7th of February

St Theodorus (Stratilates), martyred at Heraclea, 319. St Augulus, bishop of London, martyr, 4th century. St Tresain, or Ireland, 6th century. St Romualdo, founder of the order of Camaldoli, 1027.

 

Born. – Rev. Sir Henry Moncrieff, D.D., 1750.
Died. – James Earl of Moray (the Bonny), murdered 1592; Dr Bedell, bishop of Kilmore, 1642; M. Bourrienne, formerly Secretary to Napoleon Bonaparte, died in a madhouse at Caen, Normandy, 1834.

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

MOULTRAY TAKES POSSESSION OF HIS LAND.

AT the north end of the bridge, and immediately opposite it and the New General Post Office, the ground forming the east end of the main ridge on which the New Town is built rises to some elevation, and bore the name of Multrie’s or Moultray’s Hill, which Lord Hailes in his “Annals” supposes to be the corruption of two Gaelic words “signifying the covert or receptacle of the wild boar;” but it would appear rather to have taken its name from the fact of its being the residence of the Moultrays of Seafield, a baronial Fifeshire family of eminence in the time of James IV., whose lonely old tower stands in ruins upon a wave-washed rock near Kinghorn.

On the 7th of February, 1549, John Moultray of Seafield signed a charter in the chartulary of Dunfermline.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.364-372.

 

JAMES BECOMES EARL OF MAR WITH A VIEW TO PROMOTION.

On the 7th of February 1562, the Lord James, who could command every thing, or any person, was created Earl of Mar. Soon after, the restless Arran was brought before the privy council, in the Queen’s presence, concerning his differences with Bothwell, another uneasy personage: Arran was induced, to engage, that he would keep the peace, with Bothwell, as required by the treaty of Edinburgh.

– Life of Mary, pp.42-61.

On the 7th of February 1562, only a few days, after the grant abovementioned, the Lord James obtained, from the Queen’s facility, a grant under the privy seal, of the earldom of Mar. The title of Mar was probably assumed for a time, in order to masque the real object, with regard to the earldom of Moray.

– Life of Mary, pp,62-77.

 

MARY ADVISED HER DEATH WARRANT HAD BEEN SIGNED.

As soon as the earls came to Fotheringay, on the 7th of February [1587]; imparting the matter to Paulet, and Drury, they came to the Queen of Scots; informed her of the cause of their coming; read to her the warrant; and admonished her, to prepare for death, on the morrow. The Queen, though somewhat surprised, undauntedly said, with a composed spirit, “I did not think, that the Queen my sister, would have consented to my death, who am not subject to her laws; but, seeing her pleasure is so, death shall be to me most welcome; neither is that soul worthy of the high and everlasting joys above, whose body cannot endure the stroke of the executioner.” She now prayed them, that she might have conference with her almoner, her confessor, and her master of household, Melville. The earls flatly refused her confessor, and recommended to her the Dean of Peterborough; whom she refusing, the Earl of Kent, turning towards her, said, with heat, “your life will be the death of our religion, as contrariwise, your death will be the life of it.” Such was the charity of Kent, whatever might be his religion!

– Life of Mary, pp.304-328.

 

HUNTLY ASSASSINATES MURRAY.

Moyses next tells us that on the 7th of February [1591], George Earl of Huntly (the same fiery peer who fought the battle of Glenlivat), “with his friends, to the number of five or six score horse, passed from his Majesty’s said house in Edinburgh, as intending to pass to a horse-race in Leith; but after they came, they passed forward to the Queensferry, where they caused to stop the passing of all boats over the water,” and crossing to Fife, attacked the Castle of Donnibristle, and slew “the bonnie Earl of Murray.”

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.242-246.

Feb. 7. [1592] – The slaughter of the Bonny Earl of Moray at Dunnibrissle stands prominent amongst the tragic events of the time.

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

The 7th of February this year, 1592, [James Stewart] the Earl of Moray was cruelly murdered by [George Gordon] the Earl of Huntly, at his house in [Donibristle], in Fifeshire, and with him [James] Dunbar [of Westfield], Sheriff of Moray; it [having been] given out and publicly [said] that the Earl of Huntly was only the instrument of perpetrating this fact, to satisfy the King’s jealousy of Moray, whom the Queen, more rashly than wisely, some few days before had commended in the King’s hearing, with too many epithets of a proper and gallant man.

