Artisans in Industrial Scotland

Jenny Blain.
Copyright © J. Blain 2005
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Additional: Mary McCulloch and the Bridge Inn

The Fishers

A visit to the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) in General Register House, Edinburgh, in July 2007 was quite revealing of how the Bridge Inn came into the McCulloch and Stewart families, and here I will attempt to tell its story. The Inn itself is not mentioned in most of the documents: what is mentioned is the land on which it, and the neighbouring houses, stand, part of the Lands of Almond forming part of the Callendar estates.

A portion of these lands was sold (apparently in 1792) by William Forbes Esq. of Callendar to a John Bell, described as 'merchant in Camelon', who in 1795 sold these to William McCulloch, Mason of Linlithgow.

There seems also to have been attached to this purchase a portion of land, with houses on it, previously owned by one John Risk. The instrument of Sasine transferring the land to William McCulloch records the purchase as:
All and whole that part and portion of the lands of Almond near the Linlithgow Bridge in the Parish of Muiravonside and there of Stirling consisting of Fifty Eight Falls or thereby having the Turnpike Road from Linlithgow to Falkirk on the East and Extending one hundred and twenty seven feet or thereby along the said Road and then turning by an angle westward along the Madistone Coal Road by the fence of March Dyke on the South running nearly in a line with that Road for two hundred and thirty three feet or thereby westward untill it comes to the Corner of the said enclosure on the west then going northwards along the present Fence for fifty four feet or thereby to the angle or Corner on the northwest and then going along the said fence of March on the north running nearly Eastward Two Hundred and twenty nine feet or thereby untill it joins the north East corner at the Turnpike Road as first mentioned with the houses built thereon are as then possessed by John Risk as also that portion of the said Lands of Almond on the other side of the said Turnpike Road and having the said Road on the West, and extending along said Road for Eighty eight feet or thereby and bounded on the north with the Road leading down to the water Avon dividing the lands thereby found from those possest by Robert Robert on the East by the River Avon to the Bridge on the South until it joins the West Boundary before described and Comprehending within the Bounds described Sixteen falls or thereby all inclosed within the Fence and as then possesst by the said John Risk.

The sum paid by William McCulloch was 'Seventy Eight pounds Sterling advanced and paid by the said William MacCulloch to him as the adequate price and value of the Subjects'. Throughout all the changes of ownership, William Forbes or later his heirs remained the feudal superior of the 'subjects' described, to whom feu duties were payable and retaining rights to coal, ironstone and other metals or minerals and the abiity to 'sink pits run mines' and make whatever cart roads etc. were necessary to the exraction of minerals, upon payment of a negotiated sum in recompense for surface damage to the then holder of the lands. The various instruments of sasine give interesting insights into the social and economic history of the times.

William McCulloch had returned to Linlithgow at some point between 1790 and 1794. He had worked as a mason, apparently on Dunrobin Castle, and married Ann Simson (or Simpson) in Golspie, their eldest daughter Mary being born in Urray, Ross; the next recorded child, Agnes, being born in Linlithgow, and the third recorded, Robert, in Muiravonside. Through the births and the sasine we can therefore track his progress. The marriage of his daughter Mary in 1812 has him listed as Innkeeper at Linlithgow Bridge, and his headstone in St Michael's Kirkyard records him as 'mason and vintner Linlithgow Bridge'. The houses on the land included the Bridge Inn and it is likely that William and Ann and their growing family resided either in the small rooms above the Inn or possibly in the more substantial house next to it, across the small road that leads uphill and west (though if this, rather than the more southern road which is now the B825 was the 'Maddison Coal Road' the larger house would be outside the property). Latterly census records show family members in several households, including 'West Cottage'. The Inn itself, according to a plaque above the old ovens, was built in 1755, which was also the year of birth of William himself and his twin Robert.

Unfortunately no information about Ann Simpson is given anywhere in the records: she was at Dunrobin at the time of her marriage, and one presumes in service there, and she died in 1833 as recorded on the headstone she had erected for William twenty years previously.

On the death of William, what happened to the Inn? What we know is that Mary McCulloch's husband, William Fisher, left his employment at Hopetoun House around this time. Mary was now aged around 22, her sister Agnes 18, their brother Robert 15 if living, and the remaining sisters ten and six. It seems likely that Ann Simpson, with Mary and her husband and Agnes, continued to run the Inn, the younger children taking what part they might as they grew up. Agnes was not married until 1824 (to William Boyd), her sister Margaret also in 1824 (to Thomas Forgie, baker in Langtone) and Euphemia in 1832 (to James Walker[1], this marriage taking place in Linlithgow). There is however no record of a transfer or inheritance of the property until 1828, when a lengthy document[2] in the Register of Sasines details the inheritance of the four McCulloch sisters.

Mary McCulloch and her sisters therefore are documented as the joint inheritors of the heritable property of William McCulloch their father, who according to the 1828 document had 'died last vest and seased as of fee at the faith & peace of our Sovereign Lord the King In all and whole that part and portion of the Lands of Almond near the Linlithgow bridge in the parish of Muiravonside and County of Stirling consisting of fifty eight falls or thereby...', apparently taking possession of this inheritance in 1824. Fine, except that his death had been twelve years previously. What had happened in the meantime?

