruthven should hold office. The Regent, evidently a creature of Beton's, came to Perth, removed Ruthven from office, and reinstated Charteris. This unwise proceeding incensed the people more than ever, and open rebellion was the result It was evidently a question of the supremacy of the Protestant or Catholic faith, and from this period up to the Reformation in 1559 religious feeling on both sides ran very high. Lord Ruthven in this rebellion championed the Protestant party, and Charteris the Catholics, Lord Gray arriving on the scene with a contingent to help Charteris. The contest then proceeded as just recorded ; the fact that sixty persons lost their lives shows that it was a contest of a very serious character. Lord Ruthven, however, though he was victorious, and totally defeated his opponents, only retained office till the following Michaelmas, when he retired, and Provost Maxton, who was appointed Provost by the King in 1542, was elected to succeed him.

On June 8, 1548, James Gray of Walton wrote Somerset: "The Master of Ruthven has specially requested that if any service is to be done he ought to be called upon. He has told me that by his father's means St Johnstoun shall be delivered to your grace, wherein if you dealt with him it may take better effect" In Thomas Fisher's memorial of June 27 it is stated: "If Brand has concluded with Lord Ruthven for the delivery of St Johnstoun as commissioned, Lord Clinton to receive, Lord Ruthven to take the navy to the said town, or alter it as Lord Ruthven thinks good." This is a mysterious entry, for which we find no explanation. In 1556 there was a letter from the Queen Regent exempting the inhabitants of Perth from attending the assize except for crimes committed in the burgh, or within one mile thereof. This letter was in 1594 founded upon by the inhabitants of Perth for refusing to go on a jury for the Methven riot

Methven Castle has been the scene of many remarkable events in the course of its long and interesting history. It is recorded that Roger Mowbray of Normandy came over with William the Conqueror. Philip Mowbray, a hundred years later, came to Scotland, and his brother Robert obtained a grant of the barony of Methven. In 1314 one of the Mowbrays was Governor of Stirling Castle in the English interest, but was compelled to surrender at Bannockburn. His estates were confiscated by Robert Bruce, and Methven was given to Walter, the High Steward of Scotland, Bruce's son-in-law, whose son, Robert II., succeeded to the estates. This ruler was the first of the Stuart Dynasty. He bestowed Methven on Walter Stuart, Earl of Atholl, his second son by Euphame Ross, his second wife. This Walter Stuart founded the Collegiate Church of Methven in 1433.

In 1444, Methven Castle, which must have been occupied by Sir William Crichton, was besieged and captured. In 1450-51 King James II. and his Queen were resident there. Crichton was Chancellor of Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle, and a prominent man in the reign of James II. On one occasion, 1439, he kidnapped the King at Stirling, that he might take him out of the power of Sir Alexander Livingstone, Governor of Stirling Castle.

Methven Castle became the property of the Crown on Atholl's attainder for being concerned in the assassination of James I. In 1513, the Battle of Flodden took place, when James IV. was killed. His wife, Queen Margaret, was a daughter of Henry VII., and sister to Henry VIII. After the King's death she married Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, to whom she bore one daughter, who became Lady Margaret Lennox, mother of Darnley.

We are informed by a well-known writer, that the Queen Regent that year, 1514, without the advice of her brother Henry VIII., or of the nobility, on a sudden married Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, at which Beton the Chancellor was much displeased. Angus seized him in the town of Perth, and took the Great Seal from him. The Chancellor informed the nobility of this indignity. They rose in arms, and the Queen Regent, with her husband, fled to the English border, where she remained till the birth of her daughter the following year. On account of the infidelity of Angus, the Queen divorced him in 1525.

In 1526 Queen Margaret married Henry Stuart, second son of Lord Evandale, afterwards Lord Ochiltree. Her son, James V., raised Stuart to the Peerage in 1539 as Lord Methven. Queen Margaret took up her abode at Methven Castle, and died there in 1544. She was interred with great pomp in the Carthusian Monastery at Perth, beside the tomb of James I., and his consort Joan. The King, with a numerous retinue of nobles, accompanied the funeral procession to Perth. The tomb of Mary of Guise, the Queen Regent and Queen Mary's mother, has been discovered in Edinburgh, but the last resting-place of Queen Margaret and the other Royal personages buried in the Carthusian Monastery, who were afterwards removed to St John's Church, it would be impossible now to point out

