Historical preface: 1175-1370

Pages v-xxiii

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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While the origin of the oldest burghs of Scotland is unknown, and their early history is obscure, no uncertainty exists as to the foundation of the burgh of Glasgow. As King David I. granted to Bishop John of St. Andrews the site of the burgh of that name, and to the Abbey of Holyrood leave to establish the burgh of Canongate; and as William the Lion conferred on the Convent of Arbroath liberty to form a burgh on its lands, so the same monarch granted to Bishop Jocelin of Glasgow (fn. 1) the right to have a burgh at Glasgow, with all the freedoms and customs which any royal burgh in Scotland possessed. The charter in favour of the bishop was granted between 1175 and 1178—a few years after the return of William, under the provisions of the treaty of Falaise, from his captivity in Normandy by King Henry II. of England. We are thus carried back to a period within ten years of the murder of Thomas-a-Becket, and to the time of the second crusade. It is obvious that the right thus conferred was speedily taken advantage of, for in a deed granted by the bishop, between 1179 and 1199, he gave to the church of St. Mary of Melrose—of which he had formerly been abbot—"that toft in the burgh of Glasgow which Ranulf of Haddington built in the first building of the burgh, as fully as he built and held it." (fn. 2) Like a large number of the Scottish burghs, Glasgow thus owed its existence to the church, under whose fostering care and protection it existed for centuries. To this fact we probably owe the complete knowledge we possess of its early charter history; for a great religious establishment like the church of Glasgow was able to preserve its muniments from many of the risks and accidents to which those of a struggling burgh were exposed. The original grants made to the early bishops have, no doubt, long since perished, but they had been carefully recorded in the chartularies of the church; and these chartularies have, notwithstanding the many vicissitudes through which they have passed, been fortunately preserved and transcribed.

The first charter in the present volume is that by which King William authorised bishop Jocelin and his successors to have a burgh at Glasgow, with a market on Thursday, and all the freedoms and customs which any royal burgh in Scotland possessed. The king, moreover, conferred on the burgesses who should reside in the burgh his firm peace through his whole land, in going and returning; and he prohibited every one, under pain of his full forfeiture, from unjustly troubling or molesting them or their chattels, or from inflicting any injury or damage upon them. (fn. 3) A few years later—between 1189 and 1198—the same sovereign granted to the same bishop, and his successors, the right to hold a fair at Glasgow yearly, for eight days from the octaves of the Apostles Peter and Paul, i.e., from 6 July, with his firm and full peace, and with all the liberties and rights granted or belonging to any fairs in Scotland. (fn. 4) And still later, on the 27th of June in some year before 1211, he renewed the grant of his firm peace to all who should attend the fair, while repairing to and returning from it, and while actually there, provided that they did what they ought to do, justly, according to the assize of royal burghs and of the country. (fn. 5)

In what position, then, did these grants place Glasgow ? They did not, certainly, make it a royal burgh, as has been asserted by the older historians of the city. The royal burgh in every case held directly of the sovereign. The burgh of Glasgow belonged to the bishop, and held of him. But still the privileges conferred by these grants were valuable in an age when burghs monopolised trade, and when burgesses possessed rights that were denied to others. Though only a bishop's burgh, it was invested with the freedoms and customs enjoyed by royal burghs; its burgesses occupied, no doubt, a position lower in the social scale than that enjoyed by burgesses of royal burghs, (fn. 6) but still they reposed under the firm peace of the sovereign, and those who injured or molested them incurred the "full forfeiture."What the "king's peace" meant it is not necessary to consider in detail. Suffice it to say that in early times there were various grades of the peace. Every fair had its peace — known as "the peace of the fair;" the "hundred" (which, however, was unknown in Scotland) had its peace; there was the general peace of the country at large; the church gave its peace to those under its protection; and the highest peace was that which the sovereign extended to special places and persons. The king's peace was frequently proclaimed upon the great highways of commerce and navigable rivers; and those districts to which it was expressly given were placed upon a footing of protection equal to that afforded by the royal residence. (fn. 7) Violations of the king's peace were punished by penalties of special severity. The "full forfeiture" incurred by all who unjustly troubled or molested the burgesses, or injured their goods, was also the highest known in law. It implied forfeiture of life and member, and all that the offender had. (fn. 8) Thus the burgesses and their property were hedged around with all the protection which the royal power at that early period could command. The burgh was also authorised to hold a weekly market on Thursdays, and an annual fair extending over eight days in July. In Scotland, as in England, the establishment of a public market was a royal prerogative, and usually carried with it a right to levy tolls on all articles brought for sale. The fair was a greater market which could only be held under royal authority, expressed or implied. In these days, sales and purchases could only be made in port and in the presence of witnesses chosen in burgh. The right to hold the weekly market was thus an important privilege, while the annual fair attracted traders from all parts of the country to the infant burgh. (fn. 9) "The fair," says Mr. E. N. Robertson, (fn. 10) "was in some respects a sort of regulated saturnalia; none but the outlaw, the traitor, and the malefactor, whose crime was of too deep a dye to admit of sanctuary, could be taken during its continuance; all else, whether debtors, runaways, or minor offenders of any description, being free from arrest, except they broke 'the peace of the fair,' when they were tried and punished, not by the ordinary magistrates of the burgh, but in a temporary court, known universally as the court of Pies-poudrees, or Dusty-feet. (fn. 11) The dusty-foot was the travelling pedlar, or merchant as he was called in Scotland, the original of the modern haberdasher—or man with a havresac; and as, in fair-time, the stallenger, or trader who sold from a temporary stall, or booth, could claim 'lot and cavyl'—share and share—with the more dignified burgher, with whom for the time he was upon an equality, it would have been contrary to the true northern principle of justice if he had been liable to be tried and punished in a strange court, and by any other verdict than that of his 'peers,' the community, for the time being, of the fair. The dusty-foot probably came by land, and only entered the burgh for traffic during fair-time; but the sea, or the river, bore the vessel of the foreign trader to the burgh at all times, though, except when it was otherwise provided, as at Perth during summer time, the burghers alone could dispose of the traders' wares, only salt and herrings being sold on board ship."

