WHICH DAY MAGISTER JOHN DUNCANSONE, MINISTER OF THE WORD OF GOD IN DUNDEE, IS MADE A BURGESS AND BROTHER OF THE GUILD OF THE SAID BURGH, GRATIS.
JOHN DUNCANSON was the successor of JAMES ROBERTSON in the pastorate of the Second Charge, or South Church, of Dundee. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and took his degree as Master of Arts there, on 27th July, 1611. After the death of JAMES ROBERTSON (vide page 81), the Lords Commissioners of the Kirk of Scotland appointed "Mr JOHN DUNCANSON, presently residing at Montrose," to the vacant pulpit, and "ordainit the Council to content and pay to him six hundred merks for transporting of himself and his house¬hold from Montrose to Dundee." On 20th February, 1624, the Minutes bear record that "the Council, understanding that the common gude is nocht able to defray the same, therefore all in one voice were content that the soum be eikit on the next term of the KiNG'S MAJESTIE'S grite taxation."
Besides the monetary difficulty, there was the still more serious one of an apparent infringe¬ment by the Commissioners upon the right of the Council to present to the Church. There could be no question that the Commissioners were empowered to act as they had done, and that their presentation was entirely legitimate; but the Council preserved their right of nomination by meeting on 29th July, 1624, and formally appointing Mr DUNCANSON to the place, as though under no compulsion to accept him. The Minutes state that "After due deliberation and consideration taken be them of the qualifications of certain persons, leeted be them of before to bear the function, they all of ane mind and consent electit and nominat Mr JOHN DUNCANSON, lately resident at Montrose, to be ane of their ministers for serving the cure of the Kirk. And for Mr JOHN his better assurance of ane competent stipend, they faithfully promised to pay him yearly the soum of aucht hundred merks. . . . togidder with three score pounds for his house mail; and these soums of money Mr JOHN accepted as ane competent stipend for his service, and in contentation of all other duties that he can ask or crave" (Maxwell's " Old Dundee," p. 411). Twenty years afterwards, it is recorded that their revered pastor gave in ane supplication craving some augmentation," and the "Council unanimously condescended that he shall have an addition of two hundred merks, so that his stipend shall be one thousand, by and attour his house mail." In 1626, he was elected to the charge of the Church of South Quarter, Edinburgh, but declined to accept the call, and remained in Dundee until his death, which took place at the close of 1651. The following reference to his decease occurs in Lamont's Diary, and is of special interest as affording some particulars of the siege of Dundee from the account of a contemporary:
"1651. Sept. 1 The toune of Dundie was taken by storme by the English forces commanded by L. Gener. Monke : the towns people were secure, and surprysed att unawarrs. The governour, Robin Lumsdaine of Bawhannie, was killed, the Lord Newton and his sonne in likemaner. A number of towns people and strangers also were killed, to the number of 5 or 6 hundred; the towne plundered exceidinglie, both by land forces and by the shipmen. They gatt a very rich bootie ther, not onlie of the inhabitans, bot also of severall strangers. The ministers, viz. Mr And. Fleck and Mr Jho. Robertsone, were taken captive, with many others. They gatte many ships in the harberey nireby 200 veshells, great and small. Not long after, Martha Monipennie, wife to the said Mr Andro Flecke, depairted out of this life att Dundie. And Mr Jho. Dunkesone, minister ther, (within some months after) depairted out of this life."
At the time of Mr DUNCANSON's death the Town was in his debt, and as "his executor desired that the Council would satisfie four hundred four score and fifteen merks, . . . they thought most just to be satisfied, it being ane just debt." He left "to the Kirk Session iiijolx. lib. iiis. viijd. for the use of the poor." (Fasti Eccelesiae Scoticanae.)