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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


The Old High SchwL] SCHOOL BRAWLS. 289 native of Dundee, after undergoing a full course of study at St Andrews, became head-master, and among his pupils the name of one alone has come down to us, Williani Drummond of Hawthornden, the historian of the Jameses, the poet and Cavalier. ? In those days,? says Steven, ?frequent tumults took place, which seldom or never characterise modern times. The rude behaviour of the boys towards their teachers, particularly manifested inwhat has been termed a barringout, was frequently practised both in England and in Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.? resist the civic authorities as they had already disdainfully rejected the advice and commands of their excellent preceptor.? By order of the provost, William Little, the principal door was battered to pieces, the school entered, and the scholars were overawed, though tire-arms of every description, with swords and halberds, were found in their possession; but in such lawless proceedings the boys? only imitated the conduct of their seniors, who were daily engaged in raids, brawls, and street tulzies. As a teacher Rollock was well supported by his countrymen; and in 1591, by the patronage of Queen Anne, some Danes were entrusted as pupils to his care. Save Greek and Latin, nothing had been tzught as yet at the High School, but in 1593 a teacher of penmanship, named William Murdoch, was appointed; yet no salary was allowed, though the master was authorised to charge ten shillings Scots quarterly for each pupil ?writter.? In 1595 the school was the scene of that famous barringout and tragic tumult in which Bailie MacMorran was shot, and of which a full relation is given in the account of his residence. This fatal event greatly affected the sensitive mind of Rollock, while the expulsion of some scholars, and the withdrawai of others by their parents, thinned his classes, and at the same time he lost the favour of the Town Council, and became involved in a litigation, which made such inroads on his slender funds, that at his death in 1599 he left his family in such poverty that the Council in 1600 made a Principal, and his duties were distinctly defined in a document drawn up in October, 1598. The quarlerly examinations, at which were present the magistrates, ministers, and members of the Bar, took place at Candlemas, , Beltane, Lammas, and Martinmas. By all these officials and the masters ?nothing was left undone to impress on the minds of the young the abhorrence of the tenets of the Roman Catholics,? says Dr. Steven ; ?but publicly to caricature the ecclesiastics of another communion was surely unworthy of Protestant magistrates and teachers. In the summer of 1598 the city treasurer was directed to purchase grey cloth sufficient for five dresses resembling those worn by friars, and likewise coarse red cloth to represent (in burlesque) the official costume,of his Holiness and the college of cardinals The Corporation agreed to this outlay on the distinct , understanding that at the close of this theatrical
Volume 4 Page 289
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