31st December 1813

Sent Ten pounds Sterling to Edinburgh to William in part of payment of his board to Mr Lucas.

There has been an abundant Crop this year but the necessaries of life are still high.

That is it from Dr Lucas. May we thank eveyone who has posted on this blog and who has taken the time to read it. Happy New Year to everyone, may it be a good one for all of you.

20th December 1813

John Glass late Provost of Stirling went into a warm bath at Leith and drowned himself.  His body was brought to Stirling and Buried in the Churchyard on the 26th

The latter part of this month was remarkable fine weather and the markets were moderate.  The Distillers have begun again to distill Spirits from grain.

30th November 1813

The Town was Illuminated on account of the recent Victories gained in Spain by Lord Wellington and the Allies in Germany.  I was out of pocket 16 shillings for Candles on this occasion.  The Mob behaved tolerably well.  The Tar barrels were carried about as usuall but no riots were to be seen.

The Frost still continues.  Markets are rather Moderate.  Sugar is getting up on account of the Markets beginning to be open in some parts of the north of Europe.

The ‘tar barrels’ may refer to the practice of  carrying lit barrels as a spectacle of celebration – in this case because of the ‘recent Victories’ which caused the town to be ‘Illuminated’.  If that is correct, it appears the news from Europe was publicly celebrated throughout the town and Dr Lucas’ wording suggests it was a fairly common occurence at times of celebration.  Some parts of Scotland, particularly Aberdeenshire, continue to carry burning tar barrels at Hogmanay as part of the annual celebration so the practice is still known.

27th November 1813

The Bells were rung and the Castle Guns were fired on account of a Great Victory gained by [blank] at Hanau over the French , Forty Thousand French killed wounded and prisoners with hundreds of ammunition wagons taken and destroyed.

The Storm continues.  The frost is very intense but little or no snow excepting on the hills.

Dr Lucas appears to have got this entry a mite confused – the battle of Hanau was in fact a tactical victory for Napoleon against Karl Phillip Von Wrede, who led the combined Austrian and Bavarian armies.   Napoleon was able to retreat into the relative safety of France despite Wrede’s attempts to stop him. 

The Battle of Hanau took place 30-31 October 1813 which again gives us an idea of how long news of this sort took to reach Stirling. 


8th November 1813

The weather wet with high winds.

The Kirk, the Old and new light seceders, the Antiburgers, the Cameronians all held their Sacraments about this time.  The crowds of people who used to attend them are much diminished.  Their respective Churches and Meetinghouses contains them now with ease but bigotry is not yet extinguished.

The kirk in Scotland has a long history of dissent, schisms and secessions.  This resulted in the formation of various different groups, as indicated by Dr Lucas’ diary entry above.  The famous ‘Great Disruption’ of 1843 was still many years off at the time of this diary entry but when it came it was by no means the only ‘disruption’ the kirk had seen nor would it be the last.  For more information on the current Church of Scotland see http://bit.ly/16YFLak and here for an indication of the various splits and schisms.


6th November 1813

Twenty One Guns were fired from the Castle on account of a very great Victory gained by the Russians Prussians and Austrians over the French in the north of Germany near Leipsic on the 18th and 19th of October.

This refers to the great Battle of Leipzig in which Napoleon was defeated decisively for the first time in battle. The outcome of the battle forced the French commander to retreat back to France. The Allies, acting on the momentum of their victory, invaded France early in 1814. By the spring, Napoleon had been foced to abdicate and was exiled to Elba. Involving over 600,000 troops, Leipzig was the largest battle to be fought in Europe until the First World War.

26th October 1813

William went to Edinburgh to attend the Medical Classes in the University Viz., the Infirmary, the Theory of Medicine, the Practice of Medicine, the practice of Surgery, Clinical Surgery etc.

The remainder of this month was good weather, the markets were rather on the decline and trade is rather beginning to revive, but Specie, that is silver and gold is not to be found, nothing is in circulation excepting paper money.  Banks and multiplied to an excessive number and forgeries of their notes are become very frequent.  A Guinea in Gold is not now to be seen and is worth about 28 shillings.  Silver is worth six shillings and Eleven pence per ounce.

William is Thomas Lucas’ eldest son.

15th October 1813

Got all the potatoes lifted.  They turned out to be a good Crop.  Same day the Justiciary judges came into town.  They were escorted to and from the Justiciary Court Room by the Magistrates and a part of the Veterans who form the Garrison of the Castle.  One Munro was sentenced to six months imprisonment for altering a Minute of Tack of Land.  One O’Neal was sentenced to a twelve months imprisonment for resett of Theft.  Two others were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for theft.

