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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A notarial instrument, dated 10th October, 1508, sets forth the appointment by Mr. Thomas Muirhead, rector of Stobo, of the provost, bailies, and councillors of the burgh, to be patrons of the chaplainry of the then newly founded church of St. Roche within the territory of the city, (fn. 1) also the induction by him of Sir Alexander Robertone as chaplain, and the presentation by them, at Muirhead's request, of Robertone to the chaplainry, with its fruits and profits. (fn. 2) The instrument records that the transaction took place in presence of two of the canons of the cathedral "and vicars-general of the most reverend father in Christ—Robert, archbishop of Glasgow, being abroad." The archbishop thus referred to was Robert Blacader, but Lesley records that he died on his way to the Holy Land on 28th July, 1508. (fn. 3) The intelligence of his death had, therefore, obviously not reached Glasgow when the transaction recorded in the instrument took place. (fn. 4) With his death the exemption of Glasgow from the jurisdiction of St. Andrews terminated.
Following the example of his predecessors James II. and III., James IV., on 7th June, 1509, issued a letter in which he charged the ordinaries spiritual of the kingdom to take no tax or impositions from the regents, students, or officers of the university of Glasgow. (fn. 5)
Archbishop Scheves of St. Andrews predeceased Archbishop Blacader, having died in 1497, (fn. 6) and was succeeded by James Stuart, duke of Ross, a brother of the king. He was made chancellor of the kingdom in 1503, and held the abbacy of Dunfermline in commendam, (fn. 7) and also the abbacy of Arbroath. He died in 1503. (fn. 8) The archbishopric then remained vacant till 1509, when Alexander Stuart, a natural son of the king, was appointed to the primacy. (fn. 9) After Archbishop Alexander Stuart's appointment, the favour which the king had previously shown to the see of Glasgow was transferred to that of St. Andrews, and he induced Pope Julius II. not to renew the exemption of Glasgow from its jurisdiction. Stuart fell with his father on the field of Flodden, on 9th September, 1513. (fn. 10)
James IV. was succeeded by his son, James V., an infant, only seventeen months old. His mother, the queen-dowager, Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII. of England, was appointed regent, but about a year afterwards she married the earl of Angus, the head of the Douglas family, and her regency then terminated. The duke of Albany, son of a younger brother of James III., was thereupon invited to return from France and assume the regency, which he did; but in 1524 he went back to France—sickened, no doubt, by his experience of the condition of affairs in Scotland—and he did not return. The young king, only in his thirteenth year, was then placed nominally at the head of affairs, but in the following year fell into the hands of the Douglases, and was kept a prisoner by them till he made his escape in 1528, and entered upon the real government of the kingdom, which he held till his death, on 18th December, 1542. (fn. 11)
Archbishop Stuart was succeeded in the see of St. Andrews, in 1514, by Andrew Forman, bishop of Moray, who had also conferred upon him the office of legate a latere, and the abbacy of Dunfermline in commendam. He died towards the end of 1521. (fn. 12) Notwithstanding the determination of the pope, on the application of James IV., not to renew the exemption of Glasgow from the jurisdiction of St. Andrews, Archbishop James Beaton (fn. 13) appears to have obtained such renewal for his lifetime, or his tenure of the archbishopric. But in 1522 he was transferred to the see of St. Andrews, in succession to Archbishop Forman, and the archbishopric of Glasgow was conferred on Gavin Dunbar, prior of Whithorn and former tutor to James V., who was consecrated at Edinburgh on 5th February, 1525. (fn. 14) That the delay in his consecration might not prevent his administering certain functions of his office, however, a charter under the great seal, dated 22nd December, 1524, authorised him, whom it described as prior of Whithorn and postulate of Glasgow, to present to all benefices that might become vacant during the vacancy in the see. In the interval between his election and consecration he had sufficient influence to obtain from Clement VII., who had just ascended the pontifical throne, a bull, dated 8th July, 1524, renewing, enlarging, and perpetuating a bull by Leo X., excepting the see and province of Glasgow from the metropolitan, primatial, and legatine jurisdiction of St.Andrews. Against this exemption archbishop James Beaton remonstrated, and it was restricted so far as to free Glasgow from metropolitan authority, but to continue the subjection of that see to primatial and legatine authority. This result, however, did not meet the wishes of archbishop Dunbar, who, supported by the favour and influence of the king, succeeded in obtaining from the pope a bull, dated 21st September, 1531, recalling the limitation, and once more exempting Glasgow from all obedience to St. Andrews, and depriving the primate of legatine authority even within his own diocese. But in 1539 the cardinal archbishop David Beaton, the nephew, coadjutor, and successor of archbishop James Beaton, (fn. 15) obtained from Pope Paul III. a bull, which declared that such an exemption should cease with papal legate, Captarini, patriarch of Venice, blows were struck and wounds given, copes and vestments torn, and the crosses of both metropolitans broken. (fn. 16)
