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The Annuls of Ayr
the morning of the Reformation broke upon Scotland, there was no part of the
country which welcomed it more heartily than Ayrshire.
The shire had long been noted for its Protestant sympathies.
The Lollards, whose name had been associated with Kyle for several
generations, had done much doubtless to leaven the popular mind. In 1545 George
Wishart visited Ayr, preached at the Cross and "made so notable a sermon
that the very enemies themselves were confounded."
In 1556 John Knox travelled through the district, preaching in the houses
of Bar, Kinzeancleuch, Cairnhill, Ochiltree and
Gadgirth, and in the town of Ayr. In the spring of 1559 events came to a climax.
John Willock, once a
Franciscan in the town, but now a Protestant, appeared within the burgh, took
possession of pulpit of St. John's Kirk, and preached openly from there the
doctrines of the Reformation.
was at this time in the west country no stouter champion of the ancient church
than Quentin Kennedy, the Abbot of Crossraguel.
To him accordingly in this crisis, James Beaton, Archbishop of
wrote instructing him to proceed to Ayr and quell the commotion.
The reply of the Abbot is extant, and supplies us with a graphic account
of what transpired. "Please your Lordship to witt" (know), he begins,
"according to your wrytting, sent to me with the Prior of the Black Friars,
I passit on Pasch (Easter) evin till Air, and thair remainit aucht days.
Afoir my cuming Wi1lok had prechit with intolerabill exclamatiouns,
cryand out on the mess (mass). I
persaivand the peple abusit in this maner, I was constreinzit (constrained) on
my conscience to oppone myself to this wickit lymmaris (villain's) heresie and
doctrine, and causit my writings to be maid manifest to all the honest men of
the town. Schortlie thair wes
diverse writtingis past amangs us." But
this discussion by correspondence proving unsatisfactory, it was resolved that
the two heroes should meet face to face and argue the matter out.
Willock proposed that the conference should be held in St. John's Kirk, "because," said he, "I do teache my doctrine oppinlye before the pepil thair." To this, however, the Abbot objected, and the town-house of the Laird of Cairnhill was chosen instead. It was agreed also that neither of the disputants should bring with him more than twenty-four friends. But the conference was not to be. On the day appointed Kennedy appeared at the named, accompanied by several religious men and others of his party. Willock had arrived before him, and with him were four or five hundred to fortify him. Afraid of a tumult, the Abbot was content to withdraw. He declared that Willock had broken the terms of their agreement, declined to confer with him, and took a legal protest against his conduct.
has been generally supposed that in early times the mouth of the Doon was much
nearer Ayr than at present, and it is conjectured that originally the stream
found its way into the sea by two channels, the main estuary passing through the
grounds about Blackburn House, and the other entering the bay as at present. The
lands of Cunning Park, being thus enclosed by water on all sides, were called
the Isle of Cunning Park. But although this name was still given them in the
period with which we are dealing, the northerly channel of the Doon had
disappeared, and the river flowed into the sea as it does now. The southern
boundary line of the burgh ran up the Curtecan burn, which must at one time have
been a tributary of the Doon, joining it about Belleisle bridge.
the Curtecan and the town lay a stretch of moorland, known as the Burrowfield.
On its eastern side stood the ruined Chapel of St. Leonards, on the west was the
little property of Bridgehouse. On the moor itself there were no houses, and the
ground being marshy in many places, part of it was sometimes called " the
foul muir." There was no regular road across the common, but only devious
tracks. On the side known to-day as the Knowe stood the gallows of the town.
along the shore, from Blackburn to the harbour mouth, lay a range of sandhills.
The injuries suffered by the burgh through the blowing of the sand were very
great. The fabric of St. John's Kirk and the walls of the harbour were in
constant need of repair, the graves around the Kirk were frequently upturned:
and any arable land in the vicinity was rendered unfit for cultivation. The
Sandgate was particularly exposed to the fury of the blasts. Half a century ago
the traces of a buried house were discovered eight or ten feet beneath the
surface of the street. It was not till 1725 that the sandhills were levelled,
and this source of annoyance and danger effectually removed.
town at this period of its history, say in the middle of the seventeenth
century, was guarded by four Ports. There was the Carrick Port at the head of
the Sandgate; the Sea Port at the western end of the Boat Vennel; the
Port on the northern extremity of the Old Bridge, and the Kyle Port a little
above the Wallace Tower.
attempting to describe the appearance of the town and to give some account of
its older buildings, we shall begin on the seaside and travel round to the
Herbery or Harbour is a feature of the town which meets us frequently in the
pages of the old Records. In former times there were two quays, both on the
south side of the river, the one just below the Ratton hole, and the other lower
down. Not till 1677 do we hear of a bulwark on the north side. Large sums were
expended on the maintenance of the Harbour. The "auld wrackis of shippis
" that lay within it, together with the violence of the storms, were
detrimental to the walls.
