24th of August – St Bartholomew’s Day

St Bartholomew, apostle. The Martyrs of Utica, or The White Mass, 258. St Ouen or Audoen, archbishop of Rouen, confessor, 683. St Irchard or Erthad, bishop and confessor in Scotland, 10th century.

Born. – Letizia Bonaparte (née Ramolini), mother of Napoleon, 1750, Ajaccio, Corsica.
Died. – Cneius Julius Agricola, Roman general, 93, Rome; Alphonso V., of Portugal, 1481, Cintra; Admiral Gaspard de Coligni, murdered at Paris, 1572; Colonel Thomas Blood, noted for his attempt to steal the regalia from the Tower, 1680; John, Duke of Lauderdale, minister of Charles II., 1682.

On this Day in Other Sources.

On St. Bartholomews day [24th of August, 1541], [George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, engages Sir Robert Bowes] at [Haddon Rig], where he overthrows the English army, takes their two leaders, Sir Robert and Sir Richard Bowes, with 200 more, prisoners, and kills a great many more. 

– Historical Works, pp.238-275.

[Murray’s faction] now resolved, to be prepared with their forces, on the 24th [August, 1565], when they would begin to act. And they were, meanwhile, joined, by the Earl of Glencairn, a traitor, by habit; and by Wishart of Pitarrow, the partizan of Murray, and the comptroller of the Queen’s house. Sir John Maxwell, the Queen’s warden of the western marches, who had been gained, by Randolph, favoured the rebels, and joined them, in Dumfries-shire, where he had the chief command. There still continued, in the Queen’s councils, other persons of still greater importance, who favoured Murray, and betrayed their sovereign; such as Morton, the chancellor, and Maitland, the secretary, as we know, from Randolph’s correspondence, and also John, Lord Erskine, Murray’s uncle, who had recently obtained, from the Queen’s bounty, the earldom of Mar. The partizans of Murray, thus, pervaded every place, in the court, and in the country. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

His next object was of more importance, though less innocent. It was to obtain, from Sir James Balfour, who had acted, knavishly, the castle of Edinburgh. It was readily surrendered, on the following conditions: A pardon, for his concern in the King’s murder; a gift of the priory of Pittenweem; a pension out of the priory of St. Andrew’s to his son; about 5,000l. In money; the government of the castle to the laird of Grange. These terms were readily granted; and the castle was surrendered, in the night of the 24th of August [1567], to Murray, who immediately, made Grange the governor. What corruption! But, what did Murray care, for the King’s murder, having been himself a latent conspirator, who made use of Bothwell, as his cat’s-paw? 

– Life of Mary, pp.184-206.

At this parliament time, the town of Edinburgh commanded the parliament house, all of them being armed; and such as were by the Regent cited to [appear] before the parliament and did not, were [forfeited], all of them, on Tuesday the 24th day of August [1568]

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

Some of the punishments for theft are curious: “George Mitchell being apprehendit for thift is decernit of his confessioune that gif ever he be apprehendit within this citie in tyme cumyng to be brunt on the schoulders and cheik and to want ane lug out of his heid.”1 The punishment of mutilation by cutting off an ear was common also in the old English burghs, and in some of them it was practised after a somewhat singular fashion. In the ancient town of Lydd there was an ordinance in the year 1460 that in cases of petty theft the offender was to be nailed to a post by the ear and left there “with a knyffe in hand.” He might choose the time of his liberation, but he could only effect it by cutting off his own ear. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.215-237. 

1  24th Aug. 1599.

Aug. 24 [1669]. – The marriage-day of the unfortunate Bride of Baldoon. The story of this lady has been related with all the graces of fiction in Scott’s tale of the Bride of Lammermoor; but in its actual circumstances it is sufficiently impressive. She was the Honourable Janet Dalrymple, daughter of the first Lord Stair. While still in girlish years, the young lady contracted a passionate attachment for Lord Rutherford, the distant relative and heir of Andrew Rutherford, Earl of Teviot. The young nobleman returned this affection, and the pair plighted their troth in the usual manner, by parting a coin between them, and imprecating evil upon whoever should withdraw from or violate the compact. But this alliance did not suit the views of the parents, whether from deficient fortune in the young lord, or from contrarious politics, does not appear. They favoured a new suitor who appeared in the person of David Dunbar, younger of Baldoon in Wigtownshire. 

