Burgh Charter for Helensburgh 1802

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Burgh-Charter-wIT HAS not been possible to find out where the original of the burgh charter is held, if indeed it still exists.

Sir Malcolm Colquhoun does not have it, and many years ago the Luss Estates papers were given to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow; they do not have it either.

However copies have been traced at the following locations:

1. The National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. The original document was written in Latin, and they have sent to Helensburgh Heritage Trust both a hard copy and an electronic copy of this. The National Records also have an English translation, but it is in such poor condition that it cannot be viewed. It may be repaired at some unspecified date in the future.

2. The Archives of Argyll & Bute Council in Lochgilphead. This copy is bound in the back of the first Helensburgh Town Council minute book; one page is in Latin, and then the facing page is in English, but unfortunately the last two pages have not been translated from Latin into English.

The copy held by Argyll & Bute Council has been photographed by me, but unfortunately the minute book has been bound in such a way that there is very little margin and consequently it is not easy to read or to photograph.

A further complication arises from the fact that, starting from the third bottom line of page 6 in the English translation and from the top line of page 7 in the Latin version held by Argyll & Bute Council, there is a section which does not appear in the original Latin version held by the National Records of Scotland. Although this section does not appear to fit in to what has gone before, it has been included in what follows, but marked by square brackets.

What follows is therefore a combination of the following

1. My best attempt at an English transcription of the photographs for pages 1-6.

2. A translation into English from Latin by Niall McKinnon (retired Latin teacher) of pages 7 and 8. Helensburgh Heritage Trust is very grateful to him for undertaking this.

3. A glossary of legal terms used - appended.

Stewart Noble July 2018

[page 1 starts]

Charter of Resig[nation] & Novodamus in favour of Sir Jas Colquhoun Bart of the Barony of Milligs &c. 1802

George the Third by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland &c. King, Defender of the Faith, to all worthy men of his whole realm, Clergymen and Laymen, – Greeting. Know that we with the advice and consent of Robert Dundas Esqre., Lord Chief Baron of our Exchequer, in that part of our kingdom of Great Britain called Scotland, Fletcher Norton Esqre., Sir John Dalrymple Bart., Arch'd Cockburn, & George Buchan Hepburn Esqres., the remaining Barons of the said Exchequer; have given, conceded, disposed, & by this our present Charter have confirmed; & by the tenor of the same Give, concede, & dispose, and for us & our Royal successors in perpetuity Confirm, to our Lovite Sir Jas Colquhoun of Luss Bart. & his heirs and assignees whatsomever heritably & and irredeemably, all & whole the Lands & Estate of Milligs, therein to be comprehen the eight pound Lands of Milligs & miln of the same, with miln Lands, multures including [or, perhaps "in particular" - see footnote] sucken, knaveship, & astricted multures of same; as also all & Whole the lands of Kirkmichael & Drumphad with the houses, buildings, gardens, woods, fishings, mosses, moors, meadows – parts, pendicles, & pertinents of the same, & likewise all & Whole the twenty-six shilling and eight penny lands of Stuckleckie with the houses, buildings, gardens – parts, pendicles, & pertinents of the same, lying within the Parish of Row & County of Dumbarton. Which whole lands indeed with their pertinents formerly belonged hereditarily to the said Sir James Colquhoun held by him of us & our royal predecessors, the immediate legitimate superiours of the same, & by virtue of a procuratory resignation granted by him of date the fourth March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & two duly & and lawfully resigned in the hands of said Robt. Dundas of Arniston for himself & in the name of the remaining Barons of foresaid Exchequer as in our hands the immediate lawful superiors of the same. In favour

[page 2 starts]

