Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1573-1589. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Edinburgh, 1882.
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Jhonne Guthre, clerk of Leyth, confessit and grantet him to haif resauet in name of the guid toun awchtein cowrt buiks of the toun of Leyth, writtin be vmquhill Jhonn Robertsoun, clerk thairof, and his seruandis, to witt, ane court buik begynnand 4 Decembris 1567 and ending xj Aprilis 1573, certane court buikis fra the xj of Julij 1573 to the viij of Marche 1575, extending to sevin buiks, ane buik begynnand 5 Junij 1576 and endand xv of November 1576, ane buik begynnand xvij Novembris 1576 and endand xv Maij 1577, ane buik begynnand xvi of Maij 1577 and endand xiiij Novembris 1577, ane buik begynnand xv Novembris 1577 and endand the penult of May 1578, ane vther buik begynnand viij Junij 1580 and endand xxv Octobris that yeir, ane buik begynnand the last of May 1578 and endand xx Januarij 1578, ane minute or scrow buik begynnand in November 1569 and endand in May 1570, ane buik begynnand the xvj Aprilis 1574 to the xxvij of Julij that yeir, ane buik of the daitt xiij Decembris 1572 and endand the viij of Julij 1573, ane scrow buik begynnand viijo Septembris 1568 and endand the xxix Martii 1569, making in the haill awchtein buikis. Quhilkis he oblist himselff to mak furthcumand to the prouest, baillies, and counsale of this burgh quhen thai pleis call thairfore.
Vnderstanding the haill merchants and mariners of the schip callit the William of Leyth quhilk wes infectit with the pest and lyand at S. Colmes Inche, to be haillie transported furth of the said Inche, and that na infectioun is apperand to follow, prayset be God, the only clengeris remanand in the said ile quha hes biddin this laug tyme thair and hes bene clengeit, thairfore ordanis maister William Balfour, baillie in Leyth, to caus thame be clengeit of new in the said ile, and thairafter transportet and incluset in the houssis at the New Heavin in maist sure maner quhill forther ordour be tane with thame.
[The provost, bailies, council and deacons of crafts] ratifeis, approvis and consentis to the appoyntment to be maid betuix the toun and Jhone Gib anent the prouestrie of the Kirk of Feild, as the samyn is commonit and agreit with the said Jhone, be my lord provest and the persouns deput for the making thairof. Quhilk persouns thai ordane to schaw the same to the townes assessouris and to tak thair avyse thairanent for supplying thairof gif neid beis as thai find may stand with the townes better security.
For preseruatioun of the toun in this apperant trublis [tyme,] hes accordit that ane nichtly watche be sett of the nychtbouris of this burgh and suirly kepit be the commanders of the fifties, euery man and his company thair nycht about, and the baillies to sie the sam be nocht swa slak and negligent as it hes bene in tymes past, and the absents to be vnlawet for the vnlaw of xl s. ilk persoun without any favour.
Ordanis proclamatioun to be maid that na gyrs wemen nor vtheris pas within the South Loch to cheir the gyrs thairof, hary the burd nestis, tak away the eggis of the saming befoire Midsymmer nixt, vnder the payne of skurgein.
Vnderstanding that heirtofoire thaire Sowith Loch hes bene gritlie misvsit and evill handlit in sindrye pairtis thairof, bot specialie at the clowse, be sindry personis be thaire priuate commoditie, latting owt and halding in the sam at thair plesour, breking the clowse and distroying the fischeing; and thaire nychtbour, Edward Galbrayth, having oft tymes desyrit ane tak of the commodity of the rin of the said loch and offerit thairfoire ather to pay xiij s. iiij d. yeirlie to the commoun rent or ellis to vphald the calsey at the eist end of the said loch, sa far as the loch boundis at that eist end of the samyng, beand anes maid sufficient to him, and forther, to latt owt in the said loch at the townis plesour. Quhilk offer being fund ressonabil and to tend to the weill of the burgh, therfoire the saidis prouest, bailles, cownsale and deykines hes sett … to the said Edward, his airis, assignais and subtennentis, ane or ma, all and haill the rin of the said loch and all commodity that mey redound to him thairthrow [for 19 years from this date]. For the quhilk caussis, the said Edward hes obleist him selff and his foirsaidis to mak, big and repaire the said calsay at the eist end of the said loch, sa far as the said loch boundis of breid at the eist end, in substantious maner at all pairtis neidfull and falteis thairof, and to vphald the same sufficientlie in all thingis during this present tak, and to clame na farther titill to the girs of the said loch bot as ane common nychtboure of the towne, and farther to mak ane sufficient clowse in the said loch, at the sicht of the prouest, bailleis and counsale, and the same to dame in or latt furth swa oft as thai sall think neidfull, in somer or wynter. And becaus the repairing of the said calsay wilbe sumpteous and greitt expenssis to the said Edward, and the commoditie of the said rin is ane thing of littill consequence and hes nocht bein regairdit hitherto, thairfore thai have grantit to gif to the said Edward the sowme of ten lib. to help him to repaire the said calsay.
