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Perth, the Ancient Capital of Scotland
Chapter XXIV

The establishment of fairs and markets in the Ancient Capital carries us back to a remote period. Probably our earliest market is Palm Sun' E'en, held on the first Friday of April, or the Friday before Palm Sunday. The battle of the clans on the North Inch was fought on Palm Sunday, 1396, and whether this market was established as the anniversary of that event, as some writers suppose, is a suggestion unconfirmed by any authentic announcement; but it is not unlikely to be true, and probably this was the institution of this market It was common in early times to appoint fairs or markets on what were called saints' days, but Palm Sun' E'en is evidently unconnected with that custom. With reference to Midsummer Fair, held on the first Friday of July, we are in a different position. It was established in 1442, and we are glad to be able to give the actual ordinance authorising it This ordinance, now published for the first time, has been transcribed for this work:—

Letters by William Abbot of Coupre (Coupar-angus) Patrick Lioun lord of Glammis, knight, Andrew Gray, lord of Foulis, Davy Murray, of Tulibardin, knight, Thomas of Abircrumby of that Ilk, William of Murray, George Gray, and Patrick Murray, making it known "that apon the debate movid betwix Schir Johne of Rothven of that Ilk, knycht, scheref of Perth on the ta part and the alderman and com-munite of the burgh of Perth on the tother part anente the balding and the keping of the midsomire fayr and the court thairof to which of the partiez, the rycht thairof pertenit," they the judges, being chosen and sworn, and the parties being bound to accept their deliverance, having heard parties with their letters, evidents and charters, proceeded and delivered " that the saidez alderman and communite has full rycht to the halding and keping of the said mydsomire fayre and the court thairof with the pertinence efter the tenoure af thair chartir." Given under the seals of the judges at Perth, 19th June, 1442. Eight seals have been attached—one (that of Sir Patrick Lyon of Glamis) is now wanting. The others are, (1) Seal of the Chapter of Cupar-Angus. (2) Wanting (Patrick Lyon). (3) Seal of Andrew Gray of Foulis. (4) Seal of Sir David Murray of Tulibardin. (5) Seal of Thomas Abercromby of that Ilk and Murthly. (6) Seal of William Murray. (7) Seal of George Gray. (8) Seal of Patrick Murray.

About the same time King James HI. ordained Sir John Ruthven, Sheriff of Perth, not to molest the Provost and Magistrates in their "shrieval" rights at this Midsummer Fair, e.g.:—

STIRLING, January, 1442. — Forasmuch as we have seen and diligently examined a charter given by our forbears of good memory to our aldermen and community of Perth of the office of Sheriff of the burgh, as far as their land and water strikes, with all freedom and pertinents belonging thereto, with the keeping of their Midsummer Fair, and the Court thereof, and for which we are informed they have made demand for the holding and keeping of the said Fair in times by past; and that serves to raise misunderstanding regarding the special freedom and all infeftment granted to them as to the keeping and holding of the said Fair. Our will is, and we straitly charge you that ye neither move, make, nor cause to be made, disturbance or impediment to our said aldermen and community in the governance of the Fair, nor to others coming or going during the time of the Fair, under the usual pains and penalties.

With respect to Andrewsmas Fair, held on nth December, so called from St Andrew, the apostle, it was instituted in 1457, by charter of James II., as follows:—

Stirling, 4th January, 1457.—Charter by King James II., whereby, for the good and thankful services of the burgesses and community of Perth, and his singular favour towards them, he grants to them and their successors the privilege of holding an annual Fair on the feast of St Andrew, the apostle, and the eight days following, with all privileges and liberties belonging to such fairs. (Part of the Great Seal is still affixed.)

The establishment of St John's Market—or "St. John in Harvest," as it was called in the middle ages, does not appear to be recorded in the papers preserved in the City Chambers. This market is held on the first Friday in September, and is in commemoration of the Saint of St Johnstoun, St John the Baptist In 1621 we have the ratification by the Lords of the Privy Council of these four markets or fair-days of Perth, viz., Palm Sun' E'en, Midsummer, St John in Harvest, and St Andrew (Andrewsmas) in winter. These were not only pre-Reformation markets, but great festival days for the town and county. They were as a rule largely attended by the inhabitants of the county, and on each occasion a very large amount of business appears to have been transacted. Many who visited these markets seldom visited Perth on any other occasion. Farmers and others in the county paid their accounts to those of the local merchants with whom they dealt on one or other of these fairs and at no other time. Little Dunning Market on 20th October, or nearest Friday, though unconnected with the four standard or pre-Reformation markets, has since its institution in 1609 been a highly successful and popular market It was founded as the market of St Dennis.

In the seventeenth century the Provost and Magistrates issued the following proclamation, which is one of the few documents that can be discovered on a subject of great importance. It will be noticed that besides the fairs already referred to, there were three others of a subsidiary character.

In order to prevent mistakes as to the days on which the Fairs and Markets at Perth are held, the following list is hereby published:—(1) The Fair called the first week of Lent is to be held on the first Friday of March. (2) Palm Sun' E'en Fair on the first Friday of April. (3) Market for milch cows at the coal shore every Friday of April and May free of custom. (4) Midsummer Fair on the 5th day of July, (5) St. John's Fair on the 9th day of September. (6) St. Dennis Fair (Little Dunning) on the 20th October. (7) St Andrew's Fair on the 11th day of December. When the above days for any of the last four fairs fall on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the Fair will be held on Tuesday following. (8) Yule Even Fair on the Friday immediately before Christmas. Wednesday and Friday are the weekly market days all the year round.

The establishment of Little Dunning Market occurred in 1660, when the following Charter was granted by Charles II. (abridged):—

Edinburgh, 17th December, 1669. —The King and the Estates of Parliament having had a request from the Provost and Magistrates of Perth mentioning that besides the ordinary fairs held these many years within the burgh, there is a desire for another public fair or market to be held yearly on the 9th October, which will be advantageous, not only for the burgh, but for the lieges living near that part of the country, and desiring that this may be granted, as stated in the request The King, with the advice and consent of the Estates of Parliament, hereby give and grant to the Provost and Magistrates of Perth a yearly fair to be held within the burgh on the 9th October, besides the ordinary fairs and markets formerly granted, for buying and selling horses, cattle, sheep, malt, and all kinds of grain, linen and woollen, and all sorts of merchantware; with power to the Magistrates to intromit with, collect, and uplift the tolls, customs, and other duties belonging to the said fair, and to enjoy all other freedom and liberties thereto belonging, and recommend the Lords of the Exchequer to pass a signature hereupon, if need be. Extracted from the Records of Parliament by Sir Archibald Primrose of Yester, Clerk to His Majesty's Council.


Posts certainly existed in England before the middle of the sixteenth century. There was a Chief Postmaster of England in the reign of Elizabeth, 1581, although letters from the Court were usually conveyed to Scotland at that period by special messenger. In the reign of Charles I. (1635) a letter office for England and Scotland was established. By the Commonwealth of England a weekly conveyance of letters to all parts was established in 1649. Between this date and the arrival of the Prince of Orange two members of the Inch-brakie family, Patrick Graeme and John Graeme, his son, held the office of Postmaster-General. The latter died in 1689. On the arrival of the Prince of Orange this matter of the Post Office engaged his first attention. One of the most important things he did was to organise a scheme for the regular and prompt transmission of letters. This scheme was of great importance to Perth and Perthshire, and will be best understood by reproducing the proclamation dealing with it (slightly condensed):—

Proclamation by William and Mary for regulating the Post Office, 1689,

The Lords of his Majesty's Privy Council considering that by a tack dated 14th August last they did set to John Blair, Postmaster-General, apothecary in Edinburgh, the office of General Postmaster and Overseer of all Posts, Horses and Foot within the kingdom of Scotland for seven years from Martinmas next, and have granted power and warrant to him to appoint and settle postmasters for establishing horse and foot posts at the several stages where the same may be necessary for carrying not only his Majesty's despatches and letters but those of all his subjects and others from place to place for whom he shall be answerable. Power is also granted to him to appoint a general letter office at Edinburgh, from which all letters and despatches may be sent with expedition to any place within the kingdom: and at which office all letters and answers etc. shall be received. As also such other particular letter offices at such fit places as shall seem to him convenient, with power to him and his deputies to provide horses for packets and posts or journey horses, he and they always exacting such prices allenarly as is set and contained in the articles of roup for each horse that shall be furnished by them, and for transporting the letters and packets as follows:—Letters from Edinburgh to Perth 2s. per single letter, 4s. per double letter. Edinburgh to Dunkeld 3s. and 6s. Inverness 4s. and 8s. For bringing letters from towns and villages to nearest post office 1s. to the persons appointed to carry such. Where no posts are settled the carrier to have freedom to bring letters. All packets by ounce weight Where there are no letters within, shall pay for such the letter pay of 2s. — 6s. for each packet: and when the letter pay is 3s., each packet to pay 9s. Magistrates of Burghs and Incorporations and all persons whatever are prohibited from erecting any letter office or meddling with any post office within the kingdom by establishing or sending away posts, horses or foot, or carrying or receiving letters or packets or doing anything to the prejudice of the Postmaster-General, with certification that contraveners shall be severely punished.

