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15th of October

St Hospicius or Hospis, anchoret, about 580. St Tecla, virgin and abbess. St Teresa, virgin, foundress of the Reformation of the Barefooted Carmelites, 1582.

Born. – Virgil, Latin poet, 70 B.C., Andes, near Mantua; Evangelista Torricelli, inventor of the barometer, 1608, Piancaldoli, in Romagna; Allan Ramsay, Scottish poet, 1686, Leadhills, Lanarkshire; Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, author of Elements of General History, 1747, Edinburgh; Christian, Count Stolberg, poet and dramatist, 1748, Hamburg; Frederick William IV., king of Prussia, 1795.
Died. – Lucretius, Latin philosophical poet, 55 B.C.; Andreas Vesalius, eminent anatomist, 1564, Zante; Pope Gregory XIV., 1591; Dr James Anderson, author of works on political economy, &c., 1808, London; Michael Kelly, composer, 1826, Ramsgate.


In some degree in contrast with King William’s Strong Man, is the account of a wonderfully small Scotsman, who was subjected to public attention in the same reign. 


These are to give notice to all persons of quallity, and others, that there is newly come to this place, a little Scotch man, which hath been admired by all that hath yet seen him, he being but two foot and six inches high; and is near upon 60 years of age. He was marry’d several years, and had issue two sons (one of which is with him now). He sings and dances with his son; and has had the honour to be shewn before several persons of note at their houses, as far as they have yet travelled. He formerly kept a writing-school; and discourses of the Scriptures, and of many eminent histories, very wisely; and gives great satisfaction to all spectators; and if need requires, there are several persons in this town that will justifie, that they were his schollars, and see him marry’d. He is to be seen at the lower end of Brookfield Market, near the market-house.’ (Further than this, there is no clue to the name of the town).

On this Day in Other Sources.

The 15th of October, King James calls a parliament at Perth, in the year 1431. 

– Historical Works, pp.153-166.

The commotions in Strathnaver, and other parts of the Highlands, induced the king to make another expedition into that part of his dominions; previous to which, he summoned a Parliament at Perth, which was held on the fifteenth day of October, fourteen hundred and thirty-one, in which a land-tax, or “zelde,” was laid upon the whole lands of the kingdom, to defray the expenses of the undertaking. No contemporary record of this expedition exists; but it is said that the king proceeded to Dunstaffnage castle, to punish those chiefs who had joined in Donald Balloch’s insurrection; that on his arrival there, numbers of these came to him and made their submission, throwing the whole odium of the rebellion upon the leader, whose authority, they alleged, they were afraid to resist; and that, by their means, three hundred thieves and robbers were apprehended and put to death. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.163-177.

By Acts of Council, 15th October, 1553-5, the mounds of household garbage were ordained to be removed, the swine to be prevented from being a pest in the streets, in which bowets or lanterns, were ordered to be hung up, by such persons and in such places as the magistrates should appoint, there to continue burning for the space of four hours – i.e., from five till nine o’clock in the evening. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.191-198.

As force had thus failed; it was now resolved to try what fraud could achieve: and, Randolph intimated to Cecil, that there wanted, in the Highlands, no good fellows, to be instruments to any such purposes, of betraying Huntley. What profligacy! It was now resolved, by the ministers, to call a Parliament soon, that Huntley might therein be openly pronounced a rebel to his sovereign; but, we hear nothing of any proofs of his guilt. On the 15th of October, [1562,] Huntley was denounced a rebel to his sovereign, though evidence was still wanting of his guilt, if we except the doubtful surmises of his privity, in respect to his son’s offences, if he did not appear before her, on the morrow: As he could not, from the distance of his retirement, appear on the morrow, he was, on the 16th, denounced a rebel. 

– Life of Mary, pp.62-77.

Murray, and his more guilty coadjutors, had now avowed their impatience, by seeking shelter in England, where they hoped, to be received into the frigid arms of Elizabeth. Her lieutenant, and his wardens, received them, indeed, with great civility; and the Scotish refugees moved to Newcastle, on the 15th of October 1565; in order to wait till Elizabeth should settle her conscience, how to receive those nobles, who had resigned their lives, and fortunes, in following her malignant artifices. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.



[15th October still in Leith.]

The xvj day of October being Saturday in Sterling.

   Item giffin to Dowglas the daft hussie 

vj s. viij d.

