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Title: Bygone Church Life in Scotland
Author: Various
Language: English
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[Illustration: Glasgow Cathedral with Blacader's Aisle]

  Bygone Church Life in Scotland

  Edited by William Andrews





I hope the present collection of new studies on old themes will win a
welcome from Scotsmen at home and abroad.

My contributors, who have kindly furnished me with articles, are
recognized authorities on the subjects they have written about, and I
think their efforts cannot fail to find favour with the reader.



_Christmas Eve, 1898._



  THE CROSS IN SCOTLAND. By the Rev. Geo. S. Tyack, B.A.             1

  BELL LORE. By England Howlett                                     34

  SAINTS AND HOLY WELLS. By Thomas Frost                            46

  F.S.A., Scot.                                                     64

  PUBLIC WORSHIP IN OLDEN TIMES. By the Rev. Alexander Waters,
  M.A., B.D.                                                        86

  CHURCH MUSIC. By Thomas Frost                                     98

  DISCIPLINE IN THE KIRK. By the Rev. Geo. S. Tyack, B.A.          108

  CURIOSITIES OF CHURCH FINANCE. By the Rev. R. Wilkins Rees       130

  WITCHCRAFT AND THE KIRK. By the Rev. R. Wilkins Rees             162


  MARRIAGE LAWS AND CUSTOMS                                        210

  GRETNA GREEN GOSSIP                                              227


  THE STORY OF A STOOL                                             255

  THE MARTYRS' MONUMENT, EDINBURGH                                 260

Bygone Church Life in Scotland.

The Cross in Scotland.


The Reformation in Scotland was of a character more sweeping and
destructive than is easy of realisation by an Englishman at the present
day. In the southern kingdom much that as symbolism was valuable, and as
art was admirable, was wantonly given over to the hammer or the flames at
that time; but one learns to be thankful for the many works of glory and
of beauty that were nevertheless left to us, when one turns one's eyes to
the northern realm. Carried away by the violence of the most extreme men,
the Reformation there became a veritable revolution, in which everything
that spoke of earlier times was condemned, and was treated as if it were a
sacrament of Satan; and the attempt was seriously made to render "the
King's Daughter" yet more "glorious within" by stripping her of every
shred of her "clothing of wrought gold." Religion, that it might be more
truly spiritual, was to be sent forth into the world absolutely naked of
every external sign or form. The furniture of the churches was torn out,
and sold or burnt; the statues of the saints were of course broken up; but
the organs were also pulled down, and even the carved stalls and screens
of the cathedrals were declared to be "idolatrous." Nothing illustrates
more strongly, and more curiously, the indiscriminate frenzy of
destruction which for a time took possession of the people, than the fact
that monuments and tombstones were even condemned as superstitious and
sinful. Only a comparatively few of all the many memorials of Scottish
worthies of earlier centuries escaped demolition, and this not wrought by
the mere violence of a turbulent mob, but by formal resolutions of the
General Assembly in the seventeenth century. In 1640 the Kirk Session of
Aberdeen ordered the removal of a portrait of "Reid of Pitfoddels" from
the vestry of the church, on the ground of its "smelling somewhat of
Popery"; and in 1649 a similar authority at Kilmarnock condemned "a
graven image" on the tomb of Lord Boyd. This action was taken, no doubt,
in obedience to the summons issued by the General Assembly in 1640 to the
presbyteries to complete the removal and destruction of all monuments.

Such being the state of feeling in Scotland, we are not surprised to find
that the sign of our salvation was found even more obnoxious by the
leaders of the movement there than it was among their brethren in England.
With the latter, when the interiors of the churches were swept bare of
crosses, the passion for destruction was stayed so far as that emblem was
concerned; on spire and gable, on tomb and tablet, in churchyard and
market-place, the stone crosses were for the most part left; and even
when, under the Puritan regime of the following century, an attempt was
made to pull down these by Parliamentary authority, the popular feeling
was so far from being strongly in its favour, that the work was by no
means done thoroughly and completely.

In spite of all that was intended, and even attempted, Scotland has,
nevertheless, retained some examples of the ancient crosses, which are
well worthy of our attention. In remote places the sacred sign has been
spared in scattered instances for more appreciative days; in more populous
centres the cross has been preserved in a secularised form, its symbol
gone, and with it its meaning; but amid the wreck of so much, we must
receive gratefully the fragments that remain.

The strictly church crosses, those that once stood on altar or on
rood-screen, that led the stately procession, or cast their benign shadows
athwart the graves of the faithful--these were all swept away. The Synod
of Fife held, at the time of the Reformation, "visitations" from time to
time, to search out and remove "crosier staffes" and "divers crosses," as
well as other ancient furniture, from the parish churches; and in so
doing, doubtless, it was but acting as the other Synods of the country
did. The old crosses in the churchyards, many of them of great age, and
probably most interesting pieces of sculpture, were almost all destroyed.
The market crosses, however, have in several cases survived, although the
national emblem, the unicorn, has usurped the place of the Christian
symbol, the cross; and the attack upon mortuary memorials was not
altogether successful; in fact, it was hardly to be expected that any
people would consent to the entire obliteration of the grave-stones of
their ancestors.

The most famous existing example is the High Cross, or Market Cross, of
the capital. The date of the foundation of this structure is unknown. Not
far from its site is an ancient well, known as the Cross Well, from which
some have conjectured that possibly the earliest cross was reared by some
unknown teacher of the faith, who, in a far distant age, established
himself in a cell beside this clear spring. Such a spot, we know, was
often chosen by these apostolic teachers, and not infrequently a rude
cross, erected hard by, served to mark the place as, in some sort, a
sanctuary. Our first authentic allusion to this Cross is, however, of a
date some centuries later than this. In 1175 William the Lion (1165-1214)
decreed that "all merchandisis salbe presentit at the mercat and mercat
croce of burghis." From this, we may safely conclude that Edinburgh had a
recognised Market Cross by that date, since we can hardly imagine that the
capital was without a symbol that was evidently usual in the burghs of
the country. A reference to the Cross is supposed to be contained in a
document of 1437. The assassins of the noble but unfortunate King James
I., who was barbarously slain in the February of that year, are said to
have suffered for their crime "mounted on a pillar in the market-place in
Edinburgh." Ten years later we meet with a definite reference to this
structure; the Charter of St Giles's Church, dated 1447, contains the
words "ex parte occidentali fori et crucis dicti burgi," on the west side
of the market-place and of the Cross of the said burgh. King James III.
(1460-1488), in an epistle to the citizens of his capital written in
October 1477, ordains that "all pietricks, pluvaris, capones, conyngs,
checkins, and all other wyld foulis and tame to be usit and sald about the
Market Croce and in na other place." At this time, therefore, we find the
Cross established as an acknowledged centre for commercial Edinburgh, such
as it was in the fifteenth century.

The exact form of this early Market Cross is as doubtful as the date of
its foundation. The pillar of the present erection is the same as that in
the earliest historical notices which we have of it; but whether this
originally stood upon a simple pedestal, upon a pyramid of steps, or upon
an elevated platform like that of a later date, we cannot say. It has been
thought probable, however, that the Cross was raised to its dignified
altitude by the addition of the arcaded platform in the time of James III.
This monarch was indolent, and unfit for the rule of a somewhat turbulent
kingdom, but he was a patron of the arts, and a friend of the Church.
Several improvements were made in Edinburgh during his reign, including
the enlargement of St Giles's Cathedral; hence it is possible that he also
took in hand the adornment of the neighbouring Cross. Under James VI.,
previously to his becoming Sovereign of Great Britain, further alterations
were made. In 1555 we read of work at the Cross consisting of "bigging the
rowme thereof," which is supposed to mean that at this time the open
arches which upheld the platform were filled in, so as to form an enclosed
"rowme" below. This room was entered by a door, which was secured with a
lock; so that thenceforward only those having some high and official duty
to perform, such as publishing a royal proclamation, could ascend to the
broad base of the Cross. In the City Treasurer's accounts for 1560 are
two entries as follows: "Item for ane band to ye Croce dur," and "Item for
mending of ye lok of ye Croce dur." Once more, we read in the same records
for 1584, "5 Julii, Item, ye sam day given for ane lok to ye Croce dur,
and three keyis for it." There is extant an old engraving giving a
bird's-eye view of Edinburgh in 1647, from which we may see that in its
main outlines the Market Cross was then much as it is to-day; the summit
of the shaft (from which, doubtless, the cross had already been flung
down) having been surmounted by the heraldic symbol of Scotland at the
date of the last-quoted entry from the city accounts. The record
concerning it is of a sum "payit to David Williamson for making and
upputting of the Unicorn upon the head of the Croce."

Early in the next century the whole erection was moved to a new site. In
1617 it was "translated by the devise of certain mariners of Leith from
the place where it stood past the memory of man to a place beneath in the
High Street." A new substructure was made for it, of stone "brocht from
the Deyne"; and the shaft was swung into "the new seat" on the 25th
March, the cost of the entire work being £4486, 5s. 6d. (Scots).

The republicans of the Commonwealth period defaced the Cross, tearing down
the royal arms, and hanging the crown from the head of the unicorn upon
the gallows. At the Restoration, therefore, certain repairs had to be
made; Robert Mylne was entrusted with the work, and a further contract was
made with George Porteous "for painting the Croce."

During the succeeding century frequent complaints were made that the Cross
was an obstruction to traffic; and at last in 1756 the complainants
obtained their wish. On the 13th March in that year the Market Cross of
Edinburgh was demolished. The pillar, which fell and broke during the
operation, was sold to Lord Somerville, who set it up in the vicinity of
his house at Drum; the medallions which had adorned the base came
eventually into the hands of Sir Walter Scott, who built them into a wall
at Abbotsford, where they remain; the site was marked out with stones, as
some small compensation for the loss to the lovers of antiquity; and
finally a plain stone pillar was erected beside the well hard by, and this
was officially declared to be from that day forward the Market Cross of
the city. Even this contemptible substitute was not, however, suffered
long to remain; but on the same plea of obstruction was presently removed
like the Cross itself.

The citizens of the ancient city did not unanimously concur, by any means,
in this destruction of a time-honoured landmark in the history of the
country; and efforts were repeatedly made to obtain its restoration. After
a time the movement was so far successful as to gain the return of "the
pillar of the Cross" to Edinburgh, where it was set up on a pedestal
within the railings of St Giles's Church. So matters stood until recent
times, when a complete restoration was effected by the generosity of the
late Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone, who built a new and imposing octagonal
base, on one of the faces of which the following inscription was placed in
Latin, "Thanks be to God, this ancient monument, the Cross of Edinburgh,
devoted of old to public functions--having been destroyed by evil hands in
the Year of our Salvation 1756, and having been avenged and lamented, in
song both noble and manly, by that man of highest renown, Walter
Scott--has now, by permission of the city magistrates, been rebuilt by
William E. Gladstone, who, through both parents claims a descent entirely
Scottish. November 23rd, in the Year of Grace 1885." The date is that of
the day on which this noble present was formally given to the civic
authorities by Mr Gladstone, who was then member of Parliament for

So far of the history of the fabric of the Cross: to trace in detail the
great events in which it has been called to play a part, would be to
recount no small portion of the annals of the Scottish kingdom. This spot
has long been treated as the very centre and heart of the country. Here
Scottish sovereigns met the citizens of their capital; here proclamation
was made of peace and war, of the accession of kings, and of aught else of
prime and pressing interest to the people; here, too, many have suffered
for their devotion to causes, political or religious, which had--at any
rate for a time--fallen before superior force.

A fountain near the old Cross ran red with wine when James IV. of Scotland
brought home his bride, Margaret of England, and the first link in the
golden chain was forged which should shortly join the realms. Here in
1512 the royal summons was read for the mustering of that army, so many of
the gallant members of which were to fall at Flodden; and here--most
fateful of all proclamations published there--the death of Elizabeth was
announced, and the accession of James VI. to the double Crown of Great


John Knox was burnt in effigy at the Cross in 1555, when he failed to
return from Geneva in answer to a summons from the bishops; and ten years
later a Roman Catholic Priest was "tyed to the Cross" and pelted because
he had dared to say Mass on Easter Day. The Earl of Morton was beheaded
here in 1581. Under James the Seventh of Scotland and Second of England
many a powerful head fell on the scaffold beneath the shadow of the Cross.
Those were stormy times in which religion and politics were curiously and
unhappily mingled, so that those who to one side seemed mere rebels, to
the other appeared as martyrs. Among others who suffered was the Earl of
Argyle, together with many of his clan who had been led by him to open

Edinburgh had another Cross, known as St John's, situated in the
Canongate; it was similar in design to the High Cross, but smaller.

The Crosses of the Metropolis seem to have been taken as models by other
Scottish burghs. Their plan was quite unlike any existing examples in
England. The base or pedestal was an elevated platform, supported either
by open arches, or by solid walls; on the top of this, the tall shaft of
the cross was placed, and latterly it was crowned by a unicorn holding
the Scottish shield. Steps, within the base, led to the platform from
which proclamations and official notices were published by the city
heralds. Judging from the analogy of the Market Crosses in the southern
kingdom, it seems probable that the base was originally intended to be
open, so as to afford shade or shelter, as the weather might require, to
some at least of the market folk. Many English Crosses, the best known
example of all, for instance, that of Chichester, provide accommodation of
this sort, but none of them have a flat roof serving as a platform.
Subsequently, as the business of the country grew, this shelter would
prove so inadequate as not to be worth considering; and then the lower
structure was in some cases built in, so as to protect the access to the
platform, reserved now for formal and official purposes only.

The city of Aberdeen boasts that her Market Cross is the finest in the
land. It was built in 1688 by a country mason named John Montgomery, and
was placed opposite the Tolbooth. In 1842 it was moved to the present site
in Castle Street, and was at the same time somewhat altered. It is
hexagonal in plan, six wide arches supporting the upper platform, round
which runs a circular balustrade garnished with shields of arms and
medallions of Scottish kings. The pillar rising from the midst is
handsomely carved, and supports a unicorn in white marble holding the
national shield. All the British sovereigns since its erection have been
proclaimed from this Cross, as well as the two Pretenders in 1715 and
1745. Near the spot now occupied by this erection originally stood the
Flesh Cross, close to which were the shambles; lower down Castle Street
was the Fish Cross, or Laich Cross, indicating the position of the fish

Prestonpans possesses a Market Cross of the same type as those already
described, and still in good condition, as also does Elgin; similar
Crosses at Perth and Dundee have been unhappily destroyed. Amongst other
notices of the Town Cross at Linlithgow is a record of punishment
inflicted upon an unfortunate burgess, for "in his great raschness and
suddantie destroying the head of the Toun's drum." This unmusical citizen
was deprived of the freedom of the burgh, fined £50 Scots, and ordered to
"sitt doune upon his knees at the Croce at ten houres before noone, and
crave the provost, baillies, and counsall pardone." Drums were evidently
of more account in Scotland in the seventeenth century than crosses or

The ceremony of beating the bounds, or as it is called in Scotland "riding
the marches," is still observed in some burghs, and the procession usually
starts and terminates at the Cross if there be one. At Lanark before
separating the company sings "Scots wha hae" beneath the Cross, near which
stands what would two centuries since have been called "an idolatrous
statue" of William Wallace. At Linlithgow the function begins by drinking
the sovereign's health at the Cross, and the procession returns thither
before breaking up. At Kilmarnock Fastern's Eve (in English, Shrove
Tuesday) used to be celebrated by a large amount of horse-play round the
ancient Cross; the town fire-engines and their hose being called into
requisition for the drenching of the crowd with water, who probably
drenched themselves with something rather stronger later in the day.

Of all the royal edicts proclaimed from these Crosses the following was
certainly one of the most curious. It was ordered to be published from
every Town Cross in Scotland in 1619, and was issued by King James from
London, whither a host of adventurers from his northern dominions had
promptly followed him. The proclamation warns "all manner of persons from
resorting out of Scotland to this our kingdome, unlesse it be gentlemen of
good qualitie, merchands for traffiques, or such as shall have a generall
license from our Counselle of that Kingdome, with prohibitioun to all
masters of shippes that they transport no such persons;" it further goes
on to announce that "Sir William Alexander, Master of Requests, hath
received a commission to apprehend and send home, or to punish all vagrant
persons who came to England to cause trouble, or bring discredit on their

Here and there throughout Scotland crosses of various kinds have no doubt
escaped destruction, when they happen to be in obscure places, or small
and scarcely noticeable in form or situation; thus the old Cathedral of
Brechin still preserves one of the consecration Crosses, cut in its walls
as part of the ceremony of its original dedication. But almost the only
examples of importance left to us, besides those town crosses which we
have considered, are several exceedingly interesting ancient memorial or
sepulchral crosses, of which those at Iona are by far the best known.

An anonymous writer in 1688, speaking of this sacred isle, says, "that
M'Lean's Cross is one of the 360 standing before the Reformation; the
others were thrown into the sea by order of the Synod of Argyle." In the
absence of anything beyond the bare assertion, this statement must be
considered as at least doubtful. No earlier writers, including those who
had visited Iona, mention the fact; and if an organized attack of this
kind were made upon the monuments of the island, it is difficult to
explain why two were left untouched. That there were many more Crosses
here formerly may be taken for certain, and that the Synod of Argyle would
think them all idolatrous is equally clear; but it is not likely that it
ordered so great an undertaking as that of digging from their foundations
nearly four hundred massive blocks of stone, some, to judge by what is
left to us, of great size, and casting them into the sea. All such
monuments having been formally condemned throughout Scotland, it is fair
to assume that those of Iona met with a good deal of ill-usage. The "axes
and hammers" of the isle would be brought to bear upon "the carved work
thereof"; and it is more probable that the mode of destruction has been of
this kind, aided by time and storm, whose ravages nothing has been
attempted to stay or to repair, than that any definite scheme of
demolition has been carried out.

[Illustration: ST. MARTIN'S CROSS, IONA.]

Two fine crosses yet remain in good preservation in Iona, known
respectively as St. Martin's Cross and the Cross of the Maclean. The
former of these is considerably the older, and stands in front of the
ruined cathedral. It is a monolith measuring fourteen feet in height above
ground, eighteen inches in breadth, and ten inches in thickness, and is
set in a block of granite three feet in height. It is elaborately carved,
figures of the Blessed Virgin-Mother and the Holy Child, of ecclesiastics
in vestments, of musicians with harps and wind instruments, occupying one
face, together with foliage and twining snakes; while the other has a more
conventional design. On the roadside, near the ancient nunnery, stands
Maclean's Cross, which has been described as "one of the oldest Celtic
crosses in Scotland," and even as "the oldest Christian monument" in that
country. This is to ascribe to an undoubtedly ancient relic an antiquity
to which it has no claim; it dates probably from the fifteenth century. It
is eleven feet high, and is carved with the figure of the crucified
Redeemer, attended by angels, and with much graceful scroll-work. The
claimants for the greater age of this fine cross assert that it marks the
spot where St. Columba rested on his last walk about the monastic lands.

St. Oran's Chapel, alleged to have been built by Queen Margaret some time
after 1072, contains one or two broken crosses. There is the shaft of one
erected in memory of the Abbot Mackinnon in 1489, a portion of another
known now as the "Flat stone of Oran," and a fragment of yet a third. The
famous burial ground of Iona, the Reilig Orain, to which were brought the
remains of kings, not only from the mainland of Scotland, but from Ireland
and even from Norway, has several sepulchral slabs which still bear the
sacred sign. One, probably of the twelfth century, has a well-designed
interlaced cross stretching almost the whole length and breadth of the
stone, with a galley carved upon the one side of it and a sword upon the
other; another, alleged to commemorate Ranald, Lord of the Isles in the
early thirteenth century, has a small interlaced cross upon one side of a
sword, and two "disguised" crosses, somewhat of the fylfot shape, upon the
other. There is also a broken stone, with a portion of a cross of Irish
design, and a fragmentary inscription. It has been supposed to mark the
burial-place of Maol Patrick O'Banan, the saintly bishop of Conor and
Down, who died in Iona in 1174.[1] Two boulders, measuring rather less
than two feet in length, have also been found in the island, each incised
with a cross. One, which has a well-proportioned figure of the type
commonly called "runic," is supposed by some to have been the stone,
which, according to his biographer Adamnan, formed the pillow of St.

Some others of the Western Isles have preserved a few of their ancient
crosses. Boswell, in his "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides" in 1773,
speaks thus of the approach to Rasay: "Just as we landed I observed a
cross, or rather the ruins of one, upon a rock, which had to me a pleasing
vestige of religion." A few days later the traveller set out to explore
the island, and he made other discoveries of the same nature. "On one of
the rocks just where we landed," he tells us, "there is rudely carved a
square, with a crucifix in the middle: here, it is said, the Lairds of
Rasay, in old times, used to offer up their devotions; I could not
approach the spot without a grateful recollection of the event
commemorated by this symbol." A little further on he writes, "The eight
crosses, which Martin mentions as pyramids for deceased ladies, stood in a
semicircular line, which contained within it the chapel; they marked out
the boundaries of the sacred territory, within which an asylum was to be
had; one of them, which we observed upon our landing, made the first point
of the semicircle; there are few of them now remaining." On the islet of
Oronsay, immediately to the south of Colonsay, is a Celtic cross with a
Latin inscription, erected in memory of a Prior who died in 1510. Some of
the crosses from Iona are said to have been carried to the neighbouring
island of Mull, and to the mainland of Argyle. At Campbelltown in that
county is a handsome cross, carved from a monolith of blue granite, and
now serving as a Market Cross, which is alleged to be one of the spoils of
St. Columba's isle.

Argyleshire has also preserved some interesting sculptured tombstones. The
churchyard of Kilfinan has two such; one is adorned with a wheel-headed
cross, the shaft of which is covered with scrolls, a wicker-pattern design
running down either side of it; the other has a cross with deep hollows at
the intersection of the arms. At Nereabolls, in Islay, is the upper
portion of a crucifix, broken off beneath the arms of the figure; it is
roughly carved, but has nothing of the grotesqueness of some very early
attempts at the human form. All these stones date from the fourteenth or
following century.

In certain districts several Celtic crosses have been suffered to survive,
or have been brought forth from the concealment into which the neglect, or
the violence, of past ages had thrown them; and they present perhaps the
most valuable examples of runic inscriptions and of contemporary carving
which we now have in Great Britain. Some of them are quadrilateral slabs
on which the sacred symbol is cut, others are carved into the shape of a
cross; most of them have a large amount of characteristic adornment. There
are men riding and hunting, animals conventional, if not actually
grotesque, interlaced chain designs, and intricate and often very graceful
scrolls. Among other figures cut on these ancient monuments we find
constantly repeated some of those Pictish symbols, the meaning of which is
one of the apparently insoluble problems of archæology. The twin circles
connected by three lines like a Z, or included within the arms of it, the
crescent crossed by two lines forming a V, a grotesque somewhat distantly
resembling an elephant; these and other forms constantly meet us. They are
characteristic of the carving of a time not more than eight or nine
centuries from our own, yet the very alphabet of the symbolic language
which they speak is lost. They have been described as the work of Cymric
Christians, as Gnostic, as magical, as derived from oriental Paganism, as
learned from Scandinavian heathenism; but even if we could agree as to
their origin, we should yet be in the dark as to their meaning. In
Wigtonshire are several crosses, including some of this type: we find them
at Kirkcolm, Kirkmadrine, Whithorn, Monreith, and St. Ninian's cave. At
Kirkcolm is an exceedingly rudely carved crucifix; beneath the figure of
the Crucified is another human figure accompanied by two creatures meant
apparently for birds; the whole being of the roughest description. The
Monreith Cross stands seven and a quarter feet in height, and has a wheel
head, with a shaft whose sides curve slightly outwards from top and
bottom; an ingeniously contrived scroll covers the face. The Kirkmadrine
example has incised upon it the sacred monogram XP conjoined, and arranged
crosswise within a circle.

In Kirkcudbright is the splendid Ruthwell Cross, standing over seventeen
feet in height. The shaft tapers gracefully towards the head, and has
within panels upon it the effigies of several saints; the sides have a
singularly fine scroll of conventional foliage with birds; and the head is
light and elegant. It is altogether a very beautiful structure.

Other stones worthy of notice now are, or have been found, at St Madoes
and Dupplin, near Perth; at Kirriemuir, and elsewhere, in Forfar; and in
some other places, chiefly along the north-eastern coast of the country.
It must be remembered that the Reformation progressed much more slowly in
the Highlands than in the Lowlands, so that we might naturally expect that
the demolition of the crosses would not be carried out quite so thoroughly
in the north as in the south.

It was, however, in a southern town that we read of the last use, until
recent times, of that ancient ceremony for Good Friday which our
forefathers called "Creeping to the Cross." On May 8th, 1568, Grindal,
then bishop of London, writes to Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord
Burleigh: "Evans, who is thought a man of more simplicity than the rest,
hath reported (as I am credibly informed) that at Dunbar, on Good Friday,
they saw certain persons go bare-foot and bare-legged to the church, to
creep to the cross; if it be so the Church of Scotland will not be pure
enough for our men."

In spite of the abolition of the sign of the cross in the ceremonial of
the church, and the destruction, so far as possible, of the material cross
in its buildings, even Presbyterian Scotland could not discard the emblem
of St. Andrew from among its national devices. The Covenanters marched
across the Border in the Great Civil War, under a flag which bore that
symbol; the white Cross of St. Andrew lay athwart its field, charged at
the centre with the thistle, while in the spaces between the four members
of the cross was the motto, "Covenants for Religion, Croune, and
Kingdoms." Under the Commonwealth the royal arms, of course, dropt out of
use, their place being taken by a shield, the first and fourth quarters of
which were charged with St. George's Cross (for England), the second with
St. Andrew's Cross (for Scotland), and the third with the Irish harp.

[Illustration: COVENANTER'S FLAG.]

Some few folk-customs, involving the use of this sign have also lived on
in the northern kingdom. At Borera, for instance, is a Celtic cross, now
overthrown; and whosoever wishes for rain has but to raise this, according
to the local belief at one time, and he will obtain his desire. It used
also to be customary in some parts of the country, when a bridegroom
arrived at the church door ready for his wedding, to unfasten the
shoe-string on his right foot and to draw a cross upon the doorpost. Such
usages, however, seem to have been rarer in Scotland than in England.

St. Margaret of Scotland, a queen worthy of everlasting remembrance, who
died in the year 1093, gave to one of the churches in her husband's
dominions a splendid crucifix, on which was a figure of the Redeemer in
pure gold. The one historic crucifix of the country, however, is the
famous Black Rood of Scotland, round which gathers much both of legend and
of history, and from which the royal palace and abbey in Edinburgh
received its name of Holy Rood. The story of this ancient cross is
recounted at length in the "Rites of Durham," and is as follows.

King David Bruce was hunting in a forest hard by Edinburgh one Holy Cross
Day, or Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14th), and had
become separated from his companions, when a wondrous hart, of great
beauty and strength, suddenly appeared to him. The creature charged the
king's horse, and so terrified it that it took to flight; but the hart
followed "so fiercely and swiftly" that it bore down both the horse and
its royal rider to the ground. Bruce, putting forth his hands to save
himself, was about to seize the antlers of his assailant, when, from the
head of the hart, "there most strangly slypped into the King's hands the
said crosse most wonderously," and forthwith the animal vanished. On the
following night Bruce was warned in his sleep to build an abbey at the
spot where this miracle had happened. Accordingly, he sent to France and
Flanders for workmen, built the abbey of the Holy Rood, which he gave to
the canons regular of St. Augustine, and "placed the said Cross most
sumptuously and richly in the said Abbey, ther to remayne in a most
renowned monument." So it continued until "the said king" invaded England
previous to the Battle of Neville's Cross; this sacred relic was then
brought forth, and carried to the war. Again the king received a vision
during his sleep, in which he was warned in no case to damage the
patrimony of St. Cuthbert; but, in spite of this, he proceeded to lay
waste and to destroy the domains of the great Abbey at Durham; and for
this disobedience divine vengeance fell upon him. He himself was captured
at the ensuing fight, many of the flower of his nobility fell on the
field, his royal standard became a prize to the English, and the Holy Rood
was taken! All the trophies of the victory were solemnly offered by the
English as an act of thanksgiving at St. Cuthbert's shrine at Durham, and
the Rood "was sett up most exactlie in the piller next St. Cuthbert's
shrine in the south alley of the said Abbey." The writer of the "Rites"
tells us in one place that "no man knew certenly what mettell or wood the
said crosse was mayd of;" at a later point in his story he implies that it
was of silver and was termed the "Black Rude of Scotland" from "being, as
yt weare, smoked all over," doubtless from the tapers constantly burnt
before it both in Edinburgh and in Durham. At the Reformation this
valuable and historic cross was carried off with the other abbey
treasures, and no doubt found its way into the melting pot.

Our chronicler is not quite sound in his history. It was David I. who
founded Holyrood Abbey, about the year 1128; and to whom, therefore, the
first part of the story relates; but it was David II., son of Robert
Bruce, and thus a descendant of the first Scottish King of that name, who
lost the relic at Neville's Cross in 1346. There is another story to the
effect that St. Margaret brought the crucifix from the Holy Land in 1070;
and that both religious and filial devotion thus prompted David I., the
youngest of her sons, to raise and dedicate the abbey, which was to
enshrine it. The saintly queen may perhaps have received the rood from
Jerusalem, she can hardly have brought it thence herself, for it does not
seem that she ever undertook that pilgrimage.


The seal of Holyrood Abbey, probably the most famous of all the many
foundations dedicated in honour of the Holy Cross, contains a memorial of
the legend above given. The centre is occupied by a crucifix beneath a
canopy, with the Blessed Virgin and St. John on either side; below this is
the Madonna enthroned and holding the Holy Child. A crosier, on one side
of these figures, marks the dignity of the abbey; a stag, on the other
side, with a cross rising from its forehead recalls the tradition of its
inception; while the royal shield of Scotland below informs us of the
sovereignty of the founder.

Bell Lore.


In all Christian countries from the earliest ages the use of bells is
practically as old as Christianity itself. The bell in its original form
was nothing more or less than a piece of metal rolled into a wedge-like
form and riveted together, and it is a curious instance of survival that
the cattle bells in many countries are now practically of this primitive
pattern. In the early days of Christianity small portable handbells were
used for summoning the people to worship. It was not long, however, before
the bell founder's art made great progress, and long before the year 1000
the music of bells pealing from church towers could not have been by any
means a rare sound.

We must remember that although bells are primarily connected with matters
ecclesiastical, still, more especially in the middle ages, they were used
in all cases where it was necessary to give a public notice or warning.
The commercial transactions of a market were to a great extent regulated
by bells. In case of fire or danger the bells were sounded to arouse or
warn the people. In harvest time the gleaners' bell was rung to limit the
time when the gleaners should set forth and return from their work. Before
the days of the telegraph and quick travelling, bells were found to be a
good medium for passing on intimation of any great national event or
danger; and perhaps no sound has carried the news of such great joy and
sorrow as the sound of the bell.

Gifts of bells to churches, particularly in the earlier ages, were always
deemed the most acceptable of gifts, and during the middle ages these
bells were not uncommonly given as a memorial of some deceased friend or
relation. Kings and Queens may be found amongst the donors of bells, and
one of the earliest royal bell givers was probably Canute, who presented a
pair of bells to Winchester Cathedral in 1035.

The art of bell founding was principally, if not entirely, carried out
under the direction of the ecclesiastics, prior to the thirteenth century.
This, of course, is not to be wondered at when we remember that at this
period the arts in general owed their preservation and development to the
zeal and industry of the church.

In the early middle ages, not only in Scotland but also in England and on
the Continent, we are told by Mr F. C. Eeles[2] that the richer churches
each possessed several bells, obtained usually at various times, and often
without regard to their respective sizes, or to the relations between
their notes. The great bell was often dedicated to the patron saint of the
church, and the smaller bells to the other saints who were commemorated in
the church below; each was used separately for the services at the
corresponding altar, while all were used for High Mass, and on great
occasions. A desire to ring the bells in a musical way made itself felt
very early. On the continent this took the form of adding a carillon to
the already existing collection of heavy bells, while here it showed
itself in a tendency to make the heavy bells themselves form a part of the
diatonic scale, and therefore suitable for ringing in succession. Shortly
before the Reformation the carillon developed very rapidly on the
continent, and reached its perfection in the seventeenth century. It
consisted of a large number of small light bells, fixed "dead," and
sounded by hammers worked by wires from an arrangement of levers,
something like the keys of an organ.

In Scotland, during the middle ages, the country churches as a rule had no
tower. This was one of the architectural peculiarities of the country at
this period, and as the use and appreciation of bells was steadily
progressing at the time, we find the architects gradually adapting
themselves to the requirements of the case. This they did, not by building
towers as in England, but by elaborating a type of belfry which became
almost peculiar to Scotland, a sort of architectural feature of the
country. It is curious and interesting to notice that this type of belfry
survived the destructive element of the Reformation, and lived on through
the re-actionary period when art and taste were practically dead. Thus we
often find in buildings otherwise devoid of all architectural pretensions,
these redeeming little belfries which were evolved simply to meet the
growing use of the bell.

Most of these belfries come under the head of the open stonework class,
which, from their very formation give an air of lightness and freedom to
the building they surmount. When the Renaissance period came in the form
of the belfry was not altered, but the detail then became of classical

In Scotland we find that in some of the larger towns both the steeples and
the bells are the property of the municipality, the Church only having the
use of the bells on Sundays, while on week days they are used by the town
authorities. The origin of this curious sort of co-ownership would appear
to lie in the fact that in former times it was no uncommon thing for a
town to acquire a lien on the bells in exchange for helping to build the
steeple or undertaking to keep it in order.[3]

The following extract from the Burgh Records[4] of Peebles exhibits a good
instance of this:--

"1778, December 29. The Council in conjunction with the heritors, agree to
the proposition of building a new church.... The town to be at the expense
of building the steeple and furnishing it with a clock and bells, for
which it is to be the property of the burgh."

From the Perth Session Records, October 6, 1578, we find that "The Session
ordains James Sym, uptaker of the casualities that intervenes in the kirk,
to buy a tow to the little skellit bell--the which bell shall only be rung
to the affairs of the kirk, also to the examinations, or to the

The same Session Records for Perth, under date February 6, 1586, tells us
that "The Session ordains Nicol Balmain to ring the curfew and workmen's
bell in the morning and evening, the space of one quarter of an hour, at
the times appointed--viz., four hours in the morning and eight at even."

In many primitive parts of Scotland, where there was no belfry, it seems
to have been the custom to hang the solitary bell on a tree. A writer in
1679 protests against "that pitiful spectacle, bells hanging upon trees
for want of bell houses." At Drumlithe the town bell used to hang on an
ash tree, and thus continued to do until 1777, when a small steeple was
provided for it.

Among the Church ornaments to be provided by the parishioners in the
fourteenth century was "a bell to carry before the body of Christ in the
visitation of the sick." This was done in order that all, according to the
then teaching of the Church, might be warned of its approach and pay
reverence to it.[5]

  Saint John before the bread doth go, and poynting towards him
  Doth show the same to be the Lambe that takes away our sinne,
  On whome two clad in Angels' shape do sundrie flowres fling,
  A number great of sacring Belles with pleasant sound do ringe.[6]

These hand-bells were also used in procession on the Rogation days, and
frequent notices of them are to be found in Church inventories.

Small hand-bells were in general use in a variety of ways in
pre-Reformation times. At the burial of the dead we find them used for the
double purpose of clearing the way for the funeral procession, and also to
call for prayer for the deceased. The Bayeux Tapestry, which was worked by
Matilda, the Queen of William the Conqueror, depicts the burial of Edward
the Confessor, and in this a boy appears on each side of the bier carrying
a small bell. We find reference to the use of these hand-bells at
funerals by Chaucer:--

  ... they heard a bell clink
  Before a corse was carried to the grave.

