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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1701 - 1801 - Part 10

   1767.—THE BRIDGE over the Tower-Burn was founded, and the building of it commenced in August, 1767.  “This bridge is to lengthen the High Street in a westerly direction, and to become the common highway to the west county.”  (MS. Note; see An. Dunf. dates 1765 and 1770)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—John Wilson, jun., stationer, was re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 28th Sept., 1767)

  DEATH OF JOHN ERSKINE, ESQ., of Newbigging House, Carnock.—Died at Cardross, on the Clyde, in 1767, John Erskine, Esq., of Newbigging House, Carnock, near Dunfermline, Professor of Law in the University of Edinburgh, and author of the larger and lesser Institutes of the Law of Scotland. 

  JOHN REID’S SCHOOL IN DUNFERMLINE.—“The justly celebrated John Reid, for sometime Precentor in Ralph Erskine’s Kirk, opened a school in a house in the Horse Market [East High Street]. In 1767, for teaching ‘the usual branches of a useful education,’ besides which, he taught land-serveying, navigation, and the use of the globes.  He was an eminently successful teacher.  His last school was held in an old house at the top end of the Rotten Raw [opposite the north-west corner of Randolph Street].”  He had, according to a Note, an average continual attendance of from 80 to 100 Scholars.  “His navigation class was very successful.  Scholars came from Inverkeithing, Limekilns, &c., to attend his classes.”  (See An. Dunf. date 23rd Dec., 1816)

  1768.—BLEACHING &c.—At this period the Dunfermline manufacturers sent the greater part of their goods to Luncarty, near Perth, to get bleached.  (Penny’s Perth, p. 253)

  SEVERE WINTER.—Several Old MS. Notes refer to “great falls of snow in December 1768,” and that “the streets of the town were several times at least six feet deep in snow, and in places where it had swirled up, it would be at least twelve feet in depth,”

  COLLIER ROW AND HEUGH MILLS DISPOSED OF.—Mr. Black, late Clerk of the Regality of Dunfermline, disposed of the Collier Row Mill and Heugh Mill, as also lands near the Abbey, to Mr. Chalmers of Pittencrieff.  (See Title Deeds, 8th Dec., 1768)

  WEAVERS’ LOOMS IN DUNFERMLINE.—According to an Old MS. Note, there were “403 looms in Dunfermline towards the end of the year 1768.”  A great many of them belonged to the British Linen Company, Edinburgh.

  1769.—THE OLD TOWN-HOUSE REMOVED.—It would appear, from minutes in the Burgh Records, that the old Tolbooth was removed during the months of May and June, 1769, to make room for the opening up of the New Brig [Bridge Street].

  Of this old building there have been several views.  One of these the writer sent to the lat Dr. Chalmers as an illustration for his notice of the Tolbooth in vol. ii. p. 4 of his History of Dunfermline.  It was a large building of three storeys.  The upper storey was of timber; the two lower storeys were of stone.  In the second or middle storey were “the Clerk’s Writing Chambers and the Council Room,” where meetings of Council had been held from “time immemorial,” dignified with the title, “SENATUS FERMELINODUNENSIS TENTA IN PRÆTORIS.”  Above the door of this middle storey there was a large representation of the Royal arms, and “immediately in front a great stone stair projected and led down to the street,” spreading out fanshaped as it descended.  Under this stair, there was an archway known at one time as the Tolbooth Port, which appears to nave been large enough to allow “a cart of hay to pass under it.”  This archway formed a connection between the Kirkgate and the Collier Row, until the lower end of the latter street was altered.  In the lower storey were the Lime House (in which the meal-market was once held), the Laich Prison, and a cellar at the back called “Bulls’ Hole,” while another on the west had the name of “Witches’ Hole.” “Thieves’ Hole,” &c.  Close to the back of the prison there was a high wall, and a wicket-gate, which led down to the Back Burn.  The upper storey was used as a debtors’ prison, above which, on the slates in front, was a small wooden belfry, in which hung the Council bell, which was rung for meetings of the Curis Capitalis Burgi de Dunfermlynem as it is sometimes styled in the Burgh Records.  (For date of this apparently second tolbooth of Dunfermline, see dates 1624 and 1626.)  An old poet, in referring to it, says—

“This house it was of gothic make,
It had some degree of strength;
Before this house was a stair
Full forty feet in length.

“This stair it reached hard by the trone,
That then stood in the Street;
A cart of hay below the same
Cowld have pass’d with eas complete.

