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6th of October

St Faith or Fides, virgin, and her companions, martyrs, 4th century. St Bruno, confessor, founder of the Carthusian monks, 1101.

Born. – Madame Campan, biographer of Marie Antoiette, 1752, Paris; Louis Philippe, king of France, 1377, Paris; Madame Jenny Lind Goldschmidt, vocalist, 1821, Stockholm.
Died. – Charles the Bald, king of France, 877; Sir John Young, Baron Lisgar, in 1868 Governor-general of Canada, 1876.


Many inventions of the greatest value, and ultimately of the commonest use, are sometimes the most difficult to trace to their origin. It is so with clocks and watches. Neither the precise year of their invention, nor the names of their inventors, can be confidently stated. Till the close of the tenth century, no other mode of measuring time than by the sun-dial, or the hour-glass, appears to have existed; and then we first hear of a graduated mechanism adapted to the purpose, this invention being usually ascribed to the monk Gerbert, who was raised to the tiara in 999, under the name of Sylvester II. These clocks were cumbrous machines; and it is not till the fourteenth century that we hear of portable clocks. In the succeeding century, they were much more common, and were part of the necessary furniture of a better-class house. They were hung to the walls, and their movements regulated by weights and lines, like the cheap kitchen-clocks of the present day. The invention of the spiral spring as the motive power, in place of the weight and line, gave, about the middle of the fifteenth century, the first great impetus to improvement, which now went on rapidly, and resulted in the invention of the watch – a time-measurer that might be carried about the person. 

Southern Germany appears to have been the place from whence these welcome novelties chiefly issued; and the earliest watches were known as ’Nuremberg Eggs,’ a sobriquet obtained as well from the city from whence they emanated, as from their appearance. The works were enclosed in circular metal cases, and as they hung from the girdle, suggested the idea of an egg. before the invention, or general adoption of the fusee – that is, from about 1500 to 1540 – the movements were entirely of steel; then brass was adopted for the plates and pillars, the wheels and pinions only being fabricated of steel; and ultimately the pinions only were of steel. The fusee being universally adopted about 1540, no great change occurred for fifty years, during which time the silversmith seems to have assisted the watchmaker in the production of quaint cases for his works, so that they might become ornamental adjuncts to a lady’s waist. Our fist example (formerly in the Bernal Collection, and now in that of Lady O. Fitzgerald) tells, after an odd fashion, the classic tale of Jupiter and Ganymede. The works are contained in the body of the eagle, which opens across the centre, and displays the dial-plate, richly engraved with scrolls and flowers on a ground of niello. It will be perceived that this watch is so constructed, that when not suspended to the girdle by the ring in the centre of the bird’s back, it can stand on the claws wherever its owner may choose to place it. 

Watches were now made of all imaginable shapes and sizes, and the cases of all forms and materials; crystal was very commonly used, through which the mechanism of the watch might be observed. Sometimes stones of a more precious character were cut and adapted to the purpose. About 1620, they assumed a flattened oval form, such as we have seen used to a comparatively recent period; they were sometimes furnished with astronomical dials, and perpetual moving calendars, and often struck the hour; the inner case acting as a silver bell. 

It appears that until 1670, when the pendulum-spring was invented, the mechanism of the watch had made no advance since the days of Elizabeth. The French makers were among the first to introduce judicious improvements, particularly such as effected weight and size… Grotesque forms for watch-cases seem to have quite gone out of fashion in the seventeenth century, with one exception; they were occasionally made in the form of a cross to hang at the girdle; and are consequently, but erroneously, sometimes called ‘Abbess’s watches.’ The example here… is covered with elaborate engraving of a very delicate character; the centre of the dial-plate represents Christ’s agony in the Garden of Olives, the outer compartments being occupied by the emblems of his passion; a figure of Faith occupying the lowermost. The style of engraving is very like that of the famous Theodore de Bry, who worked largely for the French silversmiths at the commencement of the seventeenth century.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The King calls a parliament, this same year [1488], at Edinburgh, the 6th of October, wherein the King pardons all [those] that partied [with] his father, and grants the wards to the minors of [those] that were killed at that unhappy battle of Bannockburn; as also his general revocation, bearing date at Scone, this same year, is by the 3 estates ratified and confirmed; that new gold be coined of the fines of the Ross noble, and that silver be coined of the fines of the old English groat; as also, that whatsoever clerk purchases any benefice at the Court of Rome, the presentation whereof belongs to the King, commits [treason] against the King’s person, and that proscription, rebellion and treason, be executed upon them. 

– Historical Works, pp.214-238.

‘Our soveranes causit certain of the principals of Edinburgh to come to them to Halyrudehouse, and after their coming, some of free will, and some brought agains their will, our soverane lady made ane orison to them, desiring them to lend her certain sowms of money, whilk they refusit to do; and therefore they were commandit to remain in ward within the auld tower wherein my lord of Morray lodgit, wherein they remainit.’ Ultimately, the two difficulties were in a manner solved by each other. On the 6th of October [1565], the above-mentioned notables of the city ‘agreeit with our soveranes in this manner, to lend their majesties ten thousand merks, upon the superiority of Leith, under reversion,… and alse to give their highnesses ane thousand pounds, to suffer the haill town to remain at hame.’ 

