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

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business, lived in the house at Mar Place now occupied by
General Satchwell. The same house was occupied for some
years by the best adjutant the Stirlingshire Militia ever had
Captain Kenny, who was the making of the regiment. He was
a general favourite, not only with the men, but with citizens
also, his burly figure being welcomed everywhere. " Fiscal "
Sawers resided in Valley Lodge, now the Fever Hospital.

Mrs Burns, a well-known residenter, lived in the house now
occupied by Mr William Cunningham, at the head of Broad
Street. This lady had a son, a nice young fellow, who died at
an early age, and was known as " Tiptoes, from a habit he had
of walking on his toes. He was very patriotic, and had a couple
of small cannon in the garden, which he fired off on Queen's
birthdays and other special occasions. Andrew Hutton, writer,
had his offices in the house adjoining, afterwards the " Prince of
Wales " Hotel. The next house was the residence of James
Kerr, writer, and agent for stamps, whose office was in the
premises at the foot of Broad Street, with entrance from St.
Mary's Wynd, formerly the office of the Stirling Bank. The
Stamp Office was removed from there to Graham's Court, Bow
Street, and afterwards to the flat above Jamiesou & Co.,
clothiers, King Street, with entrance (now built up) next the
Union Bank. " Balzie " Balfour, writer, had his office in the
court nearly opposite the Court-House ; Provost Forman and
Provost William Anderson, both booksellers, occupied Nos. 10
and 12 Broad Street. The next shop (still a grocer's) was
occupied by the father of the late Sir James Alexander, Knt.
of Westerton, as a tea merchant's warehouse, and afterwards by
Bailie John MacEwen as grocer's premises. The grocer's shop
at the entrance to St. Mary's Wynd belonging to Mrs Dow was
the seed shop of Mr Runciman, who was nicknamed " Paddle "
Runciman, owing to his large feet and the manner in which he
walked. He built the neat block of buildings forming Viewfield
Place. The house and garden at head of close, No. 30 Bow
Street, was the property of Mr Smith of Glassingall, the
founder of the Smith Institute. At No. 24 Bow Street, the
house at head of court was the town house of the Moirs of
Leckie. For a good many years previous to 1858 it was occupied


by Miss Wilson, who was connected with some of the county
families, and among the waste paper removed from the house
at her death was found a commission given by Prince Charlie
to one of her forefolks. Here, alsOj/Mr Alexander (" Sandy ")
Meffen, Chief-Constable for the county, died. " Tarn " Steel,
Bailie and candlemaker, played his practical jokes from the
lower half (there being two at that time) of the shop of Mr
Robert Menzies, grocer. He had such a fondness for joking
that it was said when any " ploy " was going on he was sure
to have a hand in it. This property was at one time the town
house of the Lairds of Keir, and in front of it some of the
relatives of John Cowane, Stirling's best benefactor, had their
booth. Mr Prentice, draper, erected the large building at the
corner of Broad and Bow Streets, and did a large trade with
country people. James Peddie, writer, had his offices here, and
with him Messrs A. & J. Jenkins served their apprenticeship.
This house occupies the site of Castle Brady, the residence of
John Brady of Easter Keniiet, who flourished at the close of the
16th century, and the house adjoining was the lodging of the
Earl of Morton, who resided there at the time of the " Raid of
Stirling," in 1571. At No. 23 Broad Street there is a court,
and up an outside stair there the Stirling School of Arts had
their library and museum, previous to which the premises
formed the offices of Mr Hill, writer. Nos. 25 and 27 were
occupied about the beginning of the century by " Tammy
A'thing " (Thomas Wright), who was Provost of the burgh for
some time, and father of the late Misses Wright of Clifford Park.
He died in 1824. / Councillor James Burden, brewer and spirit
dealer, had his premises (still a brewery) next the Police Build-
ings, the house being greatly patronised on market days. His
son, Mr John Burden, now in America, still takes great interest
in his native town. On the site of the Weigh-House, on the
upper side of Jail Wynd, stood at one time the house of the
family of Lennox. , Mr Christie, father of Mr William Christie,
watchmaker, had his drapery shop at No. JL3 Bow Street ; he
served his apprenticeship with Mr Patrick Connal, who had a
drapery establishment at No. 2 St. Mary's Wynd (now a spirit
shop), the late Mr James Shirra succeeding Mr Christie as
apprentice. The " Blue Bell " Inn (Bailie Cullens) stood next,


and then the shop of Mr M'Laren, bookseller (5 Bow Street).
Here Sir George Harvey, the celebrated painter, served his
apprenticeship, and first showed his powers by the sketch of a
group of fish, which was exhibited in the shop window. Sandy
Grant's shop is still a watchmaker's, Mr Thomson, one of his
apprentices, now carrying on the business. Mr William Christie
also " served his time" with Sandy.