Following on this proclamation the new Postmaster-General wrote the Magistrates of Perth to the following effect:—

There is proposed a letter office at St Johnstoun together with a foot post, who is to travel by Kinross and Queensferry to Edinburgh. He will also travel to Dunkeld, and if you will provide a good honest man in the town who will keep this office I am resolved to give him the fifth part of all the letters that come and go from St Johnstoun to Edinburgh, or from Edinburgh to St Johnstoun for his trouble, and to pay the bearer who is to run with the letters so much for his trouble as can be agreed upon, which I presume may be about 24 or 30 shillings every time he shall run, and it being only a short way, he may run twice each week. I hope you will take these two particulars into consideration and satisfy yourselves in the naming of an honest man for keeping the office, and let him be provided with cautioners for his honesty and for his returns to me for the price of the letters over what pays himself, and I am resolved you shall have the naming of him. I presume such a man may be found, who need be qualified only with honesty and humbleness, who is to run with the pacquet betwixt the postmaster of your town and our office here, in Edinburgh. And your postmaster is to take care of distributing the letters with you, at which time only he is to take payment, and when your letters come to us we shall be likewise careful to deliver them here, be they papers of never so great concern. When I settle I shall give to the master of the office instructions as to the prices of all letters and papers coming or going conform to the act of Council, and I shall make these public to the country, that so all honest dealing may be propagated and correspondence encouraged, which is the earnest desire of, your humble servant,

John Blair.

Robert Anderson, glover, was appointed first postmaster of Perth, and his co-partner, William Menzies, merchant, treasurer of Edinburgh, postmaster-depute for Perth, 19th December, 1689, "allowing him pour to erect and sett up ane post and letter office at this burgh of Perth, and to exact the deues of whatsomever letters shall be given in there, conform to ane list given him with the said agreement, as also allowing him libertie to settle and exact the deues of all post hyring, pack and baggage horses, conform to use and wont in said town of Perth, and applye the same to himself," and that for the space of two years. On the 19th June, 1704, the Council appointed the Treasurer to pay Gilbert Gardiner, writer, then keeper of the Post Office of Perth, 5 sterling a year during their pleasure, for his encouragement in furnishing a foot-post twice a week betwixt this and Edinburgh, commencing his entry from Lammas, 1703, but on 14th June, 1708, this allowance was withdrawn. A beautifully written "memorial" relative to the transmission of letters from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and back, undated, but probably not later than the reign of Queen Anne, who improved the postal service, informs us that three foot-posts, or carriers, went weekly from Edinburgh by Cupar-Fife, Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose, Bervie, Stonehaven, etc., to Aberdeen, for which they were allowed six shillings and eightpence each, with one shilling and sixpence each for the ferries, and that the cost of the whole three posts was not more than twenty-four shillings sterling a week. The postmen were allowed to carry small parcels. The authorities at the General Post Office seem to have given orders for the greatest care as to the closing and opening of the mail bags; for in 1732, while Mrs. Graham, postmistress of Perth, was sick, Mr. Archibald Douglas, the Postmaster-General, wrote her as follows:—

Edinburgh, 13th December, 1732.

There being complaints made that since your illness the Perth packet coming into people's hands who have no concern with the same, his Majesty's lieges are in danger of having their letters broken open or intercepted; to prevent which, or any suspicion of the same, you are hereby directed that while you are not in a condition to attend personally the receipt and dispatch of your packet to and from Perth, you are to cause the bag sent you to be opened in presence of one of the Magistrates of Perth, and the bag sent here to be sealed by one of their seals. Archd. DOUGLAS.

In another memorial issued by the authorities in Edinburgh, it would appear that from Edinburgh to Aberdeen via Fife and Dundee there was a foot post, whose wages were for the double journey 6s. 8d., with 1s. 6d. for ferries, three posts per week. As these posts were not obliged to make the journey but on foot, and had no allowance for horses, they were always three days, and often four, in going from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. The distance is sixty-eight miles. The towns mentioned, with the town of Perth and the country adjacent were likewise made at a loss by the then slow methods, as they had no regular conveyance but what went by Edinburgh, notwithstanding their business and connections; so that before an answer could be had at Perth or Aberdeen to a letter from one to the other, it was at least twelve, and commonly fourteen, days; and therefore all business of any moment was carried by expresses. To avoid the uncertainty and inconvenience by the passage at Leith or Dundee, it was proposed that the stages be settled from Edinburgh to Queensferry, thence to Perth, then to Dundee, thence to Arbroath, Montrose, and Aberdeen, all which was done.

About the time of the Rebellion of 1745-46, the postmaster of Perth, Mr. Robert Morison, bookseller, ancestor of Mr. Robert Morison, C.A., Perth, issued a large placard containing the regulations of the Post Office, showing considerable regularity and despatch for the time. A letter from the Magistrates of Perth to Mr. John Drummond, M.P., in November, 1736, refers to the very small sum allowed by the public to their two-horse postboys, who travel thrice a week betwixt Perth and Queensferry, being twenty long miles of bad road, for which they have only two shillings and threepence each journey fore and back, which is not sufficient to maintain them and their horses, and they entreat their member to endeavour to procure for the postboys three shillings and four-pence, which is but twopence per mile, and without such allowance their town and country could not be punctually served by the postboys, who had long threatened to give over serving for want of bread The horse post seems to have been given up, for in 1740 the Magistrates of Aberdeen, Dundee, and Perth, with all the burghs and counties in the route, for the benefit of the trade, agreed to address their representatives in Parliament with a view to altering from a foot to a horse post; and Mr. John Drummond, member for the Perth Burghs, was memorialised on the subject He waited on Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister of the first two Georges, who desired him and the other member concerned for the northern towns, chiefly Mr. John Maule (member for the Burghs of Aberdeen, etc), to draw up a memorial for the Lords of the Treasury, and they would refer the matter to the Postmaster-General, and if they represented it as not very prejudicial to the revenue, which was all appropriated, he would be sure to forward it, and give it all the despatch which the nature of the thing would permit What was the effect of this application to the Treasury we know not, but at a later period the mailbags were carried in a light cart drawn by one horse. A stage-coach, carrying the Royal Mail between Edinburgh and Perth, passed through Kinross for the first time, it is said, on July fair day, 1799, some fifteen years after the experiment had been successfully made in England, and continued to run down to the 22nd December, 1847, when the mails were transferred to the railway. A time bill has been preserved of the mail coach that travelled between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, via Perth and Dundee; distance 132 miles, time twenty-two hours, allowing half an hour for dinner at Perth, and twenty-five minutes for supper at Arbroath. In 1803 a money-order office was opened at Perth under the charge of Bailie Duff, postmaster.

The agitation which took place over the Reform Bill in 1832 was universal throughout the kingdom, and the Ancient Capital which through all these ages maintained its position, was in this agitation true to its traditions. On 7th May, 1832, the Magistrates sent up the following petition to Parliament in favour of the Bill, and by doing so materially aided in strengthening the hands of the Government:—

Your petitioners in common with the vast majority of his Majesty's subjects throughout Great Britain have observed with much satisfaction the successful progress which the Bill for amending the representation of the people in the Commons House of Parliament has made in your Right Honourable House. Your petitioners are firmly persuaded that the Bill as passed by the House of Commons is calculated to remove and eradicate every existing feeling of dissatisfaction and discontent on the part of his Majesty's subjects as to the present mode of electing their representatives of Parliament, and to promote and advance the best interests of the Empire. Your petitioners would therefore most humbly entreat and implore your Lordships to pass the Bill unimpaired. May it therefore please your Right Honourable House to take this subject under your consideration, and do therein what to your Lordships may appear proper, etc

Signed in name and by appointment of the Town Council and seal of the city appended.

John Wright,

Perth, 7th May, 1832. Lord Provost.


