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

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Important Invention in Warfare, 254

Incident of the Election in 1837, An, 249

Kays of Shiphaugh, The, 263

Lawyer's Address, A, 275

Macgregor (Glengyle), James, 282

Marriage of a Nonogenarian, 288

Married in He'rt, 281

Mar's Work, Stirling, and the Alleged Pro-
phecy, 266

" Mrs M'Larty ; " or, " I Canna Be Fashed," 269

Nelly Holmes, 287

Origin of the Celebrity of Stirling Small Beer,

commonly called "Pundy," 245

"Orthodox Ale," 246

Plate-Glass Windows, 243

Prices of Provisions,. 244

Queenshaugh, The Farm of, 263

Reason for Shrinkage, A, 252

Reasons and Reasons Annexed, 253

Resurrectionists in Stirling, The, 254

Rev. James Guthrie and the Stirling

Butchers, The, 256

Roadside Canals, 260

Rob Roy and Blair Drummond, 276

Rob Roy and the Lady of Ochtertyre, 275

Sacraments, The, 253

Safe from the Gallows, 270

Shipbuilding, 260

Shop Hours, 243


Stirling and Round About (continued) PAGE.

Shore Dues, 260

Shrewd Magistrate, A, 247

Sir Robert Peel, 255

Soldier's Punishment, A, 286

Successful Preacher at Airth, A, 244

"Tennant's Best," 246

The Wicked Laird of Tillicoultry and the

Monks of Cambuskenneth, 264

Thornhill Beadle of the Olden Time, A, 279

Thornhill Piper, The, 281

Tight (Electioneering) Fit, A, 252

Tirling Pin, The, 253

Walking Feat, 255

Willing Recruit, A, 286

Writers' Offices, 248

Stirling in the Sixteenth Century, 300

Ale Dealers, 303

Bakers, 302

Oatcake, 302

Capital Punishment, 307

Fleshers, 301

Marriages, 310

Offences against the Person, 304

Property, 306

Rogues and Vagabonds, 308

Strange Names, 300

Ten o'clock Movement, The, 303

Stirling: Variations of the Word, 299

Trysts, 35

Valley, The, 32



Bailies (and Town House and Mercate Cross), 200

Clergymen, 88

Dean of Guild's Robes, 296

Deans of Guild (and Guildry Arms), 72

Guild Hall, On Title page

Dutch Garden and Military Prison, 184

Legal Gentlemen, 80

Medical Gentlemen (and Royal Infirmary), 96

Notable Citizens, 104

Do. Do 112

Old Seat on Back Walk, 312

Provosts (and Burgh Seal), 64

Stirling "Notables," 152

" Tammy " Chalmers, 144

Teachers, 40

The Author, Title

Town Officer's Uniform, 160




Recollections and Reminiscences.


IT is needless to say that Stirling in 1898 is very different
from what it was from forty to sixty years ago. At
that time the limits of the town were Melville Terrace
on the one hand, and Cowane Street on the other, there
being no thought of Snowdon Place, Drummond Place, or Glad-
stone Place, which were open fields, where crops of potatoes
and turnips were grown. Glebe Crescent was a field ; " The
Enclosure," or what was then called Laing's garden, covered
what is now Windsor and Abercromby Places ; Victoria Square
and Victoria Place, Clarendon Place, and Albert Place were
fields. Dumbarton Road houses stand on the ground of what
was townsmen's gardens, Allan Park Church being built on
Gibb's garden. Along the road where the Albert Hall now
stands the Davie Burn, in which were minnows and little eels,
ran clear and wimpling, and on Albert Place side, the Town
Burn ran also clear, with its little fish. Park Terrace was re-
presented by Park Villa, the house of the late Sheriff Sconce ;
one or two houses made up Park Place, the right hand side
being a nursery ; and no house existed on Livilands except the


old mansion-house. No Wallace, Bruce, or Union Streets were
to be found, and before the new road was made from York
Place to the bridge, the Cow Park extended from Cowane Street
to the river, nor was there any thought of building at the Shore.
Douglas Street was a cul-de-sac, called the 'Oo' Mill Entry ; the
West Free Church and the Territorial School are built on " The
Whins," the meeting-place of the Guildry and Seven Incor-
porated Trades when walking the Marches ; and Barnton Street
and Murray Place were only opened up about the year 1840.