“This house it was storys two or little more,
If I right recollect;
The Jaile and rooms were up the stair,
Below was the meal-market.

“The house had neither tower nor clock,
Where-with the hours to tell,
On the forewall they did erect
A place to hang the bell,” &c.

(Rhyming Hist. Dunf. p. 32.)

  PATTERN DRAWER.—According to several old accounts, it would appear that James Thomson, pattern drawer, &c., at Drumsheugh, Edinburgh, supplied the Dunfermline table-linen manufacturers with “patterns and other beautiful drawings for their weavers.”

  NEW ENTRY FROM HIGH STREET TO THE ROTTEN ROW.—The Council purchased, through Robert Scotland, for £2 15s. 7d. a four foot entry from the High Street to the Rotten Row as a public entry of the burgh.  (Burgh Records, 27th July, 1769.)  This “four foot public entry” became South Chapel Street in 1804 “by adding other purchases to it.”

  1770.—DEATH OF THE LAST DUNFERMLINE HANGMAN.—John Cummin, “the last of the race of Dunfermline hangmen,” died in 1770 at and advanced age.  We have several notes regarding this worthy; the following curious selections from them may be handed down:--“Johnie Cummin was the last Dunfermline hangman.  He was an usful man-hangman of the burgh.  This trade he left in mid-life.  He could work at the wright trade, the tailor trade, and sort his own shoon.”  “He could work on the loom, act as causeway layer, and heaps o’ other things.”  He had, it seem, “a failing and weakness for strong water,” and, when ”taken captive by them,” was—

.   .   .   As merry an old sowle
As e’er uncorkit a bottle or fathom’d a bowl!”

Lastly, “he was a big, buirdly man, and walk’d about,” says another note, “with long sloutching coat, tremendous waistcot, knee-breeks, bred bannet on head, and long pike-staff in hand, and was a blue-gown.  He walked with a firm, loud thud of a step, giving notice of his approach;”

“His feet like hammers strak the grund;
The very moudawirts were stunn’d,
And wonder’d what it meant.”
(MSS. and “L.W.”)

So much for the characteristics of this old town servant, “who had seen and had done so much rough service.”

  RELICS OF ST. MARGARET AT DOUAY.—Dalyell, at page 17 of his Monastic Antiquities, referring to the relics of St. Margaret at Douay in France, says:--“I have been credibly informed, that the same relics which Father Hay says were carried to France in the sixteenth century, were exhibited at Douay subsequent to the year 1770, consisting of a part of the skull cased in silver, and a quantity of auburn hair; these were lost in the confusion which attended the suppression of the Jesuits.  Certain relics, both of Margaret and Malcolm III., are said to be preserved in the Escurial in Spain.”

  CLOVER SEED to be Purchased in Holland for Easter Town Green.—The Council commissioned Robert Ireland to purchase four cwt. of clover seed in Holland for sowing on the Easter Town Green; two-thirds to be red, and the other third white clover.  (Burgh Records, 17th Feb., 1770.)

  NEW TOLBOOTH ROOF.—“14th April, 1770:  Which day there was a proposal by the Committee for Carrying on of ye Tolbooth whether ye roof yr of should be made six foot flat on the head, covered with lead, or altogether covered with Skailzie.  The council agree to cover ye roof yr of altogether without a flat.”  (Burgh Records)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—“1st Oct.:  John Wilson, junior, stationer, re-elected Provost.”  (Burgh Records)

  WATERING OF BESTIAL ON SUNDAYS.—“24th Nov., 1770:  The Council Discharged the whole of the Inhabitants from watering their Bestial on the Sabbath afternoons till public worship is over in the different meeting.”  (Burgh Records)

  THE NEW BRIDGE.—“This Bridge is concealed from the view on the street, as it lies about 56 feet under the causeway in Bridge Street (nearly under the middle of the Street.)  It was projected by George Chalmers, Esq., of Pittencrieff, in 1765; commenced building in 1767, and finished before the end of the year 1770.  This Bridge is 294 feet in length from N. to S., 12 feet high and 12 wide.  The bridge in building and filling up the deep glen to a level with the west end of the High Street, occupied nearly three years; the cost of the undertaking was upwards of £5500.  It both benefited and ornamented the town.”  Of this bridge Paton in his Rhyming History of Dunfermline says:--

“Dunfermline bridg upon the west
it is modern date;
Chalmers, late of Pittencrieff,
he was the Architect.

“This Bridg did cost five thousand pound
by Mr. Chalmers paid,
And all to beautify the toun,
From it he sought no aid.

