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Perth, the Ancient Capital of Scotland
Chapter IV

These monasteries, the Dominican, the Carthusian, the Carmelite, and the Franciscan, which were swept away at the Reformation, were for the time a great addition to the architectural features of the city. Three of them were built by Scottish Kings, the fourth, the Franciscan, by Laurence, first Lord Oliphant The Catholic hierarchy had succeeded in the thirteenth century in finally extinguishing the Culdees as an ecclesiastical power, and in substituting clerics in the civil offices of the realm. As a power in Scotland the hierarchy was supreme. Since the time of Malcolm and Queen Margaret it had made great progress, and was now in a flourishing condition, when King Alexander II., in 1231, founded the Dominican Monastery. No doubt this was to mark the development and prosperity of the Catholic faith and as a recognition of its supremacy. In matters of religion, feeling at that time ran very high. Might was right and the strongest party prevailed. This position the Catholics held until the Reformation. That troublous time represented a period of almost unprecedented activity in the Catholic world. There was the erection of monasteries and religious houses in Perth, works of vast dimensions, and such as could only be carried out with great enthusiasm and under deep religious convictions. And in addition to these buildings, we have the introduction and endowment of no less than forty altars in St John's Church. The Catholic hierarchy had unquestionably got a firm hold of the people of Perth, and it is noticeable that the Incorporated Trades embraced the Catholic faith and also erected altars there. As the Italian painters in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries displayed a genius that surprised Christendom, so the Catholic hierarchy in the fourteenth and two following centuries acquired (by conquest so to speak) a position in Scotland and Western Europe which influenced the administration of the realm and guided the destinies of the Empire. Their power, in short, became invincible, until that memorable day in May, 1559, when the mob in St. John's Church shattered to pieces the altars and the precious contents of that sacred building. What, then, was the nature of these remarkable buildings which played so conspicuous a part in the history of the Ancient Capital?

The Dominican Monastery undoubtedly was of fine proportions, and included a handsome tower. The buildings probably formed a quadrangle; one side, the south it may be conjectured, was occupied by the chapel and burying-ground attached. Besides the cloisters, in which the friars resided, it contained spacious apartments in which the Scottish kings often lodged, prior to the assassination of James I. The Dominican Monastery was situated at the north end of Blackfriars Wynd, and had its chapel adjoining. Within the principal gate in front of the house was a pretty large court At the side of the north wall was another court, which is described as having been " a fair playing place ordained for the King." Here James I. played tennis with some of his nobles up to the date of his assassination. In this little chapel conventions of the nobility and clergy were often held, and here on one or two occasions the Scottish Parliament met The chapel contained altars in honour of St John the Evangelist and Nicholas the Confessor, and the tombs of some illustrious dead, as of Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan, mother of Robert III., and of certain members of the Errol and Huntly families. The churchyard lay, partly at least, on the west of the Wynd which led from the Castle Gable to the monastery. The ground was extensive, and included the feus of Atholl Place, Atholl Crescent, Rose Terrace, Blackfriars Street, Carpenter Street. Pullar's Dyeworks, and the whole of the ground as far as the Dunkeld Road. The entire property was surrounded by a high wall. It is stated that Edward I. of England on 24th July, 1291, received the homage of the burgesses of Perth and the landlords of the county in the Blackfriars Churchyard, a function that would be of very great importance at the time although no details are recorded. A more tragic interest attaches to the monastery on account of the assassination of James I., on 21st February, 1437. The Blackfriars were so called from the black mantles which hung over their white habits.1

As illustrating the violent manners of the time, it is recorded that, on 14th May, 1543, between the hours of eight and nine A.M., while the prior was engaged in religious services, certain burgesses, with their servants and others, approached in a tumultuous manner, and forced open the front gate, breaking the bolts and locks. They also forced the door of the dining-hall, and carried away the chandeliers, branches for candles, glasses, etc. From the kitchen they took from the fire the kettle or pan with the friars' food, which they afterwards carried in a contemptuous manner through the streets of the town. James Rhynd, one of the leaders of this outrage, was afterwards elected a bailie. But in January thereafter he and Walter Pyper, another leader, were, by the influence of Cardinal Beton, imprisoned and finally banished from the town.

The matter came before the Regent and Privy Council when an edict was issued, citing the delinquents to appear before them, but nothing further is recorded beyond the action of Cardinal Beton.

The Carmelite Monastery at Tulilum was small in comparison with that of the Blackfriars. It was founded in the latter half of the thirteenth century. They had their beginning and name from Mount Carmel in Syria, and were divided into provinces, of which the one at Perth belonged to the 13th or Scottish province. They were called Whitefriars from their outer garment. They came into Scotland in 1257, in the reign of Alexander III. Here Richard, bishop of Dunkeld, built them a chapel in 1262, while Bishop Brown built the west portion from the ground—including two galleries—of hewn stone. Alexander Young was the last prior of the Carmelites at Perth. It would appear that he joined the Reformation movement and became minister of Tibbermore. He was alive in 1593, when John Young was minister of Methven, and was allowed a pension of 20 by Rev. John Rowe and the Kirk Session out of the sequestrated revenues of the monastery.1

The Carthusian Monastery (Vallis Virtutis) was founded in 1425, through the liberality of James I. and his Queen, who in consequence were considered its chief benefactors. After the murder of James, the general chapter commanded a whole psalter to be recited in every house of the Order on the anniversary of the King, whilst at the death of Queen Joan the same suffrages were offered up for the repose of her soul as were wont to be offered for a deceased brother. From 1516 until the suppression of the Charterhouse, the King of Scotland figures among the princes for whom a mass of the Holy Ghost was to be offered annually, to ensure the peace, tranquillity, and prosperity of his reign.

The founders of the Charterhouse came from what was then known as the province of Farther Picardy, which, we believe, coincides with what is nowadays Belgium. It remained subject to that province until 1441, from which time onward it belonged sometimes to the English province, at other times to that of Geneva, when it was immediately under the jurisdiction of the Grande Chartreuse. These changes took place not less than seven times, and were due to political circumstances, the King himself demanding the separation from the English province.

Notwithstanding its prestige as a royal foundation, Vallis Virtutis was a poor house, and the priors found themselves frequently in pecuniary difficulties. After the death of Simon Farly (1465), the Charterhouse was found to be deeply in debt, and the general chapter granted his successor a respite of several years to meet his liabilities. Finally pressure had to be exercised, and threats were held out in the event of his not complying with his obligations.

