Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1573-1589. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Edinburgh, 1882.
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[The provost, bailies, and council appointed Thomas Cok, merchant and William Harvie, tailor, "equallie and coniunctlie, jadgeares, wrakeris, visitouris and markeris of the haill hering and quhyte fische that sall cum within the port and heivin of Leyth and privelege of Edinburgh, conforme to the act of parliament maid thairanent, (fn. 1) during thair lyfetymes," and cautioners were bound with them for performance of their offices, "viz., that thai, be thame selffes, thair deputs, cowpares, and seruands sall faythfullie and trewlie execute and vse thair offices, and sall caus all the heiring and quhyte fische that sall cum within the said port and heavin of Leyth and fredome of Edinburgh to be strukin vp, visitet and wraket, and the treyis thairof to be jageit conforme to the jage and standart, and to devyde the guid and sufficient fische fra the wrak and evill, and to confisk and escheitt the fals treyis, and to juge the guid fische to haif thir qualiteis, viz., the heiring to be callour slayne, stif, cleir, and vngilt or spawnit, having heid and taill with melt and rawne, weill guttet, saltet, and pynet, and to be weill laid, paket, saltet, and presset within sufficient stark treyis of guid bind and lichtnes, and sall mark and burne the samyn with the towne irne conforme to the said act as guid and sufficient;" also to "juge and decerne vpoun the sufficiencie of the keilling, lyng and codling," and "jadge the salmond conforme to the just jadge and se thai be brynt and market be the burghes to quhome the power thairof is grantet be the said act of parliament."]
The provest, bailyeis, and counsall, directis William Fairlie and James Merchell to pas to the Kings Grace to Falkland, with ane lettre fra the toun desyrand licence to thame to pas to maister Jhonn Howesoun, minister, in waird, and gett the contract betuix the toun and him subscryuet.
Jhonn M'Gregour, wairdet for blasphemyng, in the hie streitt, of the guid word of God and ministers thairof, thairfore ordanis him to be putt in the jogs at the Tron at xij houris and to stand thairin quhill vj houris at evin, and to be oblist neuir to do the lyke vnder the payne of scurgeing and banesing.
Vnderstanding that thair is ane suspicioun of the pest rissin in the toun of Wester Wemys, thairfor ordanis Androw Sclater and James Henrysoun, chirurgeane, to pas and try the sam, that the town may tak ordour in tyme for eschewing thairof.
Gevis power and commissioun to Henrie Nesbet, bailyie, maister Michaell Chisholme and Thomas Miller, to pas to the Kings grace, and in name of the town to schaw the estaitt of the abbacie of Paislay, as the town hes fund after tryell of the rentale thairof, quhow it is nocht onlie diminishet in the rentall bot alswa consumet in pensiouns, and thairfore to seik the remedie and to sie gif thai can purches the escheits of the pensioners quha ar rebellis, and to do heirin be informatioun of the said maister Michaell. Alswa to lawbour and travell at his Maiesteis hands for the libertie of maister Jhonne Howesoun, minister, and gif it be nocht obtenit, that he may be tryet with diligence and beand fund innocent may be fred without delay.
It wes reportet be my [lord] provest that the Kingis Maiestie, for caussis knawin to his grace, desyret that ane guid watche mycht be keipit in the toun, speciallie be nycht, thairfore ordanis the Kirk of Feild port, Watter Yett and Kowgaitt port, to be closet, ten persouns to be augmentet to the nicht watche, and vj persouns to be put to ilk port, viz., the Nether Bow and West Port, and that the bailyies in thair quarteris sie the premissis done and guid ordour keipet for gairding of the toun.
Vnderstanding that the seiknes of the pest is brokkin vp in the toun of Waster Weymis, be occasioun of certane houshald guidis and vther wairis cum fra Flanders quhair the said seiknes is vehement, and be the lyk way may be spred in the cuntrie gif remeid be nocht provydet, tharfore ordanis proclamatioun to be maid throuch this burgh and town of Leyth that na maner of persouns, merchants, passingers or vthers, presume or tak vpoun hand to transport or bring hame frome ony pairt of Flanders any maner of bedding, howshald geir, spraichrie wairis, or siclyk guidis, quhairby any daynger of infectioun may arryse; and siclyke that na skippers tak or resaue any sic guids in thair schips or veschells fra this day furth, vnder the paynis of byrning and destroying of the said guids and pvnessing of the hame bringers and skippers to the deid; and sic persouns as hes brocht hame any sic guids that thai cum incontinent and mak intimatioun to the bailyeis, offer and present the sam to thame that thai may tak ordour thairwith vnder the paynis foresaids; and als that na skippers of schips, merchants, passingers or vthers cumand fra any dayngerous or suspect pairt of Flanders, lose thair guidis or repair thame selff amangs the Kings lieges before thai or thair guidis be visetit be the bailyeis or sic as sall be depute thairto, vnder the payne before mentionat.
