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264                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.



In the course of these observations
upon the condition of the country
during this remote period of our his­
tory, its commercial wealth and the
state of its early manufactures are
subjects of great interest, upon which
it will be necessary to offer some re­
marks; and both points are so inti-

1 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.

mately connected with the navigation
of the country, that it will be impos­
sible to advert to the one without at­
tending to the other. The general
prosperity of the kingdom under the
reign of Alexander the Third has
already been noticed; and there is
even reason to believe that, at an infi­
nitely more remote period, the Scots
had established a commercial inter­
course with the continent, and, in the
end of the sixth century, imported
fine linen from foreign parts.2 Under
the reign of Macbeth—a monarch
whom the patient research of our an­
tiquaries has rescued from the re­
gion of fable and the immortal libels
of Shakespeare—the kingdom was
wealthy; and, from the discovery of
large quantities of money coined by
Canute, the almost contemporary King
of England, we may infer the existence
of some foreign commerce. It is cer­
tain that, in a pilgrimage to Rome,
this king exhibited a liberality in dis­
tributing money to the poor which
was considered remarkable even in
that rich resort of opulent pilgrims.3
The rich dresses which were imported
by Malcolm the Third, the Asiatic
luxuries of Alexander the First, and
the grant by Edgar to the church of
Durham of the duties on ships which
entered the ports of a certain district
in his dominions, all denote the exist­
ence of a trade with foreign countries.
Under the subsequent prosperous
and able reign of David the First, the
evidence of the Cartularies, and the
minute and interesting details of his
friend and biographer, Ethelred, en­
able us to form some idea of the com­
mercial wealth of the nation. Scotland
was, at this period, visited by many
foreign ships ; and the merchants of
distant countries traded and exchanged
their commodities with her opulent
burghers. It was the praise of this
monarch, to use the language of For­
dun, “that he enriched the ports of

2  Macpherson’s Notes on Winton, vol. ii.
p. 479.

3  A. D. ML. " Rex Scotiæ Machetad Rome
argentum seminando pauperibus distribuit.”
Marianus Scotus. Macpherson’s Notes on
Winton, vol. ii. pp. 469, 479.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                      265

his kingdom with foreign merchandise,
and to the wealth of his own land
added the riches and the luxuries of
foreign nations; that he changed its
coarse stuffs for precious vestments,
and covered its ancient nakedness with
purple and fine linen.” 1 In his reign
the ports of Perth, Stirling, and Aber­
deen were the resort of foreign mer­
chant ships, which paid certain duties
to government before they were per­
mitted to trade; and out of the sums
thus collected, the king, who favoured
the Church, gave frequent grants to
the monasteries and religious houses.2
One great cause of the wealth and
prosperity of Scotland during those
early times was the settlement of
multitudes of Flemish merchants in
the country, who brought with them
the knowledge of trade and manufac­
tures, and the habits of application
and industry which have so long cha­
racterised this people. These wealthy
citizens had been welcomed into Eng­
land by the wisdom of Henry the
First, and had settled upon the district
contiguous to the Marches, from which
they gradually spread into the sister
country during the reign of Alexander
the First. In 1155 Henry the Second,
with angry and shallow policy, banished
all foreigners from his dominions;3
and the Flemings, of whom there
were then great numbers in England,
eagerly flocked into the neighbouring
country, which offered them a near
and safe asylum. Here, without los­
ing their own particular tendency to
make money by trade, and to establish
commercial settlements, they accom­
modated themselves to the warlike
habits of the people, and willingly
served with other mercenary troops
of the same nation in the king\s
army;4 whilst, at the same time, their
wealth and industry as traders, fishers,
manufacturers, and able and intelli­
gent craftsmen, made them excellent
instruments in the hands of David
the First for humanising and amelio­
rating the character of his people, and

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 305.
Dalrymple’s Collections, p. 386.
Brompton, p. 1043.
Gulielmus Neubrigensis, p. 232.

introducing amongst them habits of
regular civil occupation.

We can trace the settlement of these
industrious citizens, during the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries, in almost
every part of Scotland,—in Berwick,
the great mart of our foreign com­
merce; in the various towns along the
east coast; in St Andrews, Perth,
Dumbarton, Ayr, Peebles, Lanark,
Edinburgh; and in the districts of
Renfrewshire, Clydesdale, and Annan-
dale. There is ample evidence of their
industrious progress in Fife, in Angus,
in Aberdeenshire, and as far north as
Inverness and Urquhart. It would
even appear, from a record of the reign
of David the Second, that the Flem­
ings had procured from the Scottish
monarchs a right to the protection
and exercise of their own laws.5 It
has been ingeniously conjectured that
the story of Malcolm the Fourth hav­
ing dispossessed the ancient inhabit­
ants of Moray, and of his planting a
new colony in their stead, may have
originated in the settlement of the
Flemings in that remote and rebellious
district.6 The early domestic manu­
factures of our country, the woollen
fabrics which are mentioned by the
statutes of David, and the dyed and
shorn cloths which appear in the char­
ter of William the Lion to the burgh
of Inverness,7 must have been greatly
improved by the superior dexterity
and knowledge of the Flemings; and
the constant commercial intercourse
which they kept up with their own
little states could not fail to be bene­
ficial in importing the knowledge and
the improvements of the continental
nations into the remoter country where
they had settled.8

The insular situation of Scotland,
and the boisterous seas and high rocky
coasts which defend it, must have
early accustomed its inhabitants to
direct their attention to the arts of ship­
building and navigation. Other causes

5  Robertson’s Index, p. 61.

6  Chalmers’ Caledonia, vol. i. pp. 627, 628.

7  See also the charter of William the Lion
to the royal burgh of Perth, in Cant’s Muse’s
Threnodie, vol. ii. p. 6.

8 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 403.

266                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

increased this. The early intercourse
and colonisation of the Western
Islands, and of the mainland districts
of Caithness and Sutherland, by the
Norwegians, with the constant piratic
battles which took place between this
powerful people and the independent
sea kings who broke off from their
dominion, nursed up a race of hardy
sailors and intelligent mercantile ad-
venturers; and these, on becoming
subjects and vassals of the Scottish
kings, brought with them a stock of
courage, skill, and enterprise, which
was of the highest value to the nation.
It is singular, too, that in these
remote islands, when they remained
under the dominion of the Norwegians,
there is reason to believe that the arts
and manufactures had been carried to
a high pitch of excellence. The He-
bridean chiefs, in the exercise of piracy,
the principal source of their wealth,
and then esteemed an honourable pro­
fession, had made descents upon most
of the maritime countries of the west
of Europe; had become acquainted
with the navigation of their seas, and
carried off to their islands the silks,
the armour, the golden vases, the
jewelled ornaments, and the embroi­
dered carpets and tapestry which they
plundered from the castles, churches,
and palaces of the west.1 Their skill
in navigation, and the formidable fleets
which they could launch against their
enemies, are attested in many passages
of their own historians. Alan, lord of
Galloway, one of those independent
princes who often disdained to acknow­
ledge the sovereignty of Scotland, fitted
out a fleet of a hundred and fifty ships,
and drove Olave the Black, king of
Man, from his dominions.2 At an era
anterior to this, Reginald Somerled,
then the king of Man, was so opulent
as to purchase the whole of Caithness
from William the Lion, an exception
being specially made of the yearly
revenue due to the sovereign.3 Ewen
of Argyle, one of these island chiefs,

1 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
pp. 278, 279.

2 Torfæi Orcades, lib. ii. This happened in

3 Chronicon Manniæ, apud Johnstone, An-

agreed, at an early period, probably
towards the conclusion of the reign of
Alexander the Second, to pay to the
Scottish monarch an annual tribute of
three hundred and twenty marks.4

Instructed by the vicinity of such
enterprising navigators, and aware of
the importance of a naval force, our
early sovereigns made every effort to
attain it. Alexander the Second, who
died on the expedition which he had
undertaken against Angus of Argyle,
had collected, if we may believe the
author of the Chronicle of Man, a great
fleet; and there is reason to think
that, during his reign, as well as under
that of his predecessor William, the
navy of the country became an object
of royal attention and encouragement.5
In the year 1249, Hugh de Chastillon,
earl of St Paul, one of the richest and
most powerful of the French barons,
consented to accompany Lewis the
Ninth to the Crusade ; and it is certain
that the ship which was to have borne
him and his vassals to the Holy Land
was built, by his orders, at Inverness.
It may be inferred from this fact that
the ship carpenters of Scotland had
acquired a reputation at this period
which had made them celebrated even
in foreign countries; and it furnishes,
perhaps, another proof of those vast
forests of oak and fir which at this
period covered the greater part of the
north of Scotland.6

In naval and commercial enterprise,
as in all the other arts and employ­
ments which contributed to increase
the comforts and the luxuries of life,
the clergy appear to have led the way.
They were the greatest shipowners in
the country; and the Cartularies con­
tain frequent exemptions from the
duties generally levied on the mer­
chantmen who imported foreign manu­
factures, which are granted to the
ships of the bishops, abbots, and
priors, who embarked the wealth of
their religious houses in these profit-

tiquitates Celto-Normanicæ, p. 52. This
happened in 1196.

