The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Scottish Journal of Topography, Antiquities, Traditions, &c., Vol. I, No. 22, January 29, 1848

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Title: The Scottish Journal of Topography, Antiquities, Traditions, &c., Vol. I, No. 22, January 29, 1848

Author: Various

Release date: February 4, 2019 [eBook #58823]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Topography, Antiquities, Traditions,

&c. &c.

No. 22.      Edinburgh, Saturday, January 29, 1848.      Price 1½d.



ALEXANDER, the first Invernahyle, was son to Allan Stewart, third Laird of Appin. He married Margaret Macdonald, daughter of Donald Macdonald of Moidart, commonly called Donul an Lochan.[1] He had only one child, Donald, who succeeded him. Alexander, it would appear, lived in Island Stalker. He rose early on a summer morning, and stepped over to the Nan Gall,[2] which lies contiguous. He had in his hand a Lochaber axe, which at that period was frequently used instead of the sword. He reclined upon a verdant spot of the isle, with his Lochaber axe laid carelessly by him. A deadly feud existed at that time between his family and that of Dunstaffnage. A brother of Dunstaffnage, called Cailen Uaine,[3] arrived at the island with his barge, and a number of men to assist him in executing his bloody purpose. He landed unperceived by Alexander. Upon being observed, he assumed the mask of friendship, and was about to salute him; but, seeing Alexander defenceless, he cast his eye on the axe, which still lay upon the ground, and eager to be possessed of that which, if in the hands of the other, might make him pay dear for his expedition, he hastily grasped it, expressing himself thus—“Sma an tua so Alasdair na on bioda leor sauich innte.”[4] Alexander quickly replied—“Bheil duil agad nach eil sin innte,”[5] and also laid hold of the axe, being fully sensible of the spirit of Colin’s remark. During the struggle, Colin’s men surrounded Alexander, and basely murdered him. Donald, his infant son, was suckled by Morag, a woman from Moidart, and wife to Rab a Pheti, the smith of that district. Colin, foreseeing that the black deed he had committed might not pass unrevenged, was very anxious to destroy the child. In this, however, he was disappointed by the prudence and activity of the faithful nurse, who, with a strength of attachment truly valuable, understanding what had happened, regardless of her own safety, fled away with the child to her own country. Having informed her husband of the circumstances, they agreed to bring up the child as if he was their own, and to keep the secret of his parentage concealed from the world, even from himself, till a proper time arrived for disclosing it.

Donald was accordingly educated in the family of Rab a Pheti, the blacksmith. When he acquired some strength, he was often called to assist his supposed father in carrying on his trade. Being of a strong, athletic make, he performed every task proposed to him with ease, little thinking he had any right to be otherwise employed. One day, when about eighteen years of age, it being his turn to work in the smithy, he took hold of a large hammer, which required the strength of any ordinary man to wield with both hands, and, of course, deemed too unweildly for a stripling of his age, yet he found so little difficulty in managing it, that he wrought it with one hand; and not satisfied with this exertion, he took another hammer of the same size in his other hand, and beat away with both alternately, without much apparent exertion. His supposed father, Rab a Pheti, seeing this, gave up his work and went to the faithful nurse to tell what he had seen. This honest couple, who had as much affection for Donald as though he had been their own child, came to the resolution of disclosing to him the secret they had so long kept of his birth and parentage. Donald was called, and the mournful tale of his father’s death, and the risk he ran of sharing the same fate, was circumstantially laid before him. If we can judge by his future actions, we may conclude that he listened to the mournful story with strong emotions. The smith took him in his arms and embraced him. “Your education,” he said, “has been necessarily obscure, but I trust the blood that runs in your veins, and the spirit of your fathers, will ever inspire your conduct and direct your steps.” The smith then presented him with a sword, tempered with all the art of his trade, praying it might be the means of clearing his way through difficulties, and extricating him from every danger. Donald received it as a valuable token of love. Nor did he allow it long to remain peaceful in its scabbard. Previous to his setting out for Appin, he, by the advice of his foster-mother, Morag, waited on his mother’s brother, Macdonald of Moidart, who gave him a very warm and hearty reception, and offered freely to support him with his interest and influence in recovering his paternal property, which had been taken back to the family, on the supposition of his death when a child.[6]

Donald, upon coming to Appin, and his history being made public, got the name of Donul nan Ord,[7] by which he was known ever after. Nature was very kind to Donald. He had ready wit, a quick invention, an excellent address, an uncommon degree of firmness of mind, strength of body, and activity. Those qualities rendered him a fit leader of a chosen band in those restless and warlike times. He soon became a terror to the enemies of his clan and of his friends. His first step was to kill Cailen Uaine,[8] the murderer of his father. Nor did he stop till he had destroyed nine other gentlemen of the family of Dunstaffnage. This cost Donald several skirmishes; but his attacks were so bold, and so well managed, that he was always successful. Argyle soon came to be interested in the distress that Donald was bringing on his clan, and employed several parties to cut him off, but in vain. Donald seeing Argyle’s intention, instead of being intimidated, penetrated with his chosen band into the heart of Argyle’s country, spoiled his tenants, carrying away a considerable booty from the sides of Lochow, which at that time gave a title to the chief of the clan.

There is still handed down a little roundlet, which narrates this transaction—

“Donal nan Ord, dalt a gothain
Alleagan nan luarach leabhair,
Thog thu creach o’ thaogh Locho,
Nach dean Mhac Callen a thoghadh,
Na Mhac, na Earo na Otha.”[9]

Argyle, much enraged at the affront offered him by Donald, began to think of serious revenge, by raising his whole clan and followers to destroy him; but wisely seeing that this could not be done without some noise, and aware that Donald might be supported by his mother’s powerful friends, and also by the Camerons, set on foot a negotiation with the Laird of Appin, to get Donald to make restitution and be peaceful. The result was, that Appin, and his other friends, insisted with Donald that he should come to terms with Argyle, threatening, if he did not comply, to leave him to his fate. Donald, unwilling to split with his friends, and thinking that he had done enough in revenging his father’s death, complied, and actually went to Inverary with a single attendant, to hold a conference with Argyle, at his own place, and among his numerous friends. Argyle, who was a man of the world, conceived that, from Donald’s rusticity, he could easily, by persuasion, get him into a scrape that might prove fatal to him. But Donald, though he agreed all at once to the terms proposed, got himself easily extricated. Upon Donald’s reaching Inverary, he met Argyle in the fields, and is said to have accosted him thus—

“A Mhic Callen griomach ghlais,
Is beag an hachd a thagad dhiom,
Is nar a Phillis mi air mais
Mas a mo a thaghain dhiot.”[10]

In the course of conversation, it would appear that Donald not unfrequently indulged in a loud hoarse laugh—a habit which some of his descendants were noted for, as far down as the eighth generation. To rally Donald a little upon this, Argyle desired him to look at a rock in a hill above Ardkinglass, then in their view, which resembles a man’s face reclined backwards, the mouth being considerably expanded. He asked if he knew the name that rock went by. Donald answered in the negative. Argyle then told him it was Gaire Granda.[11] Donald perceiving the allusion, and, with his other qualifications, being no mean poet, replied off hand—

“Gaire Granda as ainm don Chreig,
Is fanaidh i mar sin a ghna;
Gheabh a leitheid agad fein,
Nan sealadh tu nan eadan do mhna.”[12]

When at length they came to talk of business, the terms upon which Argyle offered peace were, that Donald should raise a hership in Moidart, and another in Athole, thinking probably that he would be cut off in these attempts; or if successful against such powerful people, that his disgrace would be less in what was done to his own lands. Donald readily agreed to the terms. He set out openly for Moidart, discovered to his uncle the engagement he had come under, and asked his advice. His uncle told him that the people of certain farms in that neighbourhood having offended him, to go and spoil them; that he, to save appearance, when it came to his knowledge, should pursue him to retake the spoil; but should not be in such haste that Donald ran any risk of being overtaken. Donald did so; carried off his spoil; set fire to two or three farms, and got safe off. The affair made a great noise, and reached Argyle’s ears, who was astonished at Donald’s rashness. He went next to Athole, and played the same card with equal success; came back to Argyle, and a peace was concluded, though not with much cordiality upon either side.

There is a well-known anecdote, which we cannot pass over in silence. Donald was, on a time, returning from an expedition into Stirlingshire, and, passing through Monteith, called at a tenant’s house, where they were preparing a wedding dinner. The Earl of Monteith was at the marriage, and was to partake of the dinner. Donald and his men were hungry, and asked for a supply of meat, which being refused, they were so unpolite as step in and eat up the whole dinner. Upon the Earl’s arrival with the marriage people, they were enraged at the affront put upon them. They pursued Donald, and soon came up with him. They called to him to halt, which he did, and one of the Earl’s men cried out ironically to Donald and his men, alluding, no doubt, to the quantity of broth they had consumed—

“Stuarticdh bhuidh nan tapan,
A bheiradh glag air a chal.”[13]

One of Donald’s men, with great coolness, drawing an arrow out of his quiver, replies—

“Ma tha’n tapan again mar dhuchas,
Is du dhuin gun tarin sin tarsid.”[14]

And with this took his aim at the Monteith man, and shot him through the heart. An engagement ensued betwixt the parties, in which the Earl was killed, and a number of his followers.

Donald was twice married; first to M. Stewart, daughter of John Stewart of Bun Rannock, alias Jan MacRoibeart. By her he had four sons, 1. Alexander, who had the misfortune at an early period to be afflicted with the stone. Breadalbane took a particular concern in the young man. He carried him to Taymouth, and got the most able medical assistance for him. The operation of lithotomy was performed upon him, but he did not long survive it. 2. Duncan, who succeeded him. 3. Allan, of whom the present Laird of Ballechelish. 4. John, commonly called John Du MacDhonuil. He had the lands of Littershuna. He had a daughter, who was married to Archibald Campbell, alias Gillesbuegdie, of whom the present Achaladair is descended. Donald married, secondly, —— Campbell, second daughter of John Gorm of Lochnell, and widow of James nan Gleann. By her, he had a daughter who was married to Macdonnell of Achatriachatan, of whom the present Laird of Achatriachatan is descended. During Donald’s life the feud that subsisted between him and the family of Dunstaffnage did not entirely subside. It gave much trouble and uneasiness to the friends of both parties. It was very prudently concluded, in order to put a final end to it, that Duncan should pay his addresses to a daughter of Dunstaffnage, which he did with success. This was carried on unknown to Donald, and when the marriage took place, he was in very bad blood with his son. It cost the friends a great deal of work to get him reconciled to him. It was brought about so far, that he gave him the farm of Inverfolla to live in with his wife. Duncan had the misfortune soon afterwards to incur his father’s displeasure, by what Donald nan Ord looked upon as a greater crime than even marrying Miss Campbell. It was this: Duncan being a good, honest, domestic man, and the world around him being in peace and quietness, thought fit to amuse himself with husbandry, which accorded not with the warlike spirit of Donald. He thought it much beneath the dignity of a gentleman, and frequently expressed his disgust. One day as he was walking upon the green of Invernahyle, he looked across the river, and saw a number of his followers with spades preparing a piece of ground for sowing seed. He thought to himself that he was wont to give a different sort of employment to his adherents, and that Duncan had no spirit. Meanwhile, Duncan came up to his men—took a spade in his hand, and began to work along with them. This was too much for the old gentleman to bear, and he marched in wrath across to Inverfolla. Though many years had impaired his strength, yet rage gave vigour to his steps. He was observed approaching. The fury of his looks struck terror around him. Duncan was advised to fly from the impending storm. The incensed hero looked for his degenerate son. Where is he? He is gone towards the house. Towards the house marched Donald, inquired and searched, but could not find the object of his wrath. At length he thought he found him under the bedclothes, in his own bed. He could contain himself no longer. He drew his hanger, and made a deadly stroke at the supposed Duncan. Though the arm was old, it had not wholly lost its strength. He cut through all the bed-clothes, and made a large gash—in the bolster! His rage by degrees abated, and he returned home in calmness.