The repeated changes from one province to another caused certain difficulties in the observance of monastic customs, while the distance of the Scottish house from the centre of the Order, and probably also the uncongenial climate, so different from that of the French and Italian Charterhouses, had to be reckoned with. Several times the general chapter found itself obliged to withdraw permissions and facilities which had been granted in view of these circumstances. These details, gathered from the acts of the annual chapters, give us a clear insight into the rigorous discipline of the Order, where no shortcoming was tolerated for any length of time.

We have been able to collect the following names of monks from the obituary notices published year by year in the acts of the chapter. It must, however, be understood that frequently the names of the deceased monks were not expressed, and also that the writers of the acts often found great difficulty in spelling the names correctly, so that it is not easy to discover the true form in every case:—

1430, John Brun, professed monk of Vallis S. Mariae, who had come to Scotland for the foundation of Perth. 1435, John Brasby, first prior of Perth. 1442, Adam de Hannanside, late prior of Perth. 1456, Martin Thorther (Farquhar?) prior. 1459, Maurice Barry, John Trunt, Thomas Whitehouse, Brictius White (or Vitch?), Simon Ward, priests; and Andrew Hutton, deacon. 1461, James Bayn. 1466, Simon Farly, prior. 1467, William Myrton. 1468, Robert Meilb(?). 1469, William, procurator, 1470, Bentus (?) Montgomery, sometime prior. 1472, Andrew Taliafer, prior. 1473, Alexander Cruikshank, Alexander Lomax, Maurice Young. 1475, Peter Serasis (?) originally of Aiginac 1476, John Hutton.

One of the last Scotch Carthusians was William Chisholme, bishop of Dunblane, who entered the Grande Chartreuse and died there, after having held the post of procurator-general, September 26, 1593. The Bibliotheca Sixti Senensis was inscribed to him. Two ancient nunneries at Perth were suppressed, and this monastery endowed with their lands and revenues; one of these was the Hospital of St Leonard's, where Lady Elizabeth Dunbar, the rejected fiancee of the Duke of Rothesay, had been prioress, the other the Hospital of St Mary Magdalene.

Adam Forman, last prior of the Charterhouse, when the monastery was demolished by the reformers, was permitted to take away as much gold and silver as he could carry. He then, along with his brethren, retired to Errol, of which church they were patrons. The Carthusian monks wore a white woollen habit covered by a long cowl and hood of the same colour. They invariably took their food in private, festival days excepted. They are said to have observed a constant silence and never went out of the cloister. No women were allowed to enter the precincts of the monastery.1

On 14th November, 1569, the Prior and Convent conveyed to John Moncrieff the house, lands, and orchards of the Charterhouse with their tithes, also two tenements within the burgh, and tenements and gardens without the same. Subsequently George Hay of Nethercliff, afterwards Lord Chancellor and Earl of Kinnoull, was constituted Commendator of the Charterhouse, with a vote and place in parliament, together with the whole property, buildings, lands, and tithes "within the enclosure of the monastery of the Charterhouse." In 1598, the same Earl of Kinnoull acquired from James VI. the church lands of Errol on resigning his title of Lord Prior of the Charterhouse. It would appear from an abstract rental of the Charterhouse of 1440, entitled "An inventory of the farm and annual rents of all the lands and possessions of the house of the Valley of Virtue of the Carthusian order, arising from the donations of the kings," that the amount was 62 18s. per annum.

The Franciscan or Greyfriars Monastery was a plain building, without any pretensions, founded in 1460, by Laurence, first Lord Oliphant.

It appears from ancient annals that the Scots Province of the Friars Minor dates as far back as the year 1224, St. Francis being then alive.

About the year 1400 it possessed fourteen friaries, but the brethren had somewhat declined from the strict observance of their rule. In the fifteenth century the fame of the sanctity and zeal of St Bernardine of Siena spread far and wide, and reached the ears of King James I. He desired to have some of the saint's companions, who might rekindle the zeal and fervour of the Friars Minor. And his efforts were crowned with success, for during the pontificate of Pope Eugene IV., Father Cornelius of Liericksea arrived with six brethren, and they gave such edification by the holiness of their lives that, with the help of the King and other noblemen, they built in a few years as many as nine friaries, and these formed the Scots Province, instituted in the year 1517 under Pope Leo X.

The Friary of Perth (oppidum S. Joannis) was the third on the list " The most noble and pious youth, Jerome Lindsay," says the chronicler, "legitimate son of the Earl of Crawford, hearing of the arrival of Father Cornelius of Liericksea, immediately went to him, and having been clothed by him with the habit of St Francis, made such progress in virtue that he became a living model of humility, prayer, and abstinence. It was by his advice that Lord Oliphant, who had a great esteem for him, built a friary for twenty brethren of the same Order at Perth out of his own patrimony, in the year 1460, and this became the Franciscan or Greyfriars Monastery of Perth."

Whatever may be said of the friars of the Dominican Monastery, they were men of no mean capacity in matters of business. We have a proof of this in a lease granted by them in 1547 to John Malcolm of Perth. It is quite a curious document, and we reproduce it in a condensed form for the reader's benefit:

It is apportioned, conceded, and finally agreed between the venerable the religious man Friar Robert Borthwick, Prior of the Blackfriars Monastery at Perth, on the one part, and John Malcolm, burgess of Perth, on the other part, touching the labouring and manuring of the wheat croft belonging to the Monastery. The said Prior and Convent on their part, and John Malcolm on his part, shall furnish equally between them all things necessary, viz.: Each one of them half ploughing with half plough graith or horse, oxen, and all other things necessary thereto; half seed to the sowing of the said croft, with the half of all expenses in ploughing, harrowing, mucking, wading, keeping, shearing thereof, and leading of the corn to barn or barnyards. The entry of the Prior and Convent, and the entry of John Malcolm to be at 1st October next, and to endure for three years crops thereafter, viz., for the crop of '48, '49, and '50 years, and thereafter on 1st October, 1550, the said John Malcolm shall desist and cease from all intro-mitting with the croft, and without further warning, so that the Prior and Convent and their successors may intromit with the croft at 1st October foresaid, cultivating the same as they shall think expedient, and without impediment from John Malcolm or any man on his behalf; and yearly during the said three years, the crop being dried and put in stook, shall be divided between the Prior and Convent and John Malcolm equally by stook and sheaf upon the ground, or after it has been led to the barn to be thrashed at the expense of both parties equally. Thereafter the corn to be divided between them by boll and firlot, the Prior and Convent to have the due half with the half of the straw that shall grow on the croft for their part, and John Malcolm to have his half with the half of the straw. For the above half corn and straw John Malcolm shall pay to the Prior and Convent forty bolls, with forty pecks bere that grows on his part of the croft well dried, at four times in the year, viz., ten bolls with ten pecks at the feast of Martinmas, 1448; ditto at Candlemas thereafter ; ditto at the feast of Pasch, 1549; ditto at the feast of Whitsunday thereafter. And if John Malcolm fails in the thankful payment of the said forty bolls and forty pecks well dried bere yearly at terms stated or in the making of the whole just half of the cost of cultivating the croft; in that case he shall pay to the Prior and croft eighty bolls well dried for every year he fails, and that for the cost and expenses incurred or to be incurred by the Prior and Convent through his default It shall not be lawful for John Malcolm to make assignation or settlement respecting the cultivation of the croft nor the profits thereof. And if it should happen (as God forbid) that John Malcolm should die before the outrunning of the said three crops, the day of his decease shall be the last day of his apportionment, and from thenceforth neither his spouse nor his bairns shall have any right or claim of right to the years and crops that shall not have outrun at the date of his decease provided that the crop that shall be sown before his decease shall come to the profit of his wife and bairns, they making expenses and paying therefor as John Malcolm would have done. For the keeping of these premises both parties bind and oblige themselves by the faith and truth of their bodies and by the extension of the right hands to each other. In witness whereof, etc.,

John Malcolm
with my hand at the pen
led by Sir Walter Ramsay, notar.

Ita est Dominus Walterus Ramsay
notarius in praemissis per supra scriptos
priorem et Johannem Malcolm rogatus.

In addition to these monasteries, there were the following religious houses :—

Nunnery of St. Mary Magdalene.
Nunnery and Hospital of St. Leonard's.

Our Lady's Chapel, at the foot of High Street. Site now occupied by Council Chambers. [This is the oldest of the chapels, having been built in the eleventh or twelfth century. Some of these chapels were adorned with towers.]

St Laurence Chapel, Castle Gable, gifted by Robert III. to the Blackfriars.

Chapel of St Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, south side of St John's Church.

St. James and St Thomas a Beckett Chapel, south side of St John's Church.

Our Lady of Loretto, head of South Street

St Paul's Chapel, north-west corner of Newrow.

Rood or Holy Cross Chapel, South Street Port.

St Catharine's Chapel, near Claypotts.

Inchaffray was founded by Gilbert, Earl of Strath-earn, and Matilda, his Countess, in 1200. Abbot John, in 1358, in the reign of David II., granted to John Grey, burgess of Perth, a tenement on the south side of North Street (High Street) on condition that one pound of wax was paid to the Abbot of Inchaffray for eight years, three shillings and four pennies in the ninth year, five shillings in the tenth year, and ten shillings thereafter.

All these chapels had altars founded and consecrated to the honour of particular saints, at which masses were celebrated and prayers offered for the souls of the founders and their relations.

A description of the monasteries before the Reformation is of some importance, although there is very little of such material to be found; a fact which is extraordinary as we are not without pre-Reformation literature on other subjects. A distinguished traveller (Professor Tudelph of St Andrews) who saw these monasteries before they fell, has left the following account of them; he and his companion are supposed to be looking from the south-east shoulder of Kinnoull Hill:—

The warden of the Franciscan or Greyfriars Monastery, that building you see nearest us outside the walls, is well known to be the secret favorer of the new doctrines. There are but eight of them in that huge house—good canty fellows, all of them—known to keep an excellent table, and willing to let all the world alone, so that they are not disturbed at dinner-time. But then they are in constant dread of the fire-brands in that princely building you see on the same side of the town farther to the west, who can write although their rules forbid them to speak. Austere fellows they are, those Carthusians, and pride themselves not a little on this their only establishment in Scotland and on the odour they and it are in with the Queen Regent But for all their austerity, there are queer stories told of them and the nuns in the convents of St Leonard's and the Magdalenes, both of which are a short distance to the southward. Certain jolly skippers, too, from the coast, under cover of a few oysters or haddocks, wink and glance knowingly towards this monasterium vallis virtutis) as the monks call it, while they hint about the many good and ghostly customers they have in Perth. Then there are those Dominicans— beggars they profess themselves, like the Franciscans, and sturdy ones they are. See how comfortably they have set themselves down in that palace you see without the walls on the north side of the town just over the Castle there. Ah, these Blackfriars are your men for the pulpit If you want a good, easy confessor, go to the chapels of St. Paul's or St. Catherine's you see peering above the trees on the west side of the town, and there find one of the Carmelites or White Friars from Tulilum, a monastery still farther to the west, hid from us by the wood; but if you want a discourse that will keep you quaking for a week, go to the Church of the Dominicans. And well worthy it is of a visit—such walls, such aisles, such windows; the gardens, too, and the gilten arbour. No wonder our monarchs forsook that old gloomy palace (the Castle) at the end of the bridge for the sweet arbour and soft beds of the Blackfriars. Then you have the Chapel of the Virgin close by the end of the bridge where no traveller, however wearied, omits in passing to put up his Ave. To the west, again, besides the chapels of St. Paul and St. Catherine outside the walls there is a chapel of the Cross or Holyrood at the south west port, the resort of those who have heavy consciences and light purses. Not far distant from the Chartreuse or Carthusian Monastery is a building with a spire in the form of a crown ; that is the Chapel of Loretto, like its prototype in Italy famed for its riches, and for having come through the air from the Holy Land at the intercession of all the friars in the town. And a capital speculation they have made of it; for who can expect to hear an ora or an ave put up for him in a place so far travelled, without paying handsomely for it? Some of the populace have long had their eye on the gold and silver which is lying useless there.

From a pre-Reformation picture of Perth we are able to give with some accuracy a drawing of the ancient town, including the monasteries. The picture (enlarged) forms the frontispiece of this volume, and we have employed an artist to redraw and engrave the monastic buildings. These beautiful illustrations will arouse much interest, as we are not aware that they have ever before been put before the public We do not guarantee absolute accuracy; our sole aim is to convey some idea of the general appearance of the edifices, their situation outside the walls, and styles of architecture. In connection with the Ancient Capital these engravings are an indispensable addition, and cannot fail to be appreciated by the inhabitants of to-day and by posterity. The frontispiece will be found of considerable importance, as showing the ancient wall surrounding the city, also its gates and ports and public buildings; and will enable the reader to form some idea of the Ancient Capital as it appeared in pre-Reformation times. The illustrations of the monasteries, given in this chapter, will much enhance the value of Professor Tudelph's notes and be a great acquisition to the reader.