Hand-bells which were kept for this purpose were generally called "the
corse bell" or "the lych bell," and by these names they are constantly
found mentioned in Church inventories. The custom of ringing these small
bells at funerals was sought to be stopped by the Bishops in the sixteenth
century. In 1571, Grindal directs that "at burials no ringing of
hand-bells," and a few years later (1583), Middleton directs "that the
clerk nor his deputy do carry about the town a little bell called the
Sainctes bell before the burial."[7]

It is a very prevalent belief that a large quantity of silver was used in
the composition of the old bells, and that to this fact we owe much of the
beauty and purity of their tone. It is commonly stated that in the middle
ages it was the practice for our ancestors to throw in their silver
tankards and spoons when the parish church bells were cast. However, a
subsequent analysis of many bells of this period which have since been
recast show the proportion of silver in them to have been exceedingly

The ancient bells, when cast, were set apart for their sacred uses by a
solemn benediction, often called, from a too close approximation to the
office of Holy Baptism, the Baptism of Bells. The office and the
ceremonies used, which can be found in the Pontificals of the Mediæval
Church, varied very little after the ninth century. The bell itself was
washed by the bishop with water, into which salt had been previously cast.
After it had been dried by the attendants, the bishop next dipped the
thumb of his right hand in the holy oil for the sick, and made the sign of
the cross on the top of the bell; after which he again marked it both with
the holy oil for the sick and with chrism, saying the words:--

     "Sancti + ficetur, et conse + cretur, Domine, signumistud: in nomine
     Pa + tris, et Fi + lii, et Spiritûs + sancti in honorem Sancti N. pax

It is interesting to notice that in many places the practice still remains
of ringing the bells at particular hours when no service is to be held.
This is clearly a survival of the times when the bells were rung to call
people to the mediæval services. We are reminded in "The Bells of
Kincardineshire,"[9] that at the present day various reasons, more or less
utilitarian, have been given in Scotland for these old service bells. The
country people say that the eight o'clock bell is to "let you ken it's the
Sabbath," or to "gar the hill folk mak' theirsel ready or the kirk win
in." This is very often called the "rousing bell," and the later bell the
"dressing bell," or the "get ready."

The Perth Session Records, July 10, 1560, provide that "The Session, after
the appointment of the order of communication, ordains that the first bell
should be rung at four in the morning; the second at half five o'clock;
the third at five. The second ministration, the first bell to be rung at
half nine o'clock; the second at nine; the third at half ten." July 6,
1703, "The Session appoints that the church doors be opened at seven of
the clock in the morning, and _not_ till then; as also that the first bell
be rung at eight of the clock; the second at half nine; and the third at

The ringing of bells at funerals is a custom of ancient origin. It was a
popular belief that the sound of the bell had power to drive away evil
spirits. In England, Bishop Grandison of Exeter in 1339 found it necessary
to check the long ringings at burials, on the grounds that "they do no
good to the departed, are an annoyance to the living, and injurious to the
fabrick and the bells."[10]

Before the Reformation there were five bells at Dundee on which "six score
and nine straiks" were given three times a day, to call to "matins, mess,
and even-sang."

Presbyterianism has naturally had a great influence on the bells in
Scotland. Mr Eeles, who is an authority on the subject, tells us that the
passing bell is no longer rung, nor is there any ringing at burials beyond
tolling the bell for a few minutes as the procession approaches the
churchyard. In some parishes even this is said to be fast dying out. In
the Burgh Records of Dundee "it is statute that an ony person cause the
gret bells to be rung for either saul, mass or dirige, he sall pay forty
pence to the Kirk werk."

The ringing of the death-knell was universal after the Reformation, when
it seemed to have acquired a new meaning in the minds of the people,
having become degenerated, so to speak, into a mere notice to the public
that a death had taken place. Shakespeare refers to this ringing of the
death-knell in his seventy-first sonnet:--

  No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
    Than ye shall hear the surly, sullen bell
  Give warning to the world that I am fled
    From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell.

The Reformation and the decline of Gothic architecture both combined to
put their impress upon bells. The Reformation naturally caused a great
change in the inscriptions, and the decline of Gothic led to a poverty of
design and an abandonment of the fine lettering, crosses, and other
ornaments. Figures of angels and saints no longer appeared, and soon the
artistic black letter gave place to the commonplace Roman capitals. With
these drastic changes much of the romance of the bell has been swept

Saints and Holy Wells.


Among the results of the preaching of the Gospel to the ignorant and
superstitious in the early ages of the Church there must, unfortunately,
be included a considerable mixture of pagan beliefs and customs with the
new religion, some of which have survived even to our own time. The sacred
character ascribed to a great number of wells or springs both in England
and Scotland may be traced back, in numerous instances, to pagan rites
observed at them in pre-Christian ages. Some of these, as at Drumlanrig,
in Dumfries county, and at Tully Beltane, in the Highlands of Perthshire,
have near them a circle of stones, resembling those supposed to be
associated with Druidism; and of the latter, Jamieson says in his
"Scottish Dictionary,"--"On Beltane morning, superstitious people go to
this well and drink of it, then they make a procession round it, as I am
informed, nine times; after this, they, in like manner, go round the
temple," as he calls the circle of upright stones.

In the little island in Loch Maree, in the county of Ross, is a well or
spring traditionally associated with St. Maelrubha, who is said to have
been a monk of the monastery of Bangor, in Ireland, and to have founded a
church at Applecross, in the same county, in 673. Pennant, who visited
Innis Maree in 1772, says:--"In the midst is a circular dike of stones,...
I suspect the dike to have been originally Druidical, and that the ancient
superstition of paganism had been taken up by the saint, as the readiest
method of making a conquest over the minds of the inhabitants." The
probability of this appears from old Kirk Session records of an annual
custom in Applecross of sacrificing a bull to "Mourie" on the saint's day.
This custom survived until the latter half of the seventeenth century,
when it was denounced as idolatrous.

In the island of Lewis, one of the Hebrides, are the ruins of a chapel
formerly dedicated to St. Mulvay, near which is a spring, the water of
which was supposed to be of singular efficacy in curing diseases of the
brain. The patient was made to walk seven times round the ruins, and was
then sprinkled with water from the spring. In others of the Hebrides, and
along the west coast, there are many wells named after St. Columba. Almost
every well in Scotland is, indeed, named after some mediæval saint, many
of them of only local fame, and very few having a place in the
ecclesiastical kalendar. St. Ronan's Well, from the association with it of
Scott's novel of that name, is the best known to the general reader. It
has been identified with the mineral well at Innerleithen, in the county
of Peebles, which long enjoyed good repute as a curative agent in diseases
of the eye and the skin, and also in dyspepsia.

The church of St. Fergus, in Buchan, commemorates an Irish missionary of
the eighth century, in whose memory a well in the parish of Kirkmichael,
in Banffshire, is named. Concerning this spring, Dr Gregor, in his "Folk
Lore of the North-east of Scotland," says:--"Easter Sunday and the first
Sunday in May were the principal Sundays for visiting it, and many from
the surrounding parishes, who were affected with skin diseases or running
sores, came to drink of its water, and to wash in it. The hour of arrival
was twelve o'clock at night, and the drinking of the water and the washing
of the diseased part took place before or at sunrise. A quantity of the
water was carried home for future use. Pilgrimages were made up to the end
of September, by which time the healing virtues of the water had become
less. Such after-visits seem to have begun in later times."

The best known of several wells named after St. Helena, the mother of
Constantine, is beside the road from Maybole to Ayr, and about two miles
and a half from the former place. It used formerly to be much resorted to
on the 1st of May, for the benefit of sickly children. St. Iten's Well, at
Cambusnethan, in Lanarkshire, at one time was held in good repute as a
cure for asthma and skin diseases. Martin, in a description of the
Hebrides, written about 1695, mentions a well named after the same saint
in the Isle of Eigg, which was regarded by the natives as a panacea for
"all the ills that flesh is heir to." He gives a curious, and in view of
the connection of holy wells with pagan beliefs and customs, an
interesting account of the dedication of this well by a priest called
Father Hugh.

"He obliged all the people to come to this well," he says, "and then
employed them to bring together a great heap of stones at the head of the
spring by way of penance. This being done, he said mass at the well, and
then consecrated it; he gave each of the inhabitants a piece of wax
candle, which they lighted, and all of them made the Dessil,--going round
the well sun-ways, the priest leading them; and from that time it was
accounted unlawful to boil any meat with the water of this well."

St. Fillan's Well, at the foot of a green hill in the parish of Comrie,
was formerly much frequented on the 1st of May and the 1st of August by
persons in quest of health, who walked or were carried three times round
it, from east to west, following the course of the sun. This done, they
drank of the water of the spring, deposited a white stone on the saint's
cairn, and departed, leaving some rag of linen or woollen as an offering.

Half-way between the bays of Portankill and East Tarbet, on the coast of
Wigtonshire, are the ruins of St. Medan's chapel, within which are three
natural cavities in the rock, which at high water are filled by the tide.
Sickly children used to be brought to the larger hole to be bathed, and
this is still done occasionally, though faith in such matters, as in so
many others, seems to be lessening. Dr Trotter, who visited the place in
1870, had the ceremony described to him by an eye-witness as
follows:--"The child was stripped naked, taken by one of the legs, and
plunged head-foremost into the big well until completely submerged; it was
then pulled out, and the part held on by was dipped in the middle well,
and then the whole body was finished by washing the eyes in the smallest
one, altogether very like the Achilles and Styx business, only much more
thorough. An offering was then left in the old chapel, on a projecting
stone inside the cave behind the west door, and the cure was complete."

There is nothing certain known about this St. Medan, though there are
wonderful legends concerning her in the Aberdeen Breviary and elsewhere.
Concerning the chapel in Wigtonshire, Dr Trotter thinks that "the well was
the original institution; the cave a shelter or dwelling for the genius
who discovered the miraculous virtues of the water, and his successors;
and the chapel a later edition for the benefit of the clergy, who
supplanted the old religion by grafting Christianity upon it; St. Medana
being a still later institution."

St. Catherine's Well, at Liberton, near Edinburgh, has been regarded for
centuries as a remedy for diseases of the skin, and is still frequented by
persons suffering from them. It derives its name from a tradition,
preserved by Boece, in his chronicle of Scotland, that the spring rose
miraculously from a drop of oil brought from the tomb of St. Catherine of
Alexandria on Mount Sinai, and this story was considered to be
countenanced by the fact that drops of oil are often observable on the
surface, a phenomenon now regarded as due to the decomposition of coal, or
bituminous shale, in seams below. Boece says that Queen Margaret, the wife
of Malcolm III., built a chapel near the spring, and dedicated it to St.
Catherine; but this chapel, some remains of which were still standing at
the close of the last century, was dedicated to St. Catherine of Sienna,
not to her sister saint of Alexandria. Before the Reformation, the nuns
made an annual visit to the well, three miles from their convent, in
solemn procession, a ceremony due perhaps to the coincidence of name.

James IV. made an offering in this chapel in 1504, and when James VI.
returned to Scotland in 1617, he visited the well, and, as Sir Daniel
Wilson relates in his "Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time," he
"commanded it to be enclosed with an ornamental building, with a flight of
steps to afford easy access to the healing waters; but this was demolished
by the soldiers of Cromwell, and the well now remains enclosed with plain
stone-work, as it was partially repaired at the Restoration."

St. Bernard's Well, a sulphurous spring in the valley below Dean Bridge,
Edinburgh, is traditionally associated with the sainted Abbot of
Clairvaux. Its medicinal virtues appear to have escaped notice, however,
until 1789, when the property on which it is situated came into the
possession of Lord Gardenstone, who erected a handsome Grecian edifice
over the spring, set up within it a statue of Hygeia, and appointed an
attendant to dispense the water at a very trifling charge. The place then
became a popular resort for the purpose of drinking the water, and in 1889
the statue of the Roman goddess, having become decayed, was replaced by
one in marble, by the generosity of the late William Nelson, who also
restored the temple and made the surroundings more attractive.

On Soutra Hill, the westernmost point of the Lammermoor range, there once
stood a hospital founded by Malcolm IV., for the reception of poor
travellers, and dedicated to the Trinity. Only a small portion of the
building now remains, but near it is a spring known as Trinity Well, which
in former times was much frequented on account of the healing virtues
attributed to it. A similar reputation was enjoyed for a long time by St.
Mungo's Well, on the west side of the hill named after that famous
Scottish saint, in the parish of Huntley, Aberdeenshire.

There were springs also which were reputed to preserve from disease those
who partook of their water. The virtues of St. Olav's Well, in the parish
of Cruden, in Aberdeenshire, are recorded in the couplet--

  St. Olav's Well, low by the sea,
  Where pest nor plague shall never be.

Of St. Corbet's Well, on the top of the Touch Hills, in Stirlingshire, it
was formerly believed that whoever drank its water before sunrise on the
first Sunday in May was sure of another year of life, and crowds of
persons resorted to the spot at that time, in the hope of thereby
prolonging their lives. Water for the font was often taken from holy
wells, and it was believed in the middle ages that persons baptised with
water from Trinity Well, at Gask, in Perthshire, would never be attacked
by the plague. Baptisms in St. Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen, were at one
time performed with water taken from the saint's spring; and, before the
Reformation, the font at Airth, in Stirlingshire, is said to have been
supplied from a well dedicated to the mother of Christ, near Abbeyton

Passing over a number of springs with reputed medicinal properties, but
not associated with any hagiological tradition, we find it stated by Mr J.
R. Walker, in a communication to the Scottish Society of Antiquaries, that
"many of the wells dedicated to 'Our Lady' and to St. Brigid, the Mary of
Ireland, were famous for the cure of female sterility, which, in the days
when a man's power and influence in the land depended on the number of his
clan or tribe, was looked upon as a token of the divine displeasure, and
was viewed by the unfortunate spouses with anxious apprehension, dread,
doubt, jealousy and pain. Prayer and supplication were obviously the
methods pursued by the devout for obtaining the coveted gift of fertility,
looked upon, by females especially, as the most valuable of heavenly
dispensations; and making pilgrimages to wells under the patronage of the
mother of our Lord would naturally be one of the most common expedients."

Some saints' wells were believed to have the power of foretelling whether
the patients on whose behalf they were invoked would recover,--a
superstition which may be traced to Greek paganism of a time thousands of
years before the Christian era. St. Andrew's Well, at Shadar, in the
island of Lewis, was reputed to possess this power. A vessel filled with
water from the spring was taken to the patient's abode, and a small wooden
dish placed on the surface. If this turned towards the east, it was held
to denote that the patient would recover; but if in the opposite direction
that he would die. "I am inclined," says Mr Gomme, "to connect this with
the vessel or cauldron so frequently occurring in Celtic tradition, and
which Mr Nutt has marked as 'a part of the gear of the oldest Celtic
divinities,' perhaps of divinities older than the Celts." The Virgin's
Well, near the ancient church of Kilmorie, in Wigtonshire, was also
reputed to possess this power. If the patient on behalf of whom the
prophetic power of the well was sought would recover, the water flowed
freely; but in the contrary case it failed to well up.

Votive offerings have been mentioned as made to the saints to whom wells
were dedicated, and thus became holy. At Montblairie, in Banffshire,
shreds of linen and woollen were hung on the bushes beside a consecrated
well, and farthings and halfpence were thrown into the water. Miller, in
his "Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland," notices a similar
custom as practised in the vicinity of Cromarty, his native town. He says,
"It is not yet twenty years since a thorn, which formed a little canopy
over the spring of St. Bennet, used to be covered anew every season with
little pieces of rag, left on it as offerings to the saint by sick people
who came to drink of the water."

St. Wallach's Bath, in Strathdeveron, is a cavity in the rock, about three
feet in depth, into which water flows from a spring several yards higher
up, the overflow trickling over the edge into the stream, about four feet
below. Down to the beginning of the present century, large numbers of
weakly children used to be brought to this bath to be strengthened by
immersion in it, and some small article of the child's clothing was hung
on a neighbouring tree. The spring was resorted to for the cure of sore
eyes, and pins were offered to the Saint, being left in a hollow of a
stone beside the well. At the end of May, which was the season for the
visit, the hollow was often full of pins. Sir Arthur Mitchell, describing
the holy well on Innis Maree in a communication to the Scottish Society of
Antiquaries, says, "Near it stands an oak tree, which is studded with
nails. To each of these was originally attached a piece of the clothing of
some patient who had visited the spot. There are hundreds of nails, and
one has still fastened to it a faded ribbon. Two bone buttons and two
buckles we also found nailed to the tree. Countless pennies and
halfpennies are driven edgeways into the wood." A more recent visitor,
surprised at finding what appeared to be a silver coin fixed in the tree,
took the trouble to examine it, and found it spurious.

Coins were more usually, however, thrown into the well, and Mr Patrick
Dudgeon, who in 1870 had the well of St. Querdon, in Troqueer parish,
Kirkcudbrightshire, cleaned out, observes in an article contributed to the
transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History Society, that
several hundreds of coins were found at the bottom--nearly all being the
smallest copper coins, dating from the reign of Elizabeth to that of
George III., but chiefly Scottish issues of James VI., Charles I., and
Charles II. He mentions also having been told by old residents that they
remembered seeing rags and ribbons hung on the bushes around the well.

Dr Macgeorge, describing St. Thenew's Well, in his "Old Glasgow," states,
"It was shaded by an old tree, which drooped over the well, and which
remained until the end of the last century. On this tree the devotees who
frequented the well were accustomed to nail, as thank-offerings, small
bits of tin-iron--probably manufactured for that purpose by a craftsman in
the neighbourhood--representing the parts of the body supposed to have
been cured by the virtues of the sacred spring, such as eyes, hands, feet,
ears, and others."

Pilgrimages to saints' wells were a well-observed custom until they were,
after the Reformation, prohibited both by the Church and Parliament. In an
Act of 1581, allusion is made to the perverse inclination to superstition,
"through which the dregs of idolatry yet remain in divers parts of the
realm by using of pilgrimage to some chapels, wells, crosses, and such
other monuments of idolatry, as also by observing of the festal days of
the Saints sometime named their patrons in setting forth of bon-fires,
singing of carols within and about kirks at certain seasons of the year."
In accordance with this enactment, the Kirk Session of Falkirk, in 1628,
ordered several persons who had made a pilgrimage to a holy well to appear
in church on three appointed Sundays, clad in the garb of penitents. A
warning was also issued that persons doing the like in future would be
fined in addition to the penance, and in default, would be put in ward and
fed on bread and water only for eight days.

In the following year, the Privy Council made an order "that commissioners
cause diligent search at all such parts and places where this idolatrous
superstition is used, and to take and apprehend all such persons of
whatsomever rank and quality whom they shall deprehend going in pilgrimage
to chapels and wells, or whom they shall know themselves to be guilty of
that crime, and to commit them to ward, until measures be adopted for
their trial and punishment." But though pilgrimages in bodies were
checked, individual visits to holy wells continued. In 1630, the Kirk
Session of Aberdeen fined a woman for sending her child to be washed in
St. Fittack's Well, in the parish of Nigg, on the opposite side of the
Dee, and she and her nurse were ordered to acknowledge the offence before
the session.

In course of time, such "offences" came to be regarded more leniently.
Fines gradually ceased to be inflicted, and penance to be enjoined. In
three cases entered in the Kirk Session records of Airth, in
Stirlingshire, in 1757, the persons cited were merely admonished. But old
customs have wonderful vitality, and holy wells are still frequented. Sir
Arthur Mitchell remarks, in "The Past in the Present," that he has seen at
least a dozen wells "which have not ceased to be worshipped," though he
adds that the visitors are now comparatively few. Mr Campbell of Islay
says, in his "Tales of the West Highlands," "Holy healing wells are common
all over the Highlands, and people still leave offerings of pins and nails
and bits of rag, though few would confess it. There is a well in Islay
where I myself have, after drinking, deposited copper caps amongst a hoard
of pins and buttons and similar gear placed in chinks in the rocks."

Some of the wells once resorted to by great numbers of persons have
disappeared in consequence of changes of the surface. The growth of towns,
railways, agricultural improvements, have each had their part in the
obliteration of spots formerly deemed sacred. The Pilgrims' Well, at
Aberdour, in Fifeshire, which for centuries attracted crowds, is now
filled up. The like end has come to the Abbot's Well at Urquhart, in
Elginshire. St. Mary's Well at Whitekirk, in Haddingtonshire, has also
ceased to exist, the water having been drained off. Near Drumakill, in the
parish of Drymen, Dumbartonshire, there was once a famous spring dedicated
to St. Vildrin, and near it was a cross, with a figure of the Saint upon
it in relief. Between thirty and forty years ago the cross was broken up,
and the fragments used in the construction of a farm-house; and shortly
afterwards the spring was drained into a stream.

There was formerly a holy well beside the lonely cross-road from Abbeyhill
to Restalrig, near Edinburgh, and in the middle ages it attracted a great
number of pilgrims. It appears to have been originally dedicated to the
Holy Rood, but it afterwards became known as St. Margaret's Well, and Mr
Walker thinks that the dedication may have been changed in connection with
the translation of Queen Margaret's remains in 1251, on the occasion of
her canonisation. There was a small Gothic building over the spring until
the North British Railway Company acquired possession of the site and
built a station upon it. The covering was then taken down, stone by stone,
and rebuilt above St. David's spring, on the northern slope of Salisbury
Crags. The water of St. Margaret's Well found another channel, and thus
one more of Scotland's holy wells ceased to exist.

Life in the Pre-Reformation Cathedrals.


The history of every Scottish city or burgh of importance is intimately
connected with one of two possible originals. Each burgh has taken its
origin either from a feudal castle or from a cathedral or abbey. This
statement may seem very sweeping in its character, but a close examination
will prove that it is founded on fact. Edinburgh, for instance, grew up
around the ancient Castle--Eadwin's burh--while the Cathedral of St. Giles
and all the subordinate churches were adjuncts of the secular centre. The
true ecclesiastical point of origin in Edinburgh was St. Margaret's
Chapel, and it still stands within the Castle walls. Glasgow, on the other
hand, took its origin from the Cathedral. That building formed the nucleus
of the original city, and the first houses in Glasgow were the Bishop's
Castle beside the Cathedral, and the dwellings and manses of the
ecclesiastics in its immediate vicinity. It was as a "Bishop's burgh," or
community under ecclesiastical control, that Glasgow first had a corporate
existence. The Bishop or Archbishop nominated the civic rulers, and though
an attempt was made shortly after the Reformation to abrogate priestly
control, and to transfer the power of the election of the Provost to the
Guildry, the Protestant Archbishops strove to retain this right up till
the early years of the seventeenth century. In 1639 the Town Council for
the first time elected the Provost and Bailies, but even then the consent
of the Duke of Lennox--who had received the secularised property of the
Archbishopric--had to be obtained; and it was not until 1690 that the
citizens of Glasgow obtained the right to choose municipal governors.

These two forms of origin may be traced in all the important Scottish
burghs. Stirling found its centre in the Royal Castle; Dunfermline owed
its existence to the Abbey. Perth originated from the ancient Church of
St. John, and was long known as "Saint John's toun"; Inverness clustered
around its baronial Castle. The Round Tower and the Cathedral of Brechin
were the starting points of that burgh; and Paisley dates its history from
the foundation of its Abbey. St. Andrews and Arbroath bear still
unmistakable evidences of their ecclesiastical origin; while Dundee found
its first nucleus in its Castle, and after the destruction of that
fortress the centre was shifted to the magnificent church of St. Mary, one
of the largest parish churches in Scotland in the fifteenth century. It is
clear, therefore, that life in the pre-Reformation Cathedrals and
ecclesiastical buildings had an important influence in forming and
fashioning the history of the people. This fact is too frequently
overlooked by modern historians.

Only two of the pre-Reformation Cathedrals in Scotland have survived
unimpaired the iconoclastic zeal of the Reformers. St. Andrews Cathedral,
the seat of the Primate of Scotland, was partially devastated by the
Protestant mob, and weather and storm completed the ruin thus begun.
Dunblane Cathedral has recently been restored and rescued from the wrecked
condition in which it lay for centuries. The restoration of Brechin
Cathedral is now (1898) in progress; and the Cathedral of St. Giles,
Edinburgh, has only been brought back to some of its pristine magnificence
within the last quarter of a century. The two Cathedrals which escaped the
fury of the Reformers are, the fanes dedicated to St. Mungo (St.
Kentigern) at Glasgow, and to St. Magnus at Kirkwall, Orkney. Both these
Cathedrals had Episcopal Palaces adjoining the main structures, and from
the history of these it might be possible to spell out the conditions of
life during their palmy days. As Glasgow Cathedral shows in a remarkable
manner the gradual development of a great commercial city from a small
ecclesiastical burgh, and thus supplies a connecting link between remote
times and the present day, it will be most convenient to treat it as a
typical example of the far-reaching influence of early ecclesiastical
modes of life.

Glasgow Cathedral occupies a very peculiar site. It is built on ground
that slopes rapidly down from the level of the floor of the nave towards
the bed of the Molendinar Burn. So steep is the declivity that a Lower
Church--wrongly called the Crypt, but really an _Ecclesia Inferior_--is
built under the floor of the Choir, only a few steps being necessary in
passing from the Nave to the Choir, so as to give the requisite height to
the roof of the "Laigh Kirk." Such a site would not have been chosen by a
modern architect for a building of the same magnitude, because of the
structural difficulties it presented; yet it has been asserted by Mr John
Honeyman, an experienced architect who has made a special study of Glasgow
Cathedral, that the whole design of this magnificent structure "was
carefully thought out and settled before a stone was laid. It is a skilful
and homogeneous design, which could only be produced by a man of
exceptional ability and of great experience. Nothing has been left to
chance or the sweet will of the co-operating craftsmen, but the one
master-mind has dictated every moulding and every combination, and has
left the impress of his genius upon it all." ("Book of Glasgow Cathedral,"
p. 274.) It is a remarkable fact that the name of this gifted architect is
quite unknown, though a theory has been advanced that seeks to identify
him with a certain John Morvo or Moray, a man of Scottish descent, born
and trained in Paris, who was also architect of Melrose Abbey. But nothing
absolutely certain is known as to the architect who planned Glasgow
Cathedral; and this is no unusual circumstance in the history of other
ecclesiastical buildings. Referring to this fact Mr Gladstone once wrote
thus:--"It has been observed as a circumstance full of meaning, that no
man knows the names of the architects of our Cathedrals. They left no
record of themselves upon the fabrics, as if they would have nothing there
that could suggest any other idea than the glory of God, to whom the
edifices were devoted for perpetual and solemn worship; nothing to mingle
a meaner association with the profound sense of His presence; or as if in
the joy of having built Him a house there was no want left unfulfilled, no
room for the question whether it is good for a man to live in posthumous

Though the name of not one of the great architects who designed the
Scottish Cathedrals has been preserved--unless we accept the doubtful
theory as to John Morvo already mentioned--it is evident that the
ecclesiastical designer must have been an important personage in every
religious community from the beginning of the twelfth century until the
Reformation. In those remote days it was not given to any architect to
witness the completion of his design. That unique experience was reserved
for Sir Christopher Wren, who superintended the building of St. Paul's
Cathedral from its foundation till the last stone was laid. Many
circumstances prevented the early architects from witnessing the end of
their labours. The poverty of the country, the perpetual warfare which
ravaged Scotland, the impossibility of employing the wandering Lodges of
Masons from the Continent so continuously as to ensure the rapid execution
of the work, and the frequent changes in the Bishop or Archbishop who had
the control of the building, necessarily spread the labour over centuries.
Glasgow Cathedral was begun by Bishop John Achaius during his episcopate,
which extended from 1115 to 1147. It was not completed till the time of
Archbishop Blacader, who died in 1508. During these four centuries the
original designs by the nameless first architect must have been carefully
preserved, and handed down through a succession of equally unknown
architects, until the whole work was finished. Yet all these men, whose
brilliant ideas and excellent workmanship are at once the admiration and
the despair of modern architects, will ever remain anonymous. The Kings
and Princes who contributed towards the cost of the structure, the Bishops
who added various portions to the building at long intervals, and the
Archbishops who consecrated these additions are all carefully recorded;
but the architects from whose fertile brains the ideas sprang, and the
workmen who laboriously realised their dreams, are alike unknown.

The Cathedral of Glasgow took its origin from a _cella_ erected on the
bank of the Molendinar Burn, by the pious St. Kentigern. This early
Christian Apostle was the natural son of Eugenius or Ewen III., King of
Reged. His mother was Thanew, daughter of Loth, King of Lothian. Her name
survives in a corrupted form as "St. Enoch," there being now several
Scottish churches so designated, though she is distinctly denominated "St.
Thanew" in pre-Reformation documents. The life of Kentigern is very fully
detailed in the biography written by Jocelyn, a monk of Furness, at the
request of Herbert, Bishop of Glasgow (died 1164), and is included in the
"Lives of the Scottish Saints." The careful examination of this biography
by Skene gives the probable date of Kentigern's birth as 518, his
consecration as Bishop of Glasgow at 543; his foundation of Llanelwy (now
St. Asaphs) in Wales at 553; his return to Glasgow at 581; and his death
at 603. Kentigern was visited by St. Columba at Glasgow before 597, and
his popular name of St. Mungo (_mon gah_ == my friend) was then conferred
upon him by Columba. From the time of Kentigern's death until the twelfth
century nothing definite is known regarding the history of Glasgow. Within
the present Cathedral the site of "St. Mungo's tomb" is pointed out; and
it is not improbable that the magnificent pile was erected on this spot to
commemorate the founder of Glasgow. During the bishopric of Kentigern it
is not likely that there was any building on the present site of the
Cathedral save the little _cella_ or chapel of the Bishop, and possibly a
few of the houses inhabited by the Culdee priests. It should be remembered
that the Culdees were not celibates, but lived with their families in
these rude dwellings, which thus formed the nucleus of modern Glasgow.
When the ground beside the Cathedral was turned into a grave-yard every
trace of these houses must have been removed. It is possible that St.
Kentigern was buried within his chapel; and if so, the tomb of St. Mungo,
in the crypt of the Cathedral, will mark the place where that primitive
structure stood.

[Illustration: The Duke's Lodging, Drygait.]

[Illustration: Bishop Cameron's Tower Episcopal Palace of Glasgow.]

[Illustration: Town Residence of the Rector of Renfrew.]

The history of the See of Glasgow for five centuries after the death of
St. Kentigern is almost a total blank; save for some dubious references to
certain ecclesiastics supposed to have been the successors of the Saint,
there is nothing to show the progress of the church in those days. The
reforming zeal of Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret led to a revival of
religion, as remarkable in its own way as the Protestant Reformation. The
Culdees were supplanted by the Romanists, and the foundations were laid of
a hierarchy that attained to vast power in Scotland. The reforms of the
Queen were principally confined to the east coast--Dunfermline and St.
Andrews--and it was not until her sixth and youngest son, David, Prince of
Cumberland (afterwards David I.), ordered an "Inquisitio" as to the
property belonging to the See of Glasgow in 1120, that any documentary
evidence was made available on this point. Prince David had already
procured the appointment of his chancellor and tutor John Eochey or
Achaius to the bishopric of Glasgow, and with the installation of that
prelate a new era began in the history of the city. The Inquisitio or
Notitia showed that the lands possessed by the Bishop of Glasgow were
co-extensive with the kingdom of Strathclyde, and were in the upper ward
of Lanarkshire, and the counties of Peebles, Roxburgh, and Dumfries.
Bishop John Achaius was consecrated in 1115; Prince David came to the
throne in 1124; and shortly after this accession the Bishop began the
building of the Cathedral, which was dedicated to St. Kentigern on the
nones of July, 1136. Bishop John Achaius died in 1147, and the Cathedral
which he built did not long survive him. It is probable that it was a
wooden structure, for it was destroyed by fire in 1176, and in that year
Bishop Jocelin (1175-1199) began to rebuild it with stone. The next
"building Bishop" was William de Bondington (1233-1258), who completed the
Lower Church (or Crypt) and the Choir. Bishop William Lauder (1408-1425)
began the erection of the present tower, and partly built the
Chapter-house. These portions were completed by his successor Bishop John
Cameron (1426-1446). Robert Blacader (1484-1508), the first Archbishop of
Glasgow, erected the crypt at the south transept known as "Blacader's
Aisle," built the splendid rood-screen and the stairs leading from the
Nave to the Choir and Lower Church, and put the finishing touches to the
Cathedral, which had thus taken nearly four hundred years to reach

The gradual development of the Cathedral necessarily led to the increase
of the ecclesiastics connected with it. The elaborate ceremonial of the
Romish Church required a staff of officials far out-numbering that of the
simple Culdee _cella_ of St. Kentigern's time. No definite information is
available as to the method adopted for supplying these officials in the
early years of the Cathedral's existence. It is reasonable to suppose,
however, that the Rectors and Parsons who had charges in the
widely-scattered parishes under the control of the Bishop, would have
stated periods when they would take their turns of officiating. These
clergymen would likely reside temporarily in the Bishop's Palace, to which
reference will be made presently. At a later date, as the grandeur of the
Cathedral increased and its ceremonial became more ornate, houses were
provided for them near the building, and thus a return was made to the
social system of the Culdees, though with a celibate clergy. Even so
recently as the middle of the present century, about twenty of the manses
belonging to different prebends connected with the Cathedral could be
identified in its immediate vicinity. It has been credibly conjectured
that the remains of a building outside the north wall of the Cathedral
mark the site of the Hall of the Vicars Choral, and a narrow lane between
the Cathedral and the Bishop's Castle was known as the Vicar's Alley,
probably because it gave access to the building. A consideration of some
of these clerical homes will give an idea of the social life in a
pre-Reformation Cathedral.

The Bishop's Castle was for centuries a central point around which the
burghal and national life crystallised. The date of its erection is not
known. The earliest reference to it is found in a charter of 1258, in
which the Bishop alludes to _palacium suum quod est extra castrum
Glasguense_. This phrase proves that in the middle of the thirteenth
century there was not only a Castle in existence, but also a _palacium_ or
minor dwelling--not a "Palace" as the word has been absurdly translated,
but a "place," equivalent to the old Scots word "ludging"--which stood
outside the wall of the Castle. It is reasonable to suppose that Bishop
Jocelin, who rebuilt the Cathedral with stone towards the close of the
twelfth century, had caused the erection of the Castle to be begun, and
that Bishop William de Bondington, who completed a large part of the
Cathedral, also finished the Castle and the _palacium_ referred to in his
charter. The Castle would be constructed for defence in those lawless
times as well as for residence, and would probably be a square keep
surrounded by a moat. There was a Bishop's Garden in 1268, and the
Bishop's Castle is mentioned in a document dated 1290. At the latter date
Robert Wishart (1272-1316) was Bishop, and as he built rural mansions at
Castellstarris (Carstairs) and Ancrum, it is probable that he extended the
Castle at Glasgow beside the Cathedral. During the War of Independence
this Castle became a stronghold coveted by both belligerents. In 1297 it
was captured for Edward I., by Anthony Bek, the famous "fighting Bishop of
Durham," and re-taken by Sir William Wallace. After Bishop Wishart's time
references to additions made to the Castle are more distinct. Before the
middle of the fifteenth century the moat had been partially replaced by a
high wall. In 1438 Bishop John Cameron built "a great tower," at the
south-western corner of this wall, and his arms with episcopal insignia
were visible on this tower in 1752. Archbishop James Beaton (1508-1522)
enlarged the tower and completed a wall 15 feet high, which enclosed the
grounds of the Castle. In the time of Archbishop Gavin Dunbar (1524-1547)
a gate-house or port was erected on the line of the wall to form the main
entrance to the Castle. From the fact that a sculptured stone, still in
existence, which was taken from this port bears the arms of James Houston,
Sub-Dean of Glasgow, it has been conjectured that the gate-way was erected
at his expense; and as he had workmen building the Church of the B. V. M.
and St Anne (now the Tron Church) which he founded in 1530, he probably
employed them upon this other piece of work at that date. After the
Reformation the Bishop's Castle fell into disrepair. It was partly
occupied by several of the Protestant Archbishops, but they had not
incomes sufficient for its up-keep, and after the abolition of episcopacy
by the Revolution of 1688 the Castle degenerated into a prison for rebels
and petty offenders. Public executions took place in the Castle-yard so
late as 1784--a curious survival of the power of the early Bishops over
the lives of their vassals, for it is said that the gallows of modern
times was erected on the site of the old "heading-stone" of former days.
In 1755 the Magistrates gave permission to Robert Tennant to use the
stones of the ruined Castle for the erection of the Saracen's Head Inn, a
building which still exists though now divided into tenements.

