Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1573-1589. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Edinburgh, 1882.
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11 October 1587.
[Ordained that "na candill be darrer sawld nor xxj d. the pund of hard weik and xxij d. the rag weik"; and that the 8d. loaf weigh fourteen ounces.]
13 October 1587.
Air, St. Jhonestoun.
It is thocht expedient that the proueist, baillies, and ane number of the counsall pas to the court with the nichtbouris of Air and St. Jhonestoun, speik the Kings grace and trauell in thair favouris for the mentenance of thair priueleges.
25 October 1587.
It is thocht expedient that the said prouest, baillies and counsall, for the honestie and grauitie requyrit in thair calling, convene in counsall cled with gownis in maist decent maner and nocht with cloikis, according to the acts maid thairvpoun of before, and vnder the paynis contenit thairin, and this ordour to begyn at Mairtymes nixttocum.
Paice of breid.
After consideratioun of the pryce of the quheitt, ordanis the paice of the quheit breid to be xvk vnce.
26 October 1587.
Raid to bordouris jc men.
Jhonn Arnott, prouest, the baillies, dene of gild, thesaurer, counsall and deykins of crafts, vnderstanding that thair is ane generall raid to the Bordouris appoyntet to begyn the [blank] and that the toun is vnder the proclamatioun thairof, and it beand reportet be my lord prouest that it behoueth ather the town to pas fordward or furneis ane hundreth men thairto, thairfore appoyntis his lordschip and ane certane of thair number to speik the Kings Grace heiranent, and to offer the townis guid will to the owtredding of the schip for the imbassadouris to be sent to Denmark for licence to abyde fra the said raid, and gif the sam can nocht be obtenit condiscendis that the said jc men to vpliftet; and becaus the day of the raid is verray neir, ordanis the swesche to pas throw the town this day and throw Leyth for schawin the townes reddynes for vplifting the said men of weir that thai cum the morn to gif vp thair names and be inrollit.
27 October 1587.
Men of weir to the borderis.
Jhonn Arnot, prouest, the baillies, dene of gild, thesaurer, counsall and deykins beand convenit, vnderstanding that my lord prouest hes travellit quhat he can that the toun may be frie of this present raid, and that thair is na vther mids to be had bot be sending furth of ane hundreth feyer men of weir, quha will nocht be gottin feyet for na les space not ane moneth, thairfore thai haif all agreit to the raysing of the said men of weir with diligence; and appoyntis Capitane Cranstoun to be thair capitane and Alexander Brown anseyngyie; and for payment of thair wedges agreis and condiscendis that ane thowsand merk be tayne vpoun the commoun guid vpoun annuell and the same to be cassin in with the nixt extent for releif of the said commoun guid, gevand thair power and commissioun to my lord prouest to contract for the sam, quhairof thai promeis to releif his lordschip be thir presents. And appoyntis Robert Ker, Michaell Gilbert, bailyeis, the dene of gild, and Androw Sclaiter to tak vp the names of the said men of weir, agrie for thair wedges, and tak cawtioun for thair seruice.
1 November 1587.
Pest in Leyth, proclamatio.
The baillies, dene of gild, thesaurer, and counsall, swa mony as wer present, vunderstanding the probabill coniectures that this greitt deid quhilk hes bene in Leyth in tymes past wes of the pestilence, fynds it expedient that certane of thair number pas to the Kings Grace and mak his Grace aduertisement thairof and obtene his Graces lettres and authority for keiping of guid ordour within the said toun and within this burgh, and appoyntis Robert Ker, [bailie, and seven others,] to pas to Leyth and visy the deid corpssis for the mair certaintie; and ordanis proclamatioun to be maid throw this burgh dischairging [all inhabitants from going to Leith, ordaining all sick persons to reveal their sickness to the bailie of the quarter, and] that na persouns pas vp and doun the streits with fruit, vngyeouns, heiring, weddis, or ony maner of guidis, to sell, vnder the said payne of deid; and the lyke proclamatioun to be maid throw Leyth.
Jesuits schip of Treport.
Ordanis thame that passis to the Kings Grace anent the pest in Leyth to schaw if the schip cum fra Treport with Jesuits, vnder cullour to fetche coillis, that his Grace may putt ordour thairto.
2 November 1587.
Burrowes, Kings Grace.