In the reign of William the Lion there would appear to have been a pious and benevolent citizen in Perth named William, said to have been a baker. There is practically no information to be got about his life in Perth, and his very existence has been challenged, many believing that the story of his life is a fable. That view, however, is untenable, as an eminent Catholic writer has specially inquired into the matter, and in 1891 published the result of his inquiries. He gives the legend of Capgrave, which is in the following terms:—

William was a native of Perth, and a baker by trade. While still a young man, he gave himself to piety and works of mercy, and remained unmarried ; he was wont to hear mass daily, and he gave every tenth loaf to the poor. Coming early one morning to the doors of the church, he found there a babe exposed. Moved by pity, he gave the child to a good woman to nurse at his expense; he afterwards took him into his household, and at last adopted him as his son. His name, says the writer of the legend, was Cockermay Deveni, or David the Foundling. William made a vow to visit the Holy Land, and having the approval of his parish priest, he went to the church to hear mass, and his pilgrim dress, his staff and wallet were blessed. He took his adopted son David as the companion of his travels. They reached Rochester, where they spent a few days, visiting the cathedral; thence they were to pass to Canterbury. Whether David had fallen into vice and played the hypocrite, or whether he had received a rebuke and conceived hatred to his benefactor, or whether in some other manner the thing was brought about, we do not know, but David, like Judas, gave himself up to the instigations of the devil. He seems, on leaving Rochester, to have led his master off the high road into a wood, where he treacherously killed him. The body was discovered by a crazy woman, who used to roam half naked about the country. She made a garland of honeysuckle and put it on the head of the dead man. Returning after a few days, she took her garland, tinged with the pilgrim's blood, and putting it on her own brow, was immediately restored to her right mind. When she told in Rochester what she had found, and what happened to herself, the people came out and brought the dead body to Rochester and gave it honourable burial.

Henry Wharton, in his Anglia Sacra, prints what he calls the Annals of the Church at Rochester, being the additions made by a Rochester monk (whom Wharton takes to be Edmund de Hadenham) to the Flores Historiarum of Mathew of Westminster. The Flores have been recently edited with great care by Mr. Luard in the Rolls Series. The Rochester additions end at A.D. 1306, so that they were probably extracted from the local annals by the transcriber about that time. From them we learn the following facts:—That a St. William was honoured as a martyr at Rochester early in the thirteenth century; that he was known as William of Perth; that his martyrdom took place in 1201 near Rochester; that he was buried in the cathedral church; that he had the fame of working miracles;

that he was canonised at Rome by Pope Alexander IV. in 1256. The following entry appears in the Rochester Registers: "Justiciar Angliae Hubertus de Burgo dedit fenestram mediam ad St Willelmum."

Hubert de Burgh who gave the window in honour of St William, probably to be placed near St. William's tomb, was Grand Justiciary of England from 1219 to 1230, so that about twenty years after his death William was called "Saint". The evidence for William's existence, his Scottish origin, his martyrdom, his popular veneration as a saint and martyr, and above all his canonisation, in no way rest on the evidence of Wynkin de Warde's Capgrave. "The relics of the Saint repose in the Cathedral Church of St Andrew, Rochester. St. William's tomb, a plain altar tomb under a recess in the wall, stands at the north end of the north choir transept . . . There is a passage up the north aisle of the choir, with a flight of steps very much worn by the feet of pilgrims visiting St William's shrine." The Rev. Samuel Donne attributes the murder of St William to a stratagem of the monks. Before the Reformation a church in Rochester was dedicated to St William. For three centuries faith in his miracle-working powers brought thousands of pilgrims every year to his shrine in Rochester Cathedral, and one of the gates of the precincts was named after him, while the offerings made in his honour built the choir of the Cathedral, under the care of the Sacrist, William de Hoo. That St William was canonised at Rome in 1296, and that his tomb is to be seen at Rochester, is beyond doubt; but to confirm his connection with Perth seems to be a matter beyond the power of the student of history. It may seem curious that St William had no surname, but at that period of Scottish history there were no surnames, if we may judge from the signatures to official documents.


This institution was originally founded under the regency of Moray, in 1569, during the minority of the King. There was conveyed to it by Royal Charter the property belonging to the monasteries— Blackfriars, Carthusians, Franciscans, and Carmelites, and other religious houses in the burgh. An annual rent of 69 8s. 8d. was agreed to be paid to the monasteries, the See of St Andrews, and the Abbeys of Scone and Cambuskenneth. The large endowment of the revenues of the suppressed monasteries had been much diminished, partly, it is said, by mismanagement, by the change of currency, and by the seizure of much of the property by interested persons. Cromwell, in 1651, seized the Hospital, and razed it to the ground in order to get stones for his citadel. Thereupon the revenue was seized and retained by the magistrates. In 1768 the Lords of Session ordained the town to pay it over to the Hospital in all time coming, and to pay 2,000 as bygones. The original object of the Hospital was to provide for the poor of all ages and sexes. Men who were able to work were employed in home weaving; women, boys, and girls in spinning, making their own clothes, etc. These objects are not now in force. The Hospital was rebuilt in 1750 by voluntary subscription on the site of the Carthusian monastery, and is not so elegant a building as its predecessor. The governors or managers are the ministers and elders of the four City Churches of Perth. The chief revenue now consists of the rents of the lands of Lethendy. In 1660 the Lethendy Mortification was founded for the behoof of indigent poor by the bequest of Mr. Butters, and added to by Mr. Jackson in 1686, and by Mr. Cairnie in 1745.

