Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Whit? Kirriemuir’s ‘Ball’ (With Knobs On)

Consider this original chorus from an old  and coarse bothy ballad, and excuse me for being coy:

Wi’ a fa’ll dae it this time,

Faill dae it noo?

The yin that did it last time
Canna dae it noo.

 
This truly is a monstrous subject.  Put it a different way:  the topic of this post has achieved  life of its own, like no other, in the hundred and thirty odd years since its inception by an anonymous hand.  Its fame is world wide, yet it is only known in certain circles.  If we were to say that it is the prime example of the popular Scots ballad from the 19th century we would be vastly underestimating its uncouth and rampant appeal.

What?  Nae Dancing?


   What are we talking about?  ‘The Ball o’Kirriemuir’.  For those not in the know  this ballad charts the surreal  orgy which encompassed a substantial section of the town’s population in the late Victorian era, details in ribald and bare-cheeked detail.  No one version is the same as the next and it has grown – mutated perhaps – in the years since.  It is a living, throbbing organism, and it is reckoned that some mutated versions stretch to an astounding 200 verses (the original being perhaps 20 odd verses).  In a non-adult-orientated blog it is almost entirely unpublishable (though I will give some samples below), and it is even claimed to be based on true events.

   The popularity and scope of the ballad is astonishing.  When Winston Churchill visited the victorious Highland Division in Tripoli after their victories in Tobruk during  World War Two, the troops greeted him with a refrain that he did not recognise at first.  As soon as he recognised the obscene refrain however his expression changed from a puzzled frown to a broad grin.  It was perhaps the war which disseminated ‘The Ball o’ Kirriemuir’ to a wider audience than just bawdy Scots.  An officer in that conflict, later to be an MP and minister, could boast that he knew a version of the epic in Latin, guaranteed to slip beneath the radar of censorious prudes.  His name?  Denis Healey.  Even in ‘mainstream’ performing arts the names of some of those who gave us versions of the Ball are surprising:  who would have suspected the upright national icon Kenneth McKellar of leaving his semi-secret rendition to posterity?  (You may readily find it on YouTube these days.)  Another unlikely singer to grace us with it was the late, lamented American singer songwriter Jim Croce.

   In recent times the song has become popular with rugby clubs the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and beyond.  But its influence even extends into the arena of the high brow.  The great American poet T. S. Eliot entered into the arena in 1996 when some of his unpublished bawdy verses came to light.  (Or rather, some critics entered the arena, Eliot being long dead.)  It was argued by some that the poet had adapted some lines in his ‘Fragment’ from either ‘The Ball o’Kirriemuir’ or else the equally ribald ‘The Jolly Tinker’.



   What is the truth of the ballad?  Several works have aimed at finding a genuine event at the root of the song, insisting there really was a barn dance which ended up in a veritable orgy.  The most widespread version of this ‘founded in fact legend’ runs as follows:  prior to the dance some wily character had sprinkled rose hip seeds on the open floor, designing to target the women present who wore ‘free trade’ open crotch drawers.  The resultant intimate itching, combined with the aphrodisiac qualities of spanish fly deposited in the punch bowl resulted in an orgy of epic proportions.  To cap it all - so to speak - some canny body put turds in the lamps to effect a useful blackout when things got out of hand.

Oh, the ball,
The ball o' Kirriemuir,
Where folk o' high and low degree
Were screwin' on the floor.

Singin' "Wha'll dae ye, lassie,
Wha'll dae ye noo?
The mon wha did ye last nicht
Cannae dae ye noo."
'Twas on the first of August
The party, it began.
Noo, ne'er shall I forget, me lads,
The gatherin' o' the clans.
 'Twas the gatherin' o' the clans, mon,
And everyone was there
A-playin' wi' the lassies
An' twinin' curly hair
*   * *
The chimney sweep was also there,
But soon he got the boot,
For every time he farted,
He filled the room with soot.
* * *
Four and twenty virgins
Came doon frae Inverness,
And when the ball was over
There were four and twenty less.
* * *
And when the ball was over,
The opinion was expressed:
The music was exquisite but
The screwin' was the best.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Angus Calendar: Fairs and Markets, Part One






Violence at the Fair, and Fairs and Markets of Dundee.