4 Ayloffe’s Calendars of Ancient Charters,
p. 336.

5  Chronicon Manniæ, p. 36.

6  Math. Paris, p. 668. Ed. a Wats.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                             267

able speculations. At this period the
staple exports of Scotland seem to
have been wool, skins, hides, and salted
fish, in which there is evidence of a
flourishing and constant trade.1 For
live stock also, embracing cattle,
horses, and the indigenous sheep of
the country, there seems to have been
a frequent foreign demand; but the
woollen and linen manufactures were
too coarse to compete with the finer
stuffs of England, Flanders, and Italy,
and were probably exclusively em­
ployed for the clothing of the lower
classes. Still, there is ample proof
that, limited as was this list of exports,
the wealth of the country, even in
those districts which were considered
especially wild and savage, was con­
siderable. Under William the Lion,
Gilbert, the lord of Galloway, was
able, from the resources of his own
exchequer, to offer to pay to Henry
the Second a yearly tribute of two
thousand marks of silver; five hun­
dred cows; and five hundred swine.2

From the account which has already
been given of the wealth of the royal
revenue under our early kings, and of
the large sums of money expended on
various public occasions by David,
William, Alexander, and Malcolm the
Fourth, we must infer a correspondent
increase of wealth in the different
classes of the kingdom, especially in
the mercantile and trading part of the
community; and it is not improbable
that many of these sums were partly
contributed by an aid which was levied
from the different orders of the state,
although, if we except a few instances,
all records of such grants have been
lost. On one memorable occasion,
where William the Lion had engaged
to pay to John of England fifteen
thousand marks, we have seen that
the burghs contributed six thousand;
a sum equal to more than sixty thou­
sand pounds of our present money;3
and the large sums collected by the
Papal legates during the reign of Alex-

1 Rymer’s Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 95. Rymer,
Coll. MS. vol. ii. p. 287, in M'Pherson’s
Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 436.

2  This was in 1174. Benedictus Abbas, De
vita Henrici II., p. 93.

3  Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 529.

ander the Second evince no incon­
siderable wealth at this period.4 A
poor country would not have attracted
such frequent visits from those insa­
tiable emissaries of the Pope; and his
Holiness not only continued his de­
mands under the reign of Alexander
the Third,5 but appears to have highly
resented the ambition of Edward the
First when it interfered with them.
The mercantile wealth and the general
prosperity of the kingdom during the
reign of Alexander the Third have
been already noticed; and the arrival
of the Lombard merchants with a pro­
posal of establishing settlements in
Scotland is an event which itself
speaks a decided progress in mercan­
tile wealth and opulence. The repeated
shipwrecks of merchantmen, and the
loss of valuable cargoes, which are
described as being far more frequent
in this reign than before, were evi­
dently occasioned by the increased
spirit of commercial adventure. Voy­
ages had become more distant; the
various countries which were visited
more numerous; the risks of loss by
piracy, tempest, or arrestment in for­
eign ports more frequent; and it is a
circumstance worthy of note that the
king, in consequence of this, became
alarmed, and published an edict, by
which he forbade the exportation of
any merchandise from his dominions.
“This measure,” observes an ancient
historian, “ was not carried into execu-
tion without difficulty; and a year had
not expired when the vessels of differ­
ent nations, laden with merchandise,
came into our ports, anxious to ex­
change their commodities for the pro­
ductions of our country; upon which
it was enacted that burgesses alone
should be permitted to engage in
traffic with these new comers.” It is
evident from all this that the Scot­
tish exports were in considerable
demand in continental markets; and
the short-sighted policy of Alexander,
in suddenly stopping the trade which
was thus carried on, created a strong
sensation, and occasioned an imme-

4 Math. Paris, a Wats., pp. 631,422,481, 509.
Fœdera, vol. i. pp.552, 553, 582, 608, 609.
Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 122.

268                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

diate resort of foreign vessels into the
Scottish ports. Upon this occasion,
the Lombards, in their proposals to
erect factories in Scotland, intended,
probably, to step into the lucrative
trade which the Scottish merchants, in
consequence of the new edict of the
king, were no longer permitted to
carry on.1

One of the most interesting subjects
connected with the trade and early
commerce of the kingdom is the rise
of the towns and royal burghs, and
the peculiar circumstances which in­
duced our kings to bestow so many
privileges upon these early mercantile
communities. It is evident that the
Celtic inhabitants of the country were
averse to settle or congregate in towns;
and that, as long as Scotland continued
under a purely Celtic government,
the habits of the people opposed them­
selves to anything like regular indus­
try or improvement.2 Even so late
as the present day, the pacific pursuits
of agriculture, the labours of the loom,
or the higher branches of trade and
commercial adventure, are uncongenial
to the character of this unsettled,
though brave and intrepid, race ; and
the pages of contemporary and au­
thentic historians bear ample testi­
mony to the bitter spirit with which
they resisted the course of civilisation
and the enlightened changes intro­
duced by our early kings. So much,
indeed, is this the case, that the pro­
gress of improvement is directly com­
mensurate with the gradual pressing
back of the Celtic population into the
remoter northern districts, by the
more industrious race of the Saxons
and the Anglo-Normans.

In this inquiry, a description has
already been given of the royal and
baronial castles of Scotland in those
remote periods, and of the clusters of
hamlets which arose under their walls,
inhabited by the retainers of the prince
or the noble upon whose bounty they
lived, and whose power protected them

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii: p; 130. The
places where the Lombards proposed to make
their settlements were on the hill above
Queensferry, or on one of the islands near

2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 44.

from molestation. To these small villæ,
and to the security which they enjoyed
from the vicinity of the castle, is to be
traced the first appearance of towns in
Scotland, as in the other countries of
Europe. Nor were the rich religious
houses less influential than the royal
and baronial castles; for their proprie­
tors, themselves the most opulent and
enterprising class in the community,
encouraged the industry of their nu­
merous vassals, and delighted to see
the houses and settlements of wealthy
and enterprising artisans arising under
the walls of their monastery.3

The motives for the care and pro­
tection extended to such infant villages
and communities are easily discover­
able, if we recollect the description
already given of the condition of a
great portion of the lower orders of
the people, out of which class the
manufacturers and traders arose. They
were slaves; and their children, their
wealth, and the profits of their indus­
try exclusively belonged to their lords;
so that a settlement of wealthy manu­
facturers, or a community of successful
and enterprising artisans, under the
walls of a royal castle, or rich abbey,
or within the territory of a feudal
noble, was just so much money added
to the revenue of the king, the baron,
or the abbot.4 As wealth increased
with security and industry, the in­
habitants of these communities began
gradually to purchase their liberty from
their lords,5 and to form themselves
into insulated associations, which, from
their opulence, were able to bribe the
sovereign to grant them peculiar pri­
vileges.6 Into these bodies, freedom,

3 Houard, Traités sur les Coutumes Anglo-
Normandes, vol. ii. pp. 361, 362. Ducange,
Gloss, voce Communia.

4 Cartulary of Kelso, pp. 209, 221. Ibid,
pp. 3S9, 408.

5  In the Appendix to Lye’s Saxon and
Gothic Dictionary, No. V., published by Mr
Manning, we find a very early instance of
this, entitled, “ Testificatio Manumissionis
Aelwigi Rufi.” It is as follows :—"Hic noti-
ficatur in hoc Christi libro, quod Aelfwig Rufus
redemit seipsum de Aelfigo abbate, et toto
conventu, cum una libra. Cujus est in testimo-
nium totus conventus in Bathonia. Christus
eum occæcet, qui hoc scriptum perverterit.”
Aelûgus was abbot between 1075 and 1087.

6 Madox, History of the Exchequer, pp. 231.
275, 278. folio ed.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                            269

and the feeling of property, soon in­
fused an additional spirit of enter-
prise, and transformed their members
from petty artisans into opulent mer­
chants, whose transactions embraced,
as we have seen, a respectable com­
mercial intercourse with foreign coun­

It was soon discovered by the mon­
archs of Scotland that these opulent
communities of merchants formed so
many different points, from which
civilisation and improvement gradu­
ally extended through the country;
and the consequence of this discovery
was their transformation, by the favour
of the sovereign, into chartered corpo­
rations of merchants, endowed with
particular privileges, and living under
the especial protection and superintend­
ence of the king.1

In this manner, at a very early period,
royal burghs arose in Scotland. The
various steps of this progress were, in
all probability, nearly the same as those
which are pretty clearly seen in the
diplomatic collections and ancient mu­
niments of different European king­
doms; the hamlet growing into the
village; the village into the petty
town; and this last into the privileged
and opulent burgh : and it is evident
that our kings soon found that the rise
of these mercantile communities, which
looked up to the crown for protection,
and repaid it by their wealth and their
loyalty, formed a useful check upon
the arrogance and independence of the
greater nobles.2 It is probably on this
account that the rise of the burghs
was viewed with great jealousy in
France; and that their introduction
into that kingdom is described, by a
contemporary author, “ as an execrable
invention, by which slaves were en­
couraged to become free, and to forget
their allegiance to their master! " 3

At an early period in our history,
the superior intelligence and the
habits of industry of the English
people induced our kings to encourage
the tradesmen and the merchants of

1 Houard’s Anciennes Loix des François,
vol. i. p. 235.
Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 305.
Ducange, Glossar. voce Communia.

this nation to settle in these infant
towns and communities. This policy
seems to have been carried so far that,
in 1173, under William the Lion, the
towns and burghs of Scotland are
spoken of by an English historian as
almost exclusively peopled by his
countrymen;4 and so late as the time
of Edward the First, when this king,
previous to his decision of the ques­
tion of the succession, made a progress
through Scotland, and compelled the
inhabitants to take the oath of homage,
the proportion of English names in the
Scottish burghs is very great.5

The earliest burghs which appear in
Scotland cannot be traced to a remoter
period than the reign of our first Alex­
ander, under which monarch we find
Edinburgh, Berwick, Roxburgh, and
Stirling; to these Inverkeithing, Perth
and Aberdeen, Rutherglen and Inver­
ness, were added in the course of years;
and the policy of David the First, of
William the Lion, and of the monarchs
who succeeded him, had increased the
number of these opulent mercantile
communities, till, in the reign of David
the Second, we find them extending to
seventeen. These royal burghs, and
the lands which were annexed to them,
were the exclusive property of the king,
sometimes held in his own hands, and
possessed in demesne, but more gene­
rally let out to farm. In this respect,
the condition of the towns and burghs
of England in the time of the Con­
queror, as shewn in Domesday Book,
was nearly similar to the state in which
we find them in Scotland, from the
reign of Alexander the First, to the
accession of Robert the Second.6 For
the houses and factories possessed by
the merchants, a certain rent was due
to the exchequer; and previous to their
appearance as a third estate in the
great national council, the king ap­
pears to have had a right of calling
upon his burghs to contribute aids or
grants of money out of their coffers on
any occasion of emergency.7 The Car-

4 Gulielm. Neubrig. lib. ii. chap, xxxiv. p.

5 Prynne’s Edward I., pp. 653, 663, inclusive.

6 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 297.