Donald’s mother was left a widow when young. She married Maclean of Inverscadale, of whom the present Inverscadale.

Duncan, the third Invernahyle, married —— Campbell, daughter of Campbell of Dunstaffnage, by whom he had three sons: 1. Alexander, who succeeded him; 2. Dugald; 3. Allan.

Alexander, the fourth Invernahyle, married —— Stewart, only daughter of Duncan Stewart, fifth Laird of Appin, and had issue twelve sons, who all came to the age of men, and went all one Sabbath to the church, along with their father, in kilted plaids and armed. Their names, so far as can be recollected, were in the following order: Donald, James, John Dhu, John More, George, Dugald, William, Alexander, Duncan and Allan.

Donald, the fifth Invernahyle, was married to Margaret Campbell, daughter to the Laird of Lochnell, and had issue four sons and two daughters: 1. Alexander, who succeeded him; 2. Duncan, of whom Strathgarry; 3. Donald, married to Margaret Stewart, daughter to Alexander Stewart of Acharn, issue, sons; 4. Allan, married to Margaret Campbell, daughter to John Campbell of Achaoran, issue, sons. His oldest daughter, Margaret, married Donald Campbell of Greenyards, Secretary to the Bank of Scotland. The second daughter, Anne, married Maccalman of Arivian, and had issue.

Alexander, the sixth Invernahyle, married Mary Macdonnell, daughter to Macdonnell of Fersid, by whom he had issue, Duncan, who succeeded him, and a daughter, Catharine, who was married to James Stewart in Ardnamurchan. But Alexander was first married to Isabel Campbell, daughter of John Campbell of Kirktown, in Mucharn, by whom he had two daughters: 1. Anne, married to Dugald Stewart of Achnacon, of whom the present Achnacon; 2. Margaret, married to Duncan Stewart, son to Innishchaorach.

Duncan, the seventh Invernahyle, was bred to the law in Edinburgh, where he had an opportunity of cultivating a fine natural taste for music, to the enjoyment of which he very much devoted himself in his latter days. He married, when young, Mary Campbell, daughter of Alexander Campbell of Barcaldine, and by her had a numerous offspring, of whom there came to maturity—1. Alexander, the present Invernahyle, who is married to Catharine Stewart, daughter to Robert Stewart of Appin, and has issue; 2. John, who died while at his education, and was buried at the church of Kilmadock, in Perthshire; 3. Dugald was bred to the Church, but preferred going abroad, to push his fortune, and after being successful for some time in Jamaica was robbed by a partner. He went to America, and died there; 4. Robert, who was bred a wine merchant in Leith, died abroad; 5. Allan, who has all along followed the army, is now on half-pay, a Lieut.-Colonel; 6. James, who was educated for the Church, and also as a physician, made choice of the occupation of a farmer and merchant. He is married to Robina Edmondstoune, daughter to John Edmondstoune of Cambus-Wallace, and has issue: 1. Margaret, married to Campbell of Achraran, issue, sons; 2. Mary, married to Macnicol of Sonoch, and has issue; 3. Anne, married to the Rev. John Connochar, and has issue.



Allan, the first Ballechelish, third son to Donul nan Ord, married —— Macdonnell, daughter to Macdonell of Coillickonid, by whom he had issue: 1. Alexander, who succeeded him; 2. Donald; 3. Allan.

Alexander, the second Ballechelish, married his cousin, a daughter of John du MacDhonuil, and had issue; 1. John, who succeeded; 2. Alexander, alias Alisdair More, who was wadsetter of Achalader, and married a daughter of Campbell of Barcaldine, by whom he had issue.

John, the third Ballechelish, married a daughter of Stewart of Ardsheils, and had issue. He was succeeded by his nephew, Alexander, son to Alisdair More.

Alexander, the fourth Ballechelish, was first married to a daughter of Stewart of Ardsheils, issue, sons. He married after her, Isabel Stewart, daughter to Alexander Stewart of Annat, in Perthshire, and had issue: 1. John, the present Ballechelish; 2. Alexander, who was killed at Falkirk in 1746; and one daughter, Isabel, married to Donald Stewart, nephew to Alexander Stewart, fourth Ballechelish, and son to Donald Mac Alisdair Mhoir.


John du MacDhonuil, fourth son to Donald nan Ord. He married a daughter of James Stewart of Glens, commonly called Ni Mhic Sheumais. By her he had one son and seven daughters. His son, along with another youth, a son of Sir Donald Campbell of Ardnamurchan, during the rage for suppressing Popery, went to Craig, a place sacred to Saint Curulames, carried away the images, and burnt them in the castle of Island Stalker, offering impious scoffs and insults to the images as they were burning. They both died when young. One of the daughters was married to Stewart of Ardsheil; another to Cameron of Collard; another to Stewart of Fasnacloich; another to Campbell of Clannamacrie, of whom Combie and Edorline; another to Campbell of Stonefield, of whom the present Lord Stonefield, and of whom is also descended the present Earl of Breadalbane; another was married to Macdougall, Baron Dunach, and another to Stewart of Ballechelish.


Dugald, second son to Duncan the third Invernahyle, purchased from Campbell of Lawers the lands of Innishchaorach, Duaireachan, and Innishdainh, in Glenlochy, Breadalbane. He married and had issue: 1. Allan, who succeeded; 2. Neil, who married a daughter of Stewart of Druimcharrie, in Perthshire, and had issue.

Allan, second Innishchaorach, married —— Burdin, daughter of Burdin of Fidals, and had issue; 1. James, who succeeded; 2. Duncan, who married a daughter of Invernahyle; 3. Dugald, married to a daughter of Alexander Stewart of Acharn; 4. Alexander, who married —— Macgregor, daughter of Alexander Macgregor, alias Alisdair Saoileach, and had issue; 5. John, married —— Farquharson.

James, the third Innishchaorach, married —— Stewart, daughter to Stewart of Annat, and had issue, Alexander and Neil, who died unmarried.

Neil, second son of Dugald, the first Innishchaorach, was the male heir to Innishchaorach. He was wadsetter to Ledcharrie and Edarramhionoich, in Glendochart, and had issue, John, Charles, and Neil. Charles succeeded to the wadset, which was paid up to him, and with the money he bought the lands of Bohalic, in Athole, of which he died possessed. He left them to his daughter, having no male issue.

James, second son to Alexander, the fourth Invernahyle, was wadsetter of Inverkinglass, in Glenkinglass. He was married, and had a son, Allan, who settled in Ardnamurchan. Allan married a daughter of Mr Maccalman, minister of Appin, by whom he had four sons—James, John, Allan and Dugald. Dugald had an estate in Jamaica, called Mounstewart. It was sold and divided among his relations. Allan had a son called Andrew, who settled in Perth, and left a son, a glover. Andrew has two sons, Peter, a glover, and Thomas, a shipmaster and an heritor.


Duncan, second son to Donald the fifth Invernahyle, was bred a clergyman, and settled first at Kilmun, in Cowal; but, upon the abolition of Prelacy, removed to Blair, in Athole, where he continued to preach as an Episcopal clergyman all his days. He first purchased the lands of Strathgarry, and afterwards those of Inverchaddan. Mr Duncan married, first, —— Maclean, daughter of Angus Maclean, who was son to Bishop Maclean of the Isles. By her he had issue: 1. Alexander, who succeeded as Strathgarry; 2. Donald, who married —— Stewart, daughter of Urchalbeg, and had issue, three daughters: 1. Jean, who was married to Donald Maccalman, son of the Minister of Appin; 2. Margaret, who was married to a brother of Urchalbeg; 3. Mary, married to Alexander Robertson, had no issue; and again to a brother of Glenlyon, and had issue. Mr Duncan married, secondly, Janet Maccalman, by whom he had issue: 1. John, who died unmarried; 2. Allan, to whom he gave the lands of Inverchaddan: 1. Margaret, married to Stewart of Dunbealeach; 2. ——, married to Alexander Campbell, second son to Glenlyon; 3. Elizabeth, married to Donald Maclaren of Invernenty; 4. Robina, married to Rab a Pheti.

Alexander, second Strathgarry, married —— Robertson, daughter of Robertson of Kincraig. He had two sons, Alexander, who succeeded him, and lived in Ruhip, a purchase by his father, and Allan, minister of Killespendy, and several daughters.

Alexander, third Strathgarry, was minister of Blair, in Athole. He married Isabel Robertson, daughter of Mr Patrick Robertson, brother of Lude, and left issue, the present Strathgarry, Mr Duncan Stewart, minister of Balquhidder, Mr Alexander, minister of Mullien, and three daughters.


Allan, first son by the second marriage of Mr Duncan Stewart, son to Donald, the fifth Invernahyle. He married Christian Macnab, daughter to the Laird of Macnab, and left two sons, Duncan, the present Inverchaddan, and Allan.

The sword, made by the smith, and given to Donald nan Ord, is still in the possession of Captain Dugald Stewart, the present heir of Invernahyle, together with his steel-cap and luireach, or coat of mail; also the hammers used by him when in the smith’s family.

[We are indebted for the foregoing interesting paper to Mr Train, Castle Douglas, who copied it from a manuscript in the possession of Dr Thomson of Appin. Part of the MS. was communicated by Mr Train to the late Sir Walter Scott, who supplied from it the story of “Donald the Hammerer,” printed in the Introduction to Jamieson’s edition of Burt’s “Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland to his Friend in London,” published in 1822. Sir Walter made various alterations on the MS., in the narrative as well as in the style; but, the object of our Journal being the preservation of what is original, rare, or curious, rather than the cultivation of fine writing, we have preferred adhering to the copy, which is more complete than when in the hands of the Author of Waverley, several additions having been made to it by Mr Stewart, Excise Officer, Kirkcudbright, who claims kindred with the Stewarts of Appin. It will be interesting to the reader to compare our pages with the story as related by the “Great Magician.”]