Lord Methven thereafter married Janet, daughter of the Earl of Atholl, by whom he had a son named Henry, who became second Lord Methven, and three daughters. One of these married Colin, Earl of Argyle, while his youngest, named Dorothea, became the wife of William, Lord Ruthven, first Earl of Gowrie The second Lord Methven is said to have married Jean, daughter of Patrick, Lord Ruthven. He left a son who was Henry, third Lord Methven, and who died in 1584 without issue, when the title became extinct The Lordship of Methven was thereafter conferred by James VI. on the Duke of Lennox. In 1664 Patrick Smythe of Braco purchased the estate from Lennox, and it still remains in Mr. Smythe's family, represented to-day by Colonel Smythe of Methven.

In 1594 a riot took place at Methven Castle, when a man named Farquharson was killed. An assize was held at Perth to judge the case, and the burgesses who were summoned as the jury objected to appear, and appealed to the Lords of Council and Session, when the following deliverance was given:—

Letters of charge by the Lords of Council upon the complaint of the provost and magistrates of Perth stating that in the action by the Lord Advocate against William Gray of Lyndoch, George Kay and others for besieging the Castle of Methven, a great number of the burgesses of Perth were summoned upon their assize under the penalty of 40, and not a few of them were troubled therefor, and that unjustly, seeing that by letters of exemption granted by the King's mother, the inhabitants of Perth were exempted in all time coming from serving upon assizes and inquests before the justice and his deputes or other judges unless the crime to be tried was committed within the burgh of Perth or a mile thereabout Also that the King himself and Lord Treasurer under the privy seal on 25th January, 1591, ratified the exemption, and discharged and remitted the fines of any person who may have, contrary thereto since the granting of the said exemption, been proceeded against by horning or otherwise for refusing to serve upon such assizes. A great number of the inhabitants were on 25th January, 1591, fined for not compearing before the Justice and his deputes to pass upon the assize of William Bruce at the Mill of Gorthy, Colin and Patrick Bruce, his sons, Alexander Ruthven, at the Mill of Ruthven, and Patrick Ruthven, his brother, who are accused of the slaughter of Donald Farquharson. The Lords hereby annul the same, and discharge all officers of the Crown from further summoning of the said inhabitants against the tenor of the foresaid exemption. Given under the signet at Edinburgh, 7th June, 1594.

Coming down to the year 1679, there is a good story told of the Methven family. Patrick Smythe, the proprietor, was in London. A large meeting of the Covenanters—a conventicle—composed of the citizens of Perth and people from all parts of the country, took place in Methven Wood. Mrs. Smythe, at the head of sixty followers and with a cocked pistol in one hand and a sword in the other, appeared on the scene. The Covenanters asked her intentions, and she replied that "Unless they left her husband's grounds instantly it would be a bloody day," to which the reply was, "That they were determined to preach whether she agreed or not" They, however, to save bloodshed, removed from the grounds to an adjoining field, where they held their meeting. Mrs. Smythe was a lady of great force of character, and this incident indicates her fearless and resolute nature. She was of the family of Keith, the Earl Marischal, and possessed her full share of the determination and courage which belonged to that distinguished family.

The correspondence of this lady with her husband when this extraordinary incident occurred will convey a better idea of the circumstances to the mind of the reader. The first letter is dated October, 1678, and is as follows:—

To the Laird of Methven at London.

My Precious Love,—In answer to your frequent desires to keep your command free of disorderly people, as I wrote formerly to you, we were tormented with a field-conventicle, which came betwixt Cult-malundie and Gask's ground. The Monday after their coming, I caused try who had been there of our concern: only two women, the one a vassal's wife, who promised to the Provost and me not to go again; the other a widow in Needburn. She had nobody to bind for her. I called a court, and, in the King's Majestie's name and yours, conjured them not to break the laws and statutes of this nation, under the pains of the rigour of punishment There is none in your ground gone since. Had Tipper-mallo, and Balgowan the tutor, and the rest, taken such course, we had been timelier free of them. I caused hold a court in our own hall; and the one wife had not money to pay the officer for summoning her. I caused her deliver her apron till she should pay. It has lately come to my hearing that some of the poor vassal men have been here. With the next ye shall have notice of my handling them to the length of justice. The Provost told those who spoke with him in that affair, if every master kept as strict an eye over their ground as ye allowed me to do, there would be no conventicles in the land. They are an ignorant, wicked pack. The Lord God clear the nation of them.

