Banff Pipers Tales

Extracts from the Minutes of the Town Council

1637 – For ane lanterne and candle to the drummer – 21s

1639 – To the drummer half ane pund candell – 3s 4d

For heidis to the drum - 36s

For heiding the drum - 12s

To John Straquhane, drummer, ane pair of shoes =13s 4d

1677 – John Williamson is admittit drummer and to be peyit 10 merks yerlie with ane pair of schoon.

1680 – October 23 – Paid to James Allan, piper for his goeing, morneing and ewining throw the toun with his pyp fra hallomass 1680 to Hallowmass 1681 , The sowme of sex pundis, John Williamson was resavit drummer and is to goe ewening and morning with the drum.’

1713 –Feb 21 James Fyfe presented to the town a new furnished drum, with Brazil sticks…

1714 –Feb 6- 12s Scots given to James Raney at his engagement to be an officer and piper to the Burgh.

March 27 –Agreement with the officers – to William Anton, drummer and officer, five merks for ringing the bell morning and night with two pair shoes yearlie, besides cloaths; to James Raney; pyper, ten merks as officer, ten merks for going with his pype and ringing the bell morning and night, two pair of shoes and cloaths…and this beside such wadges and gratuities as were formerly peyt to them by the inhabitants at Christmas and other times.

April 3 –‘That the drummer and pyper go exactly at four a clock in the morning and at eight of the clock at night and the officers ring the bell at five in the morning and at nyne at night.

1720 – March 2 – James Raney, piper, and William Anton, drummer are complained upon for being remiss in going through the town with pipes and drum. As William Anton cannot conveniently beat the drum on rainy nights he is ordered to beat it in the Tolbooth with open doors and windows.

1725 – October 2 - £50 set aside for officers, drummers and pipers sallaries.

1729 - May 10 – John Murray; in Old Meldrum, was agreed with for ten pounds Scots of set sallarie for each year he serves the toun and a new coat faced with yellow and pair of shoes leather heeled and ane pair of stockings and ane hat and freedom to go through the town to gather up his Yule Wages by himself alone, and oordaines the drummer to goe with the drum ilk night at eight a clock each night and four a clock each morning precisely and ordains the bell to ring at nine at night and five in the morning and the pipe to go at ten a clock at night and six ilk morning and orders the thesaurer to furnish him the coat of red and the lining of the sleeves of yellow with the haill others at the easiest rates possible.

1730 – August 1 – Mr Alex Couts and company, merchants, Dantzick, send a fine brass drum with the town’s arms upon it in a present to the Burgh.

1702 – April 5 – An Act against promiscuous dancing was read and approven and ordered to be intimate next Lords Day.

1792- March 26 – Between the hours of 9 and 10 to be taken from the Banff Tolbooth; with his hands tied behind his back; bareheaded; with a rope about his neck, and a label on his breast; having these words in capital letters ‘ALEXANDER SCOTT< AN INFAMOUS SWINDLER AND CHEAT’ to be put and fixed to a high seat placed in a cart, and in that form to be drawn through the streets of Banff, accompanied by the Town Drummer, beating the ‘Rogues March’.

— ‘It being the wish of a considerable number of the inhabitants, the committee suggested to the magistrates to order the town drummer to go the rounds at the usual hour in the morning for the convenience of tradesmen having to rise to their daily labour.

1843 – Suggestion that the town drummer go through the town again, because town bell cannot be heard by inhabitants

1847 – Drummer allowed coat of the |Town’s livery.

1851- Feb 19 – Town drummer going through town was dispensed with.

ADVERTISEMENT -31st March 1783

Isaac Cooper, musician in Banff, returns his most grateful thanks to those who have employed him in the musical way, and begs leave to inform them that he still continues to teach the following instruments viz.

The harpsichord
The violin
The violincello
The psaltery
The clarinet
The pipe and taberer
The German flute
The Scots flute
The fife in the regimental stile
The hautboy
The Irish Organ Pipe; how to make flats and sharps and how to make the proper chords with the brass keys.
And the guitar, after a new method of fingering, never taught in this country before) which facilitates the most intricate passages.

— Introduction to Vol 2 vii –John Glen –Collection of Scottish Dance Music, Edinburgh 1895.