3rd of July

St Phocas, martyr, 303. St Gunthiern, abbot in Brittany, 6th century. St Bertran, bishop of Mans, 623. St Guthagon, recluse at Oostkerk, 8th century.

Born. – Louis XI. of France, 1423, Bourges; Henry Grattan, Irish parliamentary orator, 1746, Dublin
Died. – Mary de Medicis, mother of Louis XIII. of France, 1642, Cologne; Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, 1792, Brunswick.


Ireland has great honour in producing Henry Grattan, and she will never be politically beyond hope while she continues to venerate his memory. With every temptation to become the tool of the British ministry, he came forward as the unflinching advocate of the just rights and independence of his country; a Protestant, he never ceased to claim equal rights for an opposite class of believers. In the blotted page of Irish history, it is truly a bright spot where Grattan (1780) obtains in the native parliament the celebrated resolution as to its sole competency to make laws for Ireland. An irreproachable private life admirably supports the grandeur of his public career.

On this Day in Other Sources.

In returning to his own country, Lovat was accompanied by the Grants and Mackintoshes as far as Gloy, afterwards called the Nine-Mile-Water, and they even offered to escort him home in case of danger; but, having no apprehensions, he declined, and they returned home by Badenoch. This was a fatal error on the part of Lovat, for as soon as he arrived at Letterfinlay, he was informed that the Clanranald were at hand, in full march, to intercept him. To secure an important pass, he despatched Iain-Cleireach, one of his principal officers, with fifty men; but, from some cause or other, Iain-Cleireach did not accomplish his object; and as soon as Lovat came to the north end of Loch Lochy, he perceived the Clanranald descending the hill from the west, to the number of about five hundred, divided into seven companies. Lovat was thus placed in a position in which he could neither refuse nor avoid battle. The day, (3d July, [1549],) being extremely hot, Lovat’s men, who amounted to about three hundred, stript to the shirts, from which circumstance, the battle was called Blar-Nan-Leine, i.e. the Field of Shirts. A sort of skirmishing warfare at first took place, first with bows and arrows, which lasted a considerable time, until both sides had expended their shafts. The combatants then drew their swords, and rushed on each other with fierce and deadly intent. The slaughter was tremendous, and few escaped on either side. Lord Lovat with three hundred of the surname of Fraser, and other followers, were left dead on the field. Lovat’s eldest son, a youth of great accomplishments, who had received his education in France, from whence he had lately arrived, was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. He died within three days. Great as was the loss on the side of the Frasers, that on the opposite side was comparatively still greater. According to a tradition handed down, only four of the Frasers, and ten of the Clanranald, remained alive. The darkness of the night alone put an end to the combat. This was an unfortunate blow to the Clanfraser, which would have been almost entirely annihilated; but, for the happy circumstance, as reported, that the wives of eighty of the Frasers, who were slain, were pregnant at the time, and were each of them afterwards delivered of a male child.1 

– History of the Highlands, pp.178-198.

1  Lesley, p. 184. – Sir R. Gordon, p. 109, 110. – Shaw’s Moray, p. 265, 266. 

[The Admirable Crichton] did not know how soon he would be forced to abandon, not only the service of the Duke, but also that of every other earthly master. For the end was drawing nigh. Precisely on the day mentioned by the worthy doctor Cavallero, Zibramonti received another brief note, in which Crichton announced his complete cure, and declared himself ready to resume his services. And this may have been the last letter which the “Admirable” penned. Had his illness lasted but one day more, the fatal encounter of the 3rd of July [1582] might have been avoided – and Mantua might even now boast of the illustrious Scot, who had honoured her court with his presence.  

– Scots Lore, pp.181-192.

THE 3rd of July [1582] had been excessively hot, and, late in the evening, when the air was somewhat cooler, Crichton, followed by one of his servants, issued from the ducal palace, which he was never to enter again. Did no foreboding oppress him as he gazed for the last time on the moonbeams which flickered on the battlements of the Gothic edifice? Did his heart not wander for a moment with sudden longing to his native land which he had forsaken many years ago? Who knows what thoughts may have arisen in his mind as he strolled through the deserted porticoes and silent squares of the ancient city – thoughts, it may be, of greater glory, of wedded love, of  home, of Heaven – for he had a strange religion of his own. Or, it may be, he was only brooding on wrongs received and longing for power to revenge himself on his enemies. No one can know now. He passed on, and no voice bade him turn back; the ancient grotesque statue of Virgil, which grinned on him from a niche in the wall of the Piazza, uttered no word of warning; the clock in the next square struck the first hour of night – did Crichton not hear his death knell in that sound? The last square is crossed; the moon is shining brightly; used to scenes of blood, she does not hide her face as the young Scot passes on, entering the narrow street of San Silvestro. Two young men approach; one gives Crichton a rude push, and thrusts him down from the side next the wall, passing on at once. He, indignant at the affront, draws his poniard and assails the companion of his insulter, wounding him in the shoulder; the other youth, hearing the clash of steel, turns back – a few moments of deadly strife – two of the combatants are mortally wounded, and Crichton, recognising, at last, him from whom he had received his death blow, murmers, “Forgive me, your Highness; I only recognise you now.” 