During the stormy period of the sixteenth century, when Scotland was
constantly in turmoil, through foes within and without the realm, the
Bishop's Castle was frequently besieged. The legal proceedings that
followed one of these incidents affords a glimpse of life within the
Castle at that time. John Mure of Caldwell, acting under the orders of the
Earl of Lennox, laid siege to the Castle on 20th February 1515, and
captured it. He was soon compelled, by the Duke of Albany, to evacuate
this stronghold, but before he retired his followers had sacked and
pillaged the Castle. Two years afterwards Archbishop James Beaton claimed
damages for the goods destroyed, and obtained a decree in his favour from
the Lords of Council. The following articles were specially detailed in
this decree, and are of interest as showing the furnishing and contents of
an episcopal dwelling of that period:--"xiii feddir bedds furnist, price
of ilka bedd v marks; xviii verdour bedds, price of the pere xl{s}.; xii
buird claiths, xii tyn quarts, xii tyn pynts, v dusane of peuder
veschellis, tua kists, xv swyne, iv dakyr of salt hyds, vi dusane of
salmond, ane last of salt herring, xii tunnes of wyne, ane hingand
chandlar, ane goun of scarlett lynit with mertricks, vi barrels of
gunpulder, ix gunnis, xiv halberks, xiv steill bonnets, vi halberts, iv
crossbowis, vi rufs and courtings of say, and iv of lynning, with mony
uther insight guds, claithing, jewells, silkes, precius stanes, veschell,
harness, vittales, and uther guds." From this list it will be seen that
the luxuries of peace in which the prelates indulged had to be defended by
the weapons of war.

While the Bishop's Castle was the centre of ecclesiastical influence, the
first extension of Glasgow was due to the erection of manses for the minor
officials of the Cathedral. To any one acquainted with the topography of
Glasgow, the city may be thus "skeletonised" to show the manner of its
evolution. The Cathedral stands on an eminence rising gradually from the
north bank of the Clyde, and is distant about a mile from the river. The
main route from the Cathedral to the Clyde is by an almost straight
succession of streets--High Street and Saltmarket--which, unquestionably,
follow the line of an ancient footpath. The origin of secular Glasgow was
a small collection of huts inhabited by salmon-fishers on the bank of the
river. A pathway was formed in course of time between this primitive
village and the Cathedral, but for centuries there were no continuous
buildings between these two points. In the time of Bishop Jocelin
(1175-1199) the village had extended so far along the river-side and up
the line of the present Saltmarket that the Bishop deemed it advisable to
obtain from William the Lion the grant of a weekly market and an annual
fair. About this time also, arrangements were made for the erection of
manses for the ecclesiastics near the Cathedral. These houses were built
on a road running at right angles with the footpath to the river, the part
going westward being called the Rottenrow (Ratoun Raw), while the eastward
route was called the Drygait. There was thus a sacerdotal burgh in process
of formation on the summit of the hill beside the Cathedral, while a
secular burgh was gradually developing on the bank of the river. In the
course of centuries these two burghs were conjoined, and thus the
"backbone" of Glasgow was formed. The ecclesiastical houses were, of
course, more elaborate than those used by the fishermen and tradesmen who
were soon attracted to the place by the wealth of the Cathedral; and thus
it has happened that the greatest commercial city in Scotland--the second
in the United Kingdom--took its rise from the houses of the ecclesiastics
by whom the burgh was ruled for a very long period.

No record exists as to the time when the prebendal manses were first
erected, but it is certain that Bishop Cameron (1426-1446) increased the
number of canons from twenty-five to thirty-two, and caused all of them to
build manses within the burgh and near the Cathedral. The sites of many of
these manses can be identified from descriptions in old charters, and some
of them have only been removed within the past thirty years. The Dean of
the Cathedral, who was Parson of Cadzow (now Hamilton), had his manse in
the Rottenrow. The Archdeacon of Glasgow was Rector of Menar (now
Peebles), and his house stood in the Drygait. Long after the Reformation
it came into the possession of the Duke of Montrose, and was known as "the
Duke's lodging." It was removed about 1880, to make way for an extension
of the North Prison. The Rector of Morebattle, Archdeacon of Teviotdale,
had a manse in the Kirkgait, now also absorbed in the grounds of the North
Prison. The Sub-Dean was Rector of Monkland, and his house was on the bank
of the Molendinar Burn, south-east of the Cathedral. The Chancellor,
Rector of Campsie, lived in the Drygait at the place called "the
Limmerfield" to which reference is made in Scott's "Rob Roy." The
Precentor of the Cathedral, Rector of East Kilbride, had a manse near the
Castle, the approach being by the Vicar's Alley. The Treasurer, Rector of
Carnwath, also had a manse, though its site has not been identified. The
Sacristan of the Cathedral, Rector of Cambuslang, lived in the Drygait,
near the house of the Archdeacon. The Bishop's Vicar, Parson of Glasgow,
had a manse beside the Castle. The Sub-Precentor, Prebendary of Ancrum,
had a parsonage in the Vicar's Alley, north of the Cathedral. The Parson
of Eaglesham lived in the Drygait, beside the Archdeacon; and the Rector
of Cardross had his manse on the south side of the same street. The manse
of the "Canon of Barlanark and Lord of Provan," in Castle Street, is the
only remaining house supposed to have been occupied by him, though it
seems more likely to have been erected after the Reformation. The Rector
of Carstairs resided in a manse in Rottenrow, beside the houses of the
Prebendary of Erskine and the Rector of Renfrew. Other officials who lived
in the immediate vicinity of the Cathedral were the Rector of Govan, the
Vicar of Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire, the Rector of Tarbolton, Ayrshire, the
Rector of Killearn, Dumbartonshire, the Prebendary of Douglas,
Lanarkshire, the Rector of Eddleston, Peeblesshire, the Rector of Stobo,
Peeblesshire, and the Rector of Luss, Dumbartonshire. The houses of six of
the Prebendaries--Durisdeer, Roxburgh, Ashkirk, Sanquhar, Cumnock, and
Ayr--have not been identified, though it is extremely probable that they
had to comply with Bishop Cameron's command, and to erect manses in the
burgh. The Hall of the Vicars Choral, with accommodation for eighteen
officials, was built on the north side of the Cathedral, by Bishop Andrew
Muirhead (1455-1473).

From this list it will be seen how great must have been the influence of
this Levite village upon the development of the burgh. The comparatively
luxurious style of living among the ecclesiastics would attract craftsmen,
artificers of various kinds, and merchants trading with other countries to
supply the rich garments, the expensive wines, and the numerous delicacies
which were deemed necessaries by ecclesiastical dignitaries of high
degree. With the Reformation all this grandeur was swept away, but before
that epoch Glasgow had been made the favourite residence of many of the
Lowland noblemen; and when the sacerdotal burgh disappeared, the secular
and commercial city was ready to take its place. The domination of the
Church passed, but not before it had prepared the way for its successor.
In other Cathedral cities in Scotland a similar process of development may
be traced, though not in so distinct a manner as exhibited in the
evolution of Glasgow. Verily, that city owes much of its prosperity to the
foresight and patriotism of those who ruled in its pre-Reformation

Public Worship in Olden Times.


Many changes in the form of Church service have been witnessed in the
Church of Scotland since the Reformation. In the first book of discipline,
compiled by Knox and others in 1560, it is stated that "to the churches
where no ministers can be had presentlie must be appointed the most apt
men that distinctly can read the common prayers and the Scriptures to
exercise both themselves and the church till they grow to greater
perfection." In accordance with this recommendation there were, in
parishes where ministers could not be procured to preach and administer
the sacraments, a class of men employed in the Church under the name of
"readers," whose office was to read the Scriptures and a liturgy of
printed prayers such as is used in the public service of the Church of
England. After the Church became more fully plenished with ministers,
readers were still in many places continued. In parishes supplied with
both a reader and a minister there were two distinct services in the
church on Sundays. There was, first of all, a preliminary service
conducted by the reader. The service consisted of reading the public
prayers and portions of Scripture. It usually lasted an hour, and when it
ended the minister entered the church and conducted his service of
extempore prayer and preaching. In the year 1580 the General Assembly
declared that "the office of a reader is not an ordinary office in the
Kirk of God;" and the following year it was expressly ordained that
readers should not be appointed in any church. It is evident, however,
that readers continued to be employed in the Church of Scotland long after
that date, both during the episcopacy that subsisted from 1606 to 1637,
and during the ascendency of Presbytery from 1637 to 1645.

The Westminster Assembly of Divines ignored the office of reader, and when
the Westminster Directory for Public Worship was adopted by the Church of
Scotland in 1645, it may be said that the service of the reader was
ostensibly and almost practically brought to an end in Scotland. It has to
be stated, however, that readers were, nevertheless, employed in some
parishes long after their office had ceased to be recognised in the
constitutions of the church. Mr More, in his account of Scotland in 1715,
describes the Sunday service in Scottish churches as follows:--"First the
precentor, about half an hour before the preacher comes, reads two or
three chapters to the congregation of what part of Scripture he pleases,
or as the minister gives him directions. As soon as the preacher gets into
the pulpit the precentor leaves reading, and sets a psalm-singing with the
people, till the minister by some sign orders him to give over. The psalm
over, the preacher begins confessing sins and begging pardon ... then he
goes to sermon, delivered always by heart, and, therefore, sometimes
spoiled by battologies, little impertinences, and incoherence."

The reader was usually also precentor, and it will be a natural
transition, therefore, to pass on now to an account of that part of the
Sunday service which the precentor conducted. In the Reformed Church of
Scotland a very limited space was originally allotted to the service of
praise in public worship. "There is perhaps no country in Christendom,"
says Dr Cunningham, "in which psalmody has been as little cultivated as
in Scotland. Wherever the Church of Rome reared her altars, music grew up
under her shadow, and gave a new charm to her sensuous services. But
Presbytery gave little countenance to such a hand-maid." The use of
instruments in the service of praise was repudiated or almost abjured.
Organs were not even allowed standing room in church. In 1574 the Kirk
Session of Aberdeen gave orders "that the organis with all expedition be
removit out of the kirk and made profeit of to the use and support of the
puir." On his visit to Scotland in 1617 King James endeavoured to
inaugurate a more æsthetic and cultured form of worship in Scotland, after
the manner of what he had seen in England. Among other innovations he set
up an organ in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood. "Upon Satterday, the 17th
May," says Calderwood, "the English service was begun in the Chapel Royal
with singing of quirristers, surplices, and playing on organes." The
popular feeling, however, that in 1637 was aroused against the service
book was turned against the organ also, and among the outbreaks of 1638
Spalding records that "the glorious organes of the Chapell Royall were
maisterfullie broken doune, nor no service usit thair bot the haill
chaplains, choristis, and musicians dischargeit, and the costlie organes
altogether destroyit and unusefull."

The old doctrine of the Church of Scotland in regard to psalmody is
tersely expressed in the first book of discipline. "There be two sorts of
policie," it is said in that book; "the one of these sorts is utterlie
necessary, as, that the word be preached, the sacraments ministered, and
common prayers publicly made. The other sort of policy is profitable, but
not necessarie, as, that psalms should be sung and certain places of
Scripture read when there is no sermon." And in accordance with this
doctrine there is very little singing of psalms prescribed as part of
public worship in either Knox's Liturgy or the Westminster Directory. In
each of these manuals of worship there are only two psalms appointed or
supposed to be sung during the minister's service--one before the sermon
and another before the benediction. It is possible, however, that there
was, from an early period, a third psalm sung in the church by the
congregation, although that psalm was not included in the service. Just as
in modern churches where instrumental music has been introduced, there is
a voluntary played on the organ during the time that the congregation are
assembling, so in very ancient times, long before the Reformation, it was
customary over a large part of Christendom for the people "to entertain
the time with singing of psalms" till the congregation had gathered. And
in Scotland within quite recent times the epithet of the "gathering psalm"
was commonly applied to what is now called the first psalm.

Pasdoran states that, "It was the ancient practice of the Church of
Scotland, as it is yet of some Reformed Churches abroad, for the minister
or precentor to read over as much of the psalm in metre as was intended to
be sung at once, and then the harmony and melody followed without
interruption, and people did either learn to read or got most of the
psalms by heart." What is here called the ancient practice of the Church
of Scotland in the rendering of praise is just the practice that is
observed at the present day. But soon after 1645 a different practice
arose and continued long in the church. The Westminster Directory for
Public Worship recommends that, "for the present, where many in the
congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister or some
other fit person appointed by him and the other ruling elders, do read the
psalm line by line before the singing thereof." The practice was
accordingly introduced into the Church of Scotland soon after of giving
out the psalms in instalments of one line at a time, and so popular did
the practice become, and so essential a part of revered use and wont, that
very great difficulty was found long afterwards in getting it
discontinued. Indeed, the practice of reading the line was pretty general
until the beginning of this century.

Loud objections were raised to the singing of hymns and what, in Scotland,
are commonly called paraphrases; and even within living memory this
innovation gave rise to bitter controversy. Not a few persons maintained
that the only proper subjects for divine praise in public worship are the
metrical versions of the Old Testament Psalms. But from the date of the
Reformation down to the sitting of the Westminster Assembly, not only were
metrical versions of the psalms, but hymns and doxologies also, generally
sung in the public worship of the church. The year 1650, however,
witnessed a change in that respect. The present version of the psalms was
that year printed for use in public worship, and no hymns nor paraphrases
were appended. It was not until 1781 that a Committee appointed by the
General Assembly submitted "such a collection of sacred poems as they
thought might be submitted to the judgment of the church." It is this 1781
collection of paraphrases that is still, after the lapse of more than a
hundred years, bound in Scottish Bibles along with the metrical version of
the Psalms of David. The paraphrases have established a secure place in
the psalmody of all the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. But it was not
without contention and controversy, strife and bitterness, that the
paraphrases made their way into use in the services of public worship. The
writer has seen a worthy elder violently close his Bible on the giving out
of a paraphrase, and remain seated while it was being sung.

Having described the reader's and precentor's service, there remains the
service that specially devolved on the minister. It is well known that a
liturgy was at one time, and for a long time, used in the Church of
Scotland. Knox's liturgy continued to be used by some ministers and
readers down to the year 1637 at least. Its use was by no means universal,
however, during that period. Extempore prayers were always popular with
the general public, but when young and raw readers, however sparely gifted
and not more than half-educated, took on themselves, as they often did, to
treat congregations to extempore prayers, the guardians of public manners
were shocked. It was a shame to all religion, said King Charles I., to
have the majesty of God so barbarously spoken to; and, as a remedy for
this deformity, as he termed it, in the public worship of the Church of
Scotland, Charles issued a new service book to be used as a liturgy by all
preachers and readers. But neither minister nor people would take the
king's liturgy, and extempore prayers became more established in use and
favour than ever.

It is well known that in Protestant churches generally, and in the Church
of Scotland particularly, the preaching of the word has always been
reckoned the chief part of the service of the sanctuary. The quantity of
preaching that ministers had to give and people had to take in olden
times was enormous. There were commonly two diets of worship on the
Sabbath and very often what was termed a week-day sermon besides. It was
customary for ministers to take up a subject or text and on that subject
or text to preach for six or eight Sabbaths consecutively. It seems not to
have been uncommon for ministers to take an hour to their sermon. And to
keep preachers right in this matter, it was customary to set up a sand
glass in the church.

[Illustration: PREACHER'S HOUR GLASS.]

It is doubtful if in olden times there was as much good order observed in
church during divine service as there is now. In some of the old
ecclesiastical records, we find curious regulations for the preservation
of order in church. In the Kirk Session records of Perth we find an
instruction minuted that the kirk-officer "have his red staff in the Kirk
on the Sabbath days wherewith to waken sleepers and remove greeting
bairns." In 1593 complaint was made at Perth of boys in time of preaching
running through the church clattering and fighting.

[Illustration: HOUR GLASS STAND.]

The hours of church service on Sundays were much earlier long ago than
they are now. In 1615 the Kirk Session of Lasswade appointed nine o'clock
as the hour on which service should begin in the summer months, and
half-past nine as the hour of service in winter.

The neglect of public ordinances has at all times been a subject of
lamentation. In olden days many devices are said to have been tried to
remedy or abate these evils. Those resorted to by the Covenanters in
Aberdeen in 1642 were perhaps as ingenious as any that have ever been
adopted. "Our minister," says Spalding, "teaches powerfullie and plainlie
the word to the gryte comfort of his auditores. He takes strait count of
those who cumis not to the communion, nor keepis not the kirk, callis out
the absentis out of pulpit, quhilk drew in sic a fair auditorie that the
seatis of the kirk was not abill to hold thame, for remeid quhair of he
causit big up ane loft athwart the body of the kirk."

Mr Cant did not go quite so far, but being annoyed that his afternoon
diets were sparsely attended, he naïvely dismissed his forenoon audience
without a benediction, and reserved his blessing for those that returned
to the second sermon.

Church Music.


Though the use of instrumental music in the services of the Church fell
into disfavour after the Reformation, the existence of a sculptured
representation of an organ in Melrose Abbey shows that instrument to have
been known as early as the fourteenth century. That "regals," as they were
then called, were placed in some of the principal churches, and used in
worship, is also evidenced by documents still in existence. That these,
however inferior they may have been to similar instruments of the present
day, were carefully constructed, and at considerable cost, appears from
the payments made to William Calderwood for "a pair of organs" for the
Chapel Royal at Stirling in 1537, and for "a set of organs" for the King's
Chapel at Holyrood in 1542. But the Reformation led to these instruments
being everywhere discarded as partaking too much of Romanism to be
acceptable to the followers of Knox.

The organs of the royal chapels kept their places for a time, but
elsewhere the "kists of whistles," as they then came to be called, were
broken up and the materials sold in aid of the fund for the poor. But no
long time elapsed before the Earl of Mar, as captain of Stirling Castle,
caused the organ in the Royal Chapel to be removed and broken up; and in
1571 the Scottish Parliament expressed approval of the act. The prevailing
feeling against the organ was intensified when, in 1617, orders were given
by James VI. that carved figures of the Apostles should be affixed to the
seats of the choir in the Chapel at Holyrood, where the organ was then
being repaired, after a long period of disuse and neglect. Instrumental
music thus became associated in the public mind with what was regarded as
idolatry, and so much excitement prevailed that the bishops advised that
the restoration of the organ and the choir stalls should be delayed until
it subsided.

In 1631 Charles issued an order for the erection of an organ in every
cathedral and principal church, and thereby renewed the agitation against
the instrument. The order was disregarded, and in 1638, when popular
opposition to the introduction of the Anglican prayer-book was being
strongly manifested, the General Assembly ruled that the attempt to
introduce instrumental music into the services of the Church should be
resisted. Spalding, speaking of the agitation of that period, says that
"the glorious organs of the Chapel Royal were masterfully broken down, nor
no service used there, but the whole chaplains, choristers, and musicians
discharged, and the costly organs altogether destroyed and unuseful." Six
years later, the General Assembly recorded in their minutes the gladness
with which that body had received the news from their commissioners at
Westminster of the taking down of the great organs of St. Paul's Cathedral
and Westminster Abbey.

Psalmody was little more in favour than the gilded pipes of the organ. The
Westminster Directory for Public Worship, adopted by the General Assembly
in 1645, recommends that "for the present, where many in the congregation
cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person
appointed by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by
line, before the singing thereof." Before this time, in 1642, there had
been much controversy in the western Lowlands concerning the singing of
the doxology at the end of a psalm, a practice which was popularly
regarded as a commandment of men, not to be accepted as a divine
ordinance. The General Assembly, in 1643, took the matter into
consideration, and ordered the dispute to be dropped. In 1649, however,
the subject was again before the Assembly, which then resolved that the
singing of the doxology should be discontinued.

In 1647, a committee was named by the General Assembly to examine and
revise Rous's paraphrase of the Psalms, and Zachary Boyd was requested to
make a metrical version of the other Biblical songs; but nothing was done
in the latter direction, probably due to the desire for uniformity with
the Presbyterian Church in England, and in 1650 the present metrical
version was printed for use in public worship, without the addition of any
hymns or paraphrases. Nothing further was done for the improvement of
congregational singing for more than half a century.

The question of instrumental music was revived in 1687, by the erection in
the Royal Chapel at Holyrood, by order of James II., of a large and
magnificent organ, which was regarded as a step towards the introduction
of the Romish service. So convinced were the people of this that the
clergy of even the Episcopal churches discontinued the use of the organ in
public worship. In the following year, when James had abdicated, and the
fear of Popish devices had become allayed, the mob of Edinburgh testified
to the national joy, and at the same time indulged their latent propensity
to mischief by breaking down the organ and burning the materials.

As in England down to a much later period, so also in Scotland, a metrical
version of the Psalms was alone in use in worship, though several attempts
were made at different times in the last century to introduce hymns of a
more distinctively Christian character, as well as more poetical than the
old paraphrases of Hebrew psalmody. The matter was before the General
Assembly in 1707, and again in 1742, when a committee was appointed to
prepare some paraphrases of passages in the Bible, "to be joined with the
Psalms of David, so as to enlarge the Psalmody." Three years afterwards,
some examples of religious poetry were submitted by the committee for the
judgment of the Assembly; but, as before, nothing was done, and the matter
remained in abeyance until 1775, when it was suggested by the Synod of
Glasgow and Ayr that the Assembly should take such measures as might be
judged necessary to introduce the paraphrases of 1751 into the Psalter of
the Church. These were, in consequence, again examined and revised by a
committee, but it was not until 1781 that the committee made their report
and the Assembly ordered copies of the collection (which had been printed
in 1751) to be submitted to the Presbyteries. Pending the Presbyterial
judgment, the Assembly allowed the collection to be used in public worship
"where the minister finds it for edification."

The permission to use this collection of Biblical paraphrases was never
recalled by the Assembly, but it has also never been made a permanent act.
It appears to have been given reluctantly, and only as a measure of
policy, in concession to popular feeling in favour of the collection; for
it appears to have been previously used in several churches. "Use and
wont," says Dr Edgar, in his "Old Church Life in Scotland," "have now
given as valid an authority for the singing of the paraphrases in church
as a special Act of Assembly could do. The paraphrases have, on the
strength of their own merits, established a secure place in the psalmody
of all the Presbyterian churches in Scotland."

Instrumental music had, in the meantime, continued to be banished from
public worship. The psalm to be sung was announced by the minister, and
the precentor, who occupied a smaller pulpit below him, placed in a slit
in a lyre-shaped brass frame in front of him a card bearing the name of
the tune in large letters, so as to be visible to all the congregation.
The minister then repeated the first two lines of the verses to be sung,
and the precentor struck his tuning-fork on the desk. It was a custom of
long standing, probably dating from a time when few of the congregation
could read, for the precentor to read and sing a line alternately, which
must, to persons unaccustomed to it, have sounded strange, and certainly
have destroyed what little harmony there might have been if the psalm had
been sung differently.

It was not until the first decade of the present century that the organ
was called to the aid of the volume of praise in the Scottish Church. To
Dr Ritchie, minister of St. Andrew's Church, Glasgow, belongs the honour
of this innovation. With the approval of the congregation, he introduced
an organ, which was played for the first time on the 23rd of August, 1807,
not without producing a sensation and a protest. The Presbytery was
convened, and the Lord Provost appeared before that grave body, at the
head of a deputation of influential citizens, to protest against the
minister's innovation on long established custom. The Presbytery ruled,
"that the use of organs in the public worship of God is contrary to the
law of the land, and to the law and constitution of our Established
Church." The organ was summarily silenced, therefore, and the grand tones
of that instrument were not again heard in accompaniment of sacred song in
the Presbyterian churches of Scotland for more than twenty years.

The ineffective character of unaccompanied congregational singing was very
slowly recognised. In 1829, however, the congregation of the Relief
Church,[11] at Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, with the approval of their
minister, had an organ erected in their place of worship. The act was
clamorously opposed outside his own following, and the Relief Presbytery
called upon the minister, John Johnston, to remove the offending
instrument, under pain of deprivation. The response of minister and
congregation to this command was the severance of their connection with
the Synod. In 1845, a Congregational Church in Edinburgh set up an organ
in their place of worship, and as each congregation in that denomination
is an independent body, no outside opposition or interference was in that
case possible.

The progress of the movement continued, however, to be very slow. A large
proportion of the older men in the ministry still regarded instrumental
music in churches as associated with Romanism, and when Dr Lee, the
minister of the Old Greyfriars' Church, in Edinburgh, ventured, in 1863,
to introduce a harmonium there, it was rumoured that he was a disguised
Jesuit, seeking to Romanise the Reformed Church. He was well able to
defend himself, however, and he did so with such ability and power that,
in the following year, the General Assembly ruled that "such innovations
should be put down only when they interfered with the peace of the Church
and the harmony of congregations." The cause was won. The Old Greyfriars'
congregation subscribed four hundred and fifty pounds for an organ, which
replaced the harmonium in 1865.

The Free Church lingered long in the rear of the movement, mainly owing to
the opposition of Dr Begg, but in 1883 the General Assembly recorded a
resolution similar to that adopted by the Assembly of the Established
Church of Scotland in 1864, and opposition to instrumental music is now
practically at an end. The prejudice against it still lingers, however, in
some districts remote from the life and light of the larger towns. A story
is told of a lady of the old school of religious thought, that, having
been induced by some friends to attend an Episcopalian service, and being
asked on her return how she liked the music, she replied, "It was verra
fine, but waes me! yon's an awfu' way of spending the Sawbath."

Discipline in the Kirk.


In no country and at no time has a more searching system of ecclesiastical
discipline been attempted than in Scotland in the first century after the
Reformation. Not only was the teaching or the practice of the unreformed
faith punished with the severest penalties, not only was attendance at
church and the learning of religion, as the reformers understood it,
rigidly enforced; but even the private life of the people was watched and
scrutinized. The behaviour of the congregation on the way home from divine
service, the amusements which formed the relaxation of the people, the
dress of the women in the street as well as at kirk, the snuff-taking of
the men, domestic broils and filial misbehaviour in the various
households,--these and other such matters were discussed by ecclesiastical
tribunals and visited with pains and penalties, as much as offences
against human or divine laws. The country was overspread with a network
of church authorities claiming disciplinary powers, there was quite an
arsenal of punitive machines in every district, and the whole system was
kept in motion by the free use of espionage. Verily, in Scotland "new
presbyter was," as Milton said, "but old priest writ large," larger in
fact than the original by far. Even the soldiery of the Commonwealth,
sufficiently used to the methods of Puritanism in England, were astonished
and disgusted with the ways and means of Scottish discipline; so much so
that during their stay in the country in 1650 they destroyed many of the
weapons of this intolerable tyranny; and it is indeed surprising that the
people themselves accepted it so long with submission. That the Church has
authority to use discipline over its members is admitted; and that at the
present time this authority is too little recognised is, in the opinion of
very many, equally true; but in the day of its supremest power the
Scottish Kirk Sessions seem to have usurped a universal authority. The
punitive rights of the State, the proper control which a man has within
his own house, even that discipline which every one should learn to
exercise over himself, all these, as well as that influence which more
strictly is the province of the Church, the Kirk endeavoured to control
and enforce by means of its own ecclesiastical courts.

Of these courts the first was the "Exercise," as it was at first quaintly
called, from the custom of "making exercise," or critically examining a
given passage of Scripture; more properly described as the Presbytery.
Next to this came the authority of the Synod, or district court, and the
final appeal lay to the General Assembly. Of these the higher courts not
infrequently did much more than exercise appellant jurisdiction, issuing
orders to spur on the zeal of the inferior ones.

The methods of punishment employed by the Kirk were various.
Excommunications were freely launched against offenders, especially
against those who did not accept in their fulness the teaching and
practices of the reformers. Public penance was also resorted to, often in
addition to some other form of punishment; the penance usually involving
the use of the "repentance-stool," or the jaggs, or jougs. The former of
these was a wooden structure formed in two tiers or steps, the lower of
which, used for less heinous offences, was named the "cock-stool." An
offender, judged to perform a public penance on this stool, was first
clothed in an appropriate habit, the Scottish representative of the
traditional white sheet, which consisted of a cloak of coarse linen, known
as the "harden goun," the "harn goun," or the "sack goun." Thus arrayed,
he (or she) stood at the kirk door while the congregation assembled and
during the opening prayer of the service; just before the sermon the
penitent was led in by the sexton and placed, according to the terms of
the sentence, either upon "the highest degree of the penitent stuill" or
upon, "the cock-stool"; where he stood barefoot and bare-headed during
the discourse, in which his sins and offences were not forgotten. The
congregation generally wore their hats during the sermon.


The minutes and accounts of the Presbyteries have frequent allusions to
this stool and its accompanying "goun." Thus at Perth mention is made of
the provision of both cock-stool and repentance-stool, and in 1617 the
Kirk Session of the same place ordered a stool of stone to be built. The
Synods specially enjoined on all parishes the procuring of a
repentance-gown; in 1655 as much as £4, 4s. 6d. was spent in one for
Lesmahago, and in 1693 Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, ordered one of a special
fashion, "like unto that which they have in Straitoun," to be made. The
repentance-stool has maintained its place in scattered instances down to
modern times, one of the latest instances of its use being in 1884, when a
man stood on the stool to be publicly rebuked in the Free Kirk at
Lochcarron. The Museum of the Society of Antiquaries at Edinburgh contains
the old repentance-stool, formerly used in the Old Greyfriars' Church of
that city; the repentance-gown of Kinross parish is also preserved in the
same museum. It does not always follow that penance implies repentance,
and the strong arm of the Scottish Kirk sometimes compelled a man to
submit to the former without his experiencing the latter; such was
evidently the case with three reprobates who were excommunicated in 1675
by the Kirk Session of Mauchline, Ayrshire, because of "their breaking the
stool of repentance on which they had been sentenced to stand in presence
of the congregation."



The jagg or jougs consisted of an iron collar fastened by a padlock, which
hung from a chain secured in the church wall near the principal entrance.
An offender sentenced to the jagg was compelled to stand locked within
this collar for an hour or more before the morning service on one or more
Sundays. About the time of the Revolution this dropt out of use, chiefly
from the fact that the State no longer suffered the powers of the Kirk to
be carried with so high a hand; several of the old jaggs, however, yet
remain. At Merton, Berwickshire, at Clova, in Forfarshire, and at
Duddingston, Midlothian, the instrument may still be seen attached to the
kirk wall; the jaggs of Stirling and of Galashiels have also been
preserved, though removed from their original places.[12]

Besides the repentance-stool and the jagg, which were specially the
weapons of the kirk, there were other instruments of punishment employed
by the State, to which the Kirk also did not hesitate at times to have
recourse. Just as the Spanish Inquisition handed over those whom it
condemned to the "secular arm" for punishment, so the Scottish Kirk passed
resolutions desiring the bailies to put this or that offender in gyves;
magistrates were requested to imprison others, "their fude to be bread and
watter;" employers were instructed to fine or chastise servants who used
profane language; and town authorities were solicited to procure
appliances for "ducking" certain classes of sinners. The brank or scold's
bridle, the stocks, and the pillory, were used by the ecclesiastical, no
less than by the civil, authorities; the Kirk also imposed fines, decreed
banishment, used the steeples as prisons, and inflicted mutilation, and
even death, upon offenders; its power to enforce these sentences being
largely due to the fact that civil disabilities followed the pronouncement
of excommunication. The excommunicated person was an outlaw; he could hold
no land, might be imprisoned by any magistrate to whom he was denounced,
and was to be "boycotted" by friends, followers, and tradesmen; any one
showing him the smallest consideration, or affording him the least
assistance, was liable to a similar punishment. These large powers were
only abrogated in 1690.

Among the offences dealt with by the Kirk, a prominent place was given to
adherence to the unreformed faith, and to any apparent lack of zeal for
presbyterianism. Saying mass according to the ancient rite, or even
hearing it, or giving any countenance to such as did so, was severely
dealt with. Hamilton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, was summoned, with nearly
fifty others, before the High Court in 1563, charged with saying mass; and
although he was liberated at that time, he was subsequently hanged. For a
similar "crime," John Carvet was put in the pillory at Edinburgh, in 1565;
other priests were banished in 1613; and another (John Ogilvie) was
sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in 1615. For hearing mass,
John Logane was fined a thousand pounds in 1613, and many persons were
from time to time imprisoned, or otherwise punished. The Church festivals
were also put under a ban. The General Assembly in 1645 prohibited
schoolmasters from granting a holiday at Christmas; the Kirk Session of
St. Andrews punished several persons for keeping that festival in 1573;
and in 1605 the same authority at Dundonald summoned a man for not
ploughing on "Zuile day" (Yule). To harbour a priest, to possess books of
Catholic devotion, to paint a crucifix, all these were recognised
offences, which were visited with fines and imprisonment. In 1631 Sir John
Ogilvy of Craig was committed to jail for "daily conversing" with
supporters of the old faith.

The means adopted to promote reformed opinions among the people were
equally drastic.

The most rigid observance of Sunday as a Sabbath was enforced. In 1627
nine millers at Stow, in Midlothian, had to do public penance and pay
forty shillings for that "their milnes did gang on the Sabbath;" and in
1644 another miller, in Fifeshire, was sentenced to a fine of thirty
shillings, with the same addition, for a similar offence. The uncertainty
of the weather was not admitted as any excuse for Sunday harvesting, as is
shown by a fine inflicted (together with the usual penance) upon one
Alexander Russell and his servant for "leading corn on the Sabbath
evening," at Wester Balrymont. There are records of the stool of
repentance being called into use for the correction of fishermen who
mended their nets, of sundry people who gathered nuts, of a woman who
"watered her kaill," and of another who "seethed bark," on a Sunday. The
last named had to stand in the jagg for three Sundays as well. Lads who
were found playing on Sunday were sometimes whipt, as in a case dealt with
by the Kirk Session of St. Andrews in 1649, and others at Dunfermline in
1685. In 1664 it was enacted at Dumfries that "persons walking idly from
house to house and gossipping on Sabbath" should be fined thirty shillings
for their evil conduct; and in 1652 the Kirk Session of Stow actually
compelled one William Howatson to do public penance for having, on a
Sunday, "walked a short distance to see his seik mother."

But mere abstinence from work and play was not sufficient; attendance at
the kirk was compulsory. The amount of the fine exacted in different
districts varied, but everywhere even a single absence was noted, and had
to be paid for. At Aberdeen, in 1568, the penalty was 6d. for every
service missed; at Lasswade, in 1615, it was 6s. 8d. from a gentleman, and
3s. 4d. from a servant; at Dunino, in 1643, sum was 2s. for a first
offence, 4s. for the second, and a like proportion for others. Paupers who
failed in this duty were to be deprived of all relief, by order of the
Kirk Session of St. Andrews in 1570.