“Two hundred and tuenty seven feet
that is this bridge’s length;
Twelve feet in breadth, fifteen in hight;
The whole is of great strength.”

These measurements are not correct.

  DUNFERMLINE STATISTICS IN 1770.—The following is copied from a MS, Table of Statistics, collected by an old friend of the writer, who began the antiquarian trade, as he used to say, in 1770, and who died in 1825, aged eighty-three:--

      “Trades in Dunfermline, Streets, &c., in 1770.—Smiths, Weavers, Wrights, Taylors, Shoemakers, Bakers, Masons, Fleshers.  These were the incorporated trades, and each, especially the Weavers, had numerous members.  The non-incorporated trades were—Reed makers, 1;Shuttle makers, 2; Pirn-turners, 4; Bobin makers, 1; Coppersmiths, 2; Watch and Clock makers, 2; Wig makers and Barbers, 6;Dyers, 3; Cutlers, 1; Slaters, 4; Stocking-loom Weavers, 1; Letter-Press Printers, 1; Coopers, 1; Merchants [alias Shopkeepers], about 20.  Churches, 3; Ministers, 4; Schools, 8.  Population, about 4700.  The Streets are Hie-Gate or High Street, Collier Row, Rotten Row, Cross Wynd, The New Street, The Back-Syde, or Coal Road, Shadows Wynd, New Row, In below the Wa’as, Netherton, St. Catherine’s Wynd, May Gate, Kirkgate.

      “Prices of Domestic Articles in 1773.—The quartern loaf, 5d.; the pound of flesh, 3 1/2 d. to 4 1/2d.; fresh butter, 22 ounces, 4d. to 6d.; meal, 5d. to 6d. per peck; barley for the kail, 1d. per lb.; pitatoes, the lippie, 4 q/wd. 6d.; ½ lb. of soap, 3d. to 4d.; needles, the dozen, 6d.; preens, 1d. the dozen; iron nails, from 2d. to 7d. per dozen, according to size.”  (MS. Table)

  BAD HARVEST AND MEAL MOBS.—A great many notes in our possession refer to the “extreme bad hairst,” to the “half sort of dearth” that followed, and to the meal mobs in the town, and the breaking of the windows of the meal sellers, and mobbing on the streets and fighting.

  1771.—COAL.—The late writer of the Statistical Account of the Parish states, that the value of the Coal exported from Dunfermline district did not exceed £500 in 1771.

  DEATH OF THE EARL OF ELGIN.—“The death of the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine occurred on the 14th May, 1771, aged 39 years.  He was interred in the east end of the Abbey, within the area of the ruins of the old Lady Chapel, where, until 1819, stood a monumental tomb, faced with marble, on which was an inscription which had been composed for it by the late Rev. Dr. Hugh Blair of Edinburgh.  This Earl was the founder of Charleston village, near Limekilns.”  (For tomb inscription see Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 519.)

  NEW TOLBOOTH INSURED.—“29 May, 1771: The Council agree that the Tolbooth should be insured in the Sun Fire Office to ye extent of £300.”  (Burgh Records)

  IRON-STONE ON CHARLESTON GROUNDS.—“The iron-stone began to be wrought here in the year 1771.  In 1774 there were 60 miners and 60 bearers at work in the mines.”  (Sib. Hist. Fife and Kin. P. 292)

  ENCROACHMENTS ON THE STREETS.—The Council having been informed of certain encroachments made on the Streets and Entries of the Burgh by builders, a committee of investigation was appointed to “inquire particularly into the facts, and report the same to the Council, so that the offenders may be prosecuted, if they shall see cause.”  (Burgh Records, 11th June, 1771)

  WASHING AND DRYING BRAE OF TOWER HILL.—For the greater part of half a century, previous to 1771, the wives of burgesses had the liberty, and made use of the north side of Tower Hill as a place for washing and drying linens, bleaching yarns, &c.  Shortly afterwards the locality was enclosed and made private ground, and, of course, became disused.  The green, on the north-west part of the dam, was afterwards used by the washers and bleachers.  (MS. Note by J.A.) 

  GIBB STREET.—An old MS. Note states that “Gibb Street was laid out, and began to be built in 1771;” and that first, and long after, it was known as “Gibb Square,” because the first house in the street occupied the corner angle, and made and L form of a square.

