Of the Borough of Rutherglen, its Charters, Set, Antiquities, &c., Part VI., pp.63-71.

[History of Rutherglen Contents]

THE following qualifications are requisite, in all who are allowed to vote for the Magistrates and Council, according to an act, in the year 1775, and recorded in the council books.

   “ENACTED, that no person be allowed to vote for the Magistrates, unless he lives within the royalty; and none to be admitted a burgess unless he has resided within the royalty four months, previous to the time of his admission: but if he has a family he must reside year and day. Also, that the absence of any person from the burgh, year and day together, shall have the effect to preclude him from being entitled to be entered a burgess, untill he reside the foresaid periods, in the events above mentioned. But in the event of his having been a burgess formerly, four months residence, or with his family, six months.”

The Fines, upon entering Burgess, are as follows.
l.   s.   d.   
A Stranger pays 
1   2   2⅔   
A Burgess’ eldest son, if his father is in life 
0   8   4      
    but if his father is dead 
0   0   6¾   
A Burgess’ 2d. 3d. &c. son; and son in law 
0   11   1⅓  

AS every person has not an opportunity of seeing the laws, by which the property, service, and morals of the inhabitants of royal boroughs, were sometimes regulated, I have thought proper to give the following examples, extracted from the records of the Council of Rutherglen.

  1. Act anent the pryce of labor.

   “THE Provest, Baillies, and Counsell, in pursuance of the trust reposed in ym., being no less desyrous that servands, workmen, and others, should have, from there maysters, that which is just and equall; as that a remedye may be gevin to these abuses, and grivances, concerneing the excessive pryces of fies, and waidges, introduced of late, in tymes of plentie, by the covetousnes, idlenes, and other corrupt practices of some evill affected servands, and workmen. Doe thairfor order, and appoint, that, dureing the scarsnes of money and cheapnes of victwall, no person within this burgh, give nor take, more fie, or waidges nor is heir efter exprest. To witt. 

   A commone able man Servand, for all forte of husbandrie, is to have, termly, for fie and bounteth, ten punds Scotts; with a paire of dowble solled shooes, and a paire of hoise, and no more. 

   A able woman servand, for all necesserie worke, ten merkes, termly, with a paire of shooes, ane ell of lining in winter, and ane ell of playding in Sommer. 

A lass, or young made, fowr punds Scotts, with a paire of shooes, termly, and, no more. 

   The hervest fie of an able man sheirer, is not to exceid eight punds, and a peck of meill; with meit and drink: and if he be hyred by dayes, halfe a merke, and twa mailles, for ilk dayes worke. And the able woman sheirer is not to exceid sex punds, and a peck of meill; with meit and drink; or fyve schilling, and twa mailles, for ilk day. 

   A woman, or lass, for a dayes worke, in weiding of Lint, cloveing, sprining, cardeing, yarnewinning, or any such worke, is to have twelff pennys Scotts, and thrie mailles, and no more. 

   A thrasher is to have fowr schilling Scotts, and twa mailles ilk day, and no more. 

   Massones and wrights are not to exceid a merke Scotts without, and halfe a merke with, meit and drink, for the dayes worke. 

   A Barrow man is not to exceid halfe a merke without, and ffowrtie pennyes with, meit and drink, for the dayes service. 

   A thieker of howses is to have ten sachilling without, and fyve schilling with, meit and drink, for a dayes service. 

   Tailzivours are not to exceid ffowrtie pennyes and ther dyet, for a dayes worke. 

   A commone workeman, or laborer, who workes for daylie waidges, is to have halfe a merke without, and 40 pennies with, meit and drink, for a dayes service. 

   Iff any workeman, woman, or laborer within this burgh, shall refuse to worke, and serve, upon the pryces respective, abovewryttin, they shall be imprisoned, and further punished, as the Magistrats shall thinke fitt. And if any workeman, or servand, man or woman, shall requyre, and exact, greater fies, and waidges then these befor exprest, they are to be fynned according to the discretione of the Magistrats. 

   Ordered, also, that no man servand, or woman servand, unmarried, upon any pretence, shall take upe howss, and worke at there own hand, without a warrand from the Magistrats. 

   Ordered, lykwayes, that Noe inhabitant, or servand, man or woman, within this incorporatione, Presume to fie themsellffes, in hervest tyme, to any persone, or persones, dwelling without this burgh, Without a speciall Licence from the Magistrats had thereunto; Under the paine of ffyve pundes money.”

THE price of labour, at the above period, if we consider the value of money at that time, will appear, in some instances, to have been very good. A mason, or wright, for example, received sic shillings and eightpence ster. for his week’s work, a much higher wage than double the sum at present. 

THE following quotations will give us some idea of the value of money, at the dates affixed to them.

  1. Price of a harrow; “Ten schilling Scotts.”
  2. Price of tilling an acre of land; Ten schilling Scotts.

ABOUT a century ago the value of oatmeal was exceedingly variable, as appears from the price of the tiend boll, in the following periods, as it is mentioned in the council records, and according to which the stipend was paid.

Ann.            l.     s.     d.       Scotts.  Ann.            l.     s.     d.          Scotts. 
1660.          6 :    6 :    8        per Boll.  1682.          7 :    3 :    4           per Boll. 
1663.          8 :    6 :    8              do.  1684.          4 :    6 :    8              do. 
1671.          6 :    6 :    8              do.  1689.          6 :    5 :    0              do. 
1672.          4 :  13 :    4              do.  1699.        10 :    0 :    0              do. 
1674.          9 :  12 :    0              do.  1705.          5 :    0 :    0              do. 
1677.           4 :    2 :    0              do.  1709.          8 ;  17 :    0              do. 

