Site icon Random Scottish History

1st of July

Saints Julius and Aaron, martyrs, about 303. St Thierri, abbot of Mont-d’Hor, 533. St Calais or Carilephus, abbot of Anille, 542. St Gal the First, bishop of Clermont, about 553. St Cybar, recluse at Angouleme, 581. St Simeon, surnamed Salus, 6th century. St Leonorus or Lunaire, bishop. St Rumold, patron of Mechlin, bishop and martyr, 775. St Theobald or Thibault, confessor, 1066.

Born. – Louis Joseph, Duc de Vendome, 1654; Jean Baptiste, Comte de Rochambeau, 1725, Vendome; Adam Viscount Duncan, admiral, 1731, Dundee
Died. – Admirable Crichton, assassinated at Mantua, 1582; Isaac Casaubon, learned scholar, editor of ancient classics, 1614, bur. Westminster Abbey; Frederick, Duke Schomberg, killed at the Battle of the Boyne, 1690; Edward Lluyd, antiquary, 1709, Oxford; G. F. von Schubert, German philosophical writer, 1860, Laufzorn, near Munich.


In the middle ages, when a Christian tinge was given to everything, the discovery of a spring in a romantic situation, or remarkable for the brightness, purity, or taste of its water, was forthwith followed by its dedication to some saint; and once placed among the category of holy wells, its waters were endued, by popular faith, with powers more or less miraculous. Canons, however powerful to foster superstition, were powerless to control it; ignorance invested springs with sanctity without the aid of the church, and every county could boast of a its holy well. 

Some of these were held specially efficacious for certain diseases. St Tegla’s Well was patronised by sufferers from ‘the falling sickness [epilepsy];’ St John’s, Balmanno, Kincardineshire, by mothers whose children were troubled with rickets or sore eyes.* The Tobirnimbuadh, or spring of many virtues, in St Kilda’s Isle, was pre-eminent in deafness and nervous disorders; while the waters of Trinity Gask Well, Perthshire, enabled every one baptized therein to face the plague without fear. Others, again, possessed peculiar properties. Thus, the waters of St Non’s ebbed and flowed with the sea; and those of the Toberi-clerich, St Kilda, although covered twice in the day by the sea, never became brackish. 

At St Kilda, none dared approach with empty hands, or without making some offering to the genius of the place, either in the shape of shells, pins, needles, pebbles, coins, or rags. St Tegla, of Denbighshire, required greater sacrifices from her votaries. To obtain her good offices, it was necessary to bathe in the well, walk round it three times, repeating the Lord’s Prayer at each circuit, and leave fourpence at the shrine. A cock or hen (according to the patient’s sex) was then placed in a basket, and carried round the well, into the churchyard, and round the church. The patient then entered the church, and ensconced him or herself under the communion-table, with a Bible for a pillow, and so remained till daybreak. If the fowl, kept all this while imprisoned, died, the disease was supposed to have been transferred to it, and, as a matter of course, the believer in St Tegla was made whole. 

Wells were also used as divining-pools. By placing a wooden bowl softly on the surface of St Andrew’s Well (Isle of Lewis), and watching if it turned from or towards the sun; the latter being the favourable omen, the end of the illness could easily be known. At St Michael’s (Banffshire), an immortal fly was ever at his post as guardian of the well. ‘If the sober matron wished to know the issue of her husband’s ailment, or the love-sick nymph that of her languishing swain, they visited the well of St Michael. Every movement of the sympathetic fly was regarded with silent awe, and as he appeared cheerful or dejected, the anxious votaries drew their presages.’1

While the Routing Well of Inveresk rumbled before a storm of nature’s making, the well of Oundle, Northamptonshire, gave warning of perturbations in the world of politics. Baxter writes [in the 17th century] (World of Spirits, p. 157) – ‘When I was a school-master at Oundle, about the Scots coming into England, I heard a well in one Dob’s yard, drum like any drum beating a march. I heard it at a distance; then I went and put my head into the mouth of the well, and heard it distinctly, and nobody in the well. It lasted several days and nights, so as all the country-people came to hear it. And so it drummed on several changes of tunes. When King Charles II. died, I went to the Oundle carrier at the Ram Inn, Smithfield, who told me the well had drummed, and many people came to hear it.’


