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While the Cathedral itself was saved from destruction at the Reformation by the energetic action of the City trades, the adjoining Archiepiscopal Castle or Palace was allowed to fall gradually into decay. So late, comparatively, as 1715 was hastily fitted up as a prison for 300 Highland rebels, but for all really useful or permanent purposes it may be set down as having been in ruins. In 1720, a Robert Thomson, merchant, who lived near the fabric, represented to the Barons of Exchequer that the Palace, not having been inhabited for many years, was then in ruins, and men were getting so barbarous and unjust as to carry off stones and timber for their own use “to the shame and disgrace of the Christian religion.” Nothing, or rather worse than nothing, was then done to arrest decay, and in 1755 the Magistrates (George Murdoch being Provost at the time) gave formal permission that Robert Tennant, builder, might use the castle as a quarry, wherein stones might be obtained for the purpose of building the old Saracen's Head Inn. Not far from the castle, and giving direct access to its chief entrance-hall, was the gate-house and arched gateway, erected by Archbishop Gavin Dunbar, 1524-47, and adorned with what must have been at the time a most effective sculptured emblazon of his own family armorial bearings, surmounted by the Royal Arms of Scotland. When the work of spoliation was going on at the palace, this portion of the plunder would appear to have fallen into the hands of one, Charles Selkirk, who, being a man of some little taste, as it was understood in those days, and actuated probably by some feeling of compunction regarding the abuse of ecclesiastical ornaments, saved the armorial, and afterwards inserted it high up in the back part of a tenement erected by him near the foot of High Street in 1760.
This building now forms part of the prenises known as No. 22 (east side), owned by Messrs. John Millar & Sons, drapers, as figured and described in “Glasgow, Ancient and Modern." This interesting memorial of Archbishop Dunbar may be described as consisting of three portions, measuring in all 7 feet by 3 feet 3 inches-(1) The Royal Arms of Scotland, a lion rampant within the double tressure, and unicorn supporters bearing the letter I. and
figure 5, most likely by permission of King James V. himself, who had in early life been the pupil, and to its sad close at Solway Moss, continued to be the friend and patron of the archbishop; (2) The armorial bearings of that branch of the Dunbar family to which the arch-prelate belonged, viz., Dunbar of Mochrum, Wigtownshire, three cushions within the double tressure of Scotland, being the arms of Randolph, Earl of Moray, assumed by the family of Dunbar, subsequent to the marriage of the son of the Earl of March to a daughter of the former house. It is possible there may have been a mallet or some such ornament occupying the space between the three cushions, but now mouldered away. The third or lowest division in the group is made up by the armorial bearings of James Marshal, Sub-Dean of the Cathedral, friend and executor to the archbishop-viz., a chevron cheque, between two martlets in chief and one in case, a rose occupying the middle chief point. Under each shield is a scroll which may have borne an inscription or motto not now to be traced. On either side are two ornamented pillars, the dexter, or right, now slightly broken. A line or two regarding the archbishop's career will best explain the story of the removal of this interesting memorial. A younger brother of Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum, by Dame Jannet Stewart, of the house of Garlies, Gavin was educated at the University of Glasgow, became Dean of Moray, tutor, as has been already mentioned, to the young Prince James, and was also raised to the dignity of Prior of Whithorn, a religious foundation in his native county, reared in commemoration of the labours of St. Ninian. By a curious coincidence this earliest of Christian missionaries in the north had fully a thousand years before Dunbar's date consecrated for Christian burial the ground by the Molendinar, where St. Mungo reared his first cathedral, and then passed to Galloway, where he laid the foundation of that religious establishment governed in later days by one who was also destined to fill a chief seat among the hierarchy of the West. On the removal of Beatoun to the Primatal See of St. Andrews in 1524, Gavin Dunbar was made Archbishop of Glasgow, and filled the See till his death in 1547, when his body was placed within a tomb
prepared by himself in the Cathedral chancel. No portion of it is now to be seen, but some traces of the erection and also of the remains were thought to have been discovered in the course of repairs made in May, 1856. As Dunbar had succeeded one Beatoun, so he in turn was to be succeeded by another James Beatoun, the Cardinal's nephew, and who proved to be the last of the pre-Reformation Archbishops. Dunbar was elevated to the dignity of Lord Chancellor in 1528, and was made a Lord of the Articles in 1532, the year when the College of Justice was instituted. The present (1878) lineal representative of the Dunbars of Mochrum is Sir William Dunbar, eldest son of James, second son of the fifth Baronet. Sir William sat for the Wigtown district of burghs from 1859 to 1865, and was during the same period a Lord of the Treasury and Keeper of the Great Seal for Scotland to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. He also represents the Dunbars, hereditary Sheriffs of Morayshire, one of whom, it may be mentioned, was killed at Donibristle Castle by Huntly and his party, along with “the Bonnie Earl of Murray” of ballad fame. Engaged in the erection of a new mansion on his Wigtownshire property, and hearing through ex-Bailie Salmon that the memorial stone from the Archbishop's gateway was still where it was placed, in much the same condition as in 1760, Sir William indicated a desire to rescue it from obscurity, and give it a place of honour in the new residence of the family to which the great churchman belonged. Coming to hear of the wish, Bailie Millar, proprietor of the premises in High Street, readily placed the old armorial stone at the disposal of Sir William. The offer being accepted in the same courteous spirit in which it was made, the stone was withdrawn from its secluded and all but inaccessible niche to adorn the family pile of the Archbishop's home, and to revive his fame within a few miles of the priory where he bore rule.
