A RENTALLER’S TITLE., A. R. C. (Jul. 1895), pp.397-399.

“IT was not till the closing decades of the sixteenth century that the holding of lands by feudal tenure became general in the barony and regality of Glasgow. The Roman Catholic bishops, and after them the crown or its nominees were proprietors of the soil and the possessors were their tenants. Still on one vital point, fixity of tenure, the relationship between proprietor and tenant was somewhat similar to that between superior and vassal. Heirs succeeded to the holdings of deceased tenants, and it was customary for a rentaller during his lifetime to transfer his “kindness” (as the rental right was termed) to a purchaser who was accepted by the bishop on payment of a contribution in name of grassum, just as a superior would have obtained composition from a vassal. An entry in the Rental Book completed the title of the new tenant. Unlike conveyances of feudal and burgage properties, the particulars of which were recorded ad longum in public registers, transfers of rental rights exist only in the originals; and as such writs were almost wholly superseded by feudal charters three centuries ago, a specimen is now rarely met with. The following transfer was recently discovered in a bundle of old parchments. It is dated in 1545, and relates to the lands of Meikle Cowcaddens which adjoin the ancient royalty of Glasgow. The rentaller had borrowed money on the security of his right by way of wadset, showing that not only sale but also mortgage was permissible, and the writ accordingly takes the form of an assignment of the granter’s right of reversion:-

AT Glasw the xxvij day of August the ʒeir of God ane thousand five hundreth fourtty five ʒeris. It is appunctuat, contrakit, agreit, and finalie endit betwixt ane honourable man Andro Campbell, burges of Glasgw, and Marion Gayne, his spouse, on the ta pairt, and Jhone Wallace, burges of Glasgw, on the tother pairt, in maner, form, and effect as eftir followis, that is to say the said Jhone Wallace hes mayd, and be the tenour heirof makis the saidis Andro and Marion, his spouse, his warray lawfull cessionaris, donatouris, and assignais irrevocable to redeme and lowse the mayling and land of the Mekle Cowcaldanys and the said Jhone kyndnes thairof, extending to xiij s. iiij d. land of my lord of Glasgw land liand within the barony thairof. Of the quhilk xiij s. iiij d. land the said Jhone Walles analit and wodset his kyndnes to Jhone Jhonsone in Stokwell upon the sowme of fourtty pundis of mony. And the said Jhone Walles is content that the said Andro and his spouse foirsaid be rentalit in the said malyng and to occupy, mannyr,1 bruik and joys the said xiij s. iiij d. land, and be put in my lordis of Glasgow rentail thairof; and the said Jhone Wallace sall compeir befoir my lord of Glasgow and consent to the saidis Andro and Marion rentaling, the said Andro payand my lord of Glasgw his dewiteis and fermes auchand to him allanerlie; gevand, grantand and committand to the saidis Andro and his spouse, my donatoures, cessionares and assignais, all my rycht, titill, claym, properte, and posessioun that I the said Jhone hes had or mycht have in and to my said favouris and kyndnes and rycht of the said xiij s. iiij d. land of Mekle Cowcaldanys; with full power to the saidis Andro and his spouse to occupy, mannyr, and jois the said kyndnes, favoures, and benevolence of the said land, and convert the sammyng to thair awin utilite and proffet efter thair rentaling in the said land; wyth all wther necessar and neidfull clausis in the maist sickirast form; haldand and for to hald ferm and stable and and syndry my said cessionaris and assignais ledis to be doyne in thir premissis, under the payne of perjure, and all my gudis movable and unmovable present and for to cum. And for mair verificatioun and keiping heirof I haif gevin my bodely aitht, the haly evangilist twichit.

From the Rental Book of the Barony2 it is found that on 20th May, 1521, John Gayne and Tome Gayne, his son, were rentalled in “the 13 s. 4 d. land of Kowkadens, be consent of David Lyndsay,” whose “kyndnes” had probably been acquired by purchase. On 26th April, 1532, “John Wallas and Alleson Gayne, his spous, ar rentalit in ane merk of ferme land of the Kowcaldens, be consent of Jhon Gayne, his gud fadyr, the said Jhon brokand (i.e., enjoying or retaining the use) for his tym.”3 The John Wallas thus rentalled was doubtless the granter of the wadset to Jhonsone of Stokwell and also of the transfer above quoted, but that either of these grantees were accepted by the bishop the published rental book does not shew. The lands of Meikle Cowcaldanis were afterwards feudalised and confirmed to Sir George Elphingstone* of Blythiswod by crown charter granted in 1611,4 and it is believed that at least the superiority is still included in the Blythswood estate. 

A. R. C.” 


1 Till or cultivate. 
2 Diocesan Registers (Grampian Club), i. p. 81. 
3 Ibid. p. 100. 
4 Registrum Magni Sigilli, 1609-20, No. 540. 
* Sir George Elphinstone’s mansion house in the Gorbals is depicted in one of the 5 coloured Glasgow Lithographs posted into Scanned Pictures.