Two notarial instruments, dated respectively 7th December, 1510, and 16th January, 1510–11, are recorded in the protocol books of Master Cuthbert Simon, chapter clerk of the diocese, (fn. 17) and exhibit the subjection of the magistrates of the city to the archbishop and to his court at this time. The former instrument narrates proceedings at the instance of the commissaries against John Shaw, Alexander Stewart, and Thomas Law, bailies of the burgh, and other citizens therein named, for having incurred the greater excommunication by making and recording in their books certain statutes against the jurisdiction of Holy Mother Church, to the effect that no citizen ought to summon another citizen before a spiritual judge respecting a matter which could be competently decided before the bailies in the courthouse of Glasgow, and by fining one Allan Leithame for complaining to the official against Archibald Watson, a fellow-citizen. In these proceedings Matthew, earl of Lennox, provost of Glasgow, appeared to defend the bailies and citizens, and protested that they would not recede from their lawful exceptions and defences of law to be brought forward at a suitable time and place. It would be interesting to know what these defences were, for they doubtless indicated a rising spirit on the part of the authorities of the city to assert such municipal independence as was then desired by them. All that is known of this case is the result, as indicated by the second of these notarial instruments, which states that, on the 16th of January, the earl of Lennox, as provost and prolocutor and procurator for the bailies and council, was obliged to appear before the archbishop and his chapter, and publicly rescind the statutes. This dispute arose on an order by the bailies on Leithame to pay Watson "half ane hundredth lentern waire," and on an appeal by the former to the diocesan court, which the magistrates regarded as a contempt of their court, for which they imposed on him a fine of eight shillings. (fn. 18)
By a charter, dated 30th May, 1514, John Shaw, provost of Glasgow, founded a perpetual chaplainry at St. Christopher's altar, (fn. 19) on the south side of the nave of the cathedral, and for upholding it and the chaplain to be appointed thereto he assigned the tenements, gardens, portions of land, barns, and annual rent therein described. He directed that the chaplain to be appointed by him should retain office for life, and that, after his own death, the magistrates and community of the city should be patrons of the chaplainry, which, however, was not to be bestowed on strangers, but only on the son of a burgess of the city, "learned and meet for the office." He also declared that the chaplainry should be "incompatible with all other office and benefice," and gave various directions as to the religious services to be conducted at St. Christopher's altar, or at the nearest altar where mass could be most conveniently said. (fn. 20)
On 28th May, 1516, the provost, bailies, and council, with consent of the archbishop, granted a seal of cause to the craft of skinners and furriers by which they ratified various articles prescribing the conditions of admission to the craft; the duties of masters in regard to apprentices; the weekly payments for the support of the altar and the vestments of the priests officiating at it; the punishment for using false stuff and withholding the goods of the altar and crafts' customs; the powers of the kirkmasters of the craft, acting with an officer of the town, to distrain for the duties payable for upholding divine service; and the right of the craftsmen to have the solemnity of the feast of their altar on the Sunday after St. James' day. (fn. 21)
On 20th May, 1522, King James, with the advice of his tutor, John, duke of Albany, governor of Scotland, by letter under his signet, (fn. 22) confirmed the letters of exemption from taxes granted to the university by King James II., (fn. 23) James III. (fn. 24) and James IV. (fn. 25)
In 1524, Rolland Blacader, sub-dean of Glasgow, founded a chapel in the cathedral, and an hospital near the Stablegreen, and provided for the payment annually of fourteenpence to the minor sacristan for ringing the bells on the anniversaries of the death of the founder and his parents, and of fourpence to the ringer of St. Kentigern's bell (fn. 26) through the town. His chaplain was also ordained to elect sixty poor people having hearth, house, and household in Glasgow, to be present in the church at the obituary celebrations the founder to pray for the souls of his parents, himself, and all the faithful dead, for which service each was to be paid eightpence. (fn. 27)