When the first of the charters above referred to was granted (1175–8), the cathedral was probably mainly constructed of wood, but prior to the date of the second charter the structure had been destroyed by fire, and when the bishop obtained the latter charter from King William—whose absolution he had procured from Pope Lucius III. by personal solicitation at Rome in 1182—he was actively engaged, under the royal sanction and protection, in collecting funds for the restoration, and in pushing forward the work. The energy with which he did this is shown by the fact that on 6th July, 1197, the new church was so far advanced as to be dedicated. But it was not completed for many years afterwards; and in 1242 a General Council of the Scottish Church appointed a national collection to be made annually during Lent in aid of the building. "The length of time occupied in erecting this great church,"says Professor Innes, "accounts for some curious changes of style, which must have taken place while the work was in progress."

King William was succeeded, in December 1214, by his son, Alexander II., a youth then in his seventeenth year, and he, between 1224 and 1242 granted six charters to the bishops of Glasgow. Of these, four were granted to bishop Walter, (fn. 12) and two to bishop William. (fn. 13) The first of these charters to bishop Walter (fn. 14) confirmed that (fn. 15) by which King William had conferred the privilege of having a burgh at Glasgow, with a weekly market. The second (fn. 16) confirmed the charter by which the annual fair had been authorised to be held. (fn. 17) The third (fn. 18) dated 22nd November, 1225, is a repetition of the first—the only difference being in the witnesses. And the fourth, (fn. 19) dated 29th October, 1226, prohibited the provosts (prepositi), bailies, or officers of Rutherglen from taking toll or custom in the town of Glasgow, but to take it at the cross of Schedenestoun (now known as Shettleston), as they had been in wont to do.

This last-mentioned charter is interesting on account of the glimpse it affords of the relative positions of Rutherglen and Glasgow in the early part of the thirteenth century. Rutherglen had been erected into a royal burgh by King David in 1126, and a charter granted by King William to the burgh and its burgesses, between 1165 and 1189 (fn. 20) confirmed to them all the customs and rights which they had in King David's time, and the bounds which he had granted to them, viz., from Neithan to Polmadie, from Garin to Kelvin, from Loudun to Prenteineth, and from Karnebeth to Karun; and within the whole of that district the burgh had exclusive privileges of trade and the right to levy tolls and customs. When, therefore, King William granted to the bishop's burgh of Glasgow, which was within the district over which the rights of Rutherglen extended, all the freedoms and customs of a royal burgh, the two burghs could scarcely fail to come into collision, and the charter to the bishop in 1226 appears to have been intended to prevent the occurrence of future disputes. This it did by prohibiting the officers of Rutherglen from taking toll or custom in the town of Glasgow, or elsewhere than at the cross of Schedenestoun (Shettleston), according to old use and wont. The prohibition did not, apparently, interfere with the right of Rutherglen to take toll or custom from articles passing into Glasgow, as may have been long the practice, but certainly did apply to the collection of those dues nearer to Glasgow than Schedenestoun. But while dispute with Rutherglen was thus sought to be removed, the foundation of fresh quarrels had been laid five years earlier by the erection of a royal burgh under the shadow of the new Castle of Dumbarton. In 1221 Alexander established that burgh, conferring on his burgesses remaining therein all the liberties and free customs which his burgesses of Edinburgh enjoyed, with a weekly market on Wednesday, and exemption from tolls throughout the country. (fn. 21) In 1224, again, he granted to the burgh the lands of Murroch; (fn. 22) and two years later authorised the burgesses to hold an annual fair of eight days duration on the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24th June), with all the usual attendant privileges. (fn. 23) As burgesses of a royal burgh, the townsmen of Dumbarton regarded themselves as superior to the bishop's burgesses and men of Glasgow, and the latter were accordingly required, as a condition of being permitted to trade to or past Dumbarton by the Clyde, or through the burgh to the West Highlands, to pay taxes to Dumbarton. This claim was resisted by the burgesses and men of the bishop, and chronic strife between the two towns prevailed, which was sought to be allayed by the king's charters to bishop William in 1235 and 1242.

By the first of these charters, dated 13th October, 1235—being the fifth charter by Alexander II.—the king conferred on bishop William, then his chancellor, and his successors in the bishopric, and their men, natives and serfs, the privilege of being quit of toll throughout the kingdom, as well within as without burghs, for their own goods, and for all other things which they bought for their own use. (fn. 24) No reference is made in this charter to the burgesses, and the expression "men, natives and serfs," is noticeable. Grants of land in free barony frequently contain a clause "cum nativis" or "cum hominibus," and the term "natives" or "neyfs" is usually regarded, both in Scotland and in England, as indicative of the fact that the persons thus designated were the original inhabitants, or their descendants, who had been reduced to serfdom, and were transferable by sale or gift along with the soil which they cultivated. Sometimes, however, the "native" or "neyf" seems to have been regarded as in a condition superior to that of the serf, and, his "nativity" appears to have given him an inborn right to occupy the soil. (fn. 25) Be that as it may, the natives and serfs of great religious houses were generally more favourably circumstanced than those of secular lords; and it is to the honour of the church that it, as well as the burghs, aided in the gradual emancipation of the servile classes. The expression "men, natives, and serfs" in the charter under consideration did not probably include the burgesses of the infant burgh. By the law and practice of the royal burghs both of Scotland and England, at this time the slave of a baron or knight who acquired a burrowage, and settled in burgh for a year and day unchallenged by his lord, became free. If then the burgesses of Glasgow possessed all the rights and privileges which were enjoyed by the burgesses of royal burghs, none of the former could be in a condition of serfdom, and it may have been that as these privileges were already possessed by the burgesses under the earlier charters, the servile class of the bishop's dependents—his natives and serfs—were alone intended to be benefited by the charter of 1225.