The almost omniscient eyes of the Kirk Sessions kept watch, moreover, on
the behaviour of the congregation while at the services. The Kirk Session
of Ayr summoned Andrew Garvine before it and reproved him in 1606, because
he was late at kirk; and at Saltoun, in 1641, a fine of 6s. 8d. was
decreed against everyone who ventured to "take snuff in tyme of divine
service"; at Perth the Session's officer was instructed "to have his red
staff in the kirk on Sabbath days, therewith to wauken sleepers, and to
remove greeting bairns forth of the kirk." The congregation was divided
according to the sexes, the men (most ungallantly) being allowed to
occupy forms, while the women sat upon the floor; and any departure from
this arrangement was gravely censured. The dress of the women also
occupied the attention of the Sessions, their habit of wearing their
plaids about their heads being especially condemned. At St. Andrews, the
beadle was commanded to go about the kirk during the service "with ane
long rod to tak down their plaidis" from the women's heads; while the
authorities at Monifieth took very extreme measures, ordering the
expenditure of five shillings in tar "to put upon the women that held
plaids about their heads." Women condemned to do public penance upon the
penitence-stool were deprived of their plaids before ascending that
ecclesiastical pillory.

The instruction which the people were to receive was also regulated by the
Kirk Sessions. Before the morning service, and between that and the
afternoon service, the children were publicly to recite their catechism,
both for their own edification and that of the people present. So it was
ordained at Stow in 1656, and at Dunfermline in 1652, on the ground that
it was "usit in uthyre kirks." But the passages of Scripture to be
treated by the preachers were also settled by the same authorities; the
custom being, apparently, for the minister to go systematically through
some complete book of the Bible. The Kirk Session of the "Kirk of the
Canongait," Edinburgh, desired the minister, who had just entered upon the
Book of Isaiah, "to begyne the Actes of the Apostles," after completing
the first chapter of the prophet; and Mr George Gladstanes, at St.
Andrews, was requested to take up the Second Book of Samuel. The length of
the sermon was fixed also by the Session, as is illustrated by a
resolution passed at Elgin, to the effect that Mr David Philips do "turn
his glass when he preaches, and that the whole be finished within an

All these regulations, moreover, did not apply exclusively to Sunday; for
although the Kirk forbade the observance of old Church festivals, it
rigidly enforced its own fasts and days of thanksgiving. There was public
service in the towns usually every Wednesday and Friday, and work was as
absolutely forbidden during service time on those days, and attendance at
kirk as strictly enjoined, as on Sundays. Moreover, the non-observance of
an appointed fast was visited with a heavy fine.

For the further protection of the people from any teaching contrary to the
received standard, the Press was carefully guarded, and the publication of
any work bearing on religion forbidden, unless it had first received the
_imprimatur_ of the Kirk's official "superintendent"; and publishers who
issued books which proved to be obnoxious to the ecclesiastical
authorities were compelled to withdraw them. The purchase of Bibles,
moreover, was not left to the zeal or discretion of the people; but by an
act of 1576, every householder worth 300 marks annual rent, and every
yeoman or burgess having stock valued at £500, was compelled to procure a
Bible and a Psalm-book, under a penalty of £10 (Scots).

Next to importance in the guidance of religious teaching and worship, and
indeed closely connected with it, in the estimation of the Scottish
ecclesiastical courts, came the question of witchcraft and sorcery. The
annals of the country throughout the seventeenth century, together with
the closing years of the preceding one, are full of stories of the trial,
torture, and punishment of alleged witches; and even in the early years
of the eighteenth century there are occasional instances of persons
proceeded against in the Kirk Sessions for using charms, and similar
superstitious practices. The unfortunate women charged with selling their
souls to Satan in exchange for occult powers seldom succeeded in
establishing their innocence, and juries which ventured to acquit them
were themselves occasionally charged with "wilful error" for so doing.
Under these circumstances it would seem that the accused, abandoning all
hope of escape, frequently took pleasure in exciting the wonder and the
horror of the court by the weird and marvellous tales which they invented
of their evil deeds; and no tale could be too marvellous for belief. It
made no difference in the enormity of the crime whether the supernatural
powers ascribed to the prisoner were used for good objects or for evil;
Isabel Haldane, who "cured Andrew Duncan's bairn, by bringing water from
the burn at Turret Port," Margaret Hornscleugh, who restored Alexander
Mason's wife to health and renewed the milking powers of Robert Christie's
cow, were burnt equally with Agnes Simpson, who had raised a storm to
drown King James, and Catherine Campbell, who had struck her young
mistress with convulsions. Foremost in hunting down these poor deluded, or
maligned creatures, were the ministers of the Kirk; and practically the
only lawful excuse for absence from a public service on Sunday, or even
for the omission of the service altogether, was attendance at a

Much time of various Kirk Sessions was also occupied, now and again, in
considering cases of pilgrimage to holy wells, "turning the riddle" to
discover the name of a thief, and similar matters, and in reprimanding the
offenders. So late as 1709, the Kirk Session of Kilmorie summoned before
it a woman accused of "the horrid sin of the hellish art of
riddle-turning," and sentenced her to public penance on three several

More useful were the efforts, directed by the disciplinary authorities of
the Kirk, to prevent such sins as drunkenness, profanity, slander, and
sexual immorality. At Stirling, in 1612, a man was fined 20s. for being
intoxicated; and Dunino had, in 1645, a regular scale of fines for such
cases, 6s. for the first offence, 12s. for the second, and so forth.
Cursing and swearing were openly punished at the market crosses, by the
shame of the pillory, and by fines. Slander was met with the use of the
brank, the pillory, compulsory shaving of the head, or, in extreme cases,
with banishment from the district. In all these cases, a public reprimand
on Sunday at the stool of repentance was usually inflicted, in addition to
whatever other penalty there was imposed.

The violation of the marriage vow was made a capital crime in Scotland in
1563; but the death sentence was not actually carried out very frequently.
At Glasgow, in 1586, it was considered sufficient to send the offenders to
the pillory, barefoot and in sackcloth, and then to cart them through the
town; but in 1643, the punishment was made more severe--the jagg, a public
whipping, committal to the common jail, and, finally, expulsion from the
town, being the satisfaction demanded by local justice. In the case of a
minister who had admitted that he was guilty of adultery, the utmost
humiliation was demanded. He had first to prostrate himself before the
General Assembly, and implore their pardon in the most abject manner; he
was then required to do public penance in sackcloth at the kirk door, and
on the repentance-stool for two Sundays each, in three several towns,
which were chosen so as to complete his degradation. Edinburgh, the
capital, Dundee, his native town, and Jedburgh, the place of his ministry,
were all to witness his shame. For other sins of impurity, fines,
imprisonment in the kirk steeple, standing in irons at the market cross,
and having the head shaved, were, one or more of them, adjudged.

Some of the cases in which the Kirk exercised its discipline were such as,
it would appear to us, might have been dealt with more effectually in less
formal or more private ways. When a lad failed in proper respect to his
father, like the Glasgow youth who did not "lift his bonnet" on meeting
him, or even like him of St. Andrews, who struck his parent, it would
hardly seem to have been needful to report the matter to the Kirk, for it
to deal with it; yet the Sessions at those places solemnly considered
these misdemeanours, in 1598 and in 1574 respectively. Again, few
husbands, now, would probably care so far to confess themselves unable to
control their wives as to call in the authority of the Kirk to prevent the
"weaker vessels" from abusing their lords; yet such cases frequently
occupied the attention of Kirk Sessions. The brank, or imprisonment, or
the pillory, was the sentence usually pronounced on these rebellious

The interference of the Kirk Sessions in some matters, which they once
claimed as within their sphere, would now certainly be resented. Thus, the
presbytery of Glasgow forbade a marriage between James Armour and Helen
Bar, in 1594, on the ground that the prospective bridegroom was "in greit
debt"; and at St. Andrews, in 1579, all persons who could not recite the
Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Commandments were debarred from
matrimony. Moreover, the Kirk undertook the regulation of the wedding
festivities. At Stirling, in 1599, the Kirk Session decreed that no
marriage dinner or supper should cost above 5s.; and this was an advance
upon the rule passed at Glasgow, in 1583, which limited the cost to
"eighteen pennies Scots." At Cambusnethan, in 1649, the presence of a
piper at a wedding was forbidden; and at Dumfries, in 1657, the number of
guests was limited to twenty-four.

In too many instances the Kirk procured the information on which it acted
in enforcing these decrees through spies of one kind or another. The
informants, through whom cases were got up against the adherents of the
unreformed rites, were often men of the worst characters, such as Robert
Drummond, a twice-convicted adulterer, who finally died by his own hand.
The wretches who hunted down and tested those accused of witchcraft were
scarcely more respectable agents. Officers both of the kirks and of the
municipalities were required to watch for and report those who did not
attend divine service regularly; an espionage of the most dangerous and
objectionable kind being introduced when, as at Glasgow in 1600, it was
decreed that, on the "deacons" of craft-gilds informing of any remissness
in kirk-attendance of their members, half the fine imposed should be given
to the gild. Bailies were desired to traverse the houses on "preaching
dayes" to see that the people did not stay at home; beadles were "to tak
notice of those who tak ye sneising tobacco in tyme of divine service, and
to inform concerning them;" others were appointed to take the names of
such as were in the alehouses after eight o'clock at night; midwives and
doctors were threatened with discipline if they failed to report any
illegitimate birth which they attended; "searchers" were appointed to find
out those who did not buy Bibles and Psalm-books; in a word the lives of
the people were constantly under observation. It is perhaps the strongest
proof of the strength of the Scotsman's character that, after a century or
more of such interference with his responsibility, his sturdy independence
survived. Much of this disciplinary system died away when, in 1690, it
ceased to have behind it the civil disabilities attendant on

Curiosities of Church Finance.


"The plate for collections is inside the church, so that the whole
congregation can give a guess at what you give. If it is something very
stingy or very liberal, all Thrums knows of it within a few hours; indeed,
this holds good of all the churches, especially, perhaps, of the Free one,
which has been called the bawbee kirk, because so many half-pennies find
their way into the plate. On Saturday nights the Thrums shops are besieged
for coppers by housewives of all denominations, who would as soon think of
dropping a threepenny bit into the plate as of giving nothing. Tammy Todd
had a curious way of tipping his penny into the Auld Licht plate while
still keeping his hand to his side. He did it much as a boy fires a
marble, and there was quite a talk in the congregation the first time he
missed. A devout plan was to carry your penny in your hand all the way to
church, but to appear to take it out of your pocket on entering, and some
plumped it down noisily like men paying their way. I believe old Snecky
Hobart, who was a canty stock but obstinate, once dropped a penny into the
plate and took out a half-penny as change; but the only untoward thing
that happened to the plate was once when the lassie from the farm of Curly
Bog capsized it in passing. Mr Dishart, who was always a ready man,
introduced something into his sermon that day about women's dress, which
everyone hoped Christy Lundy, the lassie in question, would remember."

This, from Mr J. M. Barrie's "Auld Licht Idylls," will ever be a classic
passage on Scottish church finance, so far as it is represented by the
collection. It is not, however, in such pages that the material for such
an article as this must be sought, but rather in such fruitful fields as
those afforded by, chiefly, the Kirk Session Records preserved in various
parts of the country.

It has been pointed out, I think by Buckle in his "History of Civilisation
in England," in comparing Spain and Scotland in point of superstition and
religious intolerance, that the latter country has denied to political
what it has conceded to priestly government, and hence its superior
material progress and prosperity. The general influence of the Kirk
Session, especially as exemplified in its disciplinary powers, was
unquestionably large and far-reaching, surpassing even that of magisterial
authority. Hence we may find records of fines levied by and paid to the
Kirk Session which we should have thought would have been solely within
civil jurisdiction. The church revenue derived from fines must have been
in some instances quite considerable, and as indicating their nature many
entries derived from old church records are of peculiar interest and
value. What the Church forbad _was_ forbidden, and when her laws were
broken or her wishes not complied with, the culprit had to pay the
penalty. When the minister and the session anathematized it was generally
discovered that it was not as with the Highland laird, who "did not swear
at anybody in particular: he jist stood in tae middle o' tae road and
swore at lairge." The anathemas were directed at a definite object, and of
the luckless individual thus aimed at it could not be said, as in the
"Ingoldsby Legends," "Nobody seemed one penny the worse."

The manner in which these fines were determined is sufficiently indicated
by an extract from the Records of Session of Tyninghame, under date May
12, 1616:--"Maister Johne (the minister, by name John Lauder) heavilie
compleinit yt ye last Lord's Day the Sabbothe was prophanit be sundrie
pepill, as he was informit, by yoking thair cairts about 10 or 11 houris
at evene, and led wair fra the see, to ye dishonour of God and evill
example of utheris. For redress heirof in tyme coming, it is ordainit be
the said Maister Johne and elderis present, that quhaevir sall yok to leid
wair on ye Sabbothe, befor ane hour efter midnight, or until 12 houris at
even be past, sall make publik satisfaction in the kirk, and pay 20s.
_toties quoties_; and also ordains publik intimation heirof to be maid."

The following may be taken as supplying a commentary on this. It will, of
course, be remembered that in the days here referred to Scots money was
only one-twelfth part the value of what it is now:--"August 12
(1621).--The minister shew to the elderis that he had causit wairn Robert
Skugall, servitor to James Neilsone, befor the session. Callit on,
compeirit, and accusit of carying netis to the sea in ane cairt, be yoking
hors efter the efternoone sermon, confessit the samin, bot did it, as he
alledgit, with his maister his directions. James Neilsone, present,
answerit yt he bade him not yoke ane cairt, bot cary the netis on ane
horseback. Ordainis the said Robert to satisfie publicklie the nixt Lordis
Day. Item: Thomas Airthe compleinit on ane man quha brocht salt from the
Panis to this towne this day, befor sermon, to sell to qm presentlie the
minister past; and George Shortus, the officer, with him, arrestit the
salt, and put it in Rot. Quhyte his barn, that nain of it micht be sold
that day. Takin fra him 12s. to the pure." "August 26.--James Neilsone,
accusit for comanding his man to pass to the sea with netis in ane cairt,
the said James denyit he comandit him except only to carie them on
horseback; to qm the minister answerit that the last day he confessit he
bade him yok the cairt, qlk some of the elderis testifeit; the brethren
present ordainit the said James to remove, to be censured, and ordainis
him to sit down on his kneis befor the elderis and ask God forgiveness,
and to pay twentie s. to the box, qlk bothe he did, and the session was

Other extracts from the same records are worthy of note in this
connection. On September 25, 1631, Alex. Jackson was ordered to give to
the box what he received for the herrings which he brought in on the
Sabbath day. He affirmed that he got but thirty shillings, which was
produced before the session and put into the box. On April 3, 1642, John
Nicolson was accused for hauling some lines in the water one Sabbath day,
but the minister and elders, seeing him penitent, and submitting himself
humbly, alleging that he did not get four shillings' worth of fish,
ordered him to pay penalty, four shillings, and to make satisfaction on
his knees before the session. The fishermen were, however, allowed to set
their nets on Sunday, though not to haul them, as Dunbar records
testify:--"8 September 1639, Sunday.--Gude order keipit be the seamen at
the draife; no herring brocht in, nor nets hauled, but only nets set at
efternoon." "30 August 1635.--The session appoints some of the elders to
go to the seaside at efternoon, to see that there be no mercat in herring;
and the minister to be with them efter the efternoon, to see guid order

Sabbath-breaking was, unquestionably, a fruitful source of church income.
On December 26, 1619, it was shown to the minister that Robert Barrie,
hind to the Lady Bass, had thus offended by carrying peat; and on February
4, 1621, the said Lady Bass had to pay 18s. for a servant who again broke
the Sabbath. "Profanation of the Sabbath," with its attendant fine, was
again and again reported. Sometimes it was football on the links after the
afternoon sermon, and drinking after the pastime, which had to be atoned
for by a money payment, or again, it might be that "for not being in the
kirk in time in the afternoon" the offender had to pay ten shillings, even
though he might have "come to the kirk shortly after the third bell."
Occasionally, it would seem, the fines were imposed with drastic
severity:--January 21 (1644).--"James Kirkwood gave to the session, to be
put in the box, in name and behalf of George Hay, in Scougall, tasker to
said James, 7s., because he came not with his companie tymeouslie to the
kirk that Lord's Day his wyffe was buryed, as he aucht to have done.... He
said that the days were short, and they had few to carry hir corpes, and
the pepill did not conveine so tymeouslie as he expectit, and this was the

Absence from worship caused many a shilling to fall into the coffers of
the kirk. "Advertise them that they come to the kirk every Sabbath and
that they that were convicted of absence, without lawful excuse, should
pay six shillings every person, seeing they might now, the farthest of
them, the days being long and the weather fair, come every day." This was
in 1619. What a significant entry is the following:--"October 14,
1621.--The minister exhortit the peple to repentance. George Shortus
searchit the towne." Or this:--"This day Alexander Davidson seairchit ye
towne, and delatit some persons absent fra ye kirk in tyme of preiching."
Absentees were followed and fined with an almost relentless pertinacity.
Elders were ordered by the minister to search the town and "to delate the
absentees." As soon as public worship began, the elder started on his
quest, and the luckless delinquents were hunted in home and alehouse. A
few days after, their names, with penalties attached, appeared in the
session books. Sometimes no excuse was taken. An elder, even though he
pleaded headache as reason for his absence, had to pay a fine; so had a
deacon with like adequate excuse; each exaction tending to increase the
income of the kirk.

But not only had Sabbath-day offences thus to be acknowledged. On January
2, 1625, Alex. Johnson, Patrick Wood, George Foster and Patrick Bassenden
were called on and accused before the session "for troubling James
Neilsone's house, singing at the door, being drunk." The two former had to
pay, "ilk ane of them, 3 lib. for thair dronkenness, if they be able, and
to seik the concurrence of the civile magistrat for payment thairof; and
if they suld refuse, being unable, to speik the civile magistrat that they
micht be utherwayis punishit." And in the same year it was found necessary
to intimate "out of the pulpitt, to absteine from drunkenes, utherwayis if
any suld be fund giltie thairof suld be ordainit to pay thre punds." On
October 28, 1630, appeared an item of forty shillings, Alex. Jackson's
penalty for fighting, "sent down by my Lord of Haddington to the box, to
be employed _ad pios usus_." In 1659 the Kirk Session of Dunbar rebuked
and fined in £20 Scots a woman who had sinned when Cromwell's army was in
the neighbourhood eight years before! Such a sin-penalty was, as far as
possible, applied to a secular purpose, and the _godly_ poor were not
supposed to benefit therefrom. In 1620 James Neilson complained of his
wife's misbehaviour, and she was warned that should she disagree again she
would be "inactit to pay 10 lib., _toties quoties_, and suld pay for this
tyme also if she did disagree againe." And in 1642 "John Bryson's wife, in
Scougall, is to be warned next day to the session for flyting with her
husband, and abusing him by her unreverent speeches." The penalty for such
speeches was "20s. _toties quoties_." Whether these ladies had private
means, or the husbands had to endure the further hardship of providing the
fine, history does not record. It should, however, be mentioned that cases
sometimes occurred in which the fair sex were not to blame, as when a man
was brought before the session for having assaulted his wife with a spade,
and was fined a dollar, beside having to express his regret and to satisfy
the session of his sincerity!

A few other curious sources of income may be mentioned. On May 29, 1625,
it is reported in the Records of Session of Tyninghame that "John Jakson
was not to proceid in mariadge wt Helen Bassenden, bot that the mariadge
was given over, and thairfor qfiscats to the use of the pure, and uther
pious uses, the 40s. qsigned be him, according to the order maid
thairanent." In the old Records of Innerwick, during 1608, it is stated
that the minister having reported that the greatest part of the people
were ignorant of the "Comands and very many of the Beliefs," the session
ordained that if such knowledge were not acquired within a given time, a
penalty should be paid; also that no marriage shall be "maid or parteis
proclaimit until baith the parteis also recite ye Lord's Prayer, ye
Belief, and ye Comands, or ells pay five libs. that they sall have them
before the accomplishment of the mariage, qlk, if it be not done they sall
forfeit." And in 1620, when a man excused himself for not having come to
the examination, because he was ignorant, he was "ordained to heir the
Word diligentlie and attentivelie, and to keip the examination; and in
caise of absence againe, he suld mak publik satisfaction, and pay one

The introduction of pews at the commencement of the eighteenth century was
a means of obtaining additional revenue. As a return for the privilege of
placing these seats in the previously open area of the kirk, "half-a-crown
for the use of the poor," was demanded as a rent, and it was further
required "that the same be payd before the seats be set up." The pew was
also a source of indirect income, as when, in 1735, one John Porter was
rebuked before the pulpit and heavily fined for pushing James Cobbam out
of a seat in church, wringing his nose, and thumping him on the back.
Bitter jealousy and anger were often occasioned by the pew, and hence free
fights with accompanying fines not seldom occurred.

But the humours of the collection must not be altogether omitted. Burns,
in giving his experience in "The Holy Fair," has immortalised the elder
(Black Bonnet--so called from a peculiarly shaped black hat worn by him)
who stood by the plate as the people passed into the kirk--

  "When by the plate we set our nose,
    Weel heapit up wi' ha'pence,
  A greedy glower Black Bonnet throws,
    And we maun draw our tippence."

And R. L. Stevenson refers to these elders, "sentinels over the brazen
heap," when he says of a countryman whom he met out West--"He had a
pursing of the mouth that might have been envied by our elders of the
Kirk. He had just such a face as I have seen a dozen times behind the
plate." The elder, at any rate, magnified his office and closely watched
each gift and giver. When a certain titled lady once made a profound and
formal bow only, in passing, the elder followed her as she marched in
state towards her seat, and in tones distinct enough to reach the whole
congregation, said, "Gie us less o' yer manners, my lady, and mair o' yer
siller." When in later days one of the elders passed from pew to pew with
outstretched ladle, he touched the people with it, and with unmistakable
directness would say, "Wife, sittin' next the wee lassie there, mind the
puir," or "Lass, wi' the braw plaid, mind the puir."

The obligations of the congregation in regard to the collection were also
frequently enforced from the pulpit. Of "Wee Scotty o' the Coogate Kirk"
the following is related: "One Sunday, when there was a great noise o'
folk gaun into their seats, Scotty got up in the pu'pit and cried out, 'Oh
that I could hear the pennies birlin' in the plate at the door wi' half
the noise ye mak' wi' yer cheepin' shoon! Oh that Paul had been here wi' a
lang wooden ladle, for yer coppers are strangers in a far country, an' as
for yer silver an' yer goold--let us pray!'" And of Dr Dabster, "an unco
bitter body when there was a sma' collection," to whom, before the sermon
began, the beadle used to hand a slip of paper with the amount collected,
we are told that one day when the whole collection only reached two
shillings and ninepence, he stopped suddenly in his discourse and said,
with biting sarcasm, "It's the land o' Canawn ye're thrang strivin' after;
the land o' Canawn, eh? Twa an' ninepence! Yes, ye're sure to gang there!
I think I see ye! Nae doot ye think yersel's on the richt road for't. Ask
yer consciences an' see what _they'll_ say. Ask them an' see what they
_wull_ say. I'll tell ye. Twa miserable shillin's an' ninepence is puir
passage money for sic a lang journey. What! Twa an' ninepence! As well
micht a coo gang up a tree tail foremost, an' whustle like a superannuated
mavis as get to Canawn for _that_!" After this we cannot wonder at the old
farmer's advice to the young minister, "When ye get a kirk o' yer ain,
dinna expeck big collections. Ye see, I was for twal' year an elder, and
had to stand at the plate. I mind fine the first Sabbath after the
Disruption, though our twa worthy ministers didna gang out, and the
strange feelin' about me as I took my place at the plate for the first
time. It was at ane o' the doors o' St Andrew's Parish Kirk, in Edinburgh.
Noo, hoo muckle d'ye think I got that day?" "Oh, well, I know the church
nicely," was the answer--"seated for at least two thousand--you might get
two pounds." "Wad ye believ't?" responded the elder, "I only got five
bawbees, stannin' i' the dracht for twenty minutes, too! If I had only
kent, I wad rather hae pit in the collection mysel' an' covered up the
plate. Mind, dinna expeck big collections."

The coins of other countries were strongly objected to. As far back as
1640, "The minister dischairget the people to give ill curreners," or the
treasurer writes, "Collect 8s. 4d., whereof much ill cureners." And in the
Records of Whitekirk, August 18, 1730, we find that "The minister and
elders did receive from John Lermond, son to the deceased William
Lermond, who was kirk-treasurer, the poor's box; and the poor's money
therein was compted, and there was in the box of good current money, at
the present rates, ane hundred and ten pounds of whit-money. In turners
there was of current coin 15lb., 10s. 10d.; in Scots half merks, 12lb.; in
doyts and ill copper money, 2lb., 4s. 2d." This doyt ("not worth a doyt")
was "a Dutch coin of debased metal, and equivalent in value to the twelfth
part of a penny only." Its use in Scotland seems to have been confined
solely to collection purposes. In Paul's "Past and Present in
Aberdeenshire" is mentioned a rebuke once given by a Mr Wilkie, a minister
of the parish of Fetteresso, whose income was chiefly obtained from the
kirk door collections. One Sunday morning he thus delivered himself: "When
ye gang to Aberdeen to sell your butter, and your eggs, and your cheese,
and get a bawbee that ye're dootfu' about, I'm tell't that ye'll gie't a
toss up atween ye'r finger an' ye'r thoom, an' say, 'It's nae muckle
worth, but it'll dae well eneuch for Wilkie.'" In the "Statistical Account
of Scotland" the minister of Nairn expressively states that "the weekly
collection at the church on Sundays amounted to about three shillings in
_good_ copper."

This spurious money often accumulated. Sometimes a box of such coins was
given to the minister "to see what he could mak' of them" when in
Edinburgh. "Sometimes," we are told, "a man would turn up in a district
with a horse and cart, making offers for the bad copper or pewter that had
been laid aside. At other times it would be sent to an open market, and
there sold to the highest bidder. In 1774 there were over seven stones'
weight of this truly 'filthy lucre' sold in the market-place of Keith, and
its price was £2, 18s. 6d., less 4s. for carriage from Banff.... In order
to counteract as far as possible the practice of putting spurious money
into the plate, the various presbyteries under one synod used occasionally
to combine and send as much as £100 sterling to the mint in London, and
ask that the amount be exchanged for farthings, and returned with 'the
first sure messenger.'"

But the use of the farthing has not been confined to the collections of
bygone days. The Rev. John Russell, in his comparatively recent book,
"Three Years in Shetland," thus writes of the collections in the parish of
Whalsay: "The coin usually put into the ladle was a farthing. As the
collections were exchanged at the shop for silver, and as it was at the
shop where my hearers provided themselves with those farthings, I thought
that if the Session hoarded up the farthings and so stopped the supply of
them, we might get halfpence put into the ladle instead." This ingenious
plan was not, however, put into practice, for the minister was assured
that for the popular farthing would be substituted no gift at all. As to
that perennial favourite, the bawbee or halfpenny, nothing need be said.

A few words must be given to the box that held the money--an important
piece of Scottish ecclesiastical furniture that was jealously guarded.
"Given to George Cuming, smith in Peffersyd, 32 pence for mending the lock
of the box, and causing it to open and steek," is an entry under date,
June 30, 1639. Innerwick looked well after the box:--"23 April 1609.--The
quilk day ye sessioune ordains George Wallace to keip the key of the box."
But there are not a few entries in the Records of Dunbar which show that
the box had been tampered with by the elder in charge; and for a
considerable period one of the civil magistrates there took his place by
the side of the elder at the plate on Sunday. The beadle also fell
occasionally under suspicion, well merited at times, it is feared. In a
certain Highland parish the money, after being counted, was placed in a
box which was consigned to the care of the minister, who secreted it, with
the key, in a part of the session-house press known only to himself and
the beadle. Small sums were regularly extracted, and one Sunday when the
minister discovered that the usual small amount had disappeared, he
summoned the beadle. "David," said he, "there's something wrong here. Some
one has been abstracting the church money from the box; and you know there
is no one has access to it but you and myself." Thinking he had the beadle
thoroughly cornered, the minister fixed him with his eye and paused for an
answer. But David dumfounded the minister by this cool proposal: "Weel,
minister, if there's a defeeshency, it's for you and me to make it up
atween us, an' say naething about it!"

But if on the side of revenue we find much curious reading we find it none
the less surely on the side of disbursements. When poor law and poor rate
alike were unknown in Scotland the Church took care of the poor, and
that, oftentimes, in most thorough and effective fashion. Even when other
urgent claims asserted themselves the poor were by no means neglected. A
proclamation of the Privy Council, August 29, 1693, decreed that one-half
the sums collected at the church door was to be given to the poor as
before, while the other half might be retained for the relief of other
distress, or for any matters that might come under the consideration of
each individual Kirk Session throughout the country. In the Kirk Session
Records of Falkirk, under date July 1696, it is stated that "the number of
the poor within the parish church does daily abound," and the session
recommends to the minister "to intimate to the congregation the next
Lord's Day that they would be pleased to consider ye present strait and be
more charitable." The response to such appeals may not always have been
adequate, and in some records we find it stated again and again that "the
raininess of the day" caused the collection to be so small that the
treasurer, instead of transferring it to the box, handed it to the beadle.

The manner in which the poor were relieved is sufficiently indicated by
the following selected passages from the Kirk Session Records of
Tyninghame, which, for our purpose, may here be considered typical:--

     "November 2, 1617.--Given to ane pure honest man, quha had ane sair
     hand, 6s."

     "May 23, 1619.--Given to ane pure man, lying sik in Patrik Jaksonis,
     being ane coupper in Tranent, 10s. His wyfe came befor ye session and
     earnestlie desyrit it, being in great necessitie."

     "August 26, 1621.--Given to ane pure man, being ane scollar, 6s."

     "January 26, 1623.--Collect 4s., given all to Thomas Harvie in
     Tyninghame, being ane ald honest man tailyeour."

     "September 18, 1625.--To ane pure young man, being ane minister's
     son, 6s. 8d."

     "September 7, 1628.--Given to ane stranger, being ane Transelvanian,
     18s. He was supportit be all the kirks of the presbiteries."

     "April 24, 1631.--Given to a man with a testimonial, robbed by
     pyratis, 9s."

     "December 3, 1637.--Given to ane poore woman at the Knowis, callit
     the Daft Lady, 5s."

     "September 5, 1641.--Given to ane poor scholar (being a minister's
     dochter), 5 dollars."

These extracts are also instructive:--"January 2, 1620.--Reportit that
Andrew Law, being ane agit man grieve to ye Ladie Bass, was lying deidlie
sik in ane hous. Ordainis to adverteis ane of the hostlairis to furnish
him in drink and breid for a tyme, and out of ye box they suld gett
payment, seing he was in great necessitie, being ane honest man. Ordainis
also the Ladie to be adverteisit heirof." "January 30.--The said day given
to them that furnishit drink to Andrew Law, being in great necessitie,
14s. 4d."

In the treasurers' books of the time, entries frequently occur of sums
paid to "twa hirpling women, sairly needing something out of the box," or
to "a lass wi' a cruikit back-bane," or to "a laddie wi' black een and a
white face." Space will not permit any treatment of the interesting
subject of badges for the poor.

One ludicrous incident in connection with a collection for the poor should
be related. In Mr Sinclair's "Scenes and Stories of the North of Scotland"
we read of a Highland minister who, notwithstanding an imperfect knowledge
of the tongue, dared to make some announcements in Gaelic. He intimated
that "on the following Lord's day there would be a collection for the poor
of the congregation. But, alas, for him! he forgot how nearly alike in
sound are the words 'bochd,' signifying poor, and 'boc,' which means a
buck. The word he uttered was the latter instead of the former, so that
he startled his audience by solemnly intimating a collection for the bucks
of the congregation!"

It seems that among the many and diverse poor none needed help more sorely
or frequently than the schoolmaster. A flood of light is thrown upon his
condition by such extracts as these:--"February 1, 1618.--The session
ordainis that Mr James Macqueine, schoolmaister, sal have of everie
baptisme 40d., and for everie mariadge half ane merk--viz., for ye
proclamation 40d. and of ye mariadge 40d.--for his better help." "March
8.--Ordainis ye wemenis penalties that commits fornication to be given to
Mr James Macqueine, schoolmaister." "August 1, 1619.--Given to Maister
James Macqueine, schoolmaister, 4s., seing thar was verie few bairnis at
the school." "August 29.--The qlk day given to Maister James Macqueine,
schoolmaister, 24s., and 10s., being Cristen Stories penaltie, according
to contract maid with him." "September 26.--Given to Maister James
Macqueine, 25s., in regaird of his povertie, and in respect he was to go
hame to ye Northe; in respect, also, of his reading in the kirk." "October
17.--The quilk day Mr James Macqueine, schoolmaister, desyrit earnestlie
some support, that he micht pass to ye Northe, seing thair was few or na
bairns at the schoole. The session heirwith advysit. Ordainis thre lib. to
be given to him."

"Maister James Macqueine's" successor suffered still more acutely from the
eternal lack of pence. "October 22, 1620.--Given to George Davidsone,
scholm{r.}, for reiding and singing in the kirk, at his request, 40s."
"November 19.--Lent to Mr George Davidsone, scholm{r.}, out of the box,
18s." "July 15, 1621.--The said day George Foster his penaltie given to
George Davidsone, schoolmaister and reiddar, becaus of his povertie."
"September 16.--George Davidsone, schoolmaister, earnestlie desyrit somqt
for his support out of the penalties, seing he had few bairnis in the
school. Given to him 20s." "October 7.--Given to George Davidson 20s. of
Thomas Greivis penaltie, the uther twentie given befor in respect of his
reiding and singing in the kirk, he being verie puir, having ane familie."
Soon the minister addresses plaintive appeals to the church in behalf of
the said schoolmaster, and at last the climax comes. "December 1,
1622.--The minister earnestlie desyrit the elderis to have ane cair of
George Davidsone, schoolmaister, now in great distress, being somqt
distract in his witt, and desyrit that George Shortus, officer, wald cause
some ane waik ilka nicht with him, and that the minister and he wald go
from hous to hous for his support. The elderis promeisit to help, and to
caus utheris to help." "December 8.--The minister desyrit bothe the
elderis themselfs to help George Davidsone, and to caus utheris, he being
almost now weill againe, seing he wald go over to Fyff againe. They
promeisit to do the same. Maister Johne (the minister) reportit that he
hyrit ane man on his owin expenss to go to Fyff for his father and brother
to come to him--viz., Patrick Watson--and that he gave him 20s., and that
his father has now come." "December 15.--The minister desyrit the elderis
to help George Davidsone, being now well, praised be God! Given be the
minister and elderis out of their purss, 45s." The schoolmaster's
departure is, however, delayed, for in the following year, 1623, his name
appears again. "March 9.--Given to George Davidson, 20 lib." "November
23.--This day collect at the kirk doore, for George Davidsone, being to
depairt, 50s. 8d."

Assistance to cripples constituted a repeated charge on the church funds.
"May 28, 1615.--Collect 4s., qlk was given to ane crepill." "Mairch 31,
1616.--Given to the belman for carrying ane puir cripple man off the
toune, 6 lib." "June 21, 1618.--Given to Jhone Finla 3s. for carrying away
ane crepill." "February 11, 1638.--Given to Alexander Storie, wricht, for
ane pair of stelts to Henrie Caning, crepill, 4s." "September 23.--Four
shillings given to carray away a crepill. We could get nane in the toune
to carray away this crepill the morn, becaus of their business."