Messrs Walter and Alick Reid had their drapery shop in the
building at the corner. of Bow and Baker Streets, where the
branch Post Office is now situate. Walter Callender, now in
America, and a reputed millionaire, learned his trade here.
Bailie Jaffrey, a grocer, occupied the shop No. 99 Baker Street,
and is mentioned in one of the poems of " Strilia's Bard " now
a very rare work. He was a very respectable man, but his
friends often twitted him for having married a young woman,
he being at the time well up in years. Ebenezer Johnstoiie,
from the shop, No. 38 (now No. 79), published the first number
of " The Stirling Observer " in 1836, the printing office being
situated up the Industrial School entry. The shop was previ-
ously occupied by Mr Charles Randall, printer and publisher of
a great number of chap-books and other literature, father of the
late Mr Randolph, of Randolph & Elder, the celebrated Clyde
engineers. The shop was afterwards occupied by William Camp-
bell, bootmaker, a very big man, but one of the best swimmers
and divers Stirling ever had ; he was always foremost in giving
his services in searching for the bodies of drowned persons in
the river, and not a few did he thus recover. At 76 Baker
Street, on the right hand of the first flat, Mr Harvey, watch-
maker, father of Sir George Harvey, had his business premises,
Deacon Chalmers, tailor, " a well-known member of the com-
munity, occupying the other half. Provost Raiikin, china mer-
chant, occupied what is now a spirit shop, No. 65.
The first co-operative store (which was on a very small scale)
was managed by John Youill in the shop now occupied by Mr
James Anderson, grocer, at the foot of Bank Street. It did
not succeed, and Youill went to Australia. Co-operation was
again tried in the shop, No. 80 Baker Street, and continued for
some time, but also had to be given up. Two doors below Bank
Street, " Snuff Jean " sold her commodity. She once told Mr


Wright Gumming, bootmaker (who is still among us), that,
when a child, her father held her up in his arms and showed her
" Princ'e Charlie " coming out of the Coffee-house Close (14 Bow
Street), where he lived while besieging Stirling Castle, and
she remembered seeing two Highlanders with guns standing at
the entry. In Dalgleish Court was the Fiscal's office, and
opposite to it the " dead house," or mortuary, where all bodies
were taken till claimed or buried. The Royal Bank commenced
business in the shops, now of Mr Gumming, grocer, and the
millinery premises adjoining. Opposite is a house, with gable
to the street, with an inscription which reads thus :





This was a famed pie and porter house, kept by Mrs Jaffrey,
a stout, neat little woman, who was a picture of tidiness. Her
son has made himself a name by his energy and perseverance,
and some years ago presented Birmingham with a hospital, said
to have cost about a quarter of a million. Mr Peter Dalgleish
had his extensive candle-making business in the premises, No.
9 Baker Street, and many a halfpenny he paid school children
of that time for their used copy-books. David Miller, "Priucie,"
did a large stationery trade next door, " chap-books," so much
read at that time, being sold there by thousands.

Bishop Gleig, of the Episcopal Church, resided in Upper
Bridge Street. He was a very neat personage, and wore knee
breeches, silk stockings, silk apron, and a cocked hat. His son
rose to be Chaplain-General of the British Forces, and was also
author of a number of novels. The chapel a small one with
belfry and bell stood on the main road, nearly opposite the
Royal Hotel.

The hotels and inns were Gibb's " Red Lion " Inn, King
Street; Sawers' "Golden Grapes," Port Street; Wilson's
"Star" Inn, Baker Street; A. Campbell, 12 King Street;
Archibald Thomson, 67 King Street ; M'Pherson's coffee-house,


Bow Street ; Gibson's " Old Cross Keys," King Street ; Andrew
Kerr's " Stirling Arms," Lower Bridge Street ; and Mrs Thom-
son's Inn, Port Street.

Amongst the principal lodging-houses were Mrs Duncan,
Port Street ; Mrs Young, Port Street ; Mr Paterson, Spring
Gardens ; Miss Flint, Baker Street ^_Mrs Leggate, King Street ;
Mrs Dick, Spittal Street ; Mrs King, St. Mary's Wynd ; Mrs
M'Morran, St. Mary's Wynd ; Mrs Redpath, Broad Street ;
Mrs Hempseed, Lower Bridge Street ; Mrs Burrel, Esplanade ;
and Mrs Dawson, King Street.