Before that time the coaches for the north passed along Port
Street, up King Street, down Friars Wynd and Maxwell Place,
along Maxwell Street, Cowane Street, and down Lower Bridge
Street to and over the Old Bridge. To particularize : Union
Buildings, at the south-east end of Port Street, replaced an
old building with an outside stair. Tammas Allan, the heckler
of lint, was one of the tenants, and his cough, it was said, could
be heard at the other end of the street. At the rear of this old
house was a woodyard and sawpit, where " Danny " Ferguson,
the celebrated bone-setter, wrought before he took to the pro-
fession in which he became so eminently successful. The adjoin-
ing building (now 75-81 Port Street) was occupied as the Union
Hotel, and long after it was given up as such the sign, a bunch
of grapes, hung over the doorway. At the top of Craigs (at one
time called Skinner Street) Bryce's buildings replaced an old
thatch-roofed public-house, and a little down from the junction
of the Craigs with Port Street, Messrs Fotheringham, spirit
merchants, had their bottling stores, which reached at least to
the middle of the present street. Previously a coachwork, be-
longing to the late George Thomson, the old buildings gave way
to the present ones, part of which were occupied for some time
by the proprietors of "The Stirling Observer." In Port Street,
opposite Bryce's buildings, on the site of the shop recently
vacated by Messrs Robertson & Macfarlane, grocers, stood the
White Hart Inn (" Jamie Hart's "), famous farmers' quarters,
and Misses Stoddart's and Mr Dunsmore's shops take the place
of Andrew Kerr's public-house. Andrew was noted for his
practical jokes, and the house was a favourite rendezvous. The
property belonging to Mr John Gillespie, grocer, stands on the
site of buildings which were occupied by Messrs D. & J.


MacEwen as salt stores and M'Lellan's ale stores ; Messrs Kin-
ross' works were at one time Stevenson's wool mill, at the back
of which there was a large pond with goldfish. There were also
some buildings in front, for long known as Bailie Macgregor's
carpet factory, in part of which Messrs Duncan (now Munro)
& Jamieson, printers, commenced business. The Town Burn
still runs across the street at this part, but was closed over in
1851. Mr Adam, china merchant, altered the public-house of
Duncan M'Lareii a well-known resort to its present appear-
ance, and on the other side of the street, where Misses Stewart,
Misses Dunn & Wilson, and Messrs Stewart, jewellers, have
their shops, stood an old three-storey house, one of the shops in
which was kept by Mrs Sutherland, the proprietrix, a well-
known old lady, who did a very large business in stamping on
linen, making up linen caps (or mutches, as they were called),
&c. There was also a public-house connected with her premises,
and a road led through the property to Wolf Craig. From the
foot of King Street to Messrs Kinross' the street was so narrow
that two coaches could not pass each other, and at the time of
the trysts, when many thousands of cattle, ponies, and sheep
passed through, the walls of the houses on either side were be-
spattered with mud in wet weather several feet up. People
wishing to get to what is now the gasworks went by Orchard
Place, then called " The Dirten Tide, ' or through a lane beside
the Golden Lion Hotel. A plan was prepared in 1820 for a road
to run from Orchard Place across the fields below the gasworks,
and across the Forth by a bridge below Forthside House, and
thence to Cambuskemieth Tower.

King Street was at one time called Quality Street, but had
little pretension to the name, as there were in it some of the
oldest houses in the burgh. Where the buildings occupied by
Messrs Valentine, Macdonald, Hodge, and Dow now stand,
there was a brae, with old thatched and tiled houses at the top,
where a Mrs Wilson sold " luggies," caups, spurtles, stoups, and
other wooden articles. The present block of buildings was
erected by the late Thomas Gillies, ironmonger, and long a
Town Councillor, Mr Robert Marshall, who still resides in
Wallace Street, being one of the first tenants, his firm being
Knox & Marshall, hatters. Joseph Owen, hatter, a somewhat


pompous man, occupied the shop now No. 3, and at No. 7, Mr
John Shearer, " Dandy," from the tasteful manner in which he
dressed, was postmaster and bookseller. He was one of the
most obliging of postmasters, and a thorough gentleman. The
Royal Bank buildings occupy the site of two public-houses one
of them extensive carriers' quarters. The Royal Restaurant
replaced a building, the shops of which were reached by three
or four steps, one of them being occupied by the late William
Peddie, bookseller, a well-known townsman. Where now stands
Inglis & Smith's drapery warehouse was Lowry M'Laren's
tavern, entry to which was by a neat wooden porch. Lowry for
a long time drove one of the mail coaches between Glasgow and
Stirling. Graham & Morton's large block of buildings occupies
the ground of Leishman's (afterwards King's) joinery shop.
King was grandfather to Lord Provost Sir James King of Glas-
gow. M'Aree Bros.' property (renewed a few years ago) at one
time belonged to Mr Stupart, writer, and here " Sandy " Nel-
son, a well-known vintner and grain dealer, had his shop, which
was a favourite rendezvous of farmers 011 market days. The
" Wallace Arms " Inn, immediately above, was bought by the
late John Barnes, hairdresser, an enthusiastic abstainer, and
altered into the present shop of Mr Gabriel Smith, and the
Clydesdale Bank was erected on the ground of an old house
which belonged to a family of the name of Stewart.

