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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1501 - 1601 - Part 5

  1596.—CONSTABLE OF THE PALACE, and Heritable Bailie of the Lordship of Dunfermline.—Queen Anne, Lady Dunfermline, with the consent and authority of the King and her Majesty’s  counsellors, granted a Charter to Lord Seton, Lord President of the Court of Session (afterwards Earl of Dunfermline), appointing him and his heirs-male, “Heritable Bailies of the Lordship of Dunfermline,”  and “undoubted and irrevocable Keepers, Guardians, or Constable of the Palace of Dunfermline, and edifices adjacent.”  This Charter is dated “15th February, 1596,” and was ratified by Parliament in 1606.  (Thomson’s Acts of Parliament, vol. iv. pp. 348, 352: Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 106, 107, 259; Mercer’s Hist. Dunf.)

  AMENDING AND RENEWING OF THE COVENANT.—The Provinical Synod of Fife was held in Dunfermline, on the 12th of May, principally for the purpose of amending and renewing the National Covenant.  The renewed Covenant commences thus:--“I take the amended Covenant, as renewed by the Provincial Synod of Fife, holden at Dunfermline on 12th May (1596) . . . . made by Mr. William Scott, minister at Couper, and others,” &c.  (Cald. Hist. Ch. Scot. p. 323.)

  WILLIAM SCHAW, Master of the King’s Wark at Dunfermline, wounded by “Buccleugh.”—Buccleuch had made Schaw his second in a combat with Sir Robert Ker of Cessford, and had wounded him, for which he was “put ta the horn,” &c.  (Moyse’s Mem. Scot. p. 244.)

  ELIZABETH, Daughter of James VI., Born at Dunfermline.—The Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King James VI., was born in the Palace of Dunfermline, on the 19th day of August, 1596.  Birrell, in his Diary, notes the birth thus:--“19th day of August, 1596.—The Queen’s M. delivered of ane woman child called Elizabeth.”  (“Diary of Robert Birrell, Burges of Edinburgh,” p. 38.)  Moyse notifies the event thus:--“Upon the 19th day of September, 1596, the Queen’s Majesty was delivered at Dunfermline of the Princess Elizabeth.”  (Moyse’s Mem. Scot. p. 245; Cald. Hist. Ch. Scot. vol. v. p. 438; Chron. Perth, p. 6.)  It will here be observed that Birrell and Moyse place the birth on the same day of the month, but differ as to the month.  This lapsus is chargeable to Birrell.  The 19th August, 1596, was the Princess’s natal day. It may here be observed that some careless writers, have fixed on Falkland as the place where Elizabeth was born, which is not correct. 

  A CONVENTION was held at Dunfermline by James VI., on September 20, when the resolution was approved of for recalling the Papist lords who had been banished for conspiracy.  (Spottiswoode’s Hist. Church Scot. p. 417; Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. p. 88, &c.)

  BAPTISM OF THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH.—At this Convention (20th Sept. 1596) the baptism of the Princess was taken into consideration, and it was arranged that the baptism should be celebrated at Holyrood House on the 28th day of November.  (Dal. Frag. Scot. Hist. p. 38.)

  1597.—GEORGE HERIOT was appointed goldsmith to the Queen under a writ of Privy Seal, dated at Dunfermline, 27th July, 1597.  Birrell, in his Diary says:  “1597, the 27 of Julie, George Heriot maid the Queen’s Goldsmith” at Dunfermline.

  THE SCOTTISH PROVERBS were at this period being compiled in alphabetical order by Mr. David Ferguson, minister of Dunfermline.  (See Annals, date 1644.)

  BLACK SATURDAY.—Total Eclipse of the Sun.—On Saturday 17th February, 1597-98, at about 9:30 in the morning, there occurred a most remarkable total eclipse of the sun.  So dark was the morning at 9:30 (the middle of the eclipse) that the stars of the first and second magnitude were visible.  Dunfermline lay a little to the west of the eclipse path, and no doubt its inhabitants, as in other places on or near the path, would be “struck with terror and dismay.”  (See Melville’s Diary.)  In consequence of the intense darkness occasioned by this eclipse, this Saturday is still generally known as Black Saturday.  The following is an Edinburgh account of it:--

  “The 17th Februar, betwixt 9 and 10 in ye mornening, ane grate darknes, be reasin of eclipes, sic ane darknes hes not bene sene, for ye hail papell wt Edn. Yat knew not what it was, thot yt it had bene duims dai.  Merchants and otheris yt wer ignorint, steiket thair buith-doris, and ran to the Kirk to pray, thinkind it had bene ye last dai.”  (Birrell’s Diary.)