   
   It is easy to imagine that the pre-industrial past was unchanging, but in fact patterns of life did evolve, albeit at a slower pace than in modern times.  Some markets reflected the changing economy by altering the range of goods sold.  So, in the mid Victorian era, there were two major annual fairs held in Arbroath, at which ‘ready-made shoes and sweetmeats’ were the major things peddled.  The Rev. Doig also noted another, less welcome social trend.  In the evenings, on these fair days, he reported that ‘the public houses are crowded with the idle and intemperate’.  There was always probably an element of rowdiness at fairs and markets, not always reported.  

   In earlier times weekend fairs were common, with King Robert I for instance  granting a charter to Alexander Seyton, authorizing a market to be held on Sunday in Seatown.  But by 1504 an Act had been passed to ensure that no gatherings were held on holidays, plus at no times in kirks or their vicinities.  After the Reformation  fairs and markets held on Saturdays were frowned upon because of the added risk that revellers could profane the Sabbath if they prolonged their jollity.  But markets were occasionally held on Sundays also, such as the one which took place at the North Water Bridge, in the parish of Pert.  The records for the Presbytery of Brechin under the sate 12th October 1643 state that ‘the Sabbath was profaned by ane market holden at the North Water Brig’.  This authority appointed the local minister, the Rev Mongomerie, ‘to take notice off those that frequents that market, and acquaint ther ministers therewith, that they may be punished as Sabbath breakers’.

   At Dunnichen’s Saturday market in 1832 the unruly jollity spilled over into the following Sabbath.  A man was killed and the guilty party pled guilty to culpable homicide and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.  This fair had been a great one in former times, but had diminished to the point where very little business was conducted and ‘only a few idle people assemble at it for amusement’.  In the 18th century, St Causnan’s Fair at Dunnichen had the distinction of being a toy fair, rather than an agricultural one.

   Another homicide occurred at Stobs Fair, a mile and a half north of Dundee, in 1830 (a fair which had been instituted in the early 18th century).  The fair thereafter moved from Stobs Muir to a site near Strathmartine Road (now Fairmuir Park, Dundee.  Stob’s fair had earlier supplanted a market held at Market gait in Dundee.)  Long before this fair came under the control of Dundee, it had a reputation for outlawry.  In 1824 there was another killing when a young mason named John Allan was killed by a mob or gang.  The masons had been employed at work in Duntrune and had come to the Stob’s Fair to collect their wages from their employer, Mr Scott.  When some of the men tried to gain entrance to the Toll House to have a drink, not only were they refused entry but they were immediately attacked by a gang of fourteen men from inside.  The year before this, twelve constables had been dispatched by Dundee to quell the unruly mob.  Before this date the burgh officials employed street porters to regulate the annual event, but on one occasion an unfortunate porter had his skull sliced with a sword.

  Violence also broke out in 1814 and was witnessed by the English  poet Thomas Hood (1799-1845), who was visiting the town and relatives in the Carse of Gowrie.  Hood’s poetic ‘Guide to Dundee’ was never finished, but one fragment describes the following depiction of the riotous Stob’s Fair:

Some large markets for cattle, or fairs, are held here,
On a moor near the town, about thrice in a year.
So I went to the last, found it full, to my thinking,
Of whisky and porter, or smoking and drinking.
But to picture the scene there presented, indeed
The bold pencil and touches of Hogarth would need.
Here you’d perhaps see a man upon quarrelling bent,
In short serpentine curves wheeling out of a tent,
(For at least so they call blankets raised upon poles,
Well enlightened and aired by numerous holes),
Or some hobbling old wife, just as drunk as a sow,
Having spent all the money she got for her cow.
Perhaps some yet unsold, when the market has ceased,
You may then see a novelty, beast leading beast!


