Extracts from the Records: 1585, Oct-Dec

Pages 437-446

Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1573-1589. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Edinburgh, 1882.

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1585, Oct-Dec

5 October 1585.

Electioun of provest, bailyeis, dene of gild, and thesaurer.; Letter from the King.

[Certain of the bailies, council and deacons of crafts] being convenit in absence of the rest to elect the provest, bailyeis, dene of gild, and thesaurer for the yeir to cum, furth of the lytes nominat thairto, be thair maniest votes electit and nominat William Littill, provest. And thairafter Henry Nesbet, bailyie, producet our Souerane Lords lettres gevin vnder his Graces signet and subscriptioun, of the quhilk the tenour followis:—James, be the grace of God King of Scots, to our louits [blank] messengeris, our shereffis in that pairt, speciallie constitute, greting. Forswamekill as the ordinare tyme of electing of magestrats within our burgh of Edinburgh now approcheis, and inrespect of the pestilence quhairwith ane greitt pairt of the inhabitants of our said burgh is infectit, at the plesure of God, sum of the bailyeis, counsall, and vtheris officeris thairof being alreddie depairtit this lyfe, it is maist necessar that sic persouns be chosin in provest, bailyeis, and counsall of our said burgh for the yeir to cum as ar knawin to be godlie, honest, and maist cairfull and weill willing to seik the saiftie and preseruatioun of the same frome the dayngeris quhairinto it is now subiect, as it sall be Gods guid will and plesure; oure will is heirfore and we chairge yow straitlie and commands that incontinent thir our lettres sene ye pas and in our name and authoritie command and charge the present counsall of our burgh to convene within the samyn, or sum pairt of the fredom thairof quhair it sall be appoyntet and thocht meatest be our traist cousing and counsalour James Erle of Arrane Lord Avane and Hammiltoun, oure chancellare, present provest of our said burgh, and thair to cheise the new counsall for the yeir to cum, and thairafter proceid to the nominatioun of the lytes, and consequently that ye command and chairge the awld and new counsall and deykins of craftis to proceid to the chesing of thair ordinare magestrats and officeris for the yeir to cum, that is to say oure said chancellare in provest, and sic persouns in bailyeis, thesaurer, deyne of gild, and ordinare counsall of our said burgh as he sall nominat and advyse thame according to our directioun given to that effect, within [blank] houris next after thai be chairget be yow thairto, vpoun the ordinare dayes accustomat to that effect, vnder the payne of rebellioun and putting of thame to our horne, with certificatioun to thame and thai failyie vthers our lettres sall be direct simpliciter to putt thame to our horne and escheitt and inbring all thair movebill guids to our vse for thair contemptioun, as ye will ansuer to ws thairvpoun; the quhilk to do we committ to yow coniunctlie and seuerally our full power be thir our lettres, delyuering thame be yow dewlie execut and indorsat agane to the berer. Gevin vnder our signet, and subscryuet with our hand, at Stirveling, the xxij day of September and of our regne the nynetein yeir, 1585. Sic subscribitur; James, R., Dryburgh, Thirlstayne. Quhilk lettres beand red and considerit, the said bailyeis and counsall enterit to voting of new, and for obedience thairof and eschewing of the paynis thairin contenit, electit and nominat and constitute the said nobill lord, James Erle of Arrane, chancellare, to be provest of the said burgh for the yeir to cum. And William Logane, messinger, comparand be our Souerane Lordis lettres discharget thame to elect William Naper and Alexander Vddert to be bailyeis. And the said bailyeis and counsall proceding to the electioun of the bailyeis, inrespect of the will and mynd of the said Erle of Arrane thairanent, schawin and declairet be Henry Nesbet, bailyie, thay nominatt votet and electit William Naper, William Fairlie, Dauid Williamsoun and Jhonn Wilkyne to be bailyeis and Nicoll Vddert to be dene of gild and James Inglis in thesaurer for the yeir to cum.

Commissioners to provest, Duik of Lenox.

