8th of October

St Thias, the penitent, about 348. St Pelagia, the penitent, 5th century. St Bridget, widow, 1373.

Died. – Nicolo di Rienzi, tribune of Rome, assassinated, 1354; Vittorio Alfieri, great tragic dramatist of Italy, 1803, Florence; Henry Christophe, king of Hayti [Haiti], 1821; Charles Fourier, Socialist, 1837, Paris; Johann H. Dannecker, German sculptor, 1841, Stuttgardt.

On this Day in Other Sources.


This old seal of the corporation must have continued in use for a very long time. A representation of it is given in the Liber Sancte Marie de Melros, in which the document to which it is appended is printed, being the return or certificate of a service and infeftment of one Thomas de Aula. It is addressed to the Abbot of Melrose, and bears date 8th October, 1325. But I have found in the archives of our own city several impressions of the same seal, attached to charters and seals of cause, in more perfect condition – one in 1445; another, nearly a hundred years after, in 1551; another in 1605, appended to a deed of agreement among the incorporated trades of Glasgow for the support of St. Nicholas’ Hospital, with a ratification by the provost and magistrates; and another relating to the same hospital in 1606. I subjoin a copy of the last-mentioned impression. 

This ancient seal continued in use till 1647, so that even assuming that it was not made earlier than 1325, the date of the first document to which it has been found appended, it must have been in use for the long period of three hundred and twenty-two years. I have carefully compared the different examples, and I am satisfied that the one attached to the charter of 1606 is impressed from the same die that was used in 1325.

– Old Glasgow, pp.99-104.

The Lordship of Bothwell belonged to the Earls of Douglas, till the forfeiture of that family in 1455, when it fell into the hands of the King. It was afterwards granted by James III. to his favourite, Sir John Ramsay, whom he created Lord Bothwell. He was the only one of James’s favourites who escaped execution at Lauder Bridge: this he effected, by seizing hold of the King’s person, and leaping behind him on his horse. His attachment to his unfortunate monarch, afterwards caused his proscription. In 1488, he was forfeited in the Parliament held by James IV. at Edinburgh, on 8th October, that year. 

– Select Views, pp.47-52.

The Queen, the officers of state, and the whole court, departed, from Edinburgh, on the 8th of the same month, with the original intention, for Jedburgh. Bothwell had, scarcely, entered Hermitage castle, when a scuffle ensued, on the 8th of October [1566], with Elliot of Park, who wounded him, severely, in the hand. The Queen, and the officers of state, continued, however, to do the public business, at Jedburgh. 

– Life of Mary, pp.136-151.

Shrewsbury daily made suit, to be discharged of the custody of the Queen of Scots, Walsingham soon after informed Sadler, that Elizabeth deferred her resolution, abut allowing the Scotish Queen, to send up Naue; but desired him to entertain the captive Queen with hopes, of her desire being granted. Elizabeth designed, on the 8th of October [1584], to have a full consultation of her council, about the course to be held with Queen Mary; as Shrewsbury earnestly pressed Elizabeth for his discharge. 


Sadler, on the 8th of October, answered Walsingham’s directions. He had drawn, from the Queen, his charge, her feelings, as to the change of her keeper; she weighed not the change, so as she be well used, and her person in safety, whereof she had some cause of mistrust, in former times. He intimated the improbability of her attempting to escape; considering the extraordinary precautions, and her tenderness of body, subject to a vehement rheum, upon any cold, which caused a plentiful distillation, from above, down to her left foot, which is much pained, and sometimes a little swollen. He explained the strength of the place, and the extraordinary pains taken, to prevent any possibility of escape. He gave a detail of the gentlemen living around the castle, and were ready to assist. Besides the establishment of the castle, Sadler had with him forty-three men of his own servants, every one armed with sword, and dagger, some with pistols, and some with long shot. Sadler recommended entering into a treaty, and ending the matter, with the Queen of Scots, by an honourable composition. Sadler thought that a trial ought to be made of an amicable arrangement; as she earnestly protests, that it is her sincere wish, to serve her Majesty, if permitted. 

– Life of Mary, pp.281-293.



The viij of October being Fryday in Edinbrughe.

   Item for ane quinzdor to yourself 

xxiiij s.

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.

