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Old faces, old places and old stories of Stirling (Volume 1) online

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the cheering. After the last toast the glasses were tossed up
in the air, that is, if not seized by some one in the outside
crowd, who thought it a pity to waste the crystal. The expense
of the entertainment was borne by <the Common Good. The
custom was discontinued during the reign of William IV.

The Burgh Records contain several references to these birth-
day celebrations, of which the following may be cited as
examples :

October 14th, 1685. Item, to the officers for proclaimeing
the King's birthday, 2 8s. ; tuell load of coals for the bou-
fyres, 3 12s. ; for ane tarr barrell to the fyre, 12s. ; to the
drummer and pyper that day, 6 ; to Walter Dick for ringing
the bells, 1 4s. ; for 10 dusson beer glasses that day, 10 ;
to bailie Miller for wyne that day, 21 8s. ; to bailie Keir for
small whyte wyne, 6 16s. ; two dussone of pypes, 2s. 8d. ;
eight four unces shugar, 24s. ; 5J unces tobacco, 9s. 2d. ; to
the men that served at the cross, 1 ; to the officers and toune
guaird, 3 12s.

29th July, 1708. Approves of fyve pound fyve shillings
payed out by the treasurer for glasses throuue up at the cross.


19th July, 1715. Approves of a particulare accompt of
publick spendings for the burgh in baillie Burd's, and of liquors
gott therefrom to the coimcill house and crosse upon the King's
birth day, from 22 March to 28 May both last inclusive, extend-
ing to 100 pound 7 shilling 10 pennies Scots.

Origin of the Ten o'clock Bell.

Feb. 6, 1612. The brethrun of the Kirk aggreis and givis
thair full consent to the ordinance of the Councell, command-
ing that na persone be seiu upone the gaites nor drinkand in
tavernes, aill housis, nor in na uther housis at any time after
ten houris at evin ; at the quhilk hour aue bell is appointed to
be rung for advertaisment besyd uther advertaisments be the
knock and uther wayes.

Locking the Burgh Gates.

Of course it is not now known if the Long Causeway was so
much frequented in the evenings by the lads and lasses of the
burgh in 1603 as it certainly is by those of the present day,
but if so, they of the earlier date would require to take good
care that they did not allow themselves to be so much en-
grossed in one another as to become oblivious of the flight of
time, else they might find themselves in an awkward predica-
ment, as on 9th September, 1603, it is recorded that the Council
" Ordinis the brig porte to be locket nychtlie at ten houris, and
the keyes thairof to be brocht oulklie to ane bailyie."

The Friday Cattle Market.

Stirling, llth March, 1794.
By Order of the Magistrates of the Burgh of Stirling.

These are to give notice that, in order to accommodate the
public, the Magistrates propose that a Weekly Market for
Black Cattle should be held on Friday, within the town of
Stirling, at the ordinary Market Place, betwixt John Graham's


house and the Factory near the Bridge, commencing upon the
First Friday in April, and to continue in all time coming.

Proclamation on Sunday Observance.

By Order of the Provost and Magistrates of the Burgh, the
Sheriff, and Justices of the Peace of Stirlingshire.

Whereas, the open profanation of the Lord's Day, in the
town and immediate neighbourhood, is found to be much on
the increase, and has become a serious grievance in various
ways, chiefly through the culpable and very criminal neglect
of parents and masters allowing their children and servants, or
apprentices to profane the Sabbath in the streets and fields
in all directions, and by bathing in the river, with other sports
and amusements ; many others, more advanced in society, have
been in the practice of resorting to certain fruit gardens, in the
season, some drinking and rioting in a manner shocking to those
around them ; all indulging in the gross profanation of that
sacred day, to a degree quite unprecedented in this town and
neighbourhood. And the Magistrates, Sheriff, and Justices
being determined strictly to enforce the law against all
flagrant breaches of the Lord's Day, have ordered the Town
Officers, Sheriff Officers, and Constables of the county to appre-
hend, or duly report to the Procurator-Fiscal, all such daring
transgressors who may be found after this public intimation,
that they may be prosecuted with the utmost rigour.

The Magistrates, Sheriff, and Justices therefore call upon
all classes to aid them in this important branch of their duty,
by repressing offenders as far as in their power, or duly report-
ing them, and to exert themselves in this matter, in which the
honour of God and the best interests of the community are so
deeply involved.

