University of St. Andrews.

The matriculation roll of the University of St. Andrews, 1747-1897; online

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The College rooms could at no time be described as com-
fortable lodgings, but they were kept in a habitable con-
dition so long as any one might wish to occupy them.
They have now all but disappeared, only one small room in
the uppermost story of the College being recognisable as
a student's "chamber."

Apart from class honours, few prizes fell to the lot of the
Divinity student. The book-prizes given by the Earl of
Kinnoull as Chancellor of the University were a novelty
in their day, and very elaborate regulations were drawn up
as to the manner in which they should be competed for.
In 1859, after the lapse of more than three-quarters of a
century, a Chancellor's prize, of 10 in books, was resumed
by the Duke of Argyll and continued annually from 1861.
The only permanently endowed prize was that founded by
Dr John Gray in 1808, for the best essay on a prescribed


subject in some department of theology. It was derived
from land, and in consequence its value varied from a
maximum of 10 to a minimum of less than half that sum.
The prize of 21 known as the Cook and Macfarlan testi-
monial, instituted in 1847, was converted into a scholarship
of the same value, tenable for one year, by the University
Commissioners in 1895. The only other scholarships con-
nected with the College were the Tulloch Memorial scholar-
ship, of about 14, subscribed for in 1889, and two Berry
scholarships instituted by the University Court on I3th
March 1895.

Until 1855 no fees were payable by the students of St
Mary's College for attendance on any of the Professors'"
classes. The Commissioners of 1826 recommended a scale
of fees, but the Professors held that "the exacting of fees
from theological students would impose a burden on them,,
and would make but a trifling addition to the dilapidated
and very inadequate livings of the Professors in St Mary's
College." 1 Having regard to the practice of exacting fees
in the Divinity Halls of the other Scottish universities this
decision was afterwards reconsidered, and from 1855 to 1873
a fee of i, us. 6d. was charged for each class. On 24th
March 1874 the University Court, at the request of the
Principal and Professors, raised the fee for all the ordinary
classes taught in the College to -2, 2s.

At the middle of the eighteenth century the Divinity
session extended from about the 20th of November to the
20th of April, with a break at Christmas. Towards the end
of the century it began in the end of November and closed
in the beginning of April. By 1826 it had been reduced
to a period of exactly four months without any material
interruption, the Christmas holidays being limited to three
or four days, and this appears to have been the normal
length of the session for a good many years. More recently
a tendency to lengthen it again set in, and in 1896-97 the
College opened on 27th October and closed on I7th March.

Down to 1864 many students of Divinity only gave partial

1 Evidence, p. 427.


attendance on the College classes. These were known as
" irregular," " occasional," or " partial " students, and were
mostly young men who had gone through an Arts course
and were employed as tutors in private families or as
teachers in parochial schools. They contented themselves
with enrolling their names and attending one or two lec-
tures, after which they disappeared and were not seen again
until they were required to deliver their public exercises.

So long as the bulk of the students lived within the Col-
lege walls they were required to assemble in the quadrangle
on Sundays, at the ringing of the College bell, and thence
to go in a body to the College loft in the Town church,
forenoon and afternoon. It was the duty of one of the
students to give in to the Principal a faithful report on
the Monday following if any should fail to perform this duty.
When the College rooms were abandoned the Sunday pro-
cession was given up, and students were simply enjoined to
attend public worship in the Town church. About 1840,
on the plea of want of room in the Town church, they began
to frequent the gallery of the College church and to mix with
the Arts students. The Principal of the United College
objected to this, and the Divinity students were in conse-
quence enjoined to discontinue the practice and adhere to
the Town church. 1 St Mary's church was then in course
of erection, and after its completion several gallery pews
were reserved for the use of Divinity students. For the
next fifty years the College laws enjoined the students "to
attend public worship in the Town church or St Mary's."
In 1895, with the view of permitting them to attend the