The archives of the Hospital are rich in ancient charters and historical documents of local importance, and the governors have highly useful work before them if they would get these catalogued, and the more important put into English. The charter of the first building (erected in 1569) is recorded in the Register of the Great Seal of the same year. It says: "The King with the advice of his Secret Council grants to the poor members of Christ Jesus dwelling then and in all future time in the burgh of Perth— lands, houses, churches, gardens, crofts, annual revenues, etc, that belonged to any altarage or prebendary founded in any church, chapel, or college within the burgh, that belonged to the Dominican friars or preachers, the lesser Friars or Franciscans, the Whitefriars, etc., with the gardens, monastery, and place of the Charterhouse; to be held with the power of collecting revenues through the collector or manager of the Hospital, nominated by the ministers or elders of the said burgh, and of applying these to the Hospital and other pious and divine purposes according to their discretion." All the said lands are now incorporated in the Royal Foundation of the Hospital. The officials appointed before the Reformation were to enjoy their salary during life. According to the most recent authority, the history of the Hospital has been one of almost continual difficulty and trouble; of difficulty in securing and keeping hold of lawful possessions; of trouble and litigation to recover the best portion of them; of frequent financial embarrassments ; always contracting and struggling to get quit of debt The state of matters is now much more peaceful and prosperous. Its benefits are dispersed among, and help to cheer the declining days of not a few " poor members of Jesus Christ," who by reason of distress or otherwise are unable to sustain their part as they once did, yet shrink from accepting parochial relief.


These properties were connected with the Church of St John, but how they came to be connected or from what source they came is not recorded. We find in 1627, in the reign of Charles I., that the magistrates were ordained to produce their charters and writs, and "to exhibit before the Lords of Council and Session all charters of whatever kind granted by his Majesty, or his deceased mother, or any of his progenitors, or by the Popes for the time, or by .................. in favour of the complainers or their predecessors, the magistrates and council of Perth, or of the parsons of Perth, concerning the manse of the parish kirk of Perth, and of the pertinents, commonly called the Great College, lying in our said burgh of Perth on the west side of the kirkyard thereof between the yard on the west, the tail of the yard of Thomas Wilson and of Alexander Anderson on the south; the tenement of land, fore and back, with the yard and pertinents, commonly called the Little College on the north, and the said kirkyard on the east part. . . Wherefore charge is hereby given to summon the forenamed persons by proclamation at the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, pier and shore of Leith, and other places needful, to compear on ............ and produce the said writs in as good state as when they received them. Given under the signet at Edinburgh, 12th January, 1627."

These lands lay to the west of St John's Church, the former now occupied by the City Hall, the latter by the Fleshers' Tavern. They once belonged to the Hospital, but a charter granted by Queen Anne with consent of her husband, James VI., conveyed them, along with the Rectory of St. John's, to the Magistrates and Council for behoof of the clergy of the city. A report made by a Committee of managers of 19th November, 1719, speaks of the Meikle College yards, the rents of which the town of Perth has uplifted for many years, and made it their own property—though the same is conveyed in the King's gift to the Hospital. The Session paid John Graham of Balgowan 150 marks for any right he had thereto. On 25th November, 1719, it was resolved to have search made as to the rights of the town to the same, though there is no record of any result Queen Anne's charter bears that the parishioners of the church, having no ecclesiastical revenues for the upkeep of the ministers save the tithes of the parish and rectory and vicarage of St. John's, granted to the Magistrates and Council of Perth and their successors in office, maice of rectory, tenement building, lands and big houses, enclosure and gardens, commonly called Magnum Collegium, lying in the burgh west of the Cemetery, between Wilson's garden on the south, and the Little College on the north. The Little College yard described as "that house opposite the northwest corner of the church with yard adjacent," still recognisable, has remained under the superiority of the Hospital.


In the middle ages the Harbour of Perth was a place of great activity, and it is beyond doubt that an extensive shipping trade was carried on between Perth and the Continent Provost Mercer was one of its greatest patrons, and of him it was recorded that he had many vessels constantly trading between Perth and continental ports. There were many merchant burgesses in Perth, some of whom also carried on a large shipping trade with various places on the Continent, and made the Fair City in these times quite famous as a commercial centre. This continued till the opening of the Scottish Central Railway sixty years ago, since which time the shipping trade has practically left the harbour. As a proof of the importance of Perth in early times, it is recorded that in 1269 the Customs of Perth amounted to 700; those of Dundee to 800. These were large sums in those days. The original harbour of the port of Perth adjoined the bridge at the east end of High Street, but was gradually removed first to the Shore opposite Greyfriars' burying-ground, and afterwards to the lime shore away from the town. In 1830 and 1834 Acts of Parliament were obtained for enlarging the accommodation, constructing a harbour and wet dock, and connecting them with a canal. Powers were also obtained to deepen the channel, so that vessels of 380 tons could come up to the harbour in spring tides, and of 130 tons at neap tides. These works, estimated at 54,000, cost eventually considerably more than double that sum, on account of claims for compensation by the salmon fishery proprietors. Of the gross debt incurred, we believe 70,000 is still unpaid. The harbour and navigation of the river, which latter gives the Provost of Perth the title of Lord High Admiral of the Tay, have always been administered by the Town Council.


The inundations of the Tay, whether recorded or not, may be assumed to have occurred at irregular periods during the history of the Ancient Capital; but there was no bridge across the river in early times, if we except that of Agricola, nor is there reference to a bridge directly or indirectly until the reign of William the Lion, when we know that during his reign a substantial wooden bridge spanned the river. The first inundation recorded is in 1210, when a flood of huge dimensions took place. It was on that occasion that the old hill fort at the junction of the Almond and the Tay was swept away, the flood carrying along with it many houses, and destroying the bridge and an old chapel. It was certainly the most destructive of all the floods of which we have any account It is said to have swept away one half of the town, including the Castle of Perth, the residence of the King. The town at that period was small, and it was evidently surrounded on this occasion with a great depth of water. The northern or Castle Gable district, having the lowest level, suffered the most There was a considerable population there, and every house seems to have shared the same fate. It was an appalling event, according to all accounts, many of the inhabitants being very poor, and unexpectedly rendered homeless and destitute. Every house or shop throughout the town suffered to a greater or less extent The King was a man of energy, and immediately on the subsiding of the water gave instructions to have the houses entirely rebuilt; so that the population, after much privation, eventually returned to their old quarters. The fillip thus given to the building trade had a powerful effect on the inhabitants, and acted as a stimulant, so to speak, as building operations were not from all accounts confined to what the King authorised, for the town from that date steadily grew in size, and its population increased. We have a very imperfect record of these floods, and the great destruction of property which must have been the result; but from the damage we sustain in our own time from floods of half the size, we can so far estimate this destruction and its effects on a small but industrial town, where the inhabitants were for the most part poor and strangers to the wealth and comforts enjoyed at the present day. Evidently there were inundations about 1329, 1573, 1582, and 1589, when on each occasion the Bridge was washed away.