The case of Thomas Aikenhead, a youth hanged in Scotland in 1695, at the instigation of the clergy, for the imaginary crime of blasphemy,** finds an exact parallel in a later age in France. A youth of nineteen, named the Chevalier de la Barre, was decapitated and then burned at Abbeville, on the 1st of July 1765, for mutilating a figure of Christ, which stood on the bridge of that town, this offence being regarded as sacrilege, for which a decree of Louis XIV. had assigned a capital punishment. Even when the local judgment on this unfortunate young man was brought for review before the parliament of Paris, there was a majority of fifteen to ten for confirming the sentence; so strongly did superstition still hold the minds of the upper classes in France. Does it not in some measure explain the spirit under which Voltaire, Diderot, and others were then writing? 

It is to be admitted of the first of these writers, amidst all that is to be reprobated in his conduct, that he stood forth as the friend of humanity on several remarkable occasions. His energy in obtaining the vindication of the Calas family will always redound to his praise. He published an account of the case of the Chevalier de la Barre, from which it appears that his persecutors gave him at the last for a confessor and assistant a Dominican monk, the friend of his aunt, an abbess in whose convent he had often supped. When the good man wept, the chevalier consoled him. At their last dinner, the Dominican being unable to eat, the chevalier said to him: ‘Pray, take a little nourishment; you have as much need of it as I to bear the spectacle which I am to give.’ The scaffold, on which five Parisian executioners were gathered, was mounted by the victim with a calm courage; he did not change colour, and he uttered no complaint, beyond the remark: ‘I did not believe they could have taken the life of a young man for so small a matter.’


The London newspapers in 1801 contained the following very simple announcement, in reference to an event which took place on the 1st of July: ‘An experiment took place on the river Thames, for the purpose of working a barge or any other heavy craft against the tide by means of a steam-engine on a very simple construction. The moment the engine was set to work, the barge was brought about, answering her helm quickly; and she made way against a strong current, at the rate of two miles and a half an hour.’ 

The historians of steam-navigation seem to have lost sight of this incident. But in truth it was only a small episode in a series, the more important items of which had already appeared in Scotland. Mr Patrick Miller, banker, Edinburgh, made literally the first experiments in steam-navigation in this hemisphere. [There were some similarly obscure experiments at an earlier date in America.] Mr Miller’s own plan at the first was to have a double boat, with a wheel in the centre, to be driven by man’s labour. Annexed is a copy of a contemporary drawing of his vessel, which was ninety feet long, and cost £3000. It proved a failure by reason of the insupportable labour required to drive the wheel. His sons’ tutor, Mr James Taylor, then suggested the application of the steam-engine as all that was necessary for a triumph over wind and tide, and he was induced, with the practical help of a mechanician named Symington, recommended by Taylor, to get a smaller vessel so fitted up, which was actually tried with success upon the lake near his mansion of Dalswinton, in Dumfriesshire, in October 1788, the boat going at the rate of five miles an hour. The little steam-engine used in this interesting vessel is preserved in the Andersonian Museum at Glasgow. 

Encouraged by this happy trial and the applause of his friends, Mr Miller bought one of the boats used upon the Forth and Clyde Canal, and employed the Carron Iron Company to make a steam-engine on a plan devised and superintended by Symington. On the 26th of December 1789, the steamer thus prepared, tugged a heavy load on the above-named canal, at the speed of seven miles an hour. For some reason or other, nothing further was done for many years; the boat was dismantled and laid up. From this time we hear no more of Mr Miller; he turned his attention to other pursuits, chiefly of an agricultural nature. Mr Taylor, without his patron, could do nothing. In 1801, Lord Dundas, who was largely interested in the success of the canal, employed Symington to make experiments for working the canal trade by steam-power instead of horse-power. A steamer was built, called the Charlotte Dundas – the first ever constructed expressly for steam-navigation, its predecessors having been mere make-shifts. A steam-engine was made suitable for it; and early in 1802, the boat drew a load of no less than seventy tons at a rate of three miles and a quarter per hour, against a strong gale. An unexpected obstacle dashed the hopes of the experimenters; some one asserted that the surf or wave occasioned by the motion of the steamer would damage the banks of the canal; the assertion was believed, and the company declined any further experiments. What took place after another interval of discouragement and inaction will be related in another place.