I have been induced to draw up the following sketch of the Priory of Holy Island, from its being the most beautiful fragment of antiquity in the district to which our researches are confined, as well as from its presenting one of the most remarkable architectural remains of the period to which it belongs in the kingdom.

It need scarcely be mentioned that, in the earlier periods of Christian history, the choice of so unattractive a site was in obedience to the idea which indicated the remote and scarcely accessible island, and the lone and unfrequented desert, as spots peculiarly fitted for that contemplative life, and withdrawal from the world, in which the perfection of religion was supposed to consist.

When the monastic system was introduced into the West, this was its leading and characteristic feature, and the same spirit which had selected the inhospitable island of Iona, induced the monk who issued thence for the conversion of Northumberland, to prefer the bleak sands of Lindesfarne to the present valleys of the adjacent continent.

It would be needless also to dwell upon the advantages derived from monastic establishments during the darker periods of history—their preservation of literature and religion—the solace they afforded to the way-farer and the pilgrim—the asylum they furnished to the poor, the sick, the impotent, and the aged—the influence which they exerted in alleviating, where they could not prevent, the various evils incident to a barbarous age—the peaceful arts which they cultivated, and especially that which enabled them to raise those august and sumptuous edifices, which still remain the grandest examples of architectural skill, and defy all approaches of the moderns to a parity of excellence.

The exercise of these and kindred virtues ought to redeem the monastic institution, when reviewed in a candid and equitable spirit, from the unmeasured obloquy and censure which the license and misrule of some of its branches in later times have drawn down upon it.

There is no doubt, however, that the very virtues, which originally inspired awe and attracted esteem, tended, by a natural process, frequently renewed, and always with similar results, to the gradual corruption and final overthrow of the monastic system.

Long before the Reformation the elements of discontent had been at work, and the clamour against the monasteries had been gradually acquiring force and fixedness, when in the person of

“the majestic lord
Who broke the bonds of Rome,”

was found a fitting instrument for the expression of the popular will.

In the year 1536, the lesser monasteries were doomed to destruction by the execrable tyrant who wielded the sceptre of England, and the Priory of Holy Island was included in the general wreck.

From that hour it dates its gradual decay and present state of irretrievable ruin. Sir Walter Scott has thus described it in “Marmion:”

“In Saxon strength that abbey frown’d,
With massive arches broad and round
That rose alternate row on row,
On ponderous columns short and low,
Built ere the art was known,
By pointed aisle and shafted stalk,
The arcades of an alley’d walk,
To emulate in stone.”

The latter part of the stanza is a complimentary allusion to the fanciful theory of Sir James Hall concerning the origin of the pointed arch. The application of the term Saxon, it would be impossible to verify or substantiate.

There are no buildings in this country with the characteristic forms of this church, or the distribution into nave and aisles, that belong to so early a period. A few rude structures there certainly are which may have been erected by Saxon architects, one of which occurs in our own district—the tower of Whittingham Church, Northumberland—characterised by a peculiar sort of quoining—consisting of long and short stones, placed alternately over each other—small round-headed apertures divided by a rude balastre, and the absence of buttresses. The term Norman may be safely used, if it be understood simply to designate a style which appeared in this country at the conquest, and prevailed for 125 years, during the Norman rule; but it is in reality Roman, and was derived from the imperial city by the architects who diffused it over Europe, with the religion to which these structures were consecrated. It flourished during the first thousand years of the Christian era, with long interruptions during the dark ages, but its rudiments maybe discerned at this day in the Temple of Peace at Rome, erected during the first century, and in the Halls of the Baths—those colossal structures in which the grandeur of thought and magnificent aims of the Roman people are most conspicuously combined. In these edifices we perceive the general arrangement of our Norman and Gothic churches—a wide central space arched over at top, with the vaults resting on pillars corresponding to our nave; between these pillars lofty arches open into as many vaulted apartments on either side intercommunicating by similar archways and constituting side-aisles. The roof of the side-aisles being considerably lower than that of the central vault, admits the insertion of lights in the main wall looking into the cave, which correspond with our clerestory windows.

The general character of Holy Island Priory is Norman, or to speak more correctly, Romanesque. The West front is almost perfect—remarkably so when we consider that, in buildings of that period, this part has generally undergone a change, by the insertion of windows of a later style, leaving only the Norman door below to point to the real date of the structure. Here, we have a door of great depth and richness of effect from the number and boldness of the ornaments. On either side are plain semicircular blank arches—but not intersecting—and the whole were flanked by towers, one of which still exists. Of the nave, the southern portion as well as the south aisle, is entirely gone, but that on the north is tolerably complete. The piers, with their capitals, which bore up the arches, are of various patterns, channelled, lozenged, shafted, and shewing in their sculptured surfaces, and the various fretwork of the arches, that is, in the only decoration which the style admitted—the germ of that inexhaustible variety and multiplicity of ornament which was in the sequel to characterize the Gothic.

The nave, as well as aisles, has been vaulted in stone, as is evidenced from the vaulting shafts, and commencing springers still seen at the junction of the nave and transepts, and from the curve of the vault itself, yet traceable at the west end, but denuded of its ribs. This is a remarkable and almost singular instance of the centre aisle of a Norman building receiving a vault of stone. Both in England and on the Continent, the nave was covered simply by a flat boarded roof, to which were in a great degree owing the frequent and destructive fires of our early churches.

There are six arches in the nave, but the last is of smaller dimensions than the rest. This peculiarity is not unfrequent in Norman and Gothic churches, as if the architect had not previously calculated the space to be occupied by his arcade. The effect here has been to produce a horse-shoe instead of a semicircular arch, from its being of the same height, but lesser span, than the others. This arch is very rare, even in Norman buildings.

Above the pier-arches there has existed a triforium, of which the only remains are a single shaft at either end of the nave, the beginning and termination of the arcade. The Norman triforium is in England simply a row of openings or pannels in the wall, to fill up, ornamentally, what would otherwise have been a blank space. In Germany it is a real gallery, and appropriated to the young men, and called the Männer-chor.

Of the vaulting of the north aisle one arch still remains, but flattened at top, and only retained in its position by the wedge-form of the stones which compose it. This will soon fall, and yet might be easily preserved. The vaulting was quadripartite—the piers, with their cushioned capitals, and transverse ribs, are yet seen. In one or two places, the vaulting from pier to pier yet remains, though the ribs which would have appeared to support it are gone. This is a proof that the ribs used in vaulting were introduced merely to satisfy the mind by appearing to support the arches above, and that the eye, which had been accustomed to strong lines in every other part of the building, should not here rest in a blank surface.

We now reach the intersection of the nave and transepts. Here in the strong and massive piers, we have slender circular shafts set in square recesses—a style of transition from the short and heavy Norman to the loftiness and exility of the Gothic, by which the weights above being distributed to different and independent props, an air of lightness and grace is produced without any diminution of security or strength.

Above, arose the tower which crowned the whole structure, but of its existence the only remaining evidence is the most singular and beautiful feature of the ruin. It is the great cross rib traversing the vault diagonally from N.W. to S.E., and spanning the mid-air free and unconnected with the building but at its spring. Had this been a pointed arch, it would have fallen with its superstructure, but the pressure of the round arch being only at the sides, it is likely to endure as long as the parts which buttress it up.

The chancel beyond the transepts had originally a semicircular termination, as is still discernible on the floor—a feature retained in all the Norman churches abroad. In this part of the edifice, it is to be regretted, is a departure from the unity of style which pervades the rest of the fabric—the circular apse has given place to a rectangular, lighted by pointed windows, in compliance with the fashion of the day, and in violation of the grave simplicity of the rest of the structure.

Buttresses of slight projection run all round the building. They were scarcely needed by the Norman architects, from the enormous thickness of their walls, and their inferior height; but in them we may trace the rudiments of what became, in the hands of the Gothic builders, so beautiful and necessary a member, shooting up into airy pinnacles and spires, and impressing a lofty and majestic character upon the whole.

Of the conventual buildings the traces are few and indistinct. The most important to their comforts—the vast kitchen chimney yet remains in all its original strength and completeness. The large walled space adjoining was probably the Refectory, with which the kitchen would communicate by the buttery-hatch.

The building is now secured from violence and wanton dilapidation, and as it has only to contend against the silent erosion of lichen and wallflower, we may hope that it will long continue to adorn our district—a monument of a far distant age and far different state of society, and a beautiful and affecting link between the past and the present.


On Wednesday evening, January 5, 1848, the gentlemen connected with the city and county of Aberdeen gave a splendid entertainment to Mr David Chalmers, the present proprietor of the “Aberdeen Journal,” in celebration of the centenary of that newspaper, it being exactly one hundred years that day since its first number was published.

The art of printing was introduced into Aberdeen in the year 1622, by Edward Raban, the “Laird of Letters,” as he styled himself, who printed the first Aberdeen Almanack, “long the only work of its kind in Scotland, and, as such, acquiring a sort of proverbial celebrity. The password of pious Mr Turnbull, in the novel of Red Gauntlet—‘a plague on all Aberdeen Almanacks’—will readily occur to the reader.”

Raban commenced business in Aberdeen under the auspices of the magistracy and University, and one of his successors in trade and patronage was Mr James Chalmers, son of the then Professor of Divinity in Marischal College, the projector of the “Aberdeen Journal,” and grandfather of its present proprietor. “Early in life,” said Mr David Chalmers, at the centenary celebration above alluded to, “my grandfather commenced business, as Printer to the City of Aberdeen, and was but a young man when our country became convulsed by the bold and chivalrous attempt of the last of the Stuarts to regain the throne of his ancestors. My grandfather, himself a Protestant, warmly embraced the cause of the House of Hanover, and through his press and his pen, gave wide circulation to principles of attachment to the reigning sovereign. This made him rather a marked man; so that his life was sometimes in danger; and he had on one occasion to fly from his own house, and seek refuge in that of a friend in Old Aberdeen, a Professor in King’s College. In the memorable spring of ’46, the town of Aberdeen had a visit from the royal army, on its way to the field of Culloden. My grandfather joined the king’s standard, and took part in this battle, which forever crushed the hopes of Prince Charles and his gallant and devoted followers. The services of my ancestors were for a time rewarded by an official appointment, namely, that of receivers of the rents of some of the forfeited estates in this county; but these were soon after restored; and are now happily in the hands of their rightful owners. At this period, there were in Edinburgh but two papers, the ‘Evening Courant’ and the ‘Caledonian Mercury’: and one in Glasgow, which has long ceased to exist. It is known that, at this period, the Government of the day had much to do in order to efface the painful recollections, and to appease the angry feelings of the people, justly irritated and incensed by the needless cruelties which followed that fatal fight. They, therefore, felt anxious to see the principles of loyalty and good order widely diffused among the population of the North. My grandfather, impressed with the same views, engaged in the undertaking which has given birth to the present meeting. During the progress of, and subsequent to, the rebellion of ’45, he had published occasional reports, or what would be now called bulletins, of the state of public affairs; but it was not until the beginning of 1748 that the ‘Aberdeen Journal’ took the form of a regular newspaper. From that period, it was published by him, with varying success, until the year 1764, when he died, and was succeeded by my venerated and respected father, who conducted it until his death, in 1810. It then fell into my unworthy hands; but with this consoling reflection, that during the last twelve years of his life, I had had the privilege and the happiness of aiding and assisting him in the laborious duties and distracting cares of an Editor. Such has been the birth and parentage of the ‘Aberdeen Journal,’ whose life now presents the somewhat singular feature of having reached its hundredth year during the lives of three successive generations of the same family.

