The ‘Royal and ancient game of Goff’ is peculiarly a product of the Scottish soil, and as implied in the designation it is of remote origin. As also implied in the term ‘Royal,’ it was a pastime of monarchs, and still continues to be a recreation of the wealthy and well-to-do classes. That the game was eagerly prosecuted so early as the middle of the fifteenth century we have the most ample evidence, for in the year 1457, the Scottish Parliament decreted and ordained ‘that the futeball and golf be utterly cryit doun and nocht usit and that the bowe-merkis be maid at ilk paroche kirk a pair of buttis and schuttin be usit ilk Sunday.’ Such legislation, having for its object the encouragement of the arts of war, was subsequently renewed from time to time in the Statute Book, the last Act in 1491, in which ‘futeball and golf’ are forbidden, being not yet repealed. In that Act the prohibition runs thus:- ‘Item: it is statut and ordainit that in na place of the realme there be usit futeball, golf, or other sic improfitable sportis, but for the common guid of the realme and defence thereof that bowis and shuttin be hanted,’ etc. The monarch himself, James IV., who made these laws, showed an example to other law-breakers as an eager and enthusiastic golfer. James V. also showed his subjects an example as a law-breaking golfer, and even Queen Mary, it is said, was seen playing golf and pall-mall in the field beside Seton, a few days after Darnley’s murder. The game was also patronised by James VI. and his sons Harry and Charles. The latter, when Charles I., was playing over Leith Links in 1642 when the news of the Irish rebellion of that year reached him. It is on record that James [VII.], while Duke of York, played on Leith Links with Johne Patersone, shoemaker, against two English nobles, and that the large stakes won by the King and cobbler were given to the latter, who with them built the tenement known as Golfer’s Land, 77 Canongate, Edinburgh. Statutory prohibition appears to have had little effect in discouraging golfers in Scotland, for in 1592 the Edinburgh Town Council made proclamation that ‘seeing the Sabboth day being the Lordis Day, it becomis every Christiane to dedicat himself to the service of God, therefor, commanding in our soverane lord’s name, and in name of the provoste and baillies, that na inhabitants of the samyn be seen at ony pastymes within or without the town upon the Sabboth day, sic as Golf,’ etc. Nor does the sanctity of the sanctuary itself appear to have been proof against the allurements of golf, for on 16th October 1589 the kirk-session of Glasgow resolved that there be no playing in future of ‘golf, carri, or shinny in the Hie Kirk or kirk-yeard or Black-frier kirk-yeard either Sunday or work-day.’
COLLECTION OF BALLS. – (1) A feather-ball (burst); (2) a feather-ball made by Tom Morris; (3) a ball showing the outside leather of feather-ball; (4) The first gutta-percha ball: (5) a stuffing iron for making feather-balls.
(975) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
The old form of feather-ball universally used till the introduction of gutta-percha was an expensive article, difficult to make, soon burst, and the occupation of ball-making was unhealthy. The ball-makers of St. Andrews of former times carried on a large and lucrative trade in supplying the clubs not only of Scotland, but wherever the game was prosecuted. In 1848 Mr. Campbell of Saddell brought gutta-percha balls from London, and, notwithstanding the strong prejudice against the daring innovation, the merits of gutta-percha balls quickly asserted themselves, and the re-doubtable Allan Robertson was forced to give up his feather-ball trade, and take to making gutta-percha balls in 1850.
FIRST SILVER CLUB, with Seventy-five Silver Balls attached, of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
(976) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews carries its history back to the year 1754, in May of which year the Silver Club was played for. The Honourable the Edinburgh Company of Golfers, then known as the ‘Gentlemen Golfers’ of Leith, joined in that competition. In 1834, King William [III.] became patron of the St. Andrews Golf Club, and approved of its assuming its present title. In 1838, Queen Adelaide, Duchess of St. Andrews, became patroness, and bestowed on the Club the Royal Adelaide Gold Medal.
LONG SPOON GOLF CLUB, made by Simon Corser in 1764. It belonged to Sir Ralph Anstruther, Bart. (See Fig. 256.)
(970) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
A VERY OLD IRON GOLF CLUB, supposed to have belonged to the Earl of Kellie. It was afterwards in the possession of Allan Robertson.