On the other side of the street the Bank of Scotland, at the
head of Friars Street, occupies the site of the old " Saracen's
Head " Inn (much famed in olden times) and the shops of Thos.
Wliite, bootmaker, andy Nelly M'Be' (M'Beath), vegetable
dealer. The cattle passing down the street on their way to the
trysts used to " nip " up Nelly's stock-in-trade, and many a
squabble used to take place between her and the drovers as to
the payment. The " Saracen's Head " was one of the starting-
places for mail coaches, and in front of the hostelry stood a
mile-stone. The premises occupied by Mr William Meiklejohn
as W. & A. Johnston, drapers, were altered from one of the
branch shops of Messrs D. & J. MacEwen, grocers, and a wide
entry leading to Henderson's iron merchant's store, and the
writing offices of Messrs Nimmo & Crawford. Mr Robert Liddel
erected his present shop on the site of a building long occupied


by William Wright, better known as " Snuff Wriclit," for which
commodity he was famed. In his shop Bailie Robert Macewen
served his apprenticeship. On the site of Thos. Menzies & Co.'s
front warehouse stood an old smithy occupied by John Stewart,
having an outside stair at one end. Mrs Stewart was a terror
to the youngsters. The front of the Arcade occupies the site
of the shops of Messrs Harvey, watchmaker, and Malloch, gun-
smith, and Dr Rogers, of Wallace Monument fame, had his
publishing office on the first flat, the printing office being where
Messrs Menzies' drapery saloon now stands. Two breweries
occupied the next ground, and one of them, the " Crown " Inn,
was that of Mrs Christie, mother of the late Bailie John
Christie, ironmonger. She died lately at the great age of 96.
The Union Bank stands on the site of an old house with an out-
side stair, and at Messrs R. S. Shearer & Son's bookseller's shop
there was an arched entrance to the back of the " Golden Lion "
Hotel, much used when the stage-coaches were running. A
board (still to be seen at the back of the hotel) contains the
following notices :

'' From Stirling to Perth. The Defiance four-horse coach,
Royal Hotel & Gibb's, at 10 minutes before 9 a.m. The Rapid
four-horse fast coach, at 30 minutes past 3 p.m.

" From Stirling to Glasgow. The Rapid, Royal Hotel &
Union, at half-past 8 p.m. The Defiance, Royal Hotel & Gibb's,
at 30 minutes past noon."

At this hotel at the time Wingate's Inn Burns, while on a
visit to Stirling, after viewing the home of the Stuarts, is said
to have written the famous lines on the present dynasty :

"Here Stuarts once in glory reigii'd,
And laws for Scotland's weal ordain'd ;
But now unroof 'd their palace stands,
Their sceptre's sway'd by other hands.
The injur'd Stuart line is gone,
A race outlandish fills their throne
An idiot race, to honour lost :
Who know them best despise them most."

The imprudence of the lines on the Palace of Stirling was


hinted to the poet by a friend, on which he took out his dia-
mond, saying, " Oh, I mean to reprove myself," walked to the
window, and scratched " The Reproof '' on the pane

" Rash mortal, and slanderous poet, thy name
Shall no longer appear in the records of fame :
Dost not know, that old Mansfield, who writes like the Bible,
Says, The more 'tis a truth, sir, the more 'tis a libel ? "

A writer in the Paisley Magazine, 1828, gives the following
more satisfactory account of these celebrated lines, involving
circumstances which reflect the brightest lustre on the character
of the Ayrshire poet : " They were not the composition of
Burns, but of his friend Nicol. This we state from the testimony
of those who themselves knew the fact as it truly stood, and who
were well acquainted with the high-wrought feelings of honour
and friendship which induced Burns to remain silent under the
obloquy which their affiliation entailed upon him. The in-
dividual whose attention the lines first attracted was a clerk in
the employment of the Carron Iron Company, then travelling
through the country collecting accounts or receiving orders,
who happened to arrive immediately after the departure of the
poet and his friend. On inquiry, he learned that the last
occupant of the apartment was the far-famed Burns, and on this
discovery he immediately transferred a copy of the lines to his
memorandum book of orders, made every person as wise as him-
self on the subject ; and penned an answer to them, which, with
the lines themselves, soon spread over the country, and found a
place in every periodical of the day. To this poetic critic of the
Carron Works do we owe the first hint of Burns being the
author of this tavern effusion. They who saw the .writing on
the glass know that it was not the hand-writing of the poet ;
but this critic, who neither knew his autograph nor his person,
chose to consider it as such, and so announced it to the world.
On his return to Stirling, Burns was both irritated and grieved
to find that this idle and mischievous tale had been so widely
spread and so generally believed. The reason of the cold and
constrained reception he met with from some distinguished
friends, which at the time he could not account for, was now