Ordanis the wawpunschawing of this burgh to be maid the tent of August instant and the nychtbouris to be wairnet thairto be oppin proclamatioun, vnder the payne of v li., by the Kingis grace vnlaw, and to haif all lang wawpuns as speir or pik or hakbuts with thair furnesings, vnder the sam payne. And ordanes the thesaurer, be the avyse of Hew Lawder, to caus mak and bye ane hundreth futemenis speiris to be delyuerit to thame that wantis speiris or piks and thay to be cawset pay for the sam.
In respect the commoun and wechtie effairis of this burgh ar grittumelie incressit and can nocht be owertane vpoun the twa foirnone tymes of the ordiner counsall dayes, thairfor ordanis ilk Tysdaye efternone to be ane ordiner tyme for the bills and vther caussis lyand ower, and to convene at twa houris, the bell to be rung and the absents to be vnlawet as on the counsall dayes.
For keiping guid ordour within this burgh and eschewing of trubill and nicht walking, it is thocht expedient that at ten houris at evin, nichtlie, the greitt bell gif fourty jowes or thairby, and fra the ceissing thairof that nane be fund in the Hie Streitt, vnder the payne of xx s. and imprysonment during the townis will.
Vnderstanding that the pestilence is greitt in the toun of the Wemys and the pepill puir and neidy, thairfore fynds guid that ane collectioun be gadderit to thair support of sic as willinglie will contribute thairto, and appoyntis Androw Sclater, William Fairlie and William Harvie, to pas throw the towne and gadder the said contributioun.
At the desyre of maister Hercules Rollok, maister of the hie schole, and for the repairing and ordoring thairof, ordanis the thesaurer to caus mend and repair the glas wyndois, the lokis, bands, and vther pertinents thairof, to furneis the well with bukkets and watter stands, repair and mend the dykes, and hing the bell thairof commodiouslie; and the expenssis thairof sall be allowet in his compts. Secundlie. That all vther grammer scholes within the liberty of this burgh be visetet and dischairget, and that maister William Robertoun, awld maister, haif na ma disciples nor is appoyntet to him be the towne. Thridlie. That all burgessis of this burgh haiving thair childrein in hous with thame be dischairget fra putting or retening thair bairnis at ony vther schole for leirning of grammer except the said hie schole within certane dayes, vnder ane amand to be payet to the said maister Hercules euery quarter for euery bairne vtherwayes teachet. Fourtlie. Appoyntes James Nicoll, bailyie, Jhonn Jhonestoun, maister Jhonn Prestoun and Henry Chairters to convene togidder on Sonday nixt at efternone, with sic learnet men as may be had in this burgh, to gif thair avyse and jugement and sett downe the forme of ane certane cours and ordour of buikis and professions to be tawcht within the said hie schole, and to distingueis the sam fra that quhilk sall be teachet in the College. Last. Gevis command to the commoun clerk to gif to the said maister Hercules the dowbill of the contract betuix the guid towne and him, and of all vther contracts, decreitts, priveleges and acts, maid in favouris of any maisteris of the said schole in tyme past, and sic writtes as ar in the hands of the said maister William Robertoun concerning the said schole be gottin and resauet fra him.
[The bailies and council,] for eschewing of the inconvenients of the pest, ordanis the bailyeis of Leyth, ilk xxiiij houris, to place four nichtbouris of Leyth and ane officer to attend at the schore vpoun the landing of the boits and trying and seing the testimonialls, and the persouns refusand to attend to be poyndet for ane vnlaw of v li. vnforgevin; and siclyk ordanis proclamatioun to be maid vpoun the schore of Leyth that na boittes land at the Newheavin, Grantoun Craigs, or any vther pairt betuix the Quenisferrie and Leyth bot in Leyth allanerlie, vnder the payne of tynsall of the boitt and imprisonment of thair persouns, and that intimatioun heirof be maid to Kingorn and Bruntiland; attour, for provyding of spedie remeid incais ony seiknes suld aryse within this toun or in Leyth, as God forbid, it is thairfore thocht expedient that the belman of this burgh cum to ilk bailyie according to his quarter quhairin any persoun sall happin to deciss any maner of way and schaw the sam to the said bailyie, quha sall pas, visie, and try quhat seiknes that persoun deyet into, and thairafter the corps to be bureit and the bell to gang throw the toun and na vtherwayes, and the lyke ordour to be keipet in Leyth.
