2nd of May

St Athanasius, 373.

Born. – William, Earl of Shelburne, first Marquis of Lansdowne, statesman, 1737; John Galt, novelist, 1779, Irvine, Ayrshire; Sir John Malcolm, author of History of Persia, &c., 1769.
Died. – Leonardo da Vinci, painter, 1520, Fontaine-bleau; James Sharpe, Archbishop of St Andrews, assassinated, 1679; Sir George Mackenzie, at one time King’s Advocate for Scotland, miscellaneous writer, 1691, Oxford; Antoine Yves Goguet, author of a work on the Origin of Laws, 1758; William, Earl of Shelburne, first Marquis of Lansdowne, statesman, 1805; Hester Lynch Salusbury, Madame Piozzi,* 1821, Clifton.
*  Hester Lynch Piozzi and James Boswell, ‘Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides’, wrote satirical poetry together under their pen-names Bozzy & Piozzi.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The 2nd of May [1520], this same year, there was a fight in Edinburgh, between the Earls of Arran and Angus, wherein the Earl of Eglinton’s eldest son [John Montgomerie] and Sir Patrick Hamilton were killed; Arran and his brother, with the Archbishop of Glasgow, fled the town. 

– Historical Works, pp.238-275.

On the 2d of May 1552,1 Colyne Campbell of Glenurquhai (the zeal of love and good conscience moving him) received Duncane Makgregour and Gregour his son in his maintenance (protection), forgave all manner of actions and faults that they had committed, and gave them back the escheat of their goods which he had purchased when they were the Queen’s rebels; they being now received to the Queen’s peace and his favour. The sole condition stipulated was that the Macgregors should fulfil their bond of manrent (service) to Glenurchy in all points. The subsequent cause of quarrel we do not learn. The wild blood of the Macgregors may have broken out in some new enormity too great for pardon and too clear for trial. On the 16th of June 1552, says the Curate of Fortirgall, Duncan Macgregor and his sons Gregor and Malcolm Roy were beheaded by Colin Campbell of Glenurchy, Campbell of Glenlyon, and Menzies of Rannoch.2

– Sketches, pp.341-394.

1  Little more than a month after the bond with Stewart and Drummond. 
2  Before the end of 1552 we meet with a gift to Glenurchy of the escheat of moveables and immoveables of umquhile – McGregor alias Ladassach, and Gregor, his son… convict of certain crimes… and justyfeit to the death.

[The Regent Murray] had been often warned, as it should seem, that there were many, and persevering intrigues, to free the captive Queen, from her unmerited imprisonment. Yet, the Regent, trusting to his own sagacity, or deluded, by flattery, or folly, did not adopt any measures of prevention, except, that his half brother, George Douglas, who had been recently detected, in trying to free her from prison, had been turned out of Lochleven castle. Yet, did he persevere in his generous purpose, of rescuing a captive Queen; owing to whatever motive of interest, or commiseration, or attachment, to an elegant Princess of five and twenty. He engaged, in his generous purpose, the boy, William Douglas, who was more artful, or fortunate, than he had been. On Sunday, the 2d of May 1568, at seven, in the evening, while the family were, at supper, this boy contrived to steal the keys of the castle, and let the Queen, and her maid, out of the stronghold; and locking the gates, behind them, so as to prevent the pursuit, he put the fugitives into a small boat, and rowed them to the appointed landing place. Her old, and faithful servant, John Betoun, had been employed, during several weeks, in carrying messages, from Lochleven, to Hamilton, and from Hamilton to Lochleven, in concerting the Queen’s escape. This worthy, and intelligent man, was waiting upon the shore, with George Douglas; and these zealous men, knowing from an appointed signal, that the Queen was safe on board the boat, gave notice to Lord Seaton, and James Hamilton of Orbieston, who approached, with their faithful followers: They soon mounted the Queen, and her maid, on horse-back; and galloped to Lord Seaton’s house of Niddery, in West Lothian, for the night: and early on the morrow, she was conveyed safe to Hamilton, accompanied by her two deliverers, George, and William Douglas. 

– Life of Mary, pp.184-206.

On the 2d of May, 1568, after an imprisonment of about eleven months, Mary effected her escape from the castle, by the aid of a young relation of the family. A previous attempt, made on the 25th of April preceding, had been discovered, and George Douglas, the younger son of Sir Robert, was expelled the castle for being concerned in it. Nothing daunted, however, she still meditated her escape; and George Douglas, continuing to hover in the neighbourhood, was enabled to keep up a correspondence with her, and with others in the castle. “There was in the castle,” says Sir Walter Scott in a note to ‘The Abbot,’ “a lad, named William Douglas, some relation probably of the baron, and about eighteen years old. This youth proved as accessible to Queen Mary’s prayers and promises as the brother of his patron George Douglas.” This young man stole the keys of the castle from the table where they lay, while his lord was at supper.” He let the Queen and a waiting-woman out of the apartment where they were secured, and out of the door itself, embarked with them in a small skiff, and rowed them to the shore. To prevent instant pursuit, he, for precaution’s sake, locked the iron grated door of the tower, and threw the keys into the lake.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Leven (Loch), pp.258-260.