1  Statistical Account of Scotland
*  The Holy Well at Kilallan, Renfrewshire, “had the reputation of restoring weak and rickety children to health”, per Mr. J. M. Mackinlay’s paper detailed in the ‘Scots Lore’ ‘Work of Societies‘ for May, 1895. More about St Fillan’s well can be found in an article from the same publication, ‘The Ancient Parish of Killallan, Renfrewshire‘ by the self same Mr. Mackinlay as well as ‘Plate LXIX‘ of ‘Scotland Illustrated’. 
In ‘Book of Days’ for the ‘9th of January‘ St Fillan’s Holy Pool is mentioned, as is St Patrick’s Wells on the ‘17th of March‘, we’re told “at which the holy man is said to have quenched his thirst, may be counted by dozens.” Also for the ‘22nd of May‘ Chambers informs us that at “St Catherine’s, near Edinburgh, is a spring containing petroleum, and oil exuding from the coal-beds below” and that for “many centuries this mineral oil was in repute as a remedy for cutaneous diseases, and the spring bore the pretty name of the Balm Well.” 
Also in Chambers’ ‘Domestic Annals for the ‘Reign of James the Sixth 1603-1625‘ it is said that “noted sorcerer and charmer”, James Reid [also Read], “learned him to tak south-rinning water to cure the said diseases.” 
Mary Queen of Scots, during her time in England, “desired to be removed to Buxton wells” for her health’s sake, as mentioned in the ‘Life of Mary, Queen of Scots’ chapter, ‘From the Queen’s Attainder, till Morton’s Execution‘. 
MacGeorge tells us in the ‘Old Glasgow’ chapter, ‘Old Streets and Buildings, Part 3‘ that “there was a sacred well dedicated to St. Tanew, which, before the Reformation, was much resorted to for cures.” This was located near the present St Enoch’s square in Glasgow’s city centre. 
**  Thomas Aikenhead’s story is related in Chambers’ ‘Domestic Annals’ chapter ‘Reign of William the Third, 1695-1702’ for the year 1696.

On this Day in Other Sources.

On the west side of the Pleasance, and immediately within the south-east angle of the city wall referred to, stood the old Chirurgeons’ Hall, in the High School yards. The surgeons and barbers were formed into a corporation by the town-council on the 1st of July, 1505; under the seal of cause, or charter, certain rules were prescribed for the good order of this fraternity. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.382-384.

The 1st of July this year [1517], the Queen, hearing of the Governors going to France, returns to Scotland, but is not suffered to see her son, till, for fear of the plague of pestilence, (which then raged in these parts,) he removed to Craigmillar castle. 

– Historical Works, pp.238-275.

Meanwhile the Queen was hardly a month old, when Henry VIII began his boisterous courtship of the heiress of Scotland, for his infant son. Corruption and threats, wars and devastation, were the odious means of that intemperate sovereign, to gain his wished-for object. Every one must approve of what the Earl of Huntley said, while he was a prisoner, in England, when he was asked, for his support: I mislike not so much the match, said he, as the way of wooing. In pursuance of Henry’s passion, gross as it was, treaties of peace, and marriage, were made, at Greenwich, on the first of July 1543. With his usual violence, Henry violated the recent treaties, by seizing the Scotish ships, before those treaties were ratified. A war with England now began, which endured, for six years; and which was noted for the vileness of its means, the barbarity of its conduct, and the futility of its conclusion. 

