Arbroath 1599 Charter

Arbroath 1599 Charter
Arbroath 1599 Charter

James by the grace of god King of Scots. To all good men of this land both cleric and lay greetings

Let it be known that after the annexation of the church lands of this realm to our crown, with the advice of our faithful kinsman and counsellor Master John Preston of Fentonbarns our treasurer for our new acquisitions, understandings that the town of Arbroath with the houses, buildings, lands, parts pendicles and the same pertinents lying in the regality of Arbroath within the sheriffdom of Forfar was long ago erected and confirmed as a free burgh by our most noble ancestors of good memory and endowed with all the freedoms, immunities, and privileges that belong and pertain to a free burgh and that the old infeftments, evidences, confirmations and erection of the said burgh have been stolen and destroyed during the time of civil war and in the disorder of this kind that existed in our kingdom during our minority, by George the one-time bishop of Moray who was called "the Postulate of Arbroath", who with his accomplices broke violently, by main force into the abbey and place of the monastery of Arbroath where the said old infeftment, erection and confirmation of the said burgh had been placed for safety at the time and (we) nevertheless desiring the advancement of our lieges and their convenience and the good order and adornment of our kingdom we, for these reasons and taking account of diverse other important matters and proper considerations and after taking mature deliberation and advice on those things, have by our royal authority, princely power and personal wish ratified, approved and confirmed for ourselves and our successors in perpetuity and do by the tenor of our present charter ratify, approve and confirm the old and ancient erection of the said burgh as one free burgh with all infeftments, confirmations, securities and other rights as following from that and with all privileges, freedoms, immunities and commodities belonging in whatsoever way of which the burgesses and inhabitants of the said burgh and their predecessors whomsoever were in possession at any past time notwithstanding that the said infeftment of the said erection have been lost, ruined or otherwise destroyed or stolen in the foresaid manner. And we, on the aforesaid advice do wish and grant and for us and our successors, decree and ordain that the general sense of this will be of such strength, effect and adequacy in all respects as if each and every one of the aforesaid infeftments, with the erection, confirmations, privileges, immunities, liberties and commodities of the said burgh were to be inserted here at full length word for word on which matter we make a dispensation for ourselves and our successors by the tenor of the present charter.

Besides we have made, set up, created, erected and incorporated afresh, and by the tenor of the present charter do now make, set up, create, erect and incorporate the whole entire aforesaid town and burgh of Arbroath with all and sundry houses, buildings, tenements, gardens, acres, waste tofts, crofts and others lying within the burgage roods and territory of the same as a free burgh known for all time in the future as the royal burgh of Arbroath. And similarly we have given, granted, assigned, disponed and incorporated anew and by the tenor of our present charter for us and our successors we give, grant, assign, dispone and incorporate to the aforesaid burgh and the provost, bailies, councillors, free burgesses and inhabitants of the same and to their successors as hereditable property all and sundry the foresaid houses, buildings, tenements, gardens, waste tofts, crofts and others lying within the said burgage roods and territories of the same together with those burgage roods the "infield" and the "outfield lands" with all other lands both near and far, parts, pendicles and pertinents in the same place belonging to them or shall happen justly to belong to them and particularly the lands called the "common" and the "common fauld" with the common muir of Arbroath, the muirlands of the same and with the common loans and all the pertinents in the same place, together with all the other lands, rents, annual rents, elemosina and other things of which foresaid bailies and councillors of the said burgh and their predecessors had use, habit or possession at any time preceding the date of our present charter. And also we have erected and by this our present charter do erect for ourselves and our successors, a free port to receive and shelter boats at our said port with all the privileges, immunities and commodities belonging and pertaining to the free port with special full power for the burgesses and freemen of the said burgh and their successors of making, electing, appointing and creating the provost, town bailies, treasurers, dean of guild, guild brothers, councillors, officers, any other posts necessary in the said burgh for its control and government and of changing or keeping one or all of them annually as seems fit to them and with full power also for the burgesses and the said freemen of the said burgh who have been duly erected, created, received into that sort of liberty by its councillors, inhabitants of the same and their Dean of Guild for the present or whoever he may be at the time and admitted to the "Pak Peill" of selling and buying all merchandise and staple goods commonly called the staple goods and of using all forms, kinds of trading by sea and land within our realm or within whatsoever realms or regions as seems fit to them. And also to buy and sell within our foresaid burgh and its liberties wax, bread wool, broad, fine linen and other merchandise and staple goods and also with the power to our foresaid provost, bailies, councillors of the said burgh and to their successors of having, admitting, holding, receiving within the said burgh bakers, brewers, woodworkers, fish-sellers, tailors, tanners, weavers, cutters, smiths, carpenters and all other necessary craftsmen belonging and pertaining to the free burgh and its liberties. And to build, have and hold within our said burgh a council chamber and market cross and one weekly market on a Saturday together with four free annual fairs, one on the day of Saint Thomas, the others on the days of Saint Vigean, the day of Saint John and the other on the day of Saint Ninian with the power and privileges to hold the square for each market for the space of twenty four hours and to introduce, raise, bring in, collect and apply the "Thelona" commonly called the tolls and small customs of the said burgh’s markets and fairs for the common good of the foresaid burgh. And also, with the power of the foresaid provost and bailies of the said burgh and their successors to receive the resignations of all and sundry the lands, tenements, annual rents, gardens, tofts, crofts, burgage roods, lands, fields and others lying within the foresaid burgh and its liberty and of delivering and disponing of the same to any person or persons who has this kind of right and title, with all infeftments, charters, sasines and other necessary evidences. And of receiving, transferring and "sasinating" the heirs of the deceased both by write and by "hesp and staple" of the earth and stone of the ground or by whichever other ordinance is observed in the burghs of our realm. And of setting up, instigating, beginning, affirming, holding burgh courts within the said burgh and continuing them as often as there is a need. And of appointing clerks, servants, judges, officers and all other posts needed in the court of punishing transgressors according to the laws of our realm of receiving issues, amerciaments, bloodwrits and escheats of the said court and applying them to their proper uses and of distraining, making seizure for them if there is a need, of making laws and statutes within the aforesaid burgh and its liberty of the same for the observation of good order within the same and of seizing, arresting, incarcerating, punishing, beheading, hanging, drowning and putting into exile whomsoever transgressors and inhabitants within the foresaid burgh according to the laws of our realm. With the power of repledging, returning, restoring transgressors and inhabitants of our burgh to freedom, the privilege of our said burgh, in the presence of our general justiciar or another one, or whatsoever judge or judges they have been arrested or brought before, of providing, finding the caution of "Collerath" as justice for parties complaining of acts of administration within the term of the law. Also with the power of the said provost, baillies and council and their successors of our said burgh of receiving, admitting, raising all and sundry anchorages; ____?_____ customs and port monies whatsoever from boats, skiffs, lighters or other vessels laden with whatsoever merchandise, in the way that any other port or harbour for boats in this realm has any right, title, possession.

