Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Centenary Grandad

I have just been reminded by my Dad that today is 100 years since the birth of my paternal grandfather, Douglas Sykes Wilkinson (1911-1985).

Happy Centenary Grandad!

Grandad & Me

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Lists of the Edinburgh Poor

I spent this afternoon at the Edinburgh City Archives which is hidden away in the City Chambers, three floors below the level of the Royal Mile.

The main reason for my visit was to examine some records I had identified through the SCAN catalogue, Edinburgh Parochial Board: Lists of Poor 1840-1884. 

This record consists of two volumes and I looked at the second of these which covers 1869-1884 (SL8/7/2). This is a printed volume entitled ‘List of Poor in Receipt of Relief from the City Parish of Edinburgh’ and for each year the names of those receiving poor relief are divided up into the the following sections: 

Out-Door Poor 
Inmates in Poorhouse 
Inmates in Lunatic Wards 
Inmates in Morningside Asylum 
Lunatics Boarded with Relatives 
Lunatics Boarded Out 
Paupers Boarded in Institutions 
Invalids Boarded Out 
Children Boarded Out 
Edinburgh Poor in Country Parishes 
Country Parish Poor in Edinburgh Parish 
Children Receiving Education 

In the cases of children boarded out and apprentices only a name and identifying number are listed, but in most other cases an address or name of institution is also given. 

However, by far the most detailed section is for the out-door poor where the following information is provided: 

Roll Number 
Weekly Allowance 
Number of dependants (Male and Female) 
Religious Denomination 
Whether Member or Adherent 
Any Assistance provided by the Church 
Remarks (generally how long each person has been a member of their church but also details of any illness or disability) 

The vast majority of those who received outdoor poor relief were women. For example, in 1882 Alice C. Peacock was receiving 4s 0d a week. She was aged 31, living at 7 Stanley Place, and had one male and two female dependants. She was recorded as a member of St Mary’s Episcopal Church, which she had attended for 1 year nine months, but received no assistance from them. 

The men who received outdoor relief were mostly elderly although there are a few exceptions. In 1882 Archibald Sandilands, who lived at 3 Greenside Row, top flat right, was in receipt of 6s 0d a week. He was aged 39 and had three male and two female dependants. He was a member of the Greenside Established Church which he had attended for 8 years but again received no assistance from them. 

Archibald, his wife Elizabeth, and their six children were recorded living at 3 Greenside Row in the 1881 Census (RD:685/2 ED:3 Page:11). His older children may well have been considered old enough to work and therefore not dependants. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the person I was looking for today, but these lists are well worth a look if you think your Edinburgh ancestors may have received poor relief. 

Further details of the holdings of Edinburgh City Archives and a list of those who claimed poor relief from St Cuthbert’s Parochial Board in the period 1850-1852 can be downloaded from 

Note: Edinburgh City Archives will be temporarily closed from 28 July until October 2011.

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.