The Comyns in the West of Scotland.
“MR. JOSEPH BAIN’s note on this subject in the first number of SCOTS LORE contains the suggestion that “Nenflare” on the Clyde was in 1303 possessed by Sir Adam Mure. The Historie and Descent of the House of Rowallan, by Sir William Mure Knight of Rowallan, written in or prior to 1657, commences by stating that “it is out of contraversie the baronies of Rowallan and Pokelly, the lands of Limflare and Loudown Hill” were the proper inheritance of the House of Rowallan according to extant records. Sir William also states that during the minority of Alexander III. Sir Gilchrist Mure of Rowallan incurred the enmity of the Comyn faction, and that Sir Walter Cumming (as he calls him) took the house and living of Rowallan by force, and Sir Gilchrist retired for safety to his castle of Pokelly. He further states that Sir Gilchrist so distinguished himself at the battle of Largs in 1263 that he received from Alexander III. the lands belonging to Sir Walter Cumming, but afterwards to make himself secure in his possessions he married Isabella, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Walter. Further on in the history Sir William refers to the Charter granted by the Crown to Sir Adam Mure, and states that Sir Adam, upon resignation, obtained a new Charter1 “of his whole lands holden of the Crown from the last of the Roberts son of Elizabeth Mure, To witt of the barronie of Rowallan… as also of the barronie of Polkellie and Nimflare“
It will thus be observed that Sir William’s Historie as well as the arms of the Rowallan family confirm Mr. Bain’s suggestion that one of the Mures married a Comyn heiress, and that the estates were thereby, if not obtained, at least secured by the marriage.
1 Apparently the charter here referred to is that recorded in Reg. Mag. Sig. ii. 253.
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White Hat as a Symbol of giving Possession.
“SYMBOLS of transfer almost always have a direct and palpable connection with the general subject conveyed. Those most commonly employed in heritable transmissions, whether of land, houses, or proprietary rights, were all of this nature, such as earth and stone, hasp and staple, net and coble, &c. There seems no reason to doubt that in R. R.’s Peebles example the white hat was used as, if not actually amongst the heirship goods to be transmitted, at least of the same general character with some of them. The “necessare thyngis” which by law of burgh fell to the heir included such goods as tablecloths and towels (Acts Parl. Scot. i. p. 356). In practice they were sometimes extended beyond the apparent limits of the burgh laws so as to comprehend articles of wearing apparel. The attention of R. R. probably was long ago attracted to another passage in the Peebles records of date 1457-8 in which the “archap” goods embraced, besides the usual household items, “a hud and a bonat scarlat.” (Charters and Documents relating to the Burgh of Peebles, 1165-1710, p. 119). On the ordinary principles regulating the selection of symbols a hat must thus have been fitting enough in a case of the kind.
In other connections the hat enjoyed a not undistinguished symbolic part. In 1475, at Aberdeen, a disturber of the peace in open court “keist downe his hat profferand him to fecht” with one of his accusers. (Aberdeen Burgh Records, 1398-1570, p. 406, Spalding Club.) This form still, I believe, known in the prize-ring, was made use of in 1815 by Sir Walter Scott in a football challenge on behalf of the Soutars of Selkirk against the men of Yarrow. Lockhart in his Life of Scott, chap. 36, says, “The Sheriff threw up his hat.” In French chivalry of the middle ages, as its laws are expounded by Olivier de la Marche (Traités du Duel judiciaire, par B., Prost. 1872, pp. 23, 39), the hat was a customary alternative gage of battle instead of the glove. The Constable gave the signal to begin the duel itself by throwing the hat – more strictly speaking the chaperon or hood, precursor of the later hat – in the air and allowing it to fall. With us in Scotland the headgear was honoured with a more specific part, being cast into the lists by the king as his command to stop the combat. It was in this manner, according to Pitscottie’s Cronicles (1814 edition, p. 249), that in 1500 a long and fierce contest between a Continental knight and a Scotsman was brought to a close. “The king kest his hatt over the castle wall.”
N. A. J.”
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Bonnie Jeanie Cameron.
