Cowane’s Hospital Rules

The pensioners living at Cowane’s Hospital were expected to live by some very strict rules. These are some of them:

  1. For failing to attend church on the Lord’s Day in the morning and in the afternoon and failing to attend on week days a fine of 4 shillings.
  2. Any swearing, abuse, scolding or any other uncivil conduct towards to the overseer of the hospital a fine of 5 shillings 8 old pence.
  3. Any inmate found abusing or damaging bedclothes or other furnishings in the rooms was to be punished by the magistrate, the Dean of Guild and the minister.
  4. Any inmate who married was evicted.
  5. Inmates would also be evicted for fornication.
  6. There was a 9pm summertime curfew and a fine of 2 shillings for being late or 6 shillings if absent the whole night.
  7. Drink was banned. A first offence brought a fine of 6 shillings 8 pence. Repeated offences could land a pensioner in front of the magistrates.

Pensions were stopped for some curious reasons. In 1715, during the first Jacobite rising, a pensioner had his allowance stopped after refusing to keep guard on the town at night. In 1724 a man was told that he would receive a pension provided he sent his two daughters out of the burgh and that it would stop if they came back. This restriction was later lifted.

The Patrons, however, genuinely aimed to help people. In 1661 Jean Stoddart, spouse to Walter Dixon, was given £48.00 Scots, to enable her to carry her child up to London to be touched by His Majesty for curing the King’s Evil (scrofula).