The bairns were satisfied with the " Double Hedges," the
Back Walk, the Deil's Hole, the Hurley Hawkie, the King's
Knot, and the Butt Well as play-places, and many a happy day
was spent about the Well, rolling down the slope (now fenced in)
or making hats, umbrellas, or other ornaments, of the rushes
which grew in abundance there, while the mothers or servants
were busy washing or " tramping " clothes at the Well. There
were some " dare devils " who used to climb up the rocks at the
back of the Castle, receiving as their reward on reaching the
top a glass of wine and sixpence.

Water was a very scarce commodity in Stirling, and the
people were often in a fix, until 1849, when the Touch supply
was got. Wells wejre placed at distances along the streets, and
in time of scarcity a row of wooden stoups, in pairs, from the
well below the Industrial School entry, in Baker Street, up to
and round Bow Street corner, was no unusual sight. The good
wives put out their stoups at night, and as each pair was filled,
the rest were moved down but it was a weary wait.

On the north side of Baker Street, in Bow Street, and the
lower portion of Broad Street wells of excellent " hard water "
are still to be found, but a great many have been covered over.
In cases of fire there was often great difficulty through want of
water. Every householder near the scene of the outbreak, on
the alarm being given, ran with his or her pair of stoups, and
gave assistance. We remember a fire taking place at the corner
of Broad Street and Church Wynd, when the children were
thrown from the windows and caught in blankets. The regi-
ment in the Castle at the time turned out and lined the route
to the wells, the stoups and pails being passed along full on the


one side, and empty on the other. We think the fire originated
in the house occupied by the late "Tarn" Robertson, who, as
well as his father, was Guildry Officer for a great number of

The Valley, now part of the Cemetery.

Here tournaments used to be held, while the fair ones of the
Court, whose bright eyes, no doubt, in the words of Milton,

" Rained influence and adjudged the prize,"

.surveyed the extravagant doings of the other sex from the
eminence which bears their name, "The Ladies' Rock." A re-
markable conflict took place here during the reign of James II.,
who had revived the sanguinary species of the tournament,
which his father had suppressed. Two noble Burguudians,
named Lelani one of whom, Jacques, was as celebrated a
knight as Europe could boast together with one Squire
Meriadel, challenged three Scottish knights to fight with lance,
battle-axe, sword, and daggers. Having been all solemnly
knighted by the king, they engaged in the Valley. Of the
Scotsmen, two were Douglases, and the third belonged to the
honourable family of Halket. Soon throwing away their lances,
they had recourse to the axe, when one of the Douglases was
felled outright, and the king, seeing the combat unequal, threw
down his baton, the signal for cessation. The remaining
Douglas and de Lelani had approached so close that of all their
weapons none remained save a dagger in the hand of the
Scottish knight, and this he could not use by reason of the
Burgundian holding his wrist, at the same time wheeling him
in a struggle round the lists. The other Lelani was strong, but
unskilled in warding the battle-axe, and soon had his visor,
weapons, and armour crushed to pieces. MeriadeFs antagonist,
Halket, had attacked him with the lance, but that being
knocked out of his hand by the butt-end of Meriadel's lance, he
was felled to the ground, and, on again rising to renew the
combat, was laid prostrate to rise no more.

A different exhibition was made in the Valley about half a


century later. About 1503 an Italian came to Scotland, and,
pretending to alchemy, gave James IV. hopes of possessing the
philosopher's stone. The king collated him to the Abbacy of
Tungland. That the Abbot had believed in his own impostures,
appears from a record to the effect that in September, 1507, an
embassy was sent by the king to France, on which occasion the
Abbot of Tungland "tuik in hand to flie with wingis, and to be
in Fraunce befoir the sadis ambassadouris. And to that effect
he causet mak ane pair of wingis with fedderis, qukilkes beand
fessinet upoun him, he flew of the Castell wall of Strivelling,
hot shortlie he fell to the ground and brak his thee bane ; bot
the wyt thairof he ascrybit to that thair was sum hen fedderis in
the winges quhilk yarint and covet the mydding and not the
skyis. In this aoinge he pressit (essayed) to conterfute ane
king of Tungland callit Bladud, quha, as thair histories men-
tiones, decked himself in fedderis, and presumed to flie in the
aire as he did, bot, falling on the tempell of Apollo, brak his
neck." This Abbot of Tungland says a well-known Scottish
novelist seriously pestered the late Roman Legate ^Eneas
Sylvius that the Pope Eugene IV., as head of the Church and
" vicegerent of heaven upon earth," would intercede for the
fallen angel, to have him forgiven and received once more into
Divine favour, to the sublime end that all evil in the world would
henceforth cease ; for the good old clergyman, in the largeness
of heart, like his poetic countryman in after years, felt that he
could even forgive the devil, when he thought

Auld Nickey Ben,
Maybe wad tak' a thocht and mend.