“IN Ray’s Compleat History of the Rebellion (Bristol 1752) will be found a life of “the celebrated Miss Jenny Cameron.” Too much credence cannot be given to the statements of such a violent Hanoverian as Ray, but yet it is probable that his account contains a germ of truth. In connection with the recent notes in SCOTS LORE on Bonnie Jeanie Cameron, Ray’s account may be of interest. Jenny was born about 1695, and was the favourite daughter of Cameron of “Glandesseray.” Sent to Edinburgh to be educated, she began to show at the age of 16 that passion for intrigue which, according to Ray, was the marked feature of her life. Detected in this first faux pas her friends “to bury the scandal” sent her to a French nunnery. Here again her conduct was anything but nun-like. After various adventures, Miss Jenny returned to Scotland in 1715 and took up her residence with her brother. On his death she was adroit enough to be appointed guardian to the eldest son, who it seems was of weak intellect. She appears to have kept her guardianship till 1745, for, on the landing of Prince Charles, Bonnie Jeanie Cameron raised 250 of her nephew’s tenants, and, marching at their head, offered their services to the Prince. According to Ray the lady must have been about 50 years of age when she captivated Prince Charlie. She continued with the army some time, and after Culloden, was taken prisoner and confined in Edinburgh Castle. This lady cannot have been the pure and disinterested creature depicted by the Rev. David Ure, A.M. Nor, if she was born in 1695, can she have been the person who begged in the streets of Edinburgh nearly 100 years after. Perhaps some reader, versed in the genealogy of Highland families, can give the real life of Bonnie Jeanie Cameron.
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Settlement of Fishermen at Garmouth.
“THE following is a copy of a document endorsed “Proposals of White Fishers to settle at Garmouth, 1764,” and is interesting as shewing how settlements of fishermen were made in the Moray Firth a century or so ago, more especially as few particulars relating thereto have hitherto been forthcoming. It may be added that the big freighting boat referred to cost £50 sterling, and the small boat about £6 sterling:-
“Sir, – We, William Prott, Michael Findlay and William Souter younger, all seamen and fishers in Burghead having communed with you as Factor for the Right Honourable James, Earl of Fife, anent our being bound to serve his Lordship as seamen and fishers in his new fisher town of Garmouth and having come to a resolution thereanent we hereby bind and oblige us conjunctly and severally and our heirs and successors to serve the said Earl well and honestly as seamen and fishers at the said port and fisher town of Garmouth for the space of seven years from and after the first day of Aprile next to come in this present year 1764 years and to provide so many others as shall make up a sufficient fishing crew to serve for the said space with us and on our terms and to pay to his Lordship yearly the said whole crew during the above space the sum of 100 merks Scots of rent at Whitsunday yearly beginning the first year’s payment at Whitsunday 1765 for the year immediately preceding and so on to continue in payment of the said yearly rent of 100 merks Scots at Whitsunday yearly during the said space of seven years or to make payment to the said Earl of such other higher yearly rent as the fishers of the shore of Buckie or other fishers in the neighbourhood pay to their masters with shore dues and other services. The said Earl being alwise bound against the said period of an entry to equip the fishing boat already built by him sufficiently in masts, saills, oars, and other tackling necessary for a fishing boat, the fishing tackling only excepted, and on our entry to make payment to us and the other persons of our crew to be provided by us being all eight in number £5 Sterling each of entry money and after our entry as said is with all convenient diligence to build and provide for us a sufficient freighting or large boat with a small fishing boat the expence of which we are either to give the said Earl our joint security for payment of with interest for the advance or to allow him a sufficient boat’s part to endemnifie him in his Lordship’s option and we are to have our houses in the same situation they presently are conform to comprising and are to uphold the same conform to such comprising on our own charges paying his Lordship for any pejoration that may happen during our residence aforesaid, and we farther demand two bolls oat meal at eight stone and ane half per boll to be paid by his Lordship to each of us and also to each of the other persons of our crew to be provided by us aforesaid at our entry which however we entirely submitt to his Lordship’s generosity and we hereby declare that this letter shall be binding on us to all intents and purposes, in case the said Earl or his factor shall be pleased to hold the above terms any time within one month after the date hereof under the penalty of 100 merks Scots money each of us by and attour performance and we are Sir your most obedt humble servants
Elgin 1st March 1764
To Archibald Duff
Factor of the Right Hon.
The Earl of Fife at Elgin.”