October 1st 1677
Old and new ProvostsIn the 17th Century, the Provost of Perth and his Bailies were persons of great importance. The Provost was dressed in a cloak and by his side had a ‘bend rapier’. He wore gloves “embroidered about the thumb,” , gifted by the Council. The Bailies carried “white staves” , and there were six town-sergeants clad in “red Fleming” cloth and armed with halberts.
Flags emblazoned with the city arms were used at military musters. In the Council House were kept “four pairs of colours, an officers coat with lace, two suits of livery clothes with fustian doublets for lacqueys at Parliament, foot mantle with other horse furniture and the town’s trumpet.”
Naturally such important (or perhaps self-important) people expected to be received with respect by lesser members of the public.
April 16th 1668 “Bailie Orme is directed by the Council to speak to Patrick Hay, merchant to behave himself in times to come to the present Provost and to the rest of the Magistrates; that is to say, to lift his cap when he comes by them, or else go aside to the other side of the road; otherwise the Magistrates will take course therein as they think fit.” As the Provost was also Sheriff of the burgh this was no idle threat.
The Provost at this time was Patrick Thriepland, a Royalist and Episcopalian. Perhaps Patrick Hay, like many citizens of Perth, was a Presbyterian and was making his own personal protest. But he also happened to be an ambitious man himself.
In 1675 there was a sudden revolt in the Council against Patrick Thriepland, and though after an appeal to the Privy Council he was once again confirmed as Provost, his long reign was effectively at an end. A succession of new Provosts were appointed it being agreed that “no Provost, Dean of Guild or Bailie shall continue any longer in the said offices for more than two years together.”
The name of Patrick Hay began to appear among the lists of Bailies and in due course, on October 1st 1677 he achieved his ambition and became Provost of Perth.