Such at least is the story as narrated by the Prince, who, being the only survivor, could tell the tale as he chose, without fear of being contradicted. But Crichton’s servant, where was he? From that moment he was seen no more – an occurrence in itself sufficient to throw suspicion of foul play on Vincenzo, of whom this servant was subject. But let us hear his own account of the matter, as related in the following letter, written by Luigi Olivo the castellan, an hour after Crichton’s death:-  

To the very illustrious Signore, Aurelio Zibramonti,
Secretary and Councillor of his Highness.
Immediately. On his Highness’ service.
          At the second hour of night, as I was on the point of going to bed, I was informed that Mr. James Crichton had been wounded to death; therefore I dressed at once, meaning to send some one to see him, and to make whatever provisions might be required. As I was leaving my apartments, however, the most Serene Signor Prince came to me and asked me to have the postern opened for four of his men whom he wished to place in ambush on the lake so that (so his Highness said to me) Signor Crichton might not escape by the walls and swim over the lake, he having killed Signor Hippolytus Lanzoni at his Highness’ feet. I answered that I could not do it; besides, Signor Crichton, being wounded to death, was in no state to escape by swimming over the lake. The Signor Prince calmed himself then, and said he thought he had wounded him, but was not sure of it. Showing me then his sword and buckler, the one all bloody and hacked, the other bearing the marks of many blows, his Highness narrated the fact in this manner: Having gone out in doublet3 with the said Lanzoni to wish Signor Valerian Cattaneo a good evening, he had met, about half-past one at night, one who had his hood over his face and his sword under his arm, and who wanted to keep the upper part of the street. Thinking this was Count Langosco, he had given him a push with his buckler and sent him down, and had then passed on. This person, however, as Signor Lanzoni passed him, had stabbed the latter in the back, so that the said Lanzoni had begun to use his sword. His Highness, missing him, and not knowing why he delayed, put himself forward and began to fight, giving blows and receiving them on his buckler. At last, with a thrust, he wounded his adversary, who then said, “Your Highness, forgive me, for I did not recognise you till now.” Nothing else would have happened then, had not Signor Lanzoni said he was badly wounded, and, while the prince was trying to support him till he had reached some place where he could have his wounds dressed, after a few steps he had fallen to the ground and died there at the feet of his Highness, who got two priests who happened to be there to recommend his soul to God. Deeply grieved and exceedingly angry, his Highness, after the death of Signor Lanzoni, left the spot, intending to find means of hindering Crichton’s escape; but this provision was not necessary, since at three o’clock at night, which has just sounded, the said Signor Crichton, having had his wounds medicated, yielded his soul to God. A truly strange case, since, beside the manifest danger in which the Serene Signor Prince found himself, it has been followed by the death of those two gentlemen, worthy of being wept by all. I send the present courier immediately so that he may reach you by daybreak, and I have ordered a horse to be given to him in order that he may arrive in time. I humbly kiss your Lordship’s hands.  
   Mantua, 3rd July, at the 4th hour of night, 1582.  
Your Lordship’s most obliged Servant,  
          Post Scr. The said Signor Critonio died in the house of Messere Hippolytus Serena, as I have just learned; Lanzoni in St. Sylvester Street, where he was wounded.  

– Scots Lore, pp.238-252.

In the beginning of the following century, we find an order by the magistrates “that tuentie of the merchand rank, togidder with tua of ilk craft, be electit and chosin, at the discretioune and optioune of their deikinis, for keiping of the fair of this burgh, Setterday nixt, quhilk is the fair eivin of the said burgh, and hauldin as the fair day becaus of the Sabbothe day, and that with corslat and pik.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.276-289.

1  Burgh Records, 3d July, 1605.

On 3rd July, 1611, the Convention had under consideration a complaint by Rutherglen against Glasgow for exacting a custom at the bridge with a ladleful of beer and malt on the market day, when (1) Glasgow was assoilzied from the complaint as to the ladle custom “in respect of ane decreit of the lords given thairanent producit by Glasgow,” and (2) Rutherglen was ordained to pay to Glasgow annually £3 for its custom at the bridge during the continuance of the impost…1

– Scots Lore, pp.15-29.

1  Convention Records, ii. 315.

The church stood between the town and the sea near the shore. Its situation is ascertained from the tower which still stands within the fort erected by Oliver Cromwell. This church was used by the inhabitants of Ayr as a presbyterian place of worship for nearly a century after the reformation. In 1652, however, Oliver Cromwell finding the ground around the church a proper situation for a fort, took possession of it, and turned the church into an armoury. He remunerated the town only in part for the loss, and the money they received was applied towards building a new church. That they did receive some money from Cromwell, appears from a minute of the town council of date 3d July 1652, “anent the situation of building the kirk,” in which “all condescend tall possible meanes be used for building the same, either upon Sewaltons ground or the Grey Friars; and that the same be bought, and that the town be stented for als much as to utfit the same, what is deficient of the money to be had frae the English.” The new church was erected in 1654. 

– Select Views, pp.153-158.

Glasgow Herald, Monday 3rd July 1854, p.6. 


   The Mysterious Deaths on the Castlehill. – The bodies of the two females who were found dead last week in their house on Castlehill, having been removed to the Police Office, were examined by Drs. Tod & Inglis. After investigation, and an analysis of the food found in the dwelling as well as in the stomachs of the deceased, these gentlemen expressed an opinion to the effect that death had resulted from natural causes, however extraordinary and inexplicable the coincidences. The heart of the mother presented evidence of incipient ossification, and the daughter had been recently suffering from bronchitis. The unfortunate women appear to have lived in a very quiet and retired way, avoiding intercourse with their neighbours as much as possible. A letter, addresses to the elder of the two, came through the Post Office a few days ago, and it was hoped that this might afford some clue to their relatives; but, with the exception of a £1 bank-note, wrapped in a piece of white paper, the envelope contained nothing whatever. As scraps of paper similar to that in which the money was enclosed were found in their apartment, it is conjectured that the necessities of the poor women had been supplied from the same anonymous source. – Courant

Curious and Interesting Deaths.

Necropolis 21.jpg


Glasgow’s Cathedral & City Necropolis.

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