WHICH DAY DR GEORGE HALIBURTON, BISHOP OF BRECHIN WAS ADMITTED A BURGESS, BY REASON OF His FATHER'S PRIVILEGES.
BISHOP HALIBURTON was the son of WILLIAN HALIBURTON, minister of Collace, who was brother german to JAMES HALIBURTON of Enteryse, a branch of the PITCUR family. His mother was a daughter of ARCHBISHOP GLAIDSTANES (vide page 27), and he was thus doubly connected with Dundee. He was born in 1628, studied at St Andrews University, and took his degree there in 1646. Two years afterwards he was presented to the church of Coupar Angus, but was suspended before 15th September, 1650. The sentence of suspension was reversed in 1652, and he retained his charge as minister of Coupar Angus long after he had gained high ecclesiastical preferment elsewhere. The degree of D.D. was conferred upon him in 1673, and he was promoted to the Bishopric of Brechin on 30th May, 1678. From the Register of the Privy Seal it appears that CHARLES II. presented him to the parish of Farnell on 28th January, 1680, the reason alleged being that "the Bishopric is small and inconsiderable, so that it is very incompetent for maintaining of a Bishop in the dignitie due to his sacred character." He seems to have retained the charge of both Coupar Angus and Farnell until he was translated from Brechin to the Bishopric of Aberdeen on 15th July, 1682. He remained in this See until the abolition of Episcopacy by the Estates in April, 1689, at which time he retired to the small estate of Denhead, Coupar Angus, which he had purchased. He did not remain idle, however, in his enforced retirement. He resisted the appointment of the Presbyterian minister to the church of Halton of Newtyle, and from 1698 till 1710 he conducted services there in defiance of the authorities, until age and infirmity compelled him to desist. On 29th September, 1715, he died at his house of Denhead, being then in his eighty seventh year. His widow and family of three sons and a daughter survived him.
[From the date of the last entry till after the Revolution of 1688 the Burgess Roll has not been regularly kept. The following extract from the Council Minutes explains this fact:
"Tuesday , 4th September, 1688. The counsell ordains the drum to go throw the toun Intimating yt ye burgess book is to be opened upon thursday come eight dayes, the threttein instant, And ordains all persons within and without the burgh who hes burgess tickets and are not booked in the burghes books that they bring ye samen and give them in to be booked the said day, with notification if they do not they shall be discharged from tradeing in ye toun and yr shop doors closed."
There can be little doubt that the strict imposition of the Burgess Oath prevented many from claiming their privileges whilst the government of the country was in an unsettled state ; and even the threat contained in the extract quoted did not induce them to do so. The Lockit Book was opened on the day appointed, and the Town Clerk has entered the date on the blank page; but no name follows it, and the date has been carefully obliterated. On 27th February, 1689, several Burgesses were called before the Council to explain their neglect to have their names entered, and they all asserted that they declined to take the Burgess Oath, as it had been "framed in the time of poperie." The following incident is entered in the Minute Book under that date:
"NOTA It was voted about in Counsell whether the old burgess Oath should be allowed ; and it was carried in the negative be the whole counsell, except the conveiner (Wm Milne).11
The oath seems to have been temporarily discontinued from this time till after the Union of the Parliaments (1707), and very few, entries appear in the Lockit Book.]