(971) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
Allan Robertson of St. Andrews was the greatest golf-player who ever handled a club. He may truly be said to have cut his teeth on a club handle, for his father and grandfather were before him makers of balls, and professional players. Allan continued the hereditary trade of feather-ball-making as long as a ball of that description could be disposed of. (See page 325.) His steadiness and brilliance of play has never been equalled on any green. He was born in 1815, and died in his prime in 1859.
AN IRON GOLFING PUTTER, made about 1852, by William Hamilton, Cairn Hill, Ayrshire.
(972) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
A GOLFING TRACK CHEQUE (CLEEK), made about 1760, which belonged to Sir Ralph Anstruther, Bart.
(973) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
AN OLD IRON GOLF CLUB.
(974) Lent by the ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS.
THREE SILVER GOLF CLUBS, presented by the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the City of Edinburgh to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in 1744, 1811, and 1879 respectively, with 94 Silver Golf Balls attached by the successive Captains of the Company during the period covered by those dates, the balls being exact models of those in use from time to time. When the Honourable Company was first instituted is not known. Till the beginning of this century it was called the Company of Gentlemen Golfers of Leith; and it was only in 1800 that by a Charter from the Magistrates of Edinburgh it was incorporated as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. In 1744, the minutes of the body were signed by Lord President Forbes of Culloden, and in that year the Magistrates of Edinburgh gave £15 for a Silver Club to be competed for yearly by the Gentlemen Golfers. That Club, being ten years older than the St. Andrews Club, is therefore the oldest Silver Club in existence.
(976A) Lent by the HONOURABLE COMPANY OF EDINBURGH GOLFERS.
See also page 231.
Perhaps the earliest mention in literature of the national game of Curling is to be found in Henry Adamson’s The Muses Threnodie (4to, Edinburgh, 1638). It is often named by the later writers of the seventeenth century. There is no authority for the frequent assertion that Curling is mentioned by Camden in his Britannia. (See the Rev. Dr. James Taylor’s Curling, the Ancient Scottish Game, Edinburgh, 1884, pp. 13, 14.)
ANCIENT CHANNEL OR CURLING STONES. These are, as far as is known, the oldest Curling Stones in Scotland. One of them was found in Milton Bog, near Stirling, in 1840, the other is marked ‘St. Js. B. Stirling,’ and dated 1511. For description see The Channel Stane (1884), fourth series, p. 66.
(1049) Lent by the TRUSTEES OF THE SMITH INSTITUTE, STIRLING.
THE FIRST BICYCLE. Invented by Mr. Gavin Dalzell, Merchant, Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (born 1811, died 1863). Constructed prior to 1846. In addition to MS. papers about that date, some printed references are in Hamilton Advertiser of July 10, 1869; Bicycling News, 1881; Spencer’s Bicycles and Tricycles Past and Present, for which it was photographed in 1882; the Cycling volume (1887) of the Badminton Library, edited by the Duke of Beaufort; and in other publications. (See Fig. 257.)
(1311) Lent by J. B. DALZELL.
NEIL GOW’S FIDDLE AND WALKING-STICK. Neil Gow was at once the most famous self-instructed exponent of Scottish National music, and one of the most distinguished contributors to the store of melodies and dance tunes which form the principal element in the untutored music of the country. He was born at Inver, near Dunkeld, in 1727, and there he died in 1807. His portrait was painted by Sir Henry Raeburn.
(1312, 1313) Lent by W. MURRAY THREIPLAND.
HIGHLAND BAGPIPE, with Celtic ornamentation. The stock into which the two drones are inserted is apparently formed from a forked branch, the fork giving the drones the proper spread for the shoulder. In the centre of the stock are the letters ‘R. McD.,’ and below these letters there is a galley, beneath which is written in Roman numerals the date M : CCCC : IX. The letters above the galley, and those in the date, are of the Gothic type commonly used in the fifteenth century. On the reverse of the stock is a triplet of foliaceous scroll-work. The lower joint of one of the drones is not original, and is of modern construction. The upper joints of the drones terminate in cup-shaped heads, ornamented with a band of interlaced work. The chanter is similarly ornamented, and has engraved nails round its bell. The bag and blow-pipe are modern. This unique instrument is fully described in the Proc. Soc. of Ant. Scot., vol. xiv., p. 121, and it is also figured in Drummond’s Ancient Scottish Weapons, Plate xlvii.
(1240) Lent by ROBERT GLEN.