  AN ANCIENT COAL-PIT DISCOVERED.—“During the summer of 1771, in the park between Golfdrum and Pittencrieff Street, there was accidentally discovered, by a sudden fall of the earth, the mouth of an old coal-pit.  Several persons entered it, when, on reaching the back end of it, they found an old man sitting on a piece of coal, with a pick and shovel lying before him.  He immediately crumbled to dust in consequence of the admission of the air.  This find caused great surprise and much speculation in the town for a long period.  No doubt the pit and the man belonged to a far back period.”  (Newspaper and MS.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—John Wilson, jun., stationer, re-elected Provost on 30th Sept., 1771)

  COAL.—The receipts obtained from the sale of the town’s coal, it would appear, did not average more than £200 per annum.  (MS. Note.)

  CASTLE BLAIR.—North of the Dam, “the last remnant of the foundations of this old castle or Peil were swept away about the year 1770.”  The walls, it seems, were “extraordinary thick.” Probably this old house, castle, or Peil, gave the prefix to the name of the adjacent muir and moss, viz., Peil-muirs in Scotland.  (Old MS.)

MAISON DIEU LANDS, or “Lands of the House of God,” now known as Mason Lands, are a little to the east of the site of Castle Blair, in the north-west corner of the ancient muir.  Whether there was “a house of God” on these lands or not, is now unknown.  Probably there were lands that belonged to the Abbey, and the annuals derived from them would be bestowed on some religious object; or, perhaps Castle Blair may have been originally “a house of God,” and after the Reformation, in 1560, may have been used for secular purposes, and then called a castle, to which Maison Diew Land belonged.  There is no trace of old foundations on these lands.  The “humid acres,” mentioned in Registrum de Dunfermline, appear to refer to this locality.

  THE TOWN-HOUSE FINISHED.—The following extracts for the Burgh Records refer to the completing of the Town-House:--

      “16th Nov., 1771:  Which Day the Committee of the Tolbooth report that the same is now Completed Agreeable to the plan, except as to the covering of the Steeple, as to which, in consequence of an Order from the Council, the Provost gives in an estimate by Andrew Riddell, Copper Smith, for covering the same with Copper.  The Council having considered said Estimate, are of opinion that the articles are very high charged, and appoints the Provost and two Baillies, Dean of Gild, Treasurer, and Conveener, or any three of them, to Commune with Mr. Riddell anent said expense, and try how low they can bring him, and report.”  “31st Dec., 1771:  Which Day the Council, by a majority of votes, Ordered that the Tolbooth Steeple shall be covered with blue slate, in terms of an agreement made thereanent by Robert Scotland, mert., with Hay Brown, Slater, in Doune, dated the 10th Curt.: And appoint Deacon Walls to furnish the said Slater with fogg and other materials to ye work, which the Town is liable for.”

The upper covering of the steeple, viz., the cone or spire above the bartizan, was covered with slates early in 1772.

  We have several Notes, descriptive of the new Tolbooth, written between 1776 and 1792.  The following will suffice:--

      “The new tolbooth is built a little to the South of the old one, on a site at the south-east end of the new brig entry.  Its form is oblong, lying due east and west.  The front faces the new street (north), and is 66 feet long, 26 feet in breadth, and 20 feet in height (outside measure).  The walls are about 3 ½ feet thick.  There are four sunk apartments under the street level; one for the keeper, a black-hole for desperadoes, and two for holding the town’s lamps, oil and scavenger’s besoms, &c.  Above the level of the street the building consists of one storey; front to the north, which has a large door in the middle, with two large windows on each side of it.  In the middle of the spaces, between the door and the windows, at their top are six small carved stones.  On the east side of the door-top is a carving of the Town’s arms; on the west side is one of St. Margaret; the other four consist of Crowns, Harps, Roses, &c.  This street storey contains the Council-room, on the west, which is 29 feet long, 18 ½ feet broad, and 12 feet high.  The rooms on the east are the clerk’s writing rooms and closet.  The end fronting the east has a large window in it like the rest of the windows, and below it is a grated small window for air to the black-hole.  In the south-east corner [top of Kirkgate] is the steeple, the weather-cock of which is 99 feet above the causeway.  At the foot of the steeple there’s a door with the royal arms cut on a stone over it, and the date 1769.  The upper part of the tower contains the bell and the dials and works of the town clock.  The steeple is 12 feet square.  From the street to the bartizan is 80 feet; and the timber-cock, 3 feet 2 inches.”  (By Matthew Parker, watch and clock maker, Dunfermline)

  1772.—SEVERE “SNAWY WINTER.”—The winter of 1772 set in early in January in the west of Fife, and continued snowing “every now and then” until April.  In Dunfermline the streets in many places were “kept up knee-deep,” and some places were so “choked up with drift that the snow rose to the second storeys of some houses.”  (MS. by J.A.)

