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OUR CHARTULARY., G. N. (May, 1895), pp.273-276.

A Larder Account in 1649.

“AMONGST the papers of the poet William Motherwell, found after his death, were two detached foolscap leaves1 which evidently had once formed part of a book of accounts. The holes for the stitching threads are still manifest, and the sheets present the appearance of having been torn out. The paper is watermarked with a kind of fleur-de-lis about one inch in height and three-quarters of an inch in breadth, appearing once on each sheet near the centre. The four pages are very neatly written. There are no express intimations in the entries to identify the place and person for whom the accounts were kept, but belonging as they do to the year 1649, and conveying much curious information on Scottish gastronomy in that period, they are of inherent value and interest whether viewed in regard to the system of accounting they illustrate or the evidence they afford as to the prevalent delicacies of the table.

[First page.] 
Wansday, the 7th of Nor. 1649.

– 004 : 17 : 04 :
Fursday,2 the 8th of Nor. 1649.

– 26 : 02 : 04 :
Fryday, the 9th of Nor.

– 005 : 05 : 06 : 
   Lris     – 036 : 05 : 02 : 

[Second page.] 
Saturday, the 10th of Nor. 1649.

– 056 : 14 : 10 :
Soneday, the 11th of Nor.
– 000 : 00 : 00 :
Monanday, the 12th of Nor.

– 004 : 03 : 10 :
Tuysday, the 13th of Nor.
– 000 : 00 : 00 :
  6Lris     – 060 : 18 : 08 :
[Third Page.] 
Wansday, the 14th of Nor.

– 002 : 07 : 00 :
Fursday, the 15th of Nor.

– 007 : 03 : 04 :
Fryday, the 16th of Nor.

– 001 : 17 : 06 :
    Lris     – 011 : 07 : 10 :

[Fourth page.]
7Sattorday, the 17th of Nor. 1649.

– 037 : 19 : 00 :
Sonnday, the 18th of Nor. 1649
– 000 : 00 : 00:
Monnday, the 19th of Nor.

– 002 : 15 : 06 :
Tuysday, the 20th of Nor.
– 000 : 00 : 00 :
   Lris.     – 040 : 14 : 06 :

It is quite evident that the establishment, for which so many hundreds of eggs and so many carcases of beef and mutton were required during so short a time, must have been very large.9 The quantity of game and wild fowl is considerable also, although small in proportion to the grosser foods. One may assume that the nicer fare – the woodcocks, horsecocks, snipe, larks, and other wild fowl – was for the privy table of the head of the house. It is noteworthy that pork is absent from the stock of flesh meat, thus perhaps illustrating the antipathy which our Scottish ancestors are said to have had to that food. Pigeons are absent also, possibly because the establishment may have possessed a columarium of its own, rendering outside supplies unnecessary. 

G. N.”

 

1 Now in possession of Mr. David Robertson of Glasgow, F.S.A. Scot. 
2 In this word and all others in the MS. I have, in accordance with a standard rule of transcription, transliterated ff as F. The original has ffursday, ffryday, ffyve. 
3 Huthrone,  young heifer. 
4 Chopine, a quart. 
5 Horsecock, a bird of the snipe species. 
6 Lris represents Lateris. Summa lateris meaning the total of the page.
7 The entries for this date, down to and including that marked with 8 are in a different hand. 
9 The fact that the leaves were found along with the Mearns Accounts printed supra, page 160, makes it possible that they are part of the household accounts of Pollok Castle or Mearns Castle. 
* ʒ – yogh, so “ʒoyng fuillis” is “young fowls”. 
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