7 Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 529.

270                               HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

tularies are full not only of grants from
successive kings to new settlers, of
lands in their various burghs, with the
right of building on them, and of tofts
or small portions of pasture and arable
ground, but of annuities payable out
of the royal farms, and pensions from
the census of their burgesses, which
testify the exclusive property of the
sovereign in these infant mercantile

From an early period these com­
munities enjoyed a right of determin­
ing, in a separate court of their own,
all disputes which might arise amongst
their mercantile subjects; and in ad­
dition to this privilege, a right of ap­
peal lay from the decision of the in­
dividual court of the burgh to a higher
tribunal, which was denominated the
Court of the Four Burghs, and which
owes its institution to the wisdom of
David the First. The burghs which
composed it were the four oldest in
the kingdom, Berwick, Roxburgh, Stir­
ling, and Edinburgh; and it was the
duty of the Chamberlain of Scotland
to hold a court or ayr2 once every
year, at Haddington, to which the four
burghs sent four commissioners, for
the purpose of hearing and deciding
upon the appeals brought before them.

It seems to be certain that under
David the First a code of mercantile
law was gradually formed, which owed
its origin to the decisions of this court,
assisted probably by the practical wis­
dom of the most enlightened merchants
and traders. It was known by the
name of the Assisa Burgorum, and, in
an interpolated and imperfect state,
has reached our own times. In the
famous state paper of Edward the
First, known by the title of an “ Ordi-
natio super stabilitate terræ Scotiæ,”
and published in 1305, the laws which
King David had enacted are com­
manded to be read by the English

1  Cartulary of Kelso, p. 1. Cartulary of
Inchcolm, p. 19. Cartulary of Scone, pp. 41,
57. The Cartularies abound with examples of

2 Houard’s Anciennes Loix des François,
vol. i. p. 237. It is evident, from the descrip­
tion given by this learned writer of the rights
of the burghs under the Normans, that the
Court of the Four Burghs was of Norman

guardian or lieutenant, in presence of
the good people of the land; and in a
charter which is granted by William
the Lion to the burgh of Glasgow in
1176, that monarch refers to the assizes
of his burghs, as an established code
of law.3 It is the judicious observa­
tion of Chalmers, that as Malcolm the
Fourth is known not to have been a
legislator, these assizes must be as­
cribed to David; and this is confirmed
by the ancient and respectable autho­
rity of Fordun.4

The policy of the sovereign in the
erection of these privileged communi­
ties was gradually imitated by the
religious houses, and more rarely by
the greater barons, who granted exclu­
sive privileges to the towns or villages
upon their territories, and turned their
wealth into channels of mercantile
adventure, employing the burghers to
trade for them, and furnishing them
with capital. In this way Selkirk was
indebted, for its first passage from a vil­
lage into a burgh, to the Abbot of Kelso;
St Andrews, Glasgow, and Brechin, to
the bishops of these sees; Newburgh,
to the Abbot of Lindores. The town
of Renfrew was expressly granted by
David the First to Walter, the son of
Alan; Lauder was early the property
of the ancient family of the Morvilles;
and Lochmaben, in consequence of a
grant by David the First, belonged to
the ancestors of Bruce. The rents of
the houses and of the lands of these
burghs ; the customs levied upon the
ships which traded to such as were
situated on the sea coast, or on navi­
gable rivers ; and in all probability
certain proportions of the profits of
the various tradesmen and guild-
brethren who inhabited them, be­
longed to the spiritual or temporal
lord upon whose lands they were
erected, and whose favour and pro­
tection they enjoyed. If in the various

3  Gibson’s History of Glasgow, p. 301.
Ayloffe’s Calendars of Ancient Charters, p.
335. M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol.
i. p. 440. The Lex Mercatoria of Scotland is
referred to by Edward the First, as an estab­
lished and well-known code, in the Rotuli
Scotiæ, p. 3. 10th Aug. 1291.

4  Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 301. Cartu­
lary of Glasgow, p. 73. Caledonia, pp. 726.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                             271

revolutions and changes of the times
his lands happened to escheat or be
forfeited to the crown, the whole
wealth which belonged to them, the
granges, castles, manors, villages, and
burghs, became the property of the
sovereign; and in this way, in the
course of years, many baronial or eccle­
siastical burghs were changed into royal

Although, however, the rise of these
trading communities was in the first
instance eminently beneficial to Scot­
land, and, it cannot be doubted, con­
tributed to give an extraordinary im­
pulse to the industry of the people,
yet as soon as this commercial and
manufacturing spirit was once roused
into activity, the principle of monopoly
in trade, for which the burghs con­
tended, by giving a check to competi­
tion, must have ultimately retarded
the improvement of the country. In
the meantime, however, under the
severity of the feudal system, burghs
were in their first introduction cities
of freedom; their inhabitants were no
longer in the degrading condition of
slaves, who could be transferred, like
cattle or common property, from one
master to another; and we know, from
the statutes of the burghs, that the
same law prevailed in our own country
as in England and France, by which
a vassal or slave, if he escaped from
his feudal superior, and was so fortu­
nate as to purchase a house within a
burgh, and live therein for a year and
a day, without being claimed by his
master, became a freeman for ever.1

One of the consequences of this law
was an increase in the trade and manu­
factures of Scotland. During the long
period of foreign war, civil faction, and
domestic feuds, which fills up the his­
tory of the country from the death of
Alexander the Third to the settlement
of the kingdom under Bruce, and after
this, from the death of Bruce to the
accession of Robert the Second, the

1 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 307. Leges Ed. et Will, chaps, lxi. 1xvi.,
in Selden’s Eadmer, pp. 191, 193. Laws of
the Burghs, chap. xvii. Houard, in his
Anciennes Loix des François, vol. i. p. 238,
says this privilege belonged only to royal
burghs under the Normans.

constant changes and convulsions in
the state of private property threw
great multitudes of the lower classes
of serfs and bondsmen loose upon
society. These fugitives would natur­
ally seek refuge in the cities and burghs
belonging to the king; and bring with
them an additional stock of enterprise
and industry to the mercantile cor­
porations, whose protection they en­
joyed; in the course of years many of
them must have risen to the state of
freemen; and, in consequence of this
increase in the number of free mer­
chants and enterprising traders, the
wealth of the kingdom, during the
latter part of the reign of David the
Second, became proportionally great.
It unfortunately happened that the
excessive drain of specie, occasioned
by the payment of the king’s ransom,
and the personal expenses of the mon­
arch, with the large sums of money
levied for the maintenance of ambas­
sadors and commissioners, soon swal­
lowed up the profits of trade, and
reduced the kingdom to the very brink
of bankruptcy.

At a remote period, under Malcolm
the Fourth, the great mart of foreign
commerce was Berwick. A contem­
porary English historian distinguishes
it as a noble town, and as it possessed
many ships, and enjoyed more foreign
commerce than any other port in Scot­
land,2 it shared the fate of all other
opulent towns on the coast, in being
exposed to the descents of the piratic
fleets of the north. Erlind, a Norwe­
gian, and Earl of Orkney, in 1156,
carried off a ship belonging to a citizen
of Berwick, whose name was Cnut the
Opulent; and we learn from Torfæus,
who has preserved the story, that the
merchant, incensed at the loss of his
property, instantly hired and manned
fourteen vessels, for which he paid one
hundred marks of silver, and with
these gave immediate chase to the
pirates. Under succeeding sovereigns
it increased in trade and opulence;
till we find it, in the reign of Alexander
the Third, enjoying a prosperity which

2 Grulielm. Neubrig. book v. chap, xxiii.
Torfæi Orcades, book i. chap, xxxii. pp. 131,

272                               HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

threw every other Scottish port into the
shade, and caused the contemporary
author of the Chronicle of Lanercost to
distinguish it by the name of a Second
Alexandria.1 It enjoyed a lucrative
export of wool, wool-fels, and hides,
to Flanders; it was by the agency of
the merchants of Berwick that the
produce of Roxburgh, Jedburgh, and
the adjacent country, in these same
commodities, was shipped for foreign
countries, or sold to the Flemish Com­
pany established in that city; its ex­
port of salmon was very great; and the
single fact that its customs, under
Alexander the Third, amounted to the
sum of £2197, 8s. sterling, while the
whole customs of England, in 1287,
produced only £8411,19s. 11½d., amply
demonstrates its extraordinary wealth.2

At this period the constitution of
the towns and burghs in Scotland ap­
pears to have been nearly the same as
in the sister country. Berwick was
governed by a mayor, whose annual
allowance for his charges of office was
ten pounds, a sum equivalent to more
than four hundred pounds of our pre­
sent money.3 Under this superior
officer were four provosts, or prœpositi.
At the same period, Perth, Stirling,
Roxburgh, and Jedburgh were each
governed by an alderman, who appears
to have been the chief magistrate;
Glasgow by three provosts; Hadding-
ton by one officer under the same
name ; whilst the inferior burghs of
Peebles and Montrose, of Linlithgow,
Inverkeithing, and Elgin were placed
under the superintendence of one or
more magistrates called bailies. These
magistrates all appear as early as the
year 1296 ;4 and, it seems probable,
were introduced into Scotland by
David the First, whose enlightened
partiality to English institutions has
already been noticed in this history.

