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. 


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’.

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.

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.

6th May 1813

A Shower of Rain succeeded by fine mild weather.

Swallows first seen here this season.

A bill brought into parliament taking off all restrictions off the Roman Catholics in Great Britain and Ireland by which they are nearly on a footing with His Majesty’s other subjects, without adequate security for their peaceable behaviour.

Bonaparte the French Emperor has set out for Germany to head his Army against the Russians and Prussians.

There had been restrictions on Roman Catholics in Britain since the Acts of Uniformity and Test Acts of the 16th and 17th centuries. An emancipation bill that would have allowed increased freedoms to Catholics in Britain was introduced in the House of Commons in February 1813. The proposed bill went on to receive a second reading but was eventually lost in committee. The Roman Catholic Relief Act was finally passed in 1829 after it became evident that public opinion had changed with regard to this issue.

20th April 1813

Planted the last of the Potatoes.  Have planted this Season about 14 pecks viz. 2 Early and 12 late.

The Justiciary Judge sat here.  One woman was tried for concealing pregnancy and not calling for assistance was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.  A collier from the Plean was tried for a rape and acquitted.

Our Chief Magistrate J Sutherland died of a mortification in his foot occasioned by sotting and drinking.

The weather cold and dry with some frost.

13th April 1813

The markets are on the decline but the Bakers have not yet lowered the price of Bread and the Butchers Market is rather on the advance Beef being now at 8 pence per lib.

Planted in all about 8 pecks of Potatoes in the Garden.

Wondering was a ‘peck’ was? 

[For more information on scottish units of weight and measure, please see the Scottish Archive Network website – SCAN].

A peck was a measure or unit of dry capacity.   The basic unit of dry capacity was the boll (from the word ‘bowl’). A quarter of a boll was a firlot (a ‘fourth lot’). A quarter of this was a peck.  A quarter of a peck was a forpet (a corruption of ‘fourth peck’) or lippie (from the Anglo-Saxon leap, meaning a ‘basket’). Sixteen bolls made a chalder or chaldron (from the French chaudron, meaning a ‘kettle’). Lippies, pecks, firlots, bolls and chalders varied depending on what was being measured.

30th March 1813

Cold weather with showers. Most of the Carse farmers have got their Beans sown.

Planted late potatoes about 1 peck.

My pease appears above ground.

The Accounts from Germany are favourable.  The Russians have entered Berlin, Warsaw, Hamburgh, Micklenburgh etc etc and have been welcomed as deliverers every where.  The Danes have become friendly and have recalled their privateers, but Altho we have beaten the Americans by land, yet we have not been so fortunate by sea.  We have lost three fine frigates after most desperate engagements but the American Ships were of very superior force both in size of vessels, weight of metal and number of men.

Trade upon the whole has been reviving.

The parliament have been occupied in disputes about the Princess of Wales, which have been most shocking but which have come to Nothing, the princess’s character being neither cleared up not established to be infamous.

In 1812 the USA declared war on Britain , ostensibly because British ships were stopping American ships looking for deserters  and in the process impressing American seamen,  but also because they thought Britain was in the process of being beaten thus letting the US potentially take over Canada. 

The American land forces were soon beaten, but their navy won a series of single ship engagements with British frigates much to the embarrassment of the Royal Navy.  One of the ironies of the situation was that the American ships were much better gunned than the British ships, and with guns supplied by a British Company, the Carron Ironworks by Falkirk.

 One of the ships involved, the USS Constitution, remained in active service until the 1850s and, like Britain’s HMS Victory, is still in commission. It is the oldest warship still in commission. The superiority of the American ships forced Britain to build bigger frigates to engage with them, but in due course the Royal Navy regained the upper hand, although the war itself petered out with real resolution.

14th March 1813

Mr Raeburn the Old Light Minister at Bannockburn was desired to preach a sermon for the relief of indigent Women and Widows, for which purpose the Old Light Meeting house here was bespoke, but on the Saturday previous Mr Willies the Old Light Minister here refused to allow it at the instigation of one of his managers.  Upon which the Magistrates were applied for the West Church which has been for upwards of 50 years vacant and not used as a parish kirk.  The Magistrates granted it but on Sunday evening when the door was about to be opened Somerville the Established Minister too the Key from the bellman and Keep the people out although it rained hard upon which access was given at the upper guild hall, but one half of the people could not get room however above £9 sterling was collected for the poor women.  This is another instance of the intolerant spirit of the Clergy!!!