Payments for medical help were also frequently made. "May 28,
1615.--Gathered at the kirk door to give ane physician--viz., George
Adamson, in Dunbar--for curing Agnes Tailzeour, in Peffersyd, 40s., qrof
28s. given to the pottingar, and the rest to the said Agnes Tailzeour,
dauchter to Marion Peacock, in Peffersyde." "Januarii 3, 1641.--Given to
Agnes Richisone (hir bairne being still vehementlie diseast, and hir
husband at the camp), 20s. to buy cures." "Januarii 7, 1644.--Ane merk to
Elspethe Duns sonne, lyklie to be crepill. 20 shillings given to his
mother, to be given to the man wha promeised to do diligence to cure the
said; to be given for drogis." "July 20, 1645.--Given to Robert Ewart, in
Tyninghame, for curing James Brown, his leg, 3 lib. 4s. 4d." All this
links the church finance of the Scotland of that day with that of the
early Christians, for in the _Apologia_ of Justin Martyr and of Tertullus
we read that the early Christians contributed or collected, on the first
day of the week, money for widows, orphans, and others in distress, and
particularly for the relatives of poor slaves condemned to work in the

From the Kirk also was drawn much money that eventually found its way into
the pockets of the sea-robbers of the Mediterranean. The collections made
at the church door largely supplied the amounts necessary for effecting
the ransom of those luckless sailors who fell into the clutches of the
pirates. Hence we find:--"May 11, 1617.--Intimation maid to ye peple out
of pulpite to provyde something againe ye nixt Sabbothe according to thair
powar, for the relieving of Jhone Mure, in Dunbar, and some utheris, wha
was takin be ye Turkis on the sea, and deteinit be them in prison, seing
thair was ane collection to be maid throughout all ye kirks in the qtrie
to this effect." "May 18.--Collect at ye kirk doore for relief of them
that wer takin be ye Turkis, 5 lib. 18s. 4d.; the speciallis, or richest
of ye peple, being absent, quhas portionis were also to be socht fra
them;" and "May 7, 1620.--Collect at the kirk doore for the Scottishmen
lying in Algiers, taken by the Turkis, 3 lb. 17s. 4d."

Again and again we find in the pages of the Kirk Session Records
reflections of the history of the time. Thus on December 5, 1641,
"Intimation maid of collect the nixt Lord's day for ane pure honest woman,
spous to umquhile James Freeman. He was slain in Ireland, and quarteret,
as is allegit, for mainteining the Scottis Covenant." On February 29,
1622, "Earnest exhortations maid to the pepill anent ye contributions to
the Kirk of God in France. Collect this day efter the sermon threttie
pund, 8s. 2d.;" and on March 3, "Qtribut this day at ye kirk door to the
Kirk of France 3 punds, 11s. 10d." On August 28, 1646, a collection was
made in the parish church of Auchterhouse for the people of Cullen, who
had suffered much from the burning of their town by the Marquis of
Montrose on his march northward; and in 1746 the Falkirk beadle begged
the Kirk Session to lend him five shillings because of harsh treatment he
had endured at the hands of Prince Charlie's soldiers on their retreat
from England.

Among the miscellanea of church finance as concerning expenditure the
following should, undoubtedly, have place. The stool of
repentance--imposing and certainly not cheap--deserves some prominence.
"Given to Andrew Stone, wricht, 22s., and 2s. to his man, for mending and
repairing the stoole of repentance;" and "David Nimmo, wricht in Lintoun,
compeirit, and desyrit payment for making and repairing the stoole for
repentance. The minister and elders herewith advysit; deliverit to him,
out of the box, aucht pounds, and sax shillings to his sonne, and twentie
s. to James Paterson, mason," are two suggestive items. Alexander Sherrie
receives six shillings on April 19, 1635, "to buy poudder with to shett
the dowes in the kirk, becaus they filet the seitts." At Cullen Parish
Church, in the session records for 1703, the treasurer writes:--"For a
calf's skinn to be a cover to ye Kirke bible, 7s. For dressing ye skinn
bought to cover ye Kirke bible, and alm'd leither to fasten ye cover to ye
brods, and for sowing thereof, 10s. For keepers to ye clasps, brass nails
putting on ye stoods, and gluing loose leaves, 14s." Dr Russell, writing
in his "Reminiscences of Yarrow," about his father's pastorate in the Vale
of Ettrick, says, "At the first Martinmas of my father's incumbency, Robin
(Robert Hogg, the father of the Ettrick Shepherd) came to him and said,
'Sir, Mr Potts (the predecessor of Dr Russell's father) used always to
allow me five shillings of the collections in the kirk at this time, for
gathering the bawbees, in order to buy a pair of shoon!' But to his
disappointment, my father replied that he could not take it on him to make
this application of the public money." The beadle, however, sometimes got
the price of a pair of shoes; and in one book, in 1615, we have "_Nota_ (a
word scarcely ever used) That in all the gatherings for the poor there is
the price of ane pint of ale, that collect which is set doun in the
session-books, because of the pains which the clerk of the kirkmen taks in
going thrice aboot the toune, and ance efternoon. This custom of giving
sae mickle to the beadle has been ust of ald in this parish."

In February, 1733, a certain Jean Hall, a pauper in the parish of
Morebattle, dies, and on the 16th of the month James Robson, in Kirk
Yetholm, receives £3, 14s. 3d. for "cheese, tobacco, and pipes" provided
at the funeral. "The digging of the grave, the crying of deceased's
effects at the roup, and the ringing of the 'passing-bell' are all
provided for by the treasurer, out of his continually replenishing and
inexhaustible kirk-box." At one time thirty shillings is given for a
winding sheet for a "dead corpse" which came in on the sands of Aldhame,
and, at another, twenty-five shillings is given for one for a man "quha
came in Peffersand and was buryed the last week." Sometimes twelve
shillings is given to a man for reading and singing at the communion, and,
occasionally, as much as twenty pounds is given to buy a horse, "seing he
had ane horse deid latly, and fallen abak in meins;" or there is given out
of the penalties to Alexander Sherrie, "for mending and translating the
pulpitt, ane dollar." (In the writer's article, "Witchcraft and the Kirk,"
in the present volume, reference is made to expenditure occasioned by the
imprisonment and execution of witches.)

Help is given to Dundee for a new harbour, to North Esk for a bridge, and
to Glasgow because of a disastrous fire. Even "a collection for the
Northern Infirmity" is mentioned, but this is an obvious reference to the
Northern Infirmary.

One closing quotation must suffice:--"May 2.--The minister also shew to
the elderis that the bishop, at the last Provinciall Assemblie, haldin at
Edinburghe, the twentie of April 1619, ordainis everie minister to bring
ye contribution for ye students of ye new colledge in Saint Androis, and
everie minister to give it to ye moderator of the presbiterie quhair he
dwellis, that it micht be sent to Saint Androis. The minister shew to ye
elderis that ye kirk of Tyninghame was ordainit to pay thre lib. yerlie.
The elderis wer unwilling to grant thairto. The minister shew them that
everie kirk was appointit to pay, and that he wald give 20s. out of his
awin purse to that effect, seing thair was little in the box, and many
puir in the parishe. They grantit thairto, bot with some regraits." "May
9.--The said day takin out of the box 34s., and 6s. of Jhone Walker's
penaltie; and Maister Jhone (the minister) gave 20s. out of his awin purse
to make out thre lib. to be given for ye qtribution to ye studentis in the
new colledge at St. Androis." This is but one among many contributions
made by the minister to fulfil obligations resting on the kirk.

Witchcraft and the Kirk.


For centuries belief in witchcraft was an article of faith with dour and
brooding Scots. The Scot was made by Scotland; the country stamped an
indelible impress on every characteristic of its inhabitants. With much
truth it has been said, "From the cradle to the grave the Scotch peasant
went his way attended by the phantoms of this mysterious world; always
recognising its warnings, always seeing the shadows which it cast of
coming events, and so burdening himself with a weight of grim and eëry
superstition, that we marvel he did not stumble and grow faint, seeing
that his dreary Calvinistic creed could have brought him little hope or
comfort. Nay, it is a question whether his superstition did not partly
grow out of, or was fostered by, his hard, cold religion. Superstition is
the shadow of Religion, and from the shadow we may infer the nature of the
substance or object that casts it."

There are traditions concerning witchcraft, even earlier than that of the
fourth century which credits his Satanic Majesty with such a hatred of St.
Patrick's sterling piety that he roused the whole tribe of witches against
him. St. Patrick fled from the determined assault, and finding, near the
mouth of the Clyde, a boat, set off in haste for Ireland. But running
water being ever an insuperable barrier in the path of a witch's progress,
these emissaries of Satan tore up a huge rock and hurled it after the
departing saint. With the proverbial inaccuracy of feminine aim they
missed their mark, but the mass itself ultimately became the fortress of
Dumbarton. In those early days the marvels of witchcraft were great and
many--Holinshed, among others, has chronicled the same--and, at the close
of the seventh century, King Kenneth, fearful of his own safety and the
stability of his throne, decreed that jugglers, wizards, necromancers, and
such as call up spirits, "and use to seek upon them for helpe, let them be
burnt to death."

That persons accused of witchcraft suffered death is unquestionably true,
as in the cases of the Earl of Mar in 1479, and Lady Janet Douglas in
1537, the executions of whom are foul blots on the pages of history. But
it can hardly be said that it was witchcraft as an offence against
religion or as mere superstition that was so punished. It was rather
witchcraft in its political bearings--generally, in fact, as connected
with treason and not with sorcery--that received condemnation.

But with the advent of Calvinism--the natural turn of the Scottish nation
for metaphysical discussion induced them to receive the doctrines of the
Reformation with general interest and favour--it would seem that the
"crime" of witchcraft was looked upon in a somewhat different light. In
1563 the Scottish Parliament by statute, for which John Knox was a chief
agitator, formally constituted witchcraft and dealing with witches a
capital offence. "That all who used witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, or
pretended skill therein, and all consulters of witches and sorcerers,
should be punished capitally" (Erskine's "Institutes," p. 706). And
henceforth the irreligion of witchcraft caused it to be regarded as an
offence against the law of the country, and the Kirk and its connections
played an important part in the stern measures adopted for its
suppression, doing their work with resolute determination and fanatical
zeal. The authority of the ministry was great; its influence
preponderated. Its friends were the allies, its opponents the enemies, of
heaven. The theocracy which the clergy asserted on behalf of the Kirk was
not so distinctly understood, or so prudently regulated, but that its
administrators too often interfered with the civil rule. Old Mellvin's
words were suggestive of much when, grasping King James the Sixth's
sleeve, he told him that in Scotland there were two kingdoms--that in
which he was acknowledged monarch, and that in which kings and nobles were
but God's silly vassals; and the clergy were but too apt to assert the
superiority of the latter, which was visibly governed by the assembly of
the Kirk in the name of their unseen and omnipotent Head. To disobey the
king might be high treason, but to disobey the kirk, acting in the name of
the Deity, was a yet deeper crime, and was to be feared as incurring the
wrath which is fatal both to body and soul. With severity the Presbyterian
teachers inflicted church penances, and with rigour they assumed dominion
over the laity in all cases in which religion could be possibly alleged
as a motive or pretext, that is to say, in almost all cases whatever.

Led by their clergy, and believing fully as they did in the literal
interpretation of all Biblical imagery and the personal appearances of the
devil, the people of Scotland waged a fierce unresting war against a great
number of ill-fated individuals, whose only ground for being attacked was
some physical or mental peculiarity, or who suffered simply because of the
malice or ignorance of their accusers. At one time, stupid justices,
instigated by foolish clergymen, consigned to torture and the stake almost
every old woman dragged before them, even though brought only by the spite
of malicious neighbours. In his preface to the _Bibliotheque de Carabas_
edition of Robert Kirk's "Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and
Fairies," Mr Andrew Lang says: "Some of the witches who suffered at
Presbyterian hands were merely narrators of popular tales about the state
of the dead. That she trafficked with the dead, and from a ghost won a
medical recipe for the cure of Archbishop Adamson of St. Andrews, was the
charge against Alison Pearson.... 'She was execut in Edinbruche for a
witch.'" On several occasions, commissions were issued by King James for
the purpose of "haulding Justice Courtis on Witches and Sorceraris." The
commissioners gave warrants in their turn to the minister and elders of
each parish in the shire to examine suspected parties and to frame an
indictment against them. And as a rule the accused were overwhelmed by a
huge heap of rumoured or concocted evidence, composed of exaggeration,
prejudice, and credulity, wellnigh incredible. Even Sir George Mackenzie,
Lord Advocate of Scotland during the time of the greatest fury, admitted
the indiscretion of ministerial zeal, and recommended that the wisest
ministers should be chosen, and that those selected should proceed with
caution. "I own," says the Rev. John Bell, Minister of the Gospel at
Gladsmuir, in his MS., "Discourse of Witchcraft," 1705, "there has been
much harm done to worthy and innocent persons in the common way of finding
out witches, and in the means made use of for promoting the discovery of
such wretches, and bringing them to justice; that oftentimes old age,
poverty, features, and ill fame, with such like grounds, not worthy to be
represented to a magistrate, have yet moved many to suspect and defame
their neighbours, to the unspeakable prejudice of Christian charity; a
late instance whereof we had in the west, in the business of the sorceries
exercised upon the Laird of Bargarran's daughter, anno 1697, a time when
persons of more goodness and esteem than most of their calumniators were
defamed for witches, and which was occasioned mostly by the forwardness
and absurd credulity of diverse otherwise worthy ministers of the gospel,
and some topping professors in and about the city of Glasgow."

In the last forty years of the sixteenth century, we have the astounding
aggregate of no less than eight thousand persons who suffered, almost
invariably by burning, for witchcraft. For about the first decade, not
more, perhaps, than forty were so punished in a year, but towards the
close of the period alluded to, the annual death-roll probably reached
five hundred. The total number of victims, strange to say, represented
even a larger proportion than those of the Holy Office, during a
corresponding space of time. That during one period the Kirk should have
been more disposed to kindle the pile than was the Inquisition, is,
without doubt, a startling fact.

For a time, at any rate, the population seemed divided into only two great
classes, witches and witchfinders. The dark tales of witchcraft were not
even relieved by fairy folk-lore. There was, perhaps, no little truth in
what Cleland said in his "Effigies Clericorum," when he attributed the
disappearance of Scottish fairies to the Reformation. In writing of
Parnassus, he proceeds:--

  "There's als much virtue, sense, and pith,
  In Annan, or the Water of Nith,
  Which quietly slips by Dumfries,
  Als any water in all Greece.
  For there, and several other places,
  About mill-dams, and green brae faces,
  Both Elrich elfs and brownies stayed,
  And green-gown'd fairies daunc'd and played:
  When old John Knox, and other some,
  Began to plott the Haggs of Rome;
  Then suddenly took to their heels,
  And did no more frequent these fields;
  But if Rome's pipes perhaps they hear,
  Sure, for their interest they'll compear
  Again, and play their old hell's tricks."

As far as fairydom survived, however, it was regarded as under the same
guilt as witchcraft.

The harsh forbidding creed of the Kirk had its influence in every
direction; and music, instrumental at any rate, fell under its ban.
During the sway of the Covenant, indeed, the Scottish minstrels were
popularly supposed to be under the special care and protection of the
devil. The Reverend Robert Kirk, author of the "Secret Commonwealth,"
attributed certain impressions produced by music to diabolical influence.
"Irishmen," says he, "our northern Scottish, and our Athole men are so
much addicted to, and delighted with harps and musick, as if, like King
Saul, they were possessed with a forrein sport; only with this difference,
that musick did put Saul's play-fellow asleep, but roused and awaked our
men, vanquishing their own spirits at pleasure as if they were impotent of
its powers, and unable to command it; for wee have seen some poor beggars
of them chattering their teeth for cold, that how soon they saw the fire,
and heard the harp, leap thorow the house like goats and satyrs." Without
enlarging on the subject, may we not conclude that such an estimate of
instrumental music as became common, especially in Covenanting days, had
much to do with the prolonged antipathy of the Kirk to its introduction in

But the Presbyterians went even further than this. At one time they
declared that the bishops were cloven-footed and had no shadows, and that
the curates themselves were, many of them, little better than wizards. The
Episcopalians seem to have been regarded by the Presbyterians with little
more favour than the Red Indians were by the early Puritan settlers in
America. The extraordinary story of Salem witchcraft shows us that the
Puritan clergy assured their people that the Red Indians were worshippers
and agents of Satan; and we can but faintly imagine the effect of this
belief on the minds and tempers of those who were thinking of the Indians
at every turn of daily life. The common people, always susceptible to
exaggeration, had been preached into such a holy hatred of popery that
they saw its type and shadow in everything which approached even to
decency in worship; so that, as a satirist expressed it, they thought it
impossible they could ever lose their way to heaven, provided they left
Rome behind them.

On the other hand, John Knox was deemed a skilful wizard by the Catholics
in Scotland; it was even said that in the churchyard of St. Andrews he
raised Satan himself, wearing a huge pair of horns on his head, at which
blood-curdling sight Knox's secretary became insane and died. And in old
Kirkton's "Secret and True History," in his picturesque account of the
curious scene which was witnessed in Lithgow upon the anniversary of the
King's restoration, we see that the Episcopal party lost no favourable
opportunity of turning the tables on their opponents. In the pageant they
had an arch, in the midst of which was a litany:

  "'From Covenants with uplifted hands,
  From Remonstrators with associate bands,
  From such Committees as govern'd this nation,
  From Church Commissioners and their protestation,
          Good Lord deliver us.'

"They hade also the picture of Rebellion in religious habit, with the book
Lex Rex in one hand, and the causes of God's wrath in the other, and this
in midst of rocks, and reels, and kirk stools, logs of wood, and spurs,
and covenants, acts of assembly, protestations, with this inscription,

But Episcopacy was abhorrent to the people generally. A contemporary
writer--a Presbyterian--candidly remarks, "I have known some profane
people that, if they committed an error over night, thought affronting a
curate to-morrow a testimony of their repentance." This religious
animosity had no doubt much to do with the belief that witchcraft was
common among the Episcopalian clergy. The Reverend James Kirkton (before
alluded to), a true son of the Kirk, writing at that time gravely relates,
amongst several similar accusations, that one Gideen Penman said grace at
the devil's table as his chaplain; that one Thomson, the curate of
Anstruther, was a "diabolic man," the wench who bore a lantern in front,
as he returned from a visit, "affirming that she saw something like a
black beast pass the bridge before him;" and that the hated Archbishop
Sharp, when assassinated, had "several strange things," and, in
particular, "parings of nails," about his person. Archbishop Sharp was
also charged with entertaining "the muckle black Deil" in his study at
midnight, and of being "levitated" and dancing in the air; and of
Archbishop Adamson, men of learning like James, nephew and companion of
Andrew Melville, believed that, as in the case of other witches, he had a
familiar in the form of a hare, which once ran before him down the

It is a curious circumstance, as Pitcairn in his "Criminal Trials" points
out, that in almost all the confessions of Scottish witches, their
initiation and many of their gatherings were said to have taken place
within churches, or at least the surrounding ground, and a certain
derisive form of service was carried out. James VI. of Scotland and I. of
England was, in the matter of witches, undoubtedly the greatest royal
expert that ever lived. His famous dialogue, "Dæmonologie," in which he
carefully classifies witches, describes their ceremonials, and details
their various characteristics, did much to encourage popular credulity and
the spirit of persecution. "Witches," he affirms, "ought to be put to
death, according to the laws of God, the civil and imperial law, and the
municipal law of all Christian nations; yea, to spare the life, and not
strike whom God bids strike, and so severely punish so odious a treason
against God, is not only unlawful, but, doubtless, as great a sin as was
Saul's sparing Agag." He even contended that, because the crime was
generally abominable, evidence in proof might be received which would be
rejected in other offences, and that the only means of escape to be
offered was through the ordeal. If we only remember that Luther said he
would burn every one of them, urging that there must be witches because
the Bible says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," we shall wonder
less at the credulity of the witch-hunting king.

The principal witch cases and trials in Scotland may be said to date from
the conspiracy of devils to prevent James's union with the Princess Anne
of Denmark. "An overwhelming tempest at sea during the voyage of these
anti-papal, anti-diabolic, royal personages was the appointed means of
their destruction." To describe the trial of those who were implicated as
the human agents, even though it may be one of the most extraordinary and
weirdly fascinating stories in the annals of Scottish witchcraft, would be
beyond the scope of this article; it is fully related in an exceedingly
scarce black-letter pamphlet--"Newes from Scotland, declaring the damnable
Life of Doctor Fian, a notable Sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in
Januarie last, 1591; which Doctor was Register to the Devill, that sundry
times preached at North-Baricke Kirke to a number of notorious Witches,
&c." It may be noted, however, that "Agnis Sampson, which was the elder
witch," at last confessed, "before the king's majestie and his councell,"
"that upon the night of Allhollon-Even, shee was accompanied, as well with
the persons aforesaide, as also with a great many other witches, to the
number of two hundreth, and that all they together went to sea, each one
in a riddle, or cive, and went in the same very substantially, with
flaggons of wine, making merrie and drinking by the way in the same
riddles, or cives, to the kirke of North-Barrick, in Lowthian, and that
after they had landed, tooke handes on the lande, and daunced this reill,
or short daunce, singing all with one voice:--

  'Commer, goe ye before, commer, goe ye;
  Gif ye will not goe before, commer, let me!'

At which time shee confessed, that this Geillis Duncane (another of those
charged) did goe before them, playing this reill or daunce uppon a small
trumpe, called a Jewe's trumpe, untill they entered into the Kerk of

"These confessions made the king in a wonderful admiration, and sent for
the saide Geillis Duncane, who, upon the like trumpe, did play the saide
daunce before the kinges majestie, who, in respect of the strangeness of
these matters, tooke great delight to be present at their examinations.
Item, the said Agnis Sampson confessed that the divell being then at North
Barrick Kirke, attending their comming, in the habit or likenesse of a
man, and seeing that they tarried over long, hee at their comming enjoyned
them all to a penance ... and having made his ungodly exhortations,
wherein he did greatly inveigh against the King of Scotland, he received
their oathes for their good and true service towards him, and departed;
which done, they returned to sea and so home again.

"At which time the witches demanded of the divell, why he did beare such
hatred to the king? who answered, by reason the king is the greatest
enemie hee hath in the world."

Spottiswoode also tells a fantastic story in connection with this Agnes
Sampson, Dr John Fian, Geillie Duncan, and others, meeting the devil at
North Berwick kirk, of black candles round about the pulpit, of the devil
calling the roll and preaching a sermon, and of the rifling of three
graves for magical cookery. Of Francis, Earl of Bothwell, who was accused
of being associated with Dr Fian in his magical conspiracy against the
king, and who was also imprisoned for having conspired the king's death by
sorcery, we have this note attached to a curious discourse, from Mr Robert
Bruce's Sermons, preached at Edinburgh, November 9th, 1589--"At the which
time the Earle Bothwell made his publicke repentance in the church." It
will not be forgotten that, in "Tam o' Shanter," Burns depicts a witches'
meeting in Alloway Kirk:--

  "A winnock-bunker in the east,
  There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
  A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
  To gie them music was his charge:
  He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
  Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.--
  Coffins stood round like open presses,
  That show'd the dead in their last dresses;
  And by some devilish cantraip sleight
  Each in its cauld hand held a light."

As typical of the evidence afforded by parochial inquisitions, and on
which death sentences were based, the following may be taken:--

"Isabel Roby.--She is indicted to have bidden her gudeman, when he went to
St. Fergus to buy cattle, that if he bought any before his home-coming, he
should go three times 'woodersonis' about them, and then take three
'ruggis' off a dry hillock, and fetch home to her. Also, that dwelling at
Ardmair, there came in a poor man craving alms, to whom she offered milk,
but he refused it, because, as he then presently said, she had three
folks' milk and her own in the pan; and when Elspet Mackay, then present,
wondered at it, he said, 'Marvel not, for she has thy farrow kye's milk
also in her pan.' Also, she is commonly seen in the form of a hare,
passing through the town, for as soon as the hare vanishes out of sight,
she appears."

"Margaret Rianch, in Green Cottis, was seen in the dawn of the day by
James Stevens embracing every nook of John Donaldson's house three times,
who continually thereafter was diseased, and at last died. She said to
John Ritchie, when he took a tack (a piece of ground) in the Green Cottis,
that his gear from that day forth should continually decay, and so it came
to pass. Also, she cast a number of stones in a tub, amongst water, which
thereafter was seen dancing. When she clips her sheep, she turns the bowl
of the shears three times in her mouth. Also, James Stevens saw her
meeting John Donaldson's 'hoggs' (sheep a year old) in the burn of the
Green Cottis, and casting the water out between her feet backward, in the
sheep's face, and so they all died."

These charges were considered sufficient by the Presbytery of Kincardine,
and were duly signed by "Mr Jhone Ros, Minister at Lumphanan."

The following, under date February 8th, 1719, will, however, more clearly
illustrate the manner in which an accused person was examined by Kirk

"The said day, Mr William Innes, minister of Thurso, having interrogat
Margaret Nin-Gilbert, who was apprehended Fryday last, on suspicion of
witchcraft, as follows:--1_mo_, Being interrogat, If ever there was any
compact between her and the devil? Confessed, That as she was travelling
some time bygone, in ane evening, the devill met with her in the way in
the likeness of a man, and engaged her to take on with him, which she
consented to; and that she said she knew him to be the devil or he parted
with her. 2_do_, Being interrogat, If ever the devil appeared afterwards
to her? Confessed, That sometimes he appeared in the likeness of a great
black horse, and other times riding on a black horse, and that he appeared
sometimes in the likeness of a black cloud, and sometimes like a black
henn. 3_to_, Being interrogat, If she was in the house of William
Montgomerie, mason in the Burnside of Scrabster, especially on that night
when that house was dreadfully infested with severall catts, to that
degree that W. M. foresaid was obliged to use sword, durk, and ax in
beating and fraying away these catts? Confessed, That she was bodily
present yr, and that the said M. had broke her legg either by the durk or
ax, which legg since has fallen off from the other part of her body; and
that she was in the likeness of a feltered cat, night forsaid, in the said
house; and that Margaret Olsone was there in the likeness of a catt also,
who, being stronger than she, did cast her on Montgomerie's durk when her
legg was broken. 4_to_, Being interrogat, How she could be bodily present
and yet invisible? Declares, She might have been seene, but could give no
account by what means her body was rendered invisible. She declares, that
severall other women were present there that night in the other end of the
house. Being interrogat, How they came not to be seene, seeing they were
not there in the likeness of catts, as were others condescended on?
Declares, The devil did hide and conceall them by raising a dark mist or
fog to skreen them from being seen.... 6_to_, Being interrogat, What
brought her and her accomplices to Montgomerie's house? Answered, They
were doing no harm there. To which Mr Innes replyed, that the disturbing
and infesting a man's house with hideous noises, and cryes of catts, was a
great wrong done to him, having a natural tendency to fright the family
and children. The premisses are attested to be the ingenuous confession of
Margaret Nin-Gilbert, _alias_ Gilbertson, by William Innes, minister of
Thurso.... _Nota_, That upon a vulgar report of witches having the devil's
marks in their bodies, Margaret Olsone being tryed in the shoulders, where
there were severall small spots, some read, some blewish, after a needle
was driven in with great force almost to the eye, she felt it not. Mr
Innes and Mr Oswald, ministers, were witnesses to this." In another case
it is recorded that "Mr John Aird, minister, put a prin in the accused's
shoulder (where she carries the devill's mark) up to the heid, and no
bluid followed theiron, nor she shrinking thereat."

The foregoing "dittay," conjointly with the confessions of so many of the
accused, inevitably prompts the anxious question--how could it be that
these persons declared themselves guilty of an impossible offence when the
admission must have sealed their doom? The assumption that the victim
preferred being killed at once to living on, subject to suspicion, insult,
and ill-will, under the imputation of having dealt with the devil, cannot
here, any more than in the astounding cases recorded in connection with
Salem witchcraft, cover anything like the whole ground. There can be
little doubt now that the sufferers under nervous disturbances, the
subjects of abnormal conditions, found themselves in possession of strange
faculties, and thought themselves able to do new and wonderful things.
When urged to explain how it was, they perhaps could only suppose that it
was by some "evil spirit," and except where there was an intervening
agency to be named, the only supposition was that the intercourse between
the Evil Spirit and themselves was direct. It is impossible, as an
Edinburgh Reviewer has remarked, even now to witness the curious phenomena
of somnambulism and catalepsy without a keen sense of how natural and even
inevitable it was for similar subjects of the middle ages and in Puritan
times to believe themselves ensnared by Satan, and actually endowed with
his gifts, and to confess their calamity, as the only relief to their
scared and miserable minds. It would also seem as though some of these
unfortunate women credited themselves with certain powers because others
so credited them, and believed that they could perform deeds of witchcraft
because their neighbours declared they could.

But let us turn again to the Kirk Session Records, than which we can find
no better sources of information. During the years 1649-1650, for
instance, the witch fires seemed never to have ceased burning. In the
Lowlands one, John Kincaid, and another, George Cathie, were expert
searchers. In 1650 the Presbytery of Biggar called on the Presbytery of
Haddington, as well as the civil power, to secure Cathie's services
whenever they were required. In 1649 John Kincaid received from the
minister and elders of Stowe for the "broding of Margret Durham, 6lb." His
colleage Cathie once condemned as witches twelve people in
Crauford-Douglas on the evidence of a lunatic.

And here are a few significant extracts from the Tyninghame Kirk Session
Records:--"January 11, 1629.--This day James Fairlie preichit, the
minister being at Edinr., at comand of the presbiterie, to assist Mr Js.
Home, minister at Dunbar, anent the tryall of ane woman suspect of
witchcraft in the parish of Dunbar--viz., Issbell Yong, in Eist Barns."
She was accused of both inflicting and curing diseases, and was burnt for
witchcraft. "17 September 1649.--Janet Nicolson execut and brunt at Hails
for witchcraft. 25 November.--Item: According to the ordinance, he
intimate out of the pulpit if any had any delations against Agnes Raleigh,
in East Barns, suspect of witchcraft, and apprehendit there for that, they
come to the session of Dunbar upon Tysday, or the presbyterie on Thursday
next. On Monday the witches at Wittinghame brunt, being three in number. 9
December.--Intimation maid from the pulpit anent Patrick Yorston and
Christian Yorston, in Wittinghame, if any in this parish either knew or
have any delations against both or either of them, that they show it to
the kirk-session. 6 January 1650.--Some of our pepell confronted with some
witches in Prestonkirk parish. 13 January.--The minister demandit the
elders if they knew of any suspect of witchcraft, and shew them that they
were to search diligentlie such as are delated be the witches at
Prestonkirk parish, when the searchers cam. Upon Tysday ane man in
Wittinghame brunt for witchcraft. Upon Wednesday, the 23 of January, six
people at Staintoune parish brunt. 3 February.--Item: Reported that the
searchers of the witches were not yet returned from the southe, and in the
meantime that Agnes Kirkland and David Stewart shall be apprehendit. On
Thursday Agnes Kirkland and David Stewart, bothe of this parish, were
imprisoned. Wednesday.--I (the minister) went to Dunbar, being ordained
thairto, whair ten witches were execut.

"10 February.--This day the session sett doon orders aboot the watching of
those that are apprehendit for witchcraft nichtlie, appointing ane roll of
all the parishe to be taken up and six to watch everie nicht, and twa
everie day thair, tyme aboot in order, qlk accordinglie was done. Upon the
20 of February the searcher in Tranent cam and found the mark on those
that were suspect of witchcraft, and shortlie thairafter they confessit. 3
Mairch.--Item: Ordains the watch to be keipit preceisely, and ane elder to
watch everie nicht in turn with them, qlk they did, and promeisit to
continue. The minister shew his diligence in going to those suspect of
witchcraft, both in the day and nicht-time, in examining of them, and in
praying for them, both privatelie and publiklie, and performing all the
other duties recognisit or practised in such cases, qlk the session
heartilie and unanimouslie acknowledge and approved. Upon Tysday, the 1st
Mairch, the pepell given up be Agnes Kirkland and David Stewart, both in
this parish and Prestonkirk parish, confronted with them, and did pass
from some and stand by others. 29 Mairch.--Appoints the watch to be better
keipit, qlk they promeisit to do. 31 Mairch.--Item: Because the commission
anent the witches was not as yet come, it was thocht gude to have ane cair
of them still. The elders shew it was hard to get pepell to watch all the
day, albeit the watch was preceisly keipit all the nicht; and thairfor it
behoved them to tak something out of the box, or rather to borrow it, to
give to some wha had watched this eight days byegane--viz., Robert Nisbet
and George Ker, given to them 3lbs., and efter the burning of the witches.
7 April.--Item: The minister shew to the elders anent David Stewart and
Agnes Kirkland, that now the commission to put them to assize had come
eist to our hands, and that some that were appointed and put in the same
did meet heir on Setterday, and appointed all things to be done, and in
what manner; and Tysday next to be the day wherin to put them to an
assize; and thairfor to appoint the watch to be well observed this twa
nichts to come, and all the elders and honest men to be present on Tysday,
wherunto they consentit. 9, Tysday, 1650.--David Stewart and Agnes
Kirkland were execut. 14 April.--George Shorthous intromits with what
belongs to Agnes Kirkland; promeisit to the session 12lbs. out of Agnes
Kirkland's readiest gudes and gear, and find the box lykwys, if by any
means he culd." There is no necessity to add anything to the ghastly
simplicity of such sentences as these.

The expenses incurred in these matters by the Kirk cannot be considered
trifling. There are significant entries like the following: "21 July
1661.--Given for candle to watch the witch, 11s.;" but much fuller
statements are also given. In 1633 two poor victims, "William Coke and
Alison Dick, witches," were burned, as the Kirk Session Records testify,
on the sands at Kirkcaldy. And in connection with that event these were
the "Extraordinary Disbursements":--

  _In primus_--To Mr John Millar when he went to
                 Prestoun for a man to try them,     £2  7  0
               To the man of Culross when he
                 went away the first time,            0 12  0
    Item--For cales for the witches,                  1  4  0
    Item--For purchasing the commission,              0  3  0
    Item--For one to go to Finmouth for the
            Laird to sit upon their assize as
            judge,                                    0  6  0
    Item--For harden to be jumps to them,             3 10  0
    Item--For making of them,                         0  6  0
                            Summa, Kirk's part,     £17 10  0

  _In primus_--For 10 loads of coal to burn them,    £3  6  8
    Item--For a tar barrel,                           0 14  0
    Item--For towes,                                  0  6  0
    Item--To him that brought the executioner,        2 18  0
    Item--To the executioner for his pains,           8 14  0
    Item--For his expenses here,                      0 16  4
    Item--For one to go to Finmouth for the Laird,    0  6  0
                            Summa, Toun's part,     £17  1  0

The other items, the cost of which would bring the "Summa, Kirk's part,"
to £17, 10s., are not supplied.

