Editorial note

Charters and Documents Relating To the City of Glasgow 1175-1649 Part 1. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Glasgow, 1897.

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SOON after my appointment to the Town-Clerkship of Glasgow in 1873, a desire was expressed by the Magistrates that a collection should be made of the Charters and other Muniments of the City. That collection I undertook to prepare, and Part II. of this work, issued in September, 1894, was the first instalment of what was then contemplated.

While engaged in the requisite investigation, and as ancillary to it, I prepared two volumes of Extracts from the Records of the Burgh, extending from 1573 to 1662, and these were published as a part of the series issued by the Scottish Burgh Records Society—the first in 1876 and the second in 1881.

In this volume, I have attempted to sketch, as a Preface to Part II., what may be regarded as the constitutional history of Glasgow from the foundation of the Burgh in 1175 or 1178, till the end of the reign of King Charles I., on 30th January, 1649. In doing so, as nearly as possible chronologically, I have drawn upon the three volumes above referred to.

Prepared and printed in small instalments—frequently after lengthened intervals of time occupied in pressing public duties—this preface presents the results of occasional work in collecting such information bearing upon the history of the City as is obtainable from the Charters and Records of the Burgh, so far as these still exist, the Records of the Convention of the Royal Burghs of Scotland, the Statutes and other Public Records of Scotland, the publications of the Lord Clerk Register, those of the Historical Manuscripts Commissioners, and those of the several Scottish Historical Societies, some of which are now extinct, while others are still actively engaged in the elucidation of Scottish history.

Probably, too detailed reference is made in this Preface to matters of national rather than local history, but, in the results of these, Glasgow has largely shared, and, indeed, its own somewhat meagre records are frequently explained by contemporary events in other parts of Scotland and also in England.

It is to me equally a pleasure and a duty to express my obligation to my friend and assistant, Mr. Robert Renwick, for the assistance he has rendered in collating the proof-sheets as printed from time to time, and in largely verifying and supplementing references. For such errors as remain I alone am responsible.

The first volume of the "Protocols of the Town-Clerks of Glasgow," now being edited by him, contains a sketch plan of the City as it existed about the year 1547. To that map reference may be made, subject to the note appended to it.

The map of Glasgow and the surrounding districts prefixed to this volume, as these existed about the middle of the seventeenth century, has been prepared by Mr. Renwick and Mr. Alexander Beith M'Donald, City Engineer and Surveyor. It embodies the result of Mr. Renwick's intimate acquaintance with the public registers of the Burgh and with the protocols of the Town-Clerks, all of which are under his immediate charge as one of the Depute Town-Clerks, and the latter of which he is editing. Mr. M'Donald again has contributed his unique knowledge both of Old and New Glasgow—the City of to-day now extending for miles in every direction beyond the limits of the City as it existed in the reign of Charles I. Their work has further been submitted to the examination of Dr. W. H. Hill, Dr. David Murray, and Dr. J. O. Mitchell, and such suggestions as their knowledge of Old Glasgow enabled them to offer have been incorporated. To all of these gentlemen my best thanks are offered.

The Index to Part II. was prepared by Mr. William P. Drever, then one of my assistants, but now solicitor in Kirkwall. The Index to this volume is the work of my assistant, Mr. James H. Fenton.


19 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow, 25th December, 1897.