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30th of December

St Sabainus, bishop of Assisium, and his companions, martyrs, 304. St Anysia, martyr, 304. St Maximus, confessor, about 662.

Born. – Titus, Roman emperor, 41 A.D.
Died. – John Baptist Van Helmont, alchemist, 1644, Holland; Jacques Saurin, eminent Protestant divine, 1730, Hague; James Francis Edward, the elder Pretender, 1765, Rome; Olaus Gerhard Tychsen, orientalist, 1815, Rostock.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The French ambassador, on his road to Scotland, met Lenoir, near Northallerton, about the 30th of December; when they enlightened each other, on the wretched state of that country. De la Motte, and Davison, the spy, upon him, soon after arrived, at Edinburgh; and had a public audience of the King, before the English ambassador. There were now so many eyes fixed upon de la Motte, and so much secret service money, in distribution, that the secret of this embassy was discovered before it was communicated to the King, on the 20th of January 1583. When Elizabeth, at length, learned this secret, her indignation knew no bounds, that any other person, than herself, should practise the accomplishment of dissimulation. 

– Life of Mary, pp.274-281.

In a minute of council in 1589 is preserved a description of this “hospitall besyde the stabil grene,” which is interesting as a portrait of one of our oldhouses, now that so much of the ancient city has disappeared. The minute records a visit of inspection by “the bailleis.” It first mentions “the ʒaird dyk, the north syd therof, weill dykit and kaipit with stane, and ane haill hedge on the south syd thereof.” The “heich chalmer of the said hospitall” is described as “well loftit and jestit, twa windois within the samyn, staincherit with irne; ane stand bed fixit in the wall of the said chalmer, weill burdeit; ane pantrie dure and ane saig dure… without has ane sufficient gude dure, and foir ʒett, weill wallit and lokit, with ane raill galrie stair, and ane turlies upon the northmost windo thereof. Item fand the laich hous thereof with sex stand beddis of aik sufficient, with ane paintrie lokfast, and ane mekill kist standand within the same claspit with irne on every nook. Item fand the coilhous dure sufficientlie lokit and bandit, weill wallit, and kapit round about. item the haill hous of the said hospitall sufficient in ruiff, tymmer, sklait, and waterfast. Item fand ane doubill foir ʒett bandit, without ane lok, with the walls of the cois weill kapit about.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.124-131.

1  Council Records, 30th December, 1589.

‘In 1609, John Wilky merchant, admitted burgess. In 1615, John Wilkyn, alderman. In 1632, Thomas son of John Wilky of Foulden, bound apprentice to John Wilkie of Berwick, burgess. In 1654, Sir John Wilkie’s horse won the cup at Berwick. On 30 December 1673, Sir John Wilky knight in Foulden, was buried at Berwick. (He was married at Berwick on 31 October 1661, to Mrs. Dorothy Orde, who was buried 16th October, 1672. Their daughter Mary, was buried 8th January following.)’ 

– Scots Lore, pp.141-148.

In the same spirit we find a grant of twenty pounds (20s.) made “to James Robesoune baxter for helping him to build ane oven to baik plack pyres in, as also the sowme of 20 punds Scots to buy him ane laid of wheat to encurradge him to baik guid breid.”1 The plack – equivalent to the groat – was a piece of money coined in billon, a debased white metal, and was of the value of twopence scots.

– Old Glasgow, pp.276-289.

1  30th Dec. 1679.

A front page depiction of a Scottish tradition. This December 30, 1882, edition reads, 


As you can see from the clock in the picture, however, it’s done after midnight into the early hours of New Year’s day, rather than on the eve of New Year. 

Miscellaneous Collected Pictures.

Glasgow Evening Post, Thursday 30th December 1886, p.2.


   At an early hour on Tuesday morning, Dr. Peter White, Yetholm, knocked at the door of a house in the village and asked to be admitted, complaining that he had fallen on the street and hurt his leg. The person applied to ran for help, and when in a short time assistance arrived, the doctor was found in a prostrate condition in the street apparently lifeless. He was at once carried into the house, when he was found to be dead. Mrs. White died of inflammation of the lungs only on Saturday, and has not yet been buried. Her funeral, which was fixed for Monday, has been postponed in order that husband and wife may be interred together. 

Curious and Interesting Deaths.

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