But poor Pope Eugene was too much bothered and embroiled
by the untractable Council of Basle to attend at that time to
the mighty crotchets of the Abbot of Tungland. The poor abbot
was completely scouted, and his charlatanry met with a severe
and most unsavoury reprehension at the hands of the celebrated
poet Dunbar, whose indignation was not softened by his being
a contemporary candidate for ecclesiastical honours.

The Valley is said to have been, in later times, the scene of
execution of several witches. A strange, vague circumstance


is attached by tradition to one of these incidents. It was
believed, in consequence of the threat of one of the unhappy
beings about to undergo execution, that, if she turned round
in approaching the stake, and looked upon the town, it should
immediately take fire. In order to prevent this dreadful event,
the pious minister who accompanied the witch took the pre-
caution of enveloping her head in the short velvet cloak which,
according to the custom of the Presbyterian clergy of the
seventeenth century, he usually wore round his own shoulders.
Had he not done this, there can be no doubt Stirling would
have suffered the fate destined for the poor witch.

The Horse Fair, or Market, was held for many years in " The
Valley," but was removed when the Town Council decided to
construct a cemetery there. A great outcry was got up about
destroying "The Valley," but many who were determined
opponents lived to recognise the vast improvement which was


The town fifty or sixty years ago was well supplied with
markets. The Flesh Market stood on the site of part of the
present High School, with the slaughter-house behind. A large
square was occupied with booths where country and town
fleshers exposed their meat for sale, the market being for a long
time held twice a week. Good boiling meat could be got at
5d. per Ib. ; coarse pieces at 4d. ; pork, 4d. There was a public-
house in the corner of the square, where whisky was sold at 3d.
per gill. 4d. procured a gill, a bottle of capp, and a piece of
oatcake. Capp was small beer, bottled, and a capital drink it
made. Publicans could sell at any hour of the day or night in
those days.

The Butter Market in Broad Street was always filled with
country women, having baskets of poultry, eggs, and butter,
and the Weigh-House with cheese and salt butter. Poultry
could be got at a very reasonable rate a good fowl for cock-a-
leekie for one shilling. The country wives prided themselves on
their fresh butter, which found a ready market. They were


kept from giving light weight by the Inspector of Weights com-
ing on them unawares. There is a story told of a woman who
knew her butter would not stand the test, and on the appear-
ance of the inspector she stuck the first coin that came to her
hand, and which happened to be half-a-crown, into the topmost
roll. As the inspector was leaving, a person who had noticed
the action, tendered the price of the half pound, carrying off
both butter and coin, the seller not daring to refuse sale.

On the right hand side of Broad Street stood carts with
potatoes ; on the left, carts with fruit, vegetables, tinware, and
boxes of young pigs ; while at the upper part, near the Court-
House, was ranged a large number "of fleshers' carts. Fish was
also sold here.

Another market now a thing of the past was the Shearers'
Market, which was held for a number of Monday mornings at
the time of "hairst." The lower part of Broad Street used to
be crowded with men and women Scotch, English, and, for
the most part, from the " Green Isle." Each one carried his
" heuck," or reaping hook, and farmers came and engaged the
number they required at so much a day, or for the whole har-
vest, with bed and board. In 1836 shearers received from Is.
6d. to 2s. each day, with victuals.

About 1831 wages were very low. Masons received 2s. 4d.
per day of 9 working hours ; bricklayers, 2s. 6d. ; plasterers, 3s.
4d. ; slaters, 3s. 2d. ; plumbers, 2s. 9d. ; joiners and carpenters,
(10 hours), 2s. 4d. ; shoemakers (12 hours), 2s. 6d. ; blacksmiths
(10 hours), 2s. lOd. ; tailors, 3s. 4d. ; but these are very poor
wages as compared with the present time. Ordinary black tea
at that time was 4d. per oz. ; brown sugar, 5Jd. per Ib. Houses
of two apartments were about 4 yearly.


