27th of February

St Nestor, bishop in Pamphylia, martyr, 250. Saints Julian, Chronion, and Besas, martyrs, 3rd century. St Thalilæus, 5th century. St Leander, bishop of Seville, 596. St Galmier, of Lyons, about 650.

 

Born. – John David Michaelis, Orientalist, 1717, Halle; Lord William George Frederick Bentinck, 1802; Henry W. Longfellow, poet, 1807. 
Died. – The Emperor Geta, murdered, 212; Dr John Arbuthnot, 1735, Cork-street, London; William Woolnoth, engraver, 1837.

 

THE FIRST RUSSIAN EMBASSY TO ENGLAND.

February 27, 1557-8, the first Russian embassy arrived in the neighbourhood of London. It came in rather remarkable circumstances. The expedition sailed in several English vessels from the port of St Nicolas, in Russia, but was very unfortunate in the voyage. Several vessels being thrown away, or forced to seek shelter on the coast of Norway, one called the Edward Bonadventure, containing the ambassador, arrived with difficulty, after a four months’ voyage, on the east coast of Aberdeenshire, in Scotland, along with a smaller vessel, called her pink.* There they were driven ashore by a violent storm, near Kinnaird Head, when a boat containing the grand pilot, with the ambassador and seven other Russian gentlemen, making for land in the dark, was overwhelmed and beaten on the rocks: thus the pilot and several of the Russians and mariners were drowned, and only the ambassador himself and two or three others were saved. The ship became a total wreck, and such of her valuable goods as came on shore, including the gifts to the English monarchs, were pillaged by the rude people of the coast; but the ambassador and his small company were speedily received under care of the gentry of the district, and treated with the greatest kindness. 

Stow relates in his Chronicle – ‘As soon as it was known to the company in London of the loss of their pilot, men, goods, and ships, merchants obtained the Queen’s letters to the Lady Dowager of Scotland [Mary of Lorraine, widow of James V., and Regent of the kingdom], for the gentle entertainment of the said ambassador with his train, and restitution of his goods, and also addressed two gentlemen, Mr Laurence Hassey, Doctor of the Civil Law, and George Gilpin, with money and other requisites, into Scotland, to comfort him and his there, and also to conduct him into England.’ 

We learn from a contemporary Scottish writer, Bishop Lesley, that the ambassador and his friends were brought to Edinburgh, and there entertained handsomely by the Queen Regent for some time; after which they set out for Berwick, attended by Lord Hume on the part of the Queen, and accompanied by the two English gentlemen who had come for their succour, besides 500 gentlemen of Scotland on horseback.

 

*  In Balfour’s ‘Historical Annals’ for the year 1557 it is related that: 
“In February, this year, 1557, [Osep Napea] the Moscovian ambassador, in his journey to England, was [shipwrecked] on the coast of Scotland [at Pitsligo Bay]; he was kindly received and entertained by the Queen Regent, and conveyed by the Lord [Alexander] Home with 500 gentlemen to Berwick.”

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

This year, 1508, Prince James, the King’s only son, dies, the 27th day of February; and after him [George Vaus] the holy Bishop of Galloway, his tutor and governor.

– Historical Works, pp.214-238.

 

Feb. 27 [1610.] – Alexander Kirkpatrick, younger of Closeburn, being in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh for the slaughter of James Carmichael, son to John Carmichael of Spothe, the Lady Amisfield, wife of a neighbour, came to the prison and entered into conference with the keeper in his private apartments. At her persuasion, the man allowed ‘Young Closeburn’ to come to speak with her; and she then executed her design of exchanging clothes with him, and so allowing him to escape. The lady was warded in the Castle; but what ultimately became of her does not appear. – Pit.

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

 

Feb. 27 [1645.] – The arrangements for the maintenance of a militia in Scotland were fixed by the Estates. Each county and burgh was ordered to raise and maintain a certain number of foot-soldiers (exclusive of horse), according to their respective amounts of population, at £9 Scots per month for each man. The lists are curious, as informing us of the assumed comparative population of the several counties and burghs in that age.

– Domestic Annals, pp.257-277.

 

The magistrates and principal citizens were also compelled to subscribe a bond “that they their wyfes bairnes servants and coaters sall not be present at any such conventickles or disorderly meetings, but sall live orderly conforme to the Acts of Parliament.” This bond was subscribed by the Provost Campbell, three of the bailies, and the whole council, and by several merchants and tradesmen. The total number who subscribed, however, was only 153. The Privy Council on this occasion sat for some time in Glasgow, and, to the scandal of the citizens, transacted business on Sunday in the fore hall of the college during the hours of divine service, while those of the inhabitants who refused to sign were being plundered by the soldiers. Claverhouse chased into the city a number of persons whom he found attending a preaching near Strathaven, and massacred a considerable number of them near the Gallowgate Port. Of the Presbytery of Glasgow fourteen ministers were ejected from their livings. Several persons were hanged in the streets merekly because they refused to conform to Episcopacy, and guards were placed at the city ports on the Sabbath mornings to prevent any of the citizens from attending services in the fields. Many of the townspeople were present at Bothwell Bridge, and the minister of the Barony parish, Mr. Donald Cargill, was executed at Edinburgh for complicity in that affair.1

– Old Glasgow, pp.162-175. 

1  27th Feb. 1681.

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