The few following extracts from No. 1. of the ‘Journal’ will give some idea of newspaper writing one hundred years ago, and also indicate the state of public feeling at that day towards our Gallic neighbours:

“As the publick may be alarmed with the report that ran so currently yesterday upon the Exchange, that a contract is negociating for the delivery of 400,000 quarters of wheat to our mortal enemy the French, we hope every Englishman will judge so tenderly of his neighbour, as not to believe it possible any merchant can entertain so pernicious a thought, or be such a traitor to his country, at a time when our allies the Dutch have totally prohibited all commerce with that perfidious nation under the severest penalties.”

“However the report yesterday might arise, of a particular contract for sending 400,000 quarters of wheat to France, it is certain that an article from Bourdeaux, in a late Dutch Mail, mentions that a large number of English ships, laden with corn, had put in there, and caused a sudden plenty in the midst of scarcity; adding, that these ships had sailed under a pretence of being bound for the Mediterranean. If these were private traders only, who ventured thus to risk their fortunes, in contempt of their duty and allegiance, the affair deserves to be particularly enquired into, that the delinquents, if taken, may be punished. But if their voyage was in virtue of a contract, that is a jobb; the business is the more iniquitous, as it must be a transaction among persons of no small distinction. We shall not pretend to guess who the jobbers may be; but it was very imprudent of the French who were to be essentially served, to blab a secret that may prevent their friends here from making a little more profit of our present plenty.

“We hear that it having been affirmed, in a certain H—— Assembly, that a practice of sm——g would never have arisen to its late pitch but for the encouragement of some R—— H—— persons, one, who seemed to be severely wrung, exclaimed loudly on the occasion, and affected to clear himself and friends, by calling for such proof as he knew it was impossible at that time to adduce.”

While the initials and dashes in the last quotation form a striking contrast to the out-spoken manner of the press now-a-days, the following jeu d’esprit denotes the unchangeable and everlasting grumble against taxation:

No more Gambols.
’Twas merry at Christmas, when money was plenty,
And taxes took off not above five in twenty:
But how is it possible mirth should arise?
Now all that can make it is under Excise.
When light is not free in the worst of dull weather;
Wheels pay, if we ride; if we foot it, shoe-leather.”

Such was the “Aberdeen’s Journal” a hundred years ago. Its first number contained 39,560 separate pieces of type; its 5217th No. extends to above 750,000, or in other words 3 of the 48 columns of the present paper contains an entire reprint of the first No.


Granted in the Reign of Malcolm the III., King of Scotch, at Fordie,[16] 5th October 1051, to the Masons in Glasgow.

Malcom the III., by the Grace of God, King of Scots, wishes health and safety to the Bishops, Princes, Earls, Barons, Ministers, and Administrators of our Law, and all good men of the nation, both Clergy, Laicks, or Common people, and to all whom these presents shall come, greeting. Whereas our trusty and well-beloved friends, the Operative Masons in the City of Glasgow, Hath, by their Petition, humbly represented to us, that the inhabitants of this City has been imposed upon by a number of unskilled and unsufficient workmen, that has come to work at our Cathedral, and other parts of the City; and, also, has erected lodges, contrary to the rules of Masonry: And being desirous of putting a stop to such unskilled and irregular Brothers, most humbly prays us to grant them our Royal Licence and protection for stopping such unregular disorders: And we being willing to give all due encouragement to so reasonable a Petition, are graciously pleased to condescend to their request: And we do, by these presents, ordain and grant to our Petitioners to Incorporate themselves together in an Incorporation: And we strictly discharge any Mason within the foresaid City, to work in it until he serve his time as an apprentice, for the space of Seven years, or be married to a freeman’s daughter: And he or they shall be Examined anent their Skill and Knowledge of the Mason Craft by three of the Ablest of the Mason trade; and if he or they be found of cunning and knowledge to be received into the Incorporation, each shall pay Twenty Pounds Scots to the common funds, and three pounds to the Altar, and clerk’s and officer’s dues, which the foresaid Incorporation shall always be allowed to be judges of that and other laws made for the behoof of the foresaid Incorporation. Item, that the free Incorporate Masons of Glasgow shall have a lodge forever at the City of Glasgow; none in my dominions shall erect a lodge until they make application to the St John’s Lodge, Glasgow: And they considering their Petition, and examining their character and behaviour, grant them a charter conform to their regulations. Item, that all the members of said Incorporation shall have liberty to quarry stone, lime, sand, and other materials from the ground of persons, for paying the damages of what they occupy, or damage, for building of the foresaid Cathedral. But if the owners of the said Lands and the foresaid workmen do not agree, each party is to chuse an honest man to value the expence of the foresaid damages. Item, and that any having power from me, maintain my peace firm and stable against all other pretenders and usurpers, who encroach on me or my subjects to disturb our peace. Item, and that you and all my subjects in this obey the Magistrates in all things relating to my peace and the good of the City. Item, and that you instruct and teach apprentices; and that none take, or employ, any man’s apprentice when their time of apprenticeship is not completed, under the pain of paying Twenty Pounds, the one-half to the Incorporation, one-fourth to the Lodge, and one-fourth to Saint Thomas’s Altar, to say mass to their Soul. Item, and I strictly charge and command, that none take in hand any way to disturb the free operative masons from being incorporated freemen, or to have a free lodge, to take away their good name or possession, or harrass or do any injury to my free masons and Petitioners, under the peril of my highest displeasure. And we order that notice be taken, that due obedience may be rendered to our pleasure herein declared. Given at our Court at Fordie, the 5th day of October 1051[17] years, before these Witnesses, Earl David, my Brother, Earl Duncan, Earl Gilbert of Monteith,[18] Sir Robert of Velen, Adam of Stenhouse, and Andrew Hamilton,[19] Bishop of Glasgow.[20]

Extracted from the Records.[21]


The following letter to the Editor of the Weekly Magazine, in 1772, may be regarded as originating the idea of the Guide-Books to Scottish Scenery, now so numerous. It is interesting to look back upon the writer’s notions of “a New Tour,” as he calls the contemplated work, and his implied admiration of the Highlands. Sir Walter Scott had not then imparted that charm which his genius has now thrown around so many localities of his native land, still, as the writer informs us, it had become, even then, “fashionable among the English to make a tour into Scotland.”

Jan. 27, 1772.

Sir—It is now become fashionable among the English to make a tour into Scotland for some few weeks or months; and there is a moral certainty of the fashion increasing, as the foolish prejudices against the country and its inhabitants daily decrease. But it is to be regretted, that an intelligent curious traveller from England has no proper helps to assist him; so that it often happens, that many return without having seen one third of what is most curious in the country, although, perhaps, they have passed within some few hours ride, or rather some few yards, of such articles of importance; owing to the want of proper information, or too great hurry in making the survey.

To remedy this, it is proposed, that a new tour through Scotland be published, in two pocket-volumes, divided into a number of little circuits of some few days ride, which may be laid down from the map. This work, if properly executed, will be useful to the country in general, to the traveller in particular, and advantageous to its author.

Nothing sets off a work of this kind more than proper plates. As they take time to contract and engrave, these may be going on, while a ride is performing in May from Edinburgh to Berwick, up to Kelso, Melrose, Jedburgh, Hawick, Langholm, Moffat; back to Edinburgh. At Moffat, that grand fall of water, the Gray Mare’s Tail, and the curious loch it issues from, are worth notice. The latter is called Loch-Skeen, and is of a pretty large extent; in the midst of which is an island, where a pair of eagles nestle every year. This loch is clear on one side, where trouts, beautifully speckled, are to be had, and muddy on the other, where black trouts take up their abode.

Then a ride in the end of June, or beginning of July, to Dumfries, Drumlanrig, Kirkcudbright, Air, Saltcoats, Irvine, Greenock, Paisley, Glasgow, Hamilton, Linlithgow; back to Edinburgh.

In the end of August, or beginning of September, to Hopeton, Borrowstounness, Falkirk, Carron, the Canal, Stirling, Alloa, Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, Dunybristle, Kinghorn; back to Edinburgh.

Next year, in May, to Kinghorn, coast-side to St Andrew’s, Cupar, Falkland, Abernethie, Perth, Scoon, Carse of Gowrie, Dundee, coast-side to Inverness, making little excursions from the coast into the country, to remark what is curious, as Forfar, Glammis, Brechin, &c.

Then let the curious traveller take a proper time to journey into Rosshire, Sutherland, and Caithness, to John o’ Groat’s House. If he thinks fit to stretch his tour into Orkney and Zetland, he will find many particulars worthy of observation. In returning, let him visit the Weem, Blair of Athol, Dunkeld, Taymouth, Inverary, Loch-Lomond, &c.

The traveller will find his curiosity particularly gratified in traversing the Highlands of Scotland. Icolmkill, though visited by many, and though there are some accounts of it, with drawings, both in manuscript and in print, ought not to be omitted.—Roslin and Hawthornden should by no means be overlooked.

Plates may be copied from Sletzer’s Theatrum Scotiæ, Gordon’s Itinerarium Septentrionale, and the Master of Elphinston’s plates of Edinburgh. Keith’s Map of the Frith of Forth, and Bryce’s Map of the north coast of Britain, from Row Stoir of Assynt to Wick in Caithness, &c., may prove very useful; as may Straloch’s Maps, though not easily to be had.

But there are many noble find landscapes, which I have not seen any draught of, as from Drummond Castle, the top of the hill of Myat, one of the Montes Ocelli, from Stirling-castle, from Arthur-seat, Hopeton-house, Inveresk, &c. If the author has a knowledge in drawing, these may be easily done.

