Letter: Cashing in

THE article entitled "use cash in the attic to protect services" (13 December) states that Argyll and Bute District councillors want to sell off the Rothesay provost's chain and other artefacts. I doubt if they are theirs to sell.

Many ceremonial chains, paintings, buildings and land were gifts to the former burghs by wealthy benefactors and as such are classed as "common good" assets, which the councils only steward on behalf of the people of the former burghs.

Dunfermline boasts one of the oldest common good gifts on record when in 1322 a large tract of land was given by Robert of Crail, Abbot of Dunfermline to the people of the burgh for them to graze their cattle on or otherwise do as they wish with for the annual rent of "one pair of white Paris gloves, or Sixpence sterling".

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Sadly much of the abbot's gift has gone, but doubtless Andrew Carnegie, a keen student of local history as a boy, whose relatives fought to keep the common good, was inspired by this philanthropy which he later emulated.


Victoria Terrace

Dunfermline, Fife