19th December 1813

The news continues to be favourable from Holland, the French being driven from a considerable part of it.  They are losing ground very fast in Italy, the confederation of the Rhine is dissolved.


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. 


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.

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


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.

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.

Panasonic MECH=KV-S3065CL SIDE=R

25th May 1813

The East Stirling Shire Local Militia came into the town Commanded by Colonel Simpson of Plean.  Severall young men of the town have got commissions in them.  They are about 500 strong mostly young men.  They are to be in training here for one fortnight.  Mrs Whitehead left James Melles’s and went to reside with Mrs Campbell her daughter at St Ninians.

2nd March 1813

The Medicines that had been on board of Hosies packet since the 25 of last month were got safe into the Shop.

The box sent to William at last reached him.  It had been kept up through the innatention of the Carrier.

Very serious disturbances happened at Perth.  The Renfrew and Fife regiments of militia mutinied.  They imagined that they had been only inlisted for ten years and wanted their discharge, but by the steadiness of their officers and some regular troops being sent for they were soon convinced of their mistake, and quietly returned to their duty.  Ten of the ringleaders however were sent to Edinburgh Castle, where no doubt they will be brought before a court martial and punished.  ‘Tis a pity that the Acts of Parliament were not more clearly worded.


Our guest blogger, Mr Andrew Muirhead gives more insight into the events that Dr Lucas refers to:

During the Napoleonic Wars, militia regiments were raised for home defence.  Prior to being in Perth, the Renfrewshire Militia had been helping to protect Portsmouth.  A private named Hally used some leave to go round that  regiment and the Fife Militia  fomenting trouble.  It was rumoured that he had been imprisoned so some of the men set out to release him. On the way to the prison in Perth they spotted him walking free so the riot lost some of its point. The two regiments were marched from Perth to Dundee and from Perth to Crieff.  On the way back from Dundee the Renfrewshire Militia were surrounded by other regiments and disarmed until they gave up some of the ringleaders of the trouble.  In total about 10 or 14 men were marched off to be court martialled  and that was the end of that mutiny.

9th January 1813

The first division of the 70th Regiment marched from the Castle for Montrose.  The Second Division and the last will march on the 11th for the same place. ‘Tis reported that their sudden departure has been occasioned by Mobs and riots at that town on account of Shipping Grain from that port and sending it out of the Country.

A fall of snow.  The weather wet and very cold.  The Hills all round are covered white.