Procedure: burgh commissioners' report to the privy council
Designation of the lochs, firths and bays reserved to the natives

The which day the commissioners nominated in the act above-written, compearing personally before the lords of privy council, they made and gave in their report underwritten, of the which the tenor follows:

Whereas the commissioners of this kingdom appointed in the matter of the fishing, being desirous for advancement of the good public work intended by his majesty for the good of his kingdom, without the hurt or prejudice of this his ancient kingdom, to be informed of the bounds without which the natives cannot subsist, and we of his majesty's burghs, considering that in the instructions given to the said commissioners it was expressly desired that the bounds designed in that article regarding the fishing in the treaty regarding the union should be reserved to the natives, which contains these words: 'excepting also and reserving to the Scotsmen their trade of fishing within their lochs, firths and bays within land and in the seas within 14 miles off the coasts of the realm of Scotland, where neither Englishmen nor any strangers or foreigners have used to fish and so reciprocally in the point of fishing in the behalf of England'; and we being no less careful and desirous to advance that his majesty's royal intention without the evident and manifest loss both of the country and of us in particular, we humbly entreat your lordships that for the said commissioners' better satisfaction you would be pleased to design the said bounds without the which the country cannot subsist in manner following, which truly is the bounds whereupon if any stranger shall resort this country shall suffer utter ruin, namely: upon the east side of Scotland from St Abb's Head in the sheriffdom of Berwick directly north to the Red Head in Angus, which comprehends the coast of the Merse, Lothian, the Firth, Fife and a part of the coast of Angus and 14 miles without the course from the said St Abb's Head to the Red Head; from the Red Head north-northeast along the coast of Angus, Kincardine, Mar and Buchan to Buchan Ness and 14 miles off the said coast; from Buchan Ness northwest and northerly to Duncansby Head in Caithness, comprehending therein the coast of Banff and Moray upon the south side, Moray Firth and the coast of Ross, Sutherland and a part of Caithness upon the north, and 14 miles without the course from the said Buchan Ness to the said Duncansby Head; and from the said Duncansby Head in Caithness west along the coast of Caithness and Strathnaver to Fannad Head in Strathnaver, and 14 miles off the said coast with 14 miles round about the Isles of Orkney and Shetland; from the Fannad Head along the coast of Strathnaver to the head of Stoir of Assynt and 14 miles off the said coast; and from the said head of Stoir of Assynt directly west-northwest to the most easterly point of the Isle of Lewis comprehending therein the whole seas interjected between the said head of Stoir of Assynt and most easterly point of the said Isle of Lewis, with all the isles and lochs within the same and 14 miles without the course from the said head of the Stoir of Assynt to the said east point of Lewis; from the said most easterly point of Lewis south about the whole Isle of Lewis to the most westerly part of Barra and 14 miles without the same; from the said most westerly part of Barra south-southeast to the most southerly part of the Isle of Islay and 14 miles without the course from the said most westerly part of Barra to the said Isle of Islay; from the said most southerly part of Islay southeast to the Mull of Kintyre; from the said Mull of Kintyre northwest-southeast to the Mull of Galloway, which bounds from the said head of Stoir of Assynt west-northwest to the most easterly point of Lewis, and from thence south to Barra by Islay and Mull of Kintyre to the Mull of Galloway, comprehends the whole west isles and lochs within the same; with the lochs upon the main of Strathnaver, Tarbert, Lochaber, Kintyre, Argyll, Renfrew, Cunninghame, Kyle, Carrick, Galloway, Whithorn, along the coast of Galloway eastward to Solway Sands and 14 miles off the said coast. Which bounds above-designed, being so necessary both for the whole lieges living upon the said coasts and isles, as if these seas should be exhausted by strangers of fishes they should be deprived of all benefit of living and so by time bring an utter desolation upon the land; as likewise so necessary for us of the burghs as without the said fishing the most part of our inhabitants should be brought to extreme misery, wherefore we of the burghs do humbly beseech your lordships to recommend the bounds above-designed to the said commissioners in such manner as they give not way that strangers be permitted to fish within the said bounds upon any condition.

Which report given in by the burghs, being read, heard and considered by the said lords of his majesty's privy council and found by them to be of too large an extent, they therefore, out of their desire to his majesty's contentment and advancement of this great work, have retrenched and restricted the universality of the exception mentioned in the said report to the parts set down in the note particularly underwritten, with allowance of a reservation of 14 miles off such coasts of this kingdom as are well peopled and where the country people live most by fishing, without the which they could not possibly subsist, nor yet be able to pay to their masters their ferms and duties, which is so considerable a point that the said lords find that if there had been a bush fishing erected in Scotland there would have been a reservation of all fishing for the use and benefit of the country people, seeing it cannot be qualified that ever any Hollanders or other strangers fished in these waters.

Follows the note above-mentioned:

Upon the east coast of Scotland from St Abb's Head in the sheriffdom of Berwick directly north to the Red Head in Angus, which comprehends the coast of the Merse, Lothian, the Firth, Fife and a part of the coast of Angus and 14 miles without the course from the said Abb's Head to the Red Head.

From the Red Head north-northeast along the coast of Angus, Kincardine, Mar and Buchan to Buchan Ness and 14 miles off the said coast.

From Buchan Ness northwest and northerly to Duncansby Head in Caithness, comprehending therein the coast of Banff and Moray upon the south side, Moray Firth and the coast of Ross, Sutherland and a part of Caithness upon the north and 14 miles without the course from the said Buchan Ness to the said Duncansby Head.

From Duncansby Head about the east side of the whole Isles of Orkney to the most northerly isle of the same called North Ronaldsay.

And from that west and south about the Holborn Head in Caithness, keeping always 14 miles free off the coast of all the said isles and course foresaid, and also the main island of Shetland and isles adjacent thereto, with 14 miles from the coast of the same.

And also from Holborn Head in Caithness to the Stoir of Assynt, keeping 14 miles off the coast during the whole course thereof.

And from the Stoir of Assynt to the north east point of the Isle of Lewis.

And from that south by the east coast of the Isle of Lewis and Isle of Uist to the Isle of Islay and southwest part thereof, and from that to the Mull of Kintyre.

And therefrom to the Mull of Galloway, comprehending the whole lochs and bays within the said Isles of Lewis, Uist and Islay upon the east side thereof, and all isles and lochs between the said isles and the mainland according to the course foresaid.

And from the Mull of Galloway to Solway Sands with 14 miles off the coast as the course runs.

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.24v-25v. Back
  2. Sic. Back