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the Trinity Friars on the ground that it was "the maist meit and convenient place for bigging of the said bark," as it was "filthilie abusit be middingis." "Whairanent," we further read, "the provost, baillies and counsall advysing, they fund the desire thairof verie reasonable, and grantit and gave license to the said Alex Davidson to big his schip in the pairt forsaid," and to give effect to the licence they ordered all such as had middens in the prospective ship-yard to have them removed within the space of eight days. 33


The parish church was not only the centre of the religious life of the town: it was in a considerable degree the centre of its social, civic and political life as well. In its steeple (occasionally adorned with a dovecot), the most precious possessions of the community might be stored, and from its commanding elevation watch was nightly kept for the frequent fires that were the terror of the Since the middle of the fifteenth century it was likewise adorned with the town "horologe" or clock, for by that period clocks had found their way into Scotland, though it was at a much later date that native skill was equal to manufacturing or even repairing them. In 1535 the Tolbooth clock of Aberdeen was sent to Flanders to be put in order -the instructions being that if it were beyond mending, another should be made at the expense of the town.34 At a later date (1595) in the same town we find a gunmaker employed in regulating

the two public clocks-on the Tolbooth and the parish church,3 and still later (1599) it is recorded that a plumber had actually constructed an "orloge" for the common clerk's chamber.36

In the Middle Ages, as is well known, the parish church was the common meeting-place for the transaction of business, public and private. There the Corporation met to discuss the affairs of the town, and merchants and traders to arrange and conclude their bargains. In Scotland, however, by the reign of Mary, a Tolbooth, or town-hall, had been erected in most of the more important burghs, and such desecration was no longer necessary." Yet it was long before the custom of the Middle Ages, which had sanctioned the secular use of sacred places, fell into desuetude either in England or Scotland. In England it was Archbishop Laud who first succeeded in preserving the churches from miscellaneous uses. In Scotland, though the churches ceased to be the town-halls, the intrusion of secular business in connection with divine service long persisted in spite of the better sense of the nation. To take but one example: it long continued the custom for public messengers and other officials to announce their commissions at the church doors on Sundays when service was proceeding. The result, as may be imagined, was somewhat discomposing both to the preacher and his congregation. When the officials appeared, every worshipper supposed that he might have a special


interest in the intimation about to be made, and rushed out to hear it. In 1631 the Privy Council awoke to a sense that the custom was reprehensible, and declared that it was "to the great offence of God, scandal of the Kirk, and contempt of all good order." In spite of this pious denunciation, however, the ordinance issued for the suppression of the bad custom left a fairly wide entrance for the civil magistrate. By the ordinance it was forbidden "to execute civil letters or precepts of whatsomever nature or qualitie upon ane Sabbath day except only warnings for removing and redemption of landlords, inhibition of teinds, warnings to compeir before the Commissioners for the surrenders and teinds and charges of horning which by the warrant thereof are ordained to be executed at the parish kirk."38

But divine service might be more rudely interrupted than by the untimely appearance of king's messengers and other functionaries. According to the remark of the Earl of Haddington just quoted, churches were more frequented for malice and mischief than for God's service. And, in point of fact, like the "crown of the causeway," the assembling in the churches created frequent occasions for the picking of quarrels on the part of worshippers who happened to be at feud. The parties might jostle each other in the church doorway; they might be dissatisfied with the precedence assigned to them in the church itself; even the militant cock of a hat (for hats were worn in the sacred building)

would be sufficient to prompt some irascible baron or his retainer to settle his quarrel on the spot. The following incident belongs to a later period than the reign of Mary, and is but a mild specimen of the proceedings that might distract the devotion of the worshippers. One Sunday in the Church of St Giles, Crichton, laird of Frendraught, was "sitting quietly and peaceably" awaiting the beginning of the service, when a certain bishop entered and made for the laird "with ane angrie and boasteous (sic) countenance." Frendraught made way for the angry bishop, who raised his fist with the intention of bringing it down on Crichton's head. In his excitement, however, the bishop missed his blow, but succeeded in knocking off his intended victim's hat, and this, we are told, in "the sight of the haill people conveened in the kirk, who with great griefe recented the scandalous profanation of their kirk upon the Lord's holie Sabbath.”39 But all that need be said on the subject of commotions in churches is contained in the following expressive entry in the Burgh Records of Edinburgh. "Understanding," thus the words run, “that divers contentious and wicked people have in times past made their trublances within the High Kirk of this burgh, by injuring their neighbours, drawing of swords, and shooting of pistols, and thereby abusing that place appointed chiefly (the word chiefly is noteworthy) for God's service. For remedy thereof ordains proclamation to be made,

commanding that no manner of persons take upon hand to make any sort of trublance by word or deed, bragging or provocation within the said Kirk." 40 From what has been said it will be clear that the parish churches of Scotland in the time of Mary were associated in the minds of her subjects with other feelings besides those of devotion.

Proceeding now to make a general acquaintance with the town, we might find that it consisted of one main street-the Hiegait-from which radiated a number of wynds, closes, and vennels of varying width and respectability. In threading our way we should have to pick our steps carefully. We have seen what obstacles were presented by the numerous dust-heaps and the roving swine, but, apart from these obstacles, the street-even the Hiegate itself-offered difficulties which necessitated cautious going. Down its whole length ran the open drain or gutter, sufficiently broad and deep to form the common sewer of the community. Thus, at Peebles there was the Dean's Gutter, so called in compliment to the Dean of the town opposite whose house it flowed. Nor would the street be paved in the manner which excited the admiration of strangers in the case of the High Street of Edinburgh. On the contrary there would be no paving to speak of, and here and there, there would be deep holes and troughs-either the result of the elements or the deliberate work of some citizen who had fashioned them for his own convenience, heed

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