The Lord Provost and Magistrates, in agitating for this matter, issued a long memorial, in the course of which it was stated :—

That Perth has been distinguished from a very early period for its importance in the history of Scotland. It was long the seat of the Scottish Parliament, and when that was removed to Edinburgh, Perth maintained the second place in rank next to the Metropolis of Scotland, and it still continues to hold the same place in the convention of Royal Burghs, and on other public occasions. Unlike many of the ancient Scottish burghs which once flourishing have fallen into decay, Perth is in a high state of prosperity, increasing rapidly in population, in manufacture, commerce, wealth. In 1821 the population was 19,000, exclusive of one of the suburbs containing 2,000. Ten years later the population was 23,450 No other town approaches near to Perth in point of population. Dumfries, which comes nearest, has a population of 14,000. Perth is the capital of the largest and one of the richest counties in Scotland, and is the great market for grain and the other agricultural produce for that part of the kingdom, The exports and imports at the harbour are in a state of rapid increase, and average the annual amount of 90,000 tons. In point of population Perth is very nearly equal to Greenock which is proposed to have a representative of its own. The memorialists submit that they trust it will be seen that the City of Perth is in justice entitled to the privilege of sending a member to Parliament; that its claim can be acceded to without infringing on any principle of the Reform Bill, and that thereby the other burghs presently associated with Perth will be put on a more desirable footing, and a material improvement made on the details of the measure.

The claims of Perth were recognised by the Legislature, and Perth has since that period had a member of its own. This was very much due to the judicious terms and arguments laid down in this memorial, and to the able administration of the Chief Magistrate, Provost Wright

A distinguished member of the Russian royal family, the Grand Duke Constantine, visited Perth in 1847, when the Lord Provost in name of the Council and community presented him with the following address:—

May it please your Imperial Highness:—It affords me much pleasure to take the present opportunity in my own name and in name of my brother magistrates as well as of the inhabitants of this city generally to welcome your Imperial Highness to this the Ancient Capital of Scotland. We recognise in your Imperial Highness the scion of an illustrious family under whose sway Russia has cultivated peaceful and friendly relations with foreign countries and particularly with our own. Although a stranger in your land, your Imperial Highness is no stranger, we believe, to our countrymen who have repeatedly had the honour of serving the Crown of Russia in arts, science and in arms; and who on every occasion on which they have been called to visit the dominions of the Czar, have gratefully expressed their sense of the hospitality and courtesy towards foreigners for which your country is so justly celebrated. Permit me to request your Imperial Highness's acceptance of the freedom of this city and to express the warmest wishes of the inhabitants for your happiness and prosperity.


In 1820 Charles Melvill, writer, Edinburgh, died and left his estate to be administered by the Magistrates and the four ministers of Perth. One half of the free income was to be paid to annuitants of the name of Melvill, selected by the trustees, and the other half to be devoted to educational purposes. Melvill also ordained a room or two rooms to be fitted up on the farm of Easter Greenside, and occasional fires to be kept in the same by the principal tenants, "who will be bound in his tack for implement of this service. All my papers books, watch, rings, etc, to be kept there, as it would be disrespectful to my memory to have the same carelessly squandered or publicly sold"

The Melvill Mortification was held and administered under a settlement and Deed of Mortification, dated in 1806, and consisted of funds amounting to about 1,300, besides the small farm of Greenside, Abernethy, and a share in a property in Skinnergate. One half of the same was held as applicable to educational purposes, and was appointed under the new scheme to be made over to the Munro-Melvill Trust The governing body of this Trust consists of five members elected, two by the Lord Provost and Magistrates of Perth; two by the School Board of Perth, and one by the Presbytery of Perth, and all hold office for a period of five years. "The governors apply the residue of the free annual income in establishing bursaries for higher education, called the Munro-Melvill Bursaries, each of the yearly value of not less than 10 nor more than 15. These bursaries are awarded by competitive examination among pupils attending public or State aided schools in the burgh of Perth whose parents or guardians require aid in giving them higher education, and whose age at the date of competition shall not exceed fourteen years; they are tenable for such period, not exceeding three years, as the governors may determine, at such schools for higher education or technical instruction in Perth as they may approve." In recent years the funds have been entirely devoted to bursaries, and each year about twenty 5 bursaries, and about ten 10 bursaries are granted, tenable either at Perth Academy or Sharp's Institution. The capital fund of the endowment is 7,000, yielding an annual income of 250.

In 1827 Murray's Royal Asylum was founded by a Mortification of 4,000 from James Murray, a native of Perth. His brother, from whom he inherited a large portion of this money, was drowned on his way home from India.


It has been said by previous historians of Perth that the Royal Burgh possessed a common seal in the reign of Alexander II. (1214-1249), and perhaps long before, but that all trace of this seal has disappeared We are of opinion, however, that this earlier seal is no other than that which we find appended to the deed of homage rendered by the city to Edward I. in 1296, now in His Majesty's Record Office. By the courtesy of the officials, we have had this important historical "document" specially photographed for the present work (Plate I.), from which it will be seen to be one of the finest extant specimens of the mediaeval engraver's art We forbear to comment on the hideous caricature of it which has appeared again and again in recent works on Perth. This seal, which is about 3 inches in diameter, is thus described in the British Museum Catalogue of Seals, Vol. IV., No. 17,312:—

Obverse: "The front or section of an arcade of five arches, pointed and trefoiled, that in the centre being slightly higher than the others, pinnacled and crocketed, resting on six slender shafts, and containing a standing figure of St John Baptist, with nimbus, holding [a disc with representation of the Lamb of God with the banner], with two kneeling monks on each side. In base below the floor-line two wyverns with tails nowed."

The legend is the same as that of the reverse, where it is more legible.

Reverse: "The Decollation of St John Baptist in the presence of the daughter of Herodias [who holds the charger to receive the head]. Under an elegantly designed Gothic edifice with pinnacled roof, trefoiled arches, and other details of ecclesiastical architecture."

The legend reads: S. comunitatis. ville. sancti. IOHANNIS. BAPTISTE. DE. berth (Seal of the Community of the town of Saint John Baptist of Berth).

Studying the reverse of this seal of the Ancient Capital, as found in the unfortunately greatly mutilated specimens appended to charters in the archives of King James the Sixth's Hospital, Perth, one is at a loss which is the more worthy of admiration— the vigour and fidelity with which the executioner, stripped to the waist, and in the act of striking the fatal blow, is portrayed, or the wealth of architectural detail introduced into the picture. One beautiful fragment shows very distinctly a fleur-de-lis in the field between the executioner and Salome.

Laing thinks this fine seal must have been broken at some date between 1296 and 1423, the seal appended to the "Obligation of the Burghs of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee" at the latter date, although a close copy of the original obverse, being in his opinion deficient in the spirit of the earlier seal. The local specimens do not appear to the writer to support this conjecture. In the British Museum is a cast from a very imperfect impression of a smaller seal, about 1 7/8 inches in diameter, which was therefore probably a secretum or privy seal. The interest of this early seal (A.D. 1378) consists in its showing for the first time the displayed eagle bearing a shield of arms on its breast It is more than doubtful if the eagle has any reference to Ae supposed Roman origin of the town of Perth. The author of Ae British Museum Catalogue, Mr. W. de G. Birch, refers to the almost

contemporary official seal (A.D. 1392) of the "Justice of the King for the Lands North of the Forth," where an eagle similarly supports a shield with its claws, "an idea not improbably derived from the eagle supporting the shields of Royal arms seen in the side niches of the Great Seals of Scotland." A privy seal of the eighteenth century of the same size and of a similar design is also in the British Museum collection. The eagle, as before, carries on its breast a shield of arms, charged with the Holy Lamb passant, reguardant, bearing staff and cross with the banner of St Andrew, all within a double tressure counter-flowered. The legend reads: SIGILLUM * SECRETUM • BURGHI • DE • PERTH (Privy Seal of the Burgh of Perth). Both Seals therefore reproduce the official arms of the city (see Plate II.), which are thus entered in the Lyon Register, circa 1672. "Gules ane holy Lambe passant reguardant, staff and cross argent with the Banner of St Andrew modern seal of the proper. All within a corporation of perth. double tressure counter flowered of the second. The Escutcheon being surmounted on the breast of ane Eagle with two neckes displayed or. The motto in ane Escroll Pro Rege, Lege et Grege." The late Marquess of Bute in his work, " Arms of the Royal and Parliamentary Burghs of Scotland," has submitted the Arms of the City of Perth to an elaborate criticism, and has proposed the arms given on Plate III. as more in accordance with the laws of heraldry and the history of St Johnstoun.

With regard to the origin of the city motto, it has been said, not without probability, that it was adopted as a compliment to the Prince of Orange in his struggle for the independence of the Netherlands, the words "Pro Rege, Lege, Grege" (for the King, the Law, the People) having been his favourite motto, which he affixed to his proclamation to his people in 1568. The town of Perth did not always use the seal with the double-headed eagle, for we find in the Hospital Archives a seal attached to an official document having a single-headed eagle, and with the following inscription:—"Sigillum Secretum Burgis de Perth " (Privy Seal of the Burgh of Perth),

On Plate IV, will be found the Arms of the County of Perth, of which the following description is taken from Fox-Davies' "Book of Public Arms":


ARMS OF THE CITY OF PERTH. (As suggested by the Marquess of Bute.)