Ordanis Johne Robesone, thesaurer, to caus red the grund of the townis land and waist besyde the schoir of Leyth, callit the Burse, and to dyke and fowsie the same, and to sett vp ane place thairvpoun and ordour the townis aisler staynis lyand owt of ordour and in perrell of tynsale and steilling.
Ordanis lettres missewes to be direct to the conseruatour in Flanderis in faworis of Williame Broun and certane merchantis of this burgh, be quhome it is complenit that the said conseruatour stayis thaire gudis in the stapill at Campheir, compelling thame to mak markatt thaire and will nocht suffer thame to transport the saming in the countrie, to thaire gritt hurt and preiudice of thaire priuelegis.
Grantis, gewis, and disponis to Margatt and Issobell Lilleis, laufull dochteris to vmquhill Mathow Lillie, the escheit of all guidis, geir, jowellis, sowmis of money and vtheris quhatsumewer quhilk appertenit to the said Mathow in tyme of his deceis and now fallin and become in the hands of the guid toun as escheit throw being of him conuict and execute to the deid, befoire the provest and bailleis of the burgh, for the cruell slauchter of wmquhile Barbary Sym, his spous.
Ordanis Johne Robesone, thesaurer, to pay to Alexander Wddart, baillie, Johne Harrot, and William Littill, the sowme of saxe pund auchtein s. iiij d. for thaire expenssis in passing in the townis effaires to Sanct Colmis Inche for visiting of the aisler stanes thaire quhilk ar to be brocht to the townis warkis.
Anent the supplicatioun gewin in for the pairt of the inhabitants in the toun of Leith, desyring thaire present extent to be dischairgit, in respect of thaire present povertie, and that thai war nocht in vse in paying of ony extent to thaire superioris in tymes bypast, findis the contrarie heirof to be of weritie, and thairfoire ordanis thame to mak payment of the said extent nochtwithstanding the premissis. And als ordanis the bailleis of Leith to dischairge the baxteris thairof of bakein of ony aitt laewis conforme to the proclamatioun maid thairvpoun.
The prouest, baillies and counsale dischairges Robert Gourlaw, buikbinder, of all tred of merchandice within thair fredome quhill he be maid frie burges with the towne, vnder the payne of escheitt of his guidis quhaireuir he may be apprehendit within the samyn.
Becaus it wes meanit that maister Thomas Buquhanane, kepare of the privy seill, is verray exorbitant in his pryces for passing the townes lettre of confirmatioun of Jhone Gibs renunciatioun of the Kirk of Feild, ordanis Jhone Jhonestoun, William Naper, James Nicoll and Henry Nesbet to speik and agrie with him thairanent, and that it be rememberit in the nixt parliament to propone for remeid in tyme cuming.
Ordanis Jhone Jhonestoun, collectour, to pay to maister Thomas Buquhannane the sowme of fyve pund for passing throw the privy seill of the townes lettre and signatour of confirmatioun of renunciatioun maid be Jhone Gib of the provestry of the Kirk of Feild.
The bailies [and council] hes consentit that twa of the baillies, with sic of the counsale as thai sall requyre, pas with the clerk of Forfare to the lordis of sessioun and solist for the said towne in the caus betuix thame and the inhabitants of Kynnemuir for vsurpeing thair liberty and to defend and assist thame in all that may forther thair caus.