1 The relations between the two Colleges were at the time rather strained.
Among other things, some Divinity students were accused of causing a disturb-
ance at a non-intrusion meeting held in the College church. The case came
before the General Assembly, by way of appeal, on 3Oth May 1840, when the
following finding was come to without a vote : ' ' That on the report of the Pres-
bytery there appear no grounds for interfering with the internal government and
discipline of the University of St Andrews, therefore dismiss the whole cause,
recommending to the Presbytery of St Andrews to continue in the faithful exercise
of their constitutional superintendence of the morals and general conversation of
students of Theology in that University." MS. Register of Assembly, 1840,
pp. I45-M7-


College church, all mention of particular churches was with-
drawn from the laws, and they were simply enjoined " to
attend public worship with regularity." The restriction to
two specified churches had been complained of as " peculi-
arly irritating " by a writer in the " University News Sheet "
as early as February 3rd, 1886.


University College, Dundee, was founded in 1880 by Miss
Mary Ann Baxter of Balgavies, Forfarshire, and Dr John
Boyd Baxter, writer, Dundee. It was opened on 5th
October 1883 by Professor James Stuart, LL.D., Cam-
bridge, afterwards Rector of the University. On 2ist
March 1890 the College was affiliated to, and made to
form part of, the University by an order of the Com-
missioners under the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1889,
subject to the conditions set forth in an "Agreement"
previously come to between the University and the College.
This union w 7 as declared null and void by the House of
Lords on 8th April 1895, on the ground that it ought to
have been accomplished by means of an ordinance and
not by an order. An ordinance to the same effect was
thereafter prepared by the Commissioners, and it received
the sanction of the Queen in Council on i5th January 1897 ;*
but the University Court postponed its coming into opera-
tion until ist October of that year. Although University
College was thus not finally " incorporated with and made
to form part of the University of St Andrews " until ist
October 1897, certain of its students had matriculated as
students of the University during the ten years beginning
with 1885 and ending with 1894. They did so under two
separate arrangements first, as extra-mural students of
Science from 1885-86 to 1889-90, and second, as students
of what was believed to be a constituent College of the

1 Ordinance No. 46.


University from 1890-91 to 1894-95. During 1895-96 and
1896-97 no student of University College was allowed to
matriculate as a student of the University. The extra-
mural arrangement arose in the following manner.

On 3oth January 1885 the University Court received and
remitted to the careful and favourable consideration of
the Senatus Academicus a communication from the Prin-
cipal of University College on the subject of graduation in
Science, in which it was suggested that it might be possible
to admit to the degree examinations (conducted by exam-
iners appointed by the University) students who might have
received their whole education at the College, provided they
had matriculated as students of the University. Before
coming to a decision the Senatus determined to be guided
by the opinion of counsel as to the powers of the University
to confer degrees upon persons who had not been educated
within its walls. A memorial and questions were thereupon
prepared and submitted to Mr ^Eneas J. G. Mackay and Mr
J. Campbell Smith, who gave it as their opinion that under
its charters the University was amply justified in admitting
to examination for degrees in Science students who had re-
ceived their whole education at other seats of learning.
These opinions were considered by the Senatus on loth
October 1885, when it was resolved, by a majority, to carry
the arrangement into effect, with the sanction of the Uni-
versity Court. The Court met on 2nd November, and
agreed to authorise the Senatus to matriculate students
of University College who intended to graduate in Science
at the University. When the matter came before the Chan-
cellor for his sanction he demurred to such students being
allowed to matriculate for the reason that it was a departure
from the immemorial usage of the Scottish Universities.
After a good deal of correspondence the Chancellor's ob-
jection was got over, and on 22nd December he wrote in-
timating his assent to the resolution of the University
Court. This resolution was immediately homologated by
the matriculation of ten students who had been preparing
for the B.Sc. degree in anticipation of a favourable decision.


