Saturday, 2 July 2011

‘Be the rebellis of this Kingdome killed & slaine’: A Glasgow Apprentice’s Testament

I’m currently doing some research into the Incorporation of Cordiners in Glasgow (a trade incorporation of leather workers) and spent yesterday looking at records of various Glasgow cordiners and their families, including a lot of testaments (the Scottish version of probate records). 

One record that I found particularly intriguing was the testament dative and inventory of John Bryssone (Bryson), son of the deceased Patrike Bryssone, cordiner, Burgess of Glasgow, which was confirmed at Glasgow Commissary Court on 8th July 1647. 

John had died in August 1645 and his sister, Margaret, was appointed as his executrix. However, the really interesting information about him comes under the heading of ‘Inventare’: 

Glasgow Commissary Court: Register of Testaments 1646-1650 
NAS ref. CC9/7/30, Page 124 
Item the defunct being the tyme foirs[ai]d bund prenteis to W[illia]m Glen elder baxter burges of glasgow taine furt[h] as ane co[m]mone souldier being of the age of twe[n]tie yeiris or th[e]rby And be the rebellis of this Kingdome killed & slaine at the battell of kyllsyt[h]... 
The Battle of Kilsyth took place on 15th August 1645 and was a conflict between Scottish Royalists, under James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, and the Covenanters, under William Baillie. Information on the battle can be found on the UK Battlefields Resource Centre

When I initially read the testament I presumed that the ‘rebellis’ were the Covenanters and that John Bryssone had fought on the side of the Royalists. However, a little reading indicates that Glasgow generally supported the Covenanting movement and that by 1647, when the testament was confirmed, it was Montrose and his army who were viewed as the rebels (according to the Records of the Parliaments of Scotland). 

Photograph by Chris Wimbush
Source: Wikipedia

John Bryssone (or Bryssoun) was probably the son of Patrick Bryssone and Isobel Glen baptised in Glasgow in 1619. From the OPRs it appears that Margaret was his only sibling. 

William Glen, elder, baxter, Burgess of Glasgow, to whom John was apprenticed, acted as cautioner for Margaret when the testament was confirmed, and may have been a relative of their mother, Isobel Glen. 

I was not able to locate a record of John’s apprenticeship, although The Records of the Trades House of Glasgow A.D. 1605-1678 does record at least two other boys being apprenticed to William Glen, elder, baxter (in 1631 and 1649) both as “seivin yeirs prenteis and twa yeirs for meit and fie”.

According to a report in the Cumbernauld News, historians believe that many of those killed in the battle were buried nearby.  Much of the battlefield is now under Banton Loch, although a memorial cairn (shown above) was erected in 2003.

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