MARY escaped from Lochleven on the 2nd of May, 1568, and after her defeat fled to England, the last country in Europe, as events showed, wherein she should have sought refuge or hospitality. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.47-66.

On the 2nd of May [1568], this same year, Queen Mary made an escape out of Lochleven castle, by the means of George Douglas, a younger son of [Robert Douglas] the Laird of Lochleven. After her escape, there met her the Lords [George Seton] and [John Maxwell, Lord Herries], with [John Hamilton] the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and conveyed her to Hamilton, the place of rendezvous of all that partied her. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

On the 2d of May, 1568, after an imprisonment of about eleven months, Mary effected her escape from [Lochleven] castle, by the aid of a young relation of the family. 

– Scotland Illustrated, pp.15-17.

During the disputes which arose between Mary and the confederated lords, after the death of her husband, Henry Darnley, [Dumbarton] Castle was held for her by Lord Fleming, then the governor. To this secure retreat her friends were conveying her, when they were intercepted at Langside, by the Regent Murray. Notwithstanding the signal defeat she there sustained, and her subsequent flight into England, Lord Fleming continued to hold it in her name, for a period of three years. On the 2d May, 1571, however, it was surprised and taken by escalade, by Captain Thomas Crawford, of Jordanhill, an officer of great bravery and talent. A soldier who had served in the garrison, and who conceived he had been ill used, gave the necessary information for making the attempt. Provided with scaling ladders, and whatever else was considered necessary, Crawford, towards evening, marched from Glasgow, with a small, but determined body of men. About midnight they reached the foot of the rock, and began to take measures for the ascent. The night was favourable to the enterprise; the moon having set, the sky, which previously had been clear, was now enveloped in a dense fog. At the south-west side, where the Clyde and the Leven join their waters, and where the base of the rock is washed by the tide, the attempt was to be made. The rock is here steep and inaccessible, and its summit considerably higher than toward the east; but at this place there were likely to be fewer sentinels than elsewhere, and these less likely to be on the alert. 

Crawford and the soldier who acted as guide, scrambled up to a ledge of the rock, where they fastened a ladder to a tree which grew on one of its cliffs. The party began the ascent, and soon all stood in safety beside their commander and the guide. They were still, however, far from the height they had to attain. The ladder was again planted, and they began this higher ascent. An unforeseen impediment now occurred, which seemed at first as if it would have baffled their enterprise. One of the foremost soldiers, already half-way up the ladder, was seized with a sudden fit, and held fast by it, motionless, and seemingly without life. All farther progress was stopped. To throw him down would be inhuman; the noise of the fall might alarm the garrison, and endanger all. In this emergency, Crawford ordered him to be made fast to the ladder, and turning it, all passed over him in safety, and reached the foot of the wall. Day now began to break, but the enterprise was not yet completed. The wall was still to be surmounted. After the dangers and they had encountered, this last effort was not to be left unperformed. 

The first man who reached the parapet was observed by a sentinel, who gave the alarm, but was immediately knocked on the head. The assailants poured over the wall, and rushing forward with great fury and loud shouts, got possession of the magazine. The officers and soldiers of the garrison, alarmed at the noise, came running out naked and unarmed, and beholding what had occurred, were more solicitous to save themselves by flight or submission, than to defend the place. Crawford and his band now seized the cannon, and turning them against the garrison, soon secured possession of that which it had cost them so much labour to achieve. Lord Fleming fled alone into Argyllshire. Not a single man was killed of the assailants. Lady Fleming, Verac the French ambassador, and Hamilton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, were among the prisoners taken. Captain Crawford, as a reward for an enterprise so successfully conducted, received a grant from the Regent Lennox, of a pension of £200 yearly during life, from the revenues of the Archbishopric of St. Andrews. 

– Select Views, pp.73-86.

May 2 [1573]. – An English force having come to help the Regent [Morton] in winning Edinburgh Castle, the operations of the siege commenced by the fixing up of twenty ‘great pieces’ at four several places around the ancient fortress. ‘They shot so hard continually, that the second day they had beat down wholly three towers. The Laird of Grange would not give over, but shot at them continually, both with great shot and small; so that there was a very great slaughter amongst the English cannoneers.’ – Bir

– Domestic Annals, pp.56-80.