In connection with the upholding of the bridge, James IV., in 1503, issued the following edict: "The Lords in presence of the King ordain that the clerk of the Justice Ayre make an extract to the alderman and bailies of Perth as sheriffs of the same of all fines and finances that shall in the last Justice Ayre by any of the neighbours or indwellers of Perth be raised by them for the upholding of the Bridge of Perth conform to the Charter of King Robert shown and produced before the King; ordain the clerk to draw the said sums in a place together in the Journal to be shown to the Exchequer for the charging of the alderman and bailies for their accounting, that you may be sure how the sums are disposed of or ordained in the said Charter."


The following address shows that the Town Council of that day were well educated as to the manner of approaching the King, particularly if they wanted money:—

The Town Council to King James VI.
7, 1607.

Most Gracious Sovereign above all, your High-ness's subjects in this your Majesty's oldest kingdom, we have come to esteem your Majesty as our father, yea, and as the breath of our nostrils, for besides the common reasons for which others in the land may glory, they have interest in your deliverance among us, our commonwealth, ourselves, our children were most graciously delivered from utter extermination. Our liberties, granted at first by your Highness's most noble progenitor, were almost without rigour revived by yourself. So that your grace is restored, etc.

We have begun the building of the Brig of Tay, and have brought it a good way forward without help, saving from your Majesty. While your Majesty was resident among us, you granted us in furtherance of the work exemption from taxation for eleven years, most of which is past Then your Majesty's most princely favour made the people unwilling to contribute. Now that the Lords will not continue the same without your Majesty's special command, we pray that your Majesty may order them otherwise, or we will be compelled to stop the work. We cannot do more than we are doing, and the multiplication of our best thoughts and affections are at your service.

The next inundation recorded was that of October, 1621, or fully four centuries after that of 1210. This was also an event of great magnitude. After two days' excessive rain, the water rose so high that those who lived in the low houses at the Castle Gable had to escape to higher houses to save their lives. The water rose to the ceilings of the Castle Gable houses. It then rose to the height of High Street, South Street, and the Meal Vennel, while a violent gale blew all the time. The bridge over the river was entirely washed away, and no one could go forth from the houses to render relief. The inhabitants became panic-stricken, and expected to be destroyed. The minister of Perth, the Rev. John Malcolm, ordered the bells to be rung at seven a.m. on Sunday morning, and most of the people, it is said, were by that time able to come to the kirk. He exhorted them to repent of their sins, which had called down the judgment of God upon the town, assuring them if they truly repented and would amend their lives, God would avert this judgment Malcolm's powerful words, spoken with great feeling and warmth, had great effect on the people, and moved them to cry to God with tears and to hold up their hands, undertaking to amend their lives, every one of them, and to abstain from their domestic sins. On the following day the waters began to decrease, and Malcolm, who was much respected by the people, was held in greater esteem than ever for his noble behaviour on this memorable occasion. The Town Council and Kirk Session ordered a voluntary collection to be made from the whole inhabitants as an expression of their gratitude to God for their deliverance. This was to be applied for the use of the poor.

This flood is thus referred to by Calderwood: "The sea swirled and roared; waters and brooks were aloft houses. Women and children and much corn were carried away by the spate. The Tay rose so high that it went over the stately bridge at Perth newly complete. The Almond and a loch to west the town came down upon the town on the west side, which was as dangerous as the river on the east. The town was surrounded with water a mile in compass, so that no man could pass out for five or six days, neither could the inhabitants go from house to house because the water covered the streets. Ten arches of the bridge with their pillars were broken down on the 4th October, and one only left standing. Children were let down at windows in cords to boats. Bread stuffs, malt, and meat were spoiled. The people ascribed this judgment inflicted on the town to the iniquity committed at the General Assembly held there. The harvest was so late that grain was not all in till Hallowmas. There was never seen such inequality of prices of victual, never greater fear of famine nor scarcity of seed."

This inundation is thus referred to in Mercer's notes :—"On Saturday, October 13, before midnight, all the people in Castle Gable and the West Port were wet in their beds, being suddenly awakened with the rushing of water, which rose to the height of several feet, and enveloped the inhabitants up to their waists on the floor of their houses. It seemed as if the windows of heaven and fountains of the great deep were opened. It carried away the 11-Bow Brig of Tay. It also carried away the gable of the Tolbooth and Lowswark. The people of the Castle Gable, numbering 300, would have perished if a boat had not come from the Spey Tower to save them. The town was surrounded with water for five or six days, so that no one could enter or leave it, nor could the inhabitants go from house to house, the water being so high. The people in that age were superstitious, and believed that Providence sent the flood upon them because of their sins, and because of schism in the Church Courts and General Assembly."

The calamity on the people was so great that the Privy Council took the matter up and issued the following edict:—"Edinburgh, 25th June, 1622: The King, desirous of repairing the loss sustained by the burgh of Perth in time of the late harvest by the washing away of the bridge, and for the prevention of future danger by the rising of the Tay, grants commission to David, Viscount Stormont, and Patrick Galloway, minister at Edinburgh, to convene a meeting of the neighbouring gentlemen, and consider what sum of money will suffice for a new building of sufficient and strong bulwarks for keeping the river in the old channel, and by what means the money may be raised, and report. The King expresses his readiness to give a helping hand in this matter."

Another inundation of the river took place in 1641, but no particulars have been recorded.

The next flood took place in 1773. There was an unusually severe frost, which lasted from 1st January to nth February. The Tay was frozen over. When thaw set in, the tide raised the ice about four feet By and bye shoals of ice from the Almond floated down the river north of the bridge, while the river remained firm and unbroken. The river was one sheet of ice for eight miles, from Luncarty to the mouth of the Earn. Then the water, choked up by the ice, submerged the North Inch, broke down a stone and lime wall at the head of it, and lodged in its surface immense blocks of ice eighteen inches thick, piled one upon another, besides tearing up a fine row of trees on the Dunkeld Road. In a short time the town was an island. The water ran through the Castle Gable and Skinnergate, and thence through the Blackfriars grounds. There the ice overturned a substantial stone and lime wall, rushed into the Mill Wynd, and laid the houses six feet under water. Then the pressure of water and the blocks of ice broke down the walls on the west side of the Deadland garden and orchard immediately below the bridge. The ice floating on the North Inch was like moving mountains. Some time after, the ice opposite Gowrie House broke quite across the river, and the water found a free passage under the ice. The people were greatly alarmed. In many places they were living in the upper flats of their houses, and could not get out A great many huge blocks of ice were lodged in High Street, overturned the walls of the gardens in the Watergate, while five ships were thrown upon the quay. It is a curious fact that the bridge was very little injured. From the Almond to the foot of the South Inch was one sheet of ice. It was fortunate that the Almond and Isla rose and began to subside twenty-four hours before the Tay rose at Perth.