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

 

FAMILY OF THE SLAUGHTERED SUSPECTED OF THE SAME.

Cases of homicide and other deeds of violence were frequent. Some of the latter I have already mentioned. Of the former, one is curious for the reference it contains to the practice of offenders in such cases compounding with the relatives of the slaughtered man. The minute of the presbytery is as follows: “Ordenis Jon Levingstoun in Inchevod to produce yis day viii dayes before yame Lettres of Relaxation fra ye horne, and respet he hes fra ye slauchter of wmqll [umquhill or deceased] Jon Adame: As also ane Lettir of Slayance for ye said slauchtir fra ye said wmqll Jons wyfe, bairnis, kin, freindes and alyance for ye said slauchtir. And ordanis ye minister of Campsie to summond ye said wmqll Jon wyfe and bairnis before yame yis daye viii dayes, that yai may declair gif yai be aggreed wt ye said Jon Levingstone and satisfeit for ye said wmqll Jon Adames slauchtir.”1

Old Glasgow, pp.189-215.

1  Presbytery Records, 7th Feb. 1595

 

ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY LOSES ITS STEEPLE IN STORM.

In 1633, on the 7th February, a violent storm blew down the crown of the steeple, the wonderful structure “after the manner of an imperial diadem.” “This goodlie ornament, haveing stood since the dayes of that glorious king, James IV., was by ane extraordinar tempest of stormie wind thrown downe; quherby both the roofes of tymber and lead, and other adjacent workes, wer pitifullie crusched.”1

Sketches, pp.254-324. 

1  1621-23. Strachan, speaking of the three bishops – Elphinstone, Dunbar, and Forbes (the last being still alive) – says, – Primus academiam fundavit; secundus conservavit et ampliavit; tertius eam prope-modum collapsam restituit. – Panegyricus Inauguralis, 1631, p. 7.

Feb. 7. [1633] – ‘There began a great storm of snow, with horrible high winds, whilk were noted to be universal through all Scotland… The like had never been seen in these parts, for it would overturn countrymen’s houses to the ground, and some persons suddenly smo’ered within, without relief. It also threw down the stately crown bigged of curious ashlar wark, off the steeple of the King’s College of Old Aberdeen. This outrageous storm stopped the ordinary course of ebbing and flowing on sundry waters by the space of twenty-four hours, such as the waters of Leith, Dundee, Montrose, and other ports – whilk signified great troubles to be in Scotland, as after ye sall hear how truly came to pass.’ – Spal.

An irregular tide on the east coast of Scotland is no unexampled phenomenon, and could easily be explained; but it would probably defy a Humboldt or a Whewell to explain another wonder which a grave church historian of the eighteenth century – a ‘writer’ in Edinburgh, too – sets down as occurring at the same time. ‘What was yet more marvellous,’ says he, ‘the moon, though in her first quarter, set not, but was seen from the Wednesday to the Thursday at even.’

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

 

EVIDENCE OF WAR.

Feb. – Whilst the first battles of the Civil War were causing universal excitement, some further rumours of prodigies were circulated in the country. It was stated that a battle was seen at the hill of Manderlee, four miles from Banff; and so strongly did the vision impress itself on the beholders, that many ran to bury their valuables in the earth. At Bankafair and Drum, touking of drums was heard. Mr Andrew Leitch, minister of Ellon in Aberdeenshire, sitting at supper one night, ‘heard touking of drums vively, sometimes appearing near at hand, and sometimes far off. On the 7th of February [1643], it was written here to Aberdeen, that Kentoun battle at Banbury,1 wherein his majesty was victorious, has in vision been seen seven sundry times sin-syne.’ – Spal.

– Domestic Annals, pp.257-277.

1  The battle of Edgehill, fought on the 23d of October 1642.

 

CONTRADICTING EVIDENCE IN GENEALOGICAL ENQUIRY.