The comparative state of the trade

1 History, p. 43.

2  M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
446, with MS. note by the author. Rymer,
vol. ii. pp. 605, 613.

3  Rotuli Scotiæ, 8 Ed. III., m. 16.

4  Prynne’s Edward I., pp. 653, 654. Rymer’s
Collection of MSS. vol. iii. No. 116 ; quoted
by M’Pherson in Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 446.

and exports of the remaining burghs
of the kingdom, at this early period,
cannot be easily ascertained. Perth,
which had become opulent and flourish­
ing in the time of William the Lion,
by whom it was erected into a royal
burgh, increased in its wealth and con­
sequence under Malcolm the Fourth,
who made Scone, the neighbouring
monastery, the principal seat of his
kingdom. The resort of the court,
and the increased demand for the
articles of domestic manufacture and
foreign commerce, gave a stimulus to
the enterprise and industry of the
infant burgh ; and a contemporary
poet, whose works have been preserved
by Camden, characterises Perth as one
of the principal pillars of the opulence
of the kingdom.5

These few and scattered, but au­
thentic facts, regarding our early com­
merce and manufactures, make it evi­
dent that in such great branches of
national wealth there is a discernible
improvement, from the remote era of
Malcolm the Third, to the period of
the competition for the crown. In­
deed, immediately before the com­
mencement of the war of liberty, the
commercial transactions of the country
were of consequence enough to induce
the merchants of St Omers, and part­
ners of the Florentine houses of Pullici
and Lambini, to have correspondents
in Scotland; and about the same
period we find that Richard le Furbur,
a trader of the inland town of Rox­
burgh, had sent factors or supercar­
goes to manage his business in foreign
countries, and in various parts of

With regard to the exports of the
country at this time, we find them
composed of the same articles as those
already described ; wools, skins, hides,
and wool-fels; great quantities of fish,
salted and cured ;6 horses, sheep, and
cattle;7 and more rarely, pearls, fal­
cons, and greyhounds. It is singular
to find so precious an article as pearls
amongst the subjects of Scottish trade;

5 Necham apud Gough’s Camden’s Brit,
vol. iii. p. 393.

6 Rotuli Scotiœ, vol. i. pp. 40, 911, 929.
941, 944.

7 Ibid. p. 881.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                         273

yet the fact rests on good authority.
The Scottish pearls in the possession
of Alexander the First were celebrated
in distant countries for their extreme
size and beauty; and as early as the
twelfth century there is evidence of a
foreign demand for this species of
luxury.1 As the commercial inter­
course with the East increased, the
rich Oriental pearl, from its superior
brilliancy and more perfect form, ex­
cluded the Scottish pearls from the
jewel market; and by a statute of the
Parisian goldsmiths, in the year 1355,
we find it enacted that no worker
in gold or silver shall set any Scot­
tish pearls with Oriental ones, except
in large ornaments or jewels for
churches.2 It is curious to find among
the exports the leporarii, or grey-
hounds of the country, which were
famous in France; for in 1396 the
Duke de Berri sent his valet and
three attendants into Scotland on a
commission to purchase dogs of this
kind, as appears by the passport pre­
served in Rymer; 3 and, at an earlier
period under the reign of David the
Second, Godfrey de Ross, an English
baron, procured from Edward the
Third a safe­conduct for his shield-
bearer and two attendants who were
travelling from Scotland with dogs
and falcons, and who purposed to re­
turn into the same country, under the
express condition that they did not
abuse their privilege by carrying out
of England either bows, arrows, arms,
or gold or silver, in the form of bulk,
plate, or money.4

Of the imports of Scotland at the
same period it is difficult to give any­
thing like an accurate or satisfactory
account. Fine linen and silks ; broad
cloth, and a rich article called sayes,

1 Nicolai Epist. in Anglia Sacra, vol. ii. p.
236. ’ ’ Præterea rogo et valde obsecro ut
margaritas Candidas quantum poteris mihi
adquiras. Uniones etiam quascunque gros-
sissimas adquirere potes. Saltern quatuor
mihi adquiri per te magnopere postulo; si
aliter non vales saltem a rege, qui in hac re
omnium hominum ditissimus est, pro munere
expete.”— M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce,
vol. i. pp. 318, 555.

2 Du Cange, Gloss, voce Perlæ.

3 Rymer’s Fœdera, vol. vii. p. 831.

4 Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 891.

manufactured in Ireland from wool,
and esteemed so beautiful as to be
worn by the ladies of Florence;5
carpets and tapestry; wine, oil of
olives, and occasionally corn and bar­
ley ;6 spices and confectionary of all
kinds; drugs and electuaries; arms,
armour, and cutlery, were the chief
commodities : and it has already been
observed that many articles of Asiatic
luxury and magnificence had reached
our country, by means of a constant
communication with the Flemish and
Italian merchants. In 1333 we know,
from an authentic instrument pre­
served in the Fœdera, that the Scot­
tish merchants were in the custom of
importing from the county of Suffolk
vases of gold and silver into Scotland,
besides silver in bars and in money;7
a proof that the silver mine which
David the First worked at an early
period in Cumberland, and the gold
of Fife, to which the same monarch
alludes in the Cartulary of Dunferm-
line, had neither of them been turned
to much account.8

Under the reign of Bruce, and
during the long war with England,
every possible effort was made by
Edward the First and his successor to
crush and extinguish the foreign trade
of Scotland; but the success does not
appear to have been in any degree
proportionate to their exertions. All
English or Irish merchants were pro­
hibited, under the severest penalties,
from engaging in any transactions with
that country ; and repeated requests
were addressed to the rich republics
of the low countries, to the courts of
Flanders, and the Dukes of Brabant,
to induce them to break off all traffic
with the Scots; 9 but the exertions of
contraband traders and privateer
vessels eluded the strictness of the
prohibitions against English and Irish
trade ; 10 and the Flemings and Bra-

5 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 562.

6 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 891.

7 Rymer’s Fœdera, vol. iv. p. 575.

8 Johan. Hagulstad. p. 280. Cart, of Dun-
ferm. folio 7; quoted in Dalzel’s Tract on
Monastic Antiquities, p. 30.

9 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 136. 1st April
1314. Ibid. 140. Rymer, vol. iv. p. 715.

10 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. pp. 491, 525.


274                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

banters steadily refused to shut their
ports against any nation which could
pay for their commodities. In 1315,
a fleet of thirteen ships or galleys
belonging to the Scots, and other
malefactors” who adhered to them,
was at anchor in the port of Sluys in
Flanders, waiting to be laden with
arms, victuals, and other goods, which
they intended to export from that
country into Scotland, when Edward
the Second, as the public order re­
lative to the circumstance informs us,
adopted vigorous, but apparently un­
successful, measures for intercepting
them.1 To Bruce, whose life was
spent in almost uninterrupted war,
the great articles of demand were
those which he could use for his
soldiers and knights: arms of all
kinds, helmets, cuirasses, chamfreyns,
and horse armour, swords and daggers,
bows of English yew, spear shafts, and
lances, formed the staple cargoes of
the Flemish merchantmen which
traded to his dominions ; but, on the
other hand, the export trade of the
country, which had been principally
carried on through England and Ire­
land, although not extinguished, ex­
perienced a material depression. But
although some branches of national
wealth were rendered less productive,
other sources were opened peculiar to
war. The immense plunder taken at
Bannockburn; the large sums of
money paid by the English nobles
and barons for their ransom; the sub­
sequent plunder in the repeated in­
vasions of England; and the frequent
and heavy sums which were sub­
scribed by the Border counties, to in­
duce the Scottish leaders to spare
their towns and villages, enriched the
kingdom, and provided a mass of
capital which is distinctly perceptible
in the increased commercial specula­
tion of the subsequent reign, and in
the spirited and successful efforts
made by the nation in fitting out a
Previous to the accession of David

1 This instrument is one of the deeds added
by the editors of the new edition of the
Fœdera Angliæ, vol. ii. part i. p. 265. The
original is in the Tower.

the Second, we have already seen that
little traces of a regular naval force
exist in Scotland; and although the
fleets of William the Lion and that of
his successor, Alexander the Second,
are commemorated in the Chronicle
of Man, it seems probable that these
naval armaments were furnished by
the island vassals, who owned the
superiority of the Scottish crown, and
who held their lands by the tenure of
furnishing a certain number of galleys
for the use of the king.2 The mari­
time exploits of these kings were
temporary and insulated; and the
same observation applies to the naval
expeditions of their successors. It
appears, indeed, from a passage in the
Chamberlain Rolls of Alexander the
Third that, in 1263, this monarch was
in possession of several vessels, which,
under the direction of the Earl of
Menteith, were built in the port of
Ayr, and that two hundred oars were
manufactured for their use;3 but it
is evident, from Alexander declining
any naval contest with the King of
Norway, that his fleet could neither
have been numerous nor powerful.