Archbishop Dunbar, by a writ, dated 30th April, 1525, expressed his consent to Master James Houston, (fn. 28) vicar of Eastwood, and sub-dean of the metropolitan church of Glasgow, founding a church at the south side of St. Thenaw's gate, now known as the Trongate, to the Lady Virgin Mary of Loretto. (fn. 29) And on the following day Houston appointed the bailies, community, and burgesses of Glasgow, to be patrons of six of the eight chaplainries to be so founded by him, retaining the right during his lifetime to dispose of these chaplainries, and to appoint and dismiss the chaplains. (fn. 30) The notarial instrument setting forth the transaction is dated 1st May, 1529, and records that Robert Stewart of Minto, then provost of the burgh, craved instruments in name of the bailies and community. (fn. 31) This instrument was followed on 4th May, 1529, by a charter granted by the magistrates and council, whereby, for the better sustentation of the chaplains, they, with consent of the archbishop, chancellor of the kingdom, and of the dean and chapter, gifted in pure and perpetual alms to God, the Virgin, and St. Ann, her mother, to Houston, the founder of the church, and to the chaplains appointed by him, sixteen acres of the Gallow Muir, on the east of the city, two of which were to be assigned to each of these chaplains and their successors. (fn. 32) This gift and the instrument following upon it Houston petitioned the archbishop to ratify, and he and his chapter accordingly did so by a charter of confirmation, dated 15th May, 1529. (fn. 33) By a deed, dated about 1539, Houston appointed the lord rector of the university, and the dean of the faculty of arts, to be visitors of the church, and he bequeathed to them certain sums, to be paid to them annually, for making their visitation. (fn. 34)
On 18th October, 1527, Robert Stewart of Minto, provost of the burgh, became bound by "band of manrent" to become "man and servitour" to James, earl of Arran. It is a sad proof of the social condition of Scotland, and the inadequacy of the law to protect the subjects of the crown, that "bands" of manrent, friendship, and alliance were not only permitted but sanctioned. The practice of entering into such bands attained its greatest height between 1440 and 1570, but it existed at a still earlier period, and continued in a modified form till a later date. By these the stronger party bound himself to defend the weaker, who, again, undertook to render personal service for such protection. In 1457 parliament forbade, under the highest penalties, the making of such bands and leagues, and enacted that "na man duellande within burghe be fundyn in manrent, nor ride, nor rowt, in feir of weir with na man, bot with the king or his officiaris, or with the lorde of the burghe that thai duell in," (fn. 35) and this enactment was renewed in 1491. (fn. 36) Notwithstanding these statutes, however, Stewart entered into this engagement. The band is conceived in the usual terms, and is declared to endure so long as the granter remains provost. (fn. 37) The statutes of 1457 and 1491, it is to be noticed, only applied to the inhabitants of burghs, and during the same century the lords auditors of causes frequently interponed their authority to compel the fulfilment of such obligations between persons dwelling in country districts. Such bands were, however, proscribed by statute in 1555, (fn. 38) though more than a century passed before they were absolutely suppressed, and some are preserved of a date even subsequent to the restoration. At one time almost every man above the rank of a small householder was a party to such covenants, and at the time of the reformation most of the great ecclesiastical dignitaries sought to secure protection by leagues of this nature. Thus the bishop of Aberdeen was under band of manrent to the earl of Huntly. (fn. 39) The archbishop and chapter of Glasgow, also had secured for that see the protection of the Lennox family, by constituting the head of that house heritable bailie of the regality. (fn. 40)
On 4th June, 1528, the magistrates and council, with consent of the archbishop, and on the application of the weaver craft, granted to that craft a seal of cause, by which they ratified and approved various articles, enacting that apprentices should serve for five years, and should pay five shillings for upholding divine service at their altar; that no one should set up booth till found worthy by the oversman of the craft, and made freeman; that each craftsman at setting up booth should pay two merks to the altar; that no master should harbour another man's apprentice or servant, under a penalty to the altar; that each man or woman having a booth should pay a penny weekly to the altar, and each servant one halfpenny; that no craftsman should take work unless he had good work looms, or take another man's work after it was warped without his leave, under a penalty of a pound of wax to the altar; that a deacon should be chosen annually by the craftsmen, and that any one disobeying him should pay a pound of wax to the altar, and eight shillings to the magistrates; and that the principals of the craft should have power, along with an officer of the town, to poind for their several duties. (fn. 41) Similarly, on 11th October, 1536, the magistrates and council, on the application of the headsman and masters of the craft of hammermen, including blacksmiths, goldsmiths, lorimers (bit-makers), saddlers, buckle-makers, armourers, and others, within the burgh, and with the consent of the archbishop, granted a seal of cause to the hammermen, by