One possibility might be that the son Robert, born in 1797, had been the at least nominal proprietor of the lands, according to usual rules of succession to heritable property, and that he had died. Yet as there is no mention whatsoever of him in the document, the sisters being described as the only children and thus 'the nearest and lawful heiresses portioners' of William McCulloch, it seems more likely that this Robert had died in childhood or infancy. A more likely possibility is that it had taken a substantial time to wind up the affairs of William Forbes of Callendar, and that this item was sufficiently routine (and mentioned in other papers) to be left until other affairs were settled. Another is simply that no-one had bothered to register the inheritance, until this time. Yet another is that there had been no need to do so, but that some particular set of circumstances had prompted the documentation; possibly that Ann Simpson or McCulloch was unwell, or possibly due to the changes in the daughters' status or place of residence, making it necessary to spell out the equal inheritance.

Be it known to all men by this present public Instrument that upon the sixth day of February in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and twenty eight and of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the fourth by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King defender of the faith the ninth year in presence of me Notary public and the witnesses subscribing compeared personally Alexander Monteith farmer at Linlithgow bridge as procurator and attorney for and in name and behalf of Mary McCulloch housekeeper at Castlefrazer in the County of Aberdeen Agnes McCulloch otherwise Boyd wife of William Boyd residing at Linlithgow bridge Margaret McCulloch otherwise Forgie wife of Thomas Forgie Baker in Langtone near Airdrie and Euphemia McCulloch residing at Linlithgow bridge daughters of the deceased William McCulloch Mason in Linlithgow whose power of procuratory was sufficiently known to me the said Notary public and passed with us and George Boyd Labourer at Linlithgow bridge bailie in that part specially constituted by virtue of the precept of Sasine contained in the deed aftermentioned to the ground of the lands and others after described. Having and holding in his hands a Charter of Confirmation and precept of Clare Constat of the date underwritten and containing therein the said precept of Sasine made and granted by William Forbes Esquire writer to the Signet as having power from William Forbes Esquire of Callendar immediate lawful superior of the subjects underwritten and from Mrs Agnes Chalmers or Forbes relict of the deceased William Forbes Esquire of Callander David Forbes Esquire Merchant in London and James Allan Maconachie Esquire Advocate the Curators of the said William Forbes Esquire and Trustees acting under a Trust disposition and deed of Settlement executed by the said deceased William Forbes bearing date the seventeenth day of August Eighteen hundred and eleven and registered in the books of Council & Session the twenty first day of July Eighteen hundred and fifteen. To enter & receive the heirs and singular successors of the vassals and feuars in any lands and Estates belonging to the said William Forbes and to grant precepts of Clare Constat Charters of resignation Confirmation sale and adjudication and all other writs necessary containing precepts of Sasine and all other usual clauses agreeably to and in terms of the original Investitures conform to commission in his favor dated the sixteenth twentieth and twenty fourth days of November Eighteen hundred and twenty four and recorded in the books of Council and Session the seventh day of January Eighteen hundred and twenty five to and in favor of the said Mary McCulloch Agnes McCulloch or Boyd Margaret McCulloch or Forgie and Euphemia McCulloch and for infefting them as nearest and lawful heiresses portioners of the said deceased William McCulloch their father in all and whole the lands and others aftermentioned lying in the manner after specified and thereby Notifying and Confirming articles and conditions of roup and sale of all and whole the said subjects made and executed by John Bell merchant in Camelon on the tenth October Seventeen hundred and ninety three with minutes and the offer and enactment following thereon by the said William McCulloch dated nineteenth December Seventeen hundred and ninety four.

Part of the 1828 document record is given in the box above. This indicates some rather interesting points.

What happened next appears to have been a trading around of pieces of this land, between the sisters.

Mary then appears to gain a secured loan on the property from several people in Calton, described as 'Lillias Foreman residing in Calton, relict of John Pursell, Weaver there, and Janet Pursell residing in Calton, Lillias Pursell residing in Lanark, spouse of James Russell, Agent there, and James, John, William, Robert and Andrew Anderson, children of James Anderson, Weaver, Calton,' on 'bond and disp.' where the bond is 250 pounds sterling. Mary evidently redeemed her bond, because in 1845 she passed the entire property to her daughter Ann Stewart, keeping for herself a liferent interest. The sasine documenting the transfer of property makes plain that the legal interests of Ann's husband Robert Stewart are 'secluded', as do several rather more important Scottish legal documents of the period. It is Ann, not her husband, who has control of the property. The property in turn passed to Ann's son Robert who sold it to the Battison family - possibly related - who in turn sold the Inn to the owner of today.

© J Blain, 2007
This page last modified Thu, Aug 30, 2007


[1] The 1841 census shows William Fisher, shoemaker aged 20(+) sharing a household with a James Walker, flesher aged 15, in Old Monkland parish (i.e. Coatbridge). The combination of names and occupations would suggest these were the son of Mary McCulloch and a relative - possibly son - of her sister Euphemia's husband James Walker, flesher.

[2] The 1828 document is detailed and painstaking. The Latin endpiece gives its author: 'Et ego vera Robertus McCulloch Clericus Glasguensis dioceses . . .' Robert McCulloch, WS and Notary Public, was the son of William McCulloch's twin Robert. He is buried in St Michael's kirkyard in Linlithgow, where an inscription to him and his father, Linlithgow merchant, is now almost totally obliterated by time.

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