The reign of Bruce being principally
occupied with a land war, his efforts
for distressing his enemy by sea were
mostly confined to the commissioning
piratic ships from the Flemings and
Genoese, which cruised upon the Eng­
lish coasts, and in the double capacity
of traders and ships of war, landed
their cargoes in Scotland and attacked
the English merchantmen and victual­
lers. Yet there is evidence in that
interesting portion of the Chamberlain
Accounts which relate to the expendi­
ture of Bruce at his palace of Cardross
the year before his death, that he and
his old companion in arms, the great
Randolph, were anxiously directing
their attention to the subject of ship­
ping and navigation.

But the navy assumes a different
and more formidable appearance under
the reign of David Bruce. The Scot
tish ships of war, along with numerous

2 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 101. Robert-
son’s Index, p. 100.
Excerpta ex Rotulo Compotorum Temp.
Alexander III., p. 10.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                         275

squadrons of foreign privateers in the
pay of the Scots, swept the seas
round England, plundered their mer­
chant vessels, and made repeated and
successful descents upon the coast,
burning and destroying the seaport
towns, and creating extreme alarm in
the country. In 1334, a fleet of Scot­
tish ships of war threatened a descent
on the coast of Suffolk; in the sub­
sequent year, twenty-six galleys and
other ships were hovering and watch­
ing their opportunity for attack off
the coasts of Chester and Durham ;
and not long after this, notwith­
standing the utmost exertions by the
English government to fit out a fleet
which should put an end to the naval
aggressions of the Scots, and precau­
tions taken to spread the alarm in case
of any hostile descents, by lighting
beacons upon the cliffs above the sea ;
the towns of Portsmouth, Fodynton,
Portsea, and Easten, were burnt and
plundered, and the country threatened
with invasion by a numerous fleet of
foreign ships and galleys, whose ap­
proach is described by Edward the
Second in an order addressed to the
sheriffs of England, and evidently
written under extreme apprehension.1
Yet the probability is, that none of
these vessels were the property of the
king, but merchant ships of Scottish
and foreign traders fitted up for the
expedition as ships of war, and com­
missioned, like the mercenary troops
of Hainault or Switzerland, to assist
whatever country chose to pay them
the highest price for their services.

At this period, the same mode of
fitting out a fleet of ships of war was
adopted in both countries. There
appears to have been no regular per­
manent naval force of any consequence
maintained in either.2 In England, as
the emergency of the moment required,
the monarch was in the habit of direct­
ing his writs to the wardens of the
Cinque Ports, and to the magistrates
of the different seaports, empowering
them to press into the service, and

1  Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. pp. 299, 317. Ibid,
pp. 320, 363, 440. Rymer’s Fœdera, new
edit. vol. ii. part ii. pp. 1055, 1067.

2  M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 378.

instantly arm and victual, any number
of vessels he deemed necessary, and to
commission such merchantmen as were
fond of the adventure to fit out their
traders as naves guerrinœ, or ships of
war,3 with the right of attacking the
enemies of the king, under the condi­
tion of giving up half the profits in
the event of a successful capture.4
Wè may form some idea of the size and
strength of these vessels from an order
issued by Edward the Third during
his Scottish war, to the Mayor of
Bristol, in which this magistrate is
commanded to arrest three of the
largest ships then in the port of that
city. These are described to be two
of a hundred tons, and one of sixty
tons burden, on board of which a
hundred and thirty-two men are in­
stantly to be put for the king’s service,
which force is mentioned in the order
as being double the ordinary comple­
ment of mariners and soldiers.5 Many
of the privateers, however, which were
at this time employed by the Scots
against England appear to have been
vessels of larger dimensions and more
formidable equipment than those of
England, probably from their being
foreign built, and furnished by the
Flemings, the Genoese, or the Vene­
tians, for the purposes both of trade
and piracy. In 1335, a large foreign
ship, laden with arms, provisions, and
warlike stores, arrived in the port of
Dumbarton; and for the purpose of
intercepting her Edward not only
ordered two of the largest merchant­
men of Bristol to be manned and pro­
visioned as ships of war, but com­
manded Roger de Hegham, his admiral
of the western fleet, to fit out two
other vessels, with a double comple­
ment of men, to be employed ap­
parently on the same service.6

3 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 430.

4 “Galfridas Pypere Magister navis que
vocatur le Heyte habet licentiam gravandi
inimicos Regis ita quod de medietate lucri
Regi respondeat.” Teste R. apud Burdegal-
liam xiii. Feb. 28. Henry III., m. 16. Rotuli
Pat. MS. note, by M’Pherson in his own copy
of the Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 394.

5 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 231. 24th April

6 Ibid. vol. i. p. 340.

276                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND;

In 1357, three Scottish ships of war,
manned with three hundred soldiers,
infested the east coast, and grievously
annoyed the English commerce. This
large complement of soldiers must
have been exclusive of the sailors em­
ployed to navigate the ships, and
proves them to have been of large
dimensions when compared with the
ordinary vessels of the time,1 In the
same year we have seen that the
Scottish privateers captured a vessel
called the Beaumondscogge, which
was the property of that powerful
baron, Henry de Beaumont, who, along
with Baliol and the rest of the disin­
herited nobles, succeeded in driving
David the Second from the throne;
and soon after, the united fleets of the
Scots and their allies increased in
numbers and audacity to such a de­
gree, that the English coasts were kept
in a state of continual terror. The
merchantmen did not dare to sail
except in great squadrons, and with
a convoy of ships of war; and even
when riding at anchor within the har­
bours were cut out and carried off by
the superior naval skill and courage of
the Scottish seamen and their allies.2
In a remarkable order, addressed by
Edward the Third to his admirals and
naval captains, this monarch complains
in bitter terms of their pusillanimous
conduct, in permitting the united
fleets of the Scots, French, and Flem­
ings to capture and destroy the ships
of England in the very sight of his
own navy, which kept aloof during
the action, and did not dare to give

Such appears to have been the great
superiority of the Scottish navy over
that of England in the beginning of
the reign of David the Second. Mean­
while, the long and inveterate war
between the two countries, which
arose out of the aggressions of Edward
the First, entirely extinguished the
regular Scottish commerce with that
country. From the year 1291 to 1348
there appear only three safe-conducts
for English merchants, permitting

1  Knighton, 2617.

2  Rotuli Scotiæ, pp. 451, 456, 467, 477.
Ibid. vol. i. p. 513. Ibid. 498.

them to trade with Scotland; and
those repeated proclamations which
were made against any commercial
intercourse seem to have been so
rigorously executed, that in this long
interval, embracing more than half a
century, we do not find a single pass­
port for a Scottish merchant, allowing
him to visit England for the purposes
of trade.

In 1348, the Scots being included
in the truce of Calais, the commerce
of England, for the first time since the
long war, was thrown open to their
skill and enterprise; and in a few
years the mercantile intercourse be­
tween the two countries rapidly in­
creased. At the request of the Queen
of Scotland, important privileges were
granted to the Scottish merchants;
the Scottish nobles possessed com­
panies of merchants, who speculated
on their account, and under their pro­
tection;4 and we have seen that, in­
stead of the rigid and determined
exclusion from all trade with their
dominions, which for so long a time
formed part of the policy of the three
Edwards to their Scottish enemies,5 a
system of great liberality and indul­
gence was pursued, under which the
commerce of both countries was car­
ried on with a surprising degree of
energy and enterprise.

The large sums of money which
were drawn from the country for the
ransom of the king; the expenses in­
curred by the residence and ransom of
the noble prisoners taken in the battle
of Durham; and the reiterated and
heavy payments which were made
during the various and protracted ne­
gotiations with England, exhibit in a
striking manner the increasing opu­
lence of the country; and it cannot
be doubted that one great source of
this wealth is to be traced to the im­
proved state of the national commerce,
and to the increasing wealth of the
traders and manufacturers. I shall
conclude this sketch of the early com­
merce and navigation of Scotland by a

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. pp. 758, 823. " Salvns
conductus pro mercatoribus Willielmi de

5 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 140.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                        277

few remarks upon the money of those
times, and upon the wages of labour,
and the prices of the necessaries of life.

All the Scottish coins which have
yet been discovered previous to the
reign of Robert the Second are of
silver; and this fact of itself furnishes,
if not absolute proof, at least a strong
presumption, that anterior to this
period there was no gold coinage in
Scotland.1 Of this early silver money
the most ancient specimens yet found
are the pennies of Alexander the First,
who succeeded to the throne in the
commencement of the twelfth century;
after which we can trace a regular
coinage of silver pennies under the
reigns of David the First, William the
Lion, and the successive sovereigns
who filled the throne, with the excep­
tion of Malcolm the Fourth, whose
money, if in existence, has hitherto
eluded the utmost research of the
Scottish antiquary. The silver pennies
of Alexander the First, now extremely
rare, are of the same fineness, weight,
and form as the contemporary English
coins of the same denomination, and
down to the time of Robert the First
the money of Scotland was of precisely
the same value and standard as that of

Towards the conclusion of the reign
of William the Lion, that monarch
reformed the money, which had been
somewhat debased from its former
standard; 2 perhaps in consequence of
an attempt to supply in this way the
large sums which this monarch paid to
Richard the First.3 During the suc­
ceeding reign, the standard value and
the device continued the same as
under William; but almost imme­
diately after the accession of Alexander
the Third the ministry of this infant

1  In a parliament held at Scone by David
the Second, in 1369, there is mention of gold
money. Robertson’s Parliamentary Records,
p. 117. But the gold money of England was
then current in Scotland, and the enactment
may refer to it. Ruddiman’s excellent In­
troduction to Anderson’s Diplomata, pp. 54,

2 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 356.