explained, and he felt in all its bitterness the misery of being
innocently blamed for a thing which he despised as unworthy of
his head and heart. To disavow the authorship was to draw
down popular indignation 011 the head of Nicol a storm which
would have annihilated him. Rather than ruin the interests of
that friend, he generously and magnanimously, or, as some less
fervent mind may think, foolishly, devoted himself to unmerited
obloquy, by remaining silent, and suffering the story to circu-
late uncontradicted. The friend who was with Burns when
he indignantly smashed the obnoxious pane with the butt-end
of his whip, and who was perfectly aware of the whole circum-
stances as they really stood, long and earnestly pleaded with
him to contradict the story that had got wind, and injured him
so much in public estimation. It was with a smile of peculiar
melancholy that Burns made this noble and characteristic
reply : ' I know I am not the author; but I'll be damned ere I
betray him. It would ruin him he is my friend! ' It is un-
necessary to add that to this resolution he ever afterwards
remained firm."

Messrs W. Drummond & Sons' seed establishment was
erected in 1840, and was at one time famous for its agricultural
museum. On the site of the British Linen Bank was a row of
little shops, and the first flat after Murray Place was opened
up was for some time the^-Macfarlane Library. " y The present
handsome buildings were erected by the late Mr Peter Drum-
mond for the Stirling Tract Enterprise, the British Linen Com-
pany acquiring the property on the Depot being removed to the
present premises in Dumbarton Road.

A range of old houses, with stairs jutting out on the street,
stood where Messrs Craig, Drummond, Grieve, and Hepting
now have their shops, the " Hole in the Wall," a public-house,
occupying part of the buildings. Duncan Cameron's public-
house and carriers' quarters stood in from the road where now
stands the shop of Dean of Guild Millar. Mr Wilson's paint-
shop and the back entrance to the " Golden Lion " Hotel were
on the site of what are now the shops of Messrs Smith and Gard-
ner ; a coach-house and piggery were on the ground of the now
" People's Journal " Offices (Mr Eneas Mackay). Mr Brown's
grocery shop and the Lome Restaurant are built on the ground


of old granaries and Archie France's smithy. Messrs Crowe &
Rodgers' premises occupy the site of a plumbers' shop, which
was reached by about a dozen steps, and those of Messrs M'Kin-
lay & Son occupy the ground where stood a two-storey house,
with iron balcony, one of the shops being occupied by Mr Walls,
painter, at present in Maxwell Place. The " Ark," an old
public-house with two storeys above, now forms the lower
entrance to the Arcade. The Free North Church is built on
what was formerly a garden, the foundation-stone being laid by
the late Mr William Drummond on 8th October, 1851. The
Commercial Bank occupies the site of the " Eagle " Inn, and the
National Bank was removed from what is now the Boys'
Industrial School in Baker Street, and replaced an old two-
storeyed house, the " Bee Hive," which had an orchard behind.
Seaforth Place, Shore Road, was erected on the grounds of the
coachwork of the late Mr W T illiam Kinross, and Mr M'Lachlau
who afterwards removed to Linlithgow had coach-building
works at the back of the new offices of Messrs Wordie & Co. in
Thistle Street. Alongside the road from Thistle Street to
Lower Craigs was the Burgh Mill-dam, an open cesspool, where
all the filth from the burgh was collected, by the unprotected
side of which people had to pass, and this continued until a boy
was drowned in it, and the town had to pay " sweetly " for
neglecting to have it properly fenced.

In Friars Wynd (now street) the " Royal " Hotel was built on
the site of a large old building, occupied by " Luckie " Robert-
son, who kept a house with not the best character, and Archie
M'Intyre had also his public-house there, one being at that time
at nearly every second door. "Archie," and " Sandy " M'Lellan,
were well-known steamboat porters, and when the building got
into a ruinous state x " Donald Dow " of whom more anon took
up lodgings there. The stance was built upon by the late Bailie
Millar, and is still partly occupied by the firm. The shops of
Messrs Hetheriiigton, cabinetmaker, and M'Kinlay, saddler,
occupy the ground of another thatched public-house.