A map of Scotland prefixed to this work, with a preliminary discourse, giving a concise, geographical description of the country, of its monarchy, the changes made, first, by the union of the two crowns, usurpation of Cromwell, then by the restoration, revolution, and union of the two kingdoms, could not fail to be acceptable to the inquisitive and candid reader.

But the greatest care should be taken to stand clear of all party-work, either in religion or politics, because such peculiarities will disgust some readers, and thereby effectually condemn the work, be its merit otherwise ever so great.

Many helps may be had to compile such an useful and entertaining performance: such as Maitland’s History of Scotland; his History of Edinburgh; Guthrie’s History of Scotland; Gordon’s Itinerarium Septentrionale; Chamberlain’s Present State; The Tour through Britain, vol. 4; Martin’s History of the Isles; Macaulay’s ditto of St Kilda; Sacheverell’s Voyage to Icolmkill; History of Orkney, now to be published by Coke; Sibbald’s History of Fife; Sir John Dalrymple’s Late Memoirs; Moyes’s Tour; Pennant’s Tour, &c.

One that has made some trips into the Highlands of Scotland, depictures them in the following manner:

“Let others think and rove as they please; for my own part, I look upon the Highlands of Scotland as the most delightful country in the world during the summer-season: where one cannot fail to be seized with a kind of religious veneration, when viewing, with an heedful eye, the high hills and lofty mountains, whose summits are in the clouds, and their sides covered over with the verdant grass, the flowery heath in its purple glow, or the tall trees, particularly the towering firs, waving their tops in the heavens; the awful rocks hanging over the heads of the travellers, and threatening, as it were, to tumble down upon them; the fine natural falls of water here and there, cascading with a mighty, noisy, and resounding rush; the large extended lakes, enriched with innumerable finny tribes of different kinds, and their grassy banks forming beautifully-spangled lawns; and sometimes the curling waves, or the roaring billows, of the majestic and far sounding-ocean.

“What a delightful jaunt is it to move, for some miles together, through a wood of the fragrant birch, bending down its leaves to regale the nose of the traveller. The beauties of a country-seat, wood and water, are here in the greatest abundance. But if we pass from the inanimate to the animate part of the creation, exhibited here in a luxuriant valley, the sylvan scene is completed.

“The gentleman can beat up all kinds of game; the deer and the roe bounding up and down; the partridge, the tarmachan, the muir-fowl, the wood-cock, the black-cock, and the heath-hen, and many others I cannot name, whirling through the air, or whidding up and down upon the ground; the wild-goose, gagling, and the wild-duck quack-quaking, in their watery regions, or in their soaring flights.

“The feathered choir vie with one another to regale the ear of the listening traveller, hopping from leafy spray to trembling twig, swelling their throats, and warbling out their lays in a wild variety of harmonious notes.

“The primitive simplicity and the open hospitality of the natives, are past all description, though set off, either in the flowers of the orator, or in the flash of the poet, enough to make the citizen, the court-bred gentleman, and the delicate lady, stand amazed, and even to furnish them with a new lesson in life. Common decency and natural good manners are daily to be seen amongst the vulgar in the Highlands of Scotland; and their conduct is marked with a penetrating sagacity. Their apparent devotion at public worship is extremely remarkable and affecting, so as to draw tears of joy and admiration from the eyes of a stranger!”


7th April, 1607.

Pleas your Gratious Maiestye,

This prasent is to giwe your maiestye most hartelye thanks for all your maiestyes fauors touards me, speciallye for the constant continuance of your maiestyes loue with me, as it vas vount, assuring your maiestye you haue the man vho neuer vas nor shall, Godwilling, be found alterable in his duetifull affection to serue your maiestye, as becomes him. If it fall out that I suspend my judgment in something is proponed to me affhand, till I got fuller resolution both to speak and to stand honestlye to that vhiche I speak assuredlye, it arryses of no vnsound and altered affection touard your maiestyes seruice, bot onlye off laik of foreinforming, vhiche geues light and curage to men to doe; and for the clearing of this point I referre my self to my Lord of Dunbars testification, who can and will giue iust information to your maiestye of it. I heare that your maiestye is ressolued to haue the ministree of Edinburgh plainted, the estate vhereof is more miserable and desolat nor ony toune or kirk in Scotland; and, whiche is vorse, the pulpittis ar sometymes possessed with yong people and persones vnmeete for that place, vhiche bringis the Gosple and ministree into a contempt and will ouerturne all in end if it be not remeadit. The planting of it will doe great good to all the countrey, and help to amend mony thinges amisse, and procure great forderance of your maiestyes seruice and quyat of this kirk, provyding the persones be good teachers, peaceably disposed, and weyll affected. I heare also that your maiestye is somequhat moued to haue me placed there; bot, Ser, beleefe me, in truth I am not for it, in respect of mony thinges in thame, and more in me vhiche can not concurre weyll to make vp so good manage betuix vs. I need not to vse mony vordes with your maiestye who knoues vs both alsueyll as our selfis doe. I mynd, Godwilling, to teache euery Sabboth, where euer I be, so long as I may, and to be readye in most duetifull maner to concurre in your maiestyes seruice, as I salbe employed, bot to take on the charge of a particular flock, and such are flock, my heart cannot yeeld, and I hope your maiestye sall not burden me with it. The bearer hereof, Mr Peter Heuat,[22] is ane honest man, and your maiestye may reiose in the planting of him, being ane of your maiestyes owne plantation there, and ansuring to your maiestyes expectation of him in all pointis, and can truely and sufficiently informe your maiestye of all particulars here; bot he is not, as he deserues, and as your maiestye appointed for his encuragement, ansured of his small pension assigned to him, vhiche is pitie, and wald be helped to put difference betuix those that are your maiesties owne men and others. If Mr Jhone Hall,[23] ane honest man, and ane of your maiestyes owne planting also, and he war remoued, I wat not vhat suld become of Edinburgh, your maiestyes cheefe toune her. Bot leafing those particulars, appardone me, Ser, to speak one word of the common cause. Ser, at Ligbqubo, my Lord of Dunbar did good seruice to your maiestye, and by God blissing his vyse and canny forme of doing, he prevailed so as I neuer sawe ane more peaceable and ordourlye assembly in my tyme, bothe in the progress and end, as it was, and therefore was admired and praised in all the publique sermones and privat speaches. The hope of taking order with Papists and quyating of distraction among ourselves be constant moderation led all menn joyfullie to your maiestys vay, and if that course selected there be prosequute your maiestey may assure yourself of peace here during our dayes, that is, if Papistis can be keeped under be your maiestys auctorite soundly used here, and the kirk censures be suffered to have their awne place against thame, our pace will grow, ill tongues wilbe silenced, and all things will go calmely to your maiestys contentment. Your maiestys glory hath bene, and is the professing and manteaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and all the vorld sees your maiestys multiplyed preferments and preservations to aryse of the presence of Jesus, the Lord of the Gosple with you, and to tend to the preservatioun and advancement of it by your maiestys preservation and advancement, tuo thinges inseparably united sense your maiesty hade being. Lat thame therefor be computed your enemyes that will not conforme thame selfis to it, and God sall continue his blessing with your maiesty, and croune you with an incorruptible croune of Glory in the end. So, most humblye taking my leefe I commend your maiestys persone, familye, kingdome and affaris to the blessing of God. From Edinburgh this 7 of Aprle 1607.

Your maiestys awn & most humble

& affectionate Servitour

Mr P. Gallowey.

[The Rev, Patrick Galloway died one of the ministers of Edinburgh in 1624. He wrote a history of his own times, the MS. of which was in possession of Dr Urquhart of Aberdeen in the beginning of last century. It unfortunately cannot now be traced. He was father of the first Lord Dunkeld.]


[Concluded from our last.]

A visitation of the kirk of Kilmaurs, 24th Aug., 1649.—The Laird of Craig an elder complains that they had not gotten the communion 3 years bygone, and generally complains of the inefficiency of their minister, Mr Wm. Crooks—other elders agree as to this, and Mr William offers to allow the Presbytery “to disposit in the matter of stipend” in order to obtain a colleague. The Elders approve of this, and it is recommended to proceed therewith. A Presbyterial visitation of Cumbraes ordered, the minister being often absent from meetings, and no references from that island, and that it should take place as soon as the men came home from the fishing.

24th Sep., 1649.—The Presbytery propose that so long as Mr Jas. Clandening remained at Largs, he shall receive 1,000 merks per annum, and a person appointed to uplift the stipend for that purpose. The Presbytery refer the case to the Synod for their judgement, viz., what should be done with those that make a mock of their repentance daily and never amend.

19th Oct., 1649.—Mr James Ferguson did produce a letter from the committee of estates, wherein it was earnestly recommended to the Presbytery that they would put in execution with all possible diligence the act of Parliament concerning the poor, and restraining of vagabonds and sturdy beggars within the bounds of the Presbytery; because many of the bretheren are absent it is referred to next meeting.

1st Nov., 1649.—The Presbytery direct a list of the poor in every parish to be lifted. That all sturdy beggars and vagrants remove to their own parishes and particular places where they were born, betwixt and the 15th Nov., and if they fail they will be put into the hands of the civil magistrate, and the resetters to pay 5 Lib toties quoties. The Presbytery approve of the overture of setting up of manufactories within the burghs of the shyre, and does recommend it to Mr Alex. Nisbet and Mr Wm. Caldwell to speak to the town of Irvine for setting up ane among them.—The Presbytery likewise approves the overture of said Committee of keeping the poor of every parish within themselves, until the time that the way of their maintenance be agreed upon according to the act of Parliament.

10th Nov., 1649.—Compeared Craig, younger, a Bailie of the town of Irvine, and Robert Brown, clerk to the town, shews they are willing to nominate Mr Alex. Nisbet to the stipend that Mr Hew M‘Kale had, in so far as concerned the titular. The Presbytery having enquired of them whether or no they had a purpose to detract any thing off the 900 merks that were in use of payment to give to the colleague, and of the four score pounds that Mr Hugh M‘Kaile had by and attour the six chalder victual and ane half. They answered that they could not answer the Presbytery in these particulars, whereupon they were appointed to bring a peremptory answer next day with the particulars. It is further appointed that the overture agreed upon by the Presbytery shall be offered to my Lord Eglinton, and to my Lord Montgomerie, concerning change and alteration to be made in these parishes, that they have interest in, that if they do assent thereto they give in their answer this day fifteen days, and if they dissent that they give reasons thereof, that the Presbytery may cognosce upon them, and after the hearing of the reasons, the Presbytery will go on to conclude and determine as they think equitable and fit.

