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‘History of Glasgow’ (1830)

So this came through my door in October of 2018, see the Updates, with no note attached or return address. No-one ever claimed responsibility for having sent it and therefore I didn’t really feel I could claim ownership. It’s been a wee while now though and so I thought I’d finally scan in some of it’s contents.

Later historians would sometimes correct parts of his work, as is common in academia, and I’ve come across a few such examples in my historical journey with Random Scottish History, e.g., J. Bain’s article, ‘TRUE ACCOUNT OF JAMES BELL,’ for ‘Scots Lore‘ (1895), which begins;

   “THE connexions and descendants of this provost have been misrepresented by John McUre, the city historian, and also by the anonymous writer of a series of papers in the Glasgow Herald of June-July, 1864,* who apparently had access to the old provost’s “Coumpt Book,” and not only preserved all McUre’s errors intact, but added a few of his own. There were various families of the surname of Bell in Glasgow in the 17th century, and one was then prominent in the city, but what relationship (if any) they bore to each other is now not easily traced. Being interested in one of them, I have at times made some researches, in the course of which it is evident that McUre’s account of Provost James Bell’s children is very incorrect…”

His work is mainly just cited as a reference, however, such as J. D. Marwick in his article, ‘GLASGOW BRIDGE,’ for the same ‘Scots Lore‘;

   “M’Ure in his View of the City states that the bridge remained entire till 7th July, 1671 – the day on which Glasgow fair was held – when, about twelve o’clock, the southermost arch fell…”23

In Gallery No. 1 of the ‘Memorial Catalogue of the Old Glasgow Exhibition 1894‘ (1896) M’Ure’s name crops up a few times including along with a picture of his book, of which a reproduction is included in the publication scans below;

Born, 1671; died, 1732.
West India proprietor and merchant. Dean of Guild, 1694, and Bailie, 1692 and 1695. Father of Sheriff Cross (No. 66). M’Ure, in his “History of Glasgow,” says that “in 1669 there were five merchants concern’d in the Easter Sugar-house, viz., John Cross, James Peadie, John Luke, George Bogle, and Robert Cross, who put in a joynt stock for carrying on another sugar-work, and built large buildings… and employed a German to be master-boiler. This project likewise proved effectual, so that their stock wonderfully increased; the representers of four of those partners does now enjoy the same, viz., John Graham of Dougalston, the heirs of Provost Peadie, Robert Bogle, and Robert Cross.” And in the 1830 edition of the same work, the following extracts are given from the family Bible of Robert Cross (No. 69), father of our subject, and Dean of Guild and Bailie of Glasgow, 1684, 1685:- “October 23, 1663. – – I was maried in the Laighe Churtch, at on a cloke in the afternoon, by Maister Edwart Wright, then Principall of the Coledg of Glasgow, upon Joanet Peadie, secound dochter to Thomas Peadie, merchant in Glasgow: shoo was baptized the 22 day of September, 1643. Godfathers James Peadie & Thomas Findlay. Shoo departit this lyfe, Saterday, the 28 day of May, 1687. Ane dochter, born Martch 3, 1670, calit Issobel. Martch 21, 1695. – Shoo was married to James Lowk, goldsmith, son to John Lowk, merchant in Glasgow, in my own hous, by Maister James Widrow, Professor of Divinity in the Colledge of Glasgow. December 8, 1695. – My son John was married to Joan Walkinshaw, eldest dochter to William Walkinshaw of Scotstowne, in his own hows, by Maister Neill Gillis, on of the towne ministers. Scotstowne said shoo was 17 yeirs of age. My son was borne Aug. 26, 1671.”
Born, 1677; died, 1736.
Bailie, 1716, 1724, and Provost of Glasgow in 1728, 1729. The name of “John Stirling, late Provost,” appears in M’Ure’s list of merchants “trading to Virginia, Carribey Islands, &c.”
Born about 1700; died, 1752.
Goldsmith. Treasurer of the City in 1730. M’Ure, writing in 1736, says, in his account of “public works” within the city, “There is a stately Brewarie belonging to Robert Luke, Goldsmith, consisting of a large Killn, Lofts, Cellars, and other Store-houses, with all Easements and other Pertinents thereto belonging.” This “brewarie” stood in the Gallowgate, on the “Brook or Rivolet Molendinar.” He is also mentioned by M’Ure as one of the proprietors of an “iron manufactory,” situated near the “great Key or Harbour at the Breamie-law,” for manufacturing “all Sorts of Ironwork, from a Lock and Key to an Anchor of the greatest size.”
105. JOHN ANDERSON, Elder of Dowhill.
Born, 16—; died, October, 1684.
Merchant. Provost of Glasgow in 1658 amd 1667. Son of Ninian Anderson, Deacon of the Cordiners, 1604, afterwards Deacon-Convener. He married, first, 7th January, 1634, Barbara Gilhagie (probably daughter of Ninian Gilhagie, the Elder, merchant-burgess of Glasgow), by whom he had, with other issue, Janet (born, 1635, died, 1711), wife of John Luke, Elder of Claythorn (No. 102); John (born, 1636, died, 1710) of Dowhill, Provost of Glasgow, 1689, 1690, 1695, 1696, 1699, 1700, 1703, 1704; and Ninian (born, 1639, died, 1680), Bailie, 1669, 1675, 1678, Dean of Guild, 1676, 1677. The subject of this notice married, second, 21st March, 1667, Rebecca Hamilton, who died, 1699. M’Ure mentions him as one of the earlier “sea adventurers,” and as a partner in the soap-work established in 1667.

