A new Website and Facebook page has been launched dedicated to Walking the Stirling Marches.
Recently the Trade was invited courtesy of Ian Walker of Historic Environment Scotland and his staff, to view The Engine Shed, their new building conservation centre in Forthside Way.
Before the visit commenced, there was a brief toast to the new March Stone dedicated to the Seven Incorporated Trades of Stirling. This is the second stone kindly produced by Historic Environments Scotland’s apprentices at Forth Valley College, Stirling.
The visit then commenced and Ian explained to them the purpose of the new facility which includes workshops and masterclasses as well as interactive exhibits, hands on activities and a 3D theatre. They were particularly taken by the virtual reality headsets where you could explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The facilities will also allow visitors with traditional buildings to seek advice on components, materials and common problems faced, so that they then can look for and identify problems early to prevent them becoming worse.
The Engine Shed building, used as a goods transfer shed, was built sometime between 1896 and 1913 with the programme of restoration beginning in 2013. The building itself is built to a very high standard using many recycled materials, some of the examples being; recycled stone from the dismantled Seaforth bridge next to the site, wood (some of the internal cladding is an old gymnasium floor) and recycled wrought iron for window repairs.
To conclude, Deacon Andy McEwan thanks Ian and his staff for producing the second March stone and hosting such an enjoyable and interesting visit.
Recently, the Incorporation of Hammermen of Stirling presented certificates and prizes awarded to outstanding Stonemasonry and Joinery students at Forth Valley College. Since the Incorporation was re-established a few years ago, it has supported the work of Forth Valley College and Historic Scotland in their training of future generations of craftsmen.
Pictured are (L to R) Ian Morrison, Head of Construction Forth Valley College, Charles Jones, Stonemasonry Training Manager Historic Scotland and Bailie Hugh McCrea, The Incorporation of Hammermen of Stirling.
The Incorporation of Hammermen held their Annual Dinner in November in the Allan Park Hotel. Guest speakers were Bruce Blanche and David Sibbald.
Deacon Andy McEwan introduced the meeting with a run through of the successes of the year.
Hammermen funds had been used to present awards to the top Historic Scotland students at Forth Valley College. On a more social front, there was a very interesting visit to Trades Hall in Glasgow courtesy of past Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons and Stirling Hammerman member Craig Bryce. There followed the now annual Burns Supper in August followed closely by the annual whisky tasting thanks to Calum McMillan.
On a more serious note, the highlights of the year had been the Presentation of the Blue Blanket, a replica of the original made by the Embroiderers Guild and the carving of the Hammerman crest by Richard Douglas and Rowen Baird. The Blue Blanket was displayed at the Annual Walking of the Marches where numbers were again up. Finally, members attended the Remembrance Sunday service at the Holy Rude and a wreath was laid at the war memorial by Deacon Andy.
Deacon Andy, then introduced the first Speaker, Bruce Blanche who spoke about the Royal Flying Corps Stirling/Raploch Airfield built in 1916 centred around Falleninch Farm. A piece of history not widely known in Stirling. The buildings at the farm were requisitioned in 1916. No. 18 Reserve Squadron at Montrose provided a nucleus for the formation of No. 43 Squadron at Stirling, to train the pilots to a high enough standard to go to France before the end of the year. Raploch was used for training by other squadrons until the autumn of 1917, when purpose-built training aerodromes began to take over that role. It also served as an emergency landing ground for No. 77 Home Defence Squadron which was formed in Edinburgh. It was occasionally used for civil landings between the wars but was not re-occupied in the Second World War. Flying accidents and crash landings were common in the early days of aviation and Falleninch was no exception. Nothing survives of the landing ground, although the hangers can still be seen at the farm today.
43 Squadron was disbanded on 13 July 2009 as part of the Government’s force reductions, however the 43(F) Squadron Association remains an active testimony to the Squadron’s distinguished heritage exemplified by its motto Gloria Finis – Glory is the End.
The Freedom of Stirling an honour normally granted to a Royal Air Force station was presented to 43 Fighter Squadron on the evening of Friday 3rd June 2005 in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle at a dinner which also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Squadron Association.
Following Centenary celebrations, the Squadron Standard now hangs in the Church of the Holy Rude.
As a complete contrast to Bruce, Hammerman David Sibbald gave a very entertaining and humorous talk based around his beloved Coatbridge.
The meeting was rounded off by a vote of thanks.
The Seven Incorporated Trades were represented at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. They attended the Church of the Holy Rude service and then walked down to the refurbished war memorial where Deacon Andy laid a wreath on behalf of the Incorporation of Hammermen.
After the wreath laying ceremony, the Hammermen joined other guests for a reception in the Municipal Buildings courtesy of Stirling Council.
In late October, the Hammermen were treated to their Annual Whisky Tasting in the Allan Park Hotel, courtesy of Hammerman Calum McMillan. This year it took a twist in that the Hammermen and guests had to guess which ones were which.
Before the Tasting started two new Hammermen were sworn in by Deacon Andy – Gordon Brewster and Tony Taylor.
The whisky line up was as follows:
Caol Ila 12-year-old – an Islay Malt produced near Port Askaig.