The bridge which withstood this great flood was evidently the one erected in 1733 by General Wade. On that bridge there was the following curious inscription:

Viam hanc militarem
Ultra Romanos Terminos
M. Passum C.C.L. hac illac extensam
Tesquis et Paludibus insultantem
Per Rupes Montesque patefactum
Et indignanti Tavo
Ut cernis instratam
Opus hoc arduum sua solertia
Et decennali Militum Opera
Anno aer. Christae. 1733 perfecit G. Wade.
Copiarum in Scotia Praefectus.
Ecce quantum valeant Regia Georgii Secundi auspicia.


this military road,
carried on both sides [of the river] for 250 miles
beyond the Roman bounds,
defying moors and marshes,
opened through rocks and mountains,
and laid, as thou seest,
across the indignant Tay.
This arduous undertaking, through his own skill
and ten years' labour of his soldiers,
was completed in the year 1733 of the Christian era
by G. Wade, commander of the forces in Scotland.
See how beneficent is the royal favour of George the Second,

The next inundation occurred in February, 1814. After some weeks of severe frost a thaw set in, and the Almond, which had been frozen over, sent down immense blocks of ice into the Tay. There were also great blocks of ice from mountain streams. The Tay was also frozen over, and from the Deadland to the Friarton there was no egress whatever for these masses of ice. In the neighbourhood of the North Inch and Castle Gable, houses became deeply flooded with water. The water rushed up Canal Street to Spey Gardens, Hospital Gardens and New Row, and these places were completely flooded. Both Inches were several feet under water, so much so that they were available for boats. Many of the streets were in the same condition. Several families were rescued and their lives saved by means of boats sailing up and down the streets. All the sheep and cattle on Moncreiffe Island were drowned, and some sailing vessels were thrown out of the river on to the old shore, where they lay high and dry after the water subsided. The height of this flood is recorded as having been 23 feet above the ordinary water level, which enables us to form some conception of the vast extent of it

The next inundation occurred in October, 1847, happily without loss of life. The flood reached Rose Terrace and all that district in the afternoon, and in the evening it covered the foot pavement and broke over the parapet on which the railings were fixed with a tremendous noise, and immediately filled up the sunk area of these buildings. Scarcely any street escaped. Princes Street and the Edinburgh Road were impassable, while County Place and the

Hospital itself were enclosed in several feet of water. This flood was different from its predecessors in this, that it arose solely because of the rapid accumulation of rain water. There was no flood in the Earn or Almond, but the main body of water is said to have been supplied by the Isla and its various feeders in Forfarshire. The Ericht also came down in great flood, and a portion of the churchyard of Kirkmichael was carried away. The effects of this, as of all inundations in the Tay, are most destructive to house and shop property, undermining the entire foundations. It is well that these floods come at long intervals, otherwise the prosperity of the town would be seriously retarded. It is noticeable that the later floods have not been nearly so destructive as the early ones.

In connection with the inundations, a narrative of the bridges, which from time to time were wholly or partially washed away, seems indispensable. The inhabitants have witnessed many inundations and many catastrophes to the bridges. The first bridge was probably the temporary one erected by Agricola. Between that period and the reign of William the Lion there would doubtless be bridges erected and washed away, but we have no record of these. We know there was a bridge in the reign of that monarch, for at his funeral his brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, met the cortege at the Perth Bridge. This one was afterwards washed away, and in 1329 a bridge composed of stone and timber was erected by the Corporation and opened that year. It was a creditable structure, said to have been a great ornament to the town. It was in a line with High Street, and had a strong gate at the entry from the street. Robert Bruce gave the Abbot of Scone orders to allow the Magistrates to take stones from Kincarrathie quarry to build this bridge. In 1404 Robert III. granted a charter giving 11 from the funds of the burgh for upholding the Bridge of Tay. The inundations of the river played sad havoc with the little community of Perth and their bridges, and put them to more expenditure than they were able to bear. The King and the Estates of the realm took the matter up, and we find recorded the following deliverance on the subject:—

Stirling Castle, 29th March, 1579.—Citation of an act of the King and Estates in the last Parliament, imposing a general tax of 10,000 merks on all the lieges for the repair of the bridge at Perth. The act was passed, believing the bridge was decayed, and though the Provost, Bailies, and community had already disbursed money for support thereof, not only their common good, but various taxes and contributions voluntarily raised for repairing thereof, yet the same was not enough. The act empowered the Lords to see how the sum voted should be paid, and to make division of the rent and tax rolls for ingathering thereof. Accordingly, the Lords ordain the said taxation to be uplifted between this and 1st January of all burgesses as follows: 2424 4s. 10d. from the Ecclesiastical Estate, same sum from barons and freeholders, half that sum from the burghs, and a fourth of the sum from the feuars, tenants, and occupiers of the King's properties.

The bridge was re-erected, and was unfortunately carried away again by a flood in 1582; re-erected and carried away again by a flood in 1589. The Town Council and community thereupon got disheartened with the floods, and for ten years there was no bridge at all. It was not till 1599 that arrangements were made to build a bridge entirely of stone. It took some years to do so. The actual period appears to have been eighteen years. This bridge had ten arches. A great flood again took place in 1621, or four years after the opening of the new bridge, when it was almost totally washed away by the extraordinary strength of the current, and the huge volume of water. This was another great calamity on the inhabitants. It created a great sensation everywhere, the superstitious regarding it as a visitation of Providence. Calderwood, a well-known writer, ascribed the event to "iniquity committed by the town; for there was held the last General Assembly, and another in 1596, when the schism in the kirk began, and in 1606 was held the Parliament at which Bishops were elected, and the Lords rode forth in their scarlet gowns." No more bridges were attempted, as the resources of the people were dried up, and their faith in the stability of bridges was gone. From 1621 to 1771 communication across the river was maintained solely by a ferry, presumably the ferry at the top of the North Inch. The last bridge was designed by Mylne, a well-known local architect, who at his decease was interred in Grey-friars, and has a tombstone there with a poetical inscription. The Corporation and John Murray of Tibbermore, lessee of the quarry from which the stones were to come, quarrelled, and an appeal was made to the King. The following is the case as it came before the Lords of the Privy Council:—

