Of the Borough of Rutherglen, its Charters, Set, Antiquities, &c., Part VII. – pp.71-78.

BESIDES the education of youth, the morals of the people were strictly inspected by the Magistrates.

 

   1668. “The Provest, Baillies and Counsell, considdering the frequent drinking and drunkennes of J—— P——, Cowper; and the severall abuses committed be him frequentlie; and that no admonitione, nor punishment, can gett him restrained theirfra. Whairfor the saides Provest, Baillies and Counsell doe heirby Inhibit, and discharge, all the brewers and sellers of drinke within this burgh, That they, nor ane of them, presume to give or sell any drinke to the said J—— P——, except what they sell to his wyfe and bairnes, for the use of the howse and familie: Under the paine of ffyve punds money, toties quoties, as they contravene heirin. And ordaines intimatione to be made heirof be towke of drum.”

 

THESE prohibitions, and others that might be mentioned, will, perhaps, to some men appear to have been rather severe. But let us suspend our censure till we take a view of many statutes, at present, in force, though made on a larger scale, in almost all the nations of the world. The prohibitory laws concerning corn, spirits, salt, game, coal, &c. are equally absurd, if there is any absurdity in the case. 

OUR criticism on the conduct of royal boroughs will be greatly moderated, when we consider, that to them, we are much indebted for the privileges we at present enjoy. They were, at first, erected, by the wisest of our Monarchs, with a view to rescue mankind from under the oppressive power of the barons. For this purpose, certain portions of the King’s lands were bestowed upon them. These lands, being commonly adjoining to royal garrisons, is the reason why the greatest number of ancient boroughs are situated in the immediate neighbourhood of places of strength. They were put in possession of certain rights and privileges, the management of which was committed to the inhabitants. They are consequently to be viewed as so many free, and almost independent, communities, existing in the midst of oppression and slavery. Justice was to be found in their courts; the lives and properties of the inhabitants were secured from the rapacity of the haughty barons; arts, commerce, and industry, prospered within their territories; and from them, the cheering rays of liberty were widely diffused. It is a pity that any of these free societies, established for such noble purposes, should now, in the present enlightened period of the world, and in a land of freedom, give just reason to complain of oppression and tyranny. 

BUT in whatever point of light we are disposed to view the above mentioned arbitrary regulations; the following acts respecting the gleaning of fields, in time of harvest, will, it is hoped, meet with general approbation.

 

Rutherglen. the 18. June 1660.

   The Provest, Baillies and Counsell, Considering the pykries, and other abvses comitted be the gatherers of beir, peis, and other cornes in hervest; and be hirds and other persones who begs and seikes shaiffes of corne; and who, vnder cullor and pretext of gathering and seiking of cornes, they pyke, steill and rub the stowckes, to the great skaith of the maisters and owners of victwall. THairfor it is heirby ordered that no persone, nor persones, presume heirefter to gather: nor no Landlord, maister, or owner of victwall, suffer or permitt any to gather beir, peis, or other cornes in hervest tyme, upon there ground, or feild, quhill the corne and stowckes be removed; Under the paine of ffyve punds, toties quoties, as the premisses shall be contraveined, either be the mr. or owner of the cornes, or be the persone gatherer. ——— And that no Landlord, Mr. or owner of victwall presume heirefter to give any shaiffes of corne to hirds, or to any other persone, or persones qtsumevir; Under the said paine of ffyve punds money. And with this certificatione also, to the saids hirds, and seikers of shaiffes; That if they seike, and receive any shaiffes from any persone qtsumevir, the samyn shall be helden as stollin, and they condignlie punished yrfore, as accords.” 

   “Rutherglen, 12. Octor. 1674. It is Ordered, that nane of the inhabitants wtin this burgh, suffer or permitt any strangers to bring in wtin there howsss. or stables, any shaiffes of peis, or corne, for there horsss. the tyme of the faire. Under the paine of ten punds money, toties quoties.” 

Rutherglen, 10. Aug. 1675.

   The Provest, Baillies and toun Counsell, now conveened. Ratifies, and approves, all the former acts, statuts, and ordinances of this burgh, made anent the pulling upe, and destroying of peis, beines, and wther cornes; makeing of peis kills, burning of peis; against gatherers of beir, peis, and wther cornes; giveing of shaiffes to hirds. ——— And speciallie that act made thereanent upon the 18. June, 1660. ——— Attor, for the better suppressing of all pyckrie, and steiling, and destroying of peis and wther cornes, It is ordered be the Provest, Baillies and Counsell; That no maner of persone, or persones within this incorporatione, friedome and territorie thereof, presume to sheir, stowke, takaway, or leid cornes, aff the ground whair the samyn groweth, or byie furth workeing amongst the victwall late, or airlie, within the night, in any sorte, upon any pretext qtsumevir. Bot allanerlie betwixt ffyve in the morning, and eight at night; the bell is heirby appointed to be rung; and whaevir beis found out sheiring, leiding, or doeing any worke amongst the victwall, befor the bell ringing in the morneing, and efter the ringing thairof at night, Shall not onlie be lyable in the afoirsaid value of ten punds money, toties quoties, Bot also be repute and holden as a pycker, and one that wrongeth there neighbors.”