The Harbour expenses were mixed up with those of the Bridge, and the
impost known as the "Brig Penny" was used to pay them. We give the
terms of this levy, as laid down in 1588:
Every horse and mare,
sua forth (so forth), offearand ane equivalent of goods and merchandise that
beis brought and passes by the said Bridge, and bought in the said mercat."
Above the Harbour, on the site of the Fort Castle, stood the Kirk of St. John.
It was built in the form of a cross, and but for the tower the Old Church
resembles it closely. The tower which is all that remains of the old building
stood at the west end. It was originally crowned with two triangular gables, but
these were removed in 1784. The belfry contained two bells, a great and a small.
Round about the Kirk was the Kirkyard, which covered about an acre of ground.
the soldiers of Cromwell had taken possession of St. John's Kirk, they
surrounded it with fortifications, The expense incurred was so great that when
the account was presented to Cromwell he is said to have asked whether they had
been built of gold. The whole area enclosed by the walls measured no less than
twelve acres. The form of the buildings was hexagonal with bastions at each of
the angles. The two walls, facing the sea and the town respectively, were longer
than any of the others. At high tide the base of the sea curtain was washed by
the waves. The wall which fronted the town was protected by a deep trench.
Within this wall stood the main gate, and in a recess above the gate were
sculptured the arms of the Commonwealth.
the Restoration in 1660 an order for the dismantling of the Citadel was issued
by the Privy Council, and the fencible men of the town were called out to
demolish the walls. In 1663 it was made over to the then Earl of
by the same charter was created a free burgh of regality, under the name of Montgomerieston. We have seen that in
1687 St. John's Kirk was purchased by John
Moore and others, and converted into a Presbyterian place of service. The stones
of the Church were afterwards employed in erecting a steeple on the Tolbooth,
and when the steeple was taken down they were used in building part of the wall
along the Racecourse Road between the road and the Blackburn estate.
1663 an Act of Parliament was passed, calling upon all public officials to
abjure the Covenants. This Declaration, as it was styled, eight of the Town
Council refused to sign. The second charge was filled in 1664 by the appointment
of George Whyte, one of the so-called "curates." The Magistrates were
now the patrons, but "wishing to show the inhabitants that they intend to
doe all things in love and calmness," they convened a meeting in the
people were asked if they had anything to object in Mr. Whyte to which "the
maist part said they only wished a farder hearing of him, but several cried out
they could not condescend to him nor no other, becaus the place was sufficiently
furnished by two ministers, lawfullie established who were yet in lyf." The
harshness of Mr. Eccles' deprivation was evidently still fresh in their minds.
Mr. Whyte's appointment was unpopular, and he never afterwards appears to have
secured the sympathies of the people. The meetings of Session over which he
presided were attended by scarcely any of the elders. As a rule there were only
himself and the Session Clerk. The minute most commonly occurring begins thus:
"Apud Air: presentibus Master George Whyte, minister, and the Clerk."
And there is a still quainter proof of the disfavour in which he was held. A
later Clerk objected to see him styled "minister" in the minute-book:
and wherever "minister and " occurs, as in the extract above quoted,
he has changed it with thick strokes of the pen into " togither with!"
