Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1403-1528. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Edinburgh, 1869.
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JAMES be the grace of God king of Scottis to the provest and baillies of our burgh Edinburgh greting: Wit ye that with the avys of our counsale for stancheing of the contagious plaige of pestilence now ringing in dyners plcaes within this our realm, and be Goddis grace to eschew siclyk and apperand caus of the samyn in tyme cuming, safer as may be done with dili gence of men, hes deuysit thir statuis and rewlis to be maid and keipit anent the samyn in tyme cuming as eftir followis: oure will is heirfoir and we charge yow straitlie and commandsis that ye mark the saidis statutis and rewlis be kepit within the boundis of your office, that is to say, that ye incontinent in our name and authoretie command and chairge be oppin proclamation at the mercat croce of our said burgh all and sindry our lieges and subjectis, and alsua strangearis of all vther natiouns resorting within this realme, that nane of thame tak vpoun hand to bring within this oure realme, ilis or ony pairt thairof be sey or land, ony infectit guidis fra vther pairtis, bot that thay mak scharp tryall and dillgence to eschew the samyn, bnder the pain of deid; and gif ony thair vnwitting happins to bring ony infectit stuf necligentile that thay incontinent revele the samyn to the provest elderman baillies or officiaris of the place quhair thay arrive, and vse the command of the said officiaris thairin in eschewin the dainger thairof, vnder the pain of deid foirsaid; alssua that na infecttit persoun or persouns man or woman our lieges or strangeris being infectit or cumin fra ony infectit places or persouns or intromitting with ony infectit persounis or gudis cum to kirk mercat priuelie or appertlie be day or nicht or intromet or convers with clene folkis vnder the pain of deis; alssua that na persoun nor persouns of quhatsumeuer estait or degrie close in thair houssis, or put to ony vther places be the provest eldermen baillies or officiaris of the burgh or land quhair thay ar, cum furth of thair houssis or places that thay ar or sal happin to be put to be nivht or day, bot that thay ar or sal happin to be nicht or day, bot that thay keip that waird and houssis committit to thame vnder the pain of deid; Attour all sic infectit persouns as God relevis thame of pestilence and givis thame heall that thay convers nocht nor hant nocht with haill folkis for the soeice of xl dayis thairirefter, without he haif ane quhyt vand in thair hand, or ane quhyt claith sewit vpoun thair brestis, in taikin of thair seiknes gif thay cum furth that vther clane folkis may eschew thame, vnder the pain of deid forsaid; alssua that the houssis ane qubyt claith, in taikin of thair said houssis ane quhyt claith, in taiken of thair infectioun, and that ye within your boundis ane quhyt claith, in taikin of thair infectioun, and that ye within your boundis se that beis fundin doing or attemping to do contrar the premissis statutis and ordinance maid be ws and our counsall for the weill of our realme and lieges be ony maner of way in tyme cuming efter the day and the dait heirof that ye within all your boundis mak thay suspectiti persouns be on force put in sure fermance, and amang vtheris suspectiit personis thair to remane quhill thai be put to ane assys and gyf thai be convict of ony of the said pointtis and articlis that ye put the samyn to excution of deid; Attource that ye caus clengeing to be maid delegentlie of all suspectit personis and guidis, gyf ony be at this tyme, or happinis to be in tyme cuming within the boundis of your office, and tak deligent cure and mak scharp execution heirin as ye will ansuer to ws thairvpoun, and vnder the pane of dittay to be takin of yow for youee necligence buddis or favoris to be pvnist with rigour and ye be fundin necligent or culpabill heirin; Attourece that ye caus all vile and suspect beistis, as doggis swyn, and cattis expecft thame that ar keipit in bandis, to be slane quhairewer thai may be apprehendit within your said boundie the tyme of pestilence, gyf ony happinsi, the quhilkis salbe fre to be slane be all personis officiaris or vtheris that findis thame lous for the tyme, without ony amendis to be maid thairfoir to the pairtie; Attoure that ye in our name command and charge be oppin proclamatioun all our liegis within the boundis of your office to clenge rewes, windis, closis, and guttaris, bayth on baksyd and foresyd, ilk ane of thame for thair avin pairt, within foure dayis nixt efter your chargem vnderu the pane of ane vnlaw of fyve merkis, and to be takin vp and appliit to you and officiaris of our said burgh for the clengeing of the samyn, and that na personis lay middingis at portis or entres of oure said burgh vnder the said pane, and als that all our liegis cum and vse merchandice and bring to oure mercat all necessaris for merket and court, and that everie man answer for his seruandis twiching the observatioun of all thair statutis, vnder the samyn panis; and that ye suffer na beggaris to remane within our said burgh bot thai that has ane takin gevin be yow to thame, and thai to be impotent aged or blind folkis, that ar nocht abill to wyn thari leving within the realme vtherwayis, as ye will ansuer to ws thairvpoun. The quhilk to do we commiy to yow coniunctle and seuerall eoure full power be thir our lettres. Gevin vnder your signet at Edinburgh the xvij day of Januar, and of our regnne the xxv yeir.