"The County of Perth bears or, a lion rampant gules, armed and langued azure, standing on a compartment or mount proper, and brandishing in his dexter forepaw a scymitar of the last, all within a double tressure, flowered and counter-flowered of the second: on a dexter chief canton of the third a front view of the Palace of Scone argent, ensigned on the top with an imperial crown proper. Above the shield, on a wreath of the liveries, is set for CREST, a demy Highlander effrontee, bonnet, belted, plaid, dirk and pistols, brandishing in his right hand a broadsword aloft in a threatening posture, a target on his left arm, all proper, and on a compartment below the shield, on which are these words:—'Pro Lege et Libertate,' are placed for SUPPORTERS, on the dexter an eagle regardant with wings adossee proper, and on the sinister a war horse argent furnished gules.—Matriculated 23rd January, 1800."


When one reflects how largely the four monastic institutions described in Vol. I. bulk in our local history in the period preceding the Reformation, and in particular how numerous must have been the transactions requiring formal attestation, it is surprising that so few impressions of the common seals of these institutions have come down to us. In consequence, we have been unable to trace the local seals of either the White or the Grey Friars, a circumstance all the more remarkable from the fact that the former or Carmelite monks were settled in our immediate vicinity for three hundred years. For the oldest of our four religious houses, that which played by far the largest part in our local history, we are more fortunately placed, since the brass matrix of an early seal of the Dominicans or Black Friars, also styled the "Predicatours" or Preaching Friars (see legend below), is happily in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh. This seal is of the oval form characteristic of seals of the religious houses and dignitaries of the Church, and measures circa 1 7/8 x 1 3/8 inches. The rudeness of the execution and the character of the lettering alike show that it must be considerably older than the sixteenth century seal of the Prior of the Dominicans given below, and may even be as old as the fourteenth century. As several inaccurate readings of the legend of this seal are current not only in previous histories of Perth and in Laing's Supplemental Descriptive Catalogue (No. 1174), but even in the official catalogue of the Museum (p. 369); and as it has hitherto been described, largely in consequence of the mis-taken readings referred to, as the "official seal" of the Dominicans of Perth (Dr. Milne, "The Blackfriars of Perth," p. vi., and earlier writers), a somewhat fuller discussion of this interesting antiquity may be here in place. In a carved niche surmounted by a crocketed canopy is the Virgin Mary, crowned, and holding on her left arm the Holy Child; in the lower part, under an arch, is a friar in the attitude of adoration. From a personal inspection of the matrix and a careful study of an impression—from which our engraving (Plate V., No. 1) has been prepared— kindly taken for us by Dr. Joseph Anderson, the learned keeper of the Museum, we have no hesitation in giving the following as a transcript in Roman characters of the Gothic letters of the legend:


or, in full, "Sigillum officii prioris ordinis predicatorum de Perth" (i.e., Seal of the Prior's Court of the Order of Preachers of Perth). The use of officium in the sense of a court of law is as old as Pliny, who speaks of the praetor's officium, and in this sense the word was widely used in the middle ages. The court of the Bishop, Abbot, or Prior, as the case might be, was presided over by his delegate, who was termed the Official, and numerous seals of the officials of Scottish dioceses have been preserved We find, for example, a St Andrews seal of the fifteenth century with the legend "Sigillum officii officialis," etc (Seal of the Court of the Official of St Andrews), and on the matrix of a seal in the Edinburgh Museum "Sigillum curie officialis Brechinensis " (Seal of the Court of the Official of Brechin). The court of the Official was also known as the Officialty (officialatus), and both terms are still in use in the Roman dioceses of France. The earliest attested use of the former term in this country is in the Norman-English of the Rolls of Parliament (1314-15): "Le libel enseal du seal autentik le Official ou Evesqe." The seal before us, therefore, is not the common seal of the Order, but the "seal autentik" of the Prior's delegate or Official.

Another seal is found appended to a St Andrews charter of date 1519. It is thus described in the British Museum Catalogue of Seals (Vol. IV., No. 15,414):—

"Pointed oval, on a masoned corbel, and beneath a crocketed canopy, full-length figures of St John Baptist, with the Agnus Dei [Lamb of God, with reference to John, chap, i., 29] on the left hand, and St. James (?) with sword and branch on the right hand side. Between the figures is a tree. Border partially engrailed."

The legend must be read:


(not PREDICATORIS, as in Catalogue, following Laing, op. cit. ie. Seal of the Prior of the Order of Preachers of Perth. An illustration of this seal appears opposite the first page of Lawson's "Book of Perth," from which it is here reproduced (Plate V., No. 2). The Prior of the Dominicans at this date (1519) was Robert Lile, who soon afterwards, by 1520, was transferred to the Glasgow house.

Passing to the Carthusians, who named their Perth convent "the House of the Valley of Virtue" (domus Vallis Virtutis), we have had photographed (Plate V., No. 3) the official seal of the monastery, of which several specimens from the sixteenth century are still preserved among the archives of King James Vl.'s Hospital. The matrix, it will be seen, was a work of great artistic merit, the figures in the impression standing out in high relief. The seal is a pointed oval, and is divided into two compartments. The upper compartment contains two figures, with open crowns, seated on a bench under an elaborate pinnacled or crocketed canopy, representing the coronation of the Virgin Mary: the field semi of fleurs-de-lis. The lower compartment or base is of considerable historical interest, for it contains the kneeling figure, with hands raised in the attitude of supplication, of the founder of the monastery, James I.1 In the field to the left is the royal crown, over which and behind the kneeling figure runs a scroll, on which is inscribed, in minute characters, the legend: IACOBUS pm, i.e. Jacobus Primus (James the First). We believe it is unusual, if not unique, to find the lay founder of a religious house commemorated on its seals.

This is the seal described and reproduced by Laing in his "Supplemental Descriptive Catalogue" (No. 1173, p. 207), where, however, the figure in the lower part of the seal is inaccurately described as "a monk kneeling on a cushion, his arms uplifted and his head thrown back." The legend on the scroll, further, is given as radiate MEA!! We have no hesitation in pronouncing this to be an invention of Laing or his engraver. The letters on the scroll above the crown on the Hospital seal can easily be deciphered by the aid of a strong glass, and are, as we have seen, iacobus. So also the British Museum Catalogue (IV., 15,415). The legend round the seal, in Gothic letters, runs thus:

(i.e., Seal of the House of the Valley of Virtue of the Carthusian Order in Scotland).

The Hospital charters show not only that this seal was still used in 1558 by Adam Forman, the last Prior of the Carthusians, but even so late as the 27th March, 1566. Soon after this date, however, a poor imitation of it is found appended to a deed of gift of the year 1578.

We have also reproduced (Plate V., No. 4) the common seal of the Chapter of this monastery, from Lawson's "Book of Perth." As the provenance of this seal is not given, we cannot fix its date, but it is evidently distinguished from the seal just described merely by a different legend. That the scroll in the base is left blank is clearly due to the ignorance of the engraver. The legend of this seal is:


(i.e., Common Seal of the Chapter of the Valley of Virtue beside Perth).

Although, as has been already emphasised, we have failed to trace seals belonging to either of the two other orders having monastic establishments in our city or its immediate neighbourhood, we have identified the seal used by Robert Dalrymple, Prior of the Carmelite Monastery at Tulilum, in his capacity of Provincial Prior of his order. This is a round seal of superior workmanship, about 1 13/16 inches in diameter. It contains "a representation of St. Andrew on a saltire cross, between a crescent and etoile [star], and two trees or thistles. In a niche, in base, a friar praying in profile to the right" The legend reads:

S. COMUNE. FRM. CARMELITAR. SCOCIE. (i.e., Common Seal of the Carmelite Friars of Scotland). An excellent reproduction of this seal is given in Laing's Supplemental Catalogue (Plate X., No. 2), where it is stated (p. 210) that it was appended to a charter by "Frere Robert, provincile generate off ye Order of Carmelites within ye Realme of Scotland," 30th October, 1492. We need have no hesitation, therefore, in identifying "Frere Robert" with the Robertas Dalbrympill described in a Perth charter of 16th April, 1495, by which Elizabeth Haddane bequeaths her property to the "Quhit frieris," as "provincialis ordinis Carmelitarum," and also as the Prior of the Convent at Tulilum.

Among those who rendered homage to Edward I. in 1296 was Sister Theophania, head of the Cistercian Priory of St Leonard's. Her seal is still attached to the deed of homage in His Majesty's Record Office, and is described by Laing as "a pretty seal." It is a pointed oval with a half-length figure of the Virgin and Child under an arch. A kneeling figure, also under an arch, occupies the base.