About midnight (Oct. 8 [1630]), the tower took fire in a sudden manner, ‘yea, in ane clap,’ says Spalding, and involved the whole of the inmates in destruction, except Chalmers, Rollock, and a servant who slept beside Lord Melgum. Swift as the fire was, three persons escaped, and Lord Melgum might have also saved himself, if he had not, under a friendly impulse, run upstairs to rouse Rothiemay. While he was engaged in this act, ‘the timber passage and lofting of the chamber takes fire, so that none of them could win downstairs again.’ So they turned to a window looking towards the court-yard, where they were heard repeatedly calling: ‘Help, help, for God’s cause!’ The windows being stanchioned, and the access by the stair cut off by the flames, it was impossible to render any assistance, and accordingly the six persons inclosed in the burning tower were all piteously burnt to death. Melgum was but twenty-four years of age, and left a widow and child; Rothiemay was unmarried. It is stated by Lady Melgum’s chaplain, that in that last moment of extremity, Lord Melgum induced Rothiemay to make open profession of the Catholic faith; and so, ‘they two being at a window, and whilst their legs were burning, did sing together Te Deum; which ended, they did tell at the window that their legs were consumed, recommending their souls to God, and the nobleman his wife and child, first to God, and then to the king.’ A popular ballad of the day speaks of their being called on to leap from the window: 

‘How can I leap, how can I win, 
     How can I leap to thee? 
My head’s fast in the wire-window, 
     My feet burning from me.’ 
He’s ta’en the rings from aff his hands, 
     And thrown them o’er the wall; 
Saying: ‘Give them to my lady fair, 
     Where she sits in the hall.’ 

This dismal event created a universal feeling of horror, and plunged the friends of the deceased into the greatest grief. The laird and Lady of Frendraught were to all appearance deeply concerned for what had taken place. On the morning after the fire, the lady, ‘busked in a white plaid, and riding on a small nag, having a boy leading her horse, without any more in her company, in this pitiful manner she came weeping and mourning to the Bog, desiring entry to speak with my lord; but this was refused; so she returned back to her own house the same gate she came, comfortless.’ – Spalding. Her repulse was the more remarkable, as Lady Frendraught was a cousin of the marquis, and brought into bonds of sympathy with him and his family by being a Catholic. A fixed suspicion that she and her husband were the authors of the fire had taken possession of the Huntly and Rothiemay families, as well as of the populace generally, though not the slightest evidence of guilt has ever been brought against them; and their loss of valuable papers, and of gold and silver articles, to the value, it was alleged, of a hundred thousand marks (Scots), rendered any concern of theirs in the fire-raising the reverse of probable. The laird himself acted in the manner of an innocent man anxious to clear himself of suspicion. He came immediately to the Chancellor Lord Dupplin at Perth, desiring his protection, and offering to submit to trial. The Privy Council do not seem ever to have felt that there were any grounds for charging him with the guilt popularly imputed to him. 

More particular suspicions fell upon John Meldrum of Redhill, the quondam adherent of Frendraught, but who had latterly fallen into such bad terms with him; likewise upon John Tosh, the master-household of Frendraught. These persons were accordingly apprehended, brought to Edinburgh, and examined. A servant-girl called Wood was also seized and subjected to torture, with a view to extracting her knowledge of the circumstances; but this only produced prevarications, making her evidence of no avail, and for which she was scourged and banished the kingdom. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

   “SOME correspondence that has recently appeared in these columns has drawn attention to the amount of the annual grants made to the National Galleries of the United Kingdom, and to the disproportionately small sum which falls to the share of Scotland. This is not a singular experience in the case of Scotch grants in other departments than that of the encouragement of art. Instances are only too numerous where the sums disbursed on account of this part of the Empire are shabby and inadequate, whether regard be had to our needs, or to corresponding contributions made to England and Ireland…  