A bit of an insult is thrown at M’Ure later in the next couple of articles from the same Gallery;

2445. Broadside. Melpomene Glascuensis, or the Unfeigned Tears of the Town of Glasgow upon the Death of Mary, Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland. 1694.
This is a funeral elegy on the death of Queen Mary, written by John M’Ure, the Keeper of the Register of Sasines, and Historian of Glasgow. He reprints it in his “View of the City of Glasgow,” and gives this account of it:- “A few years after was removed by death our royal Queen Mary, whose death was much lamented by the city, in so much that they importuned the author to compose an elegy which is here subjoined.” Poetic talent must have been at a low ebb in Glasgow if M’Ure was the city laureate. In his 74th year he composed a doggerel inscription for his tombstone. He died in May, 1747, aged 96.

Lent by Anthony Dixon Brogan, 71 Cambridge Drive, Kelvinside.
2448. M’Ure (John). A View of the City of Glasgow, or an Account of its Origin, Rise, and Progress. By John M’Ure alias Campbel. 1736.
Printed by James Duncan. This is the first-known History of the City; it has several folding views and a portrait of the author. “M’Ure’s book, though the oldest, is yet the best which we have on the subject. It is, at the same time, only too obvious that, even if he could have had access to the Records from which the Annals of the City must be written, he was without the knowledge necessary either to read or to understand them. His mistakes, gross as they are, have been, for the most part, implicitly copied by his successors, a few of whom were more competent than himself, and some, indeed, even still more illiterate.” So Says Joseph Robertson, editor of The Glasgow Constitutional, writing in 1846. And yet with all this are we not thankful to have M’Ure such as he is!
Lent by Alexander Macdonald, 9 Montgomerie Drive, Kelvinside.
2449. M’Ure (John. A View of the City of Glasgow. 1736.
This copy, a duplicate of No. 2448, has the following inscription:- “This book was given to me when I was at Glasgow in Aug., 1740, by Mr. Robert Foulis, Printer and Bookseller in that City. Wm. Cole, Cantabr. A.M.” The writer, Rev. William Cole, has added a number of MS. notes to the volume.

Then we have mention of the publication I’ve scanned in below;

2450. M’Ure (John). The History of Glasgow. A New Edition. 1830.
Printed by Hutchison & Brookman. This, the first and only reprint of the original edition (Nos. 2448, 2449), was edited by the publisher, Duncan Macvean.

We also have a note and representation of the author’s cousin, Peter Murdoch, in Gallery No. 3.

Lent by J. Barclay Murdoch of Capelrig.
Born at Glasgow, 1670; died at Glasgow, 1761.
Merchant and sugar refiner. Provost of Glasgow in 1730, 1731. Peter Murdoch, with his son, John Murdoch (No. 50), Provost in 1746, 1747, 1750, 1751, 1758, 1759; his son-in-law, Andrew Cochrane (No. 455), Provost 1744, 1745, 1748, 1749; his cousin, John M’Ure, Town-clerk (historian of the City), and others of his family, managed the affairs of the City for many years. He married, first, 1696, Mary, daughter of John Luke of Claythorn (No. 102); second, 1712, Ann, daughter of John Alexander, merchant in Glasgow, by both of whom he had issue (see Nos. 64, 2636.)

So, for all its highlighted faults, I’m looking forward to getting into this one. Especially for the descriptions of Glasgow Streets. Thank you to my anonymous donor!


J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Front Cover.

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Spine.

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Publisher’s Page.

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Plate 1, Frontispiece to the 2nd Edition;
“Head of the Author to front the second title.”

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Publisher’s Page to the Original Edition (1736).

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Plate 2, p.52a;
“Glasgow from St Ninian’s Croft.”

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Woodcuts 1 & 2, p.70;
“George Hutcheson” and “Thomas Hutcheson.”

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Woodcut 3, p.118;
“The Glasgow Arms.”

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Plate 3, p.172a;
“Glasgow from the Craig’s Park.”

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Plate 4, p.230a;
“Glasgow from the wind mill Croft.”

J. M’Ure (1830), ‘History of Glasgow,’ Glasgow: Hutchison & Brookman, Woodcut 4, p.355;
“Zachary Boyd.”


*  Article from the Glasgow Herald, dated July 30th, 1864.
23  View of the City of Glasgow, p.15.
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