"Letters from the past
Henry Gordon to James Glassford,1834"


Eunice Shanahan


Entire letter from Linlithgow, dated 20th September 1834 and addressed to James Glassford Esq of Dougalston, 8 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh.

Postal markings : LINLITHGOW straight line town stamp, manuscript 7 which has been crossed through and 5 substituted, an Edinburgh arrival date stamp of 22 SEP 1834 with codes of C on left and M on the right, and a boxed additional halfpenny of the type IIIB. There is a manuscript notation "Single Sheet". The paper is large 37cm x 30cm (14½ x 14 inches) with Watermark R. COLLINS 1833 on one side of the paper and a quartered shield with a harp and a pony and two other creatures,(one of which looks like a squirrel), on the other half of the paper. (photo reqd not downloaded from camera yet).

The letter was addressed to James Glassford of Dougalston. There are family history records of this family on the internet, which show that James was born 12 February 1771 a son of John Glassford and Lady Margaret MacKenzie, he married Isabel Murray 27 September 1808, and died 28 July 1845.
The writer, Henry Gordon, was a cousin, actually Henry Glassford Gordon, and this letter appears to be a legal opinion on conditions of a lease. It is rather complex, but very legible, and although it is not generally interesting unless you are connected with land management, as it is the fourth letter, we have decided to put it up on the website anyway. It is in a separate part of a collection of Scottish Additional Halfpenny postmarks, so it had not been linked with the other three Glassford letters, which are already on our website of old letters.

I find it interesting that this writer shows that he has split a word at the end of a line with an equals sign and then begins the next line with the equal sign again and the rest of the word

click here for larger image

So now to the letter

Gartshore House 20th September 1834.
My Dear Sir,
Since I had the pleasure of your full communication on the transaction for the Messrs Black & Coy as to Milngavie Field Lease, I have been doing all I could to obtain information of what has been the practice, and usually is, in long leases of public Works upon the two provisions in Milngavie Field Tack(**) which we find difficulty in satisfactorily arranging - namely the right to the Tenants to assign and the power to them to remove machinery.

It has appeared to me that on the first of these stipulations, a clause continuing the principal Tenants wholly bound both for payment of the rent and performance of the provisions of the lease notwithstanding of any assignation, might probably be a sufficient safeguard with the addition if it can be managed, proposed by you of the Landlord being entitled to receive a notification as to any Assignee intended, and to object - but there occurs to be a little difficulty in regulating this last, and what are to be considered objections to a Tenant are not defined

With respect to the power to remove machinery, I think that a stipulation as you suggested, should be sufficient to the effect that the Landlord should have the option, to take at valuation such part machinery as he might chuse, but not be obliged as to any - & that there should be a restriction against any fixture being taken away which should on inspection & report under authority of the Sheriff be held unfit to be removed on account of dilapidation & waste of the inclosing Buildings. I have however been a little staggered as to the propriety of introducing into Milngavie Lease these powers which the Tenants wish, from finding such to be unusual in Tacks (**) of that description.

Having been prevented from being much in Glasgow since I heard from you, I caused Mr Smith to talk upon the subject - with some professional friends without of course mentioning names or the place in question, & I think I cannot better make you acquainted with the result than by sending Excerpt annexed from Mr Smith's letter, from which you will see what he says. In consequence of this I have deferred making a direct communication to Messrs Black & Coy's Agent until I hear further from you if you think we should still grant the power of assigning, & removing features, notwithstanding of that being unusual in Leases of the description of the one now to be granted.

I am not quite sure of your motions from your letter to Mr Smith last week limiting his sending letters to you to the date of Thursday last, and no further instructions have arrived as to sending Same.

I thought it proper to desire two brace of Partridges to be sent to Mrs Bogle. These Birds are not so plentiful I think as this fine season might have led to be expected, but there is a great appearance of a good brood of Pheasants.
I will send this letter from Linlithgow this evening, where I purpose to be, to return on Monday I expect to the west country. I remain My Dear Sir
Yours very Sincerely
Henry Gordon

Then there is the excerpt on the next page, but obviously still in Henry Gordon's handwriting.

Excerpt from letter Mr P. Smith to Mr Gordon dated Glasgow 17th September 1834
I have had conferences with several professional Friends on the subject of which you wrote to me regarding Milngavie Field Lease particularly with Mr Mundy, (Mr McGregor not being at home) Mr Mitchell & Mr Montgomerie and I find them all to be much of the same opinion on the two points noticed by you.

1st. With regard to Assignees. They say that it is quite unusual & they would not advise a Landlord to grant a long Lease of a public Work with an unconditional power to the Tenant to assign, which would place matters in regard to the interest of the Landlord sometimes in an awkward situation, that the usual & certainly the most proper way is to grant the Lease excluding Assignees, legal or voluntary without the express consent of the landlord, and in no other way would they advise a Lease of a public Work to be granted.

click here for larger image

2nd as to machinery. This clause is always made to suit the bargain which may be made by contracting parties. The usual bargain & stipulation however is that at the end of the Lease, the Landlord shall have it in his option to take all or any part of the machinery which may have been put up by the Tenant at a valuation to be made by neutral parties mutually chosen & it is quite unusual for the Tenant to have a power to take away the machinery without first offering it to the Landlord at a valuation to be so fixed.

I think these Gentlemen 's views are right & Mr Glassford would be running an unpleasant risque to agree to any other terms than those mentioned which are fair and reasonable.

(**) Tack - may be something to do with mortgages on land or property, according to the Concise Oxford English dictionary.

I have been unable to find out what is a “public Work” as referred to in this letter.

I have found information about Gartshore - from a Scottish website which has a map, and this is the brief description of site
Gartshore, Kirkintulloch, Scotland

Gartshore is an estate landscape that retains its 19th-century layout as well as many estate buildings, considerable woodland belts and some areas of grazed parkland. The former stables is now the main residence, divided into several apartments. Brief history of site.
The original house on the estate dated from the 17th century and was set in a small formal landscape by the mid-18th century. In 1870 the estate went out of the hands of the Glassfords, as Alexander Whitelaw bought the estate and his son demolished the old house and built a new one in about 1887. Throughout the late-19th century and into the 1930s the Whitelaw family created an estate landscape with gardens, parkland, extensive woodland and estate buildings. That house was demolished in the mid-20th century but there are still several occupied buildings on the estate, which in 2008 was in multiple private ownership.

Paul Bishop is researching the history of Dougalston and very kindly supplied me with information about the family and this estate.

The three other letters concerning this Glassford family are also on our website page of old letters with the titles
'High ' Venison and burning mills, Dougalston, Scotland, 1820
Linlithgow Canal, Scotland 1835
Milngavie School, Glasgow 1835

(Sources : Hodgson & Sedgewick The Scottish Additional Halfpenny Mail Tax

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