   A few figures relating to the votes for the year 1881-2 will illustrate how matters stand. The sums voted for the National Gallery in London, during the current year, amounted to £19,273, which includes £9500 for the purchase of pictures, £3892 for salaries and wages, and £2510 as an additional charge for maintenance and repairs of the building. On behalf of the National Portrait Gallery there was a grant of £3349, of which £750 was put down for purchase of portraits, £1083 for salaries, and £850 for maintenance. The amount voted for the English galleries was thus £23,132 in all. For the Dublin Gallery provision was made from the public purse to the amount of £3575 – £1000 to be spent in the purchase of works of art. £968 in salaries, and £1236 in maintenance and repairs. The entire contribution made by the State for the Scottish Gallery comes out of a vote of £2100 made in payment ‘of the annuity to the Board of Trustees of Manufactures in Scotland in discharge of equivalents under the Treaty of Union,’ part of this sum being applied in the maintenance of the School of Art and Museum of Antiquities, and disbursements being also made from it to certain officers of the Fishery Board. So far as can be understood, the actual sums spent on the National Gallery consist of £760 for salaries and wages, £350 in taxes and repairs, and £60 in cleaning – in all, £1170, or less than the expenditure for the repair and maintenance of the Dublin Gallery, and little more than the sun set aside for the making of additions to the collection in that institution. To the £1170, however, must be added a portion of the secretary’s pay; but as that official receives a general salary as the secretary of the Board of Trustees, which includes the management of the National Gallery, it is difficult to say how much of it ought to be apportioned to the expenditure of the Gallery. This information has been asked for in the letters we have referred to; but as yet it has been withheld. Making due allowance for this, however, it may safely be assumed that, under the grants as they at present stand, Ireland, leaving out of account the £300 of grant to the Irish Academy of Painting, receives at least double, and England more than a dozen times, the sum voted for Scotland. Objection may be taken that the sums voted for the Edinburgh Industrial Museum should enter into the comparison, and that when these are taken into account, Scotland is put in a more favourable position as regards the grants made to Art. No one doubts the excellent services which the institution in Chambers Street performs. But similar sums are given to Ireland; and though the new Museum at Dublin as yet exists only on paper, the £15,000 granted yearly since 1879 will afford ample scope for the erection of a building equal to the Edinburgh one. As to South Kensington, it is not necessary to quote figures to prove that that Museum obtains the lion’s share of the money devoted to Industrial work, although, after all, its galleries are not immeasurably better than our own in Chambers Street; while the Bethnal Green Museum, notwithstanding its annual grant of £7000, is admitted to be attracting fewer visitors every year. The question of Industrial Art may, therefore, very well be put aside; so far as regards that matter, Scotland receives, at most, no more than her due, and, in return for the sum which is received from the State, can show results which she need not be ashamed to place beside those of her neighbours. On the other hand, taking the grants for the promotion of the arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture, Scotland, it has been seen, is put off with a meagre pittance, which, were it not for the public spirit of the incorporated artistic bodies, would long ago have left the national collection in a deplorable condition.  

   This, however, is not all the case. The so-called grant is, as has been said, no grant at all, and merely represents the interest of a debt contracted at the Union. England then undertook to pay to Scotland the sum of £398,085, 10s., as a calculated equivalent for the latter country taking up on her a proportionate share of the English National Debt. The details of the disposal of that sum need not be entered upon here; but, after much legislation, and some years of delay, a remainder, represented by £2000 per annum, was, in 1727, granted to Trustees specially appointed to administer it for the benefit of Scottish manufactures, &c. That Board of Trustees remains to this day, and administers the sum out of which the National Gallery draws the only aid it obtains from the British Exchequer. In point of fact, it receives no contribution whatever from the public purse, in the sense that the English and Irish Galleries do; it only gets punctual payment of the interest on an old debt, while Scottish taxpayers have to reflect that while, in fulfilment of an obligation, a paltry £1200 or so returns to their country to assist in developing Art and artistic taste, the English and Irish Galleries receive a double share of assistance in the shape of a free grant. A result of undertaking a proportion of the English National Debt would seem to be to deprive us of our proportion of the State grants in aid of Art. Because a century ago a sum was specially set aside, as part of the national patrimony, for the encouragement of Scottish industry, it seems to be considered that nothing further is needed through all time for the encouragement of Scottish painting. The advantages of this new way of paying old debts may well be doubted. the present arrangement needs surely only to be stated to make its injustice plain, and to put matters in train for an early re-adjustment. It is unjust as between the three kingdoms, and it is specially unfair considering the deserts of Scottish Art. It has been by the unaided efforts of Scottish artists, exercised through the Royal Scottish Academy and other Art associations, rather than by the dole dispensed through the Board of Manufactures, that the national collection of paintings on the Mound has been added to and kept together, and made to approximate, as nearly as could in the circumstances be looked for, to what a Scottish National Gallery should be. That its dimensions and its merits must fall far short of that ideal will continue to be the case until bare justice is done, by putting it, like the London and Dublin Galleries, in possession of an annual sum to be devoted solely to the purchase of works of Art.  

– The Scotsman, Saturday 8th October, 1881.

Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

Glasgow Evening Post, Saturday 8th October 1887, p.2. 


   About six o’clock this morning a man was found dead in a smallboat off Society, about two miles to the west of Queensferry. He was found sitting on a seat as if in the act of rowing. The boat bears the name “David Bryce, Limekilns.” It is supposed that he was engaged rowing people to the Fleet, and that during the darkness last night must have lost his way and died from exposure. 

Curious and Interesting Deaths.

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