By the second of these charters to bishop William, dated 11th January, 1242–3—being the sixth charter by Alexander II.—the king conferred on the bishop's burgesses and men of Glasgow the privileges of trade and merchandise in Argyle and Lennox, and throughout the kingdom, as freely, quietly, and without interruption by the bailies of Dumbarton or any others, the king's bailies, as they could have exercised before Dumbarton was constituted a burgh. He also confirmed his firm peace and protection to all who attended the fair and market of Glasgow, under the full fine of £10. (fn. 26) This charter seems to recognise a distinction between the bishop's burgesses and the bishop's men, while upon both it confers important privileges of trade. The distinction probably had reference to the fact that the burgesses occupied the most important position in the infant burgh; that the bishop's men—not burgesses—held a position which, though subordinate, was still one of privilege; and that the natives or serfs occupied the lowest place. But even the last-named class appear to have participated in the advantage of connection with the church; for by the charter of 1235 they as well as the bishop's men were exempted from toll in respect of their own goods and of things bought for their own use. (fn. 27)

Alexander II. was succeeded on 8th July, 1249, by his son, Alexander III., then a child not eight years old, who reigned till March, 1285–6. On 30th April, 1251, bishop William obtained from the king letters declaring the bishop, his lands, and men, and all their possessions to be under the firm peace and protection of the sovereign, and forbidding every one, under pain of full forfeiture, from doing them harm, or causing them trouble. (fn. 28) Similar protection had been granted by the king's grandfather and father to the holders of the see, and little time seems to have been lost, after the accession of the young king, in obtaining a renewal of the royal protection. The only other charter by the king connected with the city, of which a trace exists, seems to have been addressed to the sheriff, provosts, and bailies of Dumbarton, on 18th June, 1275. It referred to the privilege which had been granted to the bishop and his men, prior to the constitution of Dumbarton into a royal burgh, to go to and return from Argyle with merchandise freely and without impediment, and commanded that if the men of Dumbarton had taken anything from those of Glasgow, restitution should be made, and the latter should not be vexed or troubled under pain of the king's highest displeasure. (fn. 29)

During the vacancy in the bishopric occasioned by the death of bishop William in November, 1258, the canons agreed that if any of them were elected bishop he would remove the palace, which stood without the castle, and give the area on which it was erected, with the adjoining ground, as a site for houses for the canons. (fn. 30) Nicholas de Moffet, archdeacon of Teviotdale, was subsequently elected bishop by the chapter. But owing, it is believed, to the intrigues of some of its members, the Pope refused to consecrate him, and appointed John de Cheyam, an Englishman, to the office. The appointment was not acceptable, however, either to the king or to the chapter, and Cheyam retired from his diocese and from Scotland, dying in France in 1268. On his death the canons adopted a resolution similar to that to which they came in 1258. (fn. 31) But, as Professor Innes observes, "it is probable that the second undertaking was not more effectual than the first." Nicholas de Moffet then got possession of the bishopric, but died without consecration in 1270. William Wischard, archdeacon of St. Andrews and chancellor of Scotland, was elected his successor, but was postulated to the see of St. Andrews in the same year, and Robert Wischard, archdeacon of Lothian, was appointed bishop. He was consecrated at Aberdeen, probably about 1273, and four years later appears to have been engaged in preparations for building a steeple and treasury in connection with the cathedral. By a charter granted in 1277 by Maurice, lord, of Luss, he authorised those engaged in the building to cut and remove such wood, growing on his lands of Luss, as might be required for the purpose. (fn. 32)

The only other deed given in this volume as having been granted during the reign of Alexander III., or of his daughter Margaret, the Maid of Norway, who succeeded him in March, 1286, and died in September, 1290, illustrates the conditions under which a burgess might then convey lands to a stranger. By the laws of the Four Burghs (fn. 33) every burgess might, while in good health, sell or give to whomsoever he chose all lands which he had acquired by purchase. But serious restrictions were imposed upon his alienating his heritable property, even under the pressure of necessity. Previous to doing so he had, at three head courts (fn. 34) of the burgh, to offer the heritage to the next heir, who, if he agreed to buy it, had to provide the seller with meat and clothing necessary—the clothing being grey or white. If the heir would not or could not purchase, then the owner might sell it to others. So solicitous were these burgh laws to protect the interest of the heir in relation to such alienations as to provide that if he were absent in the next kingdom the seller must wait forty days, and if in a more distant kingdom twice forty days, and so of other more distant kingdoms. But if, from ill will or malice, the heir remained absent for a longer period, then the owner might dispose of his heritage to the best advantage. In conformity with this enactment the granter of the deed, (fn. 35) Robert of Mithyngby, sets forth that under the pressure of extreme poverty and necessity, he, with the consent of his daughter and heiress, and of her brother, expressed personally in the burgh court of the city, sold, for the relief of his poverty, to Master (fn. 36) Reginald Irewyn, archdeacon of Glasgow, all his lands in the burgh as described in the deed. The document is careful to state that the lands had been offered by the seller to his nearest relatives and friends at three head courts, and at other courts often, according to law and the custom of the burgh. It then sets forth that sasine had been given to the purchaser in presence of the prepositi and bailies of Glasgow and twelve burgesses and others of the city, and the purchaser was taken bound to pay yearly to the bishop and his successors the rent due for the lands at the usual terms. To this charter the seals both of the granter and of the city are stated to have been affixed. Among the witnesses to the transaction are enumerated Sir Richard of Dunidouir, Alexander Palmer, and William Gley, who are described as tunc prepositis. It thus appears that the Laws of the Four Burghs applicable to the transfer of burgage property, were in operation in the bishop's burgh in the latter part of the thirteenth century. (fn. 37)