Here, finally, may be mentioned a very remarkable seal, one of the most elaborate of its kind, belonging to the Abbey of Scone. Several badly preserved specimens survive in the Hospital archives ; the best is that attached to an "indentor betwixt the Abbot of Scoone and the Prior of the Chartor-house" of date 1435, but the matrix is considered by experts to be as early as 1350. It is a round seal, 3 inches in diameter. The obverse is of special interest, inasmuch as it depicts the inauguration or coronation of a sovereign, who is seated on a throne with an open crown upon his head, and holding in his right hand a sceptre. He is surrounded by a bishop and six other figures, all engaged in various duties connected with the ceremony. In the lower part are three shields: Scotland in the centre, with Atholl (three pales) and Strathearn (two chevrons) dexter and sinister respectively. The legend runs:


(i.e., Seal of the Church of the Holy Trinity and of St Michael of Scone). The reverse or counter-seal is thus described in the British Museum Catalogue (IV., No. 15,447):

"In the upper part, within an oval vesica, with curled rays, supported by the emblems of the [four] Evangelists, a figure of the Holy Trinity seated on a carved throne ; in the lower part, within an arched niche, a representation of Michael the Archangel overcoming the dragon; on either side a winged figure standing on a wheel, as described in the vision of Ezekiel."

The legend is the same as that of the obverse.

An autotype reproduction of the obverse is given in the British Museum Catalogue (Plate VIII.), and engravings of both obverse and reverse in Gordon's Monasticon. The illustration here given (Plate VI.) has been specially prepared from an impression in the British Museum. Older seals of the thirteenth century are extant—one of the Abbot of Scone, and another (British Museum Catalogue, No. 15,446) of date 1267, which is interesting both on account of its representation of the Abbey Church of Scone, with central tower and side spires, and of its peculiar representation of the Holy Trinity.


The oldest Charter preserved is that of William •the Lion dated 1210, and being an instrument of great interest and importance we have given a verbatim translation of it at page 215, Vol I.:—

Charter No. 2 by Robert Bruce confers on the burgesses the rights of Guildry and of merchandise in all places within the sheriffdom of Perth; granting certain prohibitions in their favour and certain rights of pre-emption. There is also a letter issued by him enforcing their rights of pre-emption.

Charter No. 3 by David II. confirms that granted by William the Lion and the one granted by Robert Bruce or a confirmation of the privileges of the merchant Guildry and of the water of Tay. These Charters were also confirmed by the Great Charter of 1600.

Charter No. 4 by Robert II. is as follows:—To all good men, cleric and lay, we have granted in feu form and confirmed by this our Charter to our chosen and faithful alderman burgesses and community of our Burgh of Perth:—To be retained and held by them in perpetual feu and inheritance and by their successors the right and title to the streams, pools, multures, mills and their segula, with our islands lying in the Tay as far as Inchyra Law and Sleeples with all the fishings belonging to these islands: with the fishing of one net at the King's Island and all our other fishings of our islands of the said burgh with the annual revenues and fixed imposts and the petty customs of the burgh: also moors, marshes, meadows, and pastures, with the cures of the said burgh and with all other liberties and privileges justly belonging to the said burgh or which may in future accrue to it under or above ground. We have reserved the great customs to ourselves and heirs. The aldermen and community of Perth to pay 18 at the Feast of Pentecost of St Martins.

Charter No. 5 by King Robert III. granting to the provost, burgesses and community of Perth the privilege of having a sheriff elected by themselves for the burgh and bounds thereof, who shall have power to administer justice within the burgh, and deal with and punish transgressors there, and also at the burgh fairs and markets; with power to him to appoint a substitute and depute for whom he shall answer. And for the weal of his own soul and the souls of his predecessors and successors the King mortifies the fines and proceeds of the sheriff's court and also of the Justice Ayres held within the burgh for the repairing and upholding of the Bridge of Tay. The sheriff is to account yearly to the Exchequer, and to appear before the Justice at every circuit court. Order is given to the provost and burgesses and community to respect the sheriffs authority. Dated at Linlithgow 10th April, 4th year of the King's reign [1394]; witnesses, Walter, Bishop of St Andrews ; Matthew, Bishop of Glasgow ; David, Earl of Carrick, Steward of Scotland, eldest son of the King; Robert, Earl of Fife and Menteith, the King's brother german; Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway; James of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith; Sir Thomas of Erskyne, and Alexander Cockburn of Langtown, keeper of the Great Seal

There is a note on the back of the original charter that it was inspected in Exchequer at Edinburgh in the reign of King James the Fourth, 18th June, 1494, by the Lords' Auditors, who thereupon ordained that all the fines of the justice courts held at Perth regarding the inhabitants thereof should be paid to the provost and sheriff for the maintenance of the Bridge of Tay.

Charter No. 6 by King Robert III. to William of Ruthven, knight, and the lawful heirs male of his body, of the heritable office of Sheriff of Perth except within the burgh of Perth and over the burgesses thereof; dated at Linlithgow 24th September, 6th year of the King's reign [1395]; witnesses, Walter and Matthew, Bishops of St Andrews and Glasgow; Robert, Earl of Fife and Menteith, the King's brother; Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway ; Duncan Petyt, archdeacon of Glasgow, Chancellor; James of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, and Thomas of Erskine, knights.

Charter No. 7 by Robert III. to William Lord Ruthven of the office of sheriff of the sheriffdom of Perth under reservation to the burgesses of Perth of the office of sheriff within the burgh. The grant of the sheriffship is to William of Ruthven and the heirs male of his body in perpetual fee and heritage.

Charter No. 8 by King Robert confirming the grant made by his predecessor King Robert to the burgesses and guild brethren of Perth that wherever and whensoever they found any persons forestalling the said burgh within the sheriffdom of Perth it should be lawful for them without obtaining license from any royal officer to arrest them and proceed against them by form of law, and that the goods of such forestalled confiscated for their breach of the law should belong to the said burgh in perpetuity for the maintenance of the Bridge of Tay. The King therefore commands the sheriff of Perth and his bailies to render prompt and ready assistance to the burgesses and guild brethren of Perth in this matter as they may be required; dated at Linlithgow 10th May, 8th year of the King's reign, [1397]; witnesses, Walter, Bishop of St Andrews; Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, Chancellor; David, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Athole, the King's eldest son; Robert, Duke of Albany, the King's brother german; Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway; James of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, and Thomas of Erskine, knights.

Charter No. 9 by King Robert confirming to the burgesses and guild brethren of Perth the right of arresting forestallers of their burgh within the sheriffdom of Perth and of new mortifying the goods of these forestallers which may be confiscated by the judges before whom they are brought for the maintenance of the Bridge of Tay, and that for the weal of the souls of his father, himself, Annabella, his queen consort, David, Earl of Carrick, his eldest son, and all his predecessors and successors on the throne of Scotland. Command is given to the chamberlain, and the King's lieutenants, and sheriff, and his bailies of Perth to give due effect hereto. Dated at the Castle of Rothesay, 28th February, 8th year of the King's reign, [1398]; witnesses, Walter, Bishop of St Andrews; Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, Chancellor; David, Earl of Carrick, Steward of Scotland, the King's eldest son; Robert, Earl of Fife and Menteith, the King's brother german; Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway; James of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, and Thomas of Erskine, knights.

Charter No. 10, 10th May, 1398, confirms the Charter No. 9. Charters 11 and 12, 1399, confirm that of William the Lion and also letters of Robert Bruce relative to the privileges of the burgh in the River Tay.

Charter No. 13 by King Robert whereby for the weal of the souls of King Robert, his father, Lady Elizabeth Mure, his mother, himself, his consort Queen Annabella, his son David, Duke of Rothesay, and all his predecessors and successors, and for the welfare of the whole realm which so depends upon the maintenance of the bridge of Perth, he grants to the provost and community the sum of 11 sterling due to him from the duties of the said burgh, to be applied to the maintenance of the said bridge; dated at Edinburgh, 30th January, 15th year of the King's reign, [1405]; witnesses, Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, Chancellor; Henry, Earl of Orkney; David Flemyng, William of Ruthven, and Alexander of Cockburne, knights; John Stewart, Sheriff of Bute, the King's natural brother; Mr. Walter Forster, Secretary; John of Park, father; and John of Park, son,

Charter No. 14 by King Robert whereby for the welfare of the burgh of Perth and specially for the maintenance of the Bridge of the said burgh, he grants to the provost, bailies, councillors, and dean of guild of the said burgh who shall have for the time power to make laws and constitutions for the government thereof and to enforce the observance of the same in their bailie and dean of guild courts, applying the fines of transgressors to the maintenance of the said bridge; and with special power to arrest strangers and such as come fraudulently from Flanders and contract debts and do not pay them, and to send them back to Flanders to underlie the law of their country, if their goods moveable and immoveable (which they are hereby empowered to seize) do not suffice to pay their debts ; dated at the Castle of Rothesay, 5th March [1406], 16th year of the King's reign.