De speciali mandato S.D.N.Regis literatiorie per suam subscriptionem manualem, etc. Et principalis litera est posita in domo thesaurari villa in custodia. [By the special command in writing of our Sovereign Lord in King by his sign manual: And the principal letter is put in keeping in the house of the treasurer of the town.] (This lettre contenit in the said bulk—ane gild bulk.—Tr.)
Item, it is statute and ordanit be the provest baillies and counsale of this town, till eschew the contagious seikness of pestilence laitlie rissin in the Dene, that na maner of persoun man nor woman dwelland thairintill enter or repair within this towne, vnder the payne, of birning gif it be a woman on the cheik, ang gif it bea man of sic pvnitioun as sall be thocht expedient. Item, that na maner of persoun of vther infectit places dwelland outwith this towne enter or repair thairintill without speciall licence of the provest and baillies, vnder the paynis contenit in the statutes maid before; and als that the nichtboures and indwellares of this towne nather ressaitt harbery hele or conceill thame in thair houses vnder the said payne.
The quhilk day, the provest baillies counsale and communitie, fo the commoun weill and proffeit of the toun, and guid reull thairintill to be had efter thair passage to the Kingis armye, and for that intent thai haue lymlt chosin and left behind thame George of Towris, president, for the prouest, Robert Brus, William Lokkart, William Adamesoun and William Clerk, for the baillies, till haue full jurisdictioun in thair absence til do justice, mak statutis neidfull for the commouen weill, and punis trespassouris as they think convenient for the quantitie of the trespas; and at ilk nycht thai cheis and gar mak ane sufficient wache for the keiping of the toun be the personis that happenis to remane at hame, the quarter of thame ilk nycht; and quhat persone hapinis till disobey till pas vpoun the said wache ilk ferd nycht that thai be put in presone thair till remane quhill the provestis hame cumming.
It is statute and ordanit for the commoun proffeit that na fruit seller be fundyn opinlie selland frute or vthir stufe at the mercat croce nor vther places outwith thair awin houssis efter ix houris at evin, vnder the pane of escheit of thair frute and punisching of thair personis.
Item, it is statutt and ordanitt, for the commoun weill and proffeitt of the inhabitaris and nychtbouris of this toun, that na vagand persoun be fundin on the gaitt after ix°houris at ewin bot gif it be for ane lawful caus, and that with candill licht, and that the personis havand sic lawfull caus pas with licht as said is and schaw thame to the wache present for the tyme that thai may convene thair; and quhat persoun beis apprehendit be the wache doand in the contrair that the wache tak thame and put thame in firmance quhill on the morn, and than be punist be the saidis personis haivand the provest and baillies facultie tharito as mycht mak acts, according to thair demeritts; and that all maner of personis pas to our Souerane Lordis army vnder the panys contenit in the procalmatioun maid thairvpoun of befoir.
It is statute and ordanit be the personis aboue written, presidentis, for the prouest baillies and counsall, for the commoun weill, that all personis that remains at hame fra our Souerane Lordis armye that thai compeir in thair quarter place of the toun the tyme of the calling of the wache for the Kingis honour and keiping of the toun and commoun proffeit thairof, that thair names may be put in writt in the wache buke, that other thai may be found heir thairintill or in the wache buke with thair provest, vnder the panys contenit in our Souerane Lordis procalamtioun maid abefoir vpoun the foirganging of his armye.
It is statute and ordanit, for the commoun proffeit ans weill of this toun, and all vthers our Souerane [Lordis] liegis, for the eschewing be the supplie grace and help of Almichte God the dainger of that contagious seikness of pestlince, that in tyme to cum for the space of xv dayis that all merchandis that hes merchand buithis hald thame clositt, and contract na maner of merchandice byand or selland, and speciale of woll hyd claith skynnis bot alanerlie the stuf of meit and drink, and that alway thai hald thair wyndois steikit and clositt, and thair durris nocht be opinit bot for ane ressonable caus, vnder the panys as salbe thocht to the wisdome of the toun convenit thairfore.