The Trysts held at Stenhousemuir three times a year in-
creased very much the Stirling customs revenue, and although
still held, are but phantoms of their former greatness. There
would be at times not less than from thirty to forty thousand
cattle, and sixty to seventy thousand sheep, passing through


the town, besides large droves of Highland " shelties." Before
the new bridge was built, all passed over the old bridge, and
the droves followed so closely upon each other that, on one
occasion, when a dispute took place with the tollman at St.
Ninians, the cattle were stopped, as were all succeeding droves,
until the entire road through Stirling and Causewayhead on to
the Sheriffmuir Road, at the entrance to Bridge of Allan, a dis-
tance of four miles, was one dense mass of cattle, sheep, and


There were the May (or " Feeing ") Fair, and the October (or
" Peter Mackie's ") Fair, but their glory has now departed.
Delightful they were for young and old townspeople, Jockey
and Jenny, and they also put a goodly sum into the coffers of
shopkeepers. Two busy and uproariously happy days in the year
have nearly disappeared, and bairns ought to blush when they
ask their " fairing," as people almost forget there are such days.

What happy times those were for the country folks! What
meetings, what embracing and kissing no shame with it what
kindly " speiring " for each other's welfare ! How did they like
their places ? was it a good meat house ? and a score of other
queries. Country servants made the fairs days of real pleasure,
as but little they had of it in the dreary bothies during the dark
winter nights, and glad were they to get into the town for a
day to see old acquaintances, patronise the shows, and meet
their sweethearts. What a congregation there used to be in
King Street and Baker Street. What with stands and people,
it was difficult to crush through the crowd from Bank Street to
the middle of King Street. It was a sight to see the meetings,
" Hoo's a' wi' ye, Jock ? Whan did ye see Jenny ? Come awa',
man, into Johnny Pok's" (Pollok's, the old ' Cross Guns ' at the
foot of Bank Street, a famed house), " and ha'e a dram." After
the dram had been partaken of, down the street they went ;
more friends were met, and more drams taken. Then, meeting
the lasses and treating them to sweeties at Young's or/Car-
michael's off they went, " hooching," to the Corn Exchange
Square. After seeing the waxwork, the fat woman, and other


shows, Jock maun ha'e a ride on the " hobby-horses." Round
they go. Jock is in his element. How poor the hobby-horses
were then in comparison with the elegant tums-out now. They
were driven by little boys who got in between the spars and ran
round the circle, pushing as they went, then, after doing this
for some time, they got payment in a free ride. The boys now-
a-days, while lounging in the luxurious couches provided for
them in the merry-go-rounds, require a cigarette between their
lips to make their enjoyment complete. Jock comes off giddy,
but not so bad but he maun ha'e Jenny into the " shuggy boat."
What screiching and laughing when the boat is at its highest
in the air; and what hauding on tae Jock by Jenny, lest she
fall ; what squeezing and kissing ! Oh thae daft days ! how
quickly they pass. After getting some of Danny Reid's famous
twopenny pies and more drink, the day is wound up by an
adjournment to the Corn Exchange Hall, where dancing is
carried on till " a' 'oors." Jock gangs awa' hame early in the
morning, has an " 'oor's " sleep, gets up tae his wark wi' a sair
head, but no' that sair but he would repeat the operation.

At times a countryman would be tempted to take the shilling
from a kilted warrior, and very proud Jock (half fou') would be
at the thought of being a defender of his country. But as the
sergeant and he wended their way to the Castle, some of his
acquaintances would get sight of him, and then what a
commotion. They would not have him taken. Jock would
begin to " blubber," a scuffle would ensue ; but as soldiers have
got the authority, out would come sword and bayonet, and
poor Jock would be safely marched to the Castle, where he had
either to stay or pay " the smart."



C_-X A ^N HO of the scholars who attended the schools pre-
I L 1 I sided over by Peter and/- Duncan M'Dougall and
VJ^y/ William Young, with their assistants, M'Laren and
^^ ^^ Scott, do not recollect them with a fond and grate-
ful remembrance? What though at times the cane may have
hurt ? (a little more of the cane than is at present given would
do no harm) we know now it was for our good, and very likely
we richly deserved it. Good and attentive masters they were,
all of them. The M'Dougall Silver Medal (for penmanship)
and the M'Dougall Scholarship (for mathematics) given
annually in the High School, were instituted by former pupils
of both uncle and nephew.

"Patie" M'Dougall.

" Patie," after he retired from active duties, often paid a visit
to the school, and loved to have a talk with ahy of the pupils

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