Wood’s Douglas’s Peerage, it may be observed, does give the marriage (on 7th February, 1679) of Lord Ross to Agnes, daughter and heiress of Sir John Wilkie of Foulden, but gives no authority for it; while it is certain that as neither Lord Ross, his wife, nor her father occur in the printed retours, none of them could have been owners of Foulden. In whatever way the present family acquired it, it cannot have come to them either through Lord Ross or McUre’s James Wilkie, neither of whom had anything to do with it.

– Scots Lore, pp.141-148.

 

CHARLES II., DECLARED DECEASED, JAMES VII. CROWNED.

In 1685 the intelligence of the death of Charles II., who died on the 7th of February, was received at Edinburgh about one in the morning of the 10th, by express from London.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.353-358.

The accession of King James VII. Is thus recorded by Lord Fountainhall (“Decisions,” vol. i.): – “Feb. 6th, 1685. The Privy Council is called extraordinary, on the occasion of an express sent them by his royal highness the Duke of Albany, telling that, on Monday the 2nd February, the king was seized with a violent and apoplectic fit, which stupefied him for four hours; but, by letting twelve ounces of blood and applying cupping-glasses to his head, he revived. This unexpected surprise put our statesman in a hurly-burly, and was followed by the news of the death of his Majesty, which happened on the 7th of February, and came home to us on the 10th, in the morning; whereupon a theatre was immediately erected at the cross of Edinburgh, and the militia companies drawn out in arms; and, at ten o’clock, the Chancellor, Treasurer, and all the other officers of State, with the nobility, lords of Privy Council and Session, the magistrates and town council of Edinburgh, came to the cross, with the lion king-at-arms, his heralds and trumpeters; the Chancellor carried his own purse, and, weeping, proclaimed James Duke of Albany the only and undoubted king of this realm, by the title of James VII., the clerk registrar reading the words of the Act to him, and all of them swore faith an allegiance to him.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.47-66.

 

RED-HANDED SON TRIED FOR PATRICIDE.

Sir James Stanfield was one of those English manufacturers who, by permission of the Scottish Government, had settled at Newmills, in East Lothian. He was a respectable man, but the profligacy of Philip, his eldest son, so greatly afflicted him that he became melancholy, and he disinherited his heir by a will. On a day in November of 1687 he was found drowned, it was alleged, in a pool of water near his country house at Newmills. Doubts were started as to whether he had committed suicide, in consequence of domestic troubles, or had been murdered. The circumstances of his being hastily interred, and that Lady Stanfield had a suit of grave-clothes all ready for him before his death, seemed to point to the latter; and two surgeons were sent from Edinburgh to examine the body and report upon it.

It was raised from the grave, after it had lain there two days, and the surgeons having made an incision near the neck, became convinced that death had been caused by strangulation, so all supposition of suicide was abandoned. This examination took place in a church. After the cut had been sewn up, the body was washed, wrapped in fresh linen, and James Row, merchant in Edinburgh, and Philip Stanfield, the disinherited son, lifted it for deposition in the coffin, when lo! On the side sustained by Philip an effusion of blood took place, and so ample as to defile both his hands.

“Lord, have mercy on me!” he exclaimed, and let the body fall. He then rushed horror-stricken into the precentor’s desk, where he lay for some time groaning in great anguish, and refusing to touch the corpse again, while all looked on with dismay. The incident was at once accepted by the then Scottish mind in the light of a revelation of Philip’s guilt as his father’s murderer. “In a secret murther,” says King James in his ‘Dæmonology’ – “if the dead carkasse be at any time thereafter handled by the murtherar, it will gushe out of blood, as if the blood were crying to heaven for revenge of the murtherar.”

Accordingly, on the 7th of February, 1688, Philip was brought to trial at Edinburgh, and after the household servants had been put to torture without eliciting anything on the strength of the mysterious bleeding, according to Fountainhall, save that he was known to have cursed his father, drunk to the king’s confusion, and linked the royal name with those of the Pope, the devil, and Lord Chancellor, he was sentenced to death. He protested his innocence to the last, and urged in vain that his father was a melancholy man, subject to fits; that once he set out for England, but because his horse stopped at a certain place, he thought he saw the finger of God, and returned home; and that he once tried to throw himself over a window at the Nether Bow, probably at his house in the World’s End Close.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.274-282.

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