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.

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)

http://www.falkirklocalhistorysociety.co.uk/home/index.php?id=26

http://www.fife.50megs.com/scottish-drovers.html

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

3rd September 1813

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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.

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.