Gevis commissioun to Henry Nesbet and Thomas Aikinheid to pas to ane nobill lord, James Erle of Arrane, and schaw to his lordship that he is of new electit provest of this burgh, and at his lordships desire thai haif electit William Naper, William Fairlie, Dauid Williamsoun, Jhonn Wilkyne, bailyeis, Nicoll Vddert, dene of gild, James Inglis, thesaurer, and thairfore to desyre his lordship to tak ordour that thai may accept thair offices, that the towne be nocht left desolatt. Siclyke gevis thame commissioun to the saidis persouns to convene with the commissioners of the Duik of Levenox and thair to agrie with thame vpoun the dimissioun of the townis rycht of Paislay for the sowme of twenty thowsand merks at the leist to be payet to the towne according to ane contract formet thairvpoun.

Governing the toun in absence of the bailyeis.

For governament of the town in absence of the new electit magestrats, Henrie Nesbet and James Nicoll agreit to owersie the town call and ordour the watches for the owlk, and Frances Tennent and Jhonn Gourlaw for the nixt owlk, and James Henrysoun and Jhonn Thomesoun for the thrid owlk.

15 October 1585.

Fairlie, raid, dischairgeing.

Appoyntis William Fairlie to pas to the cowrt for obtening the towne dischairget of the raid appoyntet aganis the Lord Maxwell.

20 October 1585.


[Several acts passed in relation to the pest, providing for the appointment of quarter masters and cleansers and the removal of the sick and convalescent.]

Clenging of the venellis streittis.

Finding that the middingis, mwk, and fylth in the commoun clossis, vinellis, ald wallis, and wtheris places out of houssis, and siclyk raggis and clouttis lyand in the said places, is dangerous and ane occasioun of infectioun, thairfoir ordanis the baillies or quarter masteris to gif the same to sic persouns as will clenge, dycht and remove the said fulye, raggis and clouttis, vpone thair awin expenssis.

22 October 1585.

Oppin durris for clenging of houssis.

Ordanis ane proclamatioun to be maid throw the toun and att the peir of Leyth, commanding all and quhatsumeuir personis, heretouris, lyfrentaris, tennentis and occupearis of all foull and infectet houssis within this burgh, airis and executouris of the saidis personis, gif thair ony be or ony wtheris haweand or pretendant to haue entres to the guidis and geir within the saidis houssis, that thai and ilk ane of thame repair to this toun betuix and this day fyftene dayis nixt and caus the said houssis, guidis and geir thairin to be clenget, with certificatioun to thame and thai failye, the saidis day being bypast, the baillie and quarter maisteris to mak opon durris, yettis, kistis and wther lokfastlomes, and clenge the saidis houssis guidis and geir thairin vpone the awners expenssis.

Napir, baillie, to Stirling for Carnis.

Inrespect the toun is destitute of ane redar, ordanis William Naper, baillie, to pas to the Kingis Majestie at Stirling and to mene this caus to his Grace, and to desyre that Johne Carnis, minister, may be sufferit to returne to this toun for seruing in the said place, and in cais of refuis to crave that maister Michaell Cranstoun or Williame Aird may be haid, bot to declair to his Majestie that the pepill is all bent vpone Johne Carnis, and siclyk to trauell with the prouest to the same effect.

27 October 1585.

Kingis Maiesties wryttingis.

Comperit Williame Fairlie, baillie, and producet tua wryttingis, ane direct be the Kingis Maiestie to the baillie and counsall and ane wther fra the prouest to the toun, desyring thame to keip straitlie thair toun becaus his Maiestie wes suirlie informit that his rebellis wer led out of Ingland and enterit in this cuntrey vpone na small intryprys, and thairfore the saidis baillies and counsall concludes to tak wp ane hundreth men for gairding of thair town.

3 November 1585.

Fourty souldiartis or watchemen.

Inrespect the toun hes nocht to pay the suddertis and watchemen, and becaus thai think thai may be seruet with ane smaller nummer, ordanis onlie to haue of the threscoir men (fn. 1) first aggreit vpoun fourty gude suddertis to gaird and watche the toun fra Setterday nicht.

5 November 1585.

Personis commandet to remane in thair houssis.