The baillies, dene of gild, thesaurer and counsall, with the deykins of crafts, being convenit, quhairas it wes proponit to thame be Jhonn Jhonestoun, quha suppleis the absence of my lord proueist in the conventioun of burrowes, that the Kings Grace hes requyret be his commissioneris xm merkis of the burrowes, to be gevin to his Graces imbasssadouris that suld pas to Denmark, and thairfore desyrand quhat sall be the touns ansuer thairto, thay beand rypely avyset thairwith fynds it nocht expedient to offend his Maiestie for the plesure of the burrowis quha is swa vnthankfull to the toun, and thairfore for ansuer heirto for the townis pairt consentis to contribute for the sowm of iiijm li. to be vpliftet for the vse abone reherset.
3 November 1587.
Proclamatio, cats, dogs, swyne.
Ordanet proclamatioun to be maid commanding all persouns that hes any cats, dogs, or swyne, within this burgh, that thair ather slay thame or keip thame in suir fesuance swa that thai be nocht fund in the streits or passand fra hous to howse … inrespect the pestilence is lyke to incresin this burgh.
Ordanis proclamatioun to be maid that all persouns, indwellers of this burgh or resortand and repayrand within the samyn, keip and obserue the publict fast inioynet be the sessioun of the kirk in the tymes appoyntet thairto, swa that vpoun the Sondayes thairof and in tyme of the sermones and prayers in the owlk dayes nane be absent thairfar, and that nane pas to thair gammis and pastymes or be fund in the tavernis the said tymes, and that na hoistlares, commoun cwiks, taverneris or topsteris, dres meitt or sell and vent thair wyne and aill the said tyme, vnder the payne of ane vnlaw of v li. and wairding of thair persouns at the will of the maiestrats.
Inrespect the infectioun of pestilence is ryssin within this burgh, fynds it maist expedient that the persouns quhair infectioun is or hes bene be transportet and placet within the wallis of the Seynis in the townis bounds thairof, and thair to be devydet, separat, and clengeit; and gevis commissioun to Robert Ker, baillie, and the thesaurer to designe the plaices maist meitt thairto, and als gevis commissioun to my lord prouest, with the bailyeis and thesaurer, to fynd owt, agrie, and conduce the clene and fowle clengeris with thair owerseyares; and ordanis the said thesaurer to pay thair wedges, and als to mak the lugeis for the fowle clengeris, buriers and pvre, and to mak and set vp twa gibbets in the town, as alswa to furneis all vther necessars appertening to the governament of the said seiknes and sustentatioun of the pure infectet persouns. Siclyke, ordanis the said thesaurer, with avyse of the baillies, to put ane man with the porteris to ilk port of the Nether Bow and West Port.
Straynger scholeris, College.
Ordanis ten pund to be gevin to ilk ane of the thrie strayngeris scholeris quha gaif thair prwif in the College with the rest for the place of the new regent.
6 November 1587.
Proclamatio, Leyth, infectioun.
[Ordained that no persons repair to Leith without licence of the magistrates, that cases of sickness be revealed to the bailies, that no persons out of infected houses repair amongst the neighbours, that unfree persons who have not sufficient to sustain themselves for a month depart furth of the town, and that no dogs, cats, or swine be suffered to be at large.]
Becaus the counsall can nocht convene at euery accident that may fall furth in the tyme of this seikness, thairfore gevis thair commissioun, power, and authoritie to William Littill, awld provest, [and six others,] to convene with the magistrats and gif thair avyse for taking ordour withall things concerning the seiknes ilk day after the morning and evening prayers.
Discharges the belman to proclame any buriall without the avyse of the provest or bailyeis, and lykewayes that thair be na buriall bot of thair knawlege.
8 November 1587.
Hislop, regent in the College.
Electet and nominat furth of the scholeris quha gaif the prwif of thair eruditioun and qualeficatioun in the College of this burgh, be thair publict disputatiouns, maister Phillip Heslop to be regent of the new class in the said College quhilk is to begyn this instant yeir thair cours, as the persoun maist apt and meitt for the said place.
Girs of Grayfreir yaird, hospitall yaird.
Fynds it expedient that the girs of the Grayfreir kirk yaird, the dewtie quhairof is vpliftet be the dene of gild yeirly, and siclyke the girs of the yairdis in the Trinity College pertening to the puir thairof and vpliftet be the maisters of the hospitall, be rowpet this yeir at Mairtymes evin amangs the rest of the commoun guid, and that proclamatioun pas thairvpoun.
10 November 1587.
St. Pawles wark.
Inrespect of the pouerty of Issobell Hagry, relict of vmquhill Jhonn Banks, ane of the beidmen of Sanct Pawles Wark, and that hir said vmquhill spous wes ane burges of this burgh and buir burding within the samyn, and for fyuers vther caussis moving thame, thay grant and gevis to the said Issobell the dewty quhilk hir said vmquhill spous had of St. Pawles Wark of all tymes bygane sen his deceis. and siclyk in tyme cuming induring thair willis and thair successouris allanerly.
