OUR CHARTULARY., G. N. (Mar., 1895), pp.160-165.

“ROBERT, EARL OF NITHSDALE, owner of the barony of Mearns, in Renfrewshire, being in financial straits, wrote on the 17th November, 1639, to his kinsman and creditor, Sir John Maxwell of Nether Pollok, that he was finding unexpected “difficultie in rayseing of moneyis for the safetie of my estate from Buckclewch.*” He, therefore, begged for a futher delay in the payment of sums he owed. “You will thairby,” he said, “be the means of saveing me from that imminent ruine which for the present my estate is exposed vnto in a more fearfull maner nor euer itt was since I was maister of itt.” And he went on to say that Sir John was to calculate how many years’ rents of the Mearns estate would be necessary to wipe off the indebtedness, intimating his willingness that Sir John should draw them until he paid himself, and should have as well “the present use of my house of the Mearns.” Three days afterwards, he repeated this proposal, saying, “You sall haue the rentes of that land of Mernis till you be fullie satisfied, the annual of the toun of Edinburghe beeing first peyed.” An arrangement on this footing was therefore made, in accordance with which, on 19th February following, the Earl granted authority to Sir John “to ask crave ressave intromet with and uptak for ws and in our name the haill maillis fermes multris casualties proffitis and dewties of our landis and barony of Mernis…, ffor the croftis and zeiris** of God Im vjc and threttie sevin and threttie aucht*** zeiris,” binding Sir John, however, to “mak iust compt and rekning to ws of his intromissioun.” (Maxwells of Pollok, ii. 269, 270, and i. 335-6). A document, written on four leaves1 of foolscap, once belonging to the poet William Motherwell, and now in the possession of Mr. David Robertson, of Glasgow, F.S.A. Scot. (to whom my best thanks are due for the opportunity of transcribing and printing it here), appears to be the statement of Sir John’s intromissions, as stipulated for in the Earl’s procuratory. It bears endorsed two titles more recent than the document itself: one thus – “Compt [count] of depursements umqll**** Sir Jo. Maxwell for Earle of Nidisdaill anent the Mearnes”: the other giving dates – “Compt of Sir Jo. Maxwellis intromission with the rent of Mearnes 1637, 1638, 1639, 1640.” A full copy follows.

Compt of Sir Johne Maxwell of Natherpolloke knyt his intromissioun with the Dewtyes
restand be the tennentis of Mearnes for the croppes 1637 and 1638 yeires
Conteyning his Chairge and Discharge thairof as followes:- 

 

Charge. 
The haill charge of the saids Restis3 the  
Saids twa croppes Conforme to the 
Note submit be the Mr extendis to 
The sowme of     .     .     .     .     .  viijc iijxx xiijlib   vijs   viijd
[What follows is a list of accounts for the Mearns estate. Scans available on request.] 

G. N.”

1 The watermark (which Mr. F. T. Barrett of the Mitchell Library has been good enough to look at with me), is a roughly drawn semblance of a helmet, on which rests a sort of fool’s cap crest, which in turn has a quatrefoil above it; over which again there is a crescent. In the helmet the letters P R in Roman capitals appear.  
2 Mr. Robert Renwick has kindly collated my transcript with the original. 
3 Restis, arrears. 
* u, v & w were interchangeable before spelling was regulated. The quotes in this passage are a good example of it. You’ll also notice words are pluralised with the use of “is” at the end, the “i” isn’t pronounced. 
** “zeiris” would have been written “ʒeiris”, with a ʒ = yogh, and would have been said “years.”
*** “Im” = 1000, “vjc” = 600, “threttie sevin” = 37, and “threttie aucht” = 38, therefore, 1637 and 38. “j” = 1 but in Scots would be used instead of the last “i” when using Roman numerals; “aj” was also occasionally used instead of “m” for 1000.  
Also “lib” is short for “libra” = £s, “s” = shillings, “d” = pence.
**** This is an abbreviation of “umquhill” which is an example of something I’ve heard called “Scots Latin” and means deceased. It’s an archaic term and was used along with “relict” (widow) and “compeared” (appeared before a court) in legal documents written in Scots, Latin and English in Scotland. 

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