In this deed the terms "prepositi et ballivi" occur for the first time with reference to the burghal officers of Glasgow, and the question arises what does the word "prepositus" mean. The same term frequently occurs in royal charters which were often directed, among others, "vicecomitibus, prepositis," &c. In all cases the word "prepositus" is, no doubt, correctly translated provost; but it meant different things as applied to persons in different conditions. In ecclesiastical language the provost might be a cathedral dignitary, or the second officer in a monastery under the abbot, or the head of a religious college. Applied to an officer of a town, it indicated a position corresponding to that of a praetor or praefect, or quaestor or burgh greve. Sometimes the title was given to a petty judge, and sometimes to a subordinate officer under a steward or bailiff who had charge of the interests of the lord of a town, village, or rural district,—in which last case the duties of the prepositus had reference to the looking after matters connected with the cultivation of the soil, or cattle, or pasture. Sometimes the duties of the prepositus were confined to rivers, waters, and streams, in which case he was recognised as prepositus aquarum, or water bailiff. The head of the merchants of a town was sometimes designated prepositus mercatorum, corresponding probably to the Master of the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, or the Dean of Guild of the Merchants' House of Glasgow. There was also in the palace of the king or of a great prelate, an officer known as the prepositus palatii vel domus, while the chief officer of the hundred was known as prepositus Hundredi. The charters, by King William in 1189–98, (fn. 38) and by Alexander II. in 1224–7, (fn. 39) to which reference has already been made, are directed "prepositis" among other officers, while the prohibition by Alexander II. (fn. 40) in 1226 is against the exaction of toll within Glasgow by the king's "prepositi vel ballivi vel seruientes" of Rutherglen. In the case of Mithyngby, under consideration, the transaction bears to have taken place, "coram prepositis et ballivis"—in the presence of the provosts and bailies. But there is nothing to indicate a gradation of rank between the prepositi and the ballivi. At a later period such gradation was evidently established; the chief officer of the burgh was described sometimes as the prepositus, sometimes as the alderman, and in later times almost universally as the provost, and the bailies took rank after him. (fn. 41)

After the death of Margaret, in September, 1290, an interregnum occurred, which extended till 17th November, 1292, on which date John Balliol succeeded to the Crown. He reigned till July, 1296, when he resigned his realm, people, and royal seal to King Edward, and an interregnum commenced which lasted till 26th March, 1306. During this interregnum, and about 1297, Sir William Wallace was appointed Guardian or Regent of Scotland, but he resigned the office soon after the battle of Falkirk on 22nd July, 1298, (fn. 42) and was succeeded by the Bishop of St. Andrews, the Earl of Carrick, and John Comyn, junior, as joint guardians.

The next charter in the collection occurs during Balliol's reign, and affords an interesting glimpse of burghal life in the city at that time. A burghal court was held on Wednesday the 15th of September, 1293—the day after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and was attended by Oliver and Richard Smalhy, who are designed as prepositi, and by other prepositi and citizens. To the court so constituted it was represented that Odard, son of the deceased Richard Hangpudyng had, for the weal of the souls of himself and of his predecessors and successors and the rest of the faithful in Christ, granted to St. Mary's light in the High Kirk certain specified lands, and had delivered sasine of them to Sir John of Botheuyl, vicar of the choir, then procurator of the light, for in-toll and out-toll. (fn. 43) It was farther represented that this gift and the sasine upon it had been made before Oliver Smalhy, then prepositus, in presence of twelve citizens and two servants, on the Wednesday immediately after the feast of the beheading of St. John the Baptist (29th August) in the same year. These facts were accordingly narrated in a charter, to which, by the authority of the court, and according to the custom of the city, the common seal was affixed in the presence of the court; and in farther confirmation, the seal of the official of Glasgow was also appended. (fn. 44)

In the autumn of 1301 Edward I. visited Glasgow, and remained for a fortnight, residing with his train at the Convent of the Dominicans, Blackfriars, or Friars Preachers. (fn. 45) The wardrobe accounts of the King, extracts from which are given on p. 621 of the Register of the Bishopric, show that his offerings during this visit at the High Altar and the shrine of St. Mungo were frequent. (fn. 46) Three years later, viz.: in 1304, Bishop Wischard appears to have presented a petition to King Edward in which he set forth that he and his town of Glasgow had been seised, from time beyond memory, of toll from the burgesses of Rutherglen on all goods sold or bought in Glasgow, and claimed franchise, under a new grant from the King, that he would permit the bishop to distrain these burgesses in his said town to pay as heretofore. Upon this petition a writ was ordered to be issued to the Guardian and Chamberlain of Scotland to enquire into the facts, and no further reference is made to the subject. (fn. 47)