Barrow An Cnoc – a single malt produce at Knockdhu , Knock Aberdeenshire, limited to 7,500 bottles.
Cameron Brig – a single grain whisky produced from Europes largest grain distillery near Leven.
Clynelish 14-year-old – a single malt produced in Brora Sutherland.
Old Pultney 17-year-old – a single malt produced in Wick.
Johnnie Walker Explorers Club Collection – The spice road. Produced by Johnnie Walker and is a blend designed to celebrate the spice and aroma of the spice markets along the ancient trade routes through Persia, India and China taken by John Walker and Son agents.
The result was very interesting in that some of the “aficionados” scored badly with some of the rest scoring relatively well. To save blushes no names will be mentioned.
Calum was presented with a set of engraved whisky glasses by Deacon Andy
A great evening was had by all present with the participants thoroughly enjoying the different format.
At the end of July Provost Mike Robbins attended a special event held in the Smith Museum where the new replica Blue Blanket was presented to the Hammermen by the Embroiderers Guild. It is an impressive piece of work that had painstakingly been copied from the 500 year old original held in the Smith. The original can no longer be displayed due to its fragile state. Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades Stuart Campbell thanked Jane Currie and all the members for their hard work.
In the afternoon, the Hammermen were presented with a beautifully carved plaque by Richard Douglas and Rowen Baird at a lunch held in the Allan Park Hotel.
L – R Richard Douglas, Deacon Andy McEwan and Rowen Baird
Recently Stuart Campbell of the Incorporation of Hammermen took over the mantle of Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Stirling. This is a role that can be traced back to the late 16th century. The Seven Incorporated Trades acted together when their rights were threatened by outside trades. They formed the Convener Court where the various Deacons or Conveners sat together to make decisions that affected the rights and welfare of all of the trades in Stirling under the watchful eye of the Deacon Convener. This strengthened the loose association of Trades that previously existed.
The post was previously held by Deacon of the Incorporation of Skinners, Stuart Forsyth
On Saturday in brilliant sunshine a recently created replica of Stirlings’ famous Blue Blanket was unfurled for the first time in over 100 years at the third Walking of the revived Marches. The Blue Blanket was created by the Embroiderers Guild from a template taken from the very fragile original which is stored in the Smith Museum. The tradition is that when Mary Queen of Scots granted the charter of privilege on 16th April 1556, to the Stirling Trades, she presented them with a banner made by herself and her maids of honour.
The Walk commenced at 11.00am, after the Captain of the Birlawmen and Deacon of the Hammermen Andrew McEwan declared to the Provost that the boundaries had all been marked the previous week and seen to be intact. Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades Stuart Campbell then introduced the Blue Blanket and said it was an “honour to recreate a historic event in Stirling that hasn’t been seen in the last 100 years”
The Walk then took its route through the Town Led by Captain of the Birlawmen with Council Officer Dan Doyle carrying Stirling Burgh Mace, Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band and the Blue Blanket carried by members of the Seven Trades. They stopped at the Smith Museum beside the March Stone where the Dean of Guild gave a Toast to the Marches. The walk continued after a tour through the Museum courtesy of Elspeth King. Numbers attending the Walk were considerably up from the previous year.
There was a good representation of the Seven Trades, the Guildry, the Embroiderers’ Guild and Council. There were also representatives from the Incorporated Trades of Linlithgow, Lanark and Irvine. Representatives of the Guides helped handing out leaflets with some dressing up in traditional costume displaying banners depicting the various Trades. Many members of the public and tourists joined in and enjoyed the event.
History was also recreated after the Walk with a Marches Lunch hosted by the Council, The Seven Incorporated Trades and the Guildry in the Golden Lion Hotel, the first for over 50 years.
The aim of the Walk is to recreate a major historic event that becomes a regular feature in the Stirling Calendar that both locals and tourists can participate in.
A You Tube video is available courtesy of Barry Ferguson. The 2016 Walking of the Marches – see below:-
The Incorporation of Hammermen enjoyed a Burns Supper 229 years to the day the Bard stayed at the Golden Lion. It was an evening of songs, speeches and poems that he would have been proud of. Many often ask “why hold a Burns Supper in August?” A few years ago the Incorporation agreed to have a Burns Supper in recognition of his visit and meal to the Golden Lion (then called Wingate’s Inn) on 26th August 1787.
Deacon Andy McEwan started the night introducing the top table. After the haggis had been piped in by Shauna Shand and Douglas Lawson, Sandy Anderson gave a fine Address to the Haggis with Bailie Ken Johnston following on with Grace. After a good meal, the addresses were interspersed by songs from Delia Binney accompanied by her husband Tim. Ken Dow gave an outstanding Immortal memory the best many had heard with historical facts and light hearted humour intertwined. David Sibbald then recited a humorous poem followed by the Toast to the City of Stirling given by Bailie Lewis Allen.
The evening wouldn’t be complete without David giving his world famous rendition of Tam ‘O’ Shanter. The evening then concluded with Auld Lang Syne and a vote of thanks from Bailie Robin Mair.
Pictured below L-R Douglas Lawson, Bailie Lewis Allen, Deacon Andy McEwan, Ken Dow, Bailie Ken Johnston.
Some Pictures of the evening