1665 the struggle between the Covenanters and the Government entered upon a new
stage. The Covenanters, goaded beyond endurance, decided to take up arms. In
point of numbers they were more than two thousand, but in fighting strength far
inferior to the Royal forces. When the two armies met in the Pentlands at
Rullion Green, the insurgents were driven from the field. A hundred of them were
taken prisoners, and tried in various parts of the country. Ralph Shields, a
merchant of Ayr, was hanged in Edinburgh. In Ayr itself, at the close of 1665, a
Commission of the Privy Council held a Court of Assize. Twelve of the prisoners
were arraigned, and all found guilty. Two were sentenced to be hanged in Irvine,
two in Dumfries, and the remaining eight in Ayr. Fearful of a rising, the
Government planted in the town a strong detachment of soldiers. John Moore, a
leading burgess, of whom we shall hear more anon, protested against this measure
in the name of the inhabitants, but without effect. The execution was fixed for
as the day approached an unexpected difficulty arose. The hangman of the burgh
was unwilling to officiate, and left the town. The authorities sent for William
Sutherland, the hangman of Irvine, to take his place. But this man was a
Covenanter himself, and objected to perform the work. He was put in the Tolbooth,
and Mr. Whyte, the curate, sent to overcorne his scruples. " Do ye not
know," he said, " that thir men are guilty of rebellion? " But
argument and entreaty were alike fruitless, for the hangman would not be
convinced. At last Mr. Whyte lost patience. " Away with thee," he
cried, "the devil is in thee, and thou hast dealing with familiar
spirits." The recalcitrant was next brought before the Council, but
persisted in his refusal to act.
followed may be told in his own words. "The Provost of Ayr, when he saw me
altogether refusing, he rounded in my lug, "What! are you afraid of the
country folk? I shall give you fifty dollars, and you may go to the Highlands or
where you please." I answered him, speaking out loud that all might hear,
"What! would you have me sell my conscience? Where can I flee from God?
Remember Jonas fled from Him, but the Lord found him out and ducked him over the
lugs: so shall He me, if I go over the light of my conscience!" Then I was
taken away and put in the stocks."
Council were in a dilemma. But a way out of the difficulty presented itself.
They offered to grant any of the prisoners his life who would consent to act as
executioner to the rest. One man, Cornelius Anderson, a tailor in Ayr and the
only Ayr man among them, was base enough to accept the offer. "On the day
appointed," says Wodrow, "his heart was like to fail." But the
provost plied him freely with brandy, and thus primed he did the work. Shortly
after, we are told, he died in distraction.
seven martyrs are interred in the Old Churchyard. They were by name James Smith
of Old Letham; Alexander M'Millan of Carsphairn; James M'Millan of Mondrogat;
John Short of Dalry; George M'Kertney of Blairkenny; John Graham of Midtoun; and
James Muirhead of Irongray. In 1814 a stone was erected to their memories by the
Incorporated Trades of the town, It bears upon its back these lines, which are
perhaps modern, but have all the flavour of the Covenanting age.
Here lie seven Martyrs to our Covenants,
And Herod Drummond caused their heads affix,
the M'Adam here mentioned was we do not know. The Earl of Rothes was the
presiding judge. Drummond was the Lieutenant-General of that name, afterwards
Viscount Strathallan. General Dalziel now established himself in Kilmarnock, and
various bodies of soldiery were set down throughout the shire. Four hundred and
fifty troopers were quartered in Ayr, and the town commanded to make provision
for their wants. Newton Castle was chosen as the garrison, and the magistrates
resolved " to buy or borrow two furnished fethir beds with bolsteris, cods
(pillows), sheits, coverings, blanquets, and curtains." This detachment
remained in the town for seven months. In the day-time they scoured the country
in search of fugitives: in the evening they returned from their ravages.
FIRST PROTESTANT MINISTER.
messenger who was sent to bring Mr. Goodman to Ayr was one Richard Bannatyne.
He was John Knox's secretary, and a native of the town; and in all
probability had been largely instrumental in directing the current of events.
When Goodman arrived he was received with acclamation by the people.
The liberality of the Town Council knew no bounds.
Curtains were made for his amber. Silver was given him. A
"gowning" was ordered for his use, and a new Bible put in the Kirk. No
minister in Ayr, we fancy, has ever since been so lavishly cared for. The
following are items of the town's expenditure :-" For blak to be claithes
to ye minister-£4." "For
ane coatt of French blak to ye minister-£3."
"For black silk buttons to ye minister's coat-5s."