which it was ordained that no one of the craft should set up booth within the burgh till he was made a freeman, and examined and found qualified by three of the best masters of the craft; that every person so admitted should pay twenty shillings of upset to the upholding of divine service at St. Eloy's (fn. 42) altar, and ten shillings for the same object for every apprentice taken by him; that no craftsman should employ another man's apprentice or servant, till his apprenticeship was completed; that, with a view to each craftsman being answerable for the work and fines of all employed by him, he should not allow any person save his apprentice or hired servant to work in his booth; that no craftsman should allow another man's apprentice or servant to work with him; that the sufficiency in material and workmanship of all craftsmen's work should be ascertained on the afternoon of every Saturday, by two or three masters chosen for the purpose; that faulty work should be forbidden, under penalty of forfeiture; that the craftsmen should convene when ordered, and the magistrates be informed of any infringement of their statutes; that violaters of the statutes should, for each offence, pay a pound of wax to the altar; and that such masters and headsmen of the craft as failed to enforce the statutes should be punished by the magistrates. This document was sealed with the seal of the archbishop, the common seal of the chapter, and the common seal of the city. (fn. 43)
Reference is made in a notarial instrument, dated 5th November, 1539, to the "sang school" of the metropolitan kirk. This document records the infeftment of Thomas Flemyng, vicar-pensioner of Glasgow, and his successors, as trustees under the foundation of Mark Jamesoun, in a tenement and orchard in the Stable Green, the rents of which were to be paid partly to the master of that school for singing nightly "a gloriosa of three parts of pryckat singing," as it was made and set out by John Painter, and partly to certain priests, to St. Mungo's bell, and to twenty-four poor householders, for masses, lights, and prayers for the souls of John Painter, Sir Alexander Painter, and others. (fn. 44) There were thus two sang schools in Glasgow—that of the metropolitan church and that of the collegiate church of St. Mary and St. Anne already alluded to. (fn. 45)
It has been seen (fn. 46) that when bishop Joceline obtained the authority of King William to establish a burgh in Glasgow, he was also empowered to have a weekly market there, and the burgh so to be founded was to enjoy all the freedoms and customs which any royal burgh possessed. (fn. 47) Subsequently, on 6th July, 1189–98, the bishop obtained a right to hold an annual fair in his burgh in July, extending over eight days. (fn. 48) But these early rights of market and fair were regarded by the royal burgh of Rutherglen (fn. 49) as incon sistent with the earlier privileges granted to it of levying toll and custom on all goods brought within Glasgow. Its claim was, however, disposed of by a charter of Alexander II. on 29th October, 1226, which restricted the right of Rutherglen to levy toll and custom within the bishop's burgh elsewhere than at the cross of Shettleston. (fn. 50) It is said also that bishop Cameron (A.D. 1425–1440) obtained a right to hold annually in January a fair known as St. Mungo's fair. (fn. 51) Nevertheless, Rutherglen and Renfrew (fn. 52) so interfered with the burgesses of Glasgow in bringing goods to their market as to necessitate judicial proceedings, which resulted in a decree being obtained by Glasgow on 10th June, 1542, prohibiting such interference. (fn. 53)
The death of King James V., at the palace of Falkland, on 14th December, 1542, was preceded, on the 8th of the same month, by the birth of a daughter, Mary, the future hapless queen. Two years and a half before, viz., on 22nd May, 1540. a son and heir to the throne had been born, and his birth had been followed by that of another prince—the two sons affording a hopeful prospect of direct male succession on the demise of their father. But in October, 1541, their grandmother, the queen-dowager, died, and her death was speedily followed by that of the two princes. So the decease of the king—of whose reign of thirty years only ten had passed after he attained adult age—was again to be followed by a long minority. On the death of the king, cardinal Beaton claimed the custody of the infant princess in virtue of a testament which bore to have been signed by the king; but there were grave doubts as to its authenticity, and the estates, on 13th March, 1542–3, sustained the assumption of the regency by James Hamilton, earl of Arran, as his hereditary right. The child remained at Linlithgow under the charge of her mother till July, 1543, when she was removed for greater safety to Stirling, and afterwards to the island of Inchmaholm, on the lake of Menteith. Meanwhile Henry VIII. had opened negotiations for an alliance between England and Scotland based on the marriage of the young queen to his son Prince Edward, and these had proceeded far and favourably, when, largely through the influence of the cardinal, whose sympathies were all opposed to England, the negotiations fell through. Irritated beyond measure by the frustration of his schemes, Henry adopted a