   Further back, on 21st July 1809, there was an ‘unofficial’ battle at the Stob’s Fair between a band or artillery soldiers and a recruiting party from the 25th Regiment of Foot. Such parties often targeted gatherings such as fairs and markets, hoping to find new recruits. Fighting broke out when a drum head belonging to the latter was broken. Bayonets, swords and stones were used in the fighting. One young man was assaulted with a stone and died the next day. In 1803 it was noted that ‘The fair concluded a usual with much noise; many black eyes and bloody noses. The mob from Dundee has from time immemorial claimed a proscription right of riot and outrage towards the close of this market.’


In medieval times the major fair or market of Dundee had been perhaps held in honour of the mariner St Clement, but the first known and organised fair was actually named after the saint who displaced Clement, the Virgin Mary. This fair was held on the Assumption Day of Marymas, the 15th of August. An additional fair was instituted by the Scrymgeours, Constables of Dundee and held on 8th September, Old Style, the nativity of the Virgin, and called the Latter Fair.



Saints and Patrons

   There were more than several fairs held in honour of saints in old Angus, such as ‘Truel Fair at the Kirk of Kinnethmont and at the Kirktown of Monifieth’.  This was mentioned in 1706.  But tracing the history of these gatherings would be a lengthy and convoluted business as the records are scattered through multiple sources and the fairs and markets themselves were instituted by local burghs, landowners, or evolved through other means.  A market named after a saint has no legitimacy in being any more ancient than another named after a place, per se.  But plenty of saint’s day markets persisted after the Reformation.  An example is the Laurence Fair, held at the Kirktown of Lundie in the Sidlaws, north-west of Dundee.

   One  fair which was named after the patron of a parish was Simmalogue’s Fair (also written as Symaloag’s Fair).  St Moluag (feast date 25th June) was honoured at Ruthven, where the fair named after him was held until the end of the 18th century.  The fair was then transferred over the country border to Alyth in Perthshire and Alyth paid the kirk of Ruthven some land which was added to the glebe in compensation for the loss of dues.  




Changing Times, Movable Feasts:  Glasterlaw and Cullow

   Not only did the dates and functions of fairs and markets evolve in tune with changing times, so did their locations, sometimes even moving to different parishes. Sometimes also the dues for some fairs were paid to other places.  The New Statistical Account for Strathmartine tells us that there were two extant fairs in the parish in the mid 19th century (26th August and 15th September); the dues of one fair was due to the burgh of Dundee.
 Up till the middle of the 19th century the two fairs in the parish of Dun were held (on the Tuesday before the first Wednesday in May, Old Style, and on the third Wednesday in June) on Dun’s Muir.  Then they were moved a mile north to some waste ground in the parish of Logie Pert.

   The four yearly markets at Glasterlaw (or Glesterlaw) were held at a fairly unpopulated site on the estate of Bolshan.  It was originally held in the 18th century at Glester, in the parish of Carmyllie, and was moved to its later site on an ‘excambion of lands’ between the proprietors of Panmure and Southesk.  One section of the lands exchanged was Meikle Carcary .  The new site of the fair was on Montreathmont Muir, afterwards called Glaster Law.  The Eastern Forfarshire Agricultural Association held their Lammas meeting at the Glesterlaw, for the showing of hoses, cattle, and other beasts, plus the display of ‘improved or newly invented implements of husbandry’. 

   A description of the heyday of this festival is contained in Glimpses of Men and Manners About the Muirside by D H Edwards (1920):