The baillies and counsall be experience knawin that ane grete nummer of personis partlie infectet and certane wtheris vpone suspicioun being commandit to remane in thair houssis cummis to the calsay and hes cumpany with thair nychtbouris, quhilk incressis the seiknes, thairfore ordanis ane proclamatioun to be maid throw this town that all clene personis that ar commandit to keip thair houssis that thai remane thairin during the tyme appoyntet vnder the pane of ane wnlaw of fywe pund or punising of thair personis in the yrnis at the judgis will, and sic as ar foull personis to be execut to the deid.

17 November 1585.

Precept, gild, burial, kirk yaird.

Ordanis that the said dene of gild sall caus close vp the entres of the nether kirk yaird and that the bailyeis caus the buriall to [be] translatet to the Grayfreir kirk yaird quhair it wes of before.

Watsoun, minister.

[The bailies and council] requeistet and desyret maister Walter Balcanquell, minister, vpoun thair behalffis, to notifie, schaw and testifie in the conventioun of the ministrie to be haldin at Dunfermling the xxiij of this instant that this burgh beand destitute of thair awin ministeris, throw the trubill that araise in the kirk and beand visitite with the pestilence, maister William Watsoun, minister, exerceit the office of ane pasture and teacher in the said burgh in all sincerity of doctryne and conversatioun, to the confort and contentment of the godlie, desyring thairfore that be authoritie, consent, and approuement of the ministrie, he may be associat to thair awin ministeris in exerceing his calling within the said burgh, for the said bailyeis and counsall as magestrats for thair pairts ar maist willing thairto, and recommendis the said maister William to the favour and benevolence of the brether.

24 November 1585.

Commissioneris, Paislay.

Names and constitutes Robert Ker, younger, and Thomas Aikinheid thair commissioneris to pas to the Kings Majestie and lords of secreitt counsall presentlie within the towne of Lynlythqw, and thair to declair quhow that this burgh wes presentlie destitute of ane provest, having greitt necessitie thairof efter this tyme of visitatioun and pestilence, neuirtheles thai wald nocht proceid to the electioun without his Maiesties avyse and knawlege, and thairfore to desyre his Maiesties guid will and favour to elect ane nichtbour and conburges of thair awin to beir that chairge as thai sall fynd maist meitt and qualefeyt to tak cair of this commoun weill, according to the ancient liberteis and priveleges grantet be his Graces predicessoures thairto; siclyke to obtene chairges to the towne to elect ane vther persoun to be bailyie in place of Dauid Williamesoun, with compulsitouris of horning and treasoun aganis the persoun electet to accept; siclyke to assist maister Michaell Chisholm in the effairis of Payslie; and this according to the particulare informatioun delyuerit to the said Robert.

Cowts hanget, Scott.

Fynds it expedient that the dome and sentence of hanging be gevin furth vpoun [blank] Cowts for the crymes that he is convict inrespect of his many transgressiouns, and that William Scott for his demerits be putt in the jogs for xxiiij houris.

Burieris, sledmen.

Gevis commissioun to Androw Sclater to speik the foure burialmen and twa sledmen and agrie for thair wedges and quhat ordour is maist expedient for tyme cuming.

26 November 1585.

Anent the ordour for guids in the houssis strukkin vp to clenge.

Appoynts and nominats Stevin Bannatyne, notar, to mak the inventoure of all guidis being in any suspect or infectit howssis quhilk sall be strukkin vp to clenge quhair the awneris or lands laird ar absent, and appoyntes Frances Loch, fowleman, to resaue the samyn vpoun cawtioun, and ane clene man to be fynd owt be his avyse vpoun cawtioun to intromett thairwith after it is clengeit, and thir persouns for thair paynes to haif twelf penneis of ilk punds worth of the said geir amangs thame, and thai to pay the hous clengeing, sleddis, and caldroun or kill, and the said geir to be valuat and estimat be the bailyie of the quarter or ane quarter maister thairof.

Streits clengeing.

Gevis commissioun to William Naper, Androw Sclater and Moyses Wallace and William Clavy to agrie with the sex warkmen to clenge the wynds and streitts of all filth, rags, and myddings.

1 December 1585.

Electing of ane new provest.