18th Dec, 1649.—Lord Eglinton and other heritors of parishes proposed to be disjoined, objected to it on various grounds, but Lord Eglinton “agreed to annex Perseton to Irvine, because as his Lordship did allege it was annexed of old.” Lord Eglinton does further dissent, That any of his lands within the barony of Eglinton, for the present in Kilwinning, be annexed to Irvine, because they did not pay tythes in the time of popery.

25th Dec, 1649.—The report of the brethren who were appointed to speak to the several titulars and heritors for competence. Lord Eglinton had answered, He “had gotten no other answer except this:—These kirks are already in a tolerable condition for maintenance, and that he had bought his tythes dear, and so could not be bound to give any more.”

Compeared the Provost and Bailie of Irvine, who promised, if Dreghorn was annexed to Irvine, they would do their utmost for a competence to the colleague, &c. Lord Eglinton declared, That if the Presbytery would condescend to the annexation of Perston to Irvine, he would be content to give the 24 bolls of victual that now he pays to Perston to make up the competence to Irvine, and if this was not agreed to, he would make no offer at all.


9th Dec, 1646.—John Armour, suspect of adultery, having got his first admonition for his contumacy, having compeared, the Presbytery having dealt with him a long time to bring him to remorse and confession, stood still to his denial that he ever had carnal dealings with Isobel Auld, who fathered her child upon him. The Presbytery finding that he was hardening his heart, did, notwithstanding his denial, ordain for these reasons: 1st, Because he had carried himself scandalously with the said Isobel Auld, after they had been inhibit by the session of Dreghorn. 2dly, Because of his insolence to the session. 3dly, Because of his disobedience to the Presbytery: That he should stand the three following Lord’s days in sackcloth, and in case he were disobedient to go on with the public admonition.

7th April, 1647.—Charles Hall in Newmills, suspect of adultery with ane Isobell Moore, the scandal being pregnant and flagrant through the whole parish, &c., which he denied, ordains that the said Charles should purge himself solemnly by oath before the congregation.

15th June, 1647.—The brethren of the Presbytery having heard the relation of Mr Wm. Russel, that ane of his parishioners, called John Bryden, that he had confessed in the session that he had called his minister’s doctrine dust and grey mould, appoints him to be brought before the Presbytery next day.

29th June, 1647.—Mr James Ferguson being asked anent the satisfaction of Isobel Allen, he answered that she continues still in her wickedness, and that they were dealing with the Erle of Eglinton to banish her the parish.

John Bryden in Kilbirnie, being summoned for calling his minister’s doctrine dust and grey mould appeared, and ingeniously confessed his fault. The Presbytery considering how prejudicial such speeches were to the whole ministry, after mature deliberation, does ordain that first upon his knees he make a confession of his fault before the Presbytery, and after he go to his own congregation, and there in the public place of repentance make are acknowledgment of his fault likewise, and Mr Hugh M‘Kaile to go to Kilbirnie and receive him.

29th June, 1647.—James Wallace in the parish of the new kirk, for over nights drinking, is appointed to be cited pro secundo.

27th July. 1647.—Thomas Stevenstone in Dunlop, for making ane promise of marriage to ane Marion Moore, as she alleged, being summoned denied that ever he made any promise of marriage to the said Marion, and because the said Thomas was upon terms of marriage with another, he is ordained to purge himself by oath upon the day of his marriage.

17th August, 1647.—Robert Fulton and Margt. Storie, in Kilwinning, upon apparent grounds and presumption of adultery sic as this (among many others) confessed by themselves in the session of Kilwinning, that he and she would be in his barn together themselves alone, and the door being closed on them, being summoned, compeared the said Robert. Being accused of adultery, he granted his scandalous carriage with the said Margaret. Being required further to confess, after long dealing of some of the brethren that were sent out to confer with him, he would neither grant nor deny. The Presbytery seeing that his conscience was stirring within him, they threaten to take his oath. The said Robert being unwilling to give his oath, he desired time to advise and think upon it, and withal desired the Presbytery to pray for him that he might get mastery over his corruption, and in the meantime appoints Mr James Fergusson to deal with him.

7th Dec, 1647.—Katherine Miller and David Logan, Stevenston, charged with adultery, ordered to satisfy, and because they could not be kept from each other’s company, Cuninghame head to be spoken to that he may separit them, and remove! them out of the parish.

The Presbytery taking to their consideration the condition of John Armour in Dreghorn, who remains still obstinate in the denial of the fact of adultery, notwithstanding that the woman had fathered the child upon him, does find that it was to no purpose to deal any longer with him, and therefore it is appointed that the said John Armour, partly for his disobedience to the Presbytery, and partly for his scandalous carriage which he acknowledged, should stand three Lord’s days in sackcloth, and that upon the last day he purge himself solemnly before the congregation.

28th Dec, 1647.—Mr John Bell reports that Cuninghamehead has undertaken to banish David Logan the parish, in case he does not abstain from the woman’s company with whom he has fallen.

23d March, 1648.—The Laird of Shewalton appeared before the Presbytery charged with adultery, which he denied—remitted to the session of Irvine to whom he had formerly been disobedient, and had offered violence to the kirk officer.

2d May, 1648.—Euphemia Maxwell in Dalry, having brought forth a child to a trooper, whose name as she affirmed she knew not—

Note—“One of a troop of dragoons was my daddy,
No wonder I’m fond of a soger laddy”—

the Presbytery conceiving that it was but a subterfuge to cloak the sin of adultery, does refer the said Euphemia to her own session, to try to the utmost that business, and whether there was any scandal between her and any other man.

3d July, 1648.—The Presbytery hearing that the Laird of Shewalton had received some wounds in a fight, upon this ground has delayed the going on with his process till his wounds be cured.

25th July, 1648.—The confession of Marion Miller, that she had broken the Lords’ day by flyting and washing a piece of cloth, being produced, if she heartily submit to the session of Kilmaurs, they would accept, if she gave signs of repentance.

9th March, 1650.—Compeared Thomas Blair in Kilwinning, who was at the point of excommunication and in sackloth, upon his knees did confess double adultery with ane Bessie Moore in Kilwinning, another with Euphame Maxwell in Dalry. The Presbytery having heard his confession, and considering the atrocity of his crimes, does recommend to the Provost of Irvine to apprehend him, and put him in ward till he be sent to the Justice General, the other parishes to bear burden with the town of Irvine in paying the expense,

7th May, 1650.—Compeared Isobel Miller in Kilmaurs, and charged with having sought a drink to destroy a birth in the womb. She denied it. The Presbytery finding that there were some grounds and probability of the same, appoints the said Isobel to appear in the public place of repentance, in the kirk of Kilmaurs in sackcloth till next Presbytery day, and then the minister to charge her with the presumption, and to specify to the people the cause of her appearing there, and in the meantime she is to appear before the Presbytery next day, that she may hear more of the Presbytery’s mind.

2d July, 1650.—Thomas Blair in Kilwinning having broken ward when he was to be sent to the Justice General for his double adultery, and now fugitive, appointed to have ane public admonition before he be excommunicated.

N. B.—The last minute of Presbytery in the volume from which the above extracts are taken, is the above. The following volumes are lost till the one commencing 17th August, 1687.


Sir,—I have bene with my lord Chaunceler even now to confer with hym concerning the kyngs maiesties busynes in hande. The Aturney was ther, whereby speach yt fell into consederation what company of Lords and counsellors wolde be ther. My Lord Admyrall desyers to be excused; my Lord Touch wyll not be heer; my Lord Stanhop dare not this weather be so long in so cold a place; Mr Secretary Harbert can not, for the Stranguery afflycts hym so; my Lord of Shrewsbery hath bene so yll both of goute and sharpnes of water, as he hath never yet come to this end of the toune; and in truth my lord Chancelor hym selfe is in no case to be at such a busines on fryday. The last day of the tearme may happyly geve more health to some of thes. My lord Chauncelor wyll not have the stay to be for hym yf he dye for yt; therfore I thought fytt to sygnifye thus much. The Lords that are able are all apoynted to assemble at my Lord Chauncelors house to morrowe, wher no dowbt the day wylbe put of vntyll the end of the tearm at the soonest; therfore, Mr Murray, I pray you acquaynt his maiestie with thus much, to the end that my Lords who are apoynted to come away from thence to morrow may stay vntyll the next advertysment, which shalbe presently after ther meeting to morrow at my Lord Chauncelors, wher the dyspatch shalbe made. In hast, from Northampton Howse, Twesday the I of February,

Your loving frend,
T. Suffolk.


Containing his Majesty’s Opinions on a curious point of Criminal Law.

Aducate housoone the assyse is admittid remember to exhorte and admonishe thame according to my former information writtin with my auin hande and adde thair to hou farre it is against all

lau to admitt a mannis denyall againis his auin preceiding confession in sa farr as he deponis contra suum caput allanerlie speciallie his deposition being freelie geuin without torture and not to the exemaris onlie bot being uillinglie repetit be him self to the erl of marr and sindrie other noble gentlemen be uaye of discourse besydis his causing aprehend and with his auin mouth accusing the deid doer and his brekking uarde thairefter and that ioined uith are other murther and uillfull remaining at the home sensyne and of lait his offers be the bishop of brichen and sindrie others to my self of tua thousande crounis to me and tenn thousande markis to the pairtie and to be baneist the cuntrey during the pairteis will and last nou quhat he lies confest sen his aprehension baith to the bailleis and ministeris of this toune lett thaime selfis beare recorde according to thaire consciences as to my earnistness in this turne as godd sall iudge me it is onlie in respect of the odiousnes of the deid and the infamie that uill redounde to oure haill nation thairthrouch gif sa abominabill a cryme be not als notoriouslie punished.[24]

His Maties. direction xi Martij
writtin with his maiesties
awin hand.

Indorsed by Lord Binning.


About the middle of the last century, Thomas, or as he was popularly called, “Tam Giffen,” resided, or I may rather say wandered, in the parishes of Kilbirnie, Beith, and Dunlop, as a mendicant. He is reported to have been a stout-built man, of something more than middle age, of a sourish turn of mind; and was in the habit of giving laconic, mysterious answers to those who dared to ask him questions. Much superstition abounded in the country at that time; and “Tam’s” aspect, which was remarkably forbidding, together with his strange disposition, soon attracted the awe-stricken attention of the simple peasantry, who went so far as to call him a Warlock. Tam, with the shrewdness of a crafty mind, made use of this folly and superstitious fear for his own aggrandisement; and few, after a time, dared refuse him an alms, from his “uncanny” notoriety. Of the many strange and unaccountable stories still related of him. I will narrate the following:—

“One day when the water of Lugton, which separates the parishes of Beith and Dunlop, was rolling “from bank to brae,” and the holms were in a flooded state, Tam was observed on the opposite bank by some people. Happening to lose sight of him for a few minutes, what was their astonishment to find Tam standing beside them, high and dry! The water, which was full and over-flowing, was more than thirty feet in width, and no bridge nearer than two miles. To the hurried question, how he got across, he quickly replied—”Hoo, I didna come across ata, I was in a hurry, and just came through below it.”