King Robert the Bruce was crowned on 27th March, 1306, and his reign lasted till 7th June, 1329. The next charter in the collection is that granted by him to Bishop Wischard, on 26th April, 1309 (fn. 48) —the fourth year of his reign—and its preamble gives befitting expression to the royal gratitude for the manifold services which the prelate had rendered to his country and to his sovereign. He had often sworn fealty to the King of England, but had as frequently broken his oath by preaching and fighting against him. (fn. 49) When Balliol renounced his allegiance to Edward I., the bishop also placed himself in opposition to the English King. He was one of the first to join Wallace in his heroic revolt, and when Wallace had fallen, and the struggle was taken up by Bruce, the fearless prelate joined him in the darkest hour of his well-nigh hopeless enterprise. When the Church placed Bruce under its ban for the slaughter of Comyn, the bishop dared to give him absolution, and prepared the robes and royal banner for his coronation. For the indignities done to his authority in Scotland the infuriated Edward wreaked his vengeance on Bruce's brother, the husband of his sister, and many others of his supporters, all of whom he executed. But the sanctities of the priestly office were such that, when Wischard was taken prisoner in the Castle of Cupar in 1306, he was punished only by imprisonment. (fn. 50) Edward died near Carlisle on the 7th of July, 1307. On 24th June, 1314, the battle of Bannockburn was fought, and the English army, under the personal command of Edward II., was shattered. (fn. 51) Shortly afterwards the bishop, who had become blind in prison, was liberated, and survived till November, 1316. (fn. 52) Wischard had been more than two years in captivity when Bruce granted this charter, the terms of which gave expression to his sense of the services of the prisoner. "Since to render evil for good were a mischievous example and contrary to reason, but to show grace and favour with suitable recompense to the well deserving is a laudable evidence of gratitude, we, from our heart regarding, as we are bound to do, the imprisonments and bonds, persecutions and afflictions, which a reverend father Lord Robert, by the grace of God bishop of Glasgow, has up to this time constantly borne, and yet patiently bears, for the rights of the church and our kingdom of Scotland; therefore, "proceeds the charter, "we have granted freely and quietly to the said lord bishop his churches, lands, gear, rents, and whole possessions and goods." It thereupon commanded the several officers to whom it was addressed to cause all the possessions to be delivered to the king's chancellor and to Master Stephen de Donydour, canon of the church of Glasgow, and chamberlain to the king, as deputes and substitutes of the bishop, or any of them, or to others who might be deputed by them; and it forbade, under pain of full forfeiture, all interference by vicars, with the deputes and substitutes above named, or others acting for the bishop in the execution of their functions.

On the death of bishop Wischard, seven years after the date of this charter, Master Stephen de Donydour, therein referred to, was elected bishop, but died in 1318 without having received consecration—the Pope, through the influence of Edward II., having delayed to give it him. Doubt exists as to who was the immediate successor of Stephen, (fn. 53) but in 1321 John de Lindesay, who had been one of the canons, and chancellor of the kingdom, was appointed bishop. On 28th July, 1324, King Robert granted a charter by which he confirmed the charter by Alexander II. in 1225. (fn. 54) This deed is not preserved, and does not appear to have been recorded in the Great Seal register, but was ratified by Parliament on 28th June, 1633 (1633, c. 79). (fn. 55) A second charter by the king confirming the charter by Alexander III. of 1275, appears to have been granted on 15th November, 1328, (fn. 56) but it also has not been preserved, and does not appear to have been registered. It was, however, ratified by the Act of Parliament (1633, c. 79) above referred to.

David II. succeeded his father Robert in June, 1329. He was then a boy five years old, and his reign lasted for the long period of forty-two years. His coronation took place at Scone, and, under a special Bull by Pope John XXII., the bishop of St. Andrews performed, for the first time in Scotland under such sanction, the ceremony of anointing the youthful sovereign. His father had been too seriously embroiled with the sovereign pontiff at the time of his coronation to receive such consecration, and its absence from the coronations of previous kings of Scotland had been pleaded before Edward I. in support of the contention that the kingdom was not an independent sovereignty. (fn. 57)

But the papal bull (fn. 58) granted to the young King David, whom it designated King of Scotland, "that he and his successors should receive unction and the royal crown from the bishop of St. Andrews, or from the bishop of Glasgow and their successors." No charter by David II. appears in this collection, but during the short period in which his rival, Edward Baliol, remained in Scotland after his coronation, (fn. 59) he granted a charter dated 25th September, 1333, by which he ratified a charter by his father, John Baliol, in 1293, confirming a gift by William the Lion for the support of lights for the church and of the choir. This deed by Edward Baliol bears to have been granted by him at Glasgow in the presence of several of the lords disaffected to David II. (fn. 60) Assuming Baliol to have been in Glasgow when it was granted, his being there may be explained by the fact that bishop Lindsay was an adherent of his party. The see appears to have been vacant in 1335, and Lindsay's successor was William Raa or Rae, who held the bishopric till his death in 1367. (fn. 61) He again was succeeded in 1368 by Walter de Wardlaw, archdeacon of Lothian, and secretary to the king, who in 1385 was made cardinal and legate a latere for Scotland and Ireland by authority of the antipope Clement VII. He died in 1387.