Comment from Guest Blogger, Mr Andrew Muirhead:

The West Church had been separated from the Eastern half of what is now the Church of the Holy Rude in the 1650s.  The wall between  the two churches was only removed during the 1930s.  By 1813 the West Church had been largely unused since the deposition of Ebenezer Erskine in 1740, Erskine had been one of the founders of the Secession Church from which the Anti-burgers took their origins, so it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Somerville did not want to let them back in.  The established church had allowed the Reformed Presbyterian Church to worship there in the 1770s,  but that congregation was formed in opposition to the Seceders so this may have been a factor.

Why the Seceder minister in Bannockburn (which was in St Ninians Parish) should have thought it would be acceptable to preach in Stirling is unclear; the Burgh did not like to recognise its suburban neighbours, and it is tempting to think that Mr Willis took it as a personal slight that his neighbour was asked to preach rather than him.

The other factor in this incident is the question of money and poor relief.  The established church was financially supported by the Burgh and those attending were only asked to contribute to poor relief.  But the established church had the responsibility for all poor relief in the parish.  The Seceders, on the other hand expected their members to dip in to their pockets to pay their ministers and to pay for the building and upkeep of their churches.  Such money as they gathered for poor relief purposes would only be disbursed to those who had a connection with the church. Mr Raeburn then, in seeking to raise money in Stirling for poor relief succeeded in stepping on his colleagues’ toes on several counts.


6th March 1813

Received a letter from Mr McNaughton of London informing us that Uncle Walter had married a young woman of 35, his age being upwards of 70.

Received also a letter from Mr Leckie announcing his wife’s pregnancy and that trade had been somewhat broken.

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.

25th February 1813

Sent a box containing a Turkey and other articles to Edinburgh to William Value 24/6 which we found was mislaid and had not at this time reached him.

Hosey’s Packet which goes between Stirling and Leith has been at Anchor opposite 30 Acres and cannot get up to the Shore.  We have a parcel of medcines [sic] on board of her to the Value of £83.  The weather continues exceedingly boisterous and Stormy.  The whole of this month was very bad stormy wet weather, with excessive hard gales of Wind and the necessaries of life very high.

19th February 1813

Saw Archibald McNab of Kinell.  He promised to pay the Interest of my bond [gap] the same as formerly by his uncle.

Note – comment from guest blogger John Harrison:

Kinneill? I think this is Kinell on Lochtayside which was McNab territory – see

Gillies, William A.

In Famed Breadalbane: The Story of the Antiquities, Lands and People of a Highland District, The Clunie Press, 1980. p. 111 etc;

Archibald was the nephew of Francis who appears in the Raeburn portrait on the whisky bottles; both were rogues of the first water, so one fears for Dr Lucas’s cash, certainly if they did pay it was likely out of the profits of smuggling.

9th February 1813

The Weather wet and stormy with high winds.

One Kinros a Joiner died by excessive dram drinking in McNies Public House Marywynd.

Sent two Beef hams to London to Mrs McNaughton in a present.

Planted Red and White Currant bushes in the Garden.

A high wind with a heavy rain which was succeeded afterwards with a fall of snow.  The weather is very Cold.

26th January 1813

The storm continues.

Paid the expenses of Mr Campbell’s funeral amounting to £12.18 Sterling – having received an order from his brother for £15 for that purpose.  Gave the ballance to his widow.

The French are completely driven out of Russia into Poland and Prussia with the Loss of upwards of two hundred and Eighty thousand men in Killed and prisoners besides immense loss in Cannon and Stores.  Their Emperor ran away in disguise and got to Paris.  Most of his generals also deserted their corps.

16th January 1813

Cold weather with Sleet rain and frost by turns.  Cold very frequent.  Several aged people and Valetudinarians have died, and there has also been some very sudden deaths.

The markets are continuing high.  All the necessaries of life although abundant are very high priced.

Bell returned from Edinburgh.  She left William and Mr Lucas’s family all in health.

[A valetudinarian is a sickly or weak person, particularly one who has a morbid concern about their health. In this case Dr Lucas may be referring to people that he knows to have been ailing for some time.

We can assume that Bell refers to Dr Lucas’ wife Isabella and that she has been staying with his relatives. Lucas says very little about his family and household in the diaries.]

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.