and for new infeftment thereof to be made & granted to the foresaid Sir Jas. Colquhoun & his foresaids as authentic instruments taken upon said resignation in the hands of Robert Campbell Notary Public more fully bear. And moreover for further corroboration of the Charter of Infeftment to follow on these presents; We with the advice & consent foresaid, of new have given, granted & disponed & and by this our present Charter confirmed; & by the tenor of the presents, give, grant, & dispone, and for us & our royal successors in perpetuity confirm to the said Sir Jas. Colquhoun Bart. & his heirs & and assignees whatsoever heritably and irredeemably all and Whole the foresaid eight pound Lands of Milligs & Miln of the same, with Miln Lands, multures including [or perhaps "in particular" - see footnote] sucken, knaveship, & astricted multures of the same; as also all & Whole the Lands of Kirkmichael & Drumphad with the houses, buildings, gardens, woods, fishings, mosses, moors, meadows – parts, pendicles, and pertinents of the same; and likewise all & Whole the twenty-six shilling & eight penny Lands of Stuckleckie with houses, buildings, gardens – parts, pendicles, & pertinents of the same lying within the Parish of Row and County of Dumbarton along with the village of Helensburgh built upon said lands, and by these praesents afterwards to be constituted a Burgh of Barony. But reservation to be made to the inhabitants of said village, & to the Community of the same, of the entire Rights, Jurisdictions, & Privileges, conferred upon them by virtue of the foresaid Erection to be afterwards contained & declared in these presents; – the same to be independent of & unaffected by this present grant made in favour of Said Sir Jas. Colquhoun Bart. & his foresaids: as also we give, grant, & in perpetuity confirm to the foresaid Sir Jas. Colquhoun & his foresaids heritably and irredeemably all right, title, & interest; claim of property & possession as well pettitory as possessory, which we, & our royal progenitors & successors have had, have, or in way may have, claim, or possibly pretend, to the whole foresaid lands &c. or to any part of the same or the annual-rents, farms, kains, Customs, casualties, profits & duties

[page 3 starts]

of the same for all years bye-past for whatever cause preceding the date of these presents: Renouncing & transferring the same with all action suit & execution competent or which may be competent to his & our Royal Successors thereupon in favour of the said Sir Jas Colquhoun Bart & his foresaids now & in all time coming. With which Generality, & all other Defects & Nullities which can be objected against the same We have Dispensed & for us & our Royal successors & all our subjects do in perpetuity Dispense, & moreover considering that the said Sir Jas Colquhoun Bart. hath erected a village upon said lands to stimulate industry & favour manufactures, & that for promoting these good purposes he hath wished & desired that said village so far as it hath been built or may afterwards be built within the particular limits & landmarks afterwards to be specified should be erected into a free & independent Burgh of Barony. Therefore We with advice & consent aforesaid for us & our Royal Successors Disjoin & separate said whole lands, &c. before particularly described from all Baronies and Regalities of which the same have hitherto been a part or parts; & Create, join, erect, annex, and incorporate said whole lands &c. particularly before described, into one Entire & Free Barony now & in all time coming to be called the Barony of Milligs; and we Give, grant, & commit to the said Sir Jas Colquhoun Bart. and his foresaids, with the exception and reservation afterwards to be mentioned, Full Power, liberty, privilege, and jurisdiction of Free Barony within the limits of said lands, & particularly, full power to him & his foresaids of electing, creating, & constituting Baillies & other officers of a Baron Court, who shall have power to hold Baron Courts, & to exercise the jurisdiction competent by law: Excepting always from the Barony hereby erected the territory afterwards described of the Burgh of Helensburgh erected into a free & independent Burgh of Barony in the manner hereafter recited, over which the powers, priviledges, & jurisdictions, of free Barony granted to the said Sir Jas Colquhoun Bart. & his foresaids over the other

[page 4 starts]

whole lands &c. hereby disponed Shall in no manner Extend: & We with advice & consent foresaid, have erected & hereby erect said village of Helensburgh in so far as it is already built or may be afterwards built upon said lands & pertinents before disponed, which will comprehend, & be bounded by, the limits after described viz. on the south side by the river Clyde, on the north by the march- dykes of the lands of Stuckleckie as at present set off & by the march-dykes of the lands of both Milligs and Glennan, on the west by the Burn of Glennan, & on the east by the way leading from Clyde to Lochlomond commonly called the Duke's way, - all as presently bounded & set off by stone walls, hedges & ditches; which Special Limits are hereby declared to be the Territory of the foresaid Burgh of Barony beyond which the rights, jurisdictions & priviledges conferred upon the Community & Inhabitants of the same shall not extend, into one entire Free & Independent Burgh of Barony now & in all time coming to be called the Burgh of Barony of Helensburgh, with all powers, liberties, privileges & jurisdictions whatever, pertaining and relating to any free & independent Burgh of Barony erected in Scotland from the date of the Act of Parliament passed in the twentieth year of the reign of George the Second entituled "an act for taking away and abolishing Hereditary Jurisdictions in that part of Great Britain called Scotland", with full power & privilege to the Burgesses of said Burgh of Barony of Helensburgh to Choose their own Magistrates & Councillors for the exercise of such jurisdiction as by law is competent to such Magistrates, & for the due & regular administration of such Common Good which may Pertain & Relate to said Community in all time coming. & that the administration of police of said Burgh of Barony may be better regulated, it is hereby declared that the magistracy shall consist of one Provost & two Baillies who shall have the Legal & Usual Jurisdiction & that the administration of any Common Good which may belong to the Burgh shall be committed to four

