Hammermen Burns Supper 2019

Back in August, the Hammermen of the Royal Burgh and City of Stirling held their annual Burns Supper to commemorate his visit to Stirling.

Deacon Andrew McEwan welcomed the guests. The pipers Douglas Lawson and Shauna Shand piped in the haggis. Clerk to the Deacon Ken Johnstone said grace and Sandy Anderson then delivered the Address to the Haggis in his own inimitable style.






Scottish Musical interludes were beautifully sung by Adele Corns. The immortal memory provided by Jan Dobson a former Glasgow Hammermen and former Deacon of the Barbers in Glasgow took an unusual but fascinating look at his health issues over his lifetime and what may have caused his untimely death. Unfortunately, we heard that many of his health issues would have been cured by modern medicines.

The Hammermen’s own David Sibbald then gave his unique rendition of Tam O’ Shanter referencing the famous paintings of Alexander Goudie, whose collection is now held at Rozelle House Galleries, Ayr.

The Toast to the City of Stirling was given by the resident Poet at the Smith Museum Dr John Coutts. John wrote a poem in Scots and in the style of Burns. It was witty and particularly well received as it was full of references to the Hammermen. The Poem can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Burns Toast to the Hammermen of Stirling by John Coutts

Another musical interlude was followed by a Scottish poem about Sandy Par composed by David Sibbald.

A final song and communal rendition of Scot Wae Hae was followed by a vote of thanks by Bailie Robin Mair thanking all participants for a great evening and the Hotel for the meal and service.

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Hammermen Burns Supper 2018

The Incorporation of the Hammermen held their Annual Burns Supper on the 24th August. It commemorates the Bards visit to Stirling and notably the Golden Lion (then the Wingate) in August 1787.

The evening was a night Burns would have been proud of. The Haggis was piped in by Shauna Shand and Douglas Lawson followed by a masterful address to the Haggis by Sandy Anderson. Grace quickly followed by Deacon Andy McEwan.

After dinner came the highlight of the night, the Immortal Memory, given by Brian Goldie current Junior Vice President of the Robert Burns World Federation and past President of Falkirk Burns Club. He gave a great insight into the life of Burns, his songs and rhymes.

Following Brian there was a musical interlude by Dougal Thornton singing a few Burns songs. David Sibbald another well-known Burns man and Hammerman, who according to Brian “has spoken at Burns Suppers around the world in places no one would have thought of”, gave us a few interesting Scots poems including Burns own “To a Mouse”

The Hammermen instead of having the traditional Toast to the Lassies have their own unique twist in having a Toast to the City of Stirling, this was given by Deacon Andy McEwan who gave a talk on the roads of the City without too many mentions of Railways and Buildings.

No Burns Supper would be complete without a rendition of Tam O Shanter. David Sibbald did the honours with his own truly outstanding rendition of it.

Bailie Craig Bryce gave a vote of thanks with a special thanks to Brian Goldie and to Colin Botfield, Deacon of the Hammermen of Glasgow. He thanked all present and the Golden Lion Hotel and staff for an excellent night.

Dougal then rounded off the evening with Auld Lang Syne.

Burns Supper Pipers and Top Table

Presentation to Brian Goldie

David Sibbald

Deacon Colin and Deacon Andy

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Seven Trades visit Bannockburn House

Last Sunday saw the Hammermen and Shoemakers visit Bannockburn House courtesy of Bannockburn House Trust. The house a 17th Century A-listed house has remained relatively unchanged apart from a Victorian extension. On November 14th 2017, Bannockburn House became fully owned by the public.

The party were welcomed by Willie McEwan vice chairman of the Trust who gave them an insight into the history of the house and its purchase. They were then guided round the house by Stuart Campbell (the Deacon Convenor and part time Bannockburn House guide) who explained the use and history of the rooms. Stuart explain that the history is evolving almost on a daily basis as more and more information is discovered.

The tour ended with a cup of tea courtesy of the Trust in the dining room. Deacon of the Hammermen Andrew McEwan thanked Stuart and the Trust on behalf of those present for a fascinating visit and wished them well on their ambitious plans.

For more information on Bannockburn House visit http://www.bannockburnhouse.scot



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New Information of the Trades of Stirling

New information on many of the Trades has been added to the following pages of the web site.