Before concluding this Introduction a few observations
fall to be made as to the Matriculation Roll itself, and
the manner in which it has been edited. The portion
now printed has been transcribed from three separate
Albums. In 1738, a new Album having become necessary,
about 332 leaves of strong unruled white paper were bound
up in rough brown leather. The Album thus formed
measures 15 inches in height and 10 inches in breadth.
It was intended to serve both as a Matriculation Roll and
as a Graduation Roll, and so was used from both ends
concurrently till the two Rolls met. The Matriculation
Roll from 1738-39 to 1887-88 occupies 217 leaves. The
Graduation Roll for the same period occupies 105 leaves.
The remaining 2 are fly-leaves, while 7 or 8 others have
been spoilt and cut out. The volume has been re-backed
and otherwise repaired, but is still in a good state of
preservation in spite of the enormous amount of handling
to which it has been subjected. In designing another
Album in 1888, it was thought desirable to discontinue
keeping the Matriculation and Graduation Rolls in the
same volume, as had been the custom for over three^hundred
years. The Matriculation Album now in use at St Andrews
begins with the academical year 1888-89, an d the first 108
pages of it are here printed. It is a rather more massive
volume than its predecessor, measuring 15^ inches by n
inches, and is composed of stout ruled paper of a bluish
tint. From 1885 to 1891 the Dundee students were re-
quired to matriculate at St Andrews ; but in 1892 a separate
Album, uniform in size and style with the St Andrews one,
was provided for the enrolment, at Dundee, of matriculated
students attending University College.

Beginning with 1865 the old Album was ruled off into
columns to contain the number, name, parish, and county
of those matriculating. In 1867 a column for the age of
the students was added, and from 1868 these columns were
regularly headed Nu. j Nomen | Aet. | Parochia | Comi-
tatus. In the new Albums the use of Latin was abolished,
and the following printed headings introduced : No. | Name


in full | Age last birthday | Native town or parish | County.
In printing the Roll these columns have been disregarded
and the entries set up continuously and punctuated. Seem-
ingly useless repetitions of words (such as Perth, Perth;
Stirling, Stirling) are easily explained when it is borne in
mind that the one occurs in the column headed " Native
town or parish," and the other in the column headed
" County."

With a few exceptions all names and designations have
been entered by the students themselves. The Roll is
therefore, in one of its aspects, an autograph album of a
most interesting kind. This being so, all the entries have
been printed exactly as they are written. To this rule no
exception has been wittingly made. The printed proof-
sheets were carefully compared letter by letter with the
original manuscript, and every peculiarity of spelling was
scrupulously adhered to. The reader of the printed Roll
is thus, as nearly as may be, in the same position as the
consulter of the manuscript Roll. There is nothing in
the one that is not in the other, and as regards names
and designations the two correspond not merely verbally
but also literally. Quite a number of students have found
it difficult to spell their own names correctly especially
when they attempted to Latinise them, as they were ex-
pected to do up to 1888. Nor have they always located
their native towns or parishes in their proper counties. It
may also be pointed out that the ages given are not in
all cases to be relied upon. All students were not a year
older at each annual matriculation. Some grew younger
rather than older, while others advanced in years by leaps
and bounds. It is obvious that in a good many instances
the age recorded is purely arbitrary. Any one who cares
to tabulate the figures will find numerous unaccountable
discrepancies. In the matter of matriculation it may be
remarked that no age limit was imposed. So far as ages
are recorded, the youngest " bejant " appears to have been
twelve when he entered, the oldest sixty-two. The " native
town or parish " is likewise frequently misleading. Judging


from the information given in the Roll, it was no uncommon
thing for a student to have two or more birthplaces. The
explanation of this is that he put down the name of the
place which he regarded as his home for the time being.
This necessarily varied if his parents chanced to remove
from one town or parish to another. In a test case, less
than half of the students who professed to belong to a
certain parish could be traced in its register of births.