During this reign the accounts of the chamberlain of Scotland, as appearing in the Exchequer Rolls, show that the following sums were received from the burgh and city of Glasgow, viz.:—in January, 1366, £5 10s. 1d.; in January, 1369, 35s.; and in February, 1370, £5 18s. 10d.; while the clerk of the liverance debited himself in January, 1367, with £6 3s. received from the bailies. These several payments are accounted for, along with other receipts from royal and free burghs, showing that even at this time the city contributed to the national requirements. (fn. 62)


  • 1. Bishop Joceline, while abbot of the Monastery of Melrose, was elected bishop of Glasgow, on 22nd June, 1174, and was consecrated on 1st June in the following year. He died on 17th March, 1199, and Hugh de Roxburgh, chancellor of the kingdom, was elected to succeed him, but died two months afterwards. William Malvoisin, chancellor, was then appointed bishop in 1199, and was consecrated in France by the archbishop of Lyons in 1200, but was translated to St. Andrews in 1202, and was succeeded by Florence, nephew of King William, and chancellor, who held the bishopric for five years without consecration, and resigned in 1207.
  • 2. No. II., p. 5. This charter was confirmed by bishop Florence. Facsimiles of it and of its confirmation form No. 41 and No. 42 of the National Manuscripts of Scotland, Part I. Between 1175 and 1199 Raan Corbeht, Master of the Temple in Scotland, gave to his man, William Gley of Glasgow, a plenary toft which Jocelin the bishop had given to himself in the burgh of Glasgow. [Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, vol. i., p. 37.]
  • 3. No. I., pp. 3, 4. The grant of the burgh contained in this charter was confirmed by Pope Lucius III. on 17 March, 1181. [Regist. Vet., f. 17. Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis (Maitland Club), vol. i., p. 49.]
  • 4. No. III., pp. 6, 7.
  • 5. No. IV., p. 7.
  • 6. Burgesses of royal burghs were entitled, for example, to challenge the burgesses of churchmen and secular lords, but might decline to do battle with them. [Leges Burgorum, § 13. Ancient Laws and Customs of the Burghs of Scotland, p. 8.]
  • 7. The King's presence imparted peace, not only to his residence, but to a considerable district around it. Three miles, three furlongs, and three acre-breadths, nine feet, nine palms, and three barley-corns constituted the mystical radius of the verge, which was reckoned from the town or mansion where the king held his court; and within this ambit the protection afforded by royalty was to remain unviolated. At certain times and holidays also, the king's peace was to be observed throughout the realm. The week of the ceremony of the coronation constituted one of these privileged periods: they also recurred periodically at the three great festivals of the year, Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, being the several seasons when the king wore his crown in the great councils of the respective Anglo-Saxon states or kingdoms. Lastly, the king's peace could be "given" by his word and will, by his "hand," or by his writ, or by his seal; and the punishment of the transgressor was greatly enhanced if he violated the protection thus afforded. In some shires the breach of the king's peace, or violation or contempt of the royal authority, increased the mulcts paid by the offender; in others, it placed his life and limbs at the king's mercy, or exposed him to the dread penalty of outlawry; rendering him guilty of a capital crime, which was visited by the extreme rigour of the law. Sometime after the Conquest, all these special protections were disused: but they were replaced by a general proclamation of the "king's peace," which was made when the community assented to the accession of the new monarch; and this first proclamation was considered to be in force during the remainder of his life, so as to bring any disturber of the public tranquillity within its penalties. So much importance was attached to the ceremonial act of the proclamation, that, even in the reign of John, offences committed during the interregnum, or period elapsing between the day of the death of the last monarch, and the recognition of his successor, were unpunishable in those tribunals whose authority was derived from the crown. [Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth, by Sir Francis Palgrave, vol. i., p. 285.]
  • 8. The Laws of the Burghs declare the burgessforfalt of those convicted in pleas and moots to have been eight shillings [Leges Burgorum, § 39]. This was also the penalty exigible from users of false weights and measures for the first, second, and third offences, but a fourth conviction put the offenders in the king's mercy of life and limb, "for sic falset," says the same code, "pertennys to the kyngis crowne." The king's amercement, in such cases, was £10. "Therefore," says the code. "it pertains to the king" [Ib., § 68].
  • 9. The fixing of the fair for eight full days from the octaves of St. Peter and St. Paul, beginning on 7th July, was quite in keeping with mediæval custom, which usually appointed fairs to be held in commemoration of the dedication of churches, or in connection with Saints' days or other religious festivals. Thus the fair at Westminster was held on St. Peter's day, that at London on St. Bartholomew's day, and that at Durham on St. Cuthbert's day. The Cathedral Church of Glasgow, built by John, the first bishop after the restoration of the bishopric by David I., had been consecrated on 7th July, 1136; and it was probably the practice in Glasgow, as in other places, for tradesmen and merchants to bring their wares for sale in the churchyard, on the anniversary of that important event, when large crowds were doubtless collected from the surrounding districts to witness or take part in the religious services befitting the day. In fixing the 7th of July, therefore, for the commencement of the annual fair, the influences of religion and of trade were combined to draw to it large numbers both of buyers and sellers.
  • 10. Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. i., p. 304.
  • 11. See Daines Barrington on the word "Pipowder," [Observations on the More Ancient Statutes (A. D. 1796), p. 423.]
  • 12. Bishop Walter, capellanus regis, was elected bishop on the 5th of the Ides of December, 1207, and was consecrated, by papal licence, at Glasgow on 2 November 1208. He died in 1232.
  • 13. William de Bondington, chancellor, was consecrated at Glasgow on the Sunday after the nativity of the Virgin, 1233. He resigned the chancellorship about the time of the king's death, but retained the bishopric till his own death on 10 November, 1258. It was this bishop who, in the last year of his life, with the consent of the chapter, established the liberties and customs of Salisbury as the future constitution of the Cathedral of Glasgow.