The Magistrates, Sheriff, and Justices do also command and
enjoin all inn-keepers and other retailers of liquors, to shut up
their houses during Divine service on the Lord's Day, and that
they shall not harbour idle and disorderly persons in any
manner of way; otherwise their licenses will be taken from
them, and they will be otherwise punished as the law directs.

Given at Stirling, the fourth day of July, 1827 years.



" Here to-day, gone to-morrow."

N the first flat of the house, 17 Baker Street, Mr Stir-
ling, watch and clockmaker, had his place of business.
Many clocks with his name on the dials are still to
be seen. His goods were displayed in the win-
dows, from one of which, on an iron rod, hung a large
model of a watch. One night this model disappeared, and no
trace of it could be got, though at the time it was supposed to
have been carried off by some workmen in one of the coach-
works. About a month after its disappearance, a large parcel
from the south was delivered to Mr Stirling, and on his opening
it he was agreeably surprised to find his lost model, newly done-
up in first-class style, and having the legend painted on the

" Here to-day, gone to-morrow."

A regiment quartered in the Castle had received " marching
orders, ' and on the night previous to leaving, some of the
officers had been out on "a lark," and, having unhooked the
watch, had taken it with them. Mr Stirling had it re-hung,
and for many a day it was a conspicuous object in the street.
The legend very fittingly describes the position of the soldier,
who, from the nature of his profession, is sometimes hastily
called upon to change his place of residence.

Before the advent of railways, the military, when moving
from place to place, went on foot, and it was a great event
with the youngsters when a change of regiments took place in
the Castle, or when one in passing through the town, remained


over night, and the men were billeted on the inhabitants. Mr
Thomson (fatlier of Mr James Thomson, watchmaker, Bow
Street) was for a long period billet-master, his house being
a couple of doors above the Industrial School entry, the stair
then entering from the street. On arrival, the regiment was
drawn up in line on the street, and each man received his billet,
and, although circumstances might be such in a household as
to render reception of the -soldiers exceedingly inconvenient,
there was no appeal from the order issued, and provision had to
be made by the householder as suited him best.

75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment :
First Battalion Gordon Highlanders.

Frae auldest dates whilk stories tell,
The Gordons aye ha'e "borne the bell;"
"By Baud!" rang o'er ilk battle's yell,
And their blades aye foremost tae.

Fu' mony a foeman sair has rued
That ere he roused the Gordons' bluid,
Their mark on ilka Ian' is guid

Langsyne, and aye will be.


The First Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders (the old 75th,
or Stirlingshire Regiment), which has a splendid record to its
credit, was raised in 1787, by Colonel Robert Abercromby of
Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, for service in the East Indies,
the men being chiefly drawn from the country districts of
Stirlingshire, It was embodied in Stirling in the following
year, and has thus been a corps of the British army for con-
siderably over one hundred years. The early career of the
75th was highly distinguished, although it did not take any
great part in the European wars waged by us during the early
years of the century. In the past, as in the present, India has
been the chief scene of its glorious achievements : there in its
early days it fought shoulder to shoulder with that famous
quartette, the 71st, 72nd, 73rd, and 74th.


In more recent times (1857) it formed part of Sir Colin Camp-
bell's force for the Relief of Lucknow. Its colours testify to its
Indian services, they bearing the words " India " (with the
Bengal tiger) " Seringapatam " (1799); also "Delhi" and
"Lucknow" for the Mutiny of 1857. During the Egyptian
War of 1882 the old 75th was strongly in evidence. At the
battle of Tel-el-Kebir it gave a good account of itself, as was
shown by its severe losses some half-dozen being killed and 30

In the Soudanese War, which followed the latter campaign,
it played a great part against the Dervish forces, and formed
part of the oblong square that relieved Tokar. At Tamai they
had a desperate struggle with the " Fuzzy Wuzzies " of the
Soudan, and greatly helped to save the British square. A
description of the scene is thus given in a stirring poem by one
of our minor Scottish poets :

They say that Scotland's sons retired when through the smoke and


With sword and hideous yell the dusky demons came,
We do not say the " Sixty-Fifth " true British courage lack,
But they fell into confusion and bore the " Black Watch " back.

Yet steadily our sons retired before the rebel crew,
A frown was on each Scottish face, but what could brave men do?
Tho' Scottish mountaineers can fight, and nobly know to die,
Still Caledonia's plaided host can never learn to fly.