THE SPREULLS OF GLASGOW.
REPRESENTING through his mother the old Glasgow family of Spreull, and in possession besides of several curious memorials relating to “Bass John," Mr. J. W. Burns of Kilmahew and Cumbernauld, rendered a service to general as well as local history by gathering together and printing in a neat form the miscellaneous papers concerning one who was at once an intelligent advocate of the truth and a sharp sufferer in its behalf. Born in the year of King Charles's surrender to the Scottish army at Newark, John Spreull was nearly old enough to remember the execution at Whitehall, and is almost certain to have been engaged in business soon after the Restoration. Seized during the “killing" time which set in after the affair at Bothwell Brig, and declining to give any information to the Privy Council, either as to his connection with Cargill or knowledge of the pretended plot against the Duke of York, John Spreull was first subjected to the cruel torture of the “boot," fined £ 500 sterling, and then thrown into the noisome Bass Prison, where he lay with other sufferers for over six years, when he was released unconditionally. The story will be found told at considerable length in Woodrow's “ Sufferings,” the historian, who appears to have been acquainted with Spruell, making special mention of the different examinations before and after torture, and of the public indignation excited by the cruelty manifested throughout the proceedings against this unoffending victim of tyranny. From his long imprisonment Spreull acquired the name of " Bass John,” whereof (writes Woodrow) “he needs not be ashamed.” In later and happier days the sufferings in and out of the Bass suggested a family crest of a palm-tree held down by two weights on either side, with the motto, “Sub pondere cresco.” Although connected with a long line of Glasgow Spreulls, “Bass John” was of Paisley birth. His father was a bailie and merchant of that burgh, connected with the Cowden family, suffering, like his son, for refusing to accept the ensnaring oaths of the day, but of high repute among his townsfolk for having purchased from the Dundonald family the right
of electing their own magistrates. His wife was Janet, daughter of James Alexander, Paisley, and Janet Maxwell of Pollok. Failing issue from any of his three sons or four daughters, “Bass John's” position as head of the family passed to James Spreull, surgeon, Paisley, who married his cousin Ann, only child of John Spreull or Shortridge, town-clerk, Glasgow, author of “Some Remarkable Passages of the Lord's Providence.” From this marriage came an only daughter, who, in 1700, married James Shortridge, and carried with her as “tocher” the property adjoining the old Hutcheson Hospital, north side of Trongate, on which site came to be built the entailed property long familiar to readers of the “Herald” as “ Spreull's Court." In “Glasgow Past and Present" mention is made of the town-clerk's name as being originally Shortridge, but changed under the conditions of a legacy left by Miss Spreull. The descent is not so clear at this point as a genealogist would like, but from William Shortridge, of Messrs Todd & Shortridge, of Levenfield Printworks, came Mrs. Burns, wife of the late James of Bloomhill, Cardross, and mother of the present John William Burns of Kilmahew and Cumbernauld. After the Revolution Settlement “Bass John” would appear to have taken an active part in the politics of his day, and, as a prosperous Glasgow merchant, subscribed what was then the large sum of £1,000 towards the Darien scheme of his friend Paterson, whom he a good deal resembled for knowledge and enterprise in commercial affairs. Woodrow describes John Spreull in general terms as an apothecary, but long before the Union he would seem to have been engaged in an extensive foreign trade, as he mentions in the “Account current betwixt Scotland and England,” published in 1705, that he had dealt in pearls for forty years and more, “and yet, to this day, I could never sell a necklace of fine Scots pearl in Scotland, nor yet fine pendants, the generality seeking for Oriental pearl, because farther fetcht; yet, for commendation of our own pearl, at this very day I can show some of our own Scots pearl as sine, lucid, and more transparent than any Oriental; it's true the Oriental can be easier matcht, because they are all of a yellow water, yet foreigners covet Scots pearl." Another personal glimpse of John Spreull is presented through a “Representation”