[The bailies, council, and deacons of crafts] being convenit be occasioun of ane lettre sent fra the Kings Grace to the bailyeis, counsell and deykins and vtheris havand vote in the electioun of the maiestrats within this burgh, quhairof the tenour followis:—Trest freynds we greitt yow weill. Respecting your provestis present estaitt and the necessitie of that office at this tyme within your towne for ordour taking with the remaynis of this present plague and vtheris your effairis belanging to that chairge, we haif thocht it meitt to lett his absence be suppleyit be ane of your awin nychtbouris weill affectit to our seruice and cairful of your towne, and to that effect to recommend vnto your chois our weilbelouit William Littill, merchant, quha be former experience hes gevin ws guid occasioun to consaue weill of his honestie and sufficiencie alwayes for that publict chairge, desyring yow maist airnistly in that respect that immediatlie vpoun ressaitt of this ye faill nocht to convene swa mony as ar present having vote in the electioun of your magestrats, depose yowr present provest and elect the said William in his place to beare that chairge till the nixt Michaelmes. And for that we haif yeildet to latt Dauid Williamsoun, ane of your chosin bailyeis for this yeir, be exemit fra that seruice at this tyme, lett some vther weill affected nychtbouris be preferrit to his place, quhais electioun remitting to your selff we committ yow to Gods guid protectioun. Frome our Palaice of Lynlythqw, the xxvj of Nouember, 1585. Et sic subscribitur; James, R. With the quhilk lettre being ryplie avyset, for obedience thairof thay depryvet and deposet James Erle of Arran, laitt provest, and in his place all in ane voice vottet, electit, nominat and chuse the said William Littill in provest of this burgh quhill the feist of Michaelmes next to cum.

15 December 1585.

Eldares and deaconis.

Fynds that be the occasioun of the pestilence and absence of the nichtbouris the kirk of this burgh to be destitute of eldares and deaconis, quha ar maist necessar members to be had at this present, and thairfor be avyse of maister Walter Balcanquell, minister, thinks expedient that certane of the maist godlie, wyse, and best willing nychtbouris be nominat to be vpoun the lytes of the saidis offices, and gevis commissioun to Androw Sclater, bailyie, James Nicoll, Johnn Mosman, Jhonn Thomesoun to visy the extent rollis and gadder furth thairof be avyse of the said maister Walter ane number to be presentet to thame the nixt counsall day, to the effect that thair names beand fund sufficient may be publist to the pepill be the minister, and the elders and deaconis to be electet be the congregatioun furth of the samyn.

17 December 1585.

Chairge, thesaurer.

Maister Alexander Guthre, commoun clerk, exhibit and producet in name of Robert Hay of Kirkcaldie the sowme of twenty pund sent be the said Robert to the support and help of the puir infectit persouns in the mwre.


[The provost, bailies, council and deacons of crafts elected Androw Sclater, merchant, to be a bailie in place of David Williamsoun.]

Watche diminischet, etc.

Fynds it expedient that the watche of feyet men be tayne downe and brocht to the number of twenty foure persouns, quhairof twenty to watche nichtlie and four with the porters to keip daylie the Nether Bow and West port.

Infectit persouns, Quhyte hous.

The number of the infectit persouns being greitlie diminischet, prayset be God, fynds it thairfore maist expedient that the remanent be putt in and incloset with thair kepers in the Quhyte hous, and gevis commissioun to Androw Sclater, bailyie, and [blank] to agrie with the possessouris of the said hous for the vse thairof a certane space.

Electioun of counsalouris, etc.

For completing of the number of the counsall in place of thame that ar deceaset and absent, electit and nominat the persouns following to be of the said counsall quhill Michaelmes, to witt, for the awld provest electet Jhone Jhonestoun of Elphinstoun, Alexander Vddert for William Harvy, Jhonn Adamesoun for William Nesbet, and Henry Charters for the awld dene of gild, and als electet Thomas Wrycht, wobster, to be deykin of the said craft in place of Jhonn Stevinsoun deceisset; quhilkis persouns thairafter comperand acceptit the said office and gaif thair ayths.

22 December 1585.

Proclamatio, clayngeing of geir laying to the froste, etc.