HOLYROOD, 20th February, 1596.—Complaint by the Provost, Bailies, and Council of Perth. The great expense sustained by the inhabitants by the frequent repairing of their timber bridge, besides the employment of the common good, has forced them to raise contributions and taxation from year to year upon the whole town. This has moved the complainers to undertake the erection of a substantial stone bridge by a voluntary contribution, to be collected yearly from the inhabitants while the work is being accomplished. The complainers have already begun their work, and have employed the best masons and craftsmen, depending on His Majesty's subjects for giving them materials at reasonable expense. For this purpose they have endeavoured to negotiate with John Murray of Tibbermore for a lease of his quarry at Pitheavlis. They have not only offered him as much rent as was paid before by any tacksman, but have offered to furnish him with such stones as his customers require and as cheap as before; which offer, and His Majesty's recommendation, he has refused because the quarry is only sublet to him, but he will supply them weekly or daily with such stones as shall be agreed upon. And so by frivolous excuses he intends to hinder the work. The bridge being the connection between the north and south, in case of war or otherwise there can be no passage but by it He likewise intends to compel the complainers to renounce an action raised by them against him for relief of the poor. His Majesty, in consideration of the great inconvenience which the inhabitants sustained, granted them liberty and immunity to be free from all taxation and other exactions that shall be imposed for the space of eleven years. Before the sublet, and continually since, John Murray and his predecessors have let the quarry to tacksmen for a yearly rent, which tacksmen have always furnished stones to the burgh and county inhabitants past the memory of man. And unless His Majesty and the Privy Council interpose their authority for procuring a tack of the quarry on which the accomplishing of their work depends, the masons hired shall be dismissed, the work cease, and they will be obliged to leave off all further prosecution of it, not to speak of the great expense they have already been put to. The Provost and Magistrates appearing by James Drummond, Andrew Rae, and John Brown Muir, procurators, and Murray being also present, the King with the advice of his Council in respect that the work is for the benefit of the whole realm ordains Murray to allow the pursuers, their quarriers, and servants a sufficient quantity of stones from said quarry for completing the work of the Bridge, according to the price to be fixed by John, Earl of Montrose, Chancellor, James, Commendator of Inchaffray, Hay of Megginch, William Moncrieffe of that ilk, James Hallyburton of Pitcur, Harry Lindsay of Kinfauns, Sir Walter Rollock, Patrick Blair of Balthayock, and William Shand, Master of the King's Work, to whom or any three of them with the Lord Chancellor full power is given for fixing the price of said stones, with this proviso that the pursuers in carting the same shall in no wise destroy any part of the arable land belonging to Murray, or injure the Mill of Craigie belonging to John Ross of Craigie.

This bridge, as already stated, took eighteen years to build, and involved the Corporation in most serious obligations. Three years after the date of the above ordinance, the King was again appealed to respecting this quarrel with the Magistrates and Murray, and the following was his decision:—

Perth, 5th April, 1599.—In terms of a decree of the Lords of Privy Council in an action at the instance of the Magistrates of Perth, ordaining John Murray of Tibbermore to permit them to take sufficient stones out of the quarry of Pitheavlis for repairing the Bridge of Tay according to prices to be fixed by John, Earl of Montrose, and others and any three of these with the Lord Chancellor: Commissioners having been heard, the Magistrates were ordained to pay John Murray the sum of 50 merks yearly in half yearly portions at Whitsuntide and Martinmas until the completion of the bridge; the Magistrates not to exceed the number of three workmen and quarriers.

And so this quarrel was settled. Murray was evidently a troublesome individual, and a considerable amount of expense was incurred before the Magistrates got decree from the Privy Council. Perth was at that period practically without a Provost, for the young Earl of Gowrie, who was Provost, was completing his education at Padua, and Bailie Young and his brother magistrates were administering the town's affairs. This bridge continued to be a serious financial matter for the Magistrates. They were obliged again to appeal to the King for help, and, as will be seen from the following deliverance, it was sympathetically received and considered:—

The King to the Lord Chancellor and Lords of the Secret Council.

ROYSTON, 18th October, 1607.—Whereas before leaving Scotland, on suite made to us for some supply towards the re-erection of the Bridge of St Johnstoun, we are pleased to grant that burgh, who undertook that work, a special warrant for exemption from all taxes and subsidies for certain years to come; and as we would be sorry they should enjoy any such favour unless they were likely to perfect that work, so if they accomplish the same we will not recal any part of our former liberality. Our will is that you give commission to Lords Balmerino and Scone to make enquiry about the building of the bridge. And if in reporting, they certify to you that the town of Perth are doing their diligence and that there is reasonable hope of their completing the structure, you will allow our warrant granted for their exemption from subsidies, and discharge our collector of these taxations; the town to have liberty to retain the same in their own hands for the furthering and helping forward of the said work.

Accordingly, the Lords having in due course heard the report of Lords Balmerino and Scone to the effect that the inhabitants are "doing their diligence," and have already almost completed two pillars, and that there is every likelihood of their completing the work, conform to the exemption from payment of taxes for eleven years, ordain the sums consigned by the Magistrates for their part of the first term's payment of the late taxation granted by the Parliament held at Perth in August, 1606, to be given up to them by the persons in whose hands they were consigned.

Evidently another flood took place in 1641, and although we have no details we are informed that the Corporation of Perth on that occasion presented a petition to Parliament for a grant of money to restore the bridge. Parliament appointed a committee of three of each estate to consider and report.

The present bridge across the river was the design of Smeaton, an eminent engineer of 150 years ago. It has nine arches and a waterway of 700 feet, while its length is 880 feet It was completed in 1772 at a cost of 26,500, of which 14,000 was paid by the Crown.

"Near to the waters clear of Tay, and pleasant plains all green,
In middle ground between them stood Perth proudly like a queen.
Of noble kings the stately seat and palace once it was,
Fair for the site and rich withal for spring of corn and grass.
To neighbour places all it doth laws, customs, fashions give,
Her praise to give, theirs to deserve, the same for to receive.
Of all the cities in these parts walled alone is she,
Lest she to foes continually a scrambling prey might be.
What knights she bred and what rewards they were to knighthood due
Danes, Saxons fierce, bold Britons, she the Trojan offspring knew.
Happy for praises old, happy for praises new of late,
Now as thou art thine honour all strive to perpetuate,"

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