That is—On the 17th of February, between nine and ten in the morning, there was a great darkness, caused by an eclipse.  Such a darkness was never seen, for the whole people within Edinburgh, that knew not what it was, thought it had been dooms-day.  Merchants and others that were ignorant of the cause, shut their shop-doors and ran to the Kirk to pray, thinking that it was the last day.  (See Annals , date 1652.)

  1598.—MR. DAVID FERGUSON, first Protestant minister of Dunfermline, died there on the 23rd of April, 1598, in the 65th year of his age and the 39th of his ministry.  (Kirk Session Rec,; Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 31, &c.)  Spottiswoode, in his Hist. Ch. Scot. p. 454, says that Ferguson was “a good preacher, wise, and of a jocund and pleasant disposition, which made him well regarded both in court and countrey.”  The following are a few interesting notes relative to this eminent man and sincere Christian:--

(Edinburgh Test. Reg. vol. xxxii.)

  “The Testament datiue and muentar of the guides, geir, sowmes of money, and dettis pertaining to vmquhile Dauid Fargusoun, minister of Godis word at Dunfermeling the tyme of his deceiss, quha deceist vpoun the xxiij. Day of  Aprile, the zeir of God jm vc lxxxxviij. Zeirs, ffaythfullie maid and gevin vp be  him self vpoun the xxij. day of Aprile, the zeir of God foirsaid, in presens of Mr. Johnne Row, minister of Carnok, Patrik Stewart of Baith, William Pratous (Porteous), ane of the baillies of the burgh of Dunfermeling, Mr. James Dalkleische, scolemaster thair, Mr. Robert Durie, instructor in the said scole, and Dauid Brown, noter.  In the first the said vmquhile Dauid Fargusoun had the guides, geir, sowmes of money, and dettis of the awaill and prices efter following pertaining to him the tyme of his deceis foirsaid—viz.,  Item.—His buikis of theologie and human histories, estimate to the sowme of jclb.  Item.—In poiss of reddie gold the sowme of jcxviijlb.  Item.—In vtenceillis and domiceillis, with the abuilzementis of his body by the airschipe, estimate to the sowme of xxlb. Money.  Summa of the Inuentar ijclxxlb. (viz., £280 Scots).  Item.—Thair was awin to the sia dvmquhile Dauid Fargusoun be . . . . Aitken, relist of vmquhile Johnne Stobie, portioner of Wester Luscaur, resten of the crop and zeir of God zeirs, assignit to him in pairt of his stipend for the price of sex bollis third-pairt furlett beir, the sowme of xllb. xvjs. viijd.  Item.—Be James Dewar aof Nether Lassody, for the teindis of his landis of Baith, vnder the hill, assignit to him in pairt of payment of his stipend of the crope and zeir of God foirsaid, thrie bollis beir; price of the haill, xxjlb.  Item.—Be Adame Currie, burges in Dunfermeling, aught bollis ferme beir, restand of the crope and zeir of God foirsaid; price of the boll, viijlb.; summa, lxiiijlb.  Item.—Be hir Majestie’s Chamerlanes of the Abbacie of Dunfermeling, for his stipend of the Witsonday terme, in anno lxxxxviij. Zeirs, the sowme of twa hundredth merkis money.

  “Summa of the dettis awin to the deid, . . . . . . ijclixlb. Iijs. Iiijd.
  “Summa of the inuentar with the dettis, . . . . . .vcxlixlb. iijs. Iiijd.

“Follows the Dettis awin be the Deid:--

  “Item.—Thair was awin be the said vmquhile Dauid Fargusoun to  . . . . . . . for the Witsondayis termes maill of his hous occupyit be him in anno lxxxxviij. Zeris and sindrie termes preceiding  Item.—To William Angus, seruand, for his hald-zeir’s fie, in anno foirsaid, iiijlb.  Item.—To Janet Burne, for hir half-zeiris fie, iiijlb.  Item.—To Helene Reid, seruand, for hir half-zeiris fie, four poundis. 

  Summa of the dettis awin be the deid, . . . . . xxxijlb.
  Restis of the frie geir the dettis deducet, . . . vcxvjlb. Iijs. Iiijd.