Ordanis William Fairlie and Thomas Myller to pas to the Kings grace, with ane lettre of the guid townis in favouris of maister Jhonn Howesoun, minister, cravand his libertie or at the leist that he may be wairdet in this toun or in Glasgow vpoun cawtioun quhill his caus be tryet. Als that be the way thai aduerteis Kingorne and Bruntisland that na boats land bot at Leyth.
Inrespect of the honour and dignitie sumtyme borne within the towne be vmquhill Archibald Stewart, quha wes provost of the sam, and for vther guid caussis and consideratiouns moving thame, grantes and consentis that the said Archibald sall be bureit within the Hie Kirk of this burgh at the ile callit St. Antones Ile.
Ordanis Thomas Aikenheid, [and four others,] to pas and visie the eill ark at the eist end of the North Loch, and at thair sicht the soill of the syour of the rin of the said loch to be repairit be the said thesaurer.
Inrespect of the absence of the townis awin ministeris and that the Kings Maiesteis ministers quha suppleit thair rowme now occupeis nocht the place, quhairby the toun is destitute of teacheris, for remeid thairof hes thairfore thocht expedient that Alexander Clerk of Balbirnie, provest of the said burgh, [and six others,] in name of the toun and kirk, sall pas to the Kings Maiestie and gif in thair supplicatiouns anent the premissis, desyrand that his Maiestie will tak ordour thairwith; and incais it may nocht stand with his Maiesteis plesour that thair awin ministeris be drawin hame that his grace will provyde sic ministeris as his Maiestie thinks worthie to supplie thair places.
[The bailies and council] being convenit and Jhonn Leyes, merchant, callit in before thame and accuset for blasphemous and iniurious wordis spokin be him in audience of Henry Nesbet, bailyie, on yisterday quhen he wes chairget to pay his extent, sayand that he wald the devills of hell wer bailyeis and the mekill horne devill provest, and curset thame that maid the agreance betuix merchants and craftismen; als for in passing to waird beand chairget thairto confesset the said wordis, and thairfore wes commandet in waird quhill forther ordour wer tane with him thairanent.
Inrespect the tyme of electioun of the counsall, deykins, and magestrats is at hand, fynds expedient to mak the number of the counsall full, and thairfore electit the persouns following in place of thame that ar absent. …
Vnderstanding that the spous of maister James Lowsoun is chairget to devoyde and remove fra the lugeing sumtyme occupeit be hir said spous, within the quhilk is placeit the townis librarie; lyk as his said spous, comperand, offerit the keys of the said lugeing to the town with the said librarie and haill tymmer wark inputt in the said lugeing be the toun, thairfore ordanis William Littill, bailyie, to resauve the said keyis and he and maister Johnn Prestoun, maister Michaell Chisholm, Dauid Williamsoun and William Harvie to pas and resauve the said lugeing, inuentour the tymmer wark and buiks, and the said William Littill to keip the sam quhill forther ordour be tane thairwith.
Thomas Copland, merchant, merchant, beand accuset for the speking of iniurious wordis in audience of Henrie Nesbet, bailyie, wes ordanet to pay to the maisteris of the hospitall the sowm of fourty schillings in name of the puir to by thame coillis and to ask the toun forgifnes. Siclyke, Jhonn Leyis, beand wardet for his enormiteis, conform to ane act maid thairvpoun, wes ordanet to pay xl s. to the said hospitall, mak reddy payment of his extent, to ask the bailyie and guid toun forgifnes quhair he offendet, and nocht to do the lyke heirafter vnder the payne of xl li. and tynsall of his fredom.
Comperit William Littill, bailyie, maister Michaell Chisholm and maister Jhonn Prestoun, and declairet that conform to the commission gevin to thame, thai had past to the lugeing of maister James Lowsoun, minister, quhair thai fand the touns librarie in place according to the inventour assignet thairwith, togidder with the haill skelffs, buirds, futegangs, pres and tymmer wark, with the loks, keyis and bandis; thairfore the said provest, bailyeis, and counsall exoneris and discharges the said maister James of the act maid concerning the custody of the said bukes, and ordanis the sam to be deleitt; and siclyke grantes thame to haif resauet the said lugeing and all necessaris thairof imputt thairin be the toun and the Kings grace charge fulfillet and obeyet be the said maister James spous in all poynts; and ordanis William Littill to haif the keyis and custodie of the said lugeing and librarie quhill forther ordour be tane thairwith be the guid toun.
