The following poem was written and performed at the Dean’s Dinner on Friday, 10th February 2017 by Guildry Brother John Rankin.
In 1360, King David gave a Charter
Which allowed Stirling Merchants to sell and to barter.
For the burgesses, this was no back-hander,
It confirmed a decree given by King Alexander.
It was well-received, because this Royal decree
Gave the good Stirling merchants a monopoly.
And deep in the text, it warned of the dangers
Of dealing with traders who were seen to be strangers.
But, there was one stipulation they had to take on the chin-
They were only allowed to have a single inn!
Even this tavern was only allowed as a right
As long as the Lord of the Town was a Knight.
The decree was confirmed by the gift of a ring,
Made of gold and 5 jewels, a most beautiful thing.
Its ancient history is easily seen-
Its records go back to when John Cowane was Dean.
Sadly this ancient symbol of the Deans rank
Lies deep in the vaults of an Edinburgh bank.
And though some might think that this is a pain,
At least a replica hangs from the Dean of Guild’s chain.
Unlike the ring, the chain is quite new-
It was only commissioned in 1822.
With 243 links and 10 ounces of gold
Around the Deans neck, it’s a sight to behold.
For 500 years then, this was the norm,
Until 1833, when there was a burgh reform,
The Guildry’s days of living in clover
Were ended when elected Town Councils took over.
And even their privileges were reduced down to nix.
By a Burgh Trades Act of 1846
The only thing left, as power was thrown out the door
Was the use of their ancient reversed symbol “Four”
There is one tradition which might having folk asking “Why”
That’s the tradition of giving the fine Guildry Pie-
It was rare that Guild Brothers ate this wonderful grub,
They took it home to show wives they hadn’t been to the pub!
So, that’s a whistle stop history of our city Guild,
I think it’s a foundation on which we can build.
But I need to stop there, because my head is now birling,
So please, will you stand and toast the Guildry of Stirling?