  • 14. No. V., pp. 8, 9.
  • 15. No. I., pp. 3, 4.
  • 16. No. VI., pp. 9, 10.
  • 17. No. III., pp. 6, 7.
  • 18. No. VII., pp. 11, 12.
  • 19. No. VIII., pp. 12, 13.
  • 20. King William's charter is recited in a charter by King Robert I., dated 20 April, 1324; [Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. i., p. 86; Ure's History of Rutherglen and Kilbride, pp. 5–8.; Appendix to General Report of Municipal Corporations in Scotland (1835), p. 9].
  • 21. The original of this charter is lost, and only a copy—written, it is supposed, about the end of the fourteenth century—is preserved in the charter room of the burgh. But the substance of the deed is narrated in a charter of confirmation by James VI. in 1609.—[Irving's History of Dumbartonshire (2nd edition), p. 46.]
  • 22. Irving, ut sup., p. 46.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. No. IX., pp. 13, 14.
  • 25. Our lawyers do not point to any distinction between the neyf in gross—the out-and-out slave—and the neyf regardant — that is, astricted to a certain land; but I have seen transactions for removing slaves from one estate to another, which show, or seem to show, that the difference was known with us also, and that a neyf astricted to the soil might not be moved at the mere will of his lord, even to another estate of the same lord. As for the neyf in gross, you will find printed amongst our "National MSS." a deed of sale by which a Berwickshire laird sells to the priory of Coldingham a serf named Turkill Hog, and his sons and daughters, the whole family fetching the price of three merks. If you think it worth while to look at that deed [Part I., No. 54], you will find expressions showing that the sale was made under urgent necessity, which, with other circumstances, leads me to infer that it might not have been otherwise warrantable, and that the poor serf was protected by law from capricious sales. [Lectures on Scotch Legal Antiquities by Cosmo Innes, pp. 51, 52.]
  • 26. No. X., pp. 14, 15.
  • 27. In many cases the neyf was classed among the personal properties of his master, and was, with his children, assigned as "the native and his followers." In others he was conveyed with his following and the estate to which they were attached by charter; and the warrandice of the deed included "men" as well as lands, meadows, and pastures. The rule seems to have been that the serfs accompanied the land, and were transferred with it, but in special cases of "great necessity," they seem to have been sold separately. In some instances, however, the neyf was not employed in personal service or manual labour, but in more profitable work, and in such circumstances he was sometimes permitted to commute his personal service into a fixed money payment, and to appropriate the whole or a proportion of his earnings for the benefit of himself and his family, or the purchase of their freedom. The hope of so acquiring liberty for himself and his descendants may have reconciled many an able bondman to work in his servile position where otherwise he might have sought escape by flight, and ultimate emanci pation by obtaining burgess-ship in a burgh, or receiving orders in the church. That the ranks of the burgesses of important towns were so recruited is well established.
  • 28. No. XI., p. 16.
  • 29. No. XII., p. 17. This charter was ratified by Parliament on 28th June, 1633 (1633, c. 79). [Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. v., p. 88.]
  • 30. Codex Civitatis Glasguensis, f. 57; Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, No. 208, pp. 166, 167.
  • 31. Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, No. 213, pp. 174, 175.
  • 32. Codex Civitatis Glasguensis, f. 68; Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, No. 229, pp. 191, 192.
  • 33. Leges Burgorum, sec. 42. Ancient Laws and Customs of the Burghs of Scotland (Burgh Records Society), p. 21.
  • 34. Three head, courts were appointed to be held yearly in burghs. The first after Michaelmas (29 September), the second after Yule (25 December), and the third after Pasche (March or April). Ib., ? 40, p. 20.
  • 35. No. XIII., A.D. 1280–90, pp. 17, 19.
  • 36. At this time probably the titles Magister, or Master and Doctor were equivalent, and indicated that the holder had received education in a University, from which he had received a degree indicating his qualification to teach.
  • 37. Another charter granted circa 1290, by Finlay Jager, son and heir of Radulph Jager, burgess of Glasgow, narrates the great necessity and notour and manifest poverty of the granter, under pressure of which he sold his house, garden, and buildings in Glasgow, therein described, to Sir James of Renfrew, chaplain. This deed narrates the offering of the subjects at three head courts of the burgh according to custom, and delivery of sasine to the purchaser, all as set forth in the deed of Robert of Mithyngby above referred to, but subject to an annual payment of a silver penny at the feast of Pentecost (or Whitsunday) in name of feu-duty. It also contains anxious provision against future challenge of the transaction by the seller or his heirs. [Cod. Civit., Glasg., f. 73.]
  • 38. No. III., pp. 6, 7.
  • 39. No. VI., pp. 9, 10.
  • 40. No. VIII., pp. 12, 13.
  • 41. It would appear that in the reign of Alexander II. a neyf might hold office as a prepositus, for in 1247 Adam, lord of Prendergeste, with the assent of Henry his son and heir, sold to Patrick Prendergeste, burgess of Berwick, Reginald, "prepositus," his neyf, "with all his following, and quitclaimed for ever the said Reginald and all his following to the said Patrick for twenty marks of sterlings which the said Patrick gave to Adam, in his great necessity." "Wherefore," says the deed, "I freely will and grant that the said Reginald, his wife, his children, and all the following descending from them, with all their goods as well moveable as immoveable, freely and peacefully, may go, return and stay wherever they please, like other free men, so that I Adam and all my heirs, shall never henceforward against them have demand or claim of their neyfship." It has been supposed that the Reginald thus emancipated was a prepositus of Berwick, and that the term prepositus denoted the office of alderman or bailie of that important burgh. But Reginald is not described as "prepositus" of Berwick, and it would be rash to assume that he did occupy that position. May it not rather suggest that the neyf may have been the bailiff of a franchise or manor [Blount's Jocular Tenures, by Beckwith, p. 469], or may have held some position of charge and superiority over other neyfs similar to that of a foreman.