  THE CANNON was brought from Carron, and fixed near the north-east angle of the Town House, “to protect it from injury.”

  PRIORY LANE, anciently called the Common Vennel, “began to be built.”  (MS. Note.)

    GOLFDRUM-FIELDS.—And Old MS. Note states that “there were only about a dozen of huts of houses built here and there in Golfdrum-fields” in the year 1772, and that there would be “about 50 or 60 souls inhabiting them.”  After this period Golfdrum began to be built in a regular order, and in a direction with “Boofies-brae brig.”

  BRIDGE STREET.—The building of this street was begun early in 1772.  It was then known, and for long afterwards, by the name of the New Brig.  The centre part of the street is about 50 feet above the Back Burn, which runs from north to south, directly below, through the long subterranean arch.”  (See other Notices.)

  OUT-SHOT STAIRS.—“The Council appoint the Dean of Gild and Clerk to look our and make up a list of those who have got a grant of out-shots or stairs on the streets, on condition of removing them at pleasure, and to cause summons them to the Council to cause them enact themselves so.”  (Burgh Records, 15th April, 1772.)

  VISIT OF PENNANT THE TOURIST TO DUNFERMLINE.—Thomas Pennant, Esq., the celebrated tourist, was in Scotland this year, journeying from place to place, collecting material for his work, entitled, “A Tour in Scotland.”  In his progress he arrived in Dunfermline in the middle of September, 1772.  His notes on Dunfermline, in his work, occupy four pages of the quarto edition.  The following are a few extracts therefrom:--

      “Dunfermline lies at the distance of four miles from the firth, is prettily situated on a rising ground, and the country round is beautifully divided by low and well-cultivated hills.  The grounds are enclosed, and planted with hedge-row trees.  The town wants the advantage of a river, but has a small stream for economic uses, which is conducted through the streets in a flagged channel.  At its discharge it joins another rivulet, then arriving at a fall into a wooded dell of a hundred feet in depth, becomes again useful in turning five mills, place one below the other, with room for as many more.

      “This place is very populous.  The number of inhabitants are between six and seven thousand; and such have been the improvements in manufactures as to have increased nearly double its ancient number within the last twelve years.  The manufactures are damasks, diapers, checks, and ticking, to the amount of forth thousand pounds a year.  These employ in town and neighbourhood about a thousand looms.  

      “The most remarkable modern building here is the Tolbooth, with a slender square tower, very lofty, and topped with a conic roof.  Mr. Chalmers has made a work of vast expense over the glen at the west end of the town, by forming a bridge of one arch three hundred feet in length, twelve feet wide, and ten high, covering the whole with earth seventy-five feet thick.

      “The Abbey was begun by Malcolm Canmore, and finished by Alexander I.  It was probably intended for a religious infirmary, being so styled in old manuscripts, ‘Monasterium ab Monte infirmorum.’  The remains of the Abbey are considerable, and evince its former splendour.

      “Part of the Church is at present in use.  It is supported by five rows of massy pillars, scarcely seventeen feet high and thirteen and a-half in circumference.  Two are ribbed spirally, and two marked with zig-zag lines, like those of Durham, which they resemble, the arches also Saxon, or round.

      “Malcolm and his queen, and six other kings, lie here—the two first apart, the others under as many flat stones, each nine feet long.”  (Pennant’s Tour in Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 212-216.)

  There are two engraved illustrations connected with this description; the first is entitled “Abbey and Palace of Dunfermline,” taken from the Sheilling Hill, east of the Heugh Mills, and is a very nice view, showing the Palace Wall, the Pends, Fratery Wall, Bowling Green Wall, the Church, fragment of the Old Choir, and the New Town House, with the Steeple in the distance.  The second view is within an oval border, and is entitled, “A Window in Dunfermlin Abbey,” a kind of miniature view of the Monastery from the north-west, and not very correct.

  WEAVERS’ WAGES.—In 1772 the average rate of the wages of a good weaver, with his cord-drawer, was about £30.  (Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. p. 165.)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—John Wilson, junior, was re-elected Provost, 28th September, 1772.  (Burgh Records)

  MUSIC-MASTER AND PRECENTOR.—Mr. James Bain appointed music-master and precentor of Dunfermline, 23rd October, 1772.