The severity with which the witches were sometimes treated during
imprisonment is sufficiently indicated by the following entries, 1597:--

  _Item._ To Alexander Reid, smyth, for twa pair
            of scheckellis to the Witches in the
            Stepill,                                  xxxii_sh._

  _Item._ To John Justice, for burning upon the
            cheik of four seurerall personis
            suspect of witchcraft and baneschit,      xxvi_sh._ viii_d._

  _Item._ Givin to Alexander Home, for macking of
            joggis, stapillis, and lockis to the
            witches, during the haill tyme forsaid,   xlvi_sh._ viii_d._

         Expense on witches, aucht-score,             xlii_li._ xvii_sh._

It could not be supposed that ministers, who were so zealous in attacking
witchcraft, would be permitted by the supernatural powers to go scot-free.
In the evidence given in the Mohra witch commission, held in Sweden in
1670, the minister of the district testified that having been suffering
from a painful headache, he could account for the unusual severity of the
attack only by supposing that the witches had celebrated one of their
infernal dances upon his head while asleep in bed; and one of them, in
accordance with this conjecture, acknowledged that the devil had sent her
with a sledgehammer to drive a nail into the temples of the obnoxious
clergyman, but the hardness of his skull mercifully saved him. And in
Scotland the Renfrewshire witches were charged with roasting the effigy of
a Rev. Mr Hardy, after having dipped it into a decoction composed of ale
and water; while, in 1622, one of the accusations against Margaret
Wallace, burnt for witchcraft, was "that being conveined before the Kirk
Session of Glasco 5 or 6 years since, by Mr Archibald Glen, minister at
Carmunnock, for killing Robert Muir, his good brother, by witchcraft; she,
to be revenged, laid on him ane uncouth sickness, whereof the said Mr
Archibald, sweating, died; to which it was answered, that in truth the
said Mr Archibald died of a consumption of his lights." In a curious
sheet, "Endorism, or a strange Relation of Dreamers or Spirits that
trouble the Minister's House of Kinross," we read how a minister was
molested in 1718. For some time "they could eat no meat but what was full
of pins"; "a stone thrown down the chimney wambled a space in the floor,
and then took a flight out at the window. Also there was thrown in the
fire the minister's Bible, which would not burn; but a plate and two
silver spoons thrown in, melted immediately; also what bread is fired,
were the meal never so fine, it's all made useless; and many other
things, which are both needless and sinful to mention. Now, is it not very
sad that such a good and godly family should be so molested, that employ
their time no other way but by praying, reading, and serious meditation,
while others, who are wicked livers all their lifetime, and avowedly serve
that wicked one, are never troubled."

And let it not be inferred that Kirk Sessions were, without exception,
quick to condemn. We find in the records of the Kirk Session at Eastwood
that a woman, who was delated for using charms at Hallow-even and who
confessed, was sentenced to be rebuked before the congregation; and in the
records of Lanark Presbytery (1630), that another woman, charged with
consulting with charmers and "burying a child's clothes betwixt three
lairds' lands for health," was saved by penitence from punishment. And
sometimes the consideration of cases, far more serious than these in the
eyes of the grave Kirk Session, was wisely postponed, and postponed for
ever, for we hear no more of the matter.

But in 1735 the reaction, which had long made itself felt, found something
like adequate expression in the repeal of the statutes against
witchcraft, and, notwithstanding the action of such as the Seceders from
the Established Church of Scotland, who inveighed against this repeal as
iniquitous, prosecutions for witchcraft entirely ceased. These "Seceders,"
who claimed to be the real representatives of the Church's teaching, were
so offended that, in the annual Confession of National and Personal Sins,
printed in an act of their Associate Presbytery at Edinburgh, 1743, the
Penal Statutes against witches are specially mentioned as having been
repealed by Parliament, contrary to the express Law of God!

And with this reference the consideration of witchcraft and the Kirk may
conveniently and appropriately end.

Birth and Baptisms, Customs and Superstitions.

Some strange customs, the origin of which does not appear to have been
traced, but which probably came down from the dark ages of Celtic
paganism, were performed in bygone times on the birth of a child. When
such an important event in family history was expected, a rich cheese was
made, which, when the anticipation was realised, was divided among the
women who, on such occasions, were injudiciously allowed to crowd the
chamber. A lighted slip of fir-wood was whirled three times round the bed,
with the superstitious idea of averting evil influences. The new-born babe
was next dipped into a vessel of cold water, tempered in a very slight
degree by dropping a burning coal into it. This may have been done with
the Spartan idea of rendering the child hardy. If a boy, it was afterwards
wrapped in a woman's chemise; if a girl, in a man's shirt. The idea
underlying this custom is not clear. Women were not allowed to touch the
child without first crossing themselves. The tiny creature was not to be
referred to in terms of admiration, lest it should be "forespoken," which
implied consequences prejudicial to its future welfare.

After the mother's recovery, friends and neighbours assembled to
congratulate the parents, and drink to the child's future prosperity. This
gathering was known as the _cummer-fealls_, or the gossips' wake,
concerning which custom the Kirk Session of Dunfermline made, in 1645, one
of the most sensible enactments to be found on the minutes of those
bodies. Considering, it is recorded, "the inconveniences arising
therefrom, as mainly the loss and abusing of so much time, which may be
better employed in attending to business at home, by such as frequent the
occasions thereof, and the prejudice which persons lying in child-bed
receive, both in health and means, being forced, not only to bear company
to such as come to visit, but also to provide for their coming more than
is either necessary or their estate may bear," the Session inhibited "all
visits of this kind, and for the end foresaid, under the pain of being,
for the first fault, censured by the Session, and there to be obliged to
acknowledge their fault, and, for the next, to make public confession of
their fault before the whole congregation."

Other singular practices were observed in connection with the baptism of a
child. It was placed in a basket, on which a white cloth was spread, with
some bread and cheese, and the basket was suspended by a crook over the
fireplace, and swung round three times. This was said to be done to
counteract the evil influence of fairies and other malignant spirits. The
bread and cheese were offered to the first person met on the way to the
church, and rejection of it was thought to presage future evil to the
babe. When several children were baptised at the same time, the boys were
presented for the rite first, for it was thought that, if a girl obtained
priority, she would in after time be disfigured by a beard.

Baptism was at one time refused to the children of persons outside the
communion of the Reformed Church. In 1567, the Countess of Argyle was
ordered by the Assembly to "make public repentance in the chapel royal of
Stirling, one Sunday, in time of preaching," for assisting at the baptism
of the royal infant, afterwards James VI., "in a papistical manner." And
even in 1716, registration of baptism was refused to the child of Harry
Foulis, son of Sir James Foulis, on the ground that it had been baptised
by a minister of the Episcopal Church. Thereupon the father procured the
baptismal register from the session clerk, and made the entry himself,
appending a statement of the circumstances.

The sacrament of baptism has been the subject of much controversy in the
Scottish church, especially in the seventeenth century, when everyone born
north of the Tweed seems to have been, more or less, a theological
disputant. In the First Book of Discipline, in the framing of which Knox
had much to do, it was laid down that, "In baptism, we acknowledge nothing
to be used except the element of water only; wherefore, whosoever
presumeth to use oil, salt, wax, spittle, conjuration, and crossing,
accuseth the perfect institution of Jesus Christ of imperfection, for it
was void of all such inventions devised by men." The abjuring of
conjuration seems to refer to a formula of exorcism prescribed by the
first Prayer Book of Edward VI., to be used in the rite of baptism.

Concerning the use of the cross in baptism there has been an enormous
amount of controversy, and very opposite views are still held. Dr Renaud,
who wrote a ponderous volume on the subject in 1607, says: "It is as unfit
to make a cross a memorial of Christ as for a child to make much of the
halter or gallows wherewith his father was hanged." The Service Book of
1637 enjoined the use of the cross in baptism, and as that book is said,
by Spalding, to have been introduced in many parts of the country, it may
be concluded that the practice existed thereafter in some Scotch churches.
As to other baptismal ceremonies, Dr Edgar observes, in his "Old Church
Life in Scotland," that the principles laid down by Knox "are the
principles on which the Church of Scotland has always acted. She has
uniformly endeavoured, except during a brief interlude of Anglican
innovation prior to 1638, to make her sacramental forms square with the
pattern and precepts set before her in Scripture."

Another question concerning which there has been much controversy, is the
lawfulness or otherwise of private baptism. In 1618, when the historically
famous "five articles," framed by James I., as king of both England and
Scotland, were sent to the General Assembly for sanction and approval,
their adoption by that body raised a storm of indignation and opposition
which was not allayed until they were abjured by the General Assembly in
1638, and the proceedings of the Assembly held at Perth in 1618 were
declared null and void.

One of the articles objected to was that which pronounced "that baptism
might be administered at home when the infant could not conveniently be
brought to church." This was objected to as papistical, and denounced as
introducing a new and false doctrine of baptism, calculated to create a
superstitious belief that there was some spiritual efficacy in the act of
sprinkling a few drops of water on an infant's face, in the name of the
Trinity, thereby giving ground for the belief that baptism is essential to
salvation. This doctrine, though taught by the Church of England, has not
been accepted by the Church of Scotland since the Reformation.

Moreover, as non-attendance at the services of the Church was regarded as
contrary to good order, it was objected that the administration of baptism
in private houses would allow Christian privileges to be enjoyed without
compliance with Christian duty. If a child was to be accepted and
declared a member of the Church, the act should be performed by the whole
congregation, and not by the minister alone. For at least a hundred years
this was strongly and firmly insisted upon. Some doubt seems to have been
felt in 1643, as to whether the Westminster Assembly would adopt the
Scottish view of the question, as baptisms were very commonly performed in
private houses by ministers of the English Presbyterian Church. It was
with much satisfaction, therefore, that the news was received in Scotland
that the Assembly had affirmed the necessity of public baptism.

The Directory for Public Worship in the Presbyterian Church states,
accordingly, that baptism "is not to be administered in private places, or
privately, but in the place of public worship, and in the face of the
congregation, where the people may most conveniently see and hear; and not
in the places where fonts, in the time of Popery, were unfitly and
superstitiously placed," that is, near the church door, and behind the
backs of the congregation. The view held by Presbyterians since the
Reformation thus became the law of the Church; and the General Assembly,
in 1690, strictly enjoined that baptism should not be administered
elsewhere than in church, and before the congregation. But in this matter,
as in some others, there appears to have been a laxity in enforcing the
rule of the church, which has gone on increasing. Wodrow stated, in 1718,
that private baptisms were unknown in the Church of Scotland, except in
Edinburgh and Glasgow; and only two years later the Synod of Glasgow and
Ayr had to repeat the injunction of 1690. What the state of things in this
respect is at the present day we are told by Dr Edgar, who, as minister of
Mauchline, must be considered to speak from experience. He says that, "in
some parishes there are ten private baptisms for every one public baptism;
and these private baptisms are never challenged as irregular, unlawful, or
deserving of censure."

Registers of baptisms have been kept, with more or less regularity, from
the time of the Reformation; and these show that, in some parishes at
least, private baptisms had become very frequent about the middle of the
eighteenth century. In referring to the evidence of the parish register of
Mauchline on this matter, the writer just quoted says: "Although such
baptisms were a violation of Church order, I cannot help remarking that
Church order was not, in this instance, clearly founded on the evangelical
principle professed by our forefathers, that all procedure in Church
ritual should be conform to the precept or example of Scripture. It seems
quite certain that, in the days of the Apostles, baptism was not always,
if ever, administered in the place of public worship and in the face of
the congregation. The eunuch of Ethiopia, Cornelius the centurion, St.
Paul himself, and the gaoler at Philippi were each baptised privately."

The Church of Scotland has been more strict in upholding the rule of the
Westminster Directory, that baptism "is not to be administered, in any
case, by any private person." This also, it may be remarked, is not in
strict accordance with the principle of the Christian Church in its early
ages, as set forth by some of the Fathers; and down even to the present
day the Church of England, while discountenancing lay baptism as a rule,
has recognised its validity in cases of necessity. The recorded instances
of refusal to admit evidence of lay baptism in the Church of Scotland
are, however, chiefly cases in which the rite had been performed by
deposed ministers. In 1708, a Kilmarnock man was cited to appear before
the Kirk Session for having had a child irregularly baptised by a deposed
minister, namely, Macmillan, the founder of the Reformed Presbyterian
Church. No further proceedings appear, however, to have been taken.
Similar cases occurred in 1715 and 1721, the General Assembly in the
former case, and the Presbytery of Ayr in the latter, merely pronouncing
the baptisms null and void.

Some differences have to be noted between the Churches of Scotland and
England with regard to the forms and customs connected with baptisms. The
former is the more strict with regard to the sponsors of the children to
be baptised. The Westminster Directory states that the child is to be
presented at the font by its father, or in the case of his unavoidable
absence, by some Christian friend in his place; and in 1712 the General
Assembly enacted that no other sponsor than a parent should be received at
a baptism, "unless the parents be dead, or absent, or grossly ignorant, or
under scandal, or contumacious to discipline; in which cases, some fit
person (and if it can be, one related to the child,) should be sponsor."

Not only was the Church more strict in this matter in Scotland than in
England, but the nature of the sponsion was different. In Knox's Liturgy,
the sponsors are not regarded as proxies for the child, but are required
to make a declaration of their own faith, in which they engage to instruct
the child. As the matter is well put by Dr Hill, "the parents do not make
any promise for the child, but they promise for themselves that nothing
shall be wanting, on their part, to engage the child to undertake, at some
future time, that obligation which he cannot then understand."

In the latter half of the seventeenth and the first of the eighteenth
century, the Kirk Sessions had as much to do in repressing undue
gatherings at the font as on the occasion of wedding festivities. In 1622
the Kirk Session of Aberdeen, considering "that it is come in custom that
every base servile man in the town, when he has a bairn to be baptised,
invites twelve or sixteen persons to be his gossips and god-fathers to his
bairn," whereas the old custom was not to invite more than two, ordered
that in future only two or at most four persons should be allowed to
appear in that capacity. In 1681 an Act of Parliament prohibited the
attendance at baptisms of more than four witnesses, in addition to parents
and children, brothers and sisters; and in 1720 the Kirk Session of
Kilmarnock made an ordinance that "only so many women as are necessary
attend infants that are carried to the church to be baptised, and the
Session think three sufficient."

Down to the time of the Westminster Assembly, it seems to have been the
custom in Scotland for parents, at the baptism of a child, to repeat the
Creed. But in the Westminster Directory the father is merely required to
promise that he will bring up the child "in the nurture and admonition of
the Lord." Nevertheless, many Kirk Sessions overlaid this requirement with
regulations of their own devising. In 1615, the Kirk Session of Lasswade
ordained that "no children of ignorant persons be baptised, except the
father first lay one poynd of ten shillings, and a month shall be granted
to learn the Lord's Prayer, Belief, and Ten Commandments, with some
competent knowledge of the sacraments and catechism, which he performing,
his poynd shall be returned, otherwise forfeited." In 1700 an application
to the Kirk Session of Galston for the baptism of a child was refused, on
the ground that the father "did not attend diets of catechising." On his
promising to attend in future, and submitting to rebuke for his previous
non-attendance, the child was allowed to be baptised. More than
three-quarters of a century later, that is, in 1779, a man who had applied
to the Kirk Session of Mauchline for the baptism of a child was subjected
to a theological examination much too stiff for him; but on promising to
study the knotty points propounded to him, and signing an undertaking to
that effect in the minute-book, he was allowed to present the child for
baptism, though the permission seems to have been regarded as a great

As in England, so also in Scotland, the registration of baptisms was
required at a period long antecedent to the statutary obligation to
register births. Old sessional records show that fees were paid, but it is
a disputed question whether these were for baptism or for registration.
Dunlop, in his "Parochial Law," quotes a legal opinion to the effect that
"as to baptisms, what is paid on that account is for obtaining the Kirk
Session's order for baptism, and recording that order." But an entry in
the records of the Kirk Session of Galston, in 1640, after prescribing the
fee to be paid for baptism, adds--"and there shall be no more exacted of
any that come to this kirk for all time coming, except they desire the
baptism registered, and in that case to satisfy the reader therefore,
which is hereby declared to be other four shillings Scottish."

There are several curious entries in Kirk Sessional Records, showing that
those parochial bodies were as zealous in restricting the customary
festivities at christening parties as they have, in another paper, been
shown to have been in repressing undue feasting at weddings. With respect
of the former, the interference of Kirk Sessions was preceded by that of
the Scottish Parliament, by which assembly it was enacted, in 1581, "that
no banquets shall be at any upsitting after baptising of bairns in time
coming, under the pain of twenty pounds, to be paid by every person doing
the contrary." In 1621 it was further enacted that, "no person use any
manner of dessert of wet and dry confections at marriage banqueting,
baptism feasting, or any meals, except the fruits growing in Scotland, as
also figs, raisins, plum dames, almonds and other unconfected fruits,
under the pain of a thousand marks _toties quoties_."

These enactments appear, however, to have had little effect. In 1695 the
Kirk Session of Greenock ordained that "persons having their children
baptised on the Sabbath day abstain from keeping banquets and convening
people at such occasions on that day, whereby much idle discourse and sin
may be evited." In 1701 it was very seriously complained by the Kirk
Session of Kilmarnock that feasts continued to be held on Sundays after
baptisms, and it was ordered that children should be baptised on the
weekly sermon day (Thursday), except in case of necessity. But, either
through attachment to old customs, or want of inclination to attend the
week-day sermon, children continued to be presented for baptism on Sunday,
and in 1720 the Session again ordered "that none make or hold feasts at
baptising their children on the Lord's day."

In conformity with the Registration Act for Scotland, passed in 1854, all
parish registers are deposited in the Registry Office then established in
Edinburgh. Most of the registers of births commence about the middle of
the seventeenth century, those of only fifteen parishes, out of about nine
hundred, dating from the preceding century. The register of baptisms of
Errol, Perthshire, commences in 1553, but the entries for the years
preceding 1573 are transcribed from an older register which has been lost.
Many of the older registers have been injured by damp, others by fire, and
not a few have suffered from the negligence of their custodians. In many
of them blanks occur. In some instances session clerks of the sixteenth
century recorded in their registers events unconnected with their own
parishes. The clerk of the Kirk Session of Aberdeen made an entry in the
register of the birth of James VI., who was born at Edinburgh, loyally and
piously adding, in the curious spelling of the period (which in previous
extracts in this paper, has been modernised,) "quhame God preserve in guid
helth and in the feir of God, to do justice in punishing of wrayng and in
manttinyen the trewht all the dais of his lyfe. So be itt."

Marriage Laws and Customs.

The laws relating to marriage differ so much in Scotland from those under
which dwellers south of the Tweed live, that no comparison of social and
religious life in the two countries can be made without knowledge of them.
In no part of Christendom have the ecclesiastical laws relating to the
relations of the sexes been more strict, or more strictly enforced, than
in Scotland, and in no other have there been more irregularities. It was
not until more than twenty years after the Reformation that the custom of
"handfasting," which had come down from old Celtic times, fell into
disrepute and consequent disuse. By this term was understood cohabitation
for a year, the couple being then free to separate, unless they agreed to
make the union permanent. Lindsay, the chronicler, says of Alexander
Dunbar, son of the sixth Earl of Moray, and Isobel Innes,--"This Isobel
was but handfast with him, and deceased before the marriage." When
Margaret, widow of James IV., sued for a divorce from the Earl of Angus,
she pleaded that he had been handfasted to Jane Douglas, "and by reason of
that pre-contract could not be her lawful husband." How such marriages
were regarded at that time is shown by the fact that the marriage was
dissolved by the Pope, though the issue of the Queen's marriage with Angus
was pronounced legitimate.

Sir John Sinclair's "Statistical Account of Scotland" contains a report
from the minister of Eskdale Muir, referring to the practice of
handfasting as existing in that parish, under ecclesiastical sanction, at
a period anterior to the Reformation. At a fair held there, unmarried men
chose women to be handfasted with them, and a monk from Melrose Abbey
visited the place annually, to marry those couples who wished the union to
be made permanent. The first check given to the practice appears to have
been the decree of the Kirk Session of Aberdeen, in 1562, that persons
cohabiting under the sanction of a handfast contract of marriage should be
united in lawful wedlock. But though this practice was discontinued, and
those who wished to be thought respectable obtained the blessing of the
Church on their marriage, irregularities continued to exist, and even to
be permitted. An acknowledgment by a couple that they were husband and
wife, either orally or in writing, followed or preceded by cohabitation,
was regarded as a valid marriage, both by the Church and by society. In
1563, however, the General Assembly of the Church ruled that no contract
of marriage so made should be recognised until the parties had submitted
themselves to the discipline of the Church, and the contract had been
verified by witnesses of good repute.

The custom of betrothal was very general, but it varied in form in
different parts of the kingdom. The presentation of an "engagement ring,"
as in England, is not found among these forms, nor does it appear that the
sanction of parents was thought necessary; but after the contract was made
it was usual for them to be informed and their sanction sought. Among the
upper and middle classes there was usually a betrothal feast, but among
the classes living by manual labour this was dispensed with. Dr Rogers
says, in his "Social Life in Scotland," that--"In betrothal, the parties
usually moistened with the tongue the thumbs of their right hands, and
then pressed them together. The violation of a contract so consecrated was
considered tantamount to an act of perjury." Another form of betrothal was
the clasping of hands across a stream. In this way Burns, the laureate of
the Scottish peasantry, and Mary Campbell vowed fidelity. In some counties
silver coins were exchanged by plighted lovers, or a worn one was broken
between them, each retaining one of the halves.

Marriages regarded by the ecclesiastical courts and Kirk Sessions as
"regular" have always, from a long period anterior to the Reformation,
been preceded by the publication of banns. In 1569 a case came before the
General Assembly which shows the successive steps taken at that time
before the solemnisation of a marriage. It is recorded that "ane promise
of marriage made, before the readers and elders, in ane reformit church,
the parties contractit compeirs before the minister and session, and
requires their banns to be proclaimit." In 1575 the question came before
the General Assembly, whether the form of mutual declaration prior to the
publication of banns should be longer continued; and it was ruled that it
should be considered sufficient for the names of the parties desiring
proclamation of banns to be given to the session clerk. Banns were ordered
to be published, as in England, on three successive Sundays; but, after
the Reformation, it was ruled that, on payment of a larger fee, one public
announcement should be held sufficient, the words "for the first, second,
and third time" being used.

It became customary towards the close of the sixteenth century for
security to be given, with the notice of banns, for the solemnisation of
the marriage, two friends of the parties depositing with the clerk a sum
of money as a guarantee, and that for more than one purpose. In 1570 the
Assembly ordered that "promise of marriage shall be made according to the
order of the reformed Kirk to the minister, exhorter, or reader, taking
caution for abstinence till the marriage be solemnised." The minutes of
Kirk Sessions show that, in numerous instances, during the latter half of
the seventeenth century, such deposits were retained for the space of nine
calendar months after the marriage. The Kilmarnock Kirk Session was not so
strict. It was there ordered, in 1670, that the deposit should be
returned to the parties on the expiration of half a year. Whatever the
term was, if scandal arose before it expired, the deposit became

Kirk Sessions in some cases accepted personal security in lieu of cash,
the bondsmen in such cases becoming liable in the event of scandal
arising, or the non-solemnisation of the marriage. But this system, so
convenient for those who could not raise the caution money, or "pawn," as
it was commonly called, was in course of time abandoned. The Kirk Session
of Mauchline instructed the clerk, in 1691, "to take neither bond nor
cautioner for consignation money, but to require that the money be laid
down, to remain in his hand for the space of three-quarters of a year."
The example was followed by other Kirk Sessions, but the custom continued
for a long time afterwards, and was never formally abolished, falling into
abeyance gradually. Dr Edgar, in his "Old Church Life in Scotland," states
that "on a page at the end of a small volume of scroll minutes still
extant there is a writing, under date 23rd November, 1771, which has all
the appearance of being a genuine matrimonial consignation bond."

The First Book of Discipline makes it peremptory that no persons should be
married without the consent of the parents, unless it should appear that
there was no reasonable ground for the refusal of their consent. The
Westminster Directory qualifies this by ruling that the consent of parents
should be obtained to first marriages, especially if the parties were
under age. It is not clear whether non-age means under the age of
twenty-one, or is to be interpreted by the decree of the General Assembly
of 1600 that, "considering that there is no statute of the kirk,...
defining the age of persons which are to be married, ordain that no
minister within this realm presume to join in matrimony any persons in
time coming, except the man be fourteen years of age, and the woman twelve
complete." The same ages are given in the First Book of Discipline.

Deviations from even this rule sometimes occurred, and may be classed
among the permitted irregularities referred to at the beginning of this
paper. The marriage of heiresses under the age of twelve was not
infrequent, the plea of the guardians, that they feared the abduction of
their wards if longer unmarried, being admitted. There is a record of the
marriage of a girl in her eleventh year to a boy of fourteen in 1659; and
no longer ago than 1859 a girl was married at Edinburgh, who was entered
by the registrar as in her eleventh year. The official inspector thought
there must have been an error in the registration, but inquiry proved that
the entry was correct.

There was no laxity, however, in the matter of prohibited degrees of
relationship. In 1731, an irregular marriage came before the Presbytery of
Ayr. The banns had been forbidden on the ground that the woman's first
husband had been grand-uncle to the second bridegroom. The lovers
thereupon proceeded to Carlisle, and were there united in marriage. The
Presbytery pronounced them guilty of incest, prohibited them from
cohabitation, and the interdict being disregarded, passed sentence of

Marriage might be refused in former times when either of the parties was
found to be "under scandal." In 1565, the General Assembly enacted that
"such as lie in sin under promise of marriage, deferring the
solemnisation, should satisfy publicly, in the place of repentance, upon
the Lord's day before they be married." Many instances are recorded of
persons appearing before the Kirk Session, and denying upon oath that they
had committed the sin of which they were accused. The Kirk Sessions were
equally diligent in their endeavours to prevent scandals. In 1621, it was
reported to the Kirk Session of Perth "that Janet Watson holds house by
herself, where she may give occasion of slander," wherefore an elder was
directed "to admonish her in the Session's name either to marry or to pass
to service."

But while the Church authorities were so zealous for the morals of the
nation and the prevention of scandal, they appear to have sometimes thrown
impediments in the way of lawful marriage. In the early years following
the Reformation, it was a very frequent ordinance of Kirk Sessions that no
persons should be allowed to marry until they were able to repeat to the
minister or reader the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, and the Ten
Commandments. Either a "pawn" was required for the fulfilment of this
condition or a fine was exacted in case of failure. In some parishes the
Kirk Sessions went beyond this requirement, and insisted on regular
attendance at public worship. In 1700, the Kirk Session of Galston,
"considering that there were some who lived within the parish who did not
join with the congregation in public worship, nor submit themselves to
discipline, and yet craved common privileges of members of this
congregation, such as proclamation in order to marriage, concluded that
none such should have privileges, until they should engage to live orderly
for the time to come." And a further entry, of the same date, states that
one of the persons referred to applied for proclamation of banns, and, on
the resolution being communicated to him, he "engaged, through God's
grace, to live orderly, and to wait upon gospel ordinances more
particularly, and was then allowed to be proclaimed."

There was some difference of opinion in the early days of the Reformed
Church as to whether a pre-contract should be an impediment to marriage
with another person. The minutes of the Westminster Assembly show that
some of the divines maintained that a promise of marriage was a "covenant
of God," and could not be broken, even by mutual consent. The Church of
Scotland did not adopt this view. In 1570, the General Assembly directed
that persons desiring to withdraw from a contract of marriage should, if
nothing had followed, be allowed to do so. In the same year, an appeal was
made to the Assembly from the decision of a Kirk Session that a man should
not be allowed to marry any woman other than a former servant of the
appellant, whom he had seduced. He had applied to the Kirk Session for
proclamation of banns, putting in the document known as a "discharge of
marriage," signed by the woman he had wronged, for three or four
successive years, but it was persistently refused recognition. The
Assembly sustained his appeal, gave him the liberty he sought, and added,
"yea, and there is injury done to him already."

Sometimes, however, contracted persons declined to set each other free,
and forbade the publication of banns with any other person. In 1689, one
John Meikle was cited to appear before the Presbytery of Ayr, to show
cause why he forbade the banns of Janet Campbell. He pleaded that Janet
had been engaged to him, and on that ground he objected to her becoming
the wife of any other man. The Presbytery decided that Janet was free to
do so. In 1777, a woman applied to the Kirk Session of Mauchline to have
her banns stopped, on the ground that she had changed her mind, and had
become engaged to another man. The first lover opposed the application,
pleading that she was his "by the covenant of God." The Kirk Session did
not admit his plea. The publication of banns was stopped, and a minute of
the Session justifies this decision, on the ground that "there would be an
obvious impropriety in proceeding further in the proclamation, after being
certified by the woman of her resolution not to marry the petitioner."

There were some superstitions connected with marriage as to lucky and
unlucky days and seasons. Perthshire couples refrained from wedlock in
January, and everywhere it was declined in May. In the Lowlands, Friday
was considered an unlucky day for weddings, but in the Highlands, it was
the day generally chosen for the ceremony. These notions had no weight
with the compilers of the First Book of Discipline, who expressed their
opinion that Sunday was the day "most expedient." On the other hand, the
Westminster Assembly advised that marriages should not be solemnised on
the Lord's day. The latter may have been influenced by the same reason
that moved the Kirk Session of Perth to adopt, in 1584, a resolution that
"forasmuch as sundry poor desire to, because they have not to buy clothes,
nor to make bridals, marriages should be as well celebrated on Thursday,
within our Parish Kirk in time of sermon, as on Sunday." The former, on
the other hand, probably had in view the disorderly scenes to which a
wedding was often the prelude. The General Assembly, in 1645, adopted the
view of the Westminster Directory, and marriages from that date were
generally solemnised on the day of the weekly lecture.

In former times, and down to the first quarter of the present century, the
celebration of a marriage otherwise than in church was regarded as
irregular and clandestine. In 1581, the General Assembly "concluded by
common consent of the whole brethren, that in times coming no marriage be
celebrated, nor sacraments administered, in private houses." At that time,
and long afterwards, ministers were liable to deposition, and were
actually deposed, for marrying persons in private houses. It is a fact,
nevertheless, that though the law of the Church remains as settled in
1581, marriages celebrated in private houses have not been regarded as
irregular since the beginning of the last century; and the records of the
General Sessions of Edinburgh show that, as long ago as 1643, private
marriages were not infrequent in that city, where, however, they were
restricted to the well-to-do classes by a fine of twenty marks.

Weddings were usually followed by great festivities, which were generally
on a scale so extensive, and carried to so great an excess, that the
records of Kirk Sessions during the seventeenth century show numerous
regulations for their restriction. They fixed the number of guests who
might be lawfully entertained on such occasions, and the hour at which the
festivities should cease. Many of the customs observed were peculiar to
the country, or to certain parts of it. In the Highlands, until about a
century ago, the bride walked round the wedding party at the close of the
ceremony, saluting each with a kiss. A dish was then passed round, in
which each deposited a coin, the amount collected being given to the
bride. The term "penny wedding" appears to have arisen from this custom.
Owing to the large number of guests entertained, which Kirk Sessions did
not venture to reduce to less than forty, it was usual for the neighbours
to assist in providing for them. Landowners gave beef, mutton and venison;
farmers, poultry and dairy produce; and the minister and the schoolmaster
lent cooking utensils. The bridal feast was followed by a dance.

Some peculiar rites, of ancient and pagan origin, were practised at the
home-coming of the bride. The guests assembled at the door, on the
threshold of which a sieve containing bread and cheese was held over her
head, and, as she entered the house, a cake of shortbread was broken over
her head, the young folk present scrambling for the fragments. The
ceremony was completed by the bride sweeping the hearth with a broom.

This paper would not be complete without some notice of an aspect of the
matter with which it deals, which has not received the attention to which
it is certainly entitled. The law relating to marriage remains unsettled.
It has been so constantly regarded as a matter for ecclesiastical
regulation, that it has been practically left to be dealt with by
Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions. "As far back as any living man
remembers," says Dr Edgar, "it has taken very few formalities to
constitute in Scotland a marriage that is binding in law. A man and a
woman have only had to take up house together, and declare themselves
husband and wife. The law thereupon pronounced them married persons. But
this was not always understood to be the law of the land in Scotland, and
the Church of Scotland did not always recognise such unions as marriages."
But while writing of what was or was not _understood_ to be the law, he
tells us nothing as to what the law really was or is.

It seems to have been the practice of the Church, in former times, to
pronounce her own judgment, and then to ask the State to confirm it. In
the first General Assembly held in Scotland, that of 1560, there was a
declaration made concerning marriages within certain degrees of
relationship, and "the authority of the Estates was craved to be
interposed to that finding as the law." There were many of the ministers
of the Reformed Church who held that a religious ceremony was not
necessary to constitute a valid marriage. One of the members of the
Westminster Assembly, in 1644, expressed the opinion, previously given by
Luther, that only the consent of the parties was necessary. This view
appears to have prevailed very generally among the laity, notwithstanding
the action taken so frequently by Kirk Sessions in opposition to it.

The question continued to be disputed throughout the last century. Writers
on legal questions held one view, and judges on the bench pronounced
contrariwise. Erskine argued that, in Scotland, the consent of the parties
was all that was necessary to constitute a valid marriage. Lord Braxfield
affirmed the opposite in 1796. Lord Fraser, on a later occasion, said that
the view set forth by Erskine was never judicially pronounced to be the
law of Scotland until 1811. Can we wonder, therefore, when lawyers and
judges disagree, at the haziness of mental vision displayed by Kirk
Sessions, and the frequent want of uniformity in their decisions?

Gretna Green Gossip.

Gretna Green is the name of an insignificant village in the Border country
between England and Scotland. It is situated in Dumfriesshire, near the
mouth of the Esk, nine miles north-west of Carlisle, and consequently
within a mile of the English border. Probably no place of such absence of
pretension to size and population has attained the notoriety which
attaches to the name of Gretna Green, a distinction it has obtained merely
through its being the first place suitable for stoppage after the English
border was once passed. This close proximity was utilised by runaway
couples, who, dispensing, for various reasons, with the preliminaries of
anyone's consent to their union, or the publication of banns requisite by
the English Marriage Laws, could, when once on Scottish ground, accomplish
their wedding by simply declaring before witnesses their mutual
willingness to undertake the contract. To the facility, then, which the
Marriage Laws of Scotland offered to amorous and impatient couples (minors
or not), the fisher-village of Gretna Green owes its repute as a chosen
altar of Hymen. A marriage once declared here was henceforward considered
valid, and after exchanging before any witness the mutual promises, the
pair might return to England at once, the knot being tied beyond all
chance of dispute. As might be expected, haste was a great factor in these
summary pairings, and consequently postillions were largely employed to
get over the distance between Carlisle and Gretna, a course upon which, no
doubt, many a tough race has been run between prudent parent or guardian
and ardent runaways.

The "parsons" of Gretna were the ordinary inhabitants, who were weavers,
fishermen (Gretna being at the head of the Solway), blacksmiths, &c., and
their fees were entirely arbitrary, being fixed on the spot, according to
the private information of the postillions, or according to the appearance
and simplicity of the young couple. Marriages have been contracted here
for a glass of whisky, while on the other hand a fee of twenty pounds has
been paid, as in the case of Lord Chief Justice Erskine, who availed
himself of the easy ceremony, and even much larger sums, as in the cases
of the Earl of Westmoreland, Lord Deerhurst, and others, who paid to the
officiating "cleric" upwards of one hundred guineas. In the absence of any
local person to receive the attestations to the contract, the postillions
themselves have been known to assume the sacerdotal functions.

