Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Glasgow regarding Town Pipers/Minstrels
1 June 1574
The menstrales continewit quhill the Symmerhill, quhen the haill communitie salbe present to geve thair votis thairanent.
20 June 1574
The quhilk daye, Archibald Bordland and Robert Duncane ar admittit to be menstrales to the towne for this instant yeir, and to haif fra ilk freman allanerlie, but meyt, twa schillingis money at the leist, with the mair at the gevaris plesour.
29 October 1574
Pipers, fiddlers, minstrels, vagabonds
Item, it is statute and ordanit that na pyparis, fidleris, menstrales, or ony wther vagabundis, remane in this toun fra this tyme furtht during the tyme of the pest but speciall leif of the prouest or vnder the pane of scurgeyng and banisment; and alsua that na pure commone beggaris remane in this towne fra this furtht except thai that hes bene borne within burght and parochin or hes bene lang within the samyn, and that thai depart furtht of this towne within xxiiij houris nixt, vnder the pane of burnyng on the cheik; and ordanis tham that is permittit to remane, to cum to the tolbuytht and ressaue thair merkis the morn and gif in thair names, and gif it salbe fund that ony of the beggaris resaueris of the merkis trawell furtht of the burght or parrochin and cum in agane thairinto thair merkis sal be tane fra thame and thai banist for ewir.
24 May 1575
The menstrales continewit quhill the Symmerhill quhen the haill communite salbe present to geve thair votis thairanent.
12 June 1576
Archibald Bordland and John Cuthbert chosen minstrels.
28 May 1577
Archibald Bordland and Johne Cuthbert, minstrels.
20 May 1578
Archibald Bordland and John Corbett, minstrels.
9 June 1579
The menstrales continewit:- Archibald Bordland, John Cuthbert.
24 May 1580
Menstrales continewit: Archibald Bordland, John Cuthbert.
16 May 1581
menstrallis continuit, Archibald Bordland, Johnne Corbart.
5 June 1582
Menstrallis continewit, Archibald Bordland, Johnne Corbart.
20 May 1589
Menstrallis continewit for this yeir:- Johnne Cuthbert, Archibald Borland.
9 June 1590
continewis the menstrallis for this yeir, viz., Johone Cuthbert, Archibald Borland.
29 May 1599
menstralis, Robert Spens, Fergus M’Laye
2 June 1599
The provest, bailleis, and counsale hes condiscendit and grantit to ilkane of the aucht officeris and tua menstrallis to have sa meikill reid stamyng as wilbe ilkane of thame ane mantill, with stringis in the syde, and the townes armes on the schoulder thairoff, in the best fassone thai can be hade, and ordanes thame to reparrell and mak the same reddy agane Thuirsdaye nixt, onder the pane of deprivatioune; and ordanes Mathow Merschell, thesaurer, to paye for the said stamyng, quhilk salbe allowit to him in his comptis, and he to gif in compt thairof, and als ordanit him to gif John Tempilltoune fyve ellis hardin, and to Thomas Walker vther fyve ellis hardin.
16 February 1600
Act, towne pypers
Robert Spens, drummer, being accusit for sindry faltis committit be him in his service sene his admitting to office, first for ganging to vther townes and brydellis be waye of staffry and begging aganes the honour of the towne, and siclyik within the towne and nocht making service in dew tyme mornyng and evenyng, bot absenting him thairfra in drinking extraordinarlie, is thairfor be the provest bailleis and counsale depryvit of his office, and dischargeit thairof, and to vaik quhill thai be farder resoluit heireftir.. And as to Ferguis M’Claye, pyper, gif he be fund heirefter in nocht doing his service as becumis, nycht and daye, and that he sall mak thre faltis, to be depryvit of his office.
13 May 1600
Menstrallis for this yeir to cum: Robert Spens, drummer; Fergus M’Claye. And ordanit Robert Spens to bring cautioune on Setterdaye to obey sic iniunctiounes as salbe adionit to him.
17 May 1600
Iniunctiounes appoyntit to be gevin to Robert Spens and Fergus M’Clay, menstrales: Item, that thai attend ilk mornyng and evenyng vpoun thair service diligently. Item, that nane of thame have nather boy nor doig with thame quhair thai eit thair ordiner. Item, that thai stope na friemen that is hable to gif them ordiner, nor to tak syluer fra ane to pas to ane vther. Item, that thai sall nocht misbehaiff thame selffs in na houssis quhair thai salhappin to eitt thair ordiner, bot to be content of sic as salbe presentit to thame be thame that thai eit with.
Item, that thai sall nocht enter in na cloissis, nayther mornyng nor evenyng, bot to pas throw the haill towne fra thai begyn quhill thai end, and to leiff af thair extraordiner drinking sua that thai may pas honestlie throw the towne in thair service, nor to leiff thair playing in ganging of the calsaye ather to masones or drinking, and to pas scharple throw the towne with ony cumyng to houssis. Item, that ilk ane of thame sall ather mak calsaye or furneis men to mak calsaye be the space of xx dayes betuix and Witsoundaye nixtocum, and that thai sall mak vther particular work as thai salbe requirit. And that thai keip thir iniunctiounes onder the paine of deprivatioun. Quhilk iniunctiounes the foirsaidis persones hes acceptit.
17 May 1608
The menstrelis continowit vpone hoipe of thair better service and guid behaviour, and quhilk of thame sall happin to do wrang to vthiris, and thairby hindir the service of the towne, salbe depryvit of his office.
6 June 1609
the ministrellis contenowit.
From Alan Radford, 23 Feb 2015
GLASGOW: John Purser, “The Glasgow Story” (source – online)
In 1593 the Kirk Session threatened the town piper with excommunication if he played on Sundays.
The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk
1743-45: There never was but one concert during the two winters I was at Glasgow, and that was given by Walter Scott, Esq. of Harden, who was himself an eminent performer on the violin; and his band of assistants consisted of two dancing-school fiddlers and the town-waits.
R A Houston, “Bride Ales and Penny Weddings”, OUP 2014, ISBN 978 0 19 968087 0
In 1600, Glasgow employed a piper and a drummer, and sacked the latter for ‘ganging to uther townes and brydellis be waye of staffry and begging aganes the honour of the towne.’