Glasterlaw market was a great gathering in former days. Horses, cattle and sheep covered the stance on the lee side of the fringe of whins and broom around the mysterious "Law", with flag staff on summit. Tents drove a brisk trade, but the principal attractions for the young folks were the cartloads of young pigs, squealing and poking their noses into each others ribs, or into the nets that covered the cart.   The cooper from Brechin had what seemed to be the result of a years labour before him - tubs, and waterstoops; cheese presses and "chessarts", milk basins of all kinds; cogs, horn spoons, stoups, and prints for butter, ("nicket" and plain); clothes, bettles and pins; bickers, luggies, corn and potato measures and brose caps; egg cups and creepie stools, and other wooden wares for domestic and farm use.   The cooper’s wife was head saleswoman. The custom of "priggin' doon" was universal, and a higher price was always asked than was expected to be given. Glib was her tongue and "gleg" was her eye as she hooked a customer, or let her go, knowing that she was sure to come back.   During the forenoon a large crowd hangs around the sale ring. but all are not likely purchasers, for many have come out of curiosity, some for amusement, and still others because there is a temporary public house on the stance. The latter class are fairly numerous, for by the time the market is over not a few are inclined to have "an evening of it", and when at last the shelt is yoked for the homeward journey, or the bicycles mounted in wobbly fashion they seem to require more than their fair share of the road in their attempts to ride straight.   However, in some respects, the tent from Brechin, with a plentiful supply of "eatables" and "drinkables", in addition to a hearty warm dinner, serves a useful purpose. Here, accounts are squared ower a dram for the terms of sale are cash down to the clerk in attendance. Here also, the crofters settle their yearly bills with the seed and manure merchants, the iron-mongers for tools, impliments, etc.  And, Piper Maclaren, from his encampment in Montreathmont Muir - in tartan trousers made out of an old kilt - who has been present during the greater part of the day, is now skirlin' somewhat intermittently and incoherently.

   Another market not held in a population centre was the bi-annual sheep market at Cullow Farm in Cortachy.  The October market was established first and was one of the best attended markets of its kind in the north and east of Scotland, with between 8 and 12,000 sheep sold there in the mid Victorian era.  People came far and wide to attend Cullow, as evidenced by a gravestone in Glenesk kirkyard, commemorating David and Archibald Whyte of Glenbervie.  The brothers accidentally died in 1820 in a dangerous ravine in Glen Mark, taking their flock to Cullow market.
   Other fairs in the north of Angus included St Colm’s Fair, or the market of Muirsketh, also held at one time at Cortachy.  The antiquity of this market is unknown, though there is a record dated 28th July1681 the Earl of Airlie obtained a license to hold two fairs yearly at Alyth and Cortachy, plus a ‘ a weekly market to be kept at the kirkton of Cortachy each Thursday weekly, with power to the said earl, and his foresaids, or such as they shall appoint, to exact and uplift the tolls and customs of the said fairs and market, with all other duties, liberties, privileges and immunities pertaining to or accustomed in any other fairs or markets.’

   While there was a long established statutory fair at the Kirktown of Glenisla, in the year of 1581 and for long afterwards the nearest yearly market was held at the ‘brig end of Luntrethin’ on the 11th November. This gathering attracted not only denizens of Glenisla, but those from ‘Badzenochis, Bray of Angus, Mar, Straspey, and vtheris parties thairabout’ (according to the Acts of Parliament).

   The old market in Glenesk was held on the Market Muir in the glen and was described by James Inglis in Oor Ain Folk (1909):

...to these fairs great flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, droves of swine, and long strings of horses, might have been seen converging from all points, in charge of their respective drovers and attendants, for several days before the actual date of the fair.  At stated periods too, uncouth hordes of farm labourers found their way to the ‘feeing market,’ as they called it, to negotiate with a fresh master or mistress, for the hire of their services for the ensuing term.
   Hardy, hulking bothy hands, with heavy hob-nailed boots, corduroy trousers, rough woollen coats, and not unfrequently a rather flash calfskin waistcoat, would perambulate the fair in noisy gangs, or, ranging themselves in line against the long black northern wall of the inn, wait there for the farmers to enter into negotiations with them.  The clamour of confused sounds was perfectly bewildering.  The plaintive bleating of sheep in the crowded pens...prolonged bovine bellow from some frightened or angry herd of Highland horned cattle...the shrill note of the neighing horses, the grunting of discontented pigs, and the shouts or oaths of eager buyers or anxious attendants.  The shrill exclamations of excited spectators, of the cries of keen pedlars vaunting their wares, mingled in sharp staccato notes with the all-pervading hum of a vast assemblage of busy, agitated, human beings, culminating in a medley of sound such as could be equalled nowhere else in the world but at a ‘term market’ of the olden time.