  CLOCKS AND WATCHES, “formerly so rare, began to be more common.  Two clock and watchmakers in Dunfermline sold on trust payments.  At this time a newly married couple began to think that their house was not complete without a clock and a chest of drawers, and the guid-man must have a watch.”  (MS. Note)

  1773.—DANCING IN THE TOWNHOUSE SINFUL AND INDECENT!—The following singular note is extracted from the Burgh Records:--

      “2nd January, 1773:  Which day it being moved in the Council that it was sinful and indecent to allow a Dance within the Townhouse to the Burgesses of this burgh for their entertainment and the use of the poor.  The Council after having heard ye arguments on both sides, fully, came to the vote, Grant ye desire of Burgesses to have a Dance, or not, it was Carried by a Majority of Sixteen to four, of liberty of a Dance which the Council allow, against which grant John Wilson Senior, protested and took instruments,” &c.

  CLOCK FOR THE NEW TOWNHOUSE:--The Council after considering the advisability of having a public clock for the town, ordered the same to be made:--

      “13th January, 1773:  Which Day the Council agreed that the Dean of Gild and Conveener and Bailly Ireland, transmit copies of ye several estimates given in for ye new clock to some proper person of Skill, a Clockmaker in Edinburgh or get an opinion which of the three Estimates is most proper to be execute for ye interest of ye Town—also his opinion which of the makers of ye Estimates he judges properest for making said Clock”   .   .   .   “3rd April, 1773:  This day the Council appointed the Dean of Gild and Conveener, Bailly Morison, Bailly Hunt, Deacon Abercromby and Deacon Wilson with the magistrates as a committee to Commune with the Clockmakers in Town anent the Clock for the new steeple and to get and account of their Cautioners.  And in the meantime the Council agree that the Clock shall have four Dial plates and strike the quarters and without minute hands and to Report.”  .   .   .   “17th April, 1773:  Which Day the Council by a majority of votes made choice of James Symsone Clockmaker to make the Town Clock for the New steeple in terms of his Estimate and proposals formerly given in.”  .  .  .  “14th August, 1773:  This Day the Council by a majority of votes agree that the Clock for the new steeple shall have four Dial plates, without Minute hands or striking the quarters.”

  INOCULATION “first tried in Dunfermline this year, 1773, as a preventive of small-pox in Mr. Laurence Gibb’s family, by Dr. James Stenhouse.”  Another Note states that many looked on this “trial” as a tempting of Providence. 

  KILLING SWINE, ETC., ON THE HIGH STREET.—“17th April, 1773:  which day the Council Discharge Every person within the Burgh from Killing Swine or other Bestial upon the high Street under the penalty of one Shilling Ster.”  (Burgh Records)

  TOWN CLERK’S SALARY.—“24th April, 1773:  Which Day the Council unanimously agree that the Clerk shall be paid Twelve Guineas yearly in full of Salary, qualifying the Council; House rent and Gratis Ticket.”  (Burgh Records)

  WELL OF SPA.—Protest by the Council against the closing of the Spa Well:--

      “28th May, 1773:  This Day the Council considering that the entry from the Town to the Well of Spaw is now shut up by Mr. Chalmers, which was a particular privilege to ye Inhabitants of the Burgh, Do hereby appoint the Provost to intimate to Mr. Chalmers that the Town will not give up that privilege, and to require him to open an entry thereto as formerly.”

There is no other minute regarding this matter in the Burgh Records.  This will is still in existence, about fifty yards south of the ruins of Malcolm Canmore’s Tower—Tower Hill.  The water is reported as being “very cold at all times.”  The water should be analysed.  The well during the period of its being used was known as the “Spaw Well,” and the “Well of Spaw,” and, by and by an easy, natural transition, “Wallace Spa;” and thus the name of the well has sometime been connected with that of the great Scottish hero.  (MS. Note)

  PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—John Wilson, junior, re-elected Provost.  (Burgh Records, 27th September, 1773)

  THE TOWN’S CHARTER-CHEST—Books, &c., to be Removed to the Townhouse.--:18th Oct., 1773:  The towns charter-chest, Books and Papers, ordered to be lifted from Mrs. Scotland’s room, to the Council Chamber and there to be sorted and put up ye best way they can.”  (Burgh Records)

  THE NEW CLOCK.--£36 to be paid to account of it to James Symsone, Clockmaker, by John Horn, old treasurer.  (Burgh Records, 29th December, 1773)

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