   Item for baiking the hors braid in loiffis 

xij d.

   Item giffin to the stabillar for your hors on Munounday at evin, the tent of October, being fywe hors in number on Maunounday all nycht Tysday all nycht and Fryday all nycht sax hors, your littill naig all nycht on Wednesday and on Fuiresday all nycht, ilk hors in the nycht twa s. extending in the haill to 

xlvj s.

   Item sevin dowsand of braid to your cursour and broun geldin, ilk hors the day as ye commandit your self to Johne Calder viij braid, four braid at everay wattering to the hors, pryce of the braid iij d. extending in the haill to 

xxi s.

– Sketches, Articles VIII.

Diverse [people] were hanged this year, for [receiving] and entertaining of him;.. likewise as also [Robert Stewart] the Captain of Blackness, [on] the 15th of October [1594], for the same cause. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

In 1600 Isabel Young was “woryt at a stake” for laying sickness on various persons, “and thereafter burnt to ashes on the Castle Hill.”1 Eight years after, James Reid, a noted sorcerer, perished in the same place, charged with practising healing by the black art, “whilk craft,” says one authority, “he learned frae the devil, his master, in Binnie Craigs and Corstorphine, where he met with him and consulted with him divers tymes, whiles in the likeness of a man, whiles in the likeness of a horse.” Moreover, he had tried to destroy the crops of David Liberton by putting a piece of enchanted flesh under his mill door, and to destroy David bodily by making a picture of him in wax and melting it before a fire, an ancient superstition – common to the Western Isles and in some parts of Rajpootana to this day. So great was the horror these crimes excited, that he was taken direct from the court to the stake. During the ten years of the Commonwealth executions on this spot [Castle Hill] occurred with appalling frequency.2 On the 15th October, 1656, seven culprits were executed at once, two of whom were burned;.. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.79-87.

1  Spotswood, “Miscellany.”
2  Pitcairn.

During James Grant’s confinement within the castle of Edinburgh the north was comparatively quiet. On the night of the fifteenth of October, sixteen hundred and thirty-two, he, however, effected his escape from the castle by descending on the west side by means of ropes furnished to him by his wife or son, and fled to Ireland, Proclamations were immediately posted throughout the whole kingdom, offering large sums for his apprehension, either dead or alive, but to no purpose. His wife was taken into custody by order of the marquis of Huntly, while drinking in his gardener’s house in the Bog, on suspicion of having aided her husband in effecting his escape; and by desire of the privy council, who were made acquainted by the marquis of her arrest, she was sent to Aberdeen to be there tried by the bishops of Aberdeen and Brechin, as the council had appointed. After undergoing an examination, in which she admitted nothing which could in the least degree criminate her, she was set at liberty.1 

– History of the Highlands, pp.287-313.

1  Sir R. Gordon, p. 241. — Spalding, p. 14, et. seq. 

Oct. 15 [1662]. – Died, the Earl of Balcarres, a boy. ‘The lady his mother caused open him, and in his heart was found a notched stone, the bigness of one’s five fingers, Dr Martin and John Gourlay [apothecary] being present at his embalming.’ – Lam

– Domestic Annals, pp.302-321.

The butchers appear to have been in the habit also of leaving live cattle on the public street all night, and there is an order of the council in 1664 prohibiting this.1

– Old Glasgow, pp.266-276.

1  15th October, 1664.

In 1743 a proposal was submitted to the magistrates by one John Walker “for erecting a stage coach betwixt Edinburgh and Glasgow, to set out twice a week from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and the coach or lando to contain six passengers, with six sufficient horses, for twenty weeks in summer, and the rest of the year once a week – each passenger to pay 10s. sterling and to be entitled to 14 pund weight of baggage, and the toun to insure to him that 200 of his tickets shall be sold here each year.”1 The proposal was remitted to a committee, with what result does not appear. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.289-299.

1  Ibid., 15th October, 1743.

2153. A full collection of All the Proclamations and Orders, published by the Authority of Charles, Prince of Wales, since his Arrival in Edinburgh, the 17th Day of September till the 15th of October, 1745. 1745, 1746.

This volume contains two parts, published in two successive years. It is one of the scarcest books relative to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The Jacobites took a printing-press from Glasgow, and with it they printed at Bannockburn an account of Falkirk Fight. (See Nos. 2166, 2379, 2602, 2616-2626.) 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

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