And applying the same for repair sustenance and maintenance within the said port, harbour and bulwarks of the same for all time in the future and in general to do, employ, use in a similar way and thus in all respects privileges, immunities and freedoms whatsoever just as other free burghs and free port in our realm.

To hold and to have all and whole our foresaid burgh of Arbroath together with the free port and harbour of the same and with all and sundry houses, buildings, tenements, gardens, acres, waste (ground), tofts, crofts and others lying within the foresaid burgage roods together with the same burgage roods the "infield" and "outfield lands" with all other lands far and near with parts pendicles and pertinents in the same place in whatsoever way belonging or shall happen to belong and especially the foresaid lands called the common and the common faulds within the said common muir of Arbroath, the lands, the muirlands of the same and with the said common loans and all their pertinents also together with all other lands, rents and annual rents, alms and others of which the said provost, bailies and councillors of the said burgh and their predecessors had customary use or possession at any time proceeding the date of our present charter. And also with all and sundry the foresaid immunities, privileges and freedoms of the foresaid burgh and free port of the same with the anchorages, customs and whatsoever duties belonging or pertaining to them to the foresaid, bailies, councillors, burgesses and freemen of the said burgh and to their successors from as and our successors in hereditary feu-ferme free burgage and free port and bulworks for now and for ever by all their rights ancient and devised meaths just as they lie in longitude and latitude, in all houses, buildings, woods, plains, marshes, ways, paths, waters, pools, rivers, meadows, grazings and pastures, mills multures and their sequels, hawkings, huntings and fishings, peats, turfts, coal-heuchs, rabbits, rabbit warrens, doves, dovecots, smithies, maltings, hearths and brooms, woods, groves and thickets, woods, timbers, stone quarries, stone and lime with courts and their issues, herezelds, bloodwrits and merchets of women and with fork, ditch, stook, stack, haystack, theme ____?_____, rack, wair ____?_____ infangtheif, outfangtheif, pit and gallows with the common pastures, free entry and exit and with all and sundry other liberties, commodities, profits and casements and their just pertinents whatsoever both named and unnamed both above ground and under ground, near and far that belong or will in any way happen to justly belong in the future to the foresaid burgh port and harbour, lands, houses, buildings and privileges with any others particularly and generally forewritten respectively with their pertinents, freely, quietly, fully, wholly honourably well and in peace without any revocation, contradiction, impediment or obstacle whatsoever. By the said provost, bailies, councillors, burgesses and freemen of our said burgh and their successors rendering to us and our successors the sum of forty shillings usual money of our realm at the Feast of All Saints into our exchequer in the name of feu-ferme together only with the services of one free burgh. In witness whereof we receive in advance to this our present charter our great seal.

Witnesses, our beloved kinsman and councillors John Marquis of Hamilton, Earl of Arran, Lord Even? etc., John Earl of Montrose, Lord Graham etc., our chancellor George Earl Marischall, Lord Keith etc., Marshall of our realm, our beloved kinsman, councillors, knights Lords James Elphinstone of Barnton our secretary, Richard Cockburn junior of Clarkington, custodian of our privy seal, master John Skene clerk of the register of our rolls of our council, Lord John Cockburn of Ormiston, knight, our clerk of justiciary and master William Scott of Grangemuir director of our chancellery. At Holyrood House the twenty-third day of the month of November, the year of the Lord 1599 and the thirty-third year of our reign.

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