4th of September

Saints Marcellus and Valerian, martyrs, 179. St Ultan, first bishop of Ardbraccan, in Meath, 656. The Translation of St Cuthbert, about 995. St Rosalia, virgin, 1160. St Rosa of Viterbo, virgin, about 1252.

Born. – Pindar, lyric poet, 518 B.C., Thebes; Alexander III. of Scotland, 1241, Roxburgh; Gian Galeazzo Visconti, celebrated Duke of Milan, founder of the cathedral, 1402; François Réné, Vicomte de Chateaubriand, moral and romantic writer, 1768, St Malo
Died. – John Corvinus Huniades, Hungarian general, 1456, Zemlin; John James Heidegger, Master of the Revels to George II., 1749.


Cuthbert – originally a shepherd boy in Lauderdale, afterwards a monk at Old Melrose on the Tweed, finally bishop of the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, in which capacity he died in the year, 688 – is remarkable for the thousand-years’ long history which he had, after experiencing that which brings most men their quietus. Fearing future incursions of the Danes, he charged his little religious community that, in case any such event should take place, they would quit the island, taking his bones along with them. Eleven years after his death, having raised his body to give it a more honourable place, they were amazed to find it had undergone not the slightest decay. In consequence of this miraculous circumstance, it became, in its new shrine, an object of great popular veneration, and the cause of many other miracles; and so it continued till the year 875, when at length, to escape the Danes, the monks had to carry it away, and commence a wandering life on the mainland. After seven years of constant movement, the body of St Cuthbert found rest at Chester-le-Street; but it was, in a sense, only temporary, for in 995, a new incursion of the Danes sent it off once more upon its travels. It was kept some time at Rippon, in Yorkshire, and when the danger was past, the monks set out on their return to Chester-le-Street. They were miraculously arrested, however, at a spot called Duirholm (the deer’s meadow), on the river Wear, and there finally settled with the precious corpse of their holy patron, giving rise to what has since been one of the grandest religious establishments of the British empire, the cathedral of Durham. This is the event which was for some ages celebrated as the Translation of St Cuthbert.

On this Day in Other Sources.

On the last day of August 1241, the young queen [Mary de Couci], looking to her time of peril, and impressed with the frail tenure of life, bequeathed her body to be buried in the church of Newbattle; and in anticipation of the customary oblation, the king granted to God and the church of St Mary of Neubattle, and the monks there serving God, in free, pure, and perpetual alms, the vale of Lethan, from the head of the burn of Lethan, with all the streams that flow into it; and that specially for providing for the monks a “pittance” twice in the year, namely, one on St. Bartholomew’s day, the birth-day of the king, and another on the feast of the nativity of the Virgin, a high solemnity in her Cistercian church. Four days afterwards, on the 4th of September, the vows of the sovereigns, and the ardent wishes of a whole people, were crowned by the birth of a prince destined to continue the good rule and good fortune of his father. 

– Sketches, pp.125-144.

Meanwhile, Lennox arrived at Edinburgh, on the 4th of September [1564]; and finding the Queen absent, went forward to Athol, to visit the Earl, who had been gained, by secretary Maitland:.. 

– Life of Mary, pp.78-98.

Meanwhile, Murray, and his insurgents were conducted, on the 4th of September [1565], into Dumfries, by Sir John Maxwell, the Queen’s warden. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

Sep. 4 [1582]. – One consequence of the coup d’état at Ruthven was the return of John Durie from the banishment into which he had gone in May, to resume his ministry in Edinburgh. The affair makes a fine historic picture. 

‘As he is coming from Leith to Edinburgh, there met him at the Gallow Green two hundred men of the inhabitants of Edinburgh. Their number still increased till he came within the Nether Bow. There they began [with bare heads and loud voices] to sing the 124th psalm – “Now Israel may say, and that truly,” &c., in four parts [till heaven and earth resounded]. They came up the street to the Great Kirk, singing thus all the way, to the number of two thousand. They were much moved themselves, and so were the beholders. The Duke [of Lennox, who was lodged in the High Street, and looked out and saw] was astonished and more affrayed at that sight than at anything that ever he had seen before in Scotland, and rave his beard for anger. After exhortation made in the reader’s place by Mr James Lowson, to thankfulness, and the singing of a psalm, they dissolved with great joy.’ – Cal.

– Domestic Annals, pp.81-98.

Here, however, may be introduced the remarkable fact, that the Earl of Cassillis  an attempt to obtain a private revenge on Auchindrain for the murder of his uncle Colzean. The earl had long been on bad terms with his brother Hugh, whom we have seen as the guilty associate of Auchindrain. Now, he made up all past quarrels with Hugh, and granted him a bond, September 4, 1602, stating: ‘Howsoon our brother, Hugh Kennedy of Brownston, with his complices, takes the Laird of Auchindrain’s life, we sall mak guid and thankful payment to him and them of the sum of twelve hundred merks yearly, together with corn to six horses, [until] we receive them in household with ourself, beginning the first payment immediately after their committing of the said deed. Attour [moreover] howsoon we receive them in household, we shall pay to the twa serving gentlemen the fees, yearly, as our awn household servants. And hereto we oblige us, upon our honour.’ – Pit. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

Sep. 4 [1606]. – The Chancellor Dunfermline intimated to the king the pitiful case of the inhabitants of Dumbarton, their town being unable to defend themselves against ‘the surges and inundations of the sea, which is likely to destroy and tak away their haill town, and cannot be repulsit by nae moyen their poor ability and fortunes are able to furnish.’ Those who were appointed to inquire into the matter now reported that it would require at least thirty thousand pounds Scots to make a proper bulwark. It was proposed to defray this charge by a tax on the country. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.