Some information on the Maltmen, Mechanics, Small Crafts and Omnium Gatherum is shown on the following page.

Trading in Stirling

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Hammermen visit Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway

On fathers day, a group of Hammermen visited the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and its museum. 20180617_141337 (Copy)As a bonus, on arrival at Bo’ness, they discovered there was a classic car show in progress. The group led by Bailie John Clarke who both organised the event and acted as an excellent tour guide started their visit with a journey on the steam train to Manuel and back.20180617_124324 (Copy)

After a lunch – a visit to the classic cars,

then the group were led around the museum by John who gave them interesting facts and figures about most of the exhibits. Many of the members had previously visited Bo’ness many years earlier and all were pleasantly surprised by how much it had changed with the larger museum and range of exhibits.

What was surprising was the amount of work carried out at the museum restoring rolling stock. It was hard to believe how some of them could be restored.20180617_145826 (Copy)

The group then returned to Stirling for a refreshement or two after thanking John for his well organised and researched visit.

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2017 Annual Dinner

The Annual dinner took place on Friday 24th November courtesy of the Allan Park Hotel.

A new member Howard Allen was inducted into the Hammermen by Deacon Andrew McEwan prior to the start of the dinner.

Howard is shown opposite, receiving his Burgess Ticket from  Deacon Andy.


The speakers for the dinner were Deacon Andy and Ken Dow.

Andy a Son of the Rock started off with an illustrated talk about trials and tribulations of the many Stirling Churches. He described their origins,who founded them, how the congregations split up and merged back again. A classic example being in the Holyrood Church where there was an East and a West church in the same building after a fall out within the congregation.

With the declining church attendance coupled with the movements of the population Andy explained how some fell into decline and were demolished while new ones were built (North Church in Braehead). It was a fascinating insight into their history and politics.


Ken another Son of the Rock, talked about Stirling as he knew it in his younger days before the re-development of the city centre. He talked about shops and characters much to the delight of the members present as to many it brought back fond memories or maybe memories through rose tinted spectacles!

What was clear that much had changed and not necessarily for the better. There was probably more of a community spirit present, which vanished as the out of town supermarkets and shopping centres appeared. Many of the places that Ken described had disappeared either through the redevelopment of the city centre, as technology changed (that killed off record shops) and multiple chain stores took over. Ken’s talk was delivered in his usual humorous style and a tremendous reminder of things past in Stirling even to the members who didn’t know Stirling well.

The evening finished with a vote of thanks to the two speakers and to the staff of the hotel for the excellent food.

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Remembrance Sunday 2017

Members of the Seven Trades attended the Remembrance Sunday Service at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling. Following the service, the members walked down to the War Memorial and took part in the service. Deacon of the Hammermen Andrew McEwan then laid a wreath on behalf of the Trade.

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Whisky Tasting 2017

In late October, the Incorporation held its Annual Whisky tasting courtesy of Calum McMillan and the Allan Park Hotel.

It was a popular night as ever and Calum took us on a journey of comparisons. The Whiskies sampled and compared in no particular order were:


Dalwhinnie Winters Gold

A Speyside Single Malt, the Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold is an innovative bottling from Diageo. A 2015 addition to the Highland distillery’s range inspired by the chilly climate up in the remote part of Scotland where their single malt Scotch whisky is distilled – as the label remarks, it was “Crafted by the Cold”. It’s made only with spirit that has been distilled between October and March.


Glenglassaugh Revival

This is a Highland Single Malt from the Glenglassaugh Distillery which was mothballed in 1986 and sat silent for over 20 years until it was purchased by a group of investors and started production again in December 2008.

The Glenglassaugh Revival has been matured in a balanced mix of ex-red wine and fresh bourbon casks, vatted and re-racked for double maturation in rich sherry casks. Bottled at 46%, non chill filtered and of natural colour


Oban Little Bay

This is a Single Malt from one of the oldest and smallest distilleries in Scotland, where fine single malt whisky has been crafted since 1794, Oban Little Bay produced in the smallest casks available at the distillery, 200-litre ex-bourbon barrels.


Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve

Johnnie Walker Gold Label was relaunched in 2012. Built around a core of single malt whisky from Clynelish, a partnership of Speyside and Highland Whisky


Talisker Skye

Talisker Skye was introduced in early 2015, named after the beautiful island on which the distillery resides. It’s matured in a combination of refill and toasted American oak casks, with a slightly higher proportion of toasted casks.