We charge straitlie and commandis in our Souerane Lord the Kingsi name that all maner of personis that ar cummyng fra his army that thai address thame and returne agane thairto, and that all nychtbouris of this toun fensabill personis that thai siclyke pas in thair best aray bodin for weir till our said Sourerane Lordis army, and present thame to the prouest of this toun, vnder the panys contenit in our Souerane Lordis lettres direct vpoun the foirganging of his army, viz. tynsal of lyfe land and guid, certifeand that the names of all sic fensabill personis habill for weir remanend at hame fra the said army salbe put in writt that thai may be responsabill to our Souerane Lordis returning be Goddis grace hame agane.
We do yow to witt, Forsamekill as thair is ane greit rumour now laitlie rysin within this toun tuiching our Souerane Lord and his army, (fn. 1) of the quhilk we understand thair is cumin na veritie as yit, thairfore we charge straitlie and commandis in our said Souerane Lord the Kingis name, and the presedentis for the provest and baillies within this burgh, that all maner of personis nychtbouris within the samyn haue reddye thair fensabill geir and wapponis for weir, and compeir thariwith to the said presidentis at jowyng of the commoun bell, for the keiping and defens of the toun aganis thame that wald invalid the samyn.
And als charigis that all wemen, and specialie vageboundis, that thai pas to thair labouris and be nocht sene vpoun the gait clamorand and cryand, vnder the pane of banesing of the personis but fauouris, and that the vther wemen of gude pas to the kirk and pray quhane tyme requiris for our Souerane Lord and his armye and nychtbouris being thairat, adn hald thame at thair previe labouris of the gait within thair houssis as efferis.
Dauid Broun is be the sensyment of the presidents, for the provest baillies and counsale, banist this towne indurand thair will for the distrublance done thairintill be him till ane Scottisman twicheing the clame of ane swerid, and for the breking of the procalamtion for pece and the statutes of the towne. (In the convict buik begynning in Julij 1505.—Tr.)
The said day Jhone Thomesoun is in lukewyse for his comtemptioun and breking of the said proclamatioun and statutis in distrublance and drawing of blude of Sande Willesoun cordiner is convict, and thairfore he wes denuncit to be had to the trone and thair strikkin throw the hand and banist the towne induring thair willis. (Ibidem.Tr.)
The baillies and counsale hes ordanit that na swyne within this towne be haldin bot into band, or ellis devoyde thame furth of the towne, betuix this and Sonday nixttocum, vnder the payne of banesing of the awneris and slawchter of the sawyne quhairuir thai may be fundin within this toun, after the effect of the awld statutes maid thairvpoun.
It is statute and ordanit be the president baillies ad counsale for the commoun weill of this guid toun that the watche sall be nychtlie had of xxiiij personis sufficient, and thairfor that all personis nychtbouris of this toun sall furnis the samyn on thair expenssis, baith wedowis and vtheris, and ilk ane of thame that disobeys is sall pay twa s. for ane vnlaw vnforgevin, and to be poyndit thairfore als oft as the case hapinis, and that thai that hes disobeyit in tyme bygane pay for ilk tyme viij d. failyeand thairof thati to be poyndit for ij s .ilk tyme.
[In an Act of Council, dated 1st February 1586, which prescribes certain constitutions for the coordiners, reference is made to a Seal of Cause having benn granted to them by the Magistrates and Council, of the above date, in which they "limitt and ordanet certane persouns maisters and oversmen of the said craft, sworne in thair presence, quha suld euery market day diligentlie serche, visie and sie sll maid wark and barket ledder cummand and presentet in the market, and it that they find sufficeient till mark it; and quhair they find fals feyngyeit wark or barket ledder, the sercheris till bring it to the provest and baillies for the tyme, and at the will of thame to escheit the stufe faltive, and the persouns to pvneis as effeires, sua that the Kings's lieges be nocht dissavit: and that na sic stufe be sauld on the market-day quhill the sercheris have visit the samyn. Nor yit that nane be stoikkin up to sell quhill seven houris at somer and nine houris in wynter before none, vnder the payne of escheit and pvnesing the persouns as said is. And that na outlands folk dwelland without this burgh, nor unfreeman by any rwch hydes nor barkit ledder within this toun bot on the market-day allernarlie, vnder the payne above written. And attour, for certane resonabill causis moving thair predecessours, bayth for honestie of the said burgh and profit of the said stufe, maid wark and others perteining to the said craft, they locat, limitt, and ordanet the market place for selling of thair work and vther stufe foresaid in the market day in the Kowgaitt, fra the new well to the Grayfreris allenarly, as at lenth is containet in the said letter, " or Seal of Cause.]