"Given to the minister by (buy) him sarks-£3." had this state
of matters lasted long, Mr. Goodman would probably have been smothered with
clothes and kindness. But in 1560
he received a call to St. Andrews. Thither he "raid" away with Richard
Bannatyne, and we hear of him no more. He
had been the first Protestant minister of the town, and he was the first to
celebrate the communion in St. John's Kirk, according to the rites of the
Reformers. In the treasurer's
accounts for 1559-60, there are discharges for "quheit (wheat) breid,"
and "wyne to ye communioun."
1560 and 1568 there was no settled ministry in Ayr.
During that period there were few qualified clergy to be had, and the
churches throughout the country were chiefly served by a staff of itinerant
readers and exhorters. Amongst the readers in Kyle was Richard Bannatyne: while
John Willock, now promoted to be superintendent for the west, was another who
would doubtless take a lively interest in the welfare of the Kirk of Ayr. In
1562 John Knox visited the shire to cross swords with the Abbot of Crossraguel,
and amongst those who subscribed a bond for the maintenance of the reformed
religion was " Michael Wallace, provost of Ayr, with fortie more of the
honestest burgesses of that town."
It was proposed on this occasion, as in 1559, that the debate between the
two divines should take place in St. John's Kirk; but the abbot demurring as
before, it was held in Maybole.
In 1567 the Parish of Ayr was erected into a collegiate charge, and in the year following James Dalryrnple was appointed minister. Since 1560 he had been one of the readers for Kyle, and he entered the parish with a stipend of £100 Scots. At this point it may be proper to indicate what became of the endowments of the ancient church. Their history is to some extent wrapped in obscurity, but certain facts are known. In 1565 the lands of the Black Friars, mills, fishings, houses, etc., were set in tack for nineteen years by Queen Mary to Charles Crawfurd, one of her "gentillmen servandis."
recreations in which the people indulged are another interesting feature of the
social life of the times. There were public sports which were encouraged and
promoted by the magistrates. These were held for the most part in what we now
know as the Low Green. The grass of the common from the Kirkyard (St. John's)
dyke to the Blackburne" was let for pasture, but always on the
understanding that "the
pastyme of the honest men in gayming" should be reserved according to use
and wont. There it was that the wappinschaws or displays of skill in arms were
yeaily held. The earliest of such competitions was in archery. Butts stood on
ground " besouth of the sandhills " for common practice, and at the
annual wappinschaw a papingo was erected. This was a wooden bird, resembling a
parrot, which was set on a high pole and shot at by the archers. The papingo was
daily bedizened. In 1594 the Magistrates spend £5 on " Taffetic for the
beird (beard) of the papingoe." The bow was ultimately superseded by the
hagbut or gun. In 1598, at the request of the youth of the burgh, "ane
silver hagbut about ane ounce weight or thereby" is presented by the Town
Council to be shot for yearly. The good marksman in these days was a useful
member of society. It was laid down, however, that rifle-practice should not
take place on the streets. There was to be "no shuting and dilashing
(discharging) of hagbuts and pistolettis on the foregait."
of the pastimes of the people was golf. There is only one reference to the game
in the Council Records, but it goes to prove that it was a common recreation. In
1587 Andrew Blackater was "apprehended reid-hand with reseting of ane gad
of irn (iron-club) fra David Ingrames buyth dure and certain goff ballis."
Other games are incidentally mentioned. There was football and "catching of
the ball:" "barley-breaks," which was played among the stacks of
a cornyard, and means probably " breaking a parley:" "tig-about,"
some kind of tig: and " wadds," a game of forfeits.
administration of the law was in the hands of the Town Council, but they were
zealously aided, as we shall see later, by the authorities of the Church. Full
power was delegated to the Magistrates to adjudicate on cases of slaughter,
mutilation, theft, and other offences committed within the burgh, and the
townsmen were exempted from attendance upon any other court.