3 Winton’s Chron. vol. i. p. 342. Chron.
Melross. p. 102.

sovereign borrowed from England
what was deemed an improvement in
the mode of stamping the reverse.
The history of this alteration is curi­
ous. It appears that in 1248, the
sterling money of England had been
defaced, by clipping, to such a degree
that the letters of the inscription were
almost entirely cut away; and the de­
linquents were suspected to be the
Jews, the Caursini, and the Flemish
wool merchants.4 At a meeting of
the king’s council, which was sum­
moned to advise what steps ought to
be taken, some of the members re­
commended that, in imitation of the
money of France, the quality of the
silver in the English money ought to
be debased, under the idea that the
temptation to make profit by clipping
would thus effectually be removed.
Fortunately this advice, which marks
a rude age, and a limited knowledge
on the subject, was not adopted; but
proclamation was made that all the
defaced coin should be brought into
the king’s exchanges, and that a new
coinage should be struck, out of which
those who brought in the clipped
money were to be paid weight for
weight. On the old coins, the cross
upon the reverse side had only reached
half way from the centre to the edge,
in consequence of which an expert
clipper might have pared away a
considerable breadth, without much
chance of detection ; but now the ex­
pedient was adopted of carrying the
arms of the cross through the letters
of the legend, and a border of small
beads was added round the outer ex­
tremity ; so that the money could not
be clipped, without at least a greater
chance of discovery.5 The immediate
adoption of this clumsy expedient in
Scotland was probably occasioned by
the same abuse of clipping having
been practised in that country.6

In Scotland, the very first sensible

4 Mathew Paris a Wats., p. 639.

5 “Ut non sine evidenti, et valde notabili
dispendio, aliquid inde radi possit vel ab-
scindi.”—Annales Waverleenses, p. 207.

6 Fordun Goodal, vol. ii. p. 83. The same
monarch, Alexander the Third, appears to
have coined silver pieces of two pennies.
M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 432.

278                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

diminution of the purity of the stan­
dard money was introduced by Robert
Bruce; but the exact date of the de­
preciation is unknown. Like the other
alterations in the coinage, it was
adopted in imitation of England; and
proceeded upon the unjust and erro­
neous idea that the wealth of the
kingdom might be increased by mul­
tiplying the number of pennies coined
out of the pound of silver. In 1300,
Edward the First commanded two
hundred and forty-three pennies to be
coined out of the standard pound, in­
stead of two hundred and forty, which
was the old rate.1 A diminution of
three pennies in the value of the
pound of account was deemed, perhaps,
too trifling and imperceptible a change
to be in any way detrimental; and
the Scottish monarch not only fol­
lowed, but went beyond, the pernicious
example of England; for, under the
expectation that the pennies of both
kingdoms would, as before, continue
to pass indiscriminately, he coined
two hundred and fifty-two pennies
from the pound weight of silver,—an
impolitic departure from the integrity
of the national money, which had
hitherto been strictly observed by the
government of the country.2

From this time till 1354 there ap­
pears to have been no change in the
money of Scotland; which, according
to a proclamation of Edward the
Third, was received as of the same
weight and alloy as the money of Eng­
land.3 This monarch, however, find­
ing himself much distressed by the
debts which he had incurred in his
French war, unfortunately relieved
himself by repeating the expedient
which he had already partially adopted,
although as dishonest as it was injuri-

1 Topham’s Observations on the Wardrobe
Account of Edward the First, p. 11. “The
pound weight of silver then (31 Ed. I.) con­
sisted of twelve’ ounces, each containing
twenty pennyweights, or of two hundred and
forty pennies. These pennies were composed
of mixed silver ; one pound, or twelve ounces,
of which contained eleven ounces and two
pennyweights of fine silver, and eighteen
pennyweights of copper or alloy.”

2 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 466. Folkes on English Coins, pp. 8, 142.
Edition 1763.

3 Rymer’s Fœdera, vol. v. p. 813.

ous to the best interests of his king­
dom. In order to pay his creditors
with less money than he had borrowed,
he commanded two hundred and sixty-
six pennies to be made out of the
pound of standard silver; and after­
wards, in the year 1346, he diminished
the money still further, by making two
hundred and seventy pennies out of
the pound,—a proceeding by which
the people were greatly distressed,
owing to the consequent rise in the
prices of all the necessaries of life.

In 1354, the Steward, who was
now regent in Scotland during the
captivity of David, imitating this mis­
taken policy, issued a new coinage,
which was not only far below the
original standard in value, but even in­
ferior to the money of England, depre­
ciated as it then was. We are informed
of this fact by a proclamation which
the issue of this new money of Scot­
land drew from Edward the Third.
In a letter to the Sheriff of Northum­
berland, the king informs him that
the new money of Scotland, although
of the same figure with the old, was
not, like it, of the same weight and
quality with the sterling money of
England; and he accordingly com­
mands that officer to make proclama­
tion within his district, that the new
Scottish money should be taken only
for its value as bullion, and carried
to the proper office to be exchanged
for current money; but that the old
money of Scotland, which, as appears
from what was above stated, was con­
siderably better than that of Eng­
land, should be still current as be­

Soon after the return of David the
Second to his dominions, he appointed
Adam Torre, a burgess of Edinburgh,
and James Mulekin of Florence, joint
keepers of the Exchange for all Scot­
land, and Masters of the Mint. For­
eigners appear to have been the great
coiners or minters of those times. At
an earlier period, in 1278, the Ex­
change at London was under the direc­
tion of some Lucca merchants and

4 M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
p. 554. Rymer’s Fœdera, vol. v. p. 813.

“Supra nova moneta Scotiæ.”

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                        279

Gregory de Rokesley the mayor.1 In
1366, the Scottish parliament had
ordered the money of the kingdom to
be coined of the quality and weight
with that of England; 2 but, in the
subsequent year, the extreme scarcity
of silver money, occasioned by the
drain of specie from the country for
the king’s ransom, and other expenses,
created an alarm, which unfortunately
caused the parliament to relapse into
the erroneous notion that the wealth
of the kingdom might be increased
by diminishing the intrinsic value, and
increasing the number of the pieces
coined. This produced an order, by
which it was declared that the stan­
dard pound of silver should be dimin­
ished in the weight by ten pennies ;
so that henceforth the pound of silver
should contain twenty-nine shillings
and four pennies; out of which seven
pennies were to be taken for the king’s

To understand this order, it must
be remembered that the only coins
which had yet been struck, either in
England or Scotland, were pennies,
with their halves and quarters, along
with a few groats and half groats ; so
that when the parliament enacted that
the pound of silver should contain
twenty-nine shillings and four pennies,
it was saying, in other words, that it
was to be coined into three hundred
and fifty-two pennies ; an enormous
departure from the integrity of the
old standard of two hundred and forty
pennies in the pound. In the same
ordinance it is provided that eleven
pennies are to be taken for the Mas­
ter of the Mint and the payment of
the workmen, and one penny for the
Keeper of the Mint. If to these we
add the seven pennies for the king’s
use, twenty-seven shillings and nine
pennies would remain to the merchant
for the pound of silver ; 3 so that, by
this change in the coinage, the king
practised an extensive and grievous
fraud upon his subjects.

1 Madox’s Hist, of Exchequer, chap, xxii.
§ 4, chap, xxiii. § 1. Compotum Custodis
Monete. vol. i. Accounts of the Great Cham­
berlains of Scotland, pp. 401, 402.

2 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p. l04.

3 Ibid. p. 109.

It is curious to attend for a mo­
ment to the consequences of this de­
preciation of the money of the country.
They are distinctly to be traced in a
statute soon after passed by Edward
the Third.4 There was, in the first
place, a rise in the prices of all the
necessaries of life ; so that the labour­
ing classes, being paid at the same rate
as before, found that they could not
procure the same subsistence. This
they patiently bore for some time; but
when the immense mortality occa­
sioned by the pestilence had dimin­
ished the number of working men, and
thus created a great demand for labour,
the survivors naturally seized the op­
portunity to raise their prices ; and,
in consequence of this, the king, with
the advice of his parliament, enacted
the Statute of Labourers, “ by which
all men and women under sixty years
of age, whether free or slaves, and
having no occupation or property, were
compelled to serve any master who
hired them, for the same wages which
were given before the year 1346,
under pain of imprisonment.” Arti­
ficers were, at the same time, pro­
hibited from exacting more than the
old wages ; and the butchers, bakers,
brewers, and other dealers in provi­
sions were strictly enjoined to sell
their commodities at reasonable

The legislators of those remote
times had not yet learned that the
price of food must be the standard for
the price of labour; and that by de­
preciating the coin of the kingdom
they raised the prices of the neces­
saries of life, and compelled the labour­
ing classes to adopt the very conduct
of which they complained. There can
be no doubt that the consequences of
the depreciation in Scotland must have
been the same as in the sister country;
and the sumptuary laws, which we
find enacted towards the conclusion of
the reign of David the Second, with
the statutes regarding carrying the
coin “ furth of the realm,” are to be
traced to the same causes as those

4 Statute 23 Ed. III. M’Pherson’s Annals
of Commerce, vol. i. p. 542.

280                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

which led to the statute of labourers
in England.1

The price of labour, of the neces­
saries of life, and of the articles of
comfort or luxury, forms at all times
an interesting subject of inquiry, pro­
bably from that strong and natural
desire which we feel to compare our
own condition with that of our fellow-
men, however remote may have been
the period in which they lived. Upon
such points, however, previous to the
transcription and printing of the Ac­
counts of the Great Chamberlains of
Scotland, little satisfactory informa­
tion could be collected ; for our most
ancient historians, although they occa­
sionally mark the prices of provisions
and of labour, commonly do so in
years of scarcity, when the high rate
to which they had risen fixed their
attention upon the subject; and upon
such data no correct inquiry could be
founded.2 These accounts, on the con­
trary, as they contain the ordinary and
common prices of most articles, are on
this, as on all other points which they
embrace, our most authentic guides.