Laphroaig Select

This is a Single Islay Malt and is aged in a combination from carefully selected casks with spirit selected from their Quarter Cask, Pedro Ximenez Casks and Triple Wood (Oloroso sherry) with a final addition of 10 Year the heart of the spirit drawn from a final maturation in American oak casks – rarely used for scotch whisky.


The members thanked Calum for an enjoyable night.


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Walking the Marches 2017

On Saturday 16th September, Stirling Walking the Marches was held for the fourth year. This year was bigger and better with more participants and a slightly longer route.

The procession gathered at the Municipal Buildings where they set off after an address by Provost Christine Simpson and a report from the Captain of the Birlawmen Andrew McEwan that stated following a perambulation the previous week, the Marches were intact.

The Procession set off on the usual route to the Smith Museum with the Alloa Bowmar Pipe band following behind the Blue Blanket and the rest of the dignitaries in line behind (Lord Lieutenant Alan Simpson, Snawdoun Herald Elizabeth Roads, Provost, Convenor of the Seven Trades Stuart Campbell, Dean of Guildry of Stirling Alasdair Gammack). This year there was the addition of a new Seven Trades banner created by the Embroiderers Guild and carried by Shoe Maker Billy Scotland. To add spectacle there was the Tulliallan Pipe band following up the rear.

At the Smith Museum, there was the now customary toast courtesy of Deanston Distillery to the Marches and the City of Stirling which was delivered by Bailie Mike McCormick.

The Procession then proceeded up the Back Walk, past the Highland Hotel where there was a well-earned breather.

The March restarted, up to Mars Walk, down Broad Street and Baker Street.

Here the March took a deviation down Friar Street, Maxwell Place and  up to Broad Street. At this point the Tulliallan Pipe band and the Alloa Bowmar Pipe band joined forces at the front to March through the town.

The route was then along Murray Place, Port Street, dodging the roadworks in Dumbarton Road and back to the Municipal Buildings.

Here the Provost again addressed the gathering, thanking all for their participation.

After the March there was a meal at the Golden Lion Hotel.

There were two speakers’ Dr Elspeth King, Director of The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum and Historian and Guildry member Craig Mair. Elspeth told the gathering about the History of the Marches in Stirling and various Processions that have taken place over the centuries. It was interesting that many of them finished in the Golden Lion hotel.

Craig Mair then proceeded to talk about the history of Walking and Riding of the Marches throughout Scotland, and how they came about to protect the land from land grabs from neighbours. They generally involved the whole community so that one generation could pass the knowledge onto the next. They also developed to become much more social events. Craig also described some very strange customs that had developed in other places and questioned whether in Stirling Archives there were any more local ones known about.

The meal was rounded off by a vote of thanks by Bailie Robin Mair who thanked the attendees, the Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling Gin and Deanston Distillery.

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Perambulation of the Marches 2017

On Saturday 9th September, one week before the official “Walking the Marches”, Captain of the Birlawmen Andrew McEwan, swore them in before they commenced their walk to check and mark the March boundaries in the traditional manner. This is done so that the Captain can report before the start of the official “Walking of the Marches” that the City and Royal Burgh of Stirling boundaries are secure.

The start of the perambulation was just outside the Cowane Centre as there used to be a March Stone situated there and that is where the Marches walk traditionally began. The band of Birlawmen then walked to the Old Stirling Bridge where the turf was turned and the March marked.

Then off down to Riverside, across the bridge to Cambuskenneth Abbey where again the March was checked and marked.

The Birlawmen then made their way back through Riverside, enjoying the sunshine and walk to Historic Environment Scotland’s Engine shed where the second new March Stone dedicated to the Seven Incorporated Trades made by them was laid earlier in the year.

Here they were joined by Historic Environment Scotland staff and a toast was made to the Marches.

The Birlawmen then proceeded through Springkerse to just outside Teith House where the March was once again marked.

On again, up through Stirling past old View Forth and onto Stirling Golf Club where by courtesy of the club a Toast was again made to the Marches and the boundary ceremonially marked.

Finally down to the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum where the first new March stone cut by Historic Scotland and dedicated to the Stirling Marches was laid in 2014. A final toast was made and with the boundaries checked and secured the Birlawmen were dismissed.

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