Baker Street has not changed so much as other parts of the
town. The shops of Messrs Boswell andfJicol occupy the stance
of still another public-house, with crow-stepped gable to the
street. At the restaurant below Bank Street (re-built by Mr


Thomas Peacock) there was another old house with crow-stepped
gable, and Allan Anderson, hatter (who built the tower at Craig-
mill lately occupied by Deuovan Adam, artist), had his business
premises here. The %l Stirling Arms " Inn was the old " Cross
Guns," kept by a Mrs Kay, and afterwards by Misses Pollock.
Mrs Hoggan's furniture warerooms are on the site of an old
brewery and public-house, the " White Horse," at one time
occupied by Mr Kidston. Next door was Towers' public-house,
and there was an outside stair standing partly across the pave-
ment. John Forbes' bookseller's shop was in the same building.
He was for some time a Town Councillor, but being a Unitarian,
he was somewhat looked down upon. His shop was the depot
for squibs, crackers, and all manner of fire works, and it would
startle the people nowadays if they were shown some of the
valentines which were exhibited in his window. He was also
agent for all kinds of light literature, and among the first in
Stirling to sell lucifer matches, which were sold at 8d per box.
A very unique house stood where Mr Eason has his grocery pre-
mises, near the head of Baker Street. The windows one large
and the other small were level with the street, and on descend-
ing four or five steps you reached the floor of the last of the
many vouts or vaults which were in Stirling in the olden time,
and there found " Granny " Hill, poulterer, in all her glory.
She was a very short, stout person, but had a long and bitter
tongue ; and besides poultry, she provided periwinkles for the
bairns. Frequently the late^ Archibald Campbell, or " the
Royal," as he was called, stopped for a talk, or to transact
business with Mrs Hill, and on fine days her chair was placed
at the head of the steps, where she sat plucking and dressing her
fowls. The Bishop's Close (98 Baker Street), was so called from
William Bruce, smith, who had his smithy and dwelling-house
there, having been known by the name of " The Bishop." He
was a most respectable, God-fearing man, who was in the habit
of addressing a particular body of people in the Trades Hall on
Sabbaths, and it is said that after service food was provided
for the worshippers.

In Broad Street there have been no new buildings for a great
many years, but considerable improvement was made by clear-
ing away the old houses in Jail Wynd in 1852, the upper side of


Church Wynd and Castle Wynd, which were " rookeries " of all
kinds of evil.

At the upper side of the entrance to the " Back Raw Kirk,' 1
now Erskine Church, in St. John Street, stood a large house, at
one time the lodgings of the Earl of Linlithgow. It was
occupied by the Staff of the Stirlingshire Militia as stores, and
on the lower side of the entrance stood a nail-maker's shop with
flat above and outside stair. The clearing away of the " Old
Mint " and the " Broad Stairs " at the foot of St.. John Street
improved this part of the town greatly. The house belonging to
Mr Oswald, slater, Spittal Street, was once the property of
Robert Spittal, tailor to King James VI., and had a half turret
similar to the one further up. One Mary Gray had a public-
house here, and a story is told that a soldier who had been drink-
ing in Mary's was decoyed down the turret stair where was a well
now covered over and never again heard of. Mr Young's
new house opposite the Royal Infirmary occupies the ground of
what was called the " Lions' Den," and it well deserved the
name. Spittal Street on the south side has been entirely re-
newed, old houses and closes having been cleared away, and
there is every appearance that before long it will be the princi-
pal route to the Castle.

Turning to the upper part of the town and beginning at the
Castle, we call to mind Sir Archibald Christie, Deputy Gover-
nor, a most worthy 'man, tall, and with a fine soldierly appear-
ance, but with cheeks disfigured by wounds received in the
Peninsula, caused by a charge of grape-shot. He was a great
favourite with the townspeople, took considerable interest in
the fishings, and often called at the shop near the head of Baker
Street, now occupied by Mr Dalgetty, clogmaker, waiting with
other well-known townspeople to see the fish brought from the
river for sale. He was very fond of an eel.
, 'Major Peddie, fort major, also resided in the Castle, with
his three sons and two comely daughters, and had charge of
Baird and Hardie while they lay in the Castle awaiting exe-
cution. The Peddie family had officers in the army from 1692
to 1871, in which year Major Peddie died. The whole line from
1692 down had, with few exceptions, belonged to the 21st Royal
North British Fusiliers, now 1 the Scots Fusiliers. Mr Patrick


Connal, agent of the National Bank, after retiring from active

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