  Quotta componitur,
      Pro xiijlb. vjs. 8d.

Na Diuisioun.

Quhairof the quot is componit for xiijlb. vjs. viijd.

“Followis the deidis, Legacie, and Lettre Will:--

  “At Dunfermeling the xxij. daye of Aprile, 1598 zeirs.  The quhilk day the said Dauid Fargusoun maid his testament and letter will as follows—viz., That is to say, he leuis and disponis to William Fargusoun, his sone, his haill naturall historical buikis, and his Scottis Cronicle, and nominates for his airchip buikis of theologie, ane Inglis bybill and ane Latyne bybill allenerlie.  Item.—The said Dauid leuis and dispones to Mr. Dauid Spens, Mr. Johnne Row, and Dauid Ransay, his sonnes-in-law, wquallie all his buikis of theologie, and ordainis the saidis Masteris Dauid Spens and Johnne Row to satisfie the said Dauid Ramsay for his third-pairt thairof, because the saidis buikis can nocht be proffitabill to him.  Item.—He leuis and disponis to ilk ane of his saidis thrie sonnes-in-law and their bairnes his oyis xlb. money.  Item.—Leuis and disponis to the appotecarie and vtheris quhilkis ministrant curis to him the tyme of this sicknes thrie crounes of the sone.  Item.—To ilk ane of fis foirnamit seruandis thair feis addettit to thame at Witsonday nixt, with the doubill thairof; and leuis and disponis the rest and superplus of all his frie guides, geir, dettis, and plenessing to the saidis Maisteris Dauid Spens, Johnne Row, and Dauid Ramsay, his sonnes-in-law, and their bairnes, equallie to be diuidit amangis thame be thrie equal thridis, and nominates the said Masteris Dauid Spens, Mr. Johnne Row, and Dauid Ramsay, his sonnes-in-law, coniunctlie his executoris and intromittoris with his saidis guides, geir, and dettis.  Thais thingis war done at xj houris at ewin or thairby, in the said Dauid Fargusoun’s chalmer, day zeir moneth, and in presens of the witnesses aboue-written heirto specialie and togeddir requyret.  (Sic Subscribitur.)  Ita est ut premittitur Dauid Brown, notarius publicus in premissis omnibus et singulis cum prenominatis testibus presens et requistus testante manu propria et signo.  We, Mris John Prestoun, &c., and gevis and comittis the intromissioun with the samyn to the saids Mris Dauid Spens, Johnne Rowe, and Dauid Ramsay, executoris testamentaris to the said umquhile Dauid Fargussoun.  Reseruand compt to be maid be thame thairof, as accordis of the law; and thai being sourne and hes fundin James Dobie, merchand, burges of Edinburgh, cautioun, &c., as ane Act beiris.” 

  It may also be noticed, that David Ferguson, soon after he became minister of Dunfermline, was married to Isobel Durham. By whom he had nine children, five sons and four daughters.  His eldest, son, William Ferguson, A.M. survived him.  His daughter Margaret, born May 31st, 1562, was married to David Spens, minister at Orwell, on June 18th, 1581.  His daughter Grizzel, born February, 1576, was married to John Row, at Carnock, in 1595; and his youngest daughter Isobel was married to David Ramsay (a layman), in April, 1598, a few days before her venerable father’s death.  (See An. Dunf. dates 1571 and 1572.)

  Besides his published “Answer to Renat Benedict,” in 1562-63, he collected and published the “Scottis Proverbs,” which, in his Will, he calls the “Scottis Cronicle.”  He was interred at Dunfermline in the latter end of April 1598, but in what spot is not known.  Tradition points to a high tombstone, with triangular back, in a dilapidated condition, with unreadable inscription, that stands on the edge of the west walk, or road into the Church, about twenty yards to the north of the “auld kirk porch-door,” as the tomb under which lie the remains of this venerable and illustrious man.

  The following “Carmen,” or ode, was composed on Ferguson, shortly after his death, by his “brother-labourer in the word,” Joannis Davidsonii.


“Græcia mellifluo quantum det nestoris ori,
Aut Demosthenio debeat eloquio,
Ipsi facundo quantum (mihi crede) parenti
Attribuat linguæ turba togata suæ
Nos tibi Fergusi Tantum debere fatemur
Scotanam linguam qui reparare studes.
Sermonem patrium ditas, inculta verustas
Horret qua longe barbariemque fugas.
Adde etiam neque abest facundis gratis dictis
Respondet verbis materia apta tuis,
Quod satis ostendit nobis tua concio præsens,
Qua nihilin lucem doctius ire potest,” &c. 