Provost and Bailies in these days did not bear the sword in vain. It was a
dangerous thing to dispute their authority. In 1662 a riot took place in the
town, and the rioters, after having been imprisoned for some time, were ordained
" to come from the Tolbuith to the mercat croce upon ane mercat day,
bair-foted with ane cord about everie ane of their neks, led be the hand of the
hangman with ane paper upon everie ane of their foirheids, beiring this
inscription, viz., for john Cauldwell (the ringleader), beiring thir words,
"Beholders tak example. Feir God and obey your Lawful Magistrates:"
and the rest with this inscription, "For Mutinie and Disobedience to
lockman or hangman was a very important, but at the same time a very unpopular
personage. In 1595 it was enacted "that nane injure the lockman in word or
deid." When the Magistrates held an assize, he attended in an official
capacity, and after the sentence had been pronounced, he was called upon to
repeat it in the court. It was his duty to see that it was duly carried out. His
emoluments are given us in a minute of 1674. He had "ten pund of yearly
pension, five merks for cleansing of the calsey (causeway), ane long coat, ane
pair of breaches, ane pair of hois, ane pair of schoes, ane groat of ilk brewar,
with ane hous and ane yeard, twelve shillings quhen any sail be put in the jogs:
half ane crown for whipping; and three pund for ilk execution."
shall deal with the in the minor offences that were common in the town when we
come to describe the ecclesiastical life. Of graver crimes the two most
frequently occurring were assault and theft. At the beginning of our period
cases of the former are numerous, but as time goes on they diminish. The
offenders were visited now with fines, now with incarceration, and again with
confinement in the stocks. The stocks stood in the Sandgate close to the
Tolbooth. The prevalence of theft
gave the Magistrates greater trouble. Thieves, pykers, and cutpurses were
constantly in evidence. They became so common at the close of the Sixteenth
century that the severest penalties were inflicted. A resetter of stolen goods
was banished from the town, and informed that if she returned she would be
"drownit to ye deith." In 1589 a man was proved to have stolen "
three great pocks full of quheyt (wheat) from a bark, a greit sek (sack) full of
quheyt, three peks quheyt mair, and ane hogheid of hering." By a majority
of votes he was sentenced "to be hangit to ye deyth." A minority pled
for "mercy." They urged that instead of being hanged the man "
suld be scurgit, brunt on the cheyk, his lug nalit to ye croce, and baneist ye
toun." Truly in these days the quality of mercy was strained.
sentences passed on thieves became gradually less severe. By the close of the
seventeenth century scourging was the penalty commonly inflicted. But this, it
should be added was no trifling punishment. In 1690 a thief who had been
convicted of stealing "bear" or barley was sentenced to be scourged
after this manner. He was "to begin at the Sandgate, there to receave six
whips by the lockman, six at the Mercat Cross, six at the Brigend, six at the
Meall-mercat, six at the Old Tower, six at the Barnnsgate, and to be returned
back to the Bridge Port and there to receave other six." Such were the
stringent measures by Which the law was enforced. The transgressor was not
released from its clutches till lie had paid the uttermost farthing.
PLAGUE OF 1647.
about the beginning of the next century the pest again drew near. In 1600, it is
said, two pedlars came to one of the Ports and asked permission to enter.
John Welsh, who
was then assistant minister, chanced to he on the spot, and suspecting them to
be tainted, "Baillie," he said, cause these men to put on their packs
again and be gone; for if God be in heaven, the plague is in these packs."
men thus repulsed went on to Cumnock; but they had not been long in that place
before the pestilence broke out among its inhabitants, and raged so fiercely
that " the living could scarcely bury the dead." Another source of
danger lay in the goods which were imported by sea. In 1602 a vessel sailed into
the harbour, laden with hides. She had come from Ireland which was then plague
stricken. For some time
neither crew nor cargo were admitted into the burgh. They remained in quarantine
under the sandhills until the moon had changed. Then having cleansed the hides,
and having washed themselves and changed their garments, they were suffered to
enter the town.
At length, however, the dreaded catastrophe occurred. In the summer of 1606 the disease broke out in the burgh. A public meeting was held in the Tolbooth, partly for humiliation before the Almighty, who had "plesit to veseit this sinfull toun with the seikness of ye pest, justlie deservit for ye sinnis thereof," and partly to devise remedial measures. That part of the Burrowfield known as "the foul muir " was set apart for those who were actual victims, or who were under suspicion. Booths and lodges were erected for the sufferers, and great caldrons set up for cleansing " the foull geir." Any that left the moor without permission were to be consigned to the stocks, or " brunt with ane bait irn on the chyk." Victuals and coals were sent out to the booths, and what is still more curious and characteristic of the age, the morals of the patients were strictly supervised. The officials who attended to the caldrons were to see that there was no impropriety in speech or behaviour among the sick people "under ye pane of deid."