   Inglis commented further on the necessity of these markets to isolated communities, especially in the pre-railway days, but he noted (from his point of view as a son of the manse) that the markets had outlived their usefulness and

degenerated into an orgie pure and simple, where unbridled passions held full sway, and where many a sad evidence of the depravity of human nature was manifested in its naked ugliness.  No doubt it was picturesque to see the lines of snowy tents rising in the early morning on the dewy grass...The columns of steam from the bright burnished tin or brass cauldrons, in which [food was prepared]... The ‘sweetie stands’ too, and toy booths, looked very pretty in the morning...By the afternoon the ugly, repulsive features came more into prominence...The all-pervading odour of stale tobacco and the dead fumes of sodden whisky seemed to hand about the booths like a subtle opiate.  Sounds of quarrelling and drunken revellings, fierce oaths and maudlin cries, penetrated the thick atmosphere, mingling with the depressing din of the weary beasts that all around made plaintive protest against the inhumanity that had kept them foodless and waterless all the long, dusty day.
   Women with flushed faces and dishevelled finery waited anxiously about, wondering when their husbands, brothers, sweethearts, or neighbours would think it time to leave ‘the market’...


   The Rev Inglis, the author’s father, tried to counter the debauchery by preaching at the various booths and organising more anodyne amusements such as picnics in the vicinity, but in time the markets generally died natural deaths instead of succumbing to the efforts of social reformers. 



Forfar’s Fairs and Markets

   Forfar’s fairs and markets evolved considerably over the years.  An Act of Parliament in 1593 gave the burgh the grant of changing its weekly market from ‘Sondaie to Fridaie, with the like priviledges and freedomes’ as previously, then the weekly market was shifted to Friday.  Fairs held in Forfar included St Valentine’s, All Saints’, plus St Peter’s (which may have originated in association with the nearby ancient Priory of Restenneth, which was dedicated to St Peter).  St James’ Fair was named after the patron of the old church of Forfar.  In olden times this fair lasted a whole ten days, from the 20th to the 30th of July, and there must have been a recognised fear of rowdiness during that period as the town magistrates authorised ‘to arme with halberds twenty foure men duering the time of the faire, for keeping the peace, and collecting the customes thereof.’ 

   Privileges, rights and custom duties at fairs and markets could also cause agitation among the authorities who were in charge, or thought they were in charge, of these events.  In 1671, William Gray of Invereighty, Hereditarary Constable of Forfar, got on the wrong side of the magistrates and burgesses of the town by proclaiming the market and riding through the streets.  He also gathered four score of men who attacked the town’s officials ‘by fyreing of pistols, beating of them with drawen swords, and tradeing their bailies under foot’.  The matter was so serious it was brought to the attention of the Privy Council.

  The town also acquired Rescobie’s fair, which was dedicated to St Triduana or St Trodlin (reputed to have resided there once) was formerly held near the manse.  Its site was marked  near the east door of Rescobie kirk by a stone near the kirk-stile within a triangular piece of ground where the superior of the fair, Lord Strathmore, or his deputy, held their baronial court on fair days.  The fair was moved to Forfar, probably in the 18th century, after Lord Strathmore became Constable of Forfar.  Further Forfar fairs were dedicated to St Margaret and St Ethernan (also called Tuetheren).  Although the association with all of these saints with Forfar was undoubtedly ancient, the associated fairs and markets were not always necessarily so old.

   The size of larger burghs attracted more trade, and more business meant more centralised fairs and markets. The Rev. Robert Lunan of Kinnettles reported, possibly with a touch of envy, that seven or eight markets were held in nearby Forfar each year.  Besides that, a cattle market called the crafts was held every Wednesday from Martinmas to the middle of April, plus a weekly Saturday market for butter, cheese, eggs, and poultry.

