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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 209 The following entries, from the note-book of Sir John Foulis, Bart. of Ravelston, prove the game to have been a fashionable one prior to the Duke of York‘s visit to Scotland :- 1672, Jan. 13. Lost at golfe with Pittarro and Commissar Munro, EO 13 0 Lost atgolfe with Lyon and Hary Hay, . . . 1 4 0 Feb. 14. Spent at Leithe at golfe, . . . . . . 2 0 0 Feb. 26. Spent at Leithe at golfe, . . . . . . 1 9 0 March 2. For three golfe balls, . . . . . . 0 15 0 Lost at golfe, at Musselburgh, with Gosford, Lyon, etc., 3 5 0 April 13. To the boy who carried my clubs, when my Lord Register andNewbyth wm at the Links, . . . . 0 4 0 Nov. 19. Lost at golfe with the Chancellour, Lyon, Master of Saltoun, etc., . . . . . . . 5 10 0 For golfe balls, . . . . . . . 0 12 0 Nov. 30. Lost at golfe with the Chancellour, Duke Hamilton, etc., .4 15 0 Dec. 7. For a golfe club to Archie (his son), . . . 0 6 0 ’ From these exhacts it is evident the game was in high repute with the first men in the kingdom. It is hardly, perhaps, necessary to mention that the payments are in Scots, not sterling money. At this time Bruntsfield Links-now a much frequented field-does not seem to have been used for golfing. It formed part of the Burrowmuir, and perhaps had not been cleared. The usual places of recreation were Leith and Musselburgh Links-the former more especially of the Edinburgh golfers, In a poem, entitled “ The Goff ” (by Thomas Mathison, at one period a writer in Edinburgh, but subsequently minister of Brechin) first published in 1743, and again, by Mr. Peter Hill, in 1793, the locality is thus alluded to :- ‘I North from Edina, eight furlongs and more, Lies that famed field on Fortha’s sounding shore ; Here Caledonian chiefs for health resort- Confirm their sinews by the manly sport. the top of the building, and consists of three pelicans vulned, on a chief three mullets-crest, a dexter hand grasping a golf club-motto, “Far and sure.” On the front wall of the second flat is a tablet, on which the following epigram, by Dr. Pitcairne, commemorative of the event, is engraved :- “Cum victor ludo, Scotis qui proprius, esset, Ter tres victor- post rediinitos avos, Patenonus, humo tunc educebat in altum Hanc, quae victores tot tulit una, domum.” Underneath this distich is placed the singular motto of-“I hate no penon,” which is found to be an anagrammatical transposition of the letters contained in the words “Iohn Patersone.” The Patersons of Dalkeith, of old, carried three pelicans feeding their young, or in nests, vert, with a chief, azure, charged with mullets argent. A commentator on the Latin poems of Dr. Pitcairne (said to be Lord Hailes), in the Edinburgh Magazine, remarks that the above epigram seems the least spirited one “in the whole collection. I t had the fortune to be recorded in gold letten on the how itself, near the foot of the Canongate, almost opposite Queensberry House.” Nugas Scotim ; Miscellaneous Papers relative to Scottish Maim, 1535-1781 :” Edinburgh, 1829, 8v0, privately printed. VOL 11. 2E
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210 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. The author then goes on in a lively strain to describe some of the “chiefs” -the “ cocks 0’ the green ” at that period :- “ Macdonald and unmatched Dalrymple ply Their ponderous weapons, and the green defy ; Rattray for skill, and Corse for strength renowned, Stewart and Lesly beat the sandy ground ; And Brown and Alxton, chiefs well known in fame, And numbers more the muse forbears to name. Gigantic Biggar here full oft is seen, Like huge Behemoth on an Indian green ; His bulk enormous scarce can ’scape the eyes ; Amazed spectators wonder how he plies. Yea, here great Forbes,’ patron of the just- The dread of villains, and the good man’s trust ; When spent with toils in serving human kind, His body recreates and unbends his mind.” The oldest golfing associations, or clubs, are the ‘‘ Edinburgh Burgess ” and ‘ I Bruntsfield Links ” Golfing Societies, instituted in 1735. The “ Edinburgh Company of Golfers,” under the patronage of the city, originated in 1’144. An act was passed by the Town Council on the 7th of March, “appointing their treasurer to cause make a silver club, of 215 value, to be played for on the Links of Leith the first Monday of April annually. The act appoints that the candidates’ names be booked some day of the week preceding the match, paying 5s. each at booking : that they be matched into parties of two’s, or of three’s, if their number be great, by lot : that the player who shall have the greatest number of holes be victor ; and if two or more shall have won an equal number, that they play a round by themselves, in order to determine the match: that the victor be styled Captnin of the Go$: that he append a piece of gold or silver to the club: that he have the sole disposal of the booking money-the determination of disputes among goffers, with the assistance of two or three of the players-and the superintendency of the Links. Accordingly, the first match was played on 2d April, by ten gentlemen, and won by Mr. John Rattray, surgeon in Edinburgh.” Except in the years 1746 and 1747, the club was regularly played for; and as a farther encouragement, the Society themselves gave two annual prizesthe one, a silver cup, value ten guineas, on which was engraved the winner’s name and coat-of-arms, with a suitable inscription. The other prize was a gold medal, given to the best player at golf, and worn on the breast of the conqueror for a year, and as mbny years after as he might be able to maintain his superiority. In 1765 about twenty-two members of the Society having subscribed &30 each, they built what is called the ‘‘ Goff-House,” at the south-west corner of Leith Links, wherein the Company might hold their meetings, social as well as connected with business. The Company not being a corporate body, this pro- Duncan Forbes, Esq., Lord President of the Court of Session. It is reported of this great man, that he was 80 fond of golf as to play on the sands of Leith when the Links were covered with snow.
Volume 9 Page 281
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