[page 5 starts]

Councillors jointly with the said Provost & two Baillies, any three of them to constitute a quorum, with the power to the said provost, Baillies & Councillors & their quorum to makes such Municipal Laws & Regulations consistent with the Public Law of the Realm as may conduce to the Establishment & Preservation of Peace, & of the Good & and Prosperity of said Burgh. And that all the Inhabitants within the Territory of the Burgh formerly described, being of Lawful age, & having right by Feu, or Lease of a hundred years, to a House & to the Ground of a Garden shall have the Right of Burgesses, & the Right to vote at the Elections, & to be Elected into the office of Magistrate or of Councillors; – but under the following provisions: that no person shall have right to vote at elections, or shall be allowed to be elected Provost or Baillie altho' having a right as aforesaid who is not a resident Burgess: that the first election shall be on the eleventh day of the month of September in the year one thousand eight hundred & two; & that every future election shall be on the eleventh day of the said month of September annually, & the hour of meeting shall be eleven forenoon: and we with advice & consent aforesaid Give full power & Liberty to the said Burgh of Barony & to the authorities of said Community to Have & to Hold one market weekly within said Burgh on Thursday; and also to have four annual Fairs upon any part of the Territory of said Burgh of Barony; – to be held: the First Fair on the second Tuesday of the month of February annually; the Second Fair to be held on the first day of June if the same shall not fall upon Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, & if it shall so fall – then on the Tuesday thereafter annually: the Third Fair to be held on the sixth day of the month of August annually; & the Fourth Fair to be held on the twelfth day of the month of November annually; these two last Fairs being subject to the same condition when the Days named shall fall upon Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays: & each of said Fairs to last two days successively – with power to said magistrates & Councillors & their successors in office to collect, exact, & intromit with the

[page 6 starts]

Tolls, customs & other Dues of the said Weekly Markets & Four Annual Fairs; & to apply the same to the necessary Expenses of Maintaining harmony & Peace during the Time of said Markets & Fairs, or otherwise for the Benefit of the community: – Reserving always to the said Sir James Colquhoun & his foresaids the feu-duties, annual-rents, & casualties, contained or which may be contained, in any feu-rights, leases, &c. already granted or which afterwards may be granted to the said Burgesses of the foresaid Burgh within the territory aforesaid although by these presents erected into a free Burgh of Barony: And Moreover We with the advice & consent aforesaid will & ordain, & for us & our royal successors Decree & ordain, that one Sasine to be taken by the said Sir James Colquhoun & his foresaids,, or by his vassals, in the Territory of the said Burgh at the village of Helensburgh, or upon the ground of any part of the said lands & Barony, by delivery of Earth & stone of the Ground of the same only, without necessity of any other symbol is & and will be as valid & sufficient a Sasine for the Whole Lands of the Burgh of Barony & others with their pertinents, formerly described or for the town being part or parts of the same, as if a particular Sasine were taken upon each part or portion of the same by delivery of the usual & wonted symbols; notwithstanding that the same lands lying unconnected & in different jurisdictions, may be of different denominations, & and may require different sasines & varying symbols: Wherefore & with all objections which may be made against the validity or formality of any such Sasines; We consent aforesaid, for us & our royal successors, & for all our subjects forever dispense: to hold & to have the said lands, mill, with Burgh of Barony &c. with pertinents above specified, the foresaid Sir James Colquhoun Baronet & his foresaids of us & our royal successors the immediate lawful superiors of the same in price firm blanche, feu & heritage forever through all .......

[translation by Niall McKinnon starts - page 7]

.......and heritage for ever throughout all their rightful ancient dimensions [***what follows is not shown in the version held by the National Records of Scotland ****and divisions, just as they lie in length and breadth, in houses, buildings, gardens, orchards, marshlands, planes, moors, marches, roads, paths, waters, pools, brooks, meadows, grazings and pastures, mills, grinding fees, and those things which follow from them; fowling, hunting, fishings, peats, turfings, charcoal, charcoal burners, rabbits, rabbiters, doves, dovekeepers, artificers, brassworks, breweries, broomplants, woods, groves, copses, firewood, quarrymen, stone and lime, together with courts and their outcomes, herezelds, bloodwites and fines, together with the common grazing and with free entry and exit along with all the other individual freedoms, beneficial exemptions, easements, and any other relevant rights whatsoever, both unnamed and named, whether above ground or underground, far off and near to the aforementioned lands and other items before written, together with their pertinents open for inspection, or able to view by right, as it pleases in future, freely, quietly, in full, completely, honourably, well and peacefully, without any retraction, contradiction, obstacle or hindrance whatsoever. ****] Thence annually the aforesaid Sir James Colquhoun Baronet and his aforesaids must render to us, and to our royal successors, their immediate lawful superiors, the payments for the same later mentioned, i.e. for the said eight pound lands of Millig with its mill and grain fees and for the lands of Kirkmichael and Drumphad a sum of two pennies of Scots money at the end of Whitsun every year, in silver coins, if asked for, and for the aforesaid twenty-six shilling and eight penny lands of Stuckleckie, the sum of two Scots pennies at the end of Whitsun every year for the estate consisting of the aforementioned lands, in silver coin, if that is asked for. And these are things which could be demanded or required over and above every other burden, tax and demand or with seasonal unpaid labour from those same lands and mill along with the other pertinents mentioned above, or from any part or portion of the same.