I am your faithful depute, to the power of

Anne Keith.

The next letter proceeds:—

For my Heart-keeper.

My Precious Love—A multitude of men and women, from east, west, and south, came, the 13th day of this October [1678], to hold a field-conventicle, two bows draught above our church. They had their tent set up before the sun, upon your ground. I, seeing them flocking to it, sent through your ground and charged them to repair to your brother David, the bailie, and me, to the castle-hill, where we had sixty armed. Your brother, with drawn sword and bent pistol, I with the light horseman's piece bent, on my left arm, and a drawn tuck in my right hand, all your servants well armed, marched forward, and kept the one-half of them fronting with the other, that were guarding their minister, and their tent, which is their standard! That rear party that we yoked with, most of them were St Johnston people. Many of them had no will to be known, but rode off, to see what we would do. They marched towards Busbie. We marched betwixt them, and gained ground before they could gather in a body. They sent off a party of 100 men, to see if we meant to hinder them to meet We told them if they would not go from the parish of Methven presently it would be a bloody day! for I protested, as also your brother, before God, that we would wear our lives upon them, before they should preach in our regality or parish. They said they would preach. We charged them either to fight or fly. They held a counsel among themselves what to do. At last, about two o'clock in the afternoon, they said they would go away, if we would let the squadron that was above the church, with the tent, march freely after them. We were content; knowing they were ten times as many as we were, and our advantage was, keeping the one half a mile from the other, by marching in order betwixt them. They seeing we were desperate, marched over the river Pow. And so we went to the church and heard a feared minister preach! They have sworn not to stand such an affront, but have resolved to come the next Lord's day: and I, in the Lord's strength, intend to accost them with all who will come to assist us. I have caused your officer to warn a solemn court of vassals, tenants, and all within our power, to meet on Thursday; where I intend, if God will, to be present; and there to order them in God, and our King's name, to convene well armed to the kirk-yard on Sabbath morning by eight o'clock ; where your brother and I, with all our servant men, and others we can muster, shall march to them ; and, if the God of heaven will, they shall either fight or go out of the parish. But alas! there is no parish about us will do the like; which discourages our poor handful. Yet if all the heritors in the parish be loyal and stout, we will have 500 men and boys who may carry arms. I have written to your nephew, the treasurer of Edinburgh, to send me two brass hagbutts if found, and that by the bearer. If they come next Saturday, I will have them with us. My love, present my humble duty to my Lord Marquis of Montrose, and my Lady. Likewise all your friends. And, my blessed love, comfort yourself in this—if the fanatics chance to kill me, it shall not be for nought I was wounded for our gracious King; and now, in the strength of the Lord God of heaven, I'll hazard my person with the men I may command before these rebels rest where ye have power. Sore I miss you, but now more as ever.

On Monday the 14th your brother, the bailie, and I rode into the town; and I called on the Provost, who came to Lady Margaret Hay's to me. He promised to guard the ports, Saturday and Sunday next, to keep in the rebels. The Sheriff was away to Edinburgh, else I had spoken to him, that he would charge Balgowan and Tippermallo to cause them assist us. More of this you will hear the next week. This is the first opposition that they have encountered, so as to force them to flee out of a parish. God grant it be good hansel. There would be no fear of it, if we were all steel to the back.

My precious love, I am so transported with zeal to beat the Whigs, that I almost forgot to tell you, my Lord Marquis of Montrose has two virtuous ladies his sisters, and it is one of the loveliest sights in all Scotland their nunnery. I see many young gentlewomen there, helping them to close a very fine piece of sewing. Our honest Bishop Lindsay is laying sick of the gout in his knees, and down to his foot He was heartily remembered to you. So is all I meet with. I wrote to you formerly to expect me up if ye would not come. Now, I have engaged with the conventicles, from whom I will not flee. I know you will allow me to do what I can to suppress them. I'll do good will. God give the blessing, is the prayer of your Anne Keith.

Methven Wood, the 15th instant, 1678.

