Stirling, pp.248-250.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   THE STIRLING ‘JUG,’ ‘PINT,’ OR ‘STORE’ deposited in Stirling in accordance with an Act of the Scottish Parliament, passed in 1457. This, the most ancient standard measure in Scotland, was the foundation of all Scottish measures of capacity. Its capacity was stated to be ‘three pundis and seven unces of French Troyes wecht of cleir running water of the Water of Leith.’ The Tug or ‘Pvnt’ had been deposited in Stirling early in the century by Sir John Forrester, Chamberlain of the kingdom, an office he held prior to 1421, and the Act of 1457 ordained three duplicates to be made for preservation, respectively in Aberdeen, Perth, and Edinburgh. Copies for other towns were made at later periods, that now in St. Andrews (shown in this collection) being inscribed 1574. In 1622 the Town Council supplied no fewer than thirty-four duplicates to the various burghs of the kingdom. The Stirling pint is a rudely cast handled vessel of mixed metal, with a depth of 6 inches and an internal diameter at the mouth of 4.17 inches. On the front is a rude shield with the Scottish Lion, and below another shield with a leopard-like figure, and the letter S. After 1622 the jug was lost sight of, and in 1750, the Rev. Alexander Bryce of Kirknewton, in visiting Stirling, was shown a pewter measure in the hands of the town authorities as the Stirling jug. This he knew was not the original vessel, and in 1752 by rare good fortune, the rev. gentleman discovered it in the abandoned garret of a local tinsmith who was out in the ‘45, and did not return. The statute which established the Stirling Jug as a universal standard of measure in Scotland runs thus:- ‘Anent mettes and measoures, it is seene speidful, that sene we have bot a King and a Law universal throw-out the Realme, we suld have bot a mette and measour general to serve all the Realme, that is to say, ane pynt, a quart; quhilk was given be the ordinance of the three Estaites, Schir John Forester that time beand Chalmerlane into the Burgh of Striviling: as for the standart, they to remaine universallie throw-out the Realme. And the firlot sall be maid thereafter, that is to say, ilk firlot sall conteine eightteene pyntes of the samin measour round and in like wyde under and abone, the twa buirdes conteinand even over in thicknes ane inch and a halfe, and the breadth over within the buirds sextene inche and a halfe: And the halfe firlot and peck to follow in the samin kinde. And of thir said measures, that is to say, pynt, quart, and firlot, sal be maid new three standerts: Ane to send till Aberdeene, ane uther to Perth, and the thrid till Edinburgh, to remaine, and now to be proclaymed there fra the feast of Saint Michael nixt-to-cum. That thay measures, pynt, quart, and firlot have course, and nane uthers.’ – James II. xiv. Parliament, c. 74, 6th March 1457. 

(1040) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF STIRLING. 

   STANDARD FIRLOT, 1754. The Scottish Parliament appointed various burghs to keep the standard measures for liquid and dry goods, the firlot – the official measure for grain and meal – being given into the charge of the authorities of Linlithgow. This, the Stirling duplicate of the Linlithgow firlot, is a carefully finished vessel of mahogany, with a cross bar over the mouth, and a roller for the ‘straik.’ This standard was ordained to contain ‘twentie-ane pinctis and ane mutchkin of just Stirling jug and measoure.’ Inscribed on the cross-bar of the firlot is the following:- ‘This firlot wheat measure is a cylinder, whose diameter is 19 inches: its depth 7 and 78⁄100 inches: contains of cubic inches 2206.18. Deduct the content of the cross-bar and its supporter, the sides of the one and the circumference of the other being one inch of do. inches 8.84. Remain the content of the wheat firlot in cubical inches 2197 54⁄100.’ The above is inscribed to the left of the central supporter of the cross-bar. To the right there is:- ‘This firlot contains exactly 21 and ¼ of the Stirling jug, or of clear fountain water of Edinburgh 73 pounds and ⅓ of an ounce French Troy weight, ordained to be the weight of Scotland by Act of Parliament, James VI., 19th February 1618, or 79 pounds and 7 and 6⁄10 ounces avoirdupois or 1159 ounces English Troy.’ 

(1042) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF STIRLING. 

   SET OF STANDARD MEASURES OF CAPACITY, seven in number, of Queen Anne’s period. These were supplied to the various Scottish burghs after the Act of Union. The vessels are of bronze, having on them in raised letters the measure they represent, with date 1707, A.R. under a crown, and ANNO REGNI VI. 

(1043) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF STIRLING. 

   ELL STANDARD. The Stirling duplicate of the standard Scots ell measure, which by Act of the Scottish Parliament, was deposited in the city of Edinburgh. In the ‘assise of weichtes and measures halden at Perth in 1426,’ it was ‘ordeined and delivered that the Elne sail conteine thrittie-seven inche, as is conteined in the Statute of King David the First made thereupon.’ 

(1045) Lent by the GUILDRY OF STIRLING. 