6th October 1813

On the second day there was also three races, which were tolerable good ones.  The company were not numerous but there was the ordinary number of Whiskey tents, Wheel of fortune men, blind fidlers, Ballad singers etc etc etc.  The weather was rather soft and inclined to rain.  In the evenings there were Suppers and balls at the two Inns, but none of the Ladies and Gentlemen belonging to the town went to them.

28th September 1813

Our Magistrates were chosen.  Deacon of the Taylors named Stirling received a very considerable sums in bribes to vote for the party of the town Council who favoured General Campbell of Monzie our present Member of Parliament.  One or two more of the Deacons were also suspected of receiving money for the same purpose.  General Campbell’s party have got into the Magistracy, and General Maitland’s party are completely out.  Wm Anderson the bookseller is elected Provost.

Our guest Blogger today is Mike Robbins, Provost of Stirling. Provost Robbins writes: –

Dr Lucas was not alone in his suspicions of corruption in Stirling’s local government at this time. 1813 was only 40 years after the notorious ‘Black Bond’ episode that darkened the name of Stirling Burgh Council in 1772. This bond or agreement was between three men in positions of trust and responsibility within the Town; the Provost, Dean of the Guildry and one of the Bailies or Magistrates. In it, the three men agree to run the Town for their own profit and that of their friends, to take bribes and to influence the outcome of parliamentary elections. When it was discovered, Stirling lost the right to govern itself for 6 years, the responsibility being given to Commissioners appointed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is interesting that two of the Commissioners were local physicians, evidently trusted for their honesty. It is clear that in 1813 Dr Lucas believes that corruption still continued in the local corridors of power.


Documents relating to the ‘Black Bond’ and other aspects of local government at this time, all fascinating stuff, can be seen at the Council Archives.

27th September 1813

The Deacon of the Shoemakers, the Deacon of the Taylors and the Conveenor he being of the Butchers are sent to Campbells of Monzie (our Member of Parliament) to be out of the way, least they might be stole away by the other party and not able to Cote at the ensuing Michaelmas  Election of the Magistrates and town councill.

NB These Villains are the same men that took bribes at General Campbell’s election.

Fine weather, the harvest two thirds over.

Received a letter from London, from Uncle Walter.

14th September 1813

The weather very Tempestuous with wind and rain.  The Wheat is all cut down and put into the Barnyards but the Oats will be liable to be shaken with the wind.

The Second Tryst of Falkirk.  The number of black cattle, sheep and horses were very considerable and sold well.

Comment from guest blogger, local historian and author, Marie Gibb:

The Falkirk Tryst (or “meeting place”) was a famous cattle fair held throughout August, September and October each year.  During the 18th and 19th centuries the Tryst was held in several locations in the area surrounding Falkirk town, eventually settling in Stenhousemuir.

Sheep and other livestock were also sold, but the main commodity was cattle. Huge numbers were herded along ancient drove roads, tended by men not only capable of negotiating hundreds of miles on foot, keeping their charges fed, watered, rested and in good condition, but also able to negotiate some shrewd buying and selling on behalf of their Highland laird.  On a cold, wet night, with no inn nearby, they thought nothing of staying out in the field with their charges, wrapped only in their plaids and sustained by a makeshift supper of oatmeal and water. 

Where possible, drovers deliberately avoided towns and villages, choosing instead more isolated routes on better drained higher ground.  Low-lying bog, marsh and mud slowed progress considerably, and could lead to hoof infections.  Less populated tracks had the added bonus of avoiding delays at toll gates on turnpike roads – together with their associated fees. 

The growth of the railway system in the 1840s saw a steady decline in the drovers’ trade, however, as cattle could now be transported quickly and in better condition.  This coincided, too, with available grazing land becoming harder to find. 

At its height, though, the Tryst would have been quite a spectacle – around 200 acres filled with tens of thousands of bellowing cattle, barking dogs, sideshows, fast-food sellers, entertainers, and hawkers of every commodity. 

They say that at the battle of Waterloo, several soldiers from Falkirk watched in open-mouthed amazement as vast legions of troops and horses poured into the field to take up their positions.

One lad wondered out loud what this spectacle reminded him of, to which his companion warmly replied “just o’ the last Tryst o’ Falkirk” …[1]

Further reading:

For a comprehensive account of drovers and their way of life, see:

Haldane, A.R.B, The Drove Roads of Scotland, Birlinn, 2008.

Toulson, Shirley, The Drovers, Shire Publications, 2005.

[1] The Naval and Military Magazine, Vol 3, 1828; Miscellany, p (i); T.Clerk Smith, London.