IN the year 1719, it was 5l. 17s. 4d. at which price it continued for several years.

    1656. This zeir the grave digger is to dig a meikle grave for fowre schilling, and a lytle ane for twa schilling Scotts.

    1660. Grass maill for a kow pastureing in the griene, thrie pund Scotts; by and attour nyne schilling for the heirds fieall.

     1655. Resolved upon, be the Provest, Baillies, and Counsall, that a Mortcloathe be bowght: and nominates and appoynts Thomas Wilkie, tailzeor, to goe eft to Edr. and bwy alss much of the best sorte of black velvett as will be a lardge Mortcloathe, with frinddges, and all other necessaries thereabout. And ordains Cloud Riddell, Thressaurer, to provyde moneyes for the said mortcloathe, against the said Thomas his returne, Conforme to his accompt;1 and to advance money to him for his charges. The pryce, for the use of the mortcloathe, is to be, for each inhabitant within the burgh, thrie shill. sterl. and for any other without the burgh, the pryce is remitted to the Magistrats, or any ane of them to considder thereof; and to give orders thereanent, as they shall thynke fitt. —– In the year 1689, the price was reduced to two shill. ster. In the year 1702, it was enacted, “That the pryce of the Mortcloath, for the inhabitants of the town, is to be thrietie shilling Scotts: and to any other ffyftie shilling.” The price, ann. 1716, was ordered by the Magistrates to be as follows. “For ye large on, halfe a croune: for ye midmost on, ffyftine shilling Scotts: and for ye littall on, eight shilling Scotts; in all tym comeing, and no more.”

    1673. “Contracted with David Spens, to furnish a sufficient Troope horse; and to provyde him with a rider, with sword, saddle, pistolls and all furniture requisite; for which he is to have fourscore punds money of Scotland.” Ann. 1683, “The sume of ffyftien pund Sterl: given to bwy a troope horse, for Lanark shire MIlitia; and to furnish sword, saddle, pistolls and all other necessarie furnitre.”

   1682. “A man and horse, for lieding sand for the calsway, 18 schilling Scotts, every day.”

   1713. “Anent the charges and expenss payed be John Witherspone to John Bowman Merchant in Glasgow, and vthers, for cloath, Lyneing, buttones, thried, silke, bucroom, binding, stenting and hair for the two Officers, thair Coattes; and to the tailzor for makeing of them. Extending in the haill to the sowme of ffowrtie ane pund ten shilling Scotts.”

   1710. “A new Drum for the use of the toun was made be Geo: Murdoch, in the Gorbals for 7 : 5 : 8 £ Scotts.”

THE Magistrates of Rutherglen not only regulated the prices of provision and labour, but they also enacted certain prohibitory laws, of which the following are examples.

   1660. “Every person within the burgh is forbid to bwy malt from any vther maltmen than the towns maltmen.”

   1677. “Ordered that nane of the inhabitants give or sell, to outtentouns, any Muckmiddins, or foulzie. The Council, 1703, “ratifies ane old act, ordering the inhabitants, that nane of them sell, on any pretence, Muckmiddins, or foulzie, to any persone, not a burgess or inhabitant of the touns territorie.”

Act of the Counsell obliging parents to put there children to schools.

Rutherglen, the first of March, 1675.

   “THE Provest, Baillies, and toun Counsell, now conveened; Considdering the great carelessnes and neglect of dewtye of diverss parents in this place, towards there Children, throw not keiping, and educating them at schooles, and learneing, qrby they might become more fitt and usefull instruments, bothe for kirk and kingdome. For remeid qrof Intymcomeing The saids Provest, Baillies, and toun Counsell Statutes, and Ordaines, all the inhabitants of this burgh, from this furth, to send all there children, betuixt sex and twelff zeirs of aige, to the comune schoole of this burgh, to be educat yrat. With this certificatione, that whaevir neglects there dewtye heirin, shall be compelled to pay the quarter waidges, used and accustomed to the schoolemaster, alsweill, and as if, there children were at the schoole. And these that sends there children to uther schooles, out of the toun (except to the Gramer schoole) shall pay dowble quarter waidges for them. And that, furth and from, the terme of Candlemes last bypast. And for that effect, Orders and authorizes the officers of this burgh, upon a list subscrybed and delyvered to them be the schoole Master, without any farder orders, to requyre and charge all such persones, as shall be gevin upe in list to them, as said is, To make payment to the schoolemaster of all bygane quarter waidges than dew, from Candlemes last, alsweill as if there children, had bein learneing at this schoole. ——— And incaice of there refusall to make present payment, Than Imediatlie to poynd, and distreinzie, the deficients reddiest goodes and geir, for the samyn. Or utherwayes (Incaice the officers can not gett goodes streinzieable) to apprehend the persones of the deficients and comitt them prisoners within the tolbooth of the said burgh, thairin to remayne ay and quhill payment be made. ——— And ordaines this order and act to stand in full force for the present schoolemaster, and all uthers succeiding him Intymcomeing. And orders Intimatione to be made heirof by towk of drum throw the toun. Accordinglie upon the seventein day of Marche, 1675 zeirs instant, Intimatione was made heirof.”

THE good effects of the above regulation were very discernible in Rutherglen and the neighbourhood. Children of every description were educated in reading; and many of them in writing and arithmetic. So much had the regular education of youth been attended to, that no small degree of infamy is fixed on the character of every person, come to age, who cannot read and write. Happy will it be for posterity, if, in the present advanced progress of manufactures in this country, children are not neglected in their education. If they are, the loss that will be sustained, not only by individuals, but by society at large, cannot be made up by any consideration whatever.

1  By the account it appears to have cost £ 260 : 18 : 10 Scots.

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