Ordanis proclamatioun to be maid throw this burgh chairgeing all maner of persouns quha hes any guids quhilk hes bene or is suspect of infectioun, suppois it hes bene clengeit, that now in tyme of the froste, for the better suirtie and purgatioun thairof, thai lay it furth in yairds or sic commodious places to tak the air of the froste, nichtlie or daylie, quhill the samyn may be jugeit furth of suspitioun, with certificatioun that gif any infectioun sall be tryet or knawin to cum throw the samyn the awners or possessouris thairof sall be execut to the deid. Als that na persouns haif or had any suspect geir vnclengeit be the kill or caldrone at the sicht of thame that hes the cair thairof attour the space of xlviij houris after the samyn hes bene suspect, and that thai exchaynge, sparpill, sell or conceill na suspect guids vnclengeit as said is, vnder the payne of escheitt thairof and pvnesing of thair persouns at the will of the magestrats; and gif any infectioun or skayth sall aryse be conceilling thairof or abstracting the samyn fra the clengeing thai sall be incontinent execut to the deid for thair trespas. Als that na wedwyffes, husseis, or any kynd of persouns, men or wemen, be fund passand throw the streits or cumand to ony nichtbouris howssis to offer to thair seruands any clayth, paytlets, slevis, gownis, clething, bedding, naiprie, or siclyk spraichrie geir, to be exchayngeit, gevin, sawld or layet in wed, and that na merkets privatlie or oppinlie be haldin of sic guids be any persouns without the licence and knawlege of the magestrats or sic as thai sall depute to sie the saidis guids quhilkis ar to be sawld or disponet as said is, vnder the payne of escheitt of the samyn and pvnesing of thair persouns be banisement, imprysonment, or vtherwayes, at the will of the said magestrats. Last that na vagabunds, idill persouns, sturdy beggares, or vther insolent and wikket pepill be fund in the streits or howssis of this burgh fra this day furth, and that na syngill wemen be fund halding any howse be thame selff, nocht beand the wedowis of friemen, or yitt resettand sic kynd of persouns, bot that thai enter to seruice with friemen or devoyde thame of the towne within xxiiij houris and cum nocht agane within the samyn vnder the paynes to be pvnessit in thair bodeis according to the acts of parliament maid aganis vagabunds, theiffis and resetters of thift to the rigour.

31 December 1585.

Proclamatio, howssis setting.; Howssis without chymnayes.

Ordanis proclamatioun to be maid wairning and commanding all persouns that thai obey and keip the proclamatiouns and statuts maid of before, dischairgeing thame to sett thair howssis to ony vnfrie persouns, men or wemen, vnder the paynis contenit thairinto to be execut vpoun thame with all rigoure, and of new commanding and chairgeing that nane tak vpoun hand to sett thair lands or howssis to ony maner of persouns frie or vnfrie vnder quhatsumeuir cullour or pretence without speciall knawlege and licence of the bailyie of the quarter gevin in writt, testifeing that the takeris of the howse is ane frie burges and of guid lyfe and honest industrie, vnder the payne of ane vnlaw of fyve pund, and the lands or guidis of the contravener to be poyndet or his persoun wairdet for the said vnlaw. Item, for eschewing of all daynger of fyre and hurting of the nichtbouris, that nane kendill or hald thair daylie fyres to thair necessar vses in volts, sellares, loftis or ony howssis wanting ane chymnay for venting thairof, vnder the payne of ane vnlaw of xl s. swa oft as thai failyie.

Vanyone, Scherp, burgessis.

For guid and thankfull seruice to be done to the guid towne be Adriane Vanyone, Dutchemen, paynter, speciallie for the seruice quhairin he is to be imployet be the town in his craft, and that he tak and instruct prenteissis, admitts and resaues him burges of this burgh, and gevis to him selff the dewty thairof, ordaning his name to be insert in the gild buik. Siclyk, at the requeist of Maister Jhonn Prestoun, commissar, and inrespect of the guid behaviour, bruitt, and fayme of the honest conversatioun of Patrik Scherp, sumtyme seruand to maister Alexander Mawchane, and that he is ane awld seruand in this burgh, admitts him burges, gevis him the dewty thairof, and ordanis his name to be insert in the gild buik.


  • 1. By a deleted act, dated 29th October, it was thought "nocht expedient to have ane hundreth men to be wachemen but onlie threscoir men for keiping and wacheing of the toun."