AGAINST THE PLAGUE.
little gardens which lay at the back of most of the houses were largely subject
to the ravages of stray poultry. In 1690 a protective resolution was passed.
Considering the damage done " through coks and hens going upon thack houses
and taking and destroying of the thack with their feitt, beiks, and likeways
through their going and fleeing into yeards and spoiling and ryving up the
ground thereof where seed are now sowen; and likeways the great dammadge they
sustine through geese, their poysoning and destroying of the gress that noe
uther beasts can eat the same, therefore the Magistrates and Counsell doe hereby
discharge the haill inhabitants of this burgh to keep any hens, coks, or
goose in tyme coming, except what they keep within cavies or in other
hennies within their house."
precautions, it may be added, were taken with regard to vagrant dogs. Any that
were found on the streets after eight o'clock at night were ordered " to be
town in these early days was not remarkable for its cleanliness. The authorities
were constantly passing enactments that the streets should be kept in better
order. " Middings, intrallis of beasts, and fishguts " were thrown
indiscriminately upon the causeway. The consequence of this state of matters,
which was common everywhere else, was that towards the end of the sixteenth and
the beginning of the seventeenth century a plague devastated the chief towns of
the comity. It was apparently a form of typhus, and very deadly.
1585 it broke out in Johnston, and the Ayr Magistrates began hurriedly to set
their town in order. The Ports, which had become ruinous were repaired, and the
vennels and back-dykes closed tip. No "traveller, cadgear, or creilinan
(packman)," was permitted to enter the town. Any who came in otherwise than
by the Ports were to be scourged and branded on the cheek, while any suspected
as infectious might there and then be " hangit to ye deyth." The town
was divided into several quarters, each being under the supervision of a quarter
master, and a nightly watch was maintained at the several Ports.
the observance of such precautions the plague was warded off for several years.
The Magistrates learned thus the value of sanitation, and the conditions of life
became somewhat cleanlier. Formerly swine had been permitted to roam over the
town, picking up a living from the garbage-heaps. Now they were forbidden to go
about at large, and if caught in the act were to be slain. The "middings
" on the streets were not permitted to lie longer than forty-eight hours.
It was ordained that they should be removed to the hills " for quensing and
stainching of the blawing of the sand." In 1590 a regular cleaner was
appointed who went round the town with ane strong and substantious quheil-barrow."
AND DRESS OF THE PEOPLE.
Session "ordayned ane scat to be chosen in ye kirk quhairin James
chirurgeon, shall sitt on Sabbath dayis and uther dayis, convenient that he may
be fund easilie quhen any hes adoe with him, without truble ather to ye minister
or heareris of the Word." The surgeon acted also as the common barber. In
1608 the Magistrates forbade all others " to schaiff or poill (poll) ony
persoun within the burgh but onlie ye said James, he beand ressonable and also
gude chaip for his panis (pains)."
hours of labour and rest were regulated by the Magistrates. The hour of rising
was four in the morning, while work was put aside at six at night. The signals
were given by two common minstrels, the piper and drummer. These officials were
paid to "gang dayly ilk day through the toun, evening and morning, and gif
they failzie (fail), they to ressav na meit that day they gang not; sua (so)
being that they be not stayed be (by) the intemperatness or the weddir."
the time of William the Lion, Saturday had been kept as the market day. But in
1690 it was changed to Friday, Saturday having been found unsuitable because of
"peoples aither staying lait in the burgh, or going home unseasonablie and
unfit for ye work of the ensewing Sabbath." There were two annual fairs in
the town, the one in Midsummer at the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the
Baptist, and the other at Michaelmas. Each lasted for a week, but the former was
the more important.
price and quality of food in these times were regulated by the Magistrates. The
"penny laif" it was ordained in 1589, was to contain twelve ounces,
"and na uther kind of material but quheit to be used in baking."
Shortbread, it was fixed later, was "to be weill and sufficientlie bakin
with buttir, to contein fourteen unce, ind to be sauld for 12d., and na dar
(dearer). Ilk pek thereof to haif (have) in it ane pund of buttir, and to be
bakin of clene flour without ony mixtor of uther cornis."
Cakes of flour and oatmeal were another common article of diet. The
hucksters were instructed to " mak the kaik of bread of sufficient clean
meill, but (without) dust or seids, to be sauld at threttie pennies the caik,
quliilk wilbe ten pennies the fardle."