This was followed by:—

Life of my Love,—I wrote to you the 14th instant, of the surprising rencounter I had with an intended field-conventicle in our parish, which was the first, and I hope shall be the last My hansel was not good for them; for Ballechin, with my Lord Marquis' men, chased them off Lawhill above Colluther. He desired our bailie of your Regality to assist; which I sent, and your man Speidie; the one upon the stoned horse, the other upon the stage. They got a sore day's tussel amongst these Ochil hills. The Athole men got sore travel, but they went laden home with less or more. It is a grievous matter we dare not draw their blood, yet must disperse them. How should that be, if they come well armed to fight? The acts against them are, for and against; riddles indeed not easy understood. My love, if every parish were armed, and the stout loyal heads joining, with orders to concur, and liberty to suppress them as enemies to our King and the Nation, these vagine gypsies would settle. My most precious, upon the 17th day I was present at our court, where the pitiful ignorants that had been with them were fined, and bound to obedience in future. Next, all your tenants, with what more would answer, were ordained to compear at the West-wood by 7 o'clock on Sabbath morning, with the best arms they had, under pain of ten pounds. I sent to Tippermallo, who granted me his men. I sent to Balgowan, the bailie, to require his assistance, who even-down refused his men ; and declared, if the conventicles were at his gate, he would only protest against them, and no more. Honest Provost Hay came to see me on the Saturday, and at my desire wrote an order for all Bachilton's ground. Busbie sent order for his; so all the most part convened in good order. They were kept there till Ballechin sent to me intelligence that we might go to the church. We have good will to keep the parish free, but want arms for two-thirds of our men. What was provided was most part borrowed from the neighbouring parishes. All that is done, or can be done, will not stop them, except other acts be made, and a more severe course taken. None of this family, and specially I, can go any way without weapons. The spirit of revenge boasts against me for beginning their dispersion in this parish. My love, there are forces lying in Kinross and Falkland, who have chased many up to Stratheara They are commanded, as Captain------reports, to pursue them no farther than Fife marches. So we are exposed to the hazard, and must pay for it to those who will not help us! My dear, how shall this part of Perthshire oppose this unruly multitude, who keep close where they intend to meet, and we have neither arms, nor allowance to keep men to wait for them? If the noblemen and gentlemen had command, and allowance to maintain men to wait for them, we would be known as daring a loyal people as should be in this nation. I know my love will laugh at me; but it is generally known to be truth.

The next letter, which is unsigned, proceeds:—

Methven Wood, 4th November, 1678. Athole's men, that Ballechin commanded, frightened the conventicle more than all the soldiers under pay. Such a terror they have got that they have had no meeting on this side of the Earn since that day I banished them, which was the first time they entered upon any property on this side of the Earn. It is said the Bishop of Galloway, to make true his letters, had hired them to begin at you. There is much envy and hatred for crossing the conventicles; but no encouragement to a faithful true-hearted subject. Our Governors are made up of Machiavel's principles. We look for peace this winter, since loyal Argyle lets the Macleans lie. But if they yoke, be sure of all malcontents taking the opportunity. Our kind Provost and Dean of Guild Glass were at the Archbishop of St Andrews for keeping the town's liberty of choosing a new minister. He was very civil to them ; and after he had tried at the Provost all the way of my proceeding against the conventicle, which was truly repeated, the Archbishop drank my good health, and said the Clergy of this Nation were obliged to me. But it was the Lord God's doings, who made me His instrument; praise, honour, and glory be to His great name.

The following letter, dated 16th December, 1678, concludes the correspondence :—

The conventicle is every Sabbath at Thorniehill agaia We have most part of the shire paid the first terms supply, and as yet we hear of no forces coming to suppress them. If they come back to us, in obedience to you, and loyalty to my gracious King, they shall go waur away than they did the last time, I being better provided of powder and lead ; and all except Balgowan is willing to follow me in so just a pursuit; though I have got no thanks from the Council, neither is any parish commanded to do the like, yet my duty and love to his Majesty shall encourage me to be singular against a powerful enemy, as they are in this nation.

We shall conclude this chapter by the following lines, which were reproduced in Camden's Britannica:—

By villages, by towns, by Perth thou runnest great Tay amain The riches of this city doth all the realm sustain.

This is probably another version of Alexander Neckham, from an English writer in 1215, who paid the following compliment to Perth:—

Great Tay, through Perth, through town, through country flies, Perth the whole kingdom with her wealth supplies.

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