It will be recollected that the value
and the denomination of money, down
to the reign of Robert the First, con­
tinued the same in Scotland and in
England; and that, even under Ed­
ward the Third, the depreciation of
the Scottish money could not be very
great, as it required a royal proclama-
to put the people on their guard
against it.3

To begin with the price of grain, we
find that, in 1263, a chalder of oat­
meal, fourteen bolls being computed
for a chalder, cost exactly one pound.4
In the same year, six chalders of wheat
were bought for nine pounds three
shillings.5 The prices, however, varied
occasionally, as we might expect. In

1  Statuta Davidis II. Regiam Majestatem,
pp. 45, 46. Robertson’s Parliamentary Re­
cords, pp. 106, 117.

2  Preface to Fleetwood’s Chronicon Pre­

3  Madox’s History of Exchequer, vol. i. p.
277. 4th Edition. The pound of silver by
tale was twenty shillings ; the mark of silver
thirteen shillings and fourpence, or one hun­
dred and sixty pennies.

4  Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 9. Temp.
Regis Alexander III., p. 66. 5 Ibid. p. 9.

1264, twenty chalders of barley sold
for ten pounds, although, in 1288, the
price had fallen so low that we find
forty chalders sold for six pounds
thirteen shillings and fourpence, being
at the rate of forty pence the chalder 6
In 1288, twelve chalders of wheat
brought twelve marks, or thirteen
shillings and fourpence the chalder.7
In 1290, a chalder of barley sold for
ten shillings, and a chalder of rye for
four shillings;8 while, in 1329, we find
the prices of the same grain fluctuating
from twenty to twenty ­four shillings
the chalder for the best barley.9 In
1326, four chalders of oatmeal cost a
hundred and six shillings and eight-
pence, being at the rate of twenty
pence the boll; whilst, of the same
date, the same kind of grain, but pro­
bably of a superior quality, sold for
two shillings the boll.10 In 1360, a
chalder of barley cost thirteen shillings
and fourpence, and five chalders of
wheat brought eight pounds; whilst,
five years after this, four chalders and
eleven bolls of fine wheat could not be
had under twelve pounds sixteen shil­
lings.11 About the same time, twenty-
nine barrels of beer, purchased for the
king’s household, cost eleven pounds
nine shillings, and fifty-five barrels of
herring twenty-nine pounds nineteen
shillings.12 As far back as 1263, we
find that the price of a cow was four
shillings and fivepence;13 and that
thirty muttons were purchased for the
king’s table, at the rate of twenty-five
shillings, averaging exactly tenpence
a piece.12 In the following year, forty
cows were sold for ten pounds, the
price of each being five shillings;
whilst thirty-eight swine brought fifty­

6 Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 66.
Ibid. p. 69.
                    8 ibid. p. 77.

9 Ibid. vol. i. p. 37.

10 Ibid. Compotum Constab. de Tarbat,
vol. i. p. 2.

11  Ibid. Compot. Clerici libationls, vol. i.
p. 445.

12  Ibid. Compot. Clerici libationis, p. 445.
In 1328, we find 1800 herring sold for twenty-
eight shillings. Ibid. p. 28. In 1288, 100
eels brought three shillings, p. 69.

13  Ibid. Rotuli Compot. Temp. Regis
Alex. III. p. 14. To twenty-four cows, one
hundred and eight shillings.

14 Ibid. p. 15.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                           281

seven shillings, being no more than
eighteenpence each; and, in 1288,
twelve swine sold as low as a shilling
a head.1 In 1368, two oxen sold for
thirteen shillings and fourpence, being
six shillings and eightpence a head.
In the concluding passage of the
Chamberlains’ Accounts, seven score
hens are sold for eleven shillings and
eightpence, exactly a penny each; and
a tonegall of cheese, measuring six
stones, sold for three shillings.2

The common fuel of those times,
consisting of peats and wood, was to
be had at a moderate rate. In 1288,
two hundred and five horse-loads of
firewood, for the royal palace at Stir­
ling, cost only thirty-six shillings and
sixpence. Eight waggon ­loads of
peats, including the carriage and some
small expenses, cost thirteen pounds
seventeen shillings and fivepence.3
Although coals were undoubtedly
worked in Scotland as early as 1291,
perhaps even anterior to this, yet we
find them rarely mentioned previous
to the reign of David the Second.
Under this monarch, eighty-four chal-
ders of coal being purchased for the
use of the queen’s household, cost
twenty-six pounds.4 Salt appears to
have been one of those necessaries of
life which varied considerably in its
price. In 1288, twelve chalders of
salt were sold for six shillings the
chalder; whilst, in 1360, ten chalders
could not be purchased under thirteen
pounds six shillings and eightpence.5

In comparing the wages of labour
with the above prices of provisions, it
is evident that, even in the most re­
mote period which these researches
have embraced, the lower orders must
have lived comfortably. In the Cham­
berlains’ Rolls of Alexander the Third,
the keeper of the king’s warren at
Crail receives, for his meat and his
wages during one year, sixteen shil­
lings and eightpence; and as this was

1 Chamberlains’ Accounts, Temp. Custod.
Regni, p. 56. Ibid. p. 77.

2  Ibid. pp. 77, 78. “ Et sciendum est quod
quilibet tonegall valet 6 petras.”

3 Ibid. p. 61.

4 Chalmers’ Caledonia, vol. i. p. 703.
Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 495.

5  Ibid. pp. 69, 392.

deemed too high, it is added that, for
the coming year, he is to have his
option to take either a mark, which
was thirteen shillings and fourpence,
or a chalder of oatmeal.6 The gardener
of the king at Forfar had, for his
yearly wages, five marks; the gardener
at Menmouth, only one mark ;7 and
William, the king’s cook and keeper
of the royal larder, was paid, for his
arrears of three years’ wages, ten
pounds.8 The king’s balistarius, or
keeper of the cross-bows for the castle
of Ayr, received yearly two marks and
a half;9 whilst the warder of the same
castle, for his yearly wages and support,
cost the exchequer eight shillings.10

When Alexander the Third was
making preparations against the ex­
pected invasion of the King of Norway,
in 1263, in order to secure the allegi­
ance of the petty princes who held the
Western Isles, he seized their children
as hostages for their peaceable beha­
viour. These, of course, he had to
support; and this explains an entry in
the Chamberlains’ Rolls, from which
we may form some idea of the rate of
living. For the expenses of the son of
Angus, who was the son of Donald,
with his nurse and a waiting woman,
for twenty-six weeks, the king paid
seventy-nine shillings and tenpence.11
The expenses of another of these hos­
tages, the son of Murchad, amounted
to twenty-one shillings for twenty-four
weeks; and we find that, in speaking
of twenty-two hostages from Caithness
and Skye, the first was allowed for his
living a penny, and the second three-
halfpence a day.12

At the time of this expected inva­
sion, Alexander possessed no regular
navy ; but a few ships of war appear to
have been stationed in the port at Ayr :
such, however, was the unsettled state
of the country, that these vessels had
to be watched, probably only during
the night; and we find an entry in the
same accounts of sixteen shillings and

6 Chamberlains’ Accounts, Excerpta ex
Rotulo Temp. Alex. III. p. 7.

7 Ibid. p. 13.                           8 ibid. p. 1.

9 Ibid. p. 9                            10 Ibid.

11 Excerpta ex Rotulo Temp. Alex. III. p. 9.
Ibid. pp. 14, 22,

282                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

ninepence, to four men who had been
employed watching the king’s ships
for twenty-three weeks.1 In 1326,
the fortifications of the castle of
Tarbet having become insecure in
some places, Robert the mason was
employed to repair and strengthen the
walls. This he did by contract, and
as the quantity of work which was
executed does not appear, no exact
inference can be drawn from the sum
paid, which amounted to two hundred
and eighty-two pounds fifteen shil­
lings.2 But in this work, two labourers
were employed in carrying lime from
Thorall to Tarbet, for twenty-nine
weeks and three days, and received four
shillings a week for their wages,3 being
sixpence and a fraction for each day.
Days’ wages, however, sometimes fell
still lower; five barrowmen, or carriers,
for three weeks’ work, received each
only three shillings and fourpence;
and for apparently the same repairs of
Tarbet castle, seven labourers or
barrowmen were engaged for thirty-
two weeks at the rate of fourteen-
pence a week each.4

Higher craftsmen, of course, received
higher wages. John the carpenter
was engaged for thirty-two weeks at
threepence a day, with his meat, which
was each month a boll of oatmeal, and
one codra of cheese, the boll being
reckoned at two shillings, and the
codra of cheese at sevenpence.5 Nigel
the smith had twelve pounds, and
Nicolas the mason six pounds thirteen
shillings and fourpence, for his yearly
wages.6 The cooks who exercised
their mystery at the nuptial feast
given on the marriage of David the
Second at Berwick received, on that
occasion, twenty-five pounds six shil­
lings and eightpence.7 To the min­
strels who attended the ceremony, and
we must remember that the rejoicings
continued probably for many days,
there was given sixty-six pounds fifteen

1  Excerpta ex Rotulo Temp. Alex. III. p. 9.

2  Compotum Constab. de Tarbat, vol. i. p. 3,

3  Ibid. p. 3.                             4 Ibid. p. 4.

5 Ibid. p. 5. In pp. 77, 78, we find a tone-
gall of cheese, which is there stated to be
equal to six stones, sold for three shillings.

