THE inhabitants of Rutherglen, or some of them, in
the olden times, are blamed for conduct, in matters ecclesiastical,
anything but accordant with propriety, as will be abundantly evident
from the following curious facts extracted from the records of the
Presbytery of Glasgow.
"On 8th May,
1593, the Preshytery ordered their clerk to write a letter to
my Lord Paisley, to repair the
choir of Ruglen Kirk, and at the same time prohibiting the playing of
pipes on Sunday from sun-rising to its going down, and forbade all
pastimes on that day. This order to be read in all kirks, but
especially that of Ruglen.’"
On the 20th of May, 1595, we find the same reverend
court complaining of the introduction of profane plays into the burgh on
Sunday, and also of the drawing of salmon and the paying of accounts on
From the same source we learn that on the 20th March,
1604, Sir Claud Hamilton of Shawfleld interrupted the minister of Ruglen
during sermon in a most barbarous manner. And that Andrew Pinkerton
boasted that he had put away four ministers from Ruglen, and hoped he
would put away Mr. Hamilton also. He alterwards drew a whinger and held
it to the minister’s breast, while David Spens said—
"He would stick twa ministers and would not give a
fig for exconununication."
Two or three years subsequent to these outrageous
proceedings, we find a certain James Riddel cutting grass in the
kirkyard on Sunday, and sitting down to the communion table in spite of
minister and session. Altogether, it would seem that in those days the
parish of Rutherglen was not in a condition much superior to that of the
notorious Dunkeld, the inhabitants of which according to popular rhyme,—
"Hanged their minister,
Drowned their precentor,
Pu’d down the steeple,
And brak the kirk bell."