Skip Navigation / Jump to Content



The Rising Burgh: 1560 to 1770s

Culture and Leisure

Clubs and Customs

By John R Burnett

The Calvinist church discouraged lavish celebration of birth, marriage and death, which had been a prominent part of public life before the Reformation, while processions, special clothes and meals, and long masses were banned. For example, in 1646 the lykewake, the practice of keeping watch over the corpse, was suppressed in Glasgow. At the Reformation, many old holidays were also banned. The Kirk Session of Glasgow called the celebrations of the Christmas period, "the vane observatioun of the superstious dayes callit Yule." The lighting of bonfires at midsummer was condemned because the Reformers saw it as ritual and associated with the Catholic Church. The medieval perambulation of the Marches continued at Whitsun, however, with dinner for the provost and council afterwards. It was an occasion for pomp: in 1599 the burgh paid for special clothing for its officers and the minstrels. It was stopped in 1726 because the council thought that there were "a great many abuses committed by boys, servants, and others, to the disturbance of the peace." The ordinary people of Glasgow attended these events as spectators, watching the processions and ceremony.

By the middle of the eighteenth century some men, often merchants, met regularly in the increasing number of inns. They had dinner together weekly or monthly. One of the first clubs was the Anderston Club which met every Saturday for hen broth followed by rum punch. The venue was a tavern in Anderston, then a rural hamlet about a mile west of the city. Other clubs followed, consisting of individuals who shared political views, who came from the same part of the country, or who simply wanted to enjoy eating, speechmaking and talking.

Quick Search

Photo Album

You have 0 images in your photo album.

View Photo Album

Log-In (Optional)

Not a user? Register now for FREE!

Other Options