Charter No. 15. The King grants to Blackfriars Monastery 44 merks sterling out of the Burgh revenues of Perth and Customs of Perth and Dundee. The King died immediately after the date of this Charter.

Charter No. 16 by King James for the special favour he bears towards the merchants, burgesses and community of the burgh of Perth and for their services, granting to the said burgesses and community and their successors that they may be free from payment of the custom on salt and on skins, commonly called "skorlingis, skaldingis, futfellis, lentirnwaire, lambskynnis, todskynnis, calfeskynnis, cunyngskynnis, ottirskynnis and fowmartskynnis." Witnesses, William, Lord Crichton, Chancellor, and others. At Perth 25th March 1451.

Charter No. 17 by King James to the prior and convent of the Carthusian Monastery near Perth who have formerly been endowed by the King's father with the annual payment of 60 for the maintenance of their priory from the burgh rents, great customs and water dues, ordaining that they have payment of fifty merks of the said sum out of the mill dues, water rents and burgh duties of the said burgh paid yearly to the King, and forty merks out of the great customs of the burgh. The provost, bailies and costumars of the burgh are ordained to pay these sums, which are to be allowed to them at accounting; and in return for this gift the prior and monks are to give the suffrages of their prayers. Dated at Edinburgh, 10th April, 1454.

Charter No. 18 by King James V. confirming that of James II., by which for his singular regard for the merchants, burgesses, and community of Perth, and for their services he granted the said burgesses and their successors freedom from payment of customs on salt and skins, commonly called skorlings, skaldings, lenterwaire, lamb skins, tod skins, calf skins, cunning skins, otter skins, and fumart skins. Perth, 10th March, 1527-28.

Charter No. 19 by Queen Mary, 16th April, 1556. The Queen, learning that her predecessors granted many privileges to the craftsmen of burghs and cities in her kingdom, powers to elect men of their own crafts to be superiors and deacons for visiting and examining carefully all the crafts, so that there should be no extortionary profits among the lieges, but that each craftsman should work sedulously at his craft without fraud—to draw up statutes, fines, and punishments, and demand execution of the same. Further grants that honest craftsmen be free burgesses, with right to trade on sea or land as other merchants of Scotland, with other privileges, which, however, were disapproved by Parliament, and an ordinance passed that no deacon should be elected within the burgh; but that the provost, bailies, and councillors of any burgh should elect specially upright and skilled craftsmen at the feast of St. Michael annually: and that no craftsmen should hold office within a burgh save two annually elected to the Council. From the date of this statute nothing of benefit has ensued from the causes which led Parliament to it, but everything has been conducted worse than before. The Queen has restored to the craftsmen of the burghs and cities of Scotland the power of electing deacons of crafts who should have suffrages and votes in electing burgh officials who should bear a favourable statement of the Common Good and form part of the auditors, with power to convene and draw up legitimate statutes relative to their own crafts, that good order may be kept

This ordinance was supplemented by the following:—

The Queen, learning that her predecessors granted many privileges to the craftsmen of burghs and cities in her kingdom—powers to elect men of their own crafts to be superiors and deacons, for visiting and examining carefully all the crafts—so that there should be no extortionary profits among the lieges of Scotland, but that each craftsman should work sedulously at his craft without fraud—to draw up statutes, fines and punishments and demand execution of the same. Further granted that honest craftsmen be free burgesses, with right to trade on sea or land, as other merchants of Scotland, with other privileges; which the Queen, having regard to the fact that the burgh of Perth has been very largely maintained by the success, order and polity of craftsmen, and has gone on increasing in importance and that the craftsmen outnumber the other inhabitants and are the equals of the merchants in the payment of every kind of impost etc, has restored to the craftsmen the power of electing deacons with votes in the election of officials; that skilled, honest and well-to-do craftsmen should be chosen to offices just like the merchants: that an equal number of officials should be appointed from them as from the merchants: that offices hitherto held by one, should in turn annually be Riled by merchants and craftsmen : that craftsmen should be received into the privileges of the Guild for the payment of their own dues, and if he should reject them, that the provost or one of the bailies should receive them as per previous custom : that craftsmen and merchants in equal numbers should become commissioners, that they should in equal numbers be auditors of the accounts of the Common Good— enjoying equal privileges, offices and liberties as the merchants. Edinburgh, 26th May, 1556.

We may take it that this ordinance was of vast importance to the active and industrious craftsmen of the town. They had hitherto been regarded as an inferior class to the merchants, and the rivalry betwixt them led to unhealthy results. This Act, however, would place both sections of the traders of the burgh on an exact footing, and was bound to be followed by satisfactory results.

Charter No. 20 (abridged) by King James the Sixth at Holyrood house on 15th November 1600 ratifies all charters granted to the burgh and hospital of Perth......including . . . . All charters granted by King James the Sixth and his predecessors to the said burgh concerning the markets and fairs thereof, and especially the four free fairs, viz.: Palm Sunday fair, Midsummer fair (24th June), St John's fair in harvest (29th August), and St. Andrew's fair (29th November); as also the remaining charters whatsoever granted by them and their predecessors to the said burgh. Moreover we set of new in feu farm to the provost, bailies, councillors, burgesses and community of the said burgh and their successors the said burgh royal, with its walls, gates, ditches, streets, pools, bridge and its gates and buildings, the south and north inches, territory, mills and mill lands, the aqueducts called the dams and water intake called Lowis wark, the Burrowmure, as well the Catsyde as other parts thereof, all roads leading from the burgh, as well the highway toward the north beside the Upper Mills with the Langcalsey and Kowcalsey, as the other passages, all lands and tenements lying and annual rents leviable within the said burgh, with the pool called the Spaystank and the tower called the Spy tower, the harbours and others belonging in common to the said burgh, the foresaid inches and fishings in the Water of Tay, annual rents of the perticates and burgages, duties, tolls, small custom of the said burgh, dues of the gates, harbours and markets, the pynorie, cleaning of the streets, timber and timber markets, and the customs usually charged upon goods carried to the streets of Perth for sale, with the muirs, meadows, courts, etc., with the privilege of having mills driven either by wind or water, water lades, drying houses, kilns, etc., with the weekly market on Wednesday and Saturday, the four fairs to be held at the usual times and for the usual periods, with the tolls, sheriff fees, the bailies' gloves, etc. Further he grants to the said provost, etc, full jurisdiction upon the Water of Tay with the right of lading and unlading ships from Drumlay and below, and with power of preventing others whomsoever from so doing, and of levying the small customs, anchorages, harbour dues and others within the said bounds as the burgh of Edinburgh does at the port of Leith; and particularly commanding the provost, bailies, councillors, burgesses, community and inhabitants of the town of Dundee that they do not molest any citizen, burgess, or inhabitant of Perth, or any ship or other marine vessel, small or great, either of theirs or of strangers coming within the Water of Tay below Drumlay or uplift anchorage dues, shore silver, tonnage or small customs. Nor shall they unlade any ship below Drumlay, (as stated in a previous charter, No 6); and he confirms to them the office of Coroner with the jurisdiction thereto belonging in all justice ayres and otherwise; with power to the said provost, etc, of protecting the courthouse and other places in which the justice ayres are held by armed men according to the custom of old; and he confirms to them the office of sheriffship aforesaid with the escheats of the citizens, burgesses and inhabitants of the said burgh who shall be convicted of any crime before the provost and chief magistrate on things of a capital nature and the Justice general or his deputes or before any judge or who shall be fugitive for the same, or shall have compassed their own death by stabbing, hanging. drowning, poison, snake bite, suffocation or have taken their life in any other manner; and that for the maintenance of the said bridge and the other public works thereof; and he confirms the guildry, the office and function of the same to the said burgh and its citizens and burgesses (except to the fullers and weavers) so that they may have their market guild, dean of guild and guild council, whom they shall elect annually; prohibiting all merchants from either buying or selling within the said sheriffdom save at the said burgh, and that there shall be no tavern in any town in the said sheriffdom of Perth unless where there is a knight, lord of that town and dwelling in it, and he shall not have there more than one tavern ; and that no one in the said sheriffdom, outside of the said burgh shall make dyed cloth, mixed or shorn, save the citizens and burgesses of Perth in the market guild and such as contribute to their defence, and that no merchant save a citizen or burgess of Perth shall cut cloth for selling in the said burgh unless from the day of our Lord's Ascension to the feast of St Peter ad vinculo, in the said summer fairs; and that all who dwell within the said burgh, who are supplied from the markets and shambles thereof or who buy and sell therein shall assist with the burgesses in watching, warding, skatting, lotting, stenting, payment of taxation, imposition and contribution and otherwise: with power to the provost, bailies, councillors and deans of guild to make statutes, etc, and to confiscate the goods of their forestalled, without the intervention of a judge. Moreover the King incorporates the said burgh, lands, waters, mills, fishings, inches, bridges, muirs, offices and liberties,, into one free royal burgh and one liberty and free tenement, and appoints one sasine taken at the tolbooth thereof to stand for all: Commanding the Lords of Council and Session to direct letters of publication upon the foregoing, and letters of horning upon a simple warning of ten days against all persons refusing to obey as aforesaid.