   As a postscript to Forfar’s fairs we can have a look at the ballad of ‘Forfar Fair, or Tam an’ Meg’, as sold at Dundee’s ‘Poet’s Box’ in the late 19th century:

When I was a prentice in Forfar,
I was a braw lad an' a stout;
My master was auld Tailor Orquher,
That lived at the fit o' the Spout.
His wife's name was gleyed Gizzie Miller:
And 0 ! she was haughty an' vain,
For the bodies had plenty o' siller ;
Forbye a bit house o' their ain.
Nae affspring had they but ae dother,
A blinkin' bit bodie was she ;
An' just 'cause she had a wee tocher,
The jade she thought naething o' me.
She ca'd me a poor shachlin' tailor,
That couldna do naething but sew ;
My conscience ! she said I wad fyle her,
Gin I but just preed her bit mou'.
I gat tea ilka mornin' for porritch,
An' O ! but I liket it fine ;
Wi' skelps o' saut-ham just for forage,
To mak it lie sad i' my wime.
Auld Gizzie I tried aye to gain 'er,
By snodly heel-capin' her hose;
Sae gat ilka day to my dinner,
A caupfu' o' cabbage-kail brose.
Five years I was bund by indenture,
For fear that I sud rin awa;
An' durstna as muckle as venture,
To speak to the lasses ava.
Fell hard indeed was my condition,
My master at wark keept me sair:
But I bought him twa unce o' black sneesnim
An' syne I gat leave to the fair.
Fast, fast thro' the green then I yarkit,
An' past the wind-mill I did fly;
Syne when I gat into the market,
"A feg for indenture," said I ;
"For I'se hae a bouse wi' the lasses,
The auld cock may say what he will ;
I'll try for to meet Meg as she passes,
That lives wi' John Robb o' the mill.
Syne just i' the glowr o' the gloamin,
As I sauntert in to the town
I keppit Meg down the Spout comin',
Poor thing she was lookin' sair down ;
But I filled her pouch fu' o' sweeties,
An' back to an ale-house we cam' ;
I thougnt 'twad be ten thousand pities
To let her hame wantin' a dram.
There tailors an' weavers sat cockin ;
Wi' masons an' souters an' a';
Sic laughin', sic snuffin', an' smokin',
Some cried to 'bring in the braw lassie,
But ithers for fechtin' were keen,
An' rapped on the table till glasses
An' bickers were dancin their lane.
The wife brought her kebbuck aye handy,
Wi' brown scouthert bannocks enew;
Sae we drank at punch an' French brandy.
Till Meg an' me bath were near fou.
I whistled an' sang like a lintie,
But Maggie began to think shame,
An' said O ! dear Tam, now we've plenty,
I'm fleyed that we tyne the gate hame.
Syne north thro' the town we baith stoitot,
But devil a stym could I see,
The brandy had made me sae doitet,
An' Meg was nae better than me.
We stummelt an' belged upon ither,
Till Meggy she tint her braw mucht ;
Ae stane took our feet baith thegither,
An' ower we played skelp in a ditch.
Sair, sair did my Maggy misca' me.
When she raise an shook her new gown,
An' said sure nae gued could befa' me,
But Maggy gat hame to her mither,
An' I to my needle again ;
But faith I was aye in a swither,
For fare the auld tailor sud ken.
He thoucht I wid merry his dother,
I kent that was aye his intent ;
An' gin I had made but ae offer,
Auld Gizzie wid gi'en her consent.
But my ain lass I winna beguile her,
For I'll marry sweet Maggy Jack,
As sun's I'm a braw master tailor,
An' syne we'll get waens in a crack.


The Fairs and Markets of Brechin

Brechin’s Trinity or Taranty Muir market was held four times a year, a mile outside of town, with the gathering in June being the best attended.  In the streets of the burgh, at Whitsunday and Martinmas, there were markets for the hiring of servants, plus the sale of goods.  Cattle and horse markets occurred during the winter and spring on Tuesdays (the weekly market day).  The Trinity markets were regulated by the magistrates in Brechin, with the spring market being established by an act of council in 180.  But there was a long pedigree in organised trade in the burgh.  Until 1466 weekly markets were held on Sunday, when they were altered to Monday. In 1640 the day was changed to Wednesday.  Around 1647  it was altered again to Tuesday.