For the weill of the estaitts of frie burrowes, ordanis ane article to be gevin in to this present parliament aganes all craftismen quha remaynis in the suburbs of burghs and places thair about, and Henry Nesbet, bailyie, and William Fairlie to caus the said article be formet and gevin in to the lordis of articles.
Comperit [blank] Marioriebankis, the spous of maister Walter Balcanquell, minister, and conform to the charge gevin to hir be our Souerane lords lettres, declaret that scho had red and maid voyde the ministers lugeing occupeit be hir and desyret to be exonerit thairof. Siclyke, comperit the spous of Jhonn Cairnis, minister, and in name of Jhonn Dury, minister, and his spous, producet the keyes of the lugeing sumtyme occupeit be the said Jhonn. Quhilkis keyis the said provest, bailyeis, and counsall cawset William Littill, bailyie, to resaue and keip quhill ordour wer tane with the said lugeing, and exoneris and discharges the said ministers and thair spous of the samyn.
Ordanis the townis librarie, skelffis and buirds thairof, to be transportet furth of the lugeing sumtyme occupeit be maister James Lowsoun, minister, and set vp in the townis college in a hous convenient, at the sicht of William Littill, bailyie, and to be delyuerit to maister Robert Rollok, maister of the said college, and he to be oblist to the custody thairof.
The provest, bailyeis, counsall, and deykins of crafts, beand convenit for the maist pairt, ordanis proclamatioun to be made dischairgeing any nychtbouris of this burgh to repair to Dysart, Kirkcaldie, Wemys, or any pairt suspect of the pest, and that nane of the said places presume to resort within this burgh or fredome thairof vnder the payne of deid.
Ordanis Jhonn Watt, ane of the collectouris of the vnlawes, vpsetts, etc., to gif to Robert Wyller, Robert Steid, and Thomas Wodyer, puir Inglis tymmer men come fra Norway, the sowm of thre pund to help thair expenssis hame ower.
Appoyntis William Littill, Androw Sclater, Jhonn Watt, thesaurer, and Jhonn Bannatyne to pas to Leyth, and thair to se quhat ordour is keipet on the schore at the tydes, and to putt reformatioun with sic substantial ordour as thai fynd expedient, and to report to the towne.
The provest, and sa mony of the bailyies and counsall as wer presentlie convenit, inrespect that it is bruittet that the pest incressis daylie in Fyfe and is laitlie brokkin vp in St. Jhonestoun, thairfore ordanis proclamatioun to be maid that nane of the Kings graces sowldiouris or gaird, nor na persoun quha hes bene in St. Jhonestoun or ony suspect place, presume be thameselffis, thair wyffes, seruandis or guidis, to cum within the libertie of this burgh, and gif ony be come that thai depairt incontinent, vnder the payne of deid. And appoyntes Jhonn Watt and Henry Blyth to pas to Strabrok and trye gif ony seiknes be thair, and als takand with thame ane officer of airmes to pas to the Quenisferrie and caus the Kings grace proclamatioun to be maid dischargeing all boits to pas thair, and maister Michaell Chisholm and Thomas Myller to pas to Leyth and dischairge the boits thairof.
[The provost, bailies and council,] with ane pairt of the eldares and deaconis of the kirk, considering that the kirk of this burgh is destitute of pastures and teachers, throw the absence of thair awin ministers, thairfore votet and consentet, in presens of my lord bischop of Sanctandrois, that the Kings Maiestie suld nominat and assigne furth twa of thir persouns quhome his Maiestie fand maist expedient, to witt, maister Dauid Lyndsay, minister of Leyth, maister Peter Blaikburne of Abirdene, and maister Jhonn Craig and Jhonn Dunkesoun, his graces awin ministers, to occupie that place.
In respect of the absence of Jhonn Cairnis, minister, be ordinance of the secreitt counsall, thairfore ordanis Cudbert Sandersoun, maister of a schole, to reid the commoun prayers morning and evening quhill the hamecoming of the said Jhonn or quhill forther ordour be tayne heiranent.
Appoyntis maister Michaell Chisholme and William Harvie, with Alexander Purves, to try and inquyre at James Marioribankis, noter, and vthers, the estait and ordour of the awld fundatioun of the lipper hous besyde Dyngwall, and to speik maister James Bannatyne anent his title thairof, and to report the nixt counsall day.