The first broker in Gretna Green marriages was one Scott, who lived at a
point called the Rigg, a few miles from the village. It is said that he
commenced his infamous profession about the year 1750, but beyond the fact
that he was a crafty fellow, who could turn the emergencies of the time to
his own advantage, little is known of him. The next who undertook the
remunerative duties of high priest was George Gordon, an old soldier, who
invariably wore as canonicals a full military uniform of a by-gone type--a
tremendous cocked-hat, scarlet coat, and jackboots, with a ponderous sword
dangling from his belt. His "church," which had the appearance of a barn,
stood a little to the left of the public road; his altar was an ale cask
upon which was placed an open Bible. Following Gordon, Joseph Paisley
(sometimes called Pasley) became the recognised parson. He was a
fisherman, who agreeably united with the duties of that position the
pursuits of smuggler and tobacconist. He has been also called a
blacksmith, but this was simply a fanciful allusion to the part he took in
the Gretna Green marriages, Vulcan being the marriage maker of the gods as
well as their smith. He commenced the matrimonial business in 1789, and
from being retiring in his manner of dealing, became audaciously
unscrupulous, going so far even as to supply fictitious signatures to the
certificates, instead of, as at first, resorting to the less culpable
proceeding of signing his own name as a witness. It is said of this man
that at his death, about 1811, he weighed twenty-five stones. He was a
coarse, blatant individual, and habitually appeared in a sort of priestly
dress, even in his constant dissipations. At his death the priesthood was
taken by his son-in-law, Robert Elliott, who kept an account of his
transactions, and afterwards published them under the title of "The Gretna
Green Memoirs." In this he states that between 1811 and 1839, not less
than 7744 persons were united by him at Gretna. The _Times_, in a review
of the book, doubted the accuracy of the assertion, which drew from him a
reply in the form of a letter to that paper. He said, "I can show
registers for that number from my commencement, and which either you or
any respectable individual may inspect here, and which I can substantiate
on oath."

We give here an extract from the "Memoirs" of Elliott. He says:--"As the
marriage ceremony performed by me and my predecessors may be interesting
to many of my readers, I give it verbatim: The parties are first asked
their names and places of abode; they are then asked to stand up, and
inquired of if they are both single persons; if the answer be in the
affirmative, the ceremony proceeds. Each is next asked, 'Did you come here
of your own free will and accord?' Upon receiving an affirmative answer,
the priest commences filling in the printed form of the certificate. The
man is then asked, 'Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife,
forsaking all others, and keep to her as long as you both shall live?' He
answers, 'I will.' The woman is asked the same question, when, being
answered the same, the woman then produces a ring, which she gives to the
man, who hands it to the priest; the priest then returns it to the man,
and orders him to put it on the fourth finger of the woman's left hand,
repeating these words, 'With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee
worship, with all my goods I thee endow, in the name of the Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost. Amen.' They then take hold of each other's right hand, and
the woman says, 'What God joins together let no man put asunder.' Then the
priest says, 'Forasmuch as this man and this woman have come together by
giving and receiving a ring, I therefore declare them to be man and wife
before God and these witnesses, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost. Amen.'"

The following are among the memorable matches effected through the agency
of Robert Elliott, and recorded in his Memoirs:--

1812.--Rev. Wm. Freemantle, an English clergyman. C. Ewen Law, son of Lord
Ellenborough, to Miss Nightingale.

1815.--A "droll gaberlunzie without legs or arms, to a comely damsel, both
appearing anxious for the ceremony," to the disgust of the not too
fastidious parson himself.

1816.--Lord Chief Justice Erskine. Within a year, however, his lordship
unsuccessfully tried to loosen his matrimonial chains by a divorce by the
Scottish law.

1826.--E. Gibbon Wakefield, with Miss Turner. Of the trial which ensued
upon this union we give particulars below.

During the latter part of Elliott's "ministration" competition in the
marrying business became brisk, and he had numerous rivals, the most
powerful of these candidates for clerical emolument being another son of
Mars, named David Laing. The competition became so pronounced that the
rival parsons canvassed for the assistance and co-operation of the
postillions, who, commencing by receiving a commission per runaway pair,
at last ended by working upon a system of equal shares with their priestly

In 1827, at the Kent Assizes, a Gretna Green marriage was the subject of a
curious trial before Mr Baron Hullock. The action was taken against one
Mrs Wakefield and her two sons, for conspiring "to take away by subtle
stratagems" a young lady named Turner, who had not yet left school. The
David Laing above mentioned was called as a witness on behalf of the
defendants, and he affirmed that the couple were married lawfully
according to the Scottish fashion--namely, by putting on the lady's finger
a ring. The witness said he was seventy-five years old, and had spent more
than half of his life in the performance of marriages. In
cross-examination by Mr Brougham, he admitted obtaining £30 for this
particular ceremony, or even £50, but could not remember exactly, "being
somewhat hard of hearing." The accused was found guilty of causing this
young lady to "contract matrimony without the consent of her father, and
to the great disparagement of the King's peace." The chief prisoner, E.
Gibbon Wakefield, was convicted of abduction, and the marriage, which
excited considerable public attention, was afterwards rendered invalid,
and annulled by an Act of Parliament specially obtained. After this
flagrant case Gretna Green marriages fell into disrepute, and the business
showed a steady decline, though cases of the employment of pseudo-parsons
are on much later record. In 1853, a person named Thomas Blythe, a witness
before the Court of Probate at Westminster, stated that he lived at
Springfield, Gretna Green, and that he obtained his livelihood by means of
agriculture, but that he not unfrequently took advantage of opportunities
to increase his income by small strokes of business in the "joining" line.
Again, the demise of another "joiner" was announced so late as 1872, when
the obituary of Simon Laing appeared in the _Glasgow Herald_. It is
probable, however, that the pursuit of his "clerical" profession ceased
long before the date of his death, for, in 1856, the old law by which the
mere verbal declaration of consent before witnesses was sufficient to
constitute a Scottish legal marriage became effete through the passing of
the Act of Parliament, 19 and 20 Victoria, cap. 96. By this Act the laws
of Scotland and England were brought into assimilation, and in that year
the occupation of the northern hedge-parsons was virtually gone.

It may be said such marriages as those we have described were considered
as clandestine and ill-advised in Scotland, as in more southern parts, the
Church of Scotland doing all that lay in its power to discourage and
prevent them. The only punishment, however, which it had for transgressors
being excommunication, the restraint by the Kirk was very slight, its
injunctions and fulminary condemnations being treated with contempt.

Probably the best known of the notable marriages which have taken place at
Gretna is that of the Earl of Westmoreland with the daughter of Child, the
banker, whose counting-house was at the sign of the Marygold, in the
Strand. The romantic but determined couple had the advantage of an early
start, one starlight night in May, but the pursuit was not less hot than
the departure had been well arranged, and when within a few miles of the
Border the coach was nearly overtaken by Mr Child's carriage. The Earl,
however, not to be baulked when so near the end of the journey, shot down
one of the pursuing horses, while one of the servants cut the carriage
straps behind. The crown of firs which mark Gretna from the surrounding
country came quickly into view, the bridge was crossed, and the village
was reached by the reckless couple. A parson was found, and quickly the
Earl and Miss Child were made one. Within a year Mr Child died, it is
said, of the mortification and disappointment connected with this affair.
The elder daughter of the match, Lady Sophia Fane, afterwards married Lord
Jersey, and inherited his immense fortune, including Child's Bank at
Temple Bar.

Death and Burial Customs and Superstitions.

Among the many pagan beliefs and observances which were adhered to during
many centuries of Christian creed and worship, and some of which have
survived among the less enlightened even to the present day, a large place
is held by those connected with death and burial. In Scotland, many
trivial things were regarded as omens of death. In the northern Highlands,
an itching of the nose was believed to prognosticate the death of a
neighbour. In the southern parts, a humming in the ear was held to prelude
the death of a relative. The crowing of a cock at an unusual hour was
regarded as a token of the death of some person in the parish. In the
Lowlands, the howling of a strange dog was accepted as a warning of the
approaching death of some inmate of the house near which the melancholy
wail was raised. The "death candle," as the phosphoric light sometimes
seen flickering over burial-grounds was called, was similarly regarded in
the Hebrides.

In some parts of the Highlands it is still believed that the last moments
of a dying person are prolonged by the door of the death-chamber being
closed. It is usual, therefore, for it to be left ajar, so that there may
be room for the departing spirit to take its flight, and yet the intrusion
of any evil thing be prevented. When a death occurred, the clock was
stopped, and its face covered, as were all the mirrors in the house. A
bell was laid under the head of the corpse, and a vessel containing earth
and salt placed upon the breast.

From the moment of death until the departure of the funeral procession to
the place of burial, the corpse was watched night and day by parties of
friends and neighbours, who relieved each other. Silence was observed, but
this did not prevent the consumption of much ale and whisky. Among the
poorer classes the interment took place soon after death, in order to
lessen the cost of watching, but the well-to-do deferred the funeral for
at least a week, and sometimes a fortnight, in order that the hospitality
of the house might be more extensively offered and enjoyed. Among these a
feast was given on the evening preceding the funeral.

There were many superstitious beliefs and customs connected with funerals.
As in England, the proverb was accepted that "happy is the corpse that the
rain falls on." If the funeral party, on the way to the burial-ground,
walked in a straggling manner, it was regarded as an omen that another
death would soon occur under the same roof. In the Hebrides, if one of the
party stumbled and fell, the incident was held to indicate that he would
be the next to die.

In the last century, there was a lamentable amount of ale and whisky
drinking before and after funerals. The company began to assemble two
hours before the time appointed for the corpse to be carried from the
house. If the deceased was a farmer, each of the guests was offered a
glass of whisky at the gate of the farm-yard, and another on crossing the
threshold. On entering the guest-room, a portion of shortbread and another
glass of whisky were handed to him, a reverential silence being observed
for a time, after which conversation was carried on in whispers. When all
the guests were assembled, the minister commenced a religious service,
which lasted about three-quarters of an hour. This was followed by the
handing round of oatcake, cheese, and whisky, and afterwards shortbread
and more whisky. Then the coffin was carried out, and followed to the
grave by all those who were sufficiently sober to walk straight.

Religious ceremonies at burials have never found favour in the Church of
Scotland. They were discouraged both by the First Book of Discipline and
the Westminster Directory, the compilers of the former saying, "for
avoiding all inconveniences, we judge it best that neither singing nor
reading be at the burial,... yea, without all kind of ceremony heretofore
used, other than that the dead be committed to the grave with such gravity
and sobriety as those that be present may seem to fear the judgment of
God, and to hate sin, which is the cause of death." The Westminster
Directory deals with the matter in much the same way, the Assembly
maintaining that the burial of the dead is not a part of the work of the
ministry, as baptisms and marriages are.

It appears to have been customary in the early centuries of the Church in
Scotland, to bury the dead uncoffined; and this custom prevailed among the
poor for some time after the Reformation. It lingered in rural districts
longer than in towns, and in some later than in others; but the Kirk
Session records of some parishes refer to the provision of coffins for the
interment of persons who were practically paupers in the last quarter of
the seventeenth century. As to the mode of burial before the use of
coffins became general, the General Assembly ordained, in 1563, "that a
bier should be made in every country parish, to carry the dead corpse of
the poor to the burial-place, and that those of the villages or houses
next adjacent to the house where the dead corpse lieth, or a certain
number out of every house, shall convey the dead corpse to the
burial-place, and bury it six feet under the earth."

The biers appear to have been of more than one kind. Some of them were
mere rails upon which the corpse was laid, covered only with a pall,
called in Scotland a mort-cloth. Others were wooden boxes, with the lid on
one side furnished with a hinge, so that the corpse could be taken out,
and lowered into the grave by ropes. In some parts of the Highlands, a
long basket, made of twisted rushes, was used, and called the "death
hamper." There were three pairs of loop handles, through which short iron
bars were passed for convenience of carriage; and on the grave being
reached, it was lowered by ropes, so arranged that it could be turned over
and recovered for future use.

Before the Reformation, it was the custom to bury unbaptised children
apart from members of the Church, the north side of the churchyard being
reserved for that purpose. This was afterwards regarded as contrary to the
true principles of Protestantism, and in 1641 the Synod of Fife ordained
that "all these who superstitiously carries the dead about the kirk before
burial, also these who bury unbaptised bairns apart, be taken notice of
and censured." Suicides and excommunicated persons were also, at one time,
buried apart, and at night. In 1582, the Kirk Session of Perth refused to
allow the corpse of a man who had committed suicide by drowning to be
"brought through the town in daylight, neither yet to be buried among the
faithful,... but in the little Inch within the water."

With regard to interment within the churches, the Scottish Reformers seem
to have been in advance of those south of the Border. The Brownists were
as much in advance of the former, for in 1590 one of the leaders of that
denomination wrote:--"Where learned you to bury in hallowed churches and
churchyards, as though you had no fields to bury in? Methinks the
churchyards, of all other places, should be not the convenientest for
burial; it was a thing never used till Popery began, and it is neither
comely nor wholesome." Interment in churches was, on sanitary grounds,
even more objectionable than in the grounds adjacent to them, and in 1576
the General Assembly prohibited the practice, and ordered that those who
contravened the ordinance should be suspended from the privileges of the

Long after that time, however, burials in churches continued to take
place, owing to the value attached by families of rank above that of the
commonalty to the privilege of having their relatives buried apart. In
1643, the Assembly again prohibited all persons, "of whatsoever quality,
to bury any deceased person within the body of the kirk, where the people
meet for hearing of the Word." But the ordinance was disregarded by all
who thought themselves powerful enough to do so, and as ministers had very
little to do with a matter which had been declared to be unministerial,
they usually found their will sufficient to serve their purpose. In 1695,
the Kirk Session of Kilmarnock recorded a minute that, the north aisle
being then filled with pews, "they shall, when required, cause lift six
pews, on each end, next to the north wall of the aisle, so oft as any of
the families of Rowallan, Craufordland, and Grange, shall have occasion to
bury their dead;... and, after burial, the said pews shall be set up
again in their places, at the expense of the session." Kirk Sessions seem
to have felt themselves powerless to enforce their ordinances in the face
of a long existing custom and a fancied right of the gentry to burial
within the church; and in one instance, which occurred in a Highland
parish in 1727, the Kirk Session petitioned the Presbytery to "put a stop
to such a bad practice."

The custom of ringing a bell at funerals, which was a common one before
the Reformation, was continued afterwards. There is an entry in the
records of Glasgow, for 1577, of the sale of "the auld bell that yed
throw the toun of auld at the burial of the dead." In 1621, the Kirk
Session of Dumbarton ordained that "the beadle, John Tome, and his
successors, shall ring the mort-bell before all persons deceased within
town, for such prices as the minister and session shall set down." It may
be that the custom, like the ringing of church bells, originated in the
superstition that the sound of bells scared away evil spirits; for an
edict of the Town Council of Aberdeen, passed in 1643, includes the
tolling and ringing of bells among the "superstitious rites used at
funerals," which it prohibits.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century, it seems to have been usual
for the church bell to be tolled at funerals, and that without any charge
being made, for, in 1696, the Kirk Session of Mauchline made a minute that
they "thought it reasonable that whoever desired the tolling of the bell
at the funeral of their relations, should pay some small quantity of money
to the kirk treasurer, to be disposed of for the poor's use." Similar
ordinances were passed about the same time by the Kirk Sessions of other
parishes in Ayrshire. It was decided, however, in the Civil Court, in
1730, that the money arising from fees for the ringing of bells and
burials within the church did not properly belong to the fund for the
relief of the poor, but might be used for the maintenance of the fabric of
the church. The poor, however, do not appear to have lost much by this
decision, for during the year ended October, 1732, the "big" bell at
Kilmarnock was tolled for funerals only seven times. It may be explained
that there were two bells in many churches, the larger one to be tolled at
the funerals of the rich, and the smaller at those of the poor. In the
register of burials at Inverness, the words "big bells" are added to the
entries of the funerals of "persons of quality."

The burials register of the parish of Tough, in Aberdeenshire, record
that, in 1784, forty-two of the parishioners joined in the purchase of a
new bell for the church, stipulating that, when deaths occurred in their
families, "the bell be rung once before the day of interment, that is,
when the officer gets the first notice of a contributor's death, and then
upon the day of interment, from morning until the coffin be laid in the
ground, in the manner that bells ought to be rung at funerals, and that
by no other person than the officer allenarlie."

Palls were, from a very early period, regarded as essential parts of the
funeral paraphernalia. In 1598, the Kirk Session of Glasgow ordered a
black cloth to be bought "to be laid on the corpses of the poor," and, for
at least two hundred years afterwards, it was the custom for the
"mort-cloth" to be taken to the house where a corpse awaited burial, and
laid over it. The reason for this may be found in the early custom of
burial without a coffin, and in the case of those who desired to show some
regard for appearances, in the proclamation of Council in 1684, that
coffins should not be covered with silk or decorated with fringes or
metal-work. The mort-cloths kept "to be laid on the corpses of the poor"
were probably of coarse black woollen cloth; but those used at the
funerals of well-to-do people were, as a rule, of richer and more handsome
material. In the sessional records of the parish of Mauchline for 1672
there is an entry of the payment of a sum of no less than £10, 12s. 4d. as
completing the price of a new mort-cloth, which implies that some portion
of the total cost had been paid previously. Another new mort-cloth
provided for the same parish in the last quarter of the eighteenth century
is described as having been made of Genoa velvet, conformably fringed.

The preaching of funeral sermons received little favour in Scotland during
the early period of the Reformed Church. "We have," says Baillie, writing
from London during the sitting of the Westminster Assembly, "with much
difficulty, passed a proposition for abolishing their ceremonies at
burials, but our difference about funeral sermons seems irreconcilable. As
it has been here and everywhere preached, it is nothing but an abuse of
preaching, to serve the humours only of rich people for a reward. Our
Church has expressly discharged them, on many good reasons; it's here a
good part of the minister's livelihood, therefore they will not quit it.
After three days' debate, we cannot yet find a way of agreeance."

It was in consequence of this inability to agree on the subject that the
Scottish commissioners at Westminster declined to hear the sermon preached
on the occasion of the funeral of Pym. Baillie wrote:--"On Wednesday, Mr
Pym was carried from his house to Westminster on the shoulders, as the
fashion is, of the chief men of the Lower House, all the House going in
procession before him, and before them the Assembly of Divines. Marshall
had a most eloquent and pertinent funeral sermon--which we would not hear,
for funeral sermons we must have away, with the rest."

The earliest registers of deaths are those of Aberdeen, which commence in
1560; Perth, beginning in 1561, and the Canongate, Edinburgh, in 1565. The
register of burials in the last-named parish commences in 1612, and that
of Greyfriars in 1658. Those of rural parishes generally commence in the
last century, and they are, as a rule, more or less imperfect. It appears
from the Edinburgh registers, in which the deaths are summarised annually,
that the mortality has greatly diminished during the last hundred and
fifty years. In the first four decades of the last century, nearly
two-thirds of the deaths were those of children, and the deaths of adult
females were double those of adult males. The dawn of a better state of
things appears in 1741, when the deaths of 276 men, 401 women, and 942
children, were registered, which, if we accept the generally received
statement that the population of the city was then fifty thousand, gives
an annual average death-rate of 34 per thousand. The average mortality of
the ten years ending with 1878, as shown by the report of the Registrar
General, was 24 per thousand; and that of the week ending October 8, 1898,
was 20 per thousand; which was precisely that of the thirty-three largest
towns of the southern portion of the island.

Contemporary events in other places were not unfrequently recorded in the
local registers of deaths in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Thus, in the Aberdeen register, we have the murder of Lord Darnley very
circumstantially recorded as follows, though under a wrong date:--"The
ninth [10th] day of February, the year of God 1566, Henry Stuart, Lord
Darnley, King of Scotland, who married Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland,
daughter to King James the Fifth, was cruelly murdered under night, in
Edinburgh, in the Cowgate, at the Kirk of Field, by James Hepburn, Earl of
Bothwell, and other his assisters, whose deed God revenge. So be it."[13]
The ascription of the crime to Bothwell does not appear in the Canongate
register, which merely records the fact of Darnley being blown up with

The assassination of the Earl of Murray is recorded in several parish
registers. The session clerk of Aberdeen recorded it, with much
particularity, as follows:--"The twenty-third day of January, the year of
God 1569, James, Earl of Murray, Lord Abernethy, Regent to the King and
realm of Scotland, was cruelly murdered and shot in the town of
Linlithgow, by a false traitor, James Hamilton of Bodywallhaucht, by the
conspiracy and treason of his own servant, William Kircaldy, and John
Hamilton, bloody Bishop of St. Andrew's, whose deed we pray God to
revenge. So be it." With equal circumstantiality the same clerk made an
entry in the register of the murder of Coligny, and the horrible massacre
of the Protestants of Paris, on St. Bartholomew's day, 1572, which event
he prays God to revenge.

Some of the entries in the church registers of Edinburgh are of
considerable historical interest. In that of St. Giles is chronicled the
removal of the remains of the Marquis of Montrose from the Abbey Church of
Holyrood to St. Giles's Church, where they were honoured with a
magnificent and pompous funeral. The entry in the register of burials
records the final interment as follows:--"11 May 1661.--The Rt. Hon.
James, Marquis of Montrose, Earl of Kincardine, Lord Grahame and Mugdok,
His Majesty's late commissioner and Captain General for the kingdom of
Scotland, and knt. of most hon. order of the Garter, was conveyed from the
kirk of Holyrood House with great honour and solemnity to St. Giles's kirk
and buried." The corpse had been, in the first instance, interred at the
Burgh Muir, so that this was the third removal.

The register of the Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh, contains the following
record of another and more generally interesting translation:--"Robert
Garvock, Patrick Forman, James Stewart, David Fernie, Alexander Russell,
was executed in the Gallowlee, for owning the truth, upon the 10 day of
October 1681 years, and their heads fixed upon Bristo Port, taken down and
buried privately in Louristone Yards, now accidentally dug up upon the 15
day of October 1726, and buried decently upon the 19 day of the said
month in the Greyfriars' churchyard, close to the Martyrs' Tomb."

The grandeur of the final interment of the remains of the Marquis of
Montrose, followed later by the costly obsequies of Lord Roslin, induced
the Scottish Parliament, in 1681, to pass an Act which, besides
restricting the number of persons who might attend the funeral of a person
of rank to one hundred, prohibited "the using or carrying of any branches,
banners, and other honours at church, except only the eight branches to be
upon the pall, or upon the coffin where there is no pall." The Act seems,
however, to have had little effect in diminishing the excessive costliness
of funerals among all classes above the very poorest. The funeral of Sir
William Hamilton, who died in 1707, was attended with a display and an
amount of hospitality which cost a sum equal to two years of his salary as
a judge. The funeral of Lachlan Macintosh, chief of the Highland clan of
that name, in 1736, cost (including the customary festivities) a sum which
involved his successors in pecuniary embarrassments for a century
afterwards. The funerals of Highland chiefs were attended by all the clan,
sometimes numbering thousands of persons, and the procession to the place
of burial extending to more than a mile in length; the coronach--a hymn of
lamentation, an example of which may be found in Scott's "Lady of the
Lake"--being chanted by hundreds of voices, accompanied by the bagpipes.

The Story of a Stool.

James I. after the Reformation introduced into Scotland bishops, and his
son Charles I. attempted to force upon the Scottish church a book of
canons and a liturgy. Both actions were regarded with strong aversion, and
culminated in bitter strife. The king directed that on Sunday, July 23rd,
1637, the new service-book should be read in every parish church in
Scotland. Before the appointed day arrived, opposition was manifest in all
quarters, and few had the courage, even if they had the desire, to conduct
their services from the new prayer-book.

On the eventful Sunday when the new order of service was to be formally
introduced, the chief church of the capital of Scotland, the old Cathedral
of St. Giles, was filled by an unusually large congregation. Among those
present were two archbishops, several bishops, the lords chancellor and
treasurer, privy council, judges, and magistrates. A large number of the
humble people, composed chiefly of the wives of citizens and their maids,
filled the body of the church. In those days no pews were in the church,
and the poor-folk brought clasp-stools.

When Dean Hannay, attired in a surplice, commenced reading prayers from
the service-book a riot arose which has seldom been equalled in the house
of God. The Dean could not be heard for the clamour of many voices. The
voice of a female--that of Jenny Geddes--was heard above others. She
cried, "Out, out! does the false loon mean to say his black mass at my
lug?" and then threw her stool at the Dean's head.

This was the signal for a riot: an attempt was made to tear from the Dean
his surplice, but he disengaged himself from it, and with difficulty made
his escape. Hand-clapping, hisses, curses, &c., put an end to any attempt
to conduct the service. The Bishop of Edinburgh attempted from the pulpit
to restore order, but a stool was thrown at him, and, had not a friendly
hand averted its course, doubtless he would have been seriously injured,
or even killed. Stones and other missiles were thrown at the pulpit.

The Lord Chancellor, it is recorded, commanded the magistrates to call out
the town-guard to drive the ringleaders from the church. The church was
cleared of the rioters, but outside they battered the doors, broke the
windows, cried out, "A Pope! A Pope!" "Antichrist!" "Stone him! Stone
him!" The Dean tried to resume his reading, but the shouts of the
multitude without drowned his voice.

[Illustration: JENNY GEDDES' STOOL.

_From the Antiquarian Museum, Edinburgh._]

The service in Greyfriars' Church had to be stopped on account of the
rioting without, and at the college, we are told in Stevenson's "Annals of
Edinburgh," the minister preferred the old extempore form of prayer, till
he learned how the liturgy had been received in other city churches.

On leaving church the Bishop of Edinburgh was attacked by the mob, and
narrowly escaped death at their hands. Other rioting occurred, and for
many years the memorable day was known as "Stony Sabbath."

The local authorities, it is recorded, desired to maintain order, and on
the Monday the local magistrates repaired to a meeting of the Privy
Council, and expressed their great regret at the outrage, and promised to
discover the ringleaders and have them punished.

On one of the piers of St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, is a memorial
brass bearing the following inscription:--


  _He was the first and last who read
  the service-book in this church._


In the Moray or south-west aisle is a memorial of gun-metal to Jenny
Geddes, with an inscription written by the late Lord President Inglis,
which reads as follows:--

  ON THE 23 JULY 1637,

The Martyrs' Monument, Edinburgh.

In the capital of Scotland are more imposing monuments than the
Covenanters' Memorial in Greyfriars' Churchyard, but not one more
historically interesting. It attracts the attention of visitors from all
parts of the world, and to the inhabitants of the city it must be a matter
of pride to have this memorial to the memory of the men who fought for
religious freedom.

The early Scottish reformers were in earnest respecting their faith; a
bond was prepared, setting forth that they would stand unflinchingly by
the Calvinistic faith, and if necessary would fight in its defence.

This was signed on December 3rd, 1557, by the Earls of Glencairn, Argyll,
and Morton, Lord Lorn, Erskine of Dun and many more, who assumed the title
of "Lords of the Congregation."

A man in Scotland might do many indiscreet things and even be guilty of
crime, and be pardoned; but to flinch or fall from the Covenant was to
commit a sin that his countrymen could not forgive.

Charles I., aided by Archbishop Laud, attempted to force upon the
Presbyterians of Scotland a liturgy, and in other ways to alter the mode
of divine worship in the country. The king's action was regarded with
alarm, and steps were taken to maintain the religious freedom of the
country. The Solemn League and Covenant of 1557 against Popery was renewed
and new articles added. A copy was sent to each town in Scotland. That
belonging to Edinburgh was, on March 1st, 1638, solemnly read aloud in
Greyfriars' churchyard. It was subscribed to by a large number of the
nobility, gentry and others of all ranks and conditions, ages and sexes.
It is impossible to count the signatures on the document, but it is
believed that over five thousand names occur, and the more zealous added
to their subscription such sentences as "till death." The size of the
parchment is four feet long and three feet eight inches broad, and it is
preserved in the Register Office, Edinburgh. It was spread upon a flat
stone in the churchyard for signature, and was signed by all who could get
near to it.

Not a few who signed this document were amongst the many who suffered
death for their adherence to the faith they held. At the Battle of
Bothwell Bridge on June 22nd, 1679, it is recorded that 800 Covenanters
were slain on the field of battle, and about 1300 taken prisoners and
brought to Edinburgh, and later 200 were conveyed to Stirling.

At Edinburgh the prisoners were kept in an enclosed piece of land (now
forming a part of the graveyard of Greyfriars), in a great measure without
shelter, for five months, and supported with a short supply of bread and
water. Guards watched them day and night. The condition of the prisoners
was most distressing and moved to pity the inhabitants of the city, but
they were not permitted to render the least assistance.

The troubles of many of these brave men did not end with imprisonment. "On
the 15th of November," it is recorded, "256 were taken to Leith and put on
board a vessel to be carried to the plantations in America. The vessel
sailed on the 27th, but was wrecked on the coast of Orkney on December
10th, when upwards of 200 perished. Some of the remaining prisoners were
tried, condemned and executed; the remainder, upon signing bonds,
obtained their liberty."

The monument is erected near the graves of the martyrs who were buried in
Greyfriars' churchyard. It was in that part of the burial-ground that
criminals were interred, and an allusion is made to this fact in the
inscription on the martyrs' monument.

James Currie of Pentland obtained from the Town Council of Edinburgh, on
August 28th, 1706, permission to erect a stone in Greyfriars' churchyard
to the memory of the martyrs, on condition "there being no inscription to
be put upon the tomb but the sixth chapter of Revelation, verses 9, 10 and

A carved stone representing an open Bible, with the verses cut in full,
was erected, and this forms, we are told, the under part of the present
more stately monument, which was substituted in 1771, when the original
slab was removed. The old inscription with some slight alterations was
transferred to the present monument. The inscription is as follows:--

        "Halt, passenger, take heed what you do see.
        This tomb doth shew for what some men did die.
        Here lies interr'd the dust of those who stood
        'Gainst perjury, resisting unto blood;
        Adhering to the covenants and laws;
        Establishing the same: which was the cause
        Their lives were sacrific'd unto the lust
        Of prelatists abjur'd; though here their dust
        Lies mixt with murderers and other crew,
        Whom justice justly did to death pursue.
        But as for them, no cause was to be found
        Worthy of death; but only they were found
        Constant and steadfast, zealous, witnessing
        For the prerogatives of Christ their King;
        Which truths were seal'd by famous Guthrie's head,
        And all along to Mr Renwick's blood:
        They did endure the wrath of enemies:
        Reproaches, torments, deaths and injuries.
        But yet they're those, who from such troubles came,
        And now triumph in glory with the Lamb.

     "From May 27th, 1661, that the most noble Marquis of Argyle was
     beheaded, to the 17th February 1688, that Mr James Renwick suffered,
     were one way or other murdered and destroyed for the same cause about
     eighteen thousand, of whom were executed at Edinburgh about an
     hundred of noblemen, gentlemen, ministers and others, noble martyrs
     for JESUS CHRIST. The most of them lie here.

     Rev. vi. 9.--And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the
     altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for
     the testimony which they held:

     10.--And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy
     and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell
     on the earth?

     11.--And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was
     said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season,
     until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be
     killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

     Chap. vii. 14.--These are they which came out of great tribulation,
     and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the

     Chap. ii. 10.--Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a
     crown of life.

     "The above monument was first erected by JAMES CURRIE, merchant,
     Pentland, and others, in 1706; renewed in 1771."

(Added on the monument at a subsequent date):--

        "Yes, though the sceptic's tongue deride
        Those martyrs who for conscience died--
        Though modern history blight their fame,
        And sneering courtiers hoot the name
        Of men who dared alone be free,
        Amidst a nation's slavery;--
        Yet long for them the poet's lyre
        Shall wake its notes of heavenly fire;
        Their names shall nerve the patriot's hand
        Upraised to save a sinking land;
        And piety shall learn to burn
        With holier transports o'er their urn.

                                  JAMES GRAHAME.

        Peace to their mem'ry! let no impious breath
        Sell their fair fame, or triumph o'er their death.
        Let Scotia's grateful sons their tear-drops shed,
        Where low they lie in honour's gory bed;
        Rich with the spoil their glorious deeds had won,
        And purchas'd freedom to a land undone--
        A land which owes its glory and its worth
        To those whom tyrants banish'd from the earth."

     "For the accomplishment of this resolution, the three kingdoms lie
     under no small debt of gratitude to the Covenanters. They suffered
     and bled both in fields and on scaffolds for the cause of civil and
     religious liberty; and shall we reap the fruit of their sufferings,
     their prayers and their blood, and yet treat their memory either with
     indifference or scorn? No! whatever minor faults may be laid to their
     charge, whatever trivial accusations may be brought against them, it
     cannot but be acknowledged that they were the men who, 'singly and
     alone,' stood forward in defence of Scotland's dearest rights, and to
     whom we at the present day owe everything that is valuable to us
     either as men or as Christians."


It only remains for us to add that James Currie, who was the means of
raising the original monument, suffered much during the persecution and
more than once narrowly escaped capture.