  • 42. Wallace was captured by the English in 1305—probably not long after 21st May— tried and condemned at Westminster on 23rd August thereafter, and executed apparently on the same day at Smithfield.
  • 43. This is another recognition of the operation in Glasgow at this time of the laws of the Four Burghs. The transfer of burghal property was made by the bailie, who received possession from the seller, and gave it to the purchaser, the transaction being indicated by the bailie taking a penny for "in-toll," and a penny for "out-toll." The ceremonial to be observed on such occasions is prescribed by No. LII. of the Burgh Laws. [Burgh Records edition, p. 25.] The seller, who was within the land to be sold, passed out, and the purchaser, who was outside, entered. Thereupon the seller gave the bailie a penny for the "ische" or outgoing, i.e., out-toll, and the purchaser gave the bailie a penny for his entry and seisin, i.e., in-toll. When the transaction was not properly a sale but an excambion, i.e., an exchange of properties, each of the parties to the transaction gave twopence to the bailie. "Symbols of investiture generally bore some reference to the subject. Seisin was taken of the mill by delivery of clap and hopper, of a house by the key, of fishings by net and coble, of patronage by a psalter and the keys of the church, of jurisdiction by the book of the court." [Scotch Legal Antiquities, p. 91.]
  • 44. No. XIV., pp. 20, 21. The "official" was a judicial officer of high ecclesiastical authority.
  • 45. The order had been established in Scotland during the reign of Alexander II. (1214–1249), or in the early years of his successor Alexander III. (1249–1286), and their "place" in Glasgow is said to have been built and founded by the bishop and chapter. The bishop of that period was William de Bondington, who rebuilt the cathedral, and remodelled the chapter according to the usages of the church of Salisbury. In 1246 a Bull of Pope Innocent IV., granted indulgence to all the faithful who should contribute to the completion of the church and other edifices which the friars had begun to build; and in 1252 King Alexander III. granted them £10 yearly out of the ferms of Dumbarton, in lieu of the king's obligation to provide their food for one day in every week. In the reign of Alexander III. the place of the friars was surrounded by a wall, and gave its name to a wynd or vennel. The convent stood on the east side of the High Street. It was probably the only structure then existing in the city suitable for the reception of the king and his suite. On the east of the monastery was the church of the order, surrounded by a cemetery. M'Ure, who wrote in 1736, described it as "the ancientest building of Gothic kind of work that could be seen in the whole kingdom, as was observed by Mr. Miln, the king's architect, when he surveyed it in the year 1638, declared that that ancient building had not its parallel in all Scotland except Whittairn in Galloway."
  • 46. King Edward left Glasgow for Bothwell on Sunday, 4th September, 1301, and resided there till the 27th of the same month. [Stevenson's Documents illustrative of the History of Scotland, vol. ii., p. 437.] Various purchases of iron, coal, and tools appear to have been made for the king's service in the city about this time. [Bain's Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland preserved in the Public Record Office, London, vol. ii., pp. 323–324; vol. iv., pp. 448–452.]
  • 47. Bain's Calendar of Documents, vol. ii., p. 434, No. 1627.
  • 48. No. XV., pp. 21–23.
  • 49. Burton quotes an abstract of Sir Francis Palgrave's list of the bishop's retractations. [History of Scotland, 2nd ed., vol. ii., p. 260.] One of the charges which Edward made against the bishop was that he had appropriated tim ber allowed him for building a steeple to the cathedral of Glasgow to the construction of engines of war against the king's castles, especially the castle of Kirkintolach. [Ibid., II., p. 429. See also Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, vol. ii., Nos. 1777, 1780– 5–6–9, 1812–13–14–24–25–27–28.]
  • 50. The temporalities of the bishopric were thereupon ordered by King Edward to be given to Sir John de Meneteth during pleasure. [Bain's Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, vol. ii. p. 479, No. 1785.]
  • 51. Edward II. was at Biggar on his way to Glasgow, on 6th October, 1310. Ibid., vol. iii., p. 30. No. 166.
  • 52. Various particulars in regard to the bishop's imprisonment will be found in Bain's Calendar utsup., Nos. 24, 58, 61, 188, 194, 207, 342, 372, 393.
  • 53. Dr. Joseph Robertson states that on 17th July, 1318, Pope John XXII. appointed to the office John of Eglescliff, a Dominican friar and papal Penitentiary, but expresses doubt as to whether he got possession of the bishopric. [Concilia Scotiæ. Pref., p. lxxv.] Professor Innes indicates that John de Wischart, archdeacon of the cathedral, succeeded Stephen. [Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, Pref, p. xxxvi]. But this is controverted by Dr. Grub, who points out that Wischart was still archdeacon of Glasgow in 1325. [Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, vol. i., pp. 345–346.] John de Lindesay, who had been one of the canons and chancellor of the kingdom, was appointed bishop, apparently in 1321.
  • 54. No. XVI., p. 23.
  • 55. Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. v., p. 88.
  • 56. No. XVII., p. 24.
  • 57. In the last year of the reign of King Robert I. he sent ambassadors to Rome to crave that he and his successors might be anointed and crowned by the bishop of St. Andrews, and the privilege thus sought was granted. But before the bull was sealed, at Avignon, the king died at Cardross.
  • 58. Thenier Vetera Monumenta, p. 244, No. 480.
  • 59. Edward Baliol succeeded in dispossessing David II., and was crowned on 24th September, 1332, but fled from Scotland in the following December.
  • 60. Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, vol. i., p. 248, No. 283.
  • 61. Among the articles sold at this time in the fair of Glasgow were Paris gloves, a pair of which were appointed to be delivered annually at the fair as the reddendo for the lands of Kilmun in Cowal, granted by Mary, countess of Menteith, to Archibald, son of Colin Campbell of Lochow, by charter in 1363. [Origines Parochiales Scocie, vol. ii., p. 72.]
  • 62. The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. Edited by George Burnet, Esq., Lyon King of Arms, vol. ii., pp. 257, 342, 354, 293.