policy towards Scotland which revived all its national animosities. An invading army, under the earl of Hertford, (fn. 54) entered Scotland in 1544, and Leith, Edinburgh, and other towns in the south of Fife and in the border counties were burned or devastated. (fn. 55) Nor did the death of King Henry VIII., on 28th January, 1547, terminate these hostilities; another army, under the same leader, who, after the death of the king, had been constituted protector of the realm, and afterwards made duke of Somerset, entered Scotland, and, on 10th September in the same year, inflicted on the Scottish army, which had been raised to oppose the English forces, a disastrous defeat at Pinkie Cleuch. (fn. 56) But this only exasperated the nation, and induced it to enter into alliance with France, whose king, Henry II., sent to its aid an army of 6,000 men and a supply of artillery. In return, the Scottish parliament resolved that the young queen, who was then in Inchmaholme, should marry the dauphin, who was six weeks younger than her. She was accordingly removed to Dumbarton, whence, in July, 1548, she was conveyed by a French fleet to France, where she was carefully educated at court. In 1544—the same year in which the earl of Hertford invaded Scotland—a meeting of members of the estates was held in Stirling, and the earl of Arran was deposed from the regency, the queen—dowager being appointed to that office. But inasmuch, probably, as this meeting was not a full meeting of the estates, its proceedings do not form part of the parliamentary records. Nevertheless, as its result, the queen-dowager exercised the chief influence in the country.
In 1546 the kirkmasters and other masters of the craft of tailors in the burgh petitioned the magistrates and council to grant them a seal of cause, and this was done, with the consent of the archbishop, on 3rd February in that year. By this document the craftsmen were authorised to choose a deacon annually; to take apprentices for a term of service of four years; to require each apprentice, on entry, to pay half-a-merk for the upkeep of divine service at the craft's altar of St. Anne; (fn. 57) to require every craftsman setting up a booth to pay twenty shillings for his upset; to prevent every master from resetting or harbouring the apprentice or servant of another; to exact from every master holding a booth a penny weekly for the repair and adornment of the altar; to require any craftsman who spoilt the cloth of an employer to make good the loss to the owner; to empower the principal masters of the craft, acting with a town's officer, to poind for the several duties thus prescribed; to impose on every craftsman who disobeyed the deacon a fine of eight shillings, payable to the magistrates; to empower the deacon and masters to search for unfreemen who exercised the craft, and to compel such person as did not answer to the deacon, masters, and altar, after being so required by an officer of the town, either to answer or to desist from the exercise of the craft within the town. (fn. 58)
It has been seen that, by his charter of 4th January, 1489–90, James IV. empowered archbishop Blacader and his successors to establish a tron in the city, and to apply to their own use all the customs uplifted at it. (fn. 59) A tack is still preserved by which archbishop Dunbar, on 16th April, 1547, set to Henry Crawford, parish clerk of Cadder, for nineteen years after Whitsunday, 1546, the customs of the city and burgh, with mettage and weighage and all other customs belonging thereto, for payment yearly of £20 Scots to the regents of the university and pedagogue, and £4 Scots to the chaplains of the altars, "nominis Jesu" and of our "Lady of Pietie," (fn. 60) founded by archbishop Blacader for their service done to him and attendance upon him in the cathedral. This document bears that Crawford "then was and had for many years previously been in possession of the tron." (fn. 61) On 28th May, 1581, archbishop James Boyd, with consent of the chapter, mortified to the college all the customs of the tron, great and small customs, fair and market customs, and customs of met, measure, or weight, which belonged to the archbishop within the city, to be held of him and his successors in all time coming;" (fn. 62) and this grant was confirmed by James VI., under his privy seal, on 17th June, 1581. (fn. 63)
The first document in the present collection, proceeding in the name of the queen, with the consent of the earl of Arran as her tutor and governor of the kingdom, is a letter under the royal signet, (fn. 64) dated 6th July, 1547—three years, it will be observed, after the meeting in Stirling at which, it is said, the earl was deposed, and the queen-dowager was appointed regent— confirming to the university the letters of exemption from taxation which had been granted by King James II., (fn. 65) King James III., (fn. 66) King James IV., (fn. 67) and King James V. (fn. 68)
The murder of cardinal Beaton on 28th May, 1546, created a vacancy in the see of St. Andrews, which was filled by the appointment to the archbishopric of John Hamilton, (fn. 69) bishop of Dunkeld, who was a natural son of James, first earl of Arran, and half brother of then regent, the second earl. The formal translation of the new archbishop took place in 1549.