At request of the Kings Grace, admittis Jhone Lyoun, his Hienes maister cuik, burges of this burgh, and grantis vnto the said Jhone owersicht and licence to exerce the tred of ane gild brother in lyke maner, and the dewty of the said burgesschip gevin gratis to the said Jhone.
Fyndis that of awld vse and consuetude the capitane of the castell of this burgh awcht to pay at the commoun mylnis bot half multure of the malt grund thairat to the vse of the place and to serve within the same allenerly, and thairfore dischairges thair fermorers of all taking of ony gritter multure of the said place, provyding thai se that the malt grund be to the vse of the place allanerly and nocht to the vse of any particulare persoun within the samyn.
Becaus it is necessar that provisioun be maid for the townis commoun warkes of the best and reddiest tymmer presently in Leyth, ordanis the dene of gild and thesaurer and Andrew Steuinsoun to visy the said tymmer and by the sam and mak pryce thairof to the townes behuif; and syclyke referris vnto thame and Robert Bog of the counsale to tak ordour for vpbringing and placeing of the aisler staynes cum fra St Colmes Inche and lyand on the schore of Leyth.
Comperit Alesoun Makneill, the relict of vmquhill Jhone Robertsoun, clerk of Leyth, and Archibald Noruell, notare, and producet twa court buiks of the said town of Leyth, the ane thairof begynnand the xxj of Januar 1578 and endand the xvij of October 1579, the vther begynnand the said day of October and endand the fourt of Maij 1580; quhilk buiks wes instantly delyuerit to Jhone Guthre, clerk of Leyth, quha oblist himself to mak the sam furthcummand to the guid towne. Forther the saids provest, baillies and counsale decernis and ordanis the said Archibald Noruell to desist and cease frome all vsing or exerceing in ony tyme cuming of any thing quhilk the clerk of Leyth in tymes past hes bene in vse to excerce concerning his office; and specially fra all subscryving or gevin furth of ony acts or decreitts in tyme cuming; to the quhilkis the said Archibald consentit.
Comperit Sir Thomas Gray, ane of the prebendares of the College Kirk of St. Jeill of the said burgh, and of his awin frie will renunceit, gaif ower, and simpliciter dimittit, lyke as he, be thir presents, renunces, gevis ower, and simpliciter dimittis his prebendarie callit Prebenda S. Michaelis de Monte Tumba, foundit at the altare callit St. James alter, sumtyme situat within the said kirk, to the quhilk he wes provydet of before be the provest and baillies of the said burgh for the tyme . . . and that in favouris of the saidis prouest, baillies, counsale and community and thair successoures . . . For the quhilk caus [the bailies and council bound themselves and the community to pay to him £18 Scots yearly during his lifetime].
It was schawin be my lord provest that it wes reportit to his lordschip that Andro Vallange, tailyeour in Leyth, had laitly in his drinking spokin evill of our Souerane Lord, quhairvpoun his lordship cawsit tak the said Andro and putt him in ward in Leyth, and dyuers witnessis to be examinat vpoun his speking, quhais depositiouns beand red and considerit, it wes ordanit that the said provest, with William Naper, baillie, and Henry Nesbet suld pas to the Kings grace in Dalkeyth and schow the mater to his Grace and Secreitt Counsale, and requyr thair willis quhat wes forther to be done concerning the said ordour.
Jhone Robertsoun, thesaurer, producet the townis decreitt reductiue, obtenit aganis the sisters of the Seynis, tennents and possessouris of certane landis appertening thairto, gevin furth to thame be the toun, decerning the said landis to returne to the towne, inrespect of the claus irritant contenit in the charter maid thairvpoun, and declairit that he debursit to George Gibsoun and his seruands thre pund allevin schilling aught d. for extracting thairof, and thairfore ordanis the said sowme to be allowet to the said thesaurer in his compts.
[Ordained that the treasurer be allowed in his accounts £6, 6s. 8d. "for ane rose nobill, delyuerit at the baillies command to Mr. Jhone Scherp, aduocat, for his consultatioun in the townis effairis and making of the billis to the lordis of articles of this present parliament, viz., ane concerning the abbott of Kinlos, ane vther for confirmatioun of the townis gift of the annuellis, and the thrid concerning the Cannogaitt for staying thair desyre to the parliament anent thair pretendit fredome."]