  Davidson, author of the foregoing ”Carmen,” a native of the parish, was remarkable for his “wise sayings and predictions.”  The following is a specimen of one of these predictions:  “Being at Dunfermline in the time of Synod, immediately after the death of David Ferguson, minister thereof, gibing thanks after dinner, among other things uttered by him, he thus expressed himself:--‘Lord! thou hes now removed thy worthie and faithfull servant, who laboured their among thys people in the gospel, . . . . . but, Lord! who shall succeed him in his ministrie thow knows!  Many are gaping for it, and using moyen at Court to gain it, but it will be Jok up-a-land; it will die in thy hand (pointing at Mr. Andro Foster, who, at the tyme, with sundrie other ministers, wes sitting at the table with him, having dyned there); therefore, the backe shall beare the saddle-band,’” &c.  (Row’s Hist. Kirk Scot. p. 463.)  Mr. John Fairfoul succeeded David Ferguson, but was minister for a short time only.  Whether he was pressed to resign by the favourites of Andro Foster or was deposed, is not known.  In an after-note it will be shown that Foster, his successor, was minister of Dunfermline for about 17 years; that he fell into gross sins, and was deposed and disgraced, and “his back did bear the saddle-band, and the charge died in his hands,”  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 419.)

  MR. JOHN FAIRFUL OR FAIRFOULD was admitted minister of Dunfermline, in 1598, as successor of Mr. David Ferguson, lately deceased.  (Kirk Ses. Rec.; Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 32.)

  MASONIC GUILD.—It would appear from the “Schaw Statutes” that there was a Mason Guild in Dunfermline as early as the year 1598.  In connection with said “Statutes” of this date are the names and status of several of its members, viz.:  “Thomas Robertsoun, Warden of the Ludge of Dumfermling and St. Androis, and takand the burding vpoun him for his bretheren of ye masoun craft within they Ludges, and for the Commissionars eftir-mentionat, viz. . . . . Andro Alesoun and Archibald Angous, Commissionars for the Ludge of Dumfermling,”  &c.  Dunfermline, Robert Pest. (Lyon’s Hist. Lodge Edin. p. 59; An. Dunf. 1630.)

  1599.—THE BAILIE AND SERJEANT’S HOUSES BUILT.—Two lofty houses were built this year close to the west side of the Old Church Steeple, as residences for the High Constable, Mayor, and Serjeant, and for the Heritable Bailie of the Regality of Dunfermline;  The “date stone,” which was over one of the doors of these buildings, is still to be seen, lying on the top of the gate of the Dunfermline entrance into Pittencrieff policy. 

  MR. JOHN FAIRFUL, OR FAIRFOULD, ceased to be minister of Dunfermline after a short ministry of about eight months; but whether he resigned or was deposed is not known.

  MR. ANDREW FOSTER (Forster, or Forrester), third Protestant minister, inducted minister of Dunfermline Abbey Church this year.  (Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. p. 32; Kirk Ses. Rec.&c.)

  1600.—“REGISTRUM CARTARUM ANNÆ REGINÆ”.—One of the Abbey books, with this title, commences with the year 1600, and ends with 1611.  (Vide Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 496-504.)  From this MS. book several extracts have been made, and entered in Annals of Dunfermline.