– Domestic Annals, pp.30-34.

Bothwell, the Queen’s lieutenant, on the Borders, who was sent forward, to prepare matters, left Edinburgh, in the evening of the 6th of October [1566]

– Life of Mary, pp.136-151.

Sir Walter Mildmay, Sir Amias Paulet, and one Barker, a notary, on the 6th of October 1586, delivered Elizabeth’s letter to the Scotish Queen. When she had read this communication from Elizabeth, Mary said: She was sorry, that the Queen’s Majesty should be so ill informed against her, after all her offers of reconciliation, and service; that she would not prejudice her rank, and state, as a Queen, in which she was born, to answer as a subject, as she was commanded, or set so prejudicial a precedent to foreign princes; that she was ignorant of the English laws, and knew not who are her peers; that her papers had been taken from her, and nobody dares speak on her behalf: And she finally protested her innocence; and remitted her cause to the judgment of foreign princes. In the afternoon, however, she was asked, by Paulet, and Barker, if she would acknowledge her answers, which she confirmed, with this addition, that she denied, her ever being under the protection of the English laws, as stated in the Queen’s letter; but, on the contrary, had been detained, as a prisoner, ever since her arrival, in England. The Queen thus strengthened her answer, by an argument, which converted almost the whole charges against her into mere sophistry. If the protection, which the law affords, infers obedience, in return; what obedience is due, where there is no protection given! When the case of the Scotish Queen was, accurately, stated, it formed an anomaly, which was quite unprecedented, in any history, or in any law. 

– Life of Mary, pp.304-328.



The saxt of October being Wednesday in Edinbrughe 1591.

   Item your dischone in Peit Lindsayis hous, the haill band of gentill men being with yow, by wyne extendis to 

xl s.

   Item thrie pointtis of wyne quherof ane point of Spenis wyne 

xxij s.

   Item to your cordiner Mongo Hendersone for his furnessing of schone sen ye come out of the norland anno 1590 efter Mertimes as his compt bairis and als for ane pair of wait ledder schone firnessit to yow the same day extending in the haill 

v lib. xij d.

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.

Besides the hospitals just mentioned there was an hospital for lepers on the south side of the river. In 1494 it was called “hospitale leprosorum degentium prope pontem;” and in 1555 it is described as “the Leper house of St. Ninian beyond the bridge of Glasgow.” It is said to have been founded by a lady of the family of Lochow about 1350.* It had a burying ground and chapel near it. An entry in the burgh records supplies a graphic picture of these poor lepers – describing their peculiar enforced costume, and the precautions prescribed against contact with them. It is as follows:- “It is statut and ordainit that the lipper of the Hospital sall gang only upon the calsie syde, near the gutter, and sal haif clapperis, and ane claith upon thair mouth and face, and sall stand afar of qll they resaif almous, or answer, under the payne of banisching thame the toun and Hospitall.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.124-131.

1  6th October, 1610.
*  This same point is made in the ‘Scots Lore‘ article ‘Glasgow Bridge, part 1.

So much was it a matter of course to lay bulky articles on the street, that in 1589 the magistrates thought it only necessary to order that such articles as stones and timber should not lie on the street “langer nor zeir and day.” But they drew the line at peat stacks. It had actually been the custom to erect not only these, but hay stacks on the sides of the Trongate; and in the year last mentioned we find it enacted “that na truff stakis be maid vpon the foirgait under the pane of xvjs. ilk falt.” It takes a long time, however, to eradicate old habits. In the following century the skins, the timber, and the peat stacks are found still encumbering the highway, and under date 6th October, 1610, there is a statute directed against each of these nuisances; while so late as the middle of the eighteenth century the inveterate middings are still the subject of prohibitory minutes of the council. Probably some of them lingered to a still later period. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.266-276.

Thomson Black

Thomson Black, Soot Merchant and Chimney Sweep died 6th October, 1872, aged 58 years and lived at 59 Saltmarket Street. Thomson Black gets a mention in a book called Glasgow Past and Present in the Reminiscences and Communications of Senex 1884. Senex is talking about the changes that have happened in the Saltmarket when he says, 

“There are some queer things to be seen in the Saltmarket yet, however, and we cannot help giving the following verbatim et literatim transcript of a chimney sweep’s sign which we copied the other day when inspecting the locality. ‘Thomson Black chimney sweep, he does live here, he’ll sweep your vent and not be dear, if your vents take on fire he’ll put it out at your desire. Soot Merchant in this close.’ ” 

Glasgow’s Eastern Necropolis.


   MR ERNEST NOEL, Unionist candidate for Stirlingshire, addressed a well-attended meeting last night in the Town Hall, Grangemouth. Mr Andrew Mackay presided…  

   If disestablishment was to take place in Scotland, it should only be after having been put plainly to the country, that men might vote aye or no on it. (Applause.) An institution that was so ancient and bound up in the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland was one that should not be swept away, perhaps, by a majority of Welsh disestablishers. (Applause.) If it were done, it should be by the people of Scotland alone.”  

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 6th October, 1891.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

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