But, ha ! the first brigade comes on, and brightly shines their steel,
The " Gordons" they are in the front, and soon the rebels reel ;
Like autumn leaves, full low the Soudanese are laid
By the gallant lads that proudly wear the green and yellow plaid.

Up till 1881 the 75th was largely composed of Englishmen,
due to its being frequently stationed in England, but since the
introduction of the territorial system in that year it has
assumed something like its national character. Speaking of
the territorial system brings to mind a little prank gone into
by the regiment in 1881. They were stationed in Malta when
the new system was introduced, and the event was commemor-
ated in the following curious manner. In the garden of one of


the bastions, overlooking the quarantine harbour, was erected
an elaborate tombstone with this inscription :


Erected by Major Vandeleur's Company of the 75th
(Stirlingshire) Regiment. Malta, 1881.

Here lies the fine old 75th,

But under God's protection,
They'll rise again, in kilt and hose,

A glorious resurrection.

For by the transformation power

Of our Parliamentary laws,
We go to bed the seventy-fifth's,

And rise the ninety-twa's.

The reverse bore the name of the Colour-Sergeant and four
Sergeants of the above company. As the tombstone must
have cost from 12 to 15, it is evident there was esprit de
corps enough to make the gallant company pay for its little

In conclusion we may mention that it is from the 2nd
Battalion that the name " Gordon Highlanders " is derived.
This gallant battalion was raised in 1794 by George, Marquis of
Huntly. The then Duchess of Gordon used to go about the
feeing (markets of the North enlisting soldiers for the 92nd
(then the 100th), and it is said she used to offer the ploughmen
lads,* along with the " shilling," the sweet bonus of a kiss.

Hfs Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is honorary Colonel
of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Aberdeenshire Militia. The
facings of the Gordons are yellow.

The Officers of the 75th erected a handsome granite cross in
the reserved portion of the Cemetery at Stirling, with the
following inscriptions :

On the side facing the Esplanade

India, Seringapatam, Delhi, Relief of Lucknow. The 75th
(Stirlingshire) Regiment, served with the army which besieged


and took the city of Delhi. It subsequently formed part of
the forces which relieved the Forts of Alghur and Agra, and
garrison of Luckuow.

A.D. 1857-8.
"Thine, O Lord, is the glory and the victory."

On the top of the pillar is the emblem of the regiment,
The Tiger.

And on the side facing the Cemetery

In memory of Colonel R. D. Halifax; Captains E. W. J.
Knox, A. Chancelor ; Lieutenants A. Harrison, J. R. J. Fitz-
gerald, C. R. Rivers, E. V. Briscoe, G. C. W. Faithful, W.
Crozier ; Surgeon J. Coghlan ; and 13 sergeants, 9 corporals, 3
drummers, and 216 private soldiers of the 75th (Stirlingshire)
Regiment, who fell during the Indian Mutiny, A.D. 1857-8.

Erected by the Officers of the Regiment
and by their old comrades.

Shield with crown on top, 75th and Stirlingshire in centre,
with thistles.

79th, or Cameron Highlanders.

The 79th (the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) was also
embodied at Stirling. A letter was granted (dated 17th
August, 1793) to Alan Cameron, Esq of Erroch, in the county
of Inverness, for the purpose of raising a Highland regiment of
foot, to be numbered 79 ; and on the 30th January, 1794, the
full strength of 1000 was effected, and Cameron promoted to
the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the corps. After receiving its
colours the Regiment marched from Stirling to Portpatrick, en
route for Belfast. On inspection before leaving there were on
the ground 30 sergeants, 20 drummers, 2 pipers, and 700 rank
and file.


Declaration of War.

April 7th, 1854.