At another time, a remarkably pious man, in the parish of Dunlop, during a high gale of wind, ascended to the roof of his house, which, according to the custom of the time, was of thatch; laid a number of stones and sticks on the roof, to prevent the wind from blowing the thatch away; and while on the roof, according to his own account, a tremendous whirlwind swept round and nearly overthrew him. He mentally ejaculated, “God save me,” and held on by the rigging. His bonnet and wig were blown away—where, he could not tell. Next day, after the storm was abated, he went again on the roof of the house, to mend the damage which had been done. Looking down, he perceived “Tam” standing at the foot of the ladder, and surveying him with a most sinister gaze. “Ye held on weel yesterday,” exclaimed Tam; “gin ye hadna whispered ‘God save me’, we wud ha blawn ye doun, but we took awa your wig and bonnet: gae awa doun tae the well in the meadow, and ye’ll get them lying there, aside the sauch bush.” The man accordingly went, and, in the exact spot, found his wig and bonnet.

An honest blacksmith, one evening, going to weld two pieces of iron together, called on his apprentice, who was reported to be a heedless youth, to come and assist him in beating the iron. After calling once or twice, and receiving no answer, he angrily exclaimed, “I may just as weel cry on Tam Giffen.” “What do ye want,” whispered a voice behind him, which was no other than Tam’s: “I was just fleeing through the air wi’ a wheen o’ them that’s gaun awa to dance in Kilbride kirk-yard the nicht, and I thocht I wad come in an’ see what ye wanted wi’ me.” “Did ye come in at the door,” exclaimed the astonished blacksmith. “No, I just drapped doun the lum—but I maun awa’, or they’ll miss me:” so saying, he instantly disappeared.

At last “Tam” was discovered lying dead on the banks of the Garnock water, near Garrit Linn, in a wild and solitary glen, in the parish of Kilbirnie. According to tradition, he was murdered by the fairies for disclosing some of their secrets. He was buried in Kilbirnie churchyard; and his grave is still pointed out to the curious.

Aul’ grannie sat carding her woo by the fire
On a caul winter eve; and, as midnicht drew nigher,
The bairns gathered roun’ her and quitted their glee
To list to a tale: mony aul’ tales had she
O’ brownies, an’ spunkies, and wee merry men,
That dance in green jackets a’ nicht in the glen,
O’ ghosts an’ wild spectres, in aul’ castles grey,
That haud their wild revelries till break o’ day.
In a circle aroun her the wee bairnies drew,
An’ eerie they leuked at the fire burning blue,
Nae whispering was heard when aul’ grannie began
Tae tell o’ “Tam Giffen,” the wild warlock man:
Lang, lang in the warld won’d warlock Tam,
Nae ane could tell frae what kintra he cam,
He seemed like a stranger on earth left forlorn,
And some said he ne’er in the warld was born.
He wandered the kintra, east, north, south, and west,
And gaed aye to ca’ on them wha used him best!
Alane in some glen he at morn micht be seen,
But nae ane kent whar he micht be or ’twas e’en:
Pale, pale was his lank cheek, but dark lowered his brow,
An’ his black e’e seemed glancing wi’ unearthly lowe,
He lauched at the sorrows that made ithers weep,
An’ never was he kent to slumber or sleep.
In through the key hole, or doun through the lum,
When the doors were a’ barred, he at midnicht wad come—
Or afar in some glen wi’ the bogles wad be,
A’ the dead o’ the nicht, haudin’ unholy glee—
Or dancing wi’ fairies far ben in the wud,
Or sailing in cockle-shells far o’er the flud,
Or fleeing wi’ witches awa’ through the air,
Or doing dark deeds that I daurna declare.
Wi’ a sly noiseless step butt the house he wud come,
And set himsel’ doun by the side o’ the lum,
An’ mutter dark words wi’ a strange eldrich soun’,
An’ leuk as if something was steerin’ aroun’
Whilk naebody ever could see but himsel’—
An’ then to the folk he wud strange stories tell
O’ witches and spectres, and grim goblins near,
That, flitting in corners, to him did appear.
When a tempest was brewing afar in the sky,
There aye was a wildness in Tam Giffen’s eye,
An’ awa’ out o’ sicht he wad soon disappear,
Crying wark’s to be dune and I daurna bide here;
An’ aften wad gude folk in terror declare
He rade in the black storm on high in the air,
Leading whirlwinds onward o’er valley an’ hill,
Working mischief an’ ruin to gude and to ill.
When Tam saw a priest he grew wild as a stirk,
And never wad enter the door o’ a kirk:
If ony are near him attempted to pray,
In a moment Tam Giffen wad vanish away;
If ony by chance ever mentioned his name,
Soon, soon to their terror and wonder he came,
An’ speired what they wanted by calling him there,
When he had got business to do in the air.
Ae nicht when a revel o’ goblins had been,
Far doun in the glen on the mune-lichted green,
Tam shared in their glee, and next morning telt a’
The wonderful things that he heard and he saw;
Then the fairies an’ goblins an’ witches did meet
By Garrit’s deep linn—a wild, lonely, retreat—
An’ wailings were heard on the dread midnicht air,
An’ Tam Giffen, next morning, was found lifeless there.


[The following “Good Counsel” by Chaucer, freely modernised, is said to have been composed in his last agonies. In a MS. in the Cotton Library the verses are entitled, “a Ballade made by Giffrey Chaucyer upon his dethe bedde, lying in grete anguysse.”]

Fly from the crowd, and be to virtue true,
Content with what thou hast, though it be small;
To hoard brings hate; nor lofty things pursue;
He who climbs high endangers many a fall.
Envy’s a shade that ever waits on fame,
And oft the sun that raises it will hide:
Trace not in life a vast expensive scheme,
But be thy wishes to thy state ally’d.
Be mild to others, to thyself severe,
So truth shall shield thee or from hurt or fear.
Think not of binding all things to thy will,
Nor vainly hope that fortune shall befriend;
Inconstant she, but be thou constant still,
Whate’er betide, into an honest end.
Yet needless dangers never madly brave;
Kick not thy naked foot against a nail;
Or from experience the solution crave,
If wall and pitcher strive which shall prevail.
Be in thy cause, as in thy neighbour’s, clear,
So truth shall shield thee or from hurt or fear.
Whatever happens, happy in thy mind
Be thou, nor at thy lot in life repine;
He ’scapes all ill whoso bosom is resign’d;
Nor way, nor weather will be always fine:
Besides, thy home’s not here—a journey this,
A pilgrim thou—then hie thee on thy way;
Look up to God—intent on heavenly bliss,
Take what the road affords and praises pay:
Shun brutal lusts, and seek thy soul’s high sphere,
So truth shall shield thee or from hurt or fear.


Man to the plough,
Wife to the sow,
Son to the flail,
Daughter to the pail,
And your rents will be netted;
But, man tally ho,
Daughter piano,
Son Greek and Latin,
Wife silk and satin,
And you’ll soon be gazetted.

A Scene in a Scotch Court of Justice in 1757.—The Dean of Faculty at that time was Mr Lockhart, afterwards Lord Covington, a man of learning, but of a demeanour harsh and overbearing. It had ever been considered the duty of the chief of the body of advocates, freely elected to preside over them, to be particularly kind and protecting to beginners; but Lockhart treated all who came in contact with him in a manner equally offensive, although he had been engaged in a personal altercation with a gentleman out of court, who threatened to inflict personal chastisement upon him; and there were some circumstances in his domestic life supposed to render his reputation vulnerable. At last, four junior advocates, of whom Wedderburn, afterwards Lord Chancellor Loughborough, was one, entered into a mutual engagement that he among them who first had the opportunity should resent the arrogance of the Dean, and publicly insult him. It was by mere accident that the opportunity occurred to Wedderburn, who certainly made a good use of it. In the very end of July, or beginning of August, 1757, (the exact day I have not been able to ascertain), Wedderburn was opposed in the Inner House as counsel to Lockhart, and was called by him “a presumptuous boy,” experiencing from him even more than his wonted rudeness and superciliciousness. When the presumptuous boy came to reply, he delivered such a personal invective as never was before or since heard at the Scottish bar. A lively impression still remains of its character; but newspaper reporting was then unknown in Edinburgh, and oral tradition has preserved only one sentence of that which probably was the meditated part of the harangue:—“The learned Dean has confined himself on this occasion to vituperation; I do not say that he is capable of reasoning, but if tears would have answered his purpose, I am sure tears would not have been wanting.” Lockhart here started up and threatened him with vengeance. Wedderburn—“I care little, my Lords, for what may be said or done by a man who has been disgraced in his person and dishonoured in his bed.” Lord President Craigie, being afterwards asked why he had not sooner interfered, answered, “because Wedderburn made all the flesh creep on my bones.” But at last his Lordship declared in a firm tone, that “this was language unbecoming an advocate, and unbecoming a gentleman.” Wedderburn, now in a state of such excitement as to have lost all sense of decorum and propriety, exclaimed that “his Lordship had said as a judge what he could not justify as a gentleman.” The President appealed to his brethren as to what was fit to be done, who unanimously resolved that Mr Wedderburn should retract his words and make an humble apology, on pain of deprivation. All of a sudden Wedderburn seemed to have subdued his passion, and put on an air of deliberate coolness; when, instead of the expected retractation and apology; he stripped off his gown, and holding it in his hands before the Judge, he said, “My Lords, I neither retract nor apologise, but I will save you the trouble of deprivation; there is my gown, and I will never wear it more; virtute me involvo.” He then coolly laid his gown upon the bar, made a low bow to the Judges, and before they had recovered from their amazement he left the court, which he never again entered. That very night he set off to London. I know not whether he had any apprehension of the steps which the Judges might have taken to vindicate their dignity, or whether he was ashamed to meet his friends of the Parliament House, but he had formed a resolution, which he faithfully kept, to abandon his native country, and never more to revisit it.—‘Lord Campbell’s Lives of the Chancellors.’