The various Latin headings and sub-headings that occur
in the Roll have not been reproduced with the same literal
exactness as the signatures of the students. In the manu-
script they are frequently ungrammatical and otherwise in-
accurate. In revising them for the press, errors of fact as
well as of spelling and grammar have been corrected, and
contracted words have as a rule been extended. Nor have
they always been printed in the precise order in which they
occur in the Roll, as many of the sub -entries have been
inserted where there appeared to be most room for them
without regard to chronological sequence.

A certain amount of method will be noticed in the
arrangement of the names in the earlier portion of the
Roll. So long as a distinction of rank among the students
was kept up, noblemen's sons matriculated first as Primars ;*
then followed the Secondars, or gentlemen-commoners ; and
lastly the Ternars, or those of the ordinary ranks of life.
These distinctions were done away with in 1829, and subse-
quently the students were matriculated without classifica-
tion, and as far as possible according to alphabetical order
at first of their Christian names, and afterwards of their
surnames. On the introduction of annual matriculation it
was found impracticable to adhere to any particular order of
enrolment, and so the names were entered in whatever order
the students presented themselves. It had been a custom
of long standing for the Luminator of a class to matriculate
last. This designation only occurs once in the present
volume (in 1748-49), but the office was nominally in exist-
ence for about a century later. The principal duty of a

1 Lord Kennedy (1809) is said to have been the last Primar. Evidence, p. 35.


Luminator was to furnish fire and light to his class, in
return for which service he enjoyed certain perquisites and
privileges. 1

It is much to be regretted that the University officials did
not ascertain and record somewhere the full baptismal name
of every student. Middle names were not much in use in
the eighteenth century, but long after they had become
common they were pretty much ignored in the University
records, while the modern practice has been to confine them
to initials. It is thus often difficult to recognise and identify
in the roll the names of students who in after life have in-
variably used more than one Christian name. Since the
Index was in type a great deal of time has been spent in an
effort to complete those entries containing one or more
initials. A good many blanks have in this way been filled
up from reliable sources, but in numerous cases the quest
has proved quite fruitless. Oddly enough, some former
students on being applied to for their full names declared
they never had middle names, and were at a loss to know
how they came to enter superfluous initials in the Roll. In
dealing with such cases, the meaningless initials have been
retained in the Roll but omitted from the Index. All names
and initials which appear in the Index but not in the Roll
have been enclosed between square brackets.

In the manuscript, the Sponsio Academica subscribed by
students at matriculation is repeated every year from 1747
to 1887. In the new Roll, beginning with 1888, it is written
at the beginning once for all. From 1747 to 1866 it re-
mained unchanged except that in 1821 the word est was
altered to sit. In 1867 the clause involving adherence to
the reformed religion was deleted. It has not been deemed
necessary to print the Sponsio more than twice first in its
original form on page I, and again in its abbreviated form
on page 154.

In compiling the Index something more has been attempted
than a list of the names occurring in the Roll, arranged
in alphabetical order, with a reference to the pages on

1 Evidence, p. 292.


which they are to be met with. The Index is intended to
be an alphabetical register of individual students, and pains
have been taken to avoid, on the one hand, indexing the
same person as two separate students, and on the other, of
indexing two or more separate students as one and the same
person. This proved to be a more difficult task than was
at first anticipated, and it is to be feared that it has been
carried through with only partial success. In writing the
Index slips, it was taken for granted that previous to 1859
no student matriculated more than once. But when the
slips came to be arranged it was found that this general
rule had not been rigidly followed, and that certain students
had quite obviously matriculated twice. All doubtful cases
were then inquired into, and whenever it seemed clear, from
similarity of handwriting or otherwise, that two entries
referred to the same person, they were indexed accordingly.
In a good many instances the available evidence was not
decisive enough to warrant this being done, and so the
names have been treated as belonging to different persons
and indexed separately. After 1859, when the students
matriculated annually (some of them as many as eleven
times), a good deal of difficulty was experienced in pre-
serving their identity especially in the case of those whose
courses were not taken in successive years. In spite of
every care, it is probable that now and then two students
of the same name have been treated as one, while one
student matriculating twice or oftener, after lengthened
intervals, has been treated as two. The first and last
matriculations of not a few students are separated by
intervals of many years. Nothing but personal knowledge
of the fact could, for instance, have identified the James
Mitchell of 1888 as the same person who previously matricu-
lated in 1830. This is an extreme, but not an isolated case.
Elderly gentlemen resident in St Andrews were at one time
in the habit of matriculating with the view of attending
lectures on physiology or natural history and obtaining
the use of the library. Some of these had in their youth
been students of the University, and so their names re-