Moreover, to the Sheriff of Dumbarton and his Bailiffs and to our chosen officers and to each of you jointly and individually we commit and entrust to you the wellbeing of the Sheriffdom of Dumbarton specially established in this area.

[page 8 starts]

Inasmuch as I have granted to the aforesaid Sir James Colquhoun Baronet or his certified legal attorney a Sasine for the whole existing lands aforementioned, the mill, the Burgh of Barony, the markets and other fair days along with their privileges and pertinents, as they lie and comprehend, but with the retentions and exceptions in the manner shown earlier in accordance with the form and tenor of our aforementioned Charter which he has henceforth from us and of our previously mentioned dispensation, you should endeavour without delay to have this carried out justly and you should by no means overlook it. For carrying out this duty, we grant the power to you and to each of you collectively and individually, our officers of the Sheriffdom in this part of Dumbarton already mentioned.

In witness of this for any present our Seal on our Charter will be kept throughout the duration of the agreement and will be used in Scotland instead of and in place of the Great Seal. We have instructed that their official seals be appended by our chosen witnesses Lord Frederick Campbell, Clerk of our Registers and Archives, David Rae of Eskgrove, Knight, Clerk of our Judiciary, and Lord James St Clair Erskine, Baron of Sinclair, Director of our Chancery, at our Court of St James on the 28th day of July in the year of our Lord 1802, the forty-second year of our reign.

[The following section was written in English, not Latin]

Written to the Seal and registered the Twenty fifth day of March 1803. [Signed]

Thomas Miller, Sub[?]

Sealed at Edinburgh the Twenty fifth day of March One thousand Eight hundred and three [Sig'd] Chas Gordon Dept[?]. £24 Scots.

Infeftment passed on the above, Charter conforms to the Instruments of Sasine under the hands of John Gray Notary Public dated 22nd & recorded in the particular register of Sasines kept at Dumbarton for Dumbartonshire [??] the 25 April 1803.


Astricted - legally entitled.

Blanche [or blancheferme] - a term used to describe a feudal payment [qv] which is merely nominal.

Bloodwite - a fine for the shedding of blood payable to the king, lord or other feudal superior [qv] in compensation for the breach of his peace, and/or the right to levy such a fine.

Casualty - payment falling due to a feudal superior [qv] or landlord.Dispone - to dispose of, grant or transfer a property.

Feu - to give out land upon a feudal arrangement whereby the vassal [qv] holds the land from a feudal superior.

Herezeld - a gift or present made or left by a tenant to his lord as a token of reverence.

Infeftment - the act of putting a person into possession of heritable property and so completing his legal title – superseded by the Register of Sasines [qv].

Kains - animals or fowls, paid in lieu of feu duty [qv] or rent.

Knaveship - a small payment in addition to the multure [qv], but this time made to the servants of the miller.

Lie - This word appears underlined in the English text but not underlined in the Latin text. According to the Scotland's People website (https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) it is used to introduce local names used in documents, or any Scots word or phrase brought into a Latin document.

Lovite - beloved; held in great personal esteem by a monarch.

Miln - mill.

Multure - a duty or fee consisting of grain or meal payable to a miller on corn which he has ground in his mill.

Novodamus, charter of - a charter used to make some changes in the "incidents" or payments due under a feudal holding [qv].

Pendicle - small piece of ground.

Pettitory action - an action in which the court is asked to decree a payment or that some action be performed.

Resignation - an authorisation to resign or give up a property previously held in one's name.

Sasine - putting a person into possession of land to confer a real right to it, originally done by the handing over of earth or stone.

Sucken - an obligation on tenants in an estate to use a certain mill.

Vassal - the owner of land, not outright, but conditionally on his fulfilling certain obligations, usually to the feudal superior [qv].