The fleshers exposed their meat in their various shops, as at present,
and one of the Bailies went round the town " serching out of ye blawne
flesclie." The common drink of the people was ale, and the best ale was
"to be sauld for 12d., and na dar, ye pynt."
in the matter of dress the Magistrates had something to say. In 1610 an Act was
passed foibidding single women to dress like those who were married. They were
" not to were ony kynd of busk or attyre upon their heids, but only
curcheyis (kerchiefs) with hingand (hanging) down lappis, sua (so) that thai may
be decernit fia maicit woman, under the pain of aucht dayis warding in the
Tolbuith." Matrons only, it would appear, were permitted to indulge in a
mutch or a bonnet.
How the men were dressed we may gather from this inventory of date 1600. The burgess in question was evidently a person of quality. He had ' ane clok of Loundan (London) broun claith, lynit with taffatie in the breist, with three passments (strips of lace) about: ane doublet of grogram (coarse silk) taffatie, with ane pair of figourit
OF THE HOUSES.
velvet breiks; ane coat all passmented thicker;
ane pair worsit schankis (stockings) with gartanis;
ane hat and ane string ; ane sark and ane sark neck (collar)
of cainbrage (cambric) with sewit naipkin (cravat), and ane bonnet mutche
(night-cap)." Then comes his armour; "ane hagbut (gun), ane sword, ane
pair of pistollets, ane jak (short coat of mail), ane steil bonnet, ane sadell,
ane brydell, with the stirrep irnes (irons); girthes, curpell
(crupper), and tie; with buitts and sacks (leggings), and spurris.
these stirring times weapons were a necessary part of a man's outfit. He seldom
went abroad without his sword or his heavy staff. But, as time went on, it was
found necessary to suppress this practice. The Magistrates, in 1609, forbade the
citizens "to bere or weir ony battoun or gugeon (cudgel) of tymmer for
strykin, abusing, or invading therewith of ony nybor."
furniture of the houses was not elaborate. The kitchen was generally the chief
room and contained most of it. Here is the description of the house of a
well-to-do burgess in 1596. There is no luxury about it, but it breathes an air
of comfort and warmth. " Ane meit armorie (safe), ane court-buird, ane lang
setil-bed, ane mekil greit kist, ane irin pott, ane irin chimlay (grate), ane
cruik, ane tangis, ane chair, ane spinning-quheil, ane girdill, ane lattoune
pekill (brass vessel), ane flesh fat (pot), ane vescheil-buirde (rack) with
plaitis and trunchors (trenchers), ane laidill (ladle), ane elne-cruik
(instrument for measuring), ane pair of peper cornes (pepper grinders), ane calf
(chaff) bed, ane windo cloth (blind), ane feddir bouster (bolster) with twa
feddir coddis (pillows), twa sowit codwairis (pillowslips), ane covring
(coverlet), ane straik (grain-measurer), ane rowing (rowan) tree, ane pair
scheitis." The crook was the iron hook on which the cooking vessels were
hung over the fire. The rowan tree was placed above the back door, and was
supposed to be a charm against witchcraft.
The old rhyme ran:
Here again are the plenishings of the house of the citizen, whose dress we have already described. It indicates a man in higher social position than the preceding. " Ane furneist feddir bed with sheets, blanketts, codds, bolsteris, and ane caddy (pillowslip), ane basing (bason), ane laver, ane plait, ane trunchor, ane pynt stoup, ane chopene stope, ane mutchkin stop, ane salfer (salver), ane dische, ane saltfat (salt cellar), ane tangis, ane porring-iron (poker), ane ladle, ane cruik, ane spitt, ane nickil pat, ane pan, ane chymnay, ane guis (goose) pan, ane frying pan, ane pestell and mortrar (mortar), ane dozen silver spounes, ane fut hall-buirde, ane compter-buird (desk), ane stand-bed, ane mekil kist and forme, ane lang-settill, ane pair of courtangis (curtains), a coffer, ane meit armorie, ane Bybill, ane steill glass (mirror), ane compass, ane nicht glass, ane astrolaby (telescope), ane windsel-cart (chart), ane cors (cross) staff," The compass and other nautical instruments suggest that their owner had some connection with the sea.