Antiquity of the Influenza.—Of this now universally prevailing malady we have (says the ‘Glasgow Constitutional’) the following account, in a letter from Randolph, the English Ambassador at the Court of Mary, Queen of Scots, to Cecil (afterwards Lord Burghley,) dated Edinburgh, 30th November, 1562. “May it please your Honour. Immediately upon the Queen’s arrival here she fell acquainted with a new disease that is common in this town, called the ‘New Acquaintance,’ which passed also through her whole Court, neither sparing lord, lady, nor damsel, nor so much as French or English. It is a pain in their head that have it, and a soreness in their stomachs, with a great cough; it remaineth with some longer, with others shorter time, as it findeth apt bodies for the nature of the disease. The Queen kept her bed six days; there was no appearance of danger, nor many that die of the disease except some old folks. My Lord of Murray is now presently in it, and I am ashamed to say that I have been free of it, seeing it seeketh acquaintance at all men’s hands.” The letter is printed pp. 105-7 of the “Selections from Unpublished Manuscripts Illustrating the reign of Mary Queen of Scotland,” presented to the Maitland Club, in 1837, by the late Mr Kirkman Finlay, of Castle Toward. The last freak of the distemper, according to the ‘Edinburgh Register,’ was the seizure of the master of the Duddingston Mills, and at the same time all his millers, and the mill stood still. To complete the adage that misfortunes never come single, the millers’ wives were almost all ill, and unable to nurse their husbands.

Air, Oct. 3, 1772.—On the 23d ult. we had one of the most selemn processions of free masons in this place, that I presume ever was made in Scotland. The occasion of it was laying the foundation-stone of the works for improving the harbour. The Earl of Dumfries, Grand Master for Scotland, and upwards of 500 of the brethren, were present. They assembled at the King’s-arms between ten and eleven o’clock forenoon. From thence they went in procession to the church, attended by the Rev. Mess. Dalrymple and M‘Gill, ministers in this place, decently habited in their gowns, with their aprons under them, their hats below their arms as the rest of the company, carrying the Bible open in their hands; violins, and a variety of other music, playing before them. An elegant sermon was there delivered them from Psal. civ. 15. The stone was then presented, when his Lordship applied to it the plumb-rule and the square, and gave it three strokes with the mallet. After that ceremony was performed, it was handed over the quay with ropes, and his Lordship solemnly poured upon it a handful of corn, and a cupful of wine and oil; devoutly lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven, and addressing the Great Architect of heaven and earth, that the place might abound in these articles. This gave occasion to three cheerful huzzas. Then the Rev. Mr M‘Gill, having addressed himself to the brethren, which likewise was followed with three cheers as before, he devoutly prayed; and the whole ceremony was concluded with singing the masons’ anthem.—‘Weekly Magazine.’

James VI. when a Boy.—The celebrated Andrew Melville and his nephew, James, were introduced to the King at Stirling Castle, previous to his entering his ninth year. The following is James Melville’s account of him: “He was the switest sicht in Europe that day, for strange and extraordinar gifts of ingyne, judgment, memorie, and language. I heard him discourse walking up and down in the auld Lady Marr’s hand, of knowledge and ignorance to my grait marvell and astonishment.”—


1.  Donald of the Lakes.

2.  Ellen-nan-Gall, an island contiguous to Island Stalker.

3.  Green Colin.

4.  This is a good axe, Alexander, if you could whittle well with it.

5.  Do you think but I can do so.

6.  The following is another version of the manner in which Donald was transferred to the protection of the smith. It is rot, however, so consistent with the previous part of the narrative as the first:

Donald, the only son of Alexander, being an infant, was, at the death of his father, carried away to Lochshiel side, in Moidart, to a smith’s family, commonly known by the name of ‘An Gothan Muidartsich.’ The smith was a descendant of the Clanronald family, and had a tack of both sides of Lochshiel, which, together with his trade, supported his family. His work principally consisted in the making of arms, hence the bye-word, when a warrior met with a sword that pleased him, ‘N’na claimbh Mudairstach than seodh.’ The smith, notwithstanding his mechanical employment, was considered a person in good circumstances; and it being customary at that age for the Highland chiefs to send their male family, in disguise, to farmers to rear them in hard hood and fatigue, a number of the neighbouring gentry sent their sons, ‘Air mhachaladh,’ to the smith to bring them up till the age of maturity. The smith would have none except the heirs of property. The peculiar family circumstances under which Donald was left to his protection, his life being in danger, rendered the smith more careful of him. The kindness thus shown by his supposed father, drew the attachment of the child towards him. The smith at last got fonder of him than any of his own family, and frequently brought him to the smithy to assist him in making swords, axes, and such other warlike instruments as were used in those times. As Donald grew up, his strength and intrepidity increased with his years. He was reckoned a good swimmer, and by diving, several times caught salmon in ‘Linidh Bhlathain,’ a pool immediately below the smith’s house, in the water of Shiel. On one occasion, he came up with one in each hand, and one in his teeth. One day, the smith having a piece of work to execute, and no other assistance being at hand, called upon Donald to aid him. The article he was engaged with required a man to hold it on the study, and two men, with hammers used by both hands, to beat it down. Donald seized one of these large hammers in each hand, and beat it down with great ease. The smith, admiring his strength and activity, could no longer contain himself: and after consulting his wife, sent for ‘Mhac Mhic Allen,’ the uncle of Donald, to reveal the secret. On the arrival of the uncle, the smith told him he wanted to show him what one of his sons, who was only eighteen years of age, could do. They went to the smithy, and Donald, in order to please his supposed chief, exerted himself in beating on the study with the two large hammers. They afterwards proceeded to the pool, the smith at the same time taking a sword with him, and telling Donald that he need not come ashore unless he brought a salmon in each hand. Donald dived into the water, and staying an unusual time, the smith drew nearer ‘Mhac Mhic Allen,’ and, unsheathing his sword in a great fury, the young man came out with a salmon in each hand. “What,” says ‘Mhac Mhic Allen,’ “are you going to kill me.” The smith replied, that unless the young man had come out of the water, he certainly would have been a dead man. Upon which ‘Mhac Mhic Allen’ said, he would rather than a ‘ceud mbare Ferin,’ a hundred marks of land, he had a son that could do the same thing. The smith, elevated with the young man’s safety, and the exploit before his chief and relation, revealed the secret of his birth, upon which ‘Mhac Mhic Allen’ embraced the young man—telling him he was his uncle. Donald was rather in a dilemma about the loss of his supposed father, whom he so dearly loved, and who so fondly cherished him; but when he recovered himself, he showed symptoms of indignation against the murderer of his father, and craved the assistance of his uncle to redeem his lawful possessions. His uncle considered him too young; but Donald said he was determined, even single-handed, to attempt the attainment of his rights. Upon which his uncle and the smith went to the smithy, made a sword, tempered it well, and presenting it to him, told him not to sheath it till he had redeemed his rights, and he revenged on his father’s enemies. The smith likewise sent his own sons to assist him, along with a party of select men from his uncle’s country, who were greatly attached to him, he having been brought up among them. Donald soon gained his rights, and returned to the smith to take farewell, and thank him for his kindness and protection. The smith gave him a bull and twelve cows, which Donald regarded as a high affront, knowing that he gave twenty and a bull to each of the other heirs of property that he reared. He asked the smith what was the reason, upon which the latter replied, that he was now getting old, and intended to divide his property between his own sons; but that he had as great a regard for him as any of the other young men, notwithstanding that he only gave him this number. Donald went to the fold and made out the twenty, that it might not be said that he got less than the rest; but, upon further consideration, returned them all, saying to the smith, he had taught him to be a warrior, and he would find sufficient cattle among the Campbells, his father’s enemies.

7.  Donald the Hammerer.

8.  Cailen Uaine was killed at the water of Lion, swimming over after having been defeated by ‘Donul nan Ord,’ by one of Donald’s men. One of Colin’s men who got safe to the other side said, that that was clean blood he gave to the salmon of Lion, seeing the arrow quivering in his breast. Upon which one of Donald’s men remarked, that he gave cleaner blood to the crabs of Island Stalker, without a cause.

9.  Donald the Hammerer, the smith’s step-son. The darling of the mail coats. You lifted a hership from Lochow side that Argyle cannot redeem, nor his son, nor his grandson, nor his great-grandson.

10.  Grey, withered Argyle, you care little about me, and when I return, as little I’ll care about you.

11.  Dirty Laugh.

12.  Dirty laugh they call the rock, and always that way remains; you will the same get with yourself, if your wife’s face you would compare.

13.  Yellow Stewarts of the locks, that would seize on the kail.

14.  If we have the locks from ancestry, we have what will draw an arrow.

15.  Transactions of the Berwickshire Naturalists’ Club.

16.  This document was produced in a process depending before the Sheriff of Glasgow, as a ‘genuine’ copy of an ‘original’ charter!

17.  According to Balfour, Malcolm the Third, surnamed Canmore, the successful opponent of Macbeth, “was crouned at Scone” in anno 1057. This present important document shows that, whether crowned or uncrowned, he was King of Scots in 1051.

18.  This illustrious Earl is not mentioned in any of our peerage writings, and was unknown until this interesting historical document turned up. Hitherto, the first known Earl of Monteith was Murdoch, who flourished in the reign of David I.

19.  Andrew Hamilton, Bishop of Glasgow in the reign of Malcolm the Third, has been brought to light by means of this charter. No doubt he ‘must’ have been of the family subsequently enobled, and now holding the premier Dukedom of Scotland. The Hamiltons may therefore be supposed to have preceded Queen Margaret, who brought so many English “Pock-puddings,” as Andro’ Fairservice styles them, into Scotland, and to have comfortably placed one of their name in the Episcopal chair nineteen years before the espousals of their Majesties.

20.  Mr Innes, in his edition of the ‘Chartulary of Glasgow,’ founding upon what he supposed an “authentic instrument,” dated in 1116, fixes the revival, or rather erection, of the Bishoprick in the reign of King David I. This grant to the masons, however, shows decisively that the learned antiquary was quite wrong.

21.  What Records?

22.  Author of a treatise entitled “Three excellent Points of Christian Doctrine.” Edinburgh, 1621. He demitted the ministry about the year 1615.

23.  Mr John Hall continued in the ministry until 1619, when he craved to be “dismissed with the King’s favour, in respect of his age and infirmitie of bodie, which he granted; yet he was not infirm but he might have continued teaching; for there was no sensible decay found in his gifts. The truth is, he would not offend the King by not conforming for fear of loosing of his pension; and, on the other side, would have the Godly believe that he was averse from the latest inovation. But they interpreted this forsaking of his station, after he had helped to set the house on fire, to proceed only from love of ease, lasiness, and fear to lose some part of his reputation, when his gifts should begin to fail. So he left his ministry of Edinburgh without the people’s consent, resting only upon the King’s demission.” Calderwood, 1678, folio, p. 723. These reasons, coming from an opponent, are not entitled to much weight. The plea of age is overlooked, and infirmity partially admitted. There certainly were sufficient reasons for Mr Hall’s relinquishing his clerical duties.

24.  Haddington Papers.


Edinburgh: T. G. Stevenson, 87, Prince’s Street; and John Menzies, 61, Prince’s Street.

Glasgow: Thomas Murray, Argyle Street.

Aberdeen: Brown & Co.

London: Houlston and Stoneman.

Printed by J. and W. Paterson, 52, Bristo Street.