James Melville's diary

Part of hand-written page

Extract from James Melville's diary, 1574.
[National Library of Scotland reference: Adv.MS.34.4.15]

In 1574, St Andrews University student James Melville recorded in his diary that his father paid for golf equipment.


'Als I haid my necessars honestlie aneuche of my father bot nocht els; for archerie and goff I haid bow arrose glub and bals, but nocht a purss for Catchpull and Tauern, sic was his fatherlie wesdom for my weill. Yit now and then I lernit and usit sa mikle bathe of the hand and racket catcheas might serue for moderat and halsome exerceise of the body.'


'Also, I had my necessaries honestly enough from my father but nothing else; for archery and golf I had bow arrows club and balls, but not money for hand tennis or drinking, such was his fatherly wisdom for my well-being. Yet now and then I learned and used so much of racket tennis as might serve for moderate and wholesome exercise of the body.'

Andrew Melville's nephew

James Melville (1556-1614), is noted for his diary and as a church reformer. He was the nephew of Andrew Melville, the famous preacher and theologian. James was appointed to the Chair of Oriental Languages at St Mary's College at St Andrews University, when his uncle was Principal there (1580). Both later held the post of Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

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