Irvine, p.240.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   HALBERT. One of set still in use by Irvine Officers, present at executions of witches and Covenanters in seventeenth century. This is the weapon used by John Reid, Burgh Officer, in the slaughter of Alexander Kennedy, one of Cunningham, Laird of Robertland’s party, when they insulted Provost Cunninghame, whilst endeavouring to quell a riot at the Cross of Irvine, 5th September 1670. John Reid clove Kennedy’s skull with this halbert, and was committed to the Tolbooth at the time, but liberated by order of the Lord Advocate, and exonerated from all blame. (See Fig. 170.) 

(1052) Lent by TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE, 

per JAMES DICKIE. 

   KEY OF THE BLACK HOLE IN THE TOLBOOTH OF IRVINE, originally built 1386. Many witches, warlocks, and Covenanters were confined there. In 1618 four witches were executed in one day. In March 1640 twelve women, and in 1650 four women, were executed for witchcraft at Irvine; and on 31st December 1666, Blackwood and McCoul were hanged for being at Pentland. William Sutherland, the hangman of Irvine, refused to execute these men, for which he suffered much. 

(1053) Lent by TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE, 

per JAMES DICKIE. 

   SWORD, AND PART OF BLADE OF ANOTHER, found in Bruce’s Cave at Cove, Arran, end of last century. 

(1056A) Lent by TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE, 

per JAMES DICKIE. 

   ANCIENT SEAL OF THE BURGH OF IRVINE. Silver-mounted on handle. Procured early in the seventeenth century. It has the Virgin seated on a chair with the infant Jesus in her arms, within a Gothic niche. Legend – S. COMUNE BURGI DE IRVINE. 

(1056) Lent by TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE, 

per JAMES DICKIE. 

   TILTING SPEARS, used at Eglinton Tournament, 28th August 1839 – 3 in number. The shortest of these was broken in the Tourney by Sir Charles Lamb, Bart., Knight Marshall of the Lists. 

(1055) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE, 

per JAMES DICKIE. 

   The Eglinton Tournament was an attempt, on a magnificent scale, to reproduce in the nineteenth century the features of one of the great pageants of mediæval times. The undertaking was the conception of Archibald, Earl of Eglinton, who devoted a vast amount of money for the production of the show on a scale of great splendour, and for the entertainment of his many guests at Eglinton Castle. In addition to knights with their esquires there were men-at-arms, heralds, marshals, banner-bearers, trumpeters, musicians, halberdiers, pursuivants, archers, servitors, a jester, etc., and among the lady spectators a queen of beauty, all appropriately dressed in the most gorgeous mediæval costumes. Among those who took part in the jousts was Prince Louis Napoleon. who afterwards became French Emperor. The tilting spears employed were of wood, and other precautions were taken to render the combat as harmless as stage battles. One accessory, the umbrella – not mediæval, was seen on the field and largely used. Incessant rain marred the entire pageant; on the 28th and 29th of August the rain scarcely ceased; on the 30th the skies were more favourable; but again on the 31st the storm broke forth afresh and the Tournament was abandoned. Notwithstanding the exceedingly unfavourable weather about 200,000 persons are believed to have been present on one or other of the four days over which the spectacle lasted. 

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