On Saturday morning, 7th April, 1854, Sheriff-Substitute Sir
John Hay having received orders from Government to declare
reprisals against Russia at the Cross of Stirling, the ceremony
accordingly took place at 2 o'clock. A short time before that
hour a large crowd assembled in Broad Street before the Court
House, amongst whom were many prominent citizens, with the
Sheriff, the Provost, Magistrates, and Council within the en-
closure. The town officers and the soldiers lined the stairs of
the Court House, and a number of flags were displayed near the
entrance. Precisely at 2 o'clock the procession, headed by the
Sheriff and Provost Sawers, left the Court House, preceded by
the band of the 82nd Regiment, and the town officers in their
antique and brilliant uniform, and bearing their halberts. The
procession halted at the site of the ancient cross, and a circle
being formed, with the soldiers keeping back the crowd, Sir
John Hay proceeded to read aloud the proclamation of war,
which had been already published in the newspapers. At the
commencement of the proceedings the whole of the gentlemen
forming the procession uncovered, remaining so till the con-
clusion of the reading. After the concluding words, " God
Save the Queen," a loud cheer broke from the assembled crowd,
prolonged and repeated, and answered by those who crowded
the windows of the Court House and the adjoining houses. The
band having played the National Anthem, the procession fell
into order, and, preceded by the baud and officers, proceeded
to Port Street, where, on reaching the site of the ancient Burgh
Gate, the ceremony was again gone through amidst great

Fall of Sebastopol.

September, 1855.

As soon as intelligence of the Fall of Sebastopol reached the
town, the authorities ordered all the bells to be rung, and


nothing could exceed the excitement which prevailed. Busi-
ness, if not altogether suspended, was at least neglected or
forgotten, and people of all ages might be observed hurrying
to and fro, making inquiries and congratulating each other on
the success of the allied arms. As evening advanced numer-
ous coloured lights were burned in the middle of King Street,
and about 8 o'clock a bonfire was kindled, which, in presence
of an immense concourse of spectators, was kept burning till
11. Fuel was brought from all quarters of the town, several
carts being burned, but it is impossible to describe the various
wooden materials which were indiscriminately given to the
flames amid wild huzzas. The whole of a mason's shed in Port
Street was broken into fragments and carried to the fire by the
crowd, and part of the wooden paling surrounding " the Black
Boy " fountain at the end of Port Street was also taken for a
similar purpose. A reaping machine was only saved by its
weight from being sacrificed, and an attempt to carry a boat
up from the river was frustrated. Pigeon-houses seemed to be
' in high favour with the mob, and were ruthlessly torn down.
Mr Archibald France, smith, gave cart-wheels, naves, and
every other stick that could be spared from his premises to
keep up the bonfire, while others took the pilfering from their
premises in the greatest good humour. Such a mass of
material, it may be readily imagined, occasioned a conflagration
which was observable for many miles around the town. Be-
tween 9 and 10 o'clock a cry of "off hats " was made, when
those who had the hardihood to keep their " tiles " on their
heads were speedily saved the trouble of uncovering, as hats
were knocked off in all directions by the crowd, and many a
valuable " castor " had the honour of celebrating by aid of the
flames the Fall of Sebastopol.

At 11 o'clock the authorities, thinking that every latitude
had been allowed for a display of loyalty, caused a hose to be
attached to one of the fire-plugs, and in a few minutes the fire
was extinguished, and the spectators retired, to their homes.


Peace of 1856. .

On .Monday, 29th March, 1856, at noon the public bells were,
by order of the Provost and Magistrates, set a-ringing, but
nothing could exceed the heartfelt rejoicing in the minds of
many, whilst the pealing of the bells announced, as far as the
loud-tongued messengers could reach, that, for the present at
least, " Wild war's deadly blast was blawn." Scarcely had the
sound of the bells which had been ringing for half-an-hour
ceased to vibrate in the ears of the inhabitants, than a tele-
graphic message was received by the military authorities in the
garrison, ordering a salvo of one hundred and one guns to
be fired from the Castle. The greatest promptitude was
evinced on receipt of this communication, and, exactly at 2
o'clock, the cannon commenced to roar forth their welcome of
" gentle peace." The bells were again set a-ringing, and con-
tinued for an hour.

Immediately on the order to the garrison becoming known,
the Magistrates, the Sheriff -Substitute (Sir John Hay, Bart.),
and a number of the principal inhabitants went up to the
Castle, where the Royal Standard having been hoisted, the
band of the Highland Borderers played " God Save the Queen,"
amidst great enthusiasm.

At half-past 9 o'clock a number of the officers of the 42nd
Royal Highlanders, the Highland Borderers, the Berwickshire
Artillery, and other gentlemen, accompanied by a gay and
fashionable assemblage of ladies, met in the large hall of the
Golden Lion Hotel. Major Wilkinson of the 42nd (in the
absence of the commandant of the garrison, Colonel Maitland)
proposed the health of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen,
which was received with great enthusiasm. The band of the
Highland Borderers and the pipers of the 42nd were in attend-
ance, and dancing- was kept up with much spirit until an early
hour in the" morning. In the garrison the non-commissioned
officers and men had also private parties.