  Alloway Kirk, witches in, 178

  Antiquity of bells, 34

  Assassins of James I., 6

  Averting evil spirits at birth, 194

  Bag-pipes at funerals, 254

  Banns, publication of, 213

  Banquets at baptism, 207

  Baptism of bells, 42

  Beating bounds, 16

  Begg, Dr, opposes the organ, 107

  Behaviour at kirk, 119

  Bell Lore, 34-45

  Beltane superstitions, 46

  Betrothals, 212, 213

  Bible and witchcraft, 166

  Bible thrown into the fire, 191

  Biers, 241

  Biggar, witchcraft at, 184

  Birth and Baptism. Customs and Superstitions, 194-209

  Black Rood, 29

  Brank, 115

  Brechin Cathedral, 66

  Bristo Port, heads on, 252

  Burghs, origin of, 64-66

  Burning witches, 163, 168, 184, 191

  Calvinism, advent of, 164

  Care of the poor, 149

  Celtic crosses, 24, 28

  Charter of St. Giles's Church, 6

  Children, marriage of, 216

  Christmas, punished for keeping, 117

  Church, marriages to be celebrated in, 222

  Church music, 98-107

  Churches, interment in, 243

  Clova jougs, 113

  Coins, objection to foreign, 144

  Compulsory attendance at kirk, 119, 137

  Consent of parents to be given for marriage, 216

  Covenanters slain, 262

  Covenanters' flag, 27, 28

  Craft-gilds, 128

  Creeping to the cross, 27

  Cripples assisted, 155

  Cross, the, in Scotland, 1-33

  Cross in baptism, 197

  Culdees supplanted, 73

  Currie, James, 263

  Curiosities of Church Finance, 130-161

  Dead, tales about the, 166

  Death and Burial. Customs and Superstitions, 237-254

  Death hamper, 242

  Denmark, Princess Anne and witchcraft, 175

  Devil and minstrels, 170

  Devil preaching a sermon, 177

  Discipline of the Kirk, 108-129

  Douglas, Lady Janet, suffered for witchcraft, 163

  Dress of women condemned, 120

  Drinking at funerals, 239

  Drunkards punished, 124, 138

  Duddingston jougs, 114

  Dunblane Cathedral, 66

  Dundee bells, 44

  Easter Sunday customs, 48

  Eastwood, witchcraft at, 192

  Edinburgh Market Cross, 5, 7, 11

  Episcopacy and witchcraft, 173

  Erskine, Lord Chief Justice, married at Gretna Green, 229

  Excommunications, 110

  Farthings at collections, 146

  Fishing on Sunday, 135

  Flodden, 12

  Foreign coins, objections to, 144

  Forbidding the banns, 220

  Forbidding marriage, 127

  Frost, Thomas. Saints and holy wells, 46-63
    ---- Church music, 98-107

  Funeral bells, 40-41, 44, 245-247

  Funeral sermons, 248

  Geddes, Jenny, 256, 259

  Gladstone, W. E., restores Edinburgh Cross, 10-11

  Glasgow Cathedral, 67-85

  Gifts of bells to churches, 35

  Graveyard of Greyfriars, 260-266

  Gretna Green gossip, 227-236

  Gossips' wake, 195

  Haddington, witchcraft at, 184

  Hamilton, Sir William, funeral of, 253

  Hand-bells at funerals, 40-41

  Handfasting, 210-212

  Hannay, Dean, 256, 258

  Harmonium, 106

  Holyrood Abbey founded, 31

  Holy Wells, 46, 63

  Hospitality at funerals, 253

  Hours of church service, 96

  Howlett, E. Bell Lore, 34-45

  Humours of the collection, 141

  Hymns submitted, 102

  Ignorant persons' children not to be baptised, 205

  Introduction of the organ at Glasgow, 105

  Iona crosses, 18-22

  James VI. and witchcraft, 174

  Jougs, 113

  Kilmarnock Cross, 16

  Kirkcaldy, witchcraft at, 189

  Kirkwall Cathedral, 67

  Knox burned in effigy, 12
    ---- deemed a wizard, 171

  Lanark Cross, 16

  Length of sermon, 121

  Life in the pre-Reformation Cathedrals, 64-85

  Linlithgow, 16

  Liturgy used, 93

  Long sermons, 95

  Macintosh, L., funeral of, 253

  Manner of examining witches, 180

  Mar, Earl of, suffered for witchcraft, 163

  Market crosses, 4

  Marriage laws and customs, 210-226

  Marriage vow, punished for violating, 125

  Martyrs' Monument, Edinburgh, 260-266

  Mass, punished for saying, 13

  Medical assistance, 155

  Memorable marriage at Gretna Green, 232

  Millar, A. H. Life in the pre-Reformation Cathedrals, 64-85

  Mode of marrying at Gretna Green, 231

  Money-box, church, 147

  Montrose, Marquis, body removed, 251

  Monuments, Destruction of, 3

  Murray, Earl, assassination of, 251

  Observance of old church festivals forbidden, 121

  Omens of death, 239

  Opening doors for departing spirits, 238

  Organs, 89, 98, 99, 102, 104, 106

  Origin of Glasgow Cathedral, 71

  Our Lady, wells dedicated to, 55

  Pagan rites at marriages, 224

  Palls, 247

  Parochial inquisitions, 178

  Parsons at Gretna Green, 229-232

  Peebles bells, 38

  Perth bells, 39, 43

  Pews, introduction of, 140

  Pilgrimages to saints' wells, 60-62

  Pillory, 116, 124, 125

  Poor travellers' hospital, 54

  Prayer-book, introduction of the, 100
    ---- objection to, 255

  Precentor, 88, 104

  Press guarded, 122

  Priest pelted at the Cross, 13

  Private baptism, 198-202

  Proclamations published at crosses, 12

  Psalmody, 100, 101, 102

  Public Penance, 111

  Public worship in olden times, 86-97

  Ransoms for sailors, 156

  Reader, 87

  Rees, Rev. R. Wilkins. Curiosities of Church Finance, 130-161
    ---- Witchcraft and the kirk, 162-193

  Reformation, 1

  Registers of baptisms, 201, 206, 208

  Registers of deaths, 249

  Riddle-turning, 124

  Riding the marches, 16

  Repentance stool, 111, 158

  Roslin, Lord, funeral of, 253

  Royal edicts proclaimed from crosses, 16

  Ruthwell Cross, 26

  Sabbath-breaking, 136

  Saints and holy wells, 46-63

  Scandals and marriage, 217-218

  Schoolmasters, 152

  Scots money, 133

  Scotchmen warned not to follow James VI. to England, 17

  Sculptured tombstones, 23

  Seal of Holyrood Abbey, 32

  Sharp, Archbishop, assassinated, 173

  Silver in bells, 41

  Singing hymns, objections to, 92

  Slanderers punished, 125

  Solemn League of the Covenant, 261

  Spurious money at collections, 146

  Stirling, penance at, 196

  Story of a stool, 255-259

  St. Andrew's Cathedral, 66

  St. Andrew's Well, 56

  St. Bernard's Well, 53

  St. Catherine's Well, 52

  St. Columba's Wells, 48

  St. Corbett's Well, 54

  St. Fergus's Well, 48

  St. Fillan's Well, 50

  St. Giles's Cathedral, Edinburgh, 66

  St. Helena's Wells, 49

  St. Iten's Well, 49

  St. Kentigern, 67

  St. Maelrubha Well, 47

  St. Margaret of Scotland, 29

  St. Medan's Chapel and Well, 50-51

  St. Mulvay's Well, 47

  St. Mungo, 67

  St. Olav's Well, 54

  St. Querdon's Well, 59

  St. Ronan's Well, 48

  St. Thenew's Well, 59

  St. Wallach's Bath, 57

  Sunday observance, 117, 133-138

  Superstitions, marriage, 221

  Swearing, punished for, 124

  Taking snuff in the kirk, 128

  Tokens of death, 237

  Tyack, Rev. Geo. S. The Cross in Scotland, 1-33
    ---- Discipline of the Kirk, 108-129

  Tyninghame, witchcraft at, 184

  Unbaptised children, burial of, 242

  Uncoffined burials, 241

  Votive offerings, 57

  Watching the dead, 238

  Waters, Rev. Alexander. Public worship in olden times, 86-97

  Western Isles, crosses in, 22

  Westminster Assembly of Divines, 87

  Wine at Edinburgh Cross, 11

  Witchcraft, 123

  Witchcraft a capital offence, 164

  Witchcraft and the Kirk, 162-193


[1] "Iona: its History, Antiquities, etc.," by Rev. A. MacMillan and
Robert Brydall, 1898.

[2] "Church and other Bells of Kincardineshire."

[3] "Church and other Bells of Kincardineshire," Eeles.

[4] Chambers' "History of Peebles."

[5] "Bell Lore," North.

[6] Hope's Reprint "Popish Kingdome."

[7] "Bell Lore," North.

[8] "Bell Lore," North.

[9] Eeles.

[10] "Bells of Exeter Cathedral," p. 7.

[11] The Relief Church originated in 1752 in opposition to the system of
patronage, and received its name from its relief from that burden. In 1847
it became, by union with the Secession Church, the United Presbyterian

[12] For the accompanying illustrations of a repentance-stool, and of the
jagg or jougs, I am indebted to Mr Wm. Andrews, from whose work on "Bygone
Punishments" (London 1899) they are taken.

[13] The spelling of this and the following extracts is modernised.



"Valuable and interesting."--_The Times._

"Readable as well as instructive."--_The Globe._

"A valuable addition to any library."--_Derbyshire Times._

The Bygone Series.

In this series the following volumes are included, and issued at 7s. 6d.
each. Demy 8vo, cloth gilt.

These books have been favourably reviewed in the leading critical journals
of England and America.

Carefully written articles by recognised authorities are included on
history, castles, abbeys, biography, romantic episodes, legendary lore,
traditional stories, curious customs, folk-lore, etc., etc.

The works are illustrated by eminent artists, and by the reproduction of
quaint pictures of the olden time.

  BYGONE BERKSHIRE, edited by Rev. P. H. Ditchfield, M.A., F.S.A.
  BYGONE CHESHIRE, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE DEVONSHIRE, by the Rev. Hilderic Friend.
  BYGONE DURHAM, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE GLOUCESTERSHIRE, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE HERTFORDSHIRE, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE LINCOLNSHIRE (2 vols), edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE MIDDLESEX, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE NORFOLK, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE NORTHUMBERLAND, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, by William Stevenson.
  BYGONE SCOTLAND, by David Maxwell, C.E.
  BYGONE SOMERSETSHIRE, edited by Cuming Walters.
  BYGONE SOUTHWARK, by Mrs. E. Boger.
  BYGONE SUFFOLK, edited by Cuming Walters.
  BYGONE SURREY, edited by George Clinch and S. W. Kershaw, F.S.A.
  BYGONE SUSSEX, by W. E. A. Axon.
  BYGONE WARWICKSHIRE, edited by William Andrews.
  BYGONE YORKSHIRE, edited by William Andrews.

"Mr. Andrews' books are always interesting."--_Church Bells._

"No student of Mr. Andrews' books can be a dull after-dinner speaker, for
his writings are full of curious out-of-the-way information and good
stories."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

England in the Days of Old.


_Demy 8vo., 7s. 6d. Numerous Illustrations._

This volume is one of unusual interest and value to the lover of olden
days and ways, and can hardly fail to interest and instruct the reader. It
recalls many forgotten episodes, scenes, characters, manners, customs,
etc., in the social and domestic life of England.

CONTENTS:--When Wigs were Worn--Powdering the Hair--Men Wearing
Muffs--Concerning Corporation Customs--Bribes for the Palate--Rebel Heads
on City Gates--Burial at Cross Roads--Detaining the Dead for Debt--A
Nobleman's Household in Tudor Times--Bread and Baking in Bygone
Days--Arise, Mistress, Arise!--The Turnspit--A Gossip about the
Goose--Bells as Time-Tellers--The Age of Snuffing--State
Lotteries--Bear-Baiting--Morris Dancers--The Folk-Lore of Midsummer
Eve--Harvest Home--Curious Charities--An Old-Time Chronicler.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS:--The House of Commons in the time of Sir Robert
Walpole--Egyptian Wig--The Earl of Albemarle--Campaign Wig--Periwig with
Tail--Ramillie-Wig--Pig-tail Wig--Bag-Wig--Archbishop
Tilotson--Heart-Breakers--A Barber's Shop in the time of Queen
Elizabeth--With and Without a Wig--Stealing a Wig--Man with Muff,
1693--Burying the Mace at Nottingham--The Lord Mayor of York escorting
Princess Margaret--The Mayor of Wycombe going to the Guildhall--Woman
wearing a Scold's Bridle--The Brank--Andrew Marvell--Old London Bridge,
shewing heads of rebels on the gate--Axe, Block, and Executioner's
Mask--Margaret Roper taking leave of her father, Sir Thomas More--Rebel
Heads, from a print published in 1746--Temple Bar in Dr. Johnson's
time--Micklegate Bar, York--Clock, Hampton Court Palace--Drawing a Lottery
in the Guildhall, 1751--Advertising the Last State Lottery--Partaking of
the Pungent Pinch--Morris Dance, from a painted window at Betley--Morris
Dance, temp. James I.--A Whitsun Morris Dance--Bear Garden, or Hope
Theatre, 1647--The Globe Theatre, temp. Elizabeth--Plan of Bankside early
in the Seventeenth Century--John Stow's Monument.

A carefully prepared Index enables the reader to refer to the varied and
interesting contents of the book.

"A very attractive and informing book."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"Mr. Andrews has the true art of narration, and contrives to give us the
results of his learning with considerable freshness of style, whilst his
subjects are always interesting and picturesque."--_Manchester Courier._

"The book is of unusual interest."--_Eastern Morning News._

"Of the many clever books which Mr. Andrews has written none does him
greater credit than "England in the Days of Old," and none will be read
with greater profit."--_Northern Gazette._

Bygone Punishments.


_Demy 8vo, cloth gilt, 7s. 6d. Numerous Illustrations._

CONTENTS:--Hanging--Hanging in Chains--Hanging, Drawing, and
Quartering--Pressing to Death--Drowning--Burning to Death--Boiling to
Death--Beheading--The Halifax Gibbet--The Scottish
Maiden--Mutilation--Branding--The Pillory--Punishing Authors and Burning
Books--Finger Pillory--The Jougs--The Stocks--The Drunkard's
Cloak--Whipping and Whipping-Posts--Public Penance--The Repentance
Stool--The Ducking Stool--The Brank, or Scold's Bridle--Riding the

"A book of great interest."--_Manchester Courier._

"Crowded with extraordinary facts."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"Contains much that is curious and interesting both to the student of
history and social reformer."--_Lancashire Daily Express._

"Full of curious lore, sought out and arranged with much industry."--_The

"Mr. Andrews' volume is admirably produced, and contains a collection of
curious illustrations, representative of many of the punishments he
describes, which contribute towards making it one of the most curious and
entertaining books that we have perused for a long time."--_Norfolk

"Those who wish to obtain a good general idea on the subject of criminal
punishment in days long past, will obtain it in this well-printed and
stoutly-bound volume."--_Daily Mail._

"Mr. William Andrews, of Hull, is an indefatigable searcher amongst the
byways of ancient English history, and it would be difficult to name an
antiquary who, along his chosen lines, has made so thoroughly interesting
and instructive the mass of facts a painstaking industry has brought to
light. For twenty-five years he has been delving into the subject of
Bygone Punishments, and is now one of the best authorities upon obsolete
systems of jurisdiction and torture, for torture was, in various forms,
the main characteristic of punishment in the good old times. The
reformation of the person punished was a far more remote object of
retribution than it is with us, and even with us reform is very much a
matter of sentiment. Punishment was intended to be punishment to the
individual in the first place, and in the second a warning to the rest. It
is a gruesome study, but Mr. Andrews nowhere writes for mere effect. As an
antiquary ought to do, he has made the collection of facts and their
preservation for modern students of history in a clear, straightforward
narrative his main object, and in this volume he keeps to it consistently.
Every page is therefore full of curious, out-of-the-way facts, with
authorities and references amply quoted."--_Yorkshire Post._

Literary Byways.


_Demy 8vo., cloth gilt, 7s. 6d._

CONTENTS:--Authors at Work--The Earnings of Authors--"Declined with
Thanks"--Epigrams on Authors--Poetical Graces--Poetry on Panes--English
Folk Rhymes--The Poetry of Toast Lists and Menu Cards--Toasts and
Toasting--Curious American Old-Time Gleanings--The Earliest American
Poetess: Anne Bradstreet--A Playful Poet: Miss Catherine Fanshawe--A
Popular Song Writer: Mrs. John Hunter--A Poet of the Poor: Mary Pyper--The
Poet of the Fisher-Folk: Mrs. Susan K. Phillips--A Poet and Novelist of
the People: Thomas Miller--The Cottage Countess--The Compiler of "Old
Moore's Almanack": Henry Andrews--James Nayler, the Mad Quaker, who
claimed to be the Messiah--A Biographical Romance: Swan's Strange
Story--Short Letters--Index.

"An interesting volume."--_Church Bells._

"Turn where you will, there is information and entertainment in this
book."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"The volume is most enjoyable."--_Perthshire Advertiser._

"The volume consists of entertaining chapters written in a chatty
style."--_Daily Advertiser._

"A readable volume about authors and books.... Like Mr. Andrews's other
works, the book shows wide out-of-the-way reading."--_Glasgow Herald._

"Dull after-dinner speakers should be compelled to peruse this volume, and
ornament their orations and per-orations with its gems."--_Sunday Times._

"An entertaining volume.... No matter where the book is opened, the reader
will find some amusing and instructive matter."--_Dundee Advertiser._

"Readable and entertaining."--_Notes and Queries._

"Mr. Andrews delights in the production of the pleasant, gossipy order of
books. He is well qualified, indeed, to do so, for he is painstaking in
the collection of interesting literary facts, methodical in setting them
forth, and he loves books with genuine ardour."--_Aberdeen Free Press._

"We heartily commend this volume to the attention of readers who are in
any way interested in literature."--_Scots Pictorial._

The Church Treasury of History, Custom, Folk-Lore, etc.


_Demy 8vo., 7s. 6d. Numerous Illustrations._

CONTENTS:--Stave-Kirks--Curious Churches of Cornwall--Holy Wells--Hermits
and Hermit Cells--Church Wakes--Fortified Church Towers--The Knight
Templars: their Churches and their Privileges--English Mediæval
Pilgrimages--Pilgrims' Signs--Human Skin on Church Doors--Animals of the
Church in Wood, Stone, and Bronze--Queries in Stones--Pictures in
Churches--Flowers and the Rites of the Church--Ghost Layers and Ghost
Laying--Church Walks--Westminster Waxworks--Index. Numerous Illustrations.

"It is a work that will prove interesting to the clergy and churchmen
generally, and to all others who have an antiquarian turn of mind, or like
to be regaled occasionally by reading old-world customs and
anecdotes."--_Church Family Newspaper._

"Mr. Andrews has given us some excellent volumes of Church lore, but none
quite so good as this. The subjects are well chosen. They are treated
brightly and with considerable detail, and they are well illustrated....
Mr. Andrews is himself responsible for some of the most interesting
papers, but all his helpers have caught his own spirit, and the result is
a volume full of information well and pleasantly put."--_London Quarterly

"Those who seek information regarding curious and quaint relics or customs
will find much to interest them in this book. The illustrations are
good."--_Publishers' Circular._

"An excellent and entertaining book."--_Newcastle Daily Leader._

"The book will be welcome to every lover of archæological
lore."--_Liverpool Daily Post._

"The volume is of a most informing and suggestive character, abounding in
facts not easy of access to the ordinary reader, and enhanced with
illustrations of a high order of merit, and extremely
numerous."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"The contents of the volume are very good."--_Leeds Mercury._

"The volume is sure to meet with a cordial reception."--_Manchester

"A fascinating book."--_Stockport Advertiser._

"Mr. Andrews has brought together much curious matter."--_Manchester

"The book is a very readable one, and will receive a hearty
welcome."--_Herts. Advertiser._

"Mr. William Andrews has been able to give us a very acceptable and useful
addition to the books which deal with the curiosities of Church lore, and
for this deserves our hearty thanks. The manner in which the book is
printed and illustrated also commands our admiration."--_Norfolk

Historic Dress of the Clergy.


Author of "The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art."

_Crown, cloth extra, 3s. 6d._

The work contains thirty-three illustrations from ancient monuments, rare
manuscripts, and other sources.

"A very painstaking and very valuable volume on a subject which is just
now attracting much attention. Mr. Tyack has collected a large amount of
information from sources not available to the unlearned, and has put
together his materials in an attractive way. The book deserves and is sure
to meet with a wide circulation."--_Daily Chronicle._

"This book is written with great care, and with an evident knowledge of
history. It is well worth the study of all who wish to be better informed
upon a subject which the author states in his preface gives evident signs
of a lively and growing interest."--_Manchester Courier._

"Those who are interested in the Dress of the Clergy will find full
information gathered together here, and set forth in a lucid and scholarly
way."--_Glasgow Herald._

"We are glad to welcome yet another volume from the author of 'The Cross
in Ritual, Architecture, and Art.' His subject, chosen widely and carried
out comprehensively, makes this a valuable book of reference for all
classes. It is only the antiquary and the ecclesiologist who can devote
time and talents to research of this kind, and Mr. Tyack has done a real
and lasting service to the Church of England by collecting so much useful
and reliable information upon the dress of the clergy in all ages, and
offering it to the public in such a popular form. We do not hesitate to
recommend this volume as the most reliable and the most comprehensive
illustrated guide to the history and origin of the canonical vestments and
other dress worn by the clergy, whether ecclesiastical, academical, or
general, while the excellent work in typography and binding make it a
beautiful gift-book."--_Church Bells._

"A very lucid history of ecclesiastical vestments from Levitical times to
the present day."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"The book can be recommended to the undoubtedly large class of persons who
are seeking information on this and kindred subjects."--_The Times._

"The work may be read either as pastime or for instruction, and is worthy
of a place in the permanent section of any library. The numerous
illustrations, extensive contents table and index, and beautiful
workmanship, both in typography and binding, are all features of
attraction and utility."--_Dundee Advertiser._

The Miracle Play in England,

An Account of the Early Religious Drama.


_Crown 8vo., 3s. 6d. Illustrated._

In bygone times the Miracle Play formed an important feature in the
religious life of England. To those taking an interest in the history of
the Church of England, this volume will prove useful. The author has given
long and careful study to this subject, and produced a reliable and
readable book, which can hardly fail to interest and instruct the reader.
It is a volume for general reading, and for a permanent place in the
reference library.

CONTENTS:--The Origin of Drama--The Beginnings of English Drama--The York
Plays--The Wakefield Plays--The Chester Plays--The Coventry Plays--Other
English Miracle Plays--The Production of a Miracle Play--The Scenery,
Properties, and Dresses--Appendix--The Order of the York Plays--Extract
from City Register of York, 1426--The Order of the Wakefield Plays--The
Order of the Chester Plays--The Order of the Grey Friars' Plays at
Coventry--A Miracle Play in a Puppet Show--Index.

"Mr. Clarke has chosen a most interesting subject, one that is attractive
alike to the student, the historian, and the general reader.... A most
interesting volume, and a number of quaint illustrations add to its
value."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"The book should be useful to many."--_Manchester Guardian._

"An admirable work."--_Eastern Morning News._

"Mr. Sidney Clarke's concise monograph in 'The Miracle Play in England' is
another of the long and interesting series of antiquarian volumes for
popular reading issued by the same publishing house. The author briefly
sketches the rise and growth of the 'Miracle' or 'Mystery' play in Europe
and in England; and gives an account of the series or cycle of these
curious religious dramas--the forerunners of the modern secular
play--performed at York, Wakefield, Chester, Coventry, and other towns in
the middle ages. But his chief efforts are devoted to giving a sketch of
the manner of production, and the scenery, properties, and dresses of the
old miracle play, as drawn from the minute account books of the craft and
trade guilds and other authentic records of the period. Mr. Clarke has
gone to the best sources for his information, and the volume, illustrated
by quaint cuts, is an excellent compendium of information on a curious
byeway of literature and art."--_The Scotsman._

A Book About Bells.


Author of the "Historic Dress of the Clergy," etc.

_Crown, cloth extra, 6s._

CONTENTS:--Invention of Bells--Bell Founding and Bell Founders--Dates and
Names of Bells--The Decoration of Bells--Some Noteworthy Bells--The Loss
of Old Bells--Towers and Campaniles--Bell-Ringing and Bell-Ringers--The
Church-Going Bell--Bells at Christian Festivals and Fasts--The Epochs of
Man's Life Marked by the Bells--The Blessings and the Cursings of the
Bells--Bells as Time-Markers--Secular Uses of Church and other
Bells--Small Bells, Secular and Sacred--Carillons--Belfry Rhymes and
Legends--Index of Subjects, Index of Places.


"A most useful and interesting book.... All who are interested in bells
will, we feel confident, read it with pleasure and profit."--_Church
Family Newspaper._

"A pleasing, graceful, and scholarly book.... A handsome volume which will
be prized by the antiquary, and can be perused with delight and advantage
by the general reader."--_Notes and Queries._

"'A Book About Bells' can be heartily commended."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"An excellent and entertaining book, which we commend to the attention not
only of those who are specially interested in the subject of bells, but to
all lovers of quaint archæological lore."--_Glasgow Herald._

"The book is well printed and artistic in form."--_Manchester Courier._

"'A Book About Bells' is destined to be the work of reference on the
subject, and it ought to find a home on the shelves of every
library."--_Northern Gazette._

"The task Mr. Tyack has set himself, he has carried out admirably, and
throughout care and patient research are apparent."--_Lynn News._

"We heartily recommend our readers to procure this volume."--_The

"An entertaining work."--_Yorkshire Post._

"'A Book About Bells' will interest almost everyone. Antiquaries will find
in it an immense store of information: but the general reader will equally
feel that it is a book well worth reading from beginning to end."--_The
News_, Edited by the Rev. Charles Bullock, B.D.

"An excellent work."--_Stockton Herald._

"It is a well-written work, and it is sure to be popular."--_Hull
Christian Voice._

"Covers the whole field of bell-lore."--_Scotsman._

"Most interesting and finely illustrated."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

Legal Lore: Curiosities of Law and Lawyers.


_Demy 8vo., Cloth extra, 7s. 6d._

CONTENTS:--Bible Law--Sanctuaries--Trials in Superstitious Ages--On
Symbols--Law Under the Feudal System--The Manor and Manor Law--Ancient
Tenures--Laws of the Forest--Trial by Jury in Old Times--Barbarous
Punishments--Trials of Animals--Devices of the Sixteenth Century
Debtors--Laws Relating to the Gipsies--Commonwealth Law and
Lawyers--Cock-Fighting in Scotland--Cockieleerie Law--Fatal
Links--Post-Mortem Trials--Island Laws--The Little Inns of Court--Obiter.

"There are some very amusing and curious facts concerning law and lawyers.
We have read with much interest the articles on Sanctuaries, Trials in
Superstitious Ages, Ancient Tenures, Trials by Jury in Old Times,
Barbarous Punishments, and Trials of Animals, and can heartily recommend
the volume to those who wish for a few hours' profitable diversion in the
study of what may be called the light literature of the law."--_Daily

"Most amusing and instructive reading."--_The Scotsman._

"The contents of the volume are extremely entertaining, and convey not a
little information on ancient ideas and habits of life. While members of
the legal profession will turn to the work for incidents with which to
illustrate an argument or point a joke, laymen will enjoy its vivid
descriptions of old-fashioned proceedings and often semi-barbaric ideas to
obligation and rectitude."--_Dundee Advertiser._

"The subjects chosen are extremely interesting, and contain a quantity of
out-of-the-way and not easily accessible information.... Very tastefully
printed and bound."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"The book is handsomely got up; the style throughout is popular and clear,
and the variety of its contents, and the individuality of the writers gave
an added charm to the work."--_Daily Free Press._

"The book is interesting both to the general reader and the
student."--_Cheshire Notes and Queries._

"Those who care only to be amused will find plenty of entertainment in
this volume, while those who regard it as a work of reference will rejoice
at the variety of material, and appreciate the careful indexing."--_Dundee

"Very interesting subjects, lucidly and charmingly written. The
versatility of the work assures for it a wide popularity."--_Northern

"A happy and useful addition to current literature."--_Norfolk Chronicle._

"The book is a very fascinating one, and it is specially interesting to
students of history as showing the vast changes which, by gradual course
of development have been brought about both in the principles and practice
of the law."--_The Evening Gazette._

Antiquities and Curiosities of the Church.


_Demy 8vo., 7s. 6d. Numerous Illustrations._

CONTENTS:--Church History and Historians--Supernatural Interference in
Church Building--Ecclesiastical Symbolism in Architecture--Acoustic
Jars--Crypts--Heathen Customs at Christian Feasts--Fish and
Fasting--Shrove-tide and Lenten Customs--Wearing Hats in Church--The Stool
of Repentance--Cursing by Bell, Book, and Candle--Pulpits--Church
Windows--Alms-Boxes and Alms-Dishes--Old Collecting
Boxes--Gargoyles--Curious Vanes--People and Steeple
Rhymes--Sun-Dials--Jack of the Clock-House--Games in Churchyards--Circular
Churchyards--Church and Churchyard Charms and Cures--Yew Trees in

"A very entertaining work."--_Leeds Mercury._

"A well-printed, handsome, and profusely illustrated work."--_Norfolk

"There is much curious and interesting reading in this popular volume,
which moreover has a useful index."--_Glasgow Herald._

"The contents of the volume is exceptionally good reading, and crowded
with out-of-the way, useful, and well selected information on a subject
which has an undying interest."--_Birmingham Mercury._

"In concluding this notice it is only the merest justice to add that every
page of it abounds with rare and often amusing information, drawn from the
most accredited sources. It also abounds with illustrations of our old
English authors, and it is likely to prove welcome not only to the
Churchman, but to the student of folk-lore and of poetical
literature."--_Morning Post._

"We can recommend this volume to all who are interested in the notable and
curious things that relate to churches and public worship in this and
other countries."--_Newcastle Daily Journal._

"It is very handsomely got up and admirably printed, the letterpress being
beautifully clear."--_Lincoln Mercury._

"The book is well indexed."--_Daily Chronicle._

"By delegating certain topics to those most capable of treating them, the
editor has the satisfaction of presenting the best available information
in a very attractive manner."--_Dundee Advertiser._

"It must not be supposed that the book is of interest only to Churchmen,
although primarily so, for it treats in such a skilful and instructive
manner with ancient manners and customs as to make it an invaluable book
of reference to all who are concerned in the seductive study of
antiquarian subjects."--_Chester Courant._

Curious Church Customs,



_Demy 8vo, price 7s. 6d._

CONTENTS:--Sports in Churches--Holy Day Customs--Church Bells: When and
Why They were Rung--Inscriptions on Bells--Laws of the Belfry--Ringers'
Jugs--Customs and Superstitions of Baptism--Marriage Customs--Burial
Customs--Concerning the Churchyard--Altars in Churches--The Rood Loft and
its Uses--Armour in Churches--Beating the Bounds--The Story of the
Croiser--Bishops in Battle--The Cloister and its Story--Shorthand in
Church--Reminiscences of our Village Church--Index.

"The book is an interesting addition to antiquarian and popular
literature."--_The Scotsman._

"A highly interesting work.... There are in all nineteen chapters,
containing a large and varied amount of information on many subjects,
respecting which the general public are not too well informed."--_Somerset
County Herald._

"An extremely interesting work."--_The Bazaar._

"A distinctly valuable addition to the literature dealing with the
antiquities of the Church."--_The Evening Post._

"A varied and comprehensive volume, evidently the outcome of much patient
research."--_The World._

"The value of the book is greatly enhanced by an admirable index."--_North
Eastern Gazette._

"It is as interesting as a novel."--_Blackburn Standard._

"We are indebted to Mr. Andrews for an invaluable addition to our library
of folk-lore, and we do not think that many who take it up will skip a
single page."--_Dundee Advertiser._

"A thoroughly excellent volume."--_Publishers' Circular._

"Very interesting."--_To-Day._

"Mr. Andrews is too practised an historian not to have made the most of
his subject."--_Review of Reviews._

"A handsomely got up and interesting volume."--_The Fireside._

The Prime Minister of Würtemburg.


Author of "Ingatherings."

_Crown 8vo. Bound in cloth extra, 3s. 6d._

"This anonymously-written story is of much power, and presents to us a
picture of the Government in Würtemburg a hundred and sixty years ago,
when the reigning Duke Alexandra, in his indulgence and foolishly fond
treatment of his Cabinet Minister and Finance Director, the Jew Siece, has
placed his subjects at the mercy of a crafty and designing man. How his
object to overthrow the hero of the story, Gustave Lanbek, and his father,
by forcing him to take an office which would bring him the contempt of his
friends and the hatred of the people, was ultimately frustrated by the
encompassing of his own ruin, is a plot which is developed and completed
in a most dramatic manner. There is, too, a thread of love-making, the
course of which runs by no means smoothly, deftly introduced into the main
theme of the story, which lightens and relieves the plot. The book is one
which we have thoroughly enjoyed, and both author and publishers are to be
complimented upon the production of a volume effectively written and
attractively printed and bound."--_Norfolk Chronicle._

"The book has the great merit of soon interesting the reader. The get-up
of the book reflects credit upon the publishers."--_Daily Mail._

"A pretty story well told."--_Hull News._



_Crown 8vo. Elegantly bound in cloth extra, 3s 6d._

"This is an exceedingly interesting collection of writings in prose and
poetry. The book opens with a quaint story descriptive of the manner in
which a young German nobleman, by his purity and goodness, delivered an
old baron and his lovely daughter from the power of the evil one. Among
the other pieces of prose are 'The Voices of Nature,' 'A Dream,' 'A
Reverie,' each of which proves the author to possess considerable ability.
Their artistic style is delightfully refreshing. The poems are for the
most part original, but there are one or two gems from the pens of Goethe,
Schiller, and other master-minds. The publishers are to be congratulated
on the general get-up of the book."--_Chester Courant._

The Church Bells of Holderness.


_Crown 8vo, cloth extra. Only 300 copies printed._

CONTENTS:--History--Legends--Marriage Bell--Passing Bell--Priest's
Bell--Litany Bell--Sermon Bell--Saunce Bell--Sanctus Bell--Sacring
Bell--Jesus Bell--Howslinge Bell--The Arc Bell--Curfew Bell--Harvest
Bell--Pancake Bell--Christmas Day--Good Friday--Easter Sunday--All
Hallows'--Royal Oak Day--Gowrie Plot--Gunpowder Plot--Change
Ringing--Dedication of Churches--Inscriptions on the Church Bells of
Holderness--Dedication of Church Bells--Index.

"To all who are interested in church bells Mr. Park's book will afford
interesting reading."--_Hull Times._

"A capital volume includes much out-of-the-way information on the bell in
history, legend, and custom, and cannot fail to entertain all who take an
interest in the church bells."--_Leamington Advertiser._

"Mr. Park's volume makes a welcome contribution to antiquarian
literature."--_Hull Christian Voice._

Essex in the Days of Old.


_Demy 8vo, cloth gilt, 7s. 6d. Numerous illustrations._

CONTENTS:--Witchcraft in Essex--Charles Dickens and Chigwell--Hadleigh
Castle--Daniel Defoe in Essex--Harbottle Grimston, Puritan and Patriot--In
the Reign of Terror--John Locke and Oates--The Homes and Haunts of
Elizabeth Fry--The Notorious Dean of Bocking and the "Eikon
Basilike"--Barking Abbey--The Round Church of Little Maplestead--Waltham
Holy Cross--Queen Elizabeth in Essex--The Salmons and Haddocks of
Leigh--The Dutch Refugees and the Bay and Say Trade--John Strype and
Leyton--The Brass of Archbishop Harsnett--Old Southend--The Bartlow

"An extremely interesting and useful contribution to historic
literature."--_East Anglian Times._

"An attractive volume."--_Norfolk Chronicle._

"The volume is choicely illustrated, and should attract readers far beyond
the county of which it treats."--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._

"It is a readable and useful book."--_The Times._

The Doomed Ship; or, The Wreck in the Arctic Regions.


_Crown 8vo., Elegantly Bound, Gilt extra, 3s. 6d._

"There is no lack of adventures, and the writer has a matter-of-fact way
of telling them."--_Spectator._

"'The Doomed Ship,' by William Hurton, is a spirited tale of adventures in
the old style of sea-stories. Mr. Hurton seems to enter fully into the
manliness of sea life."--_Idler._

"It is not surprising to learn that the Arctic boom has created a great
demand for books of this class, and that the volume before us in
particular is selling rapidly. It is entitled 'The Doomed Ship, or the
Wreck in the Arctic Regions.' By William Hurton. (London: William Andrews
and Co., 5, Farringdon Avenue, E.C. Three Shillings and Sixpence). It is
of general interest, but it is written in an attractive style, nicely
printed, and handsomely bound. Brimful of adventures in the ice-bound
regions of the North, it also gives a great deal of information which the
reading public are taking a great interest in since Dr. Nansen's exploits
have been brought before the world. The story is told in the form of a
narrative by the nephew of the captain of the 'good barque Lady Emily,
chartered from Hull to Tromso, in Holland.' The vessel sailed on a
Friday--an unlucky day in the eyes of superstitious sailors, and which to
their minds accounted for the dire experiences which afterwards befell the
vessel and the crew. The vessel was laden with coals and salt, and, after
leaving Tromso, was to proceed to St. Petersburg to ship timber and deals
for the return voyage. She had twenty-two hands, and at Tromso took on
board a passenger for Copenhagen, in the person of a young Danish lady,
Oriana Neilsen by name. Chepini, an Italian lad, in revenge for being
flogged by the captain's orders, so manipulated the compass that the ship
was taken hopelessly out of her course. Chepini is hung up to the yard
arm. The vessel is at the time surrounded by icebergs, a gale springs up,
and she is forced on to one of the bergs and remains fast by the bow,
while a mutiny occurs among the crew, which is not quelled till the
mutineers are killed, as well as the captain and cook. Oriana plays a
noble part in the affair, and the nephew of the captain and she take
command of the remainder of the crew, now consisting only of "Blackbird
Jim" and an Irishman and a Scotchman. As the ship's bows were stove in,
and it was evident that whenever she cleared the iceberg she would go
down, the longboat was cleared away, and all the provisions and other
necessaries put into it. The survivors landed on an ice-bound shore, and
the story of their adventures, discoveries, and subsequent rescue does not
contain a dull page. Oriana is the heroine throughout, and the late
captain's nephew of course falls in love with her. When they return to
civilisation the couple are, of course, married, and they, also of course,
live happily ever afterwards. All the same, the development of this state
of affairs comes naturally enough in the narrative, which is, as we have
already indicated, full of interest."--_Eastern Morning News._

"The interesting story ends in a satisfactory manner."--_Dundee

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Superscripted characters are indicated by {superscript}.

"St." and "St" are used inconsistently throughout the original text.

The misprint "usua" has been corrected to "usual" (page 224).

Other than the correction listed above, inconsistencies in spelling and
hyphenation have been retained from the original.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bygone Church Life in Scotland" ***

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