Related web pages: (accessed 08/09/2013)



[1] The Naval and Military Magazine, Vol 3, 1828; Miscellany, p (i); T.Clerk Smith, London.

13th September 1813

The lamps put up for the Season.

To those of us in a world with the benefits of electricity we have instant light and heat literally at the flick of a switch.  For Dr Lucas, and indeed everyone else until relatively recently, as the September evenings began to draw in, getting the lamps up and filled was an annual  event and no doubt marked the start of the autumnMany homes did not enjoy the convenience of gas lighting until the later 19th century and electricity was often installed as late as the 1950s in some rural areas.

3rd September 1813


Fine weather, the Harvest is well advanced.

Having got the Medcines [sic] and shop fixtures inventoried and Valued the Copartnery betwixt George Anderson and myself was finally disolved.  I took possession of my shop as formerly and paid Anderson the Sum of 75 pounds nine shillings and sixpence as his share of the medicines, shop, utensils etc etc etc.

Received also thirteen pounds five shillings and sixpence out of the common stock as shop rent etc.

NB Anderson for the first year behaved himself with propriety, but during the last two and a half got puffed up with pride and entirely forgot himself, became proud, self conceited, Vain and boasted of his abilities, told lies in abundance, and would not even speak to his brothers or his own mother. His mother complained to me of it and wished that I should admonish himto [sic] alter his conduct. He entertained company, was extravagant in dress and got into debt out of which he will not soon extricate himself.Panasonic MECH=KV-S3065CL SIDE=F

23 August 1813

Janet Lucas returned to Edinburgh.

The weather fine and the Harvest general.  Several of the farmers are getting their Wheat into the Barnyards.

Many strangers passing and repassing through the town, some on business others on parties of pleasure but the rage or madness of going to see the Trossachs this year seems to be much abated.  The ramaining [sic] part of this month the weather was excellent and the Harvest was rapidly advancing but the markets were not fallen to the extent that was expected.

Sent two Kipper fish to London to Mr McNaughton by Hosey to Leith and from thence to London by the Edinburgh & London Shipping Company’s Smack.

19th August 1813

News arrived of an unsuccessful assault on the Castle of Saint Sebastians in Spain in which the British were repulsed with the loss of 500 men killed wounded and prisoners.  The French to the amount of 40,000 or 50,000 under Soult advanced to the relief of it, but after successful Attacks on the 25th July, the 27 and the 28, the 30 in which the French were constantly repulsed, at last on the 31 a decisive action took place in which the French were completely defeated and driven into France.  In these actions the Enemy have lost upwards of 15,000 men in Killed Wounded and prisoners, the Allies have 6000 Killed and Wounded.  The Sieges of Pampeluna and St Sebastians are continued.  A salute of 21 Guns were fired from the Castle, and the Bells were set a ringing when the news arrived in town.

2nd August 1813

Ballanced our Books and divided our profits.  My share in three years and a half amounted to £348.2.10½, the average being £99.10.9 per annum clear of all deductions.

NB. George Anderson appears to be sulkey and has had to borrow the money from his two brothers.

27th July 1813

Received £54.18.1 from George Anderson together with the interest thereon being the amount of his half of the Medcines [sic] and in the Shop at February 1 1813.

George Anderson behaved in a very rude manner to Walter without the least provocation received and turned him out of the Shop with Violence twice broke his umbrella and behaved in a most outrageous and insulting manner to him.

The weather has been hotter this month than it has been for many years past and very pleasant, with frequent showers.

The Markets still keep high.

22 July 1813

The weather rather wet but very warm.  The Hay harvest is mostly over, the crop is rather a light one the Clover having failed owing to the frosty weather in the spring.

Image below shows haymaking at Manor Farm near Stirling, with Dumyat in the background (c.1920).PD 200 65

12 July 1813

There has been a Schism or disagreement in this town council.  One  party met to choose a Provost and a Baillie in the Room of Provost Conel and Baillie Sutherland.  The other party would not attend however William Anderson Bookseller was chosen provost and Robert Gilles Craigs was chosen a Baillie.  The Town Clerk refused to act.  Stirling has a most pitiful low set of Magistrates and town council for several years past.  The more respectable citizens seem to despise being concerned with government of the Town.

New potatoes, Currants, pease, Gooseberries selling in the Hucksters shops.

The minutes of Stirling Town Council, including details of local elections, are available to search at the Council Archives.

10th July 1813

The first division for the 16 Regiment came into town.  They are on their rout [sic] for Ireland via Port Patrick.  They are about 700 strong and look well.

Fine warm weather with mild showers, attended with some thunder and Lightning.