The public rejoicings were manifested in a manner not to be
mistaken, and in a way that will long be remembered by all


who witnessed the display. About 9 o'clock a bonfire was
kindled at the head of King Street, and from time to time
great quantities of timber continued to be heaped upon the
flames. Nor were the parties who brought the fuel at all
scrupulous as to where it came from, or to whom it belonged.
A boat, newly repaired and painted, and belonging to Mr
James Sinclair, The Shore, was seized, and, without the least
compunction, consigned to the flames : in fact the depredators
threatened, and, indeed, attempted, to carry the unfortunate
watchman who had, as a matter of precaution, been placed in
charge of the boat, and offer him, along with it and its gear,
on the general altar which " the people had set up."

An attempt was made to get the people to adjourn to the
Valley, but without success. At all the entrances to the town
numbers of men might be seen carrying loads of timber on
wheelbarrows, or on their shoulders, and the palings surround-
ing " the Black Boy " fountain were again completely torn up
and given to the flames. Sign-boards and other insignia of
trade were torn down and pitched into the fire without any
consideration. As evening wore on the crowd grew more riot-
ous, throwing stones at the constables and others, when a
considerable force of the authorities assembled, and, with the
assistance of a hose, succeeded in extinguishing the fire, and
thus effectually putting a stop to the unruly demonstration.

Apprehended Fenian Disturbance
in Stirling.

Some parties, taking advantage of the Fenian disturbances
in other parts of the country, attempted to alarm the Stirling
public by spreading information to the effect that a large body
of Fenians were to assemble on a given day at the Sheriffmuir.
It appears a boy had found, near the Railway Station, a pocket-
book containing an American cent, two letters, and address
cards of several hotels in America, and as both the letters con-
tained information as to an intended gathering on the Sheriff-
muir, they were at once handed to the Provost. The whole


affair looked like a hoax, but the authorities appeared to think
differently, and policemen were put on the watch at Stirling
Bridge, the staff of the Stirlingshire Militia were placed under
arms, and the sentries at the Castle doubled. Whatever
amount of faith may have been placed in the story, there can
be no doubt it had just that air of probability about it which
will obtain ready credence from most people. It was well-
known that one night the year before, the county police
discovered a body of Irishmen going through some military
evolutions in the vicinity of the Raploch. The discovery gave
rise to considerable talk at the time, and the supposed Fenians
apparently got alarmed, as they did not again venture upon
training in the open fields. But whether or not the Fenians in
town had any bona-fide intention of imitating the " Chester
movement," it was quite certain that for the Militia Store
with its six hundred stand of arms to be left unguarded at
night was a great temptation. Nothing could have been
easier than for a body of Fenians approaching from the Back
Walk, or coming through the pass of Ballaugeich to march
up to the store, batter in the door, arm themselves, and
decamp ere the military could be brought to the rescue. An
attack 011 the Castle was, of course, not at all to be appre-
hended, but considerable mischief might have been done if a
close watch had not been kept on the powder magazine. The
Militia staff were on duty for two nights, but no trace of a
Fenian was discovered. It was therefore concluded as all but
certain that the apprehended gathering on Sheriffmuir was a
hoax, the work of some scamp who thought it a great joke
needlessly to alarm the police and military authorities, and
oblige them to adopt measures for the public safety which
were not at all required.

/ The Volunteers.

On 23rd May, 1859, Provost Dick first brought before the
Town Council the notice for forming volunteer companies, and
on the 8th of July a public meeting was held in the Court
House for the purpose of enrolling members. After addresses


by Provost Dick, Robert Graham Moir, Esq. of Leckie ; James
Morrison, Esq. of Livilands ; Robert Campbell, Esq., writer;
and Robert Sconce, Esq., Procurator-Fiscal, 47 names were
adhibited to the roll, and by August the number was increased
to between 70 and 80.

The drill-ground was the High School yard, and the first
officers of the company were R. G. Moir, Captain ; Robert
Sconce, Lieut. ; and Alex. Wilson, jun., Bannockburn, Ensign.
Some prospects were held out that the company would have
the honour of being among those who would act as Guard of
Honour to Her Majesty at the opening of the Glasgow Water-
works at Loch Katrine, but something came in the way to
prevent their taking part in the ceremony. They were, how-

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