6 Ibid. p. 5.

7 Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 96.

shillings and fourpence.8 John, the
apothecary of King Robert Bruce, re­
ceived for his salary eighteen pounds,
and for his robe, a perquisite which
we find given to many of the king’s
servants and officers, the sum of
twenty-six shillings and eightpence.9
It is somewhat singular that many
years after this, in 1364, Thomas Hall,
the physician of David the Second,
received only ten marks for his salary.10
In 1358, however, Hector, the doctor,
received at once from the king a fee of
five pounds six shillings and eight-
pence, so that it is difficult to ascer­
tain exactly the rate of the fees or the
salaries of these learned leeches. The
druggist, indeed, appears to have been
a favourite; for, in addition to his
salary and his robe, we find him pre­
sented by the king in the. course of the
same year with a gift of fourteen pounds
thirteen shillings and fourpence.

The prices of clothes, according to
the coarseness or the costliness of the
materials, varied exceedingly. A robe
for the keeper of the gate of the king’s
chapel cost only twenty shillings; a
robe for Patrick de Monte-alto, which
was, in all probability, lined with rich
furs, cost four pounds ;11 a robe for the
clerk of the rolls, twenty-six shillings12
on one occasion, and thirty shillings
on another;13 whilst John Bysit, a
poor monk of Haddington, and one of
King Robert’s pensioners, was allowed,
in 1329, twenty shillings annually for
his clothing;14 and later than this, in
1364, a poor scholar, who is deno­
minated a relation of the king, re­
ceived from David the Second four
pounds annually, to provide himself
in’food and clothing.15 In 1263, Alex­
ander the Third granted fifty shillings
to nine prebendaries to provide them­
selves with vestments.16

Wine appears to have been con­
sumed in large quantities at the royal
table, In 1263, under Alexander the
Third, who is celebrated in a fragment

8 Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 96.

9 Ibid. p. 99.                     10 Ibid. p. 539.

11 Ibid. pp. 101, 400.          12 ibid. p. 478.

13 Ibid. p. 526.                    14 Ibid. p. 101.

15 Ibid. p. 413.

16 Excerpta ex Rotul. Compot. Temp. Alex.
III. p. 13.

ANCIENT STATE OF SCOTLAND.                     283

of an old song for “wine and wax,
gamyn and glee,” a hundred and
seventy-eight dolii, or hogsheads, of
wine were bought for four hundred
and thirty-nine pounds sixteen shil­
lings and eightpence. In 1264, sixty-
seven hogsheads and one pipe cost the
royal exchequer three hundred and
seventy-three pounds sixteen shillings
and eightpence ; whilst, in 1329,
forty-two hogsheads, purchased from
John de Hayel, a merchant at Sluys,
in Flanders, cost a hundred and sixty-
eight pounds.1 A pipe of Rhenish
wine, bought for David the Second at
the time he held his court at Dundee,
cost five pounds; but a pipe of the
same wine, of finer flavour, which
David had sent to the Countess of
Strathern, cost seven pounds six shil­
lings and eightpence, in 1361.2 In
1364, the same lady received a hogs­
head of wine by the king’s orders, for
which the chamberlain paid six pounds
thirteen shillings and fourpence.3 These
wines were, without doubt, the same
as those imported into England from
Spain, Gascony, and Rochelle, and
of which we find the prices fixed
by a statute of Richard the Second.4
Other wines of inferior price were
probably mixtures compounded in
the country, and not of pure foreign
growth. Thus, in 1263, we find the
dolius, or hogshead, of red wine, vinum
sold for thirty-six shillings
and eightpence, and at the same time
the hogshead of white wine brought
two pounds.5 In other articles of
luxury for the table, the great expense
seems to have been in spices, confec­
tionary, and sweetmeats, in which
quantities of mace, cinnamon, flower
of gilliflower, crocus, and ginger ap­
pear to have been used, upon the
prices of which it would be tedious
and useless to enlarge.

Some idea of the prices of gold and
silver plate may be formed from an

1 Excerpta ex Rotul. Compot. Temp. Alex.
III. p. 17. Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 97.

2  Ibid. p. 377.

3  Ibid. p. 412. See also p. 414.

4  M’Pherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol.
i. p. 592.

5  Excerpta ex Rotul. Compot. Temp. Alex.
III. p. 44.

item in the Chamberlains’ Accounts
of the year 1364, in which it appears
that Adam Torre, burgess of Edin­
burgh, furnished for the king’s table
thirteen silver dishes, and six silver
saltcellars, for which he was paid seven­
teen pounds twelve shillings.6

With regard to the rent and the
value of land at this period, the sub­
ject, to be investigated in a satisfac­
tory manner, would lead us into far
too wide a field; but any reader who
is anxious to pursue so interesting an
inquiry will find in the Cartularies of
the different religious houses, and in
the valuable information communi­
cated by the books of the Chamber­
lains’ Accounts, a mass of facts, from
the comparison of which he might
draw some authentic deductions. The
great difficulty, however, in an investi­
gation of this nature, would arise from
the want of any work upon the exact
proportion which the ancient divisions
of land, known in the Cartularies by
the epithets of carucatæ, bovatæ, per-
ticatæ, rodæ, virgatæ, bear to the
measures of land in the present day :
a desideratum which must be felt by
any one attempting such an inquiry
in every step of his progress. For
example, in an ancient roll containing
the rents of the Monastery of Kelso
preserved in the Cartulary of that
religious house, and drawn up prior to
1320, we find that the monks of this
opulent establishment possessed the
grange, or farm, of Reveden in Rox­
burghshire, in which they themselves
cultivated five carucates of land. The
remainder of the property appears to
have been divided into eight husband-
lands, terrœ husbandorum, for which
each of these husbandmen paid an
annual rent of eighteen shillings. Upon
the same grange they had nineteen
cottages, for eighteen of which they
received an annual rent of twelve
pennies, and six days’ work at harvest
and sheep-shearing. The ninth cot­
tage rented at eighteenpence and nine
days’ harvest work. Upon the same
property they had two breweries,
yielding a rent of two marks, and one

6 Chamberlains’ Accounts, p. 411

284                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

mill, which brought them nine marks
yearly.1 The difficulty here is to
ascertain the size of these husband-
lands, in which inquiry, at present, I
know not of any certain guide. The
bovate, or oxgang of land, according
to Spelman and Ducange, contained
eighteen acres; a carucate contained
eight bovates; and eight carucates
made up a knight’s fee : but that the
same measures obtained in Scotland
cannot be confidently asserted. In­
deed, we know that they varied even
in England, and that a deed quoted in
“Dugdale’s Monasticon,” makes the
bovate contain only ten acres ; whilst
Skene, upon no certain authority,
limits it to thirteen.

In the same monastic roll, we find
that Hugo Cay had a small farm, which
consisted of one bovate, for which he
paid to the monks a rent of ten shil­
lings ; and for a cottage, with six
acres attached to it, and a malt-house,
the tenant gave six shillings a-year.
At a remote period, under Alexander
the Second, the monks of Melrose
purchased from Richard Barnard a
meadow at Farningdun, consisting of
eight acres, for thirty-five marks. In
1281, we have already seen that the
portion of Margaret, princess of Scot­
land, who was married to Eric, king
of Norway, was fourteen thousand
marks. At the same time it was
stipulated that, for one-half of the
portion, the King of Scotland might,
at his option, assign to the King of
Norway during the continuance of the
marriage, rents of lands amounting to
a tenth part of the money, or to seven
hundred marks yearly; whilst it was
settled that the princess was to have a
jointure of one thousand four hundred
marks ; and in both the public instru­
ments drawn up upon this occasion,
an annuity upon the life of Margaret,
then in her twenty-first year, was
valued at ten years’ purchase.2 In
1350 a perpetual annuity of eight
marks sterling, or five pounds six shil­
lings and eightpence, secured on land,
was bought for one hundred and

1 Cartulary of Kelso, MS. Rotulus Reddi-
tuum Monasterii de Kalchow.
History, supra, p. 21.

twenty marks, being exactly fifteen
years’ purchase.3 To any of my
readers who may be solicitous to pur­
sue these inquiries further; to inves­
tigate the comparative value of food
and labour in the sister countries, and
their relation to the prices in the
present day, I would recommend the
table of the prices of corn, and other
necessary articles, subjoined to M'Pher-
son’s Annals of Commerce, a work
which is a storehouse of authentic and
interesting information upon the early
history, not only of European com­
merce, but of European manners.

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