Leyth, taxatioun, raid, puir.
The foresaid prouest, baillies and counsall, and maist pairt of the remanent deykins of crafts, fynds it expedient that ane taxatioun be sett and rayset vpoun the inhabitants of the toun of Leuth for thair pairt of the licence to abyde fra the raid to the borderis; and the saymm being vpliftet grantis and disponis the samyn to the sustentatioun of the puir, indigent and infectet persouns thairof in this tyme of pestilence, to be distributet at the discretioun of the baillies of the said town.
14 November 1587.
Yett in the toun wall at the hospitall.
Fynds it expedient that ane dur be strukkin throw the toun wall to serue for entres to the Trinitie College and hospitall thairof at the fute of Halkerstouns Wynd, als weill for the clengeing of Androw Sclaiters geir in the awld wallis of Dyngwall as for vther occasiouns quhen the town sall haif ado thairwith, and gevis commissioun to the dene of gild, [and five others,] to tak ordour for clengeing of the said guidis and strikking furth of the said yett or dur, and ordanet the said dene of gild to mak the expenssis of strikking furth of the said dur.
17 November 1587.
Watche for halding furth Leyth.
Fynds it expedient and necessar for halding furth of the pepill of Leyth, quhilk comes about to gett in at the West Port, that for the space of aucht dayes ane watcheman be putt at Brochtoun lon heid, or sic vther places as the baillies and thesaurer sall fynd meitt.
Proclamatio, menstrells, vagabounds.
Ordanis proclamatioun to be maid chairgeing all menstrallis, pyperis, fidleris, commoun sangsteris, and specially of badrie and filthy sangs, and siclyke all vagabounds and maisterles persouns quha hes na seruice nor honest industrie to leif be, remoue and depairt furth of this burgh incontinent, and be nocht fund within the samyn heirafter vnder the payne of imprysonment in the thevis hoill and pvnesing of thair persouns at the will of the magestrats.
Bartelmo Bell, apprchendet and wairdet for ane vicious and sclanderous persoun and for singing oppinly of filthie and badrie sangs, oblist himself to depairt furth of this burgh incontinent and nocht to cum within the samyn heirafter, vnder the payne of deid.
22 November 1587.
Maisteris of the hospitall.
[The provost, bailies, and council elected, "furth of the lytes presentet to thame fra the sessioun of the kirk," James Craig and Alexander Naper to be masters of the hospital for the year to come.]
24 November 1587.
[The provost, bailies, council and deacons of crafts,] vnderstanding be report of thame that wes direct to confer with maister Robert Rollok twicheing his stipend for his seruice as principall of the townis College and teacheing of ane class of theologie and of publict lessouns in the said College, and for his teacheing vpoun the Sondayes in the morning in the Eister Kirk, that he had referrit him in the townis will thairof; and consideratioun beand had of his burding in the offices and cuires foresaidis, and of his wyfe and famely quhilk he hes to sustene, thairfore they haif grantet and disponet vnto him in yeirlie stipend the sowme of foure hundreth merks induring his said seruice to be payet to him quarterlie.
1 December 1587.
Proclamatio, armour, nicht watche.
[The provost, bailies, council and deacons of crafts,] considerand that ane greit number of the inhabitants of this burgh ar remouet furth thairof with thair howssis and fameleis, quhairby the town is in daynger of inconvenients that may follow throw thair absence, thairfore ordanet proclamatioun to be maid chairgeing all persouns that remaynis still in this burgh to haif lang wawpons in thair buithis and that thai haif sufficient airmour in thair howssis; and that for defence of the toun and keiping of the nychtbouris howssis thai be in reddynes attending vpoun the prouest and baillies swa oft as thai sall be chairget be the swescheor bell, ilk persoun vnder the payne of x li. swa oft as thai failyie. Attour, inrespect of the slewth of the ordinare watche of the nychtbouris and raritie of the toun, it is thocht expedient and ordanet that thair be tayne vp, conducet, and inrollet the number of fourty persouns to serue for ane nicht watche, and twenty thairof to watche ilk nycht, and to haif wedges onely for the nicht that thai watche, to be avanceit be the thesaurer and ramburset of the extent, and the provest and baillies to fynd owt qualefeit, honest, and trew persouns to be of the said watche and agrie with thame for thair wedges.
13 December 1587.
Auent the pryces of wyns and tymmer.