  CHARLES I. BORN IN DUNFERMLINE.—Charles, the second son of King James VI., was born in the Royal Palace of Dunfermline on the 19th day of November, 1600.  (Calderwood’s Hist. Ch. Scot.; Maitland’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. p. 1308; Ab. Scot. Chron. p. 93, and all the Histories of Scotland.)  Birrell, in his Diary, alluding to the birth, says:  “20th day of November, the Queen’s M. deliuerit of ane child, at the pleasure of Almighty God, at qlk tyme the canons schott for joy.”  The late Dr. Robert Chambers, in his Picture of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 164, second edition, relates an old tradition, which he says he heard in Dunfermline (circa 1828), viz.:  “Charles was a very peevish child, and used to annoy his parents dreadfully by his cries during the night.  He was one night puling in his cradle, which lay in an apartment opening from the bed-room of the King and Queen, when the nurse employed to tend him suddenly alarmed the royal pair by a loud scream, followed up by the exclamation, ‘Eh! My bairn!’  The started out of bed at hearing the noise, and ran into the room where the child lay, crying ‘Hout, tout, what’s the matter wi’ ye, nursie?’  ‘Oh!’ exclaimed the woman, ‘there was ane like an auld man came into the room and threw his cload owre the cradle, bairn, and a’ awa’ wi’ him.  I’m fear’d it was the thing that’s no canny.’  ‘Friend, nor he had ta’en the girnin brat clean awa!’ said King James, whose demonological learning made him at once see the truth of the nurse’s observation; ‘gin he ever be King, there’ll be nae gude I’ his ring; the deil has cussen his cloak owre him already!’  This story is generally told (says Chambers), and in the same manner, by the more primitive portion of the inhabitants of Dunfermline, and the latter part of the King’s observation is proverbial in the town, it being common to say to a mislear’d  or ill-conditioned person, ‘I daresay the deil has cussen his cloak owre ye!’”  This traditional anecdote is now worn out—never now heard of.  (See also Annals Dunf. dates 1649.)

  “THE DUNFERMLINE BARNS.”—An old building of two storeys, with a broad outside stair in front of it, known as the “Dunfarlin Barns,” and which, until 1873, stood on the north side of East Queen Street, near its jundtion with Inglis Street, had “an initialed date-stance,” of which the following is a copy:--

It is not known to whom these initials refer.  This stone is now fixed into the front wall of the new building on the same side.  The two first initials may refer to John Kingorne, who, about this period, was clerk of the Regality of Dunfermline; if they do, then it is probable that the barns belonged to the Regality. 

  THURSDAY CATECHISM TEACHING IN THE AULD KIRK.—An ordinance of Council passed this year, ordaining that, “on the Thursdays of ilk ouk, the masters of households, their wives, bairnes, and servants, should compeer ilk ane within their awn parish kirk, to their awn minister to be instructed by them in the grunds and heads of catechisms, and to give as they should be demanded ane proof and trial of their profitying in the said heads.”  (Chamb. Domes, An. Scot. vol. i. p. 356.)  An old MS. notifies, that the Thursday lessons were pretty well attended in the Auld Kirk at first, but through time they were given up.

  QUEEN ANNA OF DENMARK’S HOUSE.—In the year 1600, a new palace was erected for the Queen on the site of the former one (which stood on the north-east end of the King’s Palace), adjacent to the entrance to Pittencrieff.  Part of the west end of the wall of its pend, or archway, which went under it, is still to be seen on the west side of the street adjoining Pittencrieff Lodge.  The new erection was built in a modern style, was very high, consisted of three stories, and had, of course, many convenient apartments, but how many is not now know.  Having been built by Queen Anna, it was always known by the name of the ‘Queen’s House,” or “Queen Anna of Denmark’s House.”  A long, narrow pend went under it, leading to the main courtyard of the palatial buildings.  Immediately over the south key-stone of this pend, there was a large sheet of copper, secured to the wall by copper bolts, having on it the following inscription if Latin:--

Translation:--This porch, and the house built above it, having through age and the injuries of time fallen down and come to ruin, have been restored from the foundation, and built on a larger scale by Queen Anne, daughter of Frederick, the most august King of Denmark, in the year 1600.  (Vide Fernie’s Hist. of Dunf. p. 70; Mercer’s Hist. of Dunf. p. 86.  For full particulars, see Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 105-109.)

  Grose, in his “Antiquities of Scotland,” at pp. 285-288, has two views, which show the upper parts of the Queen’s House, drawn in 1790.  That fronting p. 288, taken from the New Inn window, Bridge Street, shows the whole of the western gable, and about a half of the upper part of the north front; the other view shows a small portion of the upper part of the east side.  The writer has in his possession several sketches, copied from Pen-and-Ink drawings, by John Bain, civil engineer, Edinburgh, done in 1790.  These ‘pen sketches” embrace several views and plans of the Church, the ruins of the Monastery, the Palace, the Queen’s House, and the Tower, done with great accuracy.  From some of these drawings, and other engravings, the writer made a composition view of the north front of the queen’s House, the Bailie and Serjeant Houses, the Kirk Steeple, &c., and had the view lithographed.  (See Annals Dunf. date 1864.)  In the year 1855, the writer made a composition view of the same old buildings as they appeared from the south, near “the Pends.”  (See Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 129.)


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