   COWANE’S CHEST. A carved oaken coffer, 4 feet 7 ½ inches long, 21 ½ inches across the top of the lid, 18 inches deep, and 2½ feet high, preserved in the Cowane’s Hospital or Guild Hall, Stirling. 

   The following inscriptions, with the date 1636, are carved in low relief:- 

   On the front- 

JOHN COWANE’S GVIFTE TO YE CITTIE OF STERLING 

NO BETTER THOVGHT THEN THINCKE ON GOD AND DAILY • HIM TO SERVE 

NO BETTER GVIFT THEN TO YE POORE • WHYCHE READIE ARE TO STERVE. 

16 – IT IS MORE BLESSYED TO GIVE THEN TO RECEIVE – 36. 

   On the top- 

MAN SHALL NOT • LIVE BY BREAD ALONE • BUT BY EYERIE WORD 

THAT PROCEDETH OVT OF • THE MOVTH OF YE LORD. 

I WAS • HUNGRIE AND YE GAVE ME MEAT 

I WAS THIRSTIE AND YE GAVE ME DRINK 

I WAS • A STRANGER AND YE TOOK ME IN 

NAKED • AND YE CLOTHED • ME 

I WAS SICK AND YE VISITED ME. 

   John Cowane, Dean of Guild of Stirling from 1624 to 1629, bequeathed a sum of money to found a Hospital for the maintenance of decayed members of the Guildry. A Hospital was built, which is now used as the Guild Hall, and the income from the foundation, amounting to about £4200 a year, is distributed in weekly allowances to members of the Guildry. 

   The chest was found in a stable in Doune about ninety years ago by an English tourist, and taken by him to Yorkshire. In 1882 it found its way to an auction room in Glasgow, when it was purchased by Dean of Guild Shearer, and from him acquired by the Guildry for Cowane’s Hospital. It has been described and figured by Mr. John W. Small, F.S.A. Scot., in his Ancient and Modern Furniture, from which this illustration is taken. (See Fig. 174.) 

(1046) Lent by the GUILDRY OF STIRLING. 

   TWO CHAIRS from Stirling Castle. These belong to about the middle of the seventeenth century. The backs exhibit the usual carved top rail and uprights with spiral legs, the centre part of back being filled in with cane work. 

(1047) Lent by the TRUSTEES OF THE SMITH INSTITUTE, STIRLING. 

   TWELVE OF THE STIRLING HEADS. These were originally part of the roof of the Parliament House in Stirling Castle, which was erected by James III. about the middle of the fifteenth century. These boldly carved medallions of oak are supposed to be portraits, and efforts have been made to identify them with royal and historical personages; but although the heads show strong individuality of character, the guesses hazarded have not commanded general assent. The medallions, which average 30 inches in diameter, were ejected from Stirling Castle in 1777 in connection with certain alterations then in progress, and fortunately a large proportion of the original number were secured from destruction by Ebenezer Brown, keeper of the Stirling Jail, who stored them in the premises under his charge. In 1817, under the title of Lacunar Strevelinense, a series of thirty-eight spirited etchings of the medallions from drawings by the wife of General Graham, Deputy-Governor of the Castle, and Mr. Blore, was published by Blackwood. The twelve which yet remain in Stirling are Nos. 3, 6, 9, 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26, 27, and 32 of the Lacunar. The carvings are supposed to be the work of French or Italian artists who were brought to Scotland by James III. (See Fig. 175.) 

(1041) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF STIRLING. 

   PORTRAIT, which was, till comparatively recent times, in Stirling Castle; a male figure, half-length; costume, curious and interesting; of the school of Clouet (Janet), about 1550. This portrait was expelled from Stirling Castle along with some old woodwork when repairs were going on, and was rescued by a local resident, and given to an antiquarian. It has been badly restored, but it is probably the only portrait in existence known to have been in one of the Scottish residences of the later Stuart Sovereigns. 

(144) Lent by C. C. DALRYMPLE. 

   IMPRESSIONS OF OLD COMMON SEAL OF STIRLING, ante thirteenth century. This curious and interesting seal has for its principal feature a bridge of seven Gothic arches, with the cross rising from its centre, three arches standing on the dexter side are balanced by three spearmen on the sinister side of the cross. Motto – Hic armis bruti Scoti stant hic cruce tuti. The counterseal has the front of a castle with sprays of foliage at the sides, and five stars and two roses. Legend – Continet hoc in se nemus et Castrum Strivelinse. The matrix is still in existence. 

(1038) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF STIRLING. 

   LETTER, from Prince Charles as Regent, dated 6th Jan. 1746. This letter demands peaceable entry for the Highlanders into the burgh of Stirling, and the delivery of arms and cannon. Two days afterwards, the Pretender’s army entered Stirling, the inhabitants opening the gates as the town was not defensible. The militia made their escape, and their officers, with all the arms, went into the castle. 

(1039) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF STIRLING. 

   OLD WOODEN FISHING-REEL. A good example of Scotch fishing-reels in common use half a century ago. 

(1048) Lent by the TRUSTEES OF THE SMITH INSTITUTE, STIRLING. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s