My lord prouest produceit the extract of the act of parliament anent the pryces of the wynes and tymmer, togidder with ane lettre of the Kings Maiestie of electioun of certane gentillmen to concur to the making of the said pryces. [Here follows act of parliament, dated 29 July 1587, cap. 36. (fn. 1) ] Followes the said lettre: —Prouest, baillies, and counsall of Edinburgh, we greitt yow weill. Albeit the ordour prescryuet in our laitt act of parliament anent the setting of the pryce on wyne and tymmer and chesing of persouns to that effect wes nocht fullie obseruet at the last Michaelmes court, yitt seing few of the wynes ar yitt cum hame or disperset we think the defalt may be suppleit for this yeir, and thairfore for the fource personis to be chosin at the Michaelmes court and be ws and oure secreit counsell we haif nominat the lairds of Corstorphin, Merchinstoun, Innerleyth and Braid, to quhome we desyre yow to appoint foure burgessis of sic qualitieis as the act of parliament appoynts, and caus wairne thir foure baronis quhilk ar your narrest nychtbouris, according to our chairge direct to that effect, quhilk with the said act of parliament ye sall heirwith resaue, and sa proceid in this mater as neyther we nor our subiects haif iust caus of complaynt, as ye will ansuer to ws thairvpoun and do ws acceptabill plesure. Thus we committ yow to God. At Dalkeyth, the viij day of December, 1587. Sic subscribitur: James, R., J. M., Cancellarius. Quhilk act of parliament and lettre being considerit, the said prouest, baillies and counsall, electet and nominat maister Michaell Chisholme, dene of gild, Androw Sclaiter, merchant, Edward Galbrayth, skynner, George Hereott, goldsmyth, to be prycears of the wyne and tymmer according to the said act of parliament, quha acceptet the said office vpoun thame.
20 December 1587.
Cordiner chops, young beggares.
Vnderstanding that thair is sindrie of the cordiner chops presently voyde, fynds it expedient that swa mony thairof as may be had be imployet to the resaving and lugeing of the puir littell aynes that gangs thiggand throw the gaits and lyes vnder the staires, quhill forther ordour be tayne heiranent.
29 December 1587.
Ramsayes wyfe in the jogs.
Ordauet the spous of James Ramsay, officer, for bakbyting, sclandering, and iniuring of William Aird, minister, quhen he gently admonist hir and hir spous for blasphemyng of God, thairfore, to the exampill of vtheris, to be put in the jogs maist ewest the place quhair the falt wes done, on Mononday nixt, thair to stand for the spaice of twa houris with ane paper on hir heid.
Actis and statuts.
The actis and statuts of the burgh of Edinburgh, maid and set furth be the prouest, baillies, and counsall of the samyn, for the commoun weill thairof, and of all our Souerane Lords lieges, the xxix of December, the yeir of God jm vc lxxxvij yeirs, and ordanet to be proclamet at the merket croce of the said burgh that nane pretend ignorance thairof:—
Forswamekill as, for laik of punisement, dyuers of the inhabitants of the said burgh and vtheris ar become oppin blasphemeris of gods hailie name and swereris of maist horrebill and execrabill aythis, as alswa sclandereris of thair nychtbouris, and vtheris ar shameles and vndautonet bairds, nocht spayring at all tymes, without any feir of God, ciuile honestie, or guid maneris, to schute furth thair venome and vnbrydelit furie vpoun all persouns, without respect of authoritie or power, as by thair evill nature thai ar movet; quhairfore the said prouest, baillies, and counsall declaires that the paynes contenit in the last act of parliament sall be extremely execut vpoun the said blasphemeris of Gods name and swereris of the saidis aythis, and as to the commoun bairds thay sall be tayne incontinent and putt in the jogs, thair to remayne be the spaice of xxiiij houris and forther to pay ane vnlaw of xl s. swa oft as thai failyie.
[Here follow acts for the repression of adultery and fornication, against vagabonds, coal stealers, sturdy beggars and idle persons, as to pursuing actions before the magistrates, keeping weapons in houses and booths, assizes, inquests and witnesses, bread, malt, ale, brewsters, meal, wheat, bear, corn, fish, poultry, geese, fleshers, tallow, candles, stablers, wool, hides and skins, weighing at the tron, hucksters, wine, unfreemen, trublances, middings, swine, crames, etc. It was ordained that the eightpence loaf baked by baxters within the burgh weigh 15 ounces, and that baked without the burgh 19 ounces; that malt be not dearer than £9 for nine firlots, ale 8d. the pint, candle 1s. 8d. the "rag weik," and 1s. 6d. the "hard weik," Burdeaux wine 5s. 4d. the pint.]