– Life of Mary, pp.9-15.

This, then, was the first stage of a very extensive excursion, which she made, through the west, and southwest of Scotland, during the two subsequent months. On the 1st of July [1563] she rode from Dunypace to Glasgow, near which she remained till the 13th; visiting Hamilton, and Paisley.

– Life of Mary, pp.78-98.

The Queen’s escape from the various snares that had been laid for her, equally disappointed Elizabeth and Cecil, who were accessories to this conspiracy, the Duke, and Murray, Knox and his disciples, who were too strenuous, however, to be easily pushed aside, from their traitorous designs, on Mary’s sceptre, and Darnley’s life. The conspirators persevered in their criminal pursuits. Relying on Elizabeth’s promises, and Cecil’s protection, Murray, Argyle, and Boyd, on the 1st of July 1565, retired into Lochleven castle, to deliberate on their ulterior measures: They resolved to take arms: And they determined to solicit the aid of Elizabeth, to the extent, at least of 3000l. for which she had engaged. They sent a trusty messenger, to Elizabeth, to communicate their designs, and to solicit her promised aid. They asked Randolph to meet them. Randolph communicated their objects, and measures, to Cecil, and Leicester. He suggested to Cecil, that Bedford, the Queen’s lieutenant, on the Borders, might be sent to Berwick, “to support the lords of the religion;” and he intimated the desires of those religious lords, that some of the border banditti might be let loose on Lord Home’s lands, to prevent him, from assisting the Queen. The attempt to convert such an insurrection against the Queen’s marriage, into a religious war, was even too shocking, for Cecil. Most of Randolph’s suggestions were adopted, by Elizabeth, though she could not be prevailed on, to make open war.  

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

There was, however, a burgess of Edinburgh named Thomas Bassendyne, who for some years had had a small printing-office there. He was probably too poor a man to undertake the printing of a thick quarto, the form in which the Bible was then usually presented; but he took into association with himself a man of better connection and means, named Alexander Arbuthnot, also an Edinburgh burgess; and now it was deemed possible that an edition of the Scriptures might be brought out within the realm of Scotland. The government, under the Regent Morton, gave a favourable ear to the project, and it was further encouraged by the bishops, superintendents, and other leading men of the kirk. 

On the day noted, the Privy Council, seeing that ‘the charge and hazard of the wark will be great and sumptuous,’ decreed that each parish in the kingdom should advance £5 as a contribution, to be collected under the care of the said officers of the church, £4, 13s. 4d. of this sum being considered as the price of a copy of the impression, to be afterwards delivered, ‘weel and sufficiently bund in paste or timmer,’ and the remaining 6s. 8d. as the expense of collecting the money. The money was to be handed to Alexander Arbuthnot before the 1st of July [1575]

– Domestic Annals, pp.56-80.


I Johne Campbell of Ardkinglas testifies afoir God and takis it on my saull that it that I subscriuit and spoke anent oure Contract of Conspiracie againis my chief and maister the Erle of Argyle and his lordships bother the Laird of Lundie quhilk Contract wes said be me wes subscriuit be the Erll of Huntlie and Glencarne and be my Lorde Maxwell, my Lorde Chancellor and be Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenvrquhay Knycht, Archibald Campbell of Lochnell, Duncan McDowgall of Dunnollich and Johne Stewart of Appin. I testifie before God that thair wes never sic ane Contract maid or menit, but only inuentioun inuentit to eschew the trouble that might follow on me for Calderis slaughter. And as concernyng the samyn slauchter I tak it likwyis on my saul afore the great juge that nether Glenvrquhay nor nane levand nor dead wer airt and part nor knew of it except myself, John Oig Gillipatrik Oig and Gillimartin his brother and Duncane Campbell Donaldsone, and testifies afoir God that I am sorrowfull in saull and in mynd anent the said slauchter and I testifie to all and sindrie thir premissis be thir presentis subscriuit with my hand at Dunvne the first of Julii the yeir of God IM Vc fourescoir fouretene yeiris befoir thir witnessis, John Erle of Mar, Sir Hugh Campbell of Lowdoun, and Mr. Neill Campbell Bishope of Argyle. 