For my loving Cusin the Laird of Glenwrquhy.

     LOVING CUSIN, – Since it hath pleased God to call my father to his eternall rest, I doubt not bot you kno als weall as I can desyr you what is fitting for your self to doe. Onli in this I desyr you to suffer your foster with you to wear murning. And so ever make use of me as your most affectionat cusin to my power, 


     Rosneithe, 4 September [1638.]

– Sketches, pp.341-394.

Thus disappointed in his hopes, and understanding that the earl of Argyle was fast approaching with a large army, Montrose crossed the Tay on the fourth of September [1644], directing his course towards Cupar Angus, and encamped at night in the open fields near Collace. His object in proceeding northward was to endeavour to raise some of the loyal clans, and thus to put himself in a sufficiently strong condition to meet Argyle. Montrose had given orders to the army to march early next morning, but by break of day, and before the drums had beat, he was alarmed by an uproar in the whole camp. Perceiving his men running to their arms in a state of fury and rage, Montrose, apprehensive that the Highlanders and Irish had quarrelled, immediately rushed in among the thickest of the crowd to pacify them, but to his great grief and dismay, he ascertained that the confusion had arisen from the assassination of his valued friend Lord Kilpont, who now lay before him weltering in his blood. He had fallen a victim to the blind fury of one of his own vassals, James Stuart of Ardvoirlich, with whom he had slept the same night, and who had long enjoyed his confidence and friendship. Lord Kilpont’s father, the earl of Airth, had frequently warned him against continuing his intimacy with this man, whom he always suspected, but he disregarded his father’s injunctions, and put himself entirely under the guidance of this perfidious person. It is asserted that it was by his advice that Lord Kilpont joined Montrose, and that wishing to ingratiate himself with the covenanters he formed a design to assassinate Montrose or his major-general, Macdonald; but as he thought that he could not carry his plan into execution without the assistance of his too confiding friend, Lord Kilpont, he endeavoured to entice him to concur in his wicked project. He, therefore, on the night in question slept with his lordship, and having prevailed upon him to rise and take a walk in the fields before daylight, on the pretence of refreshing themselves, he there disclosed his horrid purpose, and entreated his lordship to concur therein. Lord Kilpont rejected the base proposal with horror and a virtuous indignation, which so alarmed Stuart, that, afraid lest his lordship might discover the matter, he suddenly drew his dirk and wounded his lordship mortally in several places. Stuart, thereupon, fled, and killed in passing, a sentinel who stood in his way. A pursuit followed, but, owing to the darkness of the morning which prevented his pursuers from seeing beyond the length of their pikes, he made his escape,1 and thereafter joined the Earl of Argyle, who gave him a commission in his army in reward for what in those times, and by one class of persons, was considered if not a meritorious, at least far from a condemnatory action. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.342-364.

1  Wishart, p. 84. – Guthry, p. 129. 

The jailers in those days received no salary. They appear to have been remunerated by fees derived from the fines imposed upon prisoners of the class who could afford to pay, and in earlier times there were doubtless many such; but when only those of the baser sort, or those in absolute poverty, came under their care, their emoluments must have been very small. A keeper of the Glasgow jail who had suffered from this cause applied to the town council in 1661, and there is a minute by which the treasurer is ordained “to pay to Charles McCleane Jylor twentie punds for his extraordinarie paines in attending the tolbuith this long tyme bygane haveing got no profeit therby, having only thiefes and lounes his prisoners.” Witches being an exceptional class a special allowance was made for them. On one occasion the jailer gets “four score two pounds fourteen shillings four pennies Scots money, depensed be him for the maintenance of the witches who are prisoners here in the tolbuith be order of the Commissioners, from the 22d of May last to this day.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.140-150.

1  4th September, 1697.

Lieutenant-general Preston, of Valleyfield (who had been appointed thereto in 1716), mustered the out-pensioners of Chelsea, and officered them, locally, from the half-pay list.  

Doubtful of the faith of Preston, as a Scotsman, the Government superseded him in command, and sent in his place Lieutenant-General Joshua Guest, an Englishman, who proved a staunch Jacobite, and on the approach of the Highlanders he was the first to propose a capitulation, a measure vigorously opposed by Preston, a resolute Whig of the old King William school, who thereupon undertook the defence, with a garrison which consisted only of the old Castle company, the two companies of the 47th, each mustering about seventy bayonets, under Major Robertson, the Chelsea Pensioners, and Lieutenant Brydone’s artillery company, which had landed at Leith on the 4th of September, and marched in with a great quantity of the munitions of war. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.322-329.

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