Charter No. 21 by Queen Anne, 1604; Ratified by Parliament, 1606; Confirmed, 1616. After the pre-amble, the charter proceeds:—We have resolved to provide that the teinds of the Parish Church of Perth, the rectorage and vicarage of the same, and the emoluments of the rectorage and vicarage be applied to the use of the said ministers (of the Parish Church of Perth) their support and maintenance, Therefore we have granted and by this our church have confirmed to the Provost, Magistrates, and Council of Perth, for themselves and on behalf of the citizens and community, heritably, the mansion of the rectory and rector of the said Parish Church of Perth, including buildings, lands, and unoccupied houses and gardens of the same with pertinents commonly called the Great College in the burgh of Perth on the west side of the churchyard (of St. John's); the tenement of land with garden and pertinents commonly called the Little College on the north side and the said churchyard on the east side with the advocation, derivation, and right of patronage of the Parish Church of Perth and rectorage and vicarage of the same; in fee and heritage forever, with all liberties, easements, and pertinents as well not named as named, as well under ground as above ground, that can pertain to the foresaid mansion, right of patronage and other premises with their pertinents without reservation of any kind; the Provost and Magistrates paying us yearly as Lords of the Abbey of Dunfermline forty-six shillings of the money of the kingdom. We command you in sight of these presents, cause to

be possessed, commit, and deliver up the state, heritable sasine, as well as the possession corporal and actual and real of the entire mansion of said rectory and rector of said Parish Church, the bit of the tenement of buildings, lands, and waste houses, and of the gardens with pertinents called the Great College with the right of patronage of the Parish Church to the said Provost and Magistrates of Perth for themselves and in name of the citizens and community of the Burgh of Perth, etc., etc. Whitehall, 20th November, 1604.


31st October, 1241.—Alexander IL, King of Scots to the Provosts of Perth, greeting. We charge you, as out of our farm of Perth, to have in readiness for the Predicant Friars of Perth one cake of wax with which we have endowed annually the church of the same Predicant Friars when we have enjoined the said church to be dedicated. Witnesses: Philip de Melville, Robert de Mowat, Justiciary of Scotland; Robert de Menzies.

7th June, 1244.—The King's garden: a pipe of water. A grant from a "regard to godly charity/' divina caritatis intentis —"to God, to the Blessed Mary, and to the Predicant Friars of Perth, serving and to serve God there for ever," of the King's garden and of a conduit of water from the reservoir of the King's well of Perth containing the width of four inches. Witnesses : A Venerable Father Williams, Bishop of Glasgow, Chancellor; William, Earl of Mar; Alan (Durward) Hostiarius, Justiciary of Scotland; John de Vaux; Robert de Menzies. Holyrood, 7th June, in the 30th year of the reign of the Sovereign Lord the King, Alexander II.

31st May, 1251.—The cake of wax and one day's provision for the Friars weekly. Alexander III. enjoins the cake of wax to be paid yearly out of the King's farms of Perth by the Provosts of Perth to the Preaching Friars on the day of the nativity of St John the Baptist tor the illumination of the Monastery Church at the dedication of the same; also the said Friars to be fed out of the same forms one day each week. Witnesses: Robert de Ross; Robert de Menzies, Chamberlain; William de Lowther, Sheriff of Perth. Scone, 31st May, 1251, in the 2nd year of Alexander III.

10th October, 1265.—Ten chalders of malt, five of wheat, 7 16s. and a cake of wax. Charter from Alexander III. granting ten chalders of malt and five of wheat to be paid to the Predicant Friars of Perth out of the King's farms of Craigie and Magdalene by the Provosts of Perth and the tenants of the said lands; also 7 16s. to be paid yearly by the Provosts of Perth out of the arm of the burgh of Perth to the Predicant Friars for their annual maintenance; also one cake of wax to

be delivered to the Friars at the season of the year when the market is best Witnesses: Malcolm, Earl of Fife ; William, Earl of Mar, Chamberlain; and John de Park. Scone, 10th October, 1265; 17th year of the reign of Alexander III.

19th November, 1292.—To all who shall see or shall hear these letters John de Perth and five other burgesses wish eternal salvation in the Lord. Know, every one, that besides* other alms which we have been in use to deliver to the Predicant Friars of Perth on the part of our Sovereign Lord King Alexander of courtly memory we have delivered to the said Friars on the part of the King, as well during his life as since his death, one hogshead of wine and one chalder of wheat for the celebration of divine mysteries. In testimony of which we have thought it good to append our seals to this letter. At Perth, 19th November, 1292. [At this date Scotland was under King Edward of England as Lord Superior during the disputed succession.]

1294.—Grant of John Moncrieffe of Moncrieffe of eight bolls barley, eight bolls oats, and four of wheat to be paid yearly for ever to the Predicants of Perth out of the estate of Moncrieff for the sustenance of the said Friars and to be delivered to them before the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ratified by the seal of a venerable father, Lord William Fraser, Bishop of St Andrews. Witnesses: William de Carnegie, Alderman of Perth, Sir Robert, Vicar of Perth, Petronelles de Moncrieffe, and several others.

12th April, 1316.—A Charter of King Robert Bruce grants fourty-four merks sterling to be paid annually to the Predicant Friars of Perth, one half out of the King's farms of Perth, the other half out of the customs called maltoth of the towns of Perth and Dundee.

8th January, 1322.—King Robert Bruce granted a Charter exempting the Friars from the payment of multures out of five chalders of wheat, two of barley, also out of all kinds of grain for their use at his Mills of Perth. Also the Friars to have their grain to lie in the said mills room free, after his own grain, the grain of his Chancellors, Justiciaries, and chamberlains, and the grain of any other person found at the mills in the measure of three bushels. At Aberbrothock, 8th January, 1322.

26th April, 1323. —Confirmation of Charter granted by King Robert Bruce on 2nd February, 1320, of the gift of 40 cartloads of peats out of the forfeited estate of Logie, which belonged to the late Sir John Logie, the peats to be dried and carried all the way to the house of the Predicant Friars of Perth by the people of the said estate. At Berwick-on-Tweed, 26th April, 1323.

CHARTERS OF THE CARMELITE OR WHITEFRIARS MONASTERY. 7th May, 1361.—David II. confirmed the donations whicb his predecessors and others had granted to the Carmelite Friars within the kingdom.

4th May, 1427.—William de Wynd granted to the Carmelites an annual rent of 13s. 4d. out of his lands in the south end of Speygate for the safety of his soul and that of his wife, the Friars annually observing the anniversary of the donors on the day of their decease, and on that day celebrating mass.

1432.—Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochow, with consent of his son Celestian Campbell) granted to the Carmelites 13s. 4d. out of his lands in. Port of Menteith for the salvation of his soul, and the souls of his wife and children, of his predecessors and successors, and all the faithful dead.

16th April, 1436.— Andrew Love, goldsmith, Perth, granted to the Carmelites 5s. 4d. out of four strips of land out of his croft near the Fuller's Mill of Perth for a mass of repose to be sung yearly.

6th June, 1471.—Andrew Charteris of Perth alienated to the Carmelites for a certain sum of money which the Prior and Convent in his great necessity had delivered and paid to him in well-told money, the sum of 50s. out of Lawrence Dryden's tenement on the east side of Kirkgate; the sum of 13s. 4d. out of the lands of Andrew Cowper, also on the east side of the same street; and the sum of 13s. 4d. out of James Fotheringham's tenement in the Meal Vennel.

12th October, 1484.—David Tod, Perth, signed an indenture with John Walsh, Prior of the Carmelites, that he would pay 4 merks to the Carmelites annually out of a tenement in South Street

9th November, 1494.—John Kinglassie of Unthank, for the salvation of his soul and the souls of his wife and children, predecessors and successors, grants to the Carmelites 13s. 4d. annually to be levied out of his tenement without the port of the Turret Bridge at the west end of the burgh.