 

THE custom of gleaning the fields, during harvest, seems to have anciently prevailed in many nations of the world. However harmless and inoffensive, on certain occasions, such a practice may have been, it has generally been found to open, among the lower classes of mankind, a wide door for idleness, revenge, and injustice. Every attempt, therefore, to remove the cause of these evils, merits our approbation. Much praise is due to the community of Rutherglen, for what they have done in this respect. Their vigorous exertions procured, indeed, the loud imprecations of the idle and profligate, but at length met with desired success. The practice of gleaning, has, through the west of Scotland, been for a long time, discontinued, and, it is to be hoped, will never be permitted to revive. 

THERE is nothing on record, by which we can precisely ascertain, what was, anciently, the extent of Rutherglen; or the number of houses it contained. When digging, occasionally, at the east end of the town, the foundations of buildings are sometimes met with, in places which were never known, in the memory of any now living, to have been occupied by houses. One principal street, and a lane, called the Back-row, both lying parallel, in a direction nearly east and west, continue the greatest part of the town. The main street, which is very straight and well paved, is nearly half a mile in length; and is, in general, 112 feet broad. From both sides of it go off a few lanes, as, the Castle-wynd, School-wynd, &c. 

ABOUT 150 yards to the south of the main street, is a kind of lane, known by the name of Dins-dykes. A circumstance which befel the unfortunate Queen Mary, immediately after her forces were routed at the battle of Langside, has, ever since, continued to characterize this place, with an indelible mark of opprobrium. Her majesty, during the battle, stood on a rising ground about a mile from Rutherglen. She no sooner saw her army defeated than she took her precipitate flight to the south. Dins-dykes unfortunately lay in her way. Two rustics, who were, at that instant, cutting grass hard by, seeing her majesty fleeing in haste, rudely attempted to intercept her; and threatened to cut her in pieces with their scythes is she presumed to proceed a step further. Neither beauty, nor even royalty itself, can, at all times, secure the unfortunate, when they have to do with the unfeeling, or the revengeful. Relief, however, was at hand; and her majesty proceeded in her flight. 

THE town of Rutherglen consists, at present, of 255 dwelling-houses, which are inhabited by 400 families, containing 1631 persons; of whom 270 are children under six years of age: males, 801; females, 830. The population, owing to the progress of manufactures, is on the increase. 

THERE are four incorporated trades in the borough, viz. Hammermen, Weavers, Masons and Wrights, and Tailors. 

THE corporation of Hammermen is governed by a deacon, a collector, and four masters.

l.    s.    d.

Freedom-fine for a stranger is 

1     0     0

Upon serving an apprenticeship 

0   13     4

A Burgess’ son, serving an apprenticeship

0   10     6

If he is a freeman’s son, or son-in-law 

0     3     4

Booking an apprentice 

0     3     4

Each journeyman pays to the corporation

0     3     4

Each freeman pays per annum 

0     1     0

THE corporation of Weavers is governed by a deacon, collector, four masters and five directors, of whom the collector makes one.

l.    s.    d.

Freedom-fine for a stranger 

0   16     4

Upon serving an apprenticeship 

0   10     0

Burgess’ son, serving an apprenticeship 

0     5     0

Freeman’s son and son-in-law 

0     3     4

Booking an apprentice if a burgess’ son 

0     2     6

————————— if not a burgess’ son 

0     3     4

Each journeyman pays at entry 

0     1     0

Each freeman pays per quarter 

0     0     8

THE Corporation of Masons and Wrights is governed by a deacon, four masters, and a collector.

l.    s.    d.

Freedom-fine for a stranger 

1   13     4

Upon serving an apprenticeship 

0   13     4

Burgess’ son serving an apprenticeship, in the burgh 

0     6     8

————————— if out of the burgh 

0   13     4

Booking an apprentice, if a burgess’ son 

0     5     0

————————— if not a burgess’ son 

0   10     0

THE Corporation of Tailors is governed by a deacon, two masters, a collector, and an affray-master.

l.    s.    d.

Freedom-fine for a stranger 

1     5     0

Entering an apprentice 

0     5     6¾

Entering a journeyman 

0     8   10¾

A freeman’s son entering an apprentice 

0     2     6

————————— a journeyman 

0     1     8

Burgess’ son entering an apprentice 

0     5     0

Each journeyman not entering pays quarterly 

0     5     0

Each freeman pays yearly 

0     1     0

BESIDES the incorporated trades, there are a few societies: as, two Mason Lodges; namely, the Operatives, and Rutherglen Royal Arch: Lanark-shire Friendly Society: Coalminers; and Invalids. Their funds are not great; but, under proper management, are sufficient for supplying the wants of any of their members, who may be occasionally in need.

One thought on “Of the Borough of Rutherglen, its Charters, Set, Antiquities, &c., Part VII. – pp.71-78.

  1. No respect towards Majesty in Rutherglen – threatening a Queen with scythes! How would their royal highnesses fair today?

    Like

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