   The market at Lammas Muir was established by Act of Parliament in 1695 and continued originally for eight whole days. Trinity fair was for a long time held in the town before moving outside and in the 19th century still lasted three days, trading sheep, cattle, and horses. At the market the town magistrates went there in procession, preceded by a guard of two free members from each of the incorporated trades of the burgh. These were armed with halberts of various devices, and had precedence in the procession according to the dates of their respective incorporations. But the marching of the guard, became obsolete some time in the age of Victoria.


Winter Cattle Markets

     Letham sustained a market throughout the year, once a fortnight on a Thursday.
 Brechin’s winter cattle markets were held every Tuesday, from the first Tuesday after Michaelmas tryst until Trinity Muir Tryst.  A horse market was held the same day, from the last Tuesday of February until the first Tuesday of April.  At Carnoustie the cattle market was held on the third Monday of every month, from Martinmas to Whitsunday.  Coupar’s cattle market was every alternate Thursday from the first Thursday of November until the last Thursday of May.  Dundee’s winter cattle market day was also Monday, every week from November until May.   The equivalent market in Kirriemuir ran from the last Friday in December, once a month, through to the last Friday in April.  Leysmill’s monthly cattle market ran from the first Monday of October until first Monday in May.

Corn Markets


   Weekly corn markets in Angus were held on Saturday (Arbroath), Wednesday (Brechin), Tuesday (Coupar), Tuesday and Thursday (Dundee),  Wednesday and Saturday (Forfar), Wednesday and Saturday (Kirriemuir), Wednesday (Montrose).



THE MARKETS AND FAIRS IN ANGUS



January
9thInverkeilor
31st:  Arbroath (At one time held on last Saturday. The feast day of St Vigean or Fechin was 20th January.)

February
Second Thursday:  Colliston Mill (near Arbroath)
Last Wednesday:  St Valentine’s, Forfar
Tuesday before third Thursday:  Petterden

March
Last Wednesday (Old Style):  Chapelton Lady Market (near Kinblethmont)
Third Thursday:  Coupar Angus
Second Wednesday (Old Style):  Dunnichen (One source states it was the third Wednesday of March, old style).
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Glenisla (Mainly a horse fair.)



April
Second Tuesday: Brechin (At one time the Trinity Tryst cattle market was held on the third Wednesday.)
First Thursday before Easter:  Coupar Angus
Last Tuesday:  Carmyllie (Other sources state 1st Tuesday.)
Last Friday:  Cullow (Sheep market.)
Second Wednesday:  Forfar (Pasch cattle market.)
First Wednesday:  Glamis (Cattle.)
Last Wednesday:  Glasterlaw (near Friockheim.  Cattle market.)
Last Wednesday:  Kirriemuir (Some sources state first Friday after Good Friday.)
First Friday after Good Friday:  Letham (Some sources state first Thursday.)





May


Third Tuesday (Old Style):  Coupar Angus (At one time, first Thursday after 26th.)
First Thursday:  Drumscairn (near Arbroath)
Day before Forfar:  Dun’s Muir (Cattle market.)
First Monday:  Edzell (Sheep and cattle.)
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Forfar (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday and Wednesday after the 26thGlamis
First Wednesday after Glamis:  Kirriemuir
First Tuesday (Old Style):  Montrose
Second Tuesday:  Petterden

June
Third Wednesday:  St Ninian’s Fair, Arbroath (Some time before the late 18th century it was held on the first Wednesday after Trinity Sunday.  The birth-date of St John the Baptist was 24th June, and Sir James Balfour Paul notes a market in Arbroath at this date in 1599. )
Second Wednesday (sheep); second Thursday (cattle); second Friday (horses):  Trinity Market, Brechin
Third Thursday:  Dun’s Muir (Cattle market.)
26th:  Forfar (At one time it was the day after the second Wednesday.)
Last Wednesday:  Glasterlaw (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday after Glamis (?):  Kirriemuir (Cattle market.)
26th:  Lundie
Third Thursday:  Letham
Second Tuesday after the 11th:  Monifieth