4th July, 1499.—Robert Esson resigns his tenement without the Turret Bridge, within the regality of Aberbrothock, to the Carmelites in pure and perpetual alms for suffrages to be perpetually performed by them after the decease of the donor and his wife.

19th April, 1551.—Alexander Thomson, Prior of the Carmelites, acknowledges the loan of 30 from John Gray, burgess of Perth, for the repair of the Monastery, and allocates to him 2 bolls 2 firlots of barley, 2 bolls 2 firlots of oatmeal to be annually delivered to him until the loan is paid.


31st March, 1435.—William, by divine permission Abbot of the Monastery of Scone and Convent of the same, grants, for the annual payment of one pound of wax to the Convent of Scone, a tenement in the burgh of Perth.

30th January, 1437.—William Wynd, burgess of Perth, grants in pure and perpetual alms for the salvation of his own soul, the souls of his wife Elizabeth and children, their predecessors, successors, and the souls of all Christian men deceased, his whole and entire land on which the House of the Valley of Virtue was founded In compensation for this gift the Prior and Convent have granted to the said William (and Elizabeth during the term of their natural lives the following lands and crofts:—The croft called the Haugh of St Leonards, one acre of the land of St Leonards lying on the west of the Haugh, above and on the Mount; the bere croft on the north of the Church of St Leonards; a piece of land extending downwards to a certain fountain Lethe; the Thorney croft lying between St Leonards Church and the Torrent of Craigie; one piece of the land of St Leonards, called the Tongue, near St Leonards Street, etc All which lands, after the decease of the said William and Elizabeth, shall return to the House of the Valley of Virtue and for ever remain with it.

11th February 1461.—Sir Henry Robertson, Vicar of Anch-tergaven and Chaplain of Holy Rood Altar in St. John's Church, Perth, grants to Prior Simon Fernely and the Carthusian Monastery a certain tenement with its pertinences, on the north side of South Street of Perth.

30th April, 1464. —William Hume, burgess of Perth, sells to the Carthusian Monastery an annual rent of twelve shillings out of John Brown's property in South Street, between the land of John Lyall on the east and the common vennel extending to the Church, commonly called the Rottenrow, on the west

26th February, 1471.—James III. to the Provost and Magistrates. It is complained to us by the Prior and Convent of the Charterhouse that they are infeft perpetually in a water conduit lying to the mill dam of the said burgh, out of the water of Almond, of two feet in breadth, ye have while the Prior was here with us at Edinburgh for the disposal of business, with great violence and in contempt of our authority broken the said conduit which extended not half a foot in breadth, and done great straits and hindrance to the Monastery. We charge and command you at sight of these our letters that ye re-form and mend the said conduit at your own expense in so far as ye have broken the same; and we hope to hear no more complaint thereupon under pain of warding your persons (imprisonment).

November, 1481.—The community of Perth grant to the Carthusian Monastery a waste piece of ground on the east side of Speygate, three feet from the town wall, the Monastery to pay yearly one pound of wax.

10th February, 1486.—David Curwar binds himself and his heirs to the Prior of the Charterhouse to implement the conditions on which he held the feu in the Saltmarket from the Monastery, on north side of South Street, a tenement of backland with a booth. Penalty of non-fulfilment, twenty merks to the Monastery.

8th December, 1488.—Robert Lourison, burgess of Perth, grants to the Carthusian Monastery a tenement in Spevgate as payment of a sum of money which his late brother Edward owed to the Convent, one pound of wax to be paid annually to the master of the fabric of the Bridge of Tay and eight shillings to the Chaplain of All Saints' Altar.

14th April, 1498.—James Stewart, Earl of Buchan, son of Sir James Stewart the "Black Knight of Lorn," and of Queen Joan, Dowager of James I., grants to the Charterhouse his garden near the Speygate.

30th January, 1526.—Robert Eviot, Balhousie, sells to the Monastery an annual rent of forty shillings out of his front and back tenements on the south side of North Street for a sum of money which the Prior and Convent paid to him in his great necessity.

21st August, 1527.—William Tappis, burgess of Perth, grants to the Monastery his front tenement without the Turret Bridge on the north side, nine shillings and fourpence to be paid yearly to St Peter's Altar and St John's Church.

28th August, 1552.—Alexander Bunch, burgess of Perth, borrows from Adam Forman, Prior of the Monastery, twenty merks which he promises to pay before Christmas, failing which, he binds himself to give charter and sasine to the Monastery in twenty shillings of annual rent out of a tenement occupied by himself on the west side of Bunch's Vermel in North Street.


One of the most appreciative of the many reviews of this book of the author's published at Christmas, 1902, was that of the Athenaeum. In the course of a very learned and very critical note, in which the reviewer differed from the author in his opinion respecting the King's guilt and Cowrie's innocence, he says:—"Now if Mr. Cowan had made, not a careful, but even a casual search, he must have found the contemporary account of the events from the Gowrie side. S. P. Scot. Eliz., Vol. LXVI. No. 52, and Nicholson's letter of 5th December, 1600; which, taken with the Privy Council Register, VI. 671, settles the question in favour of Cowrie's guilt, if John Lyn correctly reports various words of Robert Oliphant as given by Nicholson to Cecil." Before criticising the learned reviewer, we will give the substance of these three papers so far as they bear upon the subject. The first, dated August, 1600, which is anonymous, is endorsed "The verie manor of the Earl of Gowrie and his brother their death, quha were killit at Perth, 5th August, 1600, by the King's servants, His Majesty beings present" It is very illegible, some parts having the writing entirely destroyed. It will be observed that this paper is different on vanous points from that of the King's narrative:—"My Lord of Gowrie, traitors have murtherit your brother alreddy, and will you suffer me to be murtherit also. My lord hearing this makes haste himself and runs, and Thomas Cranston running on before him ... by violence of the King . . being in . . . yett, and entering the chamber to pass up to his Majestie he saw his brother thrown down the stair dead. And when he came to the chamber door, Thomas Cranston being before him was struck through the body twice and drawn back by my lord, who rushed through the chamber calling if the King was alive, but the struggle and the stroke of swords, but being enough to overcome him and also of the chance of being woundit. They promised to let him see the King alive according to his desire, and in the meantime he, leaning on his two swords, was by John Ramsay struck through he body, and falling with the stroke recommended his soul to God, protesting before his heavenly Majesty that he died his trew servant and the King's." The paper concludes by showing several causes why the Earl of Gowrie was not guilty of treason—most of them illegible, but we give this:—"All these causes makes the King's pairt to be deadly suspected by those who knowes them to be of veritie. As for my lord's pairt, if your honor knew how weill he had bene trainit up by Mr. Robert Pollock, one of the godliest men in Scotland, etc, and what guid testimony he received of him, your honor would hardly believe him a traitor.

The next paper, the letter of Nicholson to Cecil, says:—"A man of the Canongate states that Robert Oliphant living at his house should have complained, and said that there was no justice in Scotland as forfaulters escaped free and innocents were punished. Thomas Cranston (Gowrie's servant) was executed being innocent, and Henderson saved; that the Earl of Gowrie had mentioned that matter to him (Oliphant) in Paris and here, that he had with good reason deserted him, that the Earl left him and dealt with Henderson; that Henderson undertook it and yet fainted, and Cranston knew nothing of it, and yet was executed. This I hear, and that Oliphant, who was Gowrie's servant, is, on this man's report of it, again fled. The heads of Gowrie and his brother were set upon the Tolbooth here this day."

The third paper, that from the Privy Council Register, savs:—"Archibald Wilkie in the Canongate for John Wilkie, tailor there, 200 (Scots) not to harm John Lyn, also tailor there. Further, to answer when required touching the pursuit of Lyn for revealing certain speeches spoken to him by Robert Oliphant anent his fore knowlodge of the treasonable conspiracy of the late John, sometime Earl of Gowrie."

We cannot accept the reviewer's opinion that these papers establish the guilt of Gowrie or of the King. They in point of fact establish nothing, and we must keep in view that they are all anonymous and therefore of no value in estimating the innocence or guilt of the parties concerned. The first paper defends Gowrie, and is evidently written by one of his servants. In the second paper Nicholson expresses no opinion of his own. He merely gives the vague rumour "of a man of the Canongate." The third paper is too ludicrous to be adduced as of any value. Were it otherwise, why should Oliphant not have given his own opinion in place of leaving the matter to two obscure tailors in the Canongate? It was quite unnecessary we should refer to any of these papers, and notwithstanding the criticism of our learned friend, we must adhere to the opinion expressed in the volume, that so far as research has gone on this great historical question there is no authentic evidence to prove that Gowrie was the author of the so called Gowrie Conspiracy, while the circumstantial evidence against the King practically establishes his guilt.

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