On learning that Dunbar was advancing in his suit, Lord Rutherford wrote to his mistress to remind her of her engagement; but received an answer from her mother, to the effect that she was now sensible of the error she had committed in entering into an engagement unsanctioned by the parental authority; and this engagement it was not her intention to fulfil. The lover refused to take an answer which did not come directly from his mistress, and insisted on an interview. It took place, but in the presence of the mother, a woman whom public report represented as master of her husband and whole family, and indebted for this influence to witchcraft, though for no reason that can be discerned beyond her uncommon talents and force of character. It may readily be supposed that even the resources of love would be of poor avail against the skill and resolution of such a person. When Rutherford was introduced he found her ready to meet his arguments with what was then an unanswerable defence, a text of Scripture (Numbers, xxx. 2-5), clearly absolving a woman from a bond entered into in her youth, if her father shall disallow her fulfilment of it, and promising that, in that case, ‘the Lord shall forgive her.’ The poor girl herself sat mute and overwhelmed, while the lover vainly pleaded against the application of this text; and the scene ended with her surrender of her portion of the broken coin, and his flying distracted from the house, after telling her that she would be a world’s wonder from what she had done and was yet to do. 

The union with young Baldoon went on, but entirely under the management of the mother, for it is inconceivable that the young man could have pressed his suit, if he had known the extent to which the bride was under constraint. The wedding was celebrated, as was customary in those days, in the presence of the relatives of both parties, and with great festivity; but the bride remained like one lost in a reverie, and who only moves and acts mechanically. A younger brother lived long enough to state to a lady, who communicated the fact to Sir Walter Scott, that he had the duty of carrying her on horseback behind him to church, and he remembered that the hand with which she clasped his waist was ‘cold and damp as marble.’ ‘Full of his new dress, and the part he acted in the procession, the circumstance, which he long afterwards remembered with bitter sorrow and compunction, made no impression on him at the time.’ 

In the evening, the newly-wedded pair retired to their chamber, while the merry-making still proceeded in the hall. The room had been locked, and the key taken possession of by the brideman, to prevent any of the unseemly frolics which, it would seem, were sometimes played off on such occasions. But suddenly there was heard to proceed from the bridal chamber a loud and piercing outcry, followed by dismal groans. On its being opened, the alarmed company found the bridegroom weltering in his blood on the threshold, and the bride cowering in a corner of the chimney, with with no covering but her shift, and that dabbled in gore. She told them ‘to take up their bonny bridegroom.’ It was evident she was insane, and the general belief was that she had frantically stabbed her husband. From that moment, she made no other rational communications, but pined away and died in less than three weeks. Young Baldoon recovered, but would never enter into explanations regarding the tragic occurrence. Perhaps it is this mystery alone which has given rise to the favourite belief of the many descendants of Lord Stair, that the wound was not inflicted by their unhappy relative, but by Lord Rutherford, who, they say, secreted himself in the chamber beforehand, and escaped afterwards by a window. This notion seems to us contrary to all probability, not merely because the conception of such an act was too gross for a man of rank even in that day, but because, had it been acted on, something must have come of it, either in the way of private revenge or of procedure before a criminal court. The idea was prevalent at the time; but it may be classed, we think, with another recorded by the credulous Law, that the poor bride was taken from her bed and harled through the house by spirits. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.302-321.

On the dissolution of the [Knights of the Temple] order all this property in Scotland was bestowed upon their rivals, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; and the houses referred to became eventually a part of the barony of Drem (of old a Temple Priory) in Haddingtonshire, the baron of which used to hold courts in them occasionally, and here, till 1747, were harboured persons not free of the city corporations, to the great annoyance of the adherents of local monopoly; but so lately as 1731, on the 24th of August, the Temple vassals were ordered by the Bailie of Lord Torphichen, to erect the cross of St. John “on the Templelands within the Burgh, amerciating [fining] such as did not affix the said cross.” This was a strange enactment in a country where it is still doubtful whether such an emblem can figure as an ornament upon a tomb or church. Clearly there must have been some disinclination to affix the crosses, otherwise the regulation would scarcely have been passed. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.315-321.

‘This is the burying place belonging to Provest James Bell’s heirs portioners. 1734. Within this tomb lye the remains of Katharine Brown, who died Aug. 24th 1761,..’ 

– Scots Lore, pp.141-148.

The last captain of the Guard was James Burnet, whose only military experience had been gained in the 1st Regiment of Edinburgh Volunteers, and previous to appointment he had been a grocer at the head of the Flesh-market Close. He died at Seton, on the 24th of August, 1814. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.123-138.


The Esplanade was improved in 1816 by a parapet and railing on the north, and a few years after by a low wall on the south, strengthened by alternate towers and turrets. A bronze statue of the Duke of York and Albany, K.G., holding his marshal’s bâton, was erected on the north side in 1839, and a little lower down are two Celtic memorial crosses of remarkable beauty. The larger and more ornate of them was erected in 1862, by the officers and soldiers of the 78th Ross-shire Highlanders, to the memory of their comrades who fell during the revolt in India in 1857-8; and the smaller cross was raised, “In memory of Colonel Kenneth Douglas Mackenzie, C.B., who served for forty-two years in the 92nd Highlanders – who saw much of service in the field, and deserved well of his country in war and in peace… Died on duty at Dartmoor, 24th August, 1873.”

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.79-87.

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