The Queen was brought to bed of her 3rd son at Dunfermline, and was christened, [on] the 2nd day of May [1601], Robert. The King his father that same day created him Lord of Annandale, Earl of Carrick, Marquis of Wigton and Duke of Kintyre. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

On 2nd May [1601] five members of the Council were appointed “to confer with him [the bailie]”! Anent the promised present.1

– Scots Lore, pp.15-29.

1  Council Records, I. 220. An act of the Privy Council, dated 5th February, 1618, recites a petition then presented to it by the magistrates and council, in which it was set forth that in 1601 the bridge “quhilk is ane of the moist remarcable monumentis within this kingdome” had become very much decayed and was at the point of ruin – the pillars, pends, and underprops being so shaken and “brugille” by the inundation, force, and violence of the river as to have become altogether loose, to its apparent overthrow that divers parts of the river beneath the bridge were so “ovirblowne” with sand as to be unnavigable by boats and vessels of small burden, by which the commodities of the city were for the most part brought to and from it. [Privy Council Records xi. 304-5.]

The Protestant archbishops, who were in most cases the mere nominees of the party in power, were poor, and their status had become contemptible. The archbishop, indeed, was nothing more than the locum tenens of a non-resident baron who held the temporalities, and who exacted everything he could wring out of them, caring nothing for the interests of the community when his own were in question. To this the amiable Leighton was certainly an exception. Although he filled the see but a short time, he quite won the affections of the people of Glasgow; and when it was known that he had gone to London to resign his charge, a deputation of the citizens waited on the magistrates “entreating and desiring them,” as the minute of council bears, to endeavour to prevent his demission, alleging “that the whoill citie and incorporatiouns therin hes lived peaceably and quietlie since the said archbishop his coming to this burgh, throw his christian cariage and behaviour towards them, and by his government with great discretioune and moderatioune.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.83-98. 

1  Burgh Records, 2d May, 1673.

Referring to these Clydehaugh and Springfield canoes, the late Dr. Scouler, than whom, on such a subject, there can be no higher authority, says, “The depth at which they are found is that of the present channel of the river, and cresting waves were quite competent to have carried down all the beds of sand and gravel by which they were covered. Here then we may infer that no geological change of any importance has taken place in this part of the valley of the Clyde. But besides these canoes there were others found which do indicate geological changes – that is, changes in the relative position of the sea and land from elevation. Thus, in the case of the canoes found in London Street and at the Tontine, although they were buried at the same depth from the surface, they are more than twenty feet above tide mark; in other words, what was once the channel of the river has been elevated by that amount, and consequently these last canoes must be of greater antiquity than those found at the lower levels of Springfield and Clydehaugh. The history of canoes found at such elevations as Drygate would carry us back to a much higher antiquity, but, unfortunately, beyond the undoubted fact of canoes having been found in these places, we have scarcely any information. If they were found imbedded under transported sand and clay they would point to a very great antiquity, but it is possible the aborigines may have left them in such places for concealment or security. The result, however, of what we have on undoubted evidence, is that no elevation of the land amounting to more than twenty feet has taken place since the estuary of the Clyde was navigated by these ancient canoes.1

– Old Glasgow, pp.248-266.

1  Paper read at meeting of Archæological Society of Glasgow, 2d May, 1844.

   In 1885, Mr. Childers, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, proposed to increase the tax against the Scotch and Irish by imposing an additional duty of 1s. per gallon on spirits, leaving the beer of England untouched. He, of course, hoped to carry his Budget by the overwhelming English vote, but, fortunately, the Scotch and Irish members, on that occasion, stood together, and the Liberal Government was turned out. 

   That the unfairness, previously, was gross enough is evident from the following figures taken from the Economist of 2nd May, 1885:- ‘Taking the official estimates of the three divisions, we have the following, which shows the revenue per head which each contributes by its consumption of spirituous liquors:- 


Population in 1884.

Revenue from Beer and Spirits. 

Revenue per head of Population.

£         S.         D. 




0         10         5 




1         3         4 




0         17         6 

   Here, then, we find, that, while England pays 10s. 5d. per head, Scotland pays 23s. 4d., and Ireland 17s. 6d. per head, the chief reason, of course, being, that spirits, which are the common drink of the Scotchman and the Irishman, are taxed at a far higher rate than the beer which is the common drink of the Englishman.’ Even Mr. Goschen shows the same unfairness towards the weaker countries, for he contrived last year to impose an additional duty of sixpence per gallon on spirits, while leaving the Englishman’s beer untouched.

– Treaty of Union Articles, Financial Cost to Scotland of the Union.

Associated Words from Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary.

REID-EEN, s. The evening preceding the third day of May, Aberd.; Rude-een, syn.

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