– Sketches, Appendix IX.

In another case about the same time the lady was the complainer, and her swain having denied the promise, and there being no proof, she referred it to his oath. The minute of the presbytery is as follows: “Quhilk daye Johnne gudden denyis he maid promise to marie Jonet Busset and sweiris be his aithe yt he maid na promise to marie hir – it being referrit yrto be ye said Jonet; Thairfore ye Kirk absolvis ye said Johnne fra ye said Jonetis psute and grantis to him libertie to marie in ye Lord quhat woman he sall pleis.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215. 

1  1st July, 1595.

Almost as a necessary consequence of the Revolution, a war with France commenced in May 1689. Part of the operations took place in Ireland, where James II., assisted with troops by King Louis, and supported by the Catholic population, continued to exercise sovereignty till his defeat at the Boyne (July 1, 1690). 

– Domestic Annals, pp.342-354.

   “Yesterday (July 1st) an Express came from Scotland. 

   One Clifton is taken into Custody for Printing a scandalous Libel, called a Hymn, to the Victory in Scotland, and several of the Hawkers have been taken up and sent to Bridewell for Crying them about the Streets.” 

– Pue’s Occurrences, Tuesday 7th July, 1719.

Treaty of Union Articles, 1700-1750.

The Statute passed in 1701, which has been extolled as the Scotch Habeas Corpus Act, proceeds on the preamble that “Our Sovereign Lord, considering it is the interest of all his good subjects that the liberty of their persons be duly secured,” yet, while introducing regulations against “wrongous imprisonment and undue delays in trials,” the statute contains these words:- “And sicklike it is hereby provided and declared that this present Act is noways to be extended to colliers or salters.” That is, being slaves, that they had no personal liberty to protect. These facts enable us to understand the hereditary blackguardism, which formed the secondary nature of these fixed underground gipsies, and the mysterious horror with which they were regarded, and which, in a certain degree, attaches to all subterranean labourers. The first link of their chain was broken in 1775, by the 15th Act of George III. cap. 28. It sets out on the preamble, that ‘many colliers and salters are in a state of slavery and bondage.’ It emancipates future ones entirely, that it, those who, after the 1st of July 1775, ‘shall begin to work as colliers and salters.’ But the existing ones were only liberated gradually; those under 21 in seven years; those between 21 and 35 in ten years. The liberation of the father was declared to liberate his family. And the freed were put under the Act 1701. 

– Sketches, Appendix IV.


Born, 1st July, 1770; died, 25th February, 1873. 

One of the twenty-two children of John Wallace of Kelly (No. 21), and the second of sixteen children by his marriage, in 1764, to Janet Colquhoun of St. Kitts. Of this marriage three children were living in 1864, 100 years afterwards, and Ann in 1873, 109 years afterwards.  

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 3.

George Laird

George Laird and Sons Ltd, 10 Ann Street, Bridgeton were upholsterer, joiner and cabinet makers and most of the family lived in the Bridgeton area. Ann Street was later named Laird Place after the family. 2/Lt Arthur Donald Laird 17th Bn. HLI was killed on 1 July 1916 in France, aged 26. He was the nephew of Dr Laird of Cambuslang. A prominent athlete in the West of Scotland, he had an excellent record in rugby and also played cricket for Glasgow Accies and West of Scotland. His parents were George H. and Mary Jane Laird, of 7 Park Drive, Glasgow. He was captain of Glasgow Academy in 1908. According to his C.O. he died a gallant gentleman heading his platoon into battle in the most cool and capable manner. In civil life he was a director of the family firm of George Laird and Sons Ltd, 10 Ann St., Bridgeton. At the outbreak of war he enlisted as a Private in the Commercial Bn (17th. HLI) and was commissioned in Dec 1914. He is buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery, Authuile Wood on the Somme. 

Glasgow’s Eastern Necropolis.

Exit mobile version