  
July
18thArbroath (The feast of St Thomas Beckett, to whom the abbey was dedicated, was 7th July.)
Friday after Aikey Fair in the Mearns:  Brechin (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Coupar Angus (At one time third Wednesday.  Cattle  market.)
Second Tuesday:  Stob’s Fair, Dundee (At one time the Cattle Market here was held on the Tuesday after the 11th.)
Friday after Aikey Fair:  Edzell (Sheep and cattle. The feast of the locally honoured saint, St Laurence, was 10th July.)
First Tuesday and Wednesday:  St Peter’s, Forfar
Day before Stob’s Fair:  Glamis (Cattle market.)
24th, or Wednesday after:  Kirriemuir (Cattle market, sheep day before.)
Saturday before the third Wednesday:  Reedie (Cattle market.)
     
 
August
First Wednesday after 12th:  Brechin (Lammas market for cattle, at one point held on the second Thursday.)
15thDundee (A cattle market was also once held on the 26th, though not if this date was a Saturday or a Monday.)
First Wednesday after 26th‘Auld Eagil’s Market’, Edzell (Sheep and cattle.)




First Tuesday:  Forfar (At one time St James’ market for sheep was on the first Tuesday; cattle first Wednesday; horses first Thursday.)
Second Wednesday:  Glasterlaw (Some sources state third Wednesday.)
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Glenisla (Mainly sheep and cattle.)
First Tuesday (Old Style):  Lundie
The day after Glasterlaw:  Letham
Tuesday before Dundee:  Petterden
26th:  Strathmartine

September
16th:  ? Arbroath (Balfour-Paul notes the feast of St Ninian, commemorated here in 1599.)
Tuesday before last Wednesday:  Brechin (Cattle market.)
19thDundee (Cattle market, not held on a Saturday or a Monday.)
Last Wednesday: St Triduana’s, Forfar (Cattle market.)
29th:  ? Kinkell (Balfour Paul notes the feast day of St Michael the Archangel was on this date.)
26th:  Strathmartine

October
First Tuesday:  Coupar Angus (Cattle market.)
Monday before Kirriemuir (or fourth Monday):  Cullow (Sheep market.)
Last Thursday:  Drumscairn
22nd:  Dundee
Friday before Kirriemuir:  Edzell (Sheep and cattle.)
29thForfar (St Margaret’s, once held for cattle on second Wednesday.)
12th or Wednesday after:  Glasterlaw (Cattle market.)
19th, or Wednesday after:  Kirriemuir (Cattle and horses, once held on the 18th or the first Wednesday after.)
Second Tuesday after 11thMonifieth (Feast day of St Rule or Regulus was 21st October.)
Third Tuesday:  Petterden
8th October:  ? Rescobie


November
Second Tuesday (Old Style):  Arbirlot (At one time second Wednesday.)
First Tuesday after 21stBrechin
First Thursday after 21st:  Coupar Angus
23rd:  Dundee (St Clement, Recorded 1491.)
First Wednesday: St Ethernan’s,  Forfar
First Wednesday after 22ndGlamis (Feast day of St Fergus was 18th November.)
14th November:  Milton of Glenesk (St Devenick.)
Second Tuesday after Martinmas (Old Style):  Kirriemuir (At one time first Wednesday after Glamis.)
First Thursday:  Letham
The day after Glamis:  Monikie



December
First Wednesday after the 11th (Old Style):  Chapelton Lady Market
Second: ? Forfar (St Ethernan.)


   Not all on list of course concurrent and the list may not be comprehensive.  Sources for dates:  Dundee Delineated (1822),  The Dundee Directory for 1818, New Statistical Account, Arbroath, Dun, Dunnichen, Edzell, Glenisla, Kinnell, Kinnettles, Rescobie, Strathmartine, Old Statistical Account, Forfar, St Vigeans, ‘The Incidence of Saints’ Names in Relation to Scottish Fairs,’ Sir James Balfour Paul.