Two rural Clergymen or itinerant ministers are preaching daily in the streets.  They lay down their hats to receive the Voluntary offerings of their auditors, but it appears that they are but poorly paid for their Sermons.

7th July 1813

News arrived that the British Army under Marquis Wellington had gained a great Victory over the French army at Vittoria in Spain, 1200 French killed and taken 150 pieces of cannon with 400 Ammunition Waggons etc etc taken.  The British Army were in pursuit of the fugitives.  The Bells, on the arrival of the News, were set a ringing and the Great guns were set discharged from the Castle with other marks of rejoicing.

Comment by guest blogger, Mr G. Dixon:

Wellington’s victory over the French at Vittoria in northern Spain on 21st June 1813 was one of the principal battles in the Peninsular War against Napoleon and an important step forward in the Allied troops’ advance to final victory over the French at Waterloo in June 1815.  The greatest composer of the age, Beethoven, then very short of money, was persuaded to write a celebratory piece, variously known as ‘Wellington’s Victory’ or ‘The Battle Symphony’, dedicated to the Prince Regent of Great Britain, which was immensely popular for a while, but it dismissed nowadays as “an absurd piece of programme music, with its fanfare, cannonades, and fugal treatment of God Save the King” (1).  Its initial popularity, however, as well as easing Beethoven’s financial straits, brought a request from a local theatre which resulted in his extensively revising his failed and only opera, ‘Leonore’ (1805).  This, as ‘Fidelio’ was first performed in May 1814 and is now regarded as one of the greatest operas ever written.

1.       ‘The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians’, Stanley Sadie ed., 1995 reprint, vol 2, p368


29th June 1813

For four days past the weather has been very warm and sultry.  The Thermometer in the Shade was generally from 70 to 75 and vegetation is beginning to suffer severely by it, the wind being generally at East.

A shower from the eastward which has cooled the air very much.  The Markets this month are very high. Beef from 8 to 10d per lib.  Butter 1/6 to 1/8.  Oatmeal £3.10 per Load and other articles in proportion.  The rate of postage of Letters is also Augmented.  A Letter from London is ½.  One from Edinburgh is 7½d.

27th June 1813

A Person of the Name of Bachop went into the Water of Teith to bathe but going beyond his depth was drowned.

Mr Robert Lucas’s son Alexander was killed by a fall from a rock in the King’s Park of Edinburgh. He was in search of a birds nest.  The Western Regiment of Local Militia left the town, they were on the point of breaking out into Mutiny on account of their Shoes and other necessaries not being given to them, but the Shoemakers being applied to furnish the Shoes, they were them satisfied and dispersed quietly.

10th June 1813

The Western Regiment of Local Militia marched into the Town to be on permanent duty for a fortnight.

The Three troops of Yeoman Cavalry also left the town, they were only four days on duty.

Fine weather with showers of Rain.

Planted Cauliflowers and 100 early Cabbages.

Sacraments every Sunday but the concourse of people are not so great as in former times.A1635_109Image: a 19th C view of Holyrude church and cemetery, Stirling which was very close to Dr Lucas’s house and where he attended ‘sacraments’.

6th June 1813

Another murderous battle has been fought at Bautzen in Germany, Betwixt the Russians, Prussians and the French.  Both sides claimed the victory. Upwards of 20,000 men are killed on both sides.

A strong drouth.  Hay harvest is beginning.  The crop will be rather a scanty one.

The Battle of Bautzen was fought at that German town on the 20th to the 21st May 1813. The combined Russian and Prussian army, in retreat after the earlier Battle of Lutzen, were pushed back by Napoleon’s force of 115,000 men. This entry gives an indication of how long it took for news to reach the British newspapers from Europe.

4th June 1813

The King’s birthday was not observed here as formerly.  The Castle guns were fired but there was no public Guzzle as usuall by the Magistrates and their friends, perhaps owing to the death of the Provost and one of the baillies and another being sick on account of irregular living, and not on account of the King’s insanity.

1st June 1813

Made some alterations on the cellar by closing up the doors and windows that were on the east side of it and striking out a door in the west side, raised the wall on the north east corner three feet and put a door on the entry at the north end of it.  There has been hard fighting in Germany.  The French attacked the Russians and Prussia and at Lubzen.  The numbers on both sides were nearly equal being 120000 on each side.  The Russians and Prussians Keept [sic] the field of battle, both sides claimed the Victory, there was upwards of 20,000 Slain and as many wounded, the greatest number of whom were  French.  The French seem to be nearly at a stand and are not advancing fast towards the territories of their Enemies. ‘Tis not certain what part the Austrians will take in this year Campaign on the Continent.  The conduct of the Swedes and Danes is also rather enigmatical.

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