appeared in the Matriculation Roll after the lapse of twenty
years and upwards.

The Index contains 6807 names and 11,727 page refer-
ences. One of the names is that of Professor Lee, who,
following, for the last time, an ancient custom applicable
to Professors as well as to students, was admitted to
membership of the University by being received into
the Matriculation Album. The remaining names are
those of the 6806 students who, according to the Roll,
entered the University during the period dealt with.
Unhappily there is too much reason to believe that the
Roll has not always been so carefully kept as it ought
to have been, and that it is not a complete and final record
of students attending the University. 1 In the prepara-
tion of the present volume a good many names have been
discovered in class-lists and elsewhere which are not to
be found in the Roll. In some instances spaces have evi-
dently been left for these names, and some of them
have even been entered in pencil by an official. Wher-
ever it could be done with safety these names have been
included in the printed Roll and enclosed between square
brackets. Until all extant class-lists, prize-lists, presenta-
tions to bursaries, and other University and College
documents have been scrutinised, and the names occur-
ring in them extracted and indexed, it will be impossible
to compile a full and accurate list of students; and even
then finality may not be reached, for these various re-
cords are likewise more or less defective. The Matric-
ulation Roll is a valuable and authoritative register so
far as it goes, but the absence of a name from it is not
absolute proof that its owner did not attend classes in
either of the Colleges. On the other hand, the occur-
rence of a name in the Roll is no guarantee that its
owner was a bond fide student who actually attended
classes. There are several names in the Roll which cannot
be found in any existing class-list. Now and then an in-

1 "At an early period there is reason to believe that the register had not been
kept with accuracy, and that there were many omissions." Evidence, p. 338.


tending student came up and matriculated, but from some
unforeseen circumstance was prevented from proceeding
further. This, for instance, was the case with Miss
Elizabeth Garrett (afterwards Mrs Garrett Anderson,
M.D.), the first lady who matriculated at the University.
Her name still stands in the Matriculation Roll, but she
was never really a student of the University, as she was
prohibited from entering the United College class-rooms,
and her matriculation and class tickets were declared to
be null and of no effect.

Except from 1859 onwards, the Roll yields no information
as to the total number of students attending the University
in each academical year. Comparative statistics for the
whole period from 1747 to 1897 can only be obtained on
the basis of first matriculations. These have been collected
from the Index, and are given in the appended table of
Matriculation Statistics. For the period previous to 1859 "^
it has been found by experimental calculation on averages
of ten years, that the number of first matriculations for any
year multiplied by 3^ gives approximately the total number
of students in attendance at both Colleges for that year. J
It will be noticed that the smallest number of first matric-
ulations (5) was in 1749-50, and that the largest number
(149) was in 1824-25. Both figures are the result of special
circumstances. In 1750 a keen controversy was raging as
to the validity of the Rector's installation ; and the students
of the United College, although its Principal was the Rec-
tor, were forbidden by the Professors to appear on the day
appointed by him for their matriculation. Two of them
disobeyed, and were severely reprimanded for their contu-
macy. Three others afterwards, on separate days, were
" received into the Album," the first two of them being also
reprimanded. Most of the remainder matriculated in the
following year, but it is probable that some of them never
matriculated at all. In 1825 Dr Chalmers was at the height

Online LibraryUniversity of St. AndrewsThe matriculation roll of the University of St. Andrews, 1747-1897; → online text (page 5 of 34)