Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Tales of the Month

Monthly tales from the city's archives

Jul 5, 2012

Keeping the closes, wynds and streets of central Edinburgh clean and tidy is a priority for all those interested in the conservation and promotion of our World Heritage Site. Perhaps the restoration of the post of burgh ‘Bellman’ might assist?

Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh on 4 July 1505 describe this post:

‘The provost, bailies and council announced that they had given Thomas Glendunwyne the post of burgh Bellman, with the task of ensuring that the High Street was kept clean in summer and winter.

He was obliged to supply a horse with a covered cart and two assistants whose duties were to clear and clean the High Street (between the Castlehill and the close heads at St Mary’s Wynd and Leith Wynd) from every kind of muck, remnants of meat and fish, wet or dry manure, gravel or other debris and remove it to a suitable refuse pit and use it for his own profit.

The council also ordered that any muck or manure lying more than twenty four hours would become his property.

The Bellman would have the right to collect a penny per quarter from every booth, vault, cellar or dwelling room in the burgh. Where any horse was not in stable but tethered on the High Street, eating and dropping manure, the Bellman would be permitted to ask for a halfpence in cash or kind’

EWH are grateful for permission to use this extract from “The Edinburgh Book of Days” by Michael T.R.B. Turnbull, published by The History Press.
http://bit.ly/nxNKIh  (www.thehistorypress.co.uk)

Another tale from Edinburgh’s archives will appear later in July.

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