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[Translation by Thomas Sinclair, M.A.]

  1. Although years adverse to the crops distressed the country, and in public council, with the consent of David himself also, it had been decreed that no corn should be exported, but sold to the inhabitants at a reasonable price, nevertheless the president himself carried away with him corn to Scotland in four vessels, and before this decree had been made, sent off elsewhere five or six ships laden with produce, to the very great hurt of the islanders.
  2. Besides, he brought in foreigners who had violently pushed themselves on the whole of the people, even on those who administered the courts; burdensome very much to hospitality by the great losses and troubles to the citizens.
  3. He took away the public seal of the country against the will of the supreme prefect of the law, and contrary to the laws and customs adhibited it for signing what he pleased; and when a certain notable, by name Christian Ellingeflet, expostulated that the seal of the people was drawn into abuse preposterously, he made a great fine of money. When also the earl came and asked that he would produce and bring the same, to seal the evidence by which his right over the Orkneys was conveyed from his ancestors to himself by order of succession, and at the same that certain of the more important of the inhabitants would be permitted to pass over the sea with him to the most serene king and his senate, to declare the public condition and to hear authentic testimony concerning his right, he neither obtained the seal nor any companions except Thomas Sincler and the Archdeacon of Shetland and two native servants.
  4. In the next year from that in which the earl had stayed in Denmark with the most serene king, when the beforesaid David had been about to set out thither, he solicited the whole assembled inhabitants of the islands for a testimonial to the life passed among them, and he obtained that by writs to the most clement king and by letters given to him with this condition, that twenty-four men of the first rank should follow him to the king, who, if they had arrived thither, the citizens nowise doubted would inform the king as well about the king's interests as also about the administration of David. But they remained at home, prohibited by David from the journey. He set out alone, carried the people's seal with him, nobody of the notables accompanying him.
  5. He lessened the value of the royal money to such a degree that he ordered one Scotch coin to be equal to two royal coins, and this until he had all but emptied the whole region of money. When, however, Thomas Sincler had returned last time out of Denmark, it was restored to the same value which it possessed in Norway, and that was promulgated publicly, which also it holds to-day.
  6. His rigid exactions of the fines due to the king and the earl, beyond the rules of laws, privileges, or renewals, wronged the inhabitants not a little.
  7. The wife and relatives of the supreme judge of the islands, whom they call the lawman, have charged that, twice apprehended, he had been cast into the tower prison for such causes as these. The first was that John Baddi, servant and relative of the lawman, had fetched back his horse from Michael Magi, a relative of David, who, going somewhere, had taken him against his will, for which reason he shut up the lawman in the tower, who was apprehended while walking in the Place of Kirkwall. Again, after he had dismissed the Caithness foreigners thrust into his house, he made the strong-room to be broken open, and whatever things were contained there to be carried furth, and all the articles great and small which were in the house to be destroyed, without even an exception. He threw the lawman, seized afresh, into the tower, only because he had refused to deliver to him the seal of the country to sign whatever he wished, and there he detained him till he had submitted himself to him, and his wife had placed the seal and code of laws on the altar of St.Magnus. From that time David took the seal and code into his own custody, and appointed another lawman, who had assumed that office with difficulty.

    NOTE - John de Baddi. The lands of Goirisness in Rendall were escheated prior to 1503 from one Baddi because he "drew blood in the kirkyard".

  8. During the period in which he had shut the supreme judge in the tower, he also thrust into prison at the same time another native notable, against the laws and without a reason.
  9. John Loggi accused him that he also was confined in the same prison because he refused to him the seal demanded unless it had been entrusted for keeping.
  10. Thomas Sincler, mandatary for the earl, expostulated with David because out of the earl's annual dues, since the death of his father and the year which preceded, he took eight pounds English, besides other things. This the earl resolved to implead before the most clement king.
  11. Thomas Sincler complained also himself in his own name particularly, because after he had been fortified with loyal letters, in which the king had received under his regal protection him, his servants, goods, ship, and whatever things were his, nevertheless his household servant, David Smid, was apprehended, beaten within his house as far as to blood, thrust down into the depths of the tower, and there, with fetters put on, detained till his own return out of Scotland. Himself as soon as he came back into the Orkneys, with goodmen warning him, went immediately to his house with his people, and there remained till the close of the day, where then John Kroge and his sister's son came and advised that he should take refuge in the cathedral or elsewhere, unless he and his preferred to perish by fire. When he had betaken himself thither he appealed without effect to the rights of the cathedral and to the letters of royal protection which at the same time he exhibited. In the end he slipt away secretly. His friends and those of the most clement king assembled, he demanded that under the king's favour they would vindicate themselves from oppression, and claimed again and again the guardianship of the laws for them and theirs. Accompanied by these, when he had returned to the cathedral, and sent his servants thence, his sister's son had been slain. Then the lawman with other principal men interposing themselves, that dispute was settled thus, that securities given by each side, they would commit the whole case to be decided by the court of the king or the earl. Thomas gave caution by twelve securities, David none. Also, when the former had returned into Scotland, the earl died. This known, David extorted from those twelve securities thirty-six pounds English, and refused all delay so as together they might be forthcoming in the court of the king and the senate. These things so ordained, he fined those who had adhered to Thomas Sincler at the sacred house, in upholding the king's letters of protection, £eighty English and fifty shil1ings. These, indeed, were they who had heard the words of David and Thomas when Thomas appealed for sentence of law and judge, to wit, Nicholas Myre, Master Laurence, Master John the canon, William Hedal, Alexander Suderland, John Kroge, William Irving, William Flet, Adam Nestegaard, Christian Ellingeklat, and many others of that country, good men, both clerical and lay.
  12. He also bound with fetters William Bress without any judicial process, much less convicted of any crime, merely because he had gone into Scotland for an interview with the earl.
  13. When the commons of Rognvald complained to the president of their province concerning those who are called the savages of the Scots, because of their threatening and swaggerings towards them and other annoyances in serious repetition, having declared they would rather die than be tormented ever and anon by such great injuries, David replied that they were not to die all in one and the same day, but some on each of the days as long as he ruled over them.
  14. David Meyner took two English half pounds from Henry Garoch because he adhered to the beforesaid Thomas in vindicating the authority of the royal diploma.
  15. He took from John Simonson on the same day eleven shillings English.
  16. Malcolm Jonson also complained that he spoiled him of a ship and other goods, to the sum of two hundred nobles, without action of law.
  17. The beforesaid David commanded John Johnson to be apprehended, and threw him into the tower bruised to blueness and blood, and cheated from him one boat of six oar-rests to the sum of two English pounds, with more other goods, without reason.
  18. Shipmaster Thomas Bran complained that he was cast into the tower by David because he had not come at the first messenger.
  19. Also when David had last returned from Denmark, he seized a ship of the beforesaid Thomas which was laden with goods, and sent it against his will into Scotland, and there spoiled him of fine flour to the value of twenty-four nobles, and detained him the greatest part of the winter, at the end of which, when the ship had sailed home, it made a loss of some of the goods and sailors.
  20. John Loggi complained that out of the cargo of the beforesaid ship he was stripped by David in ten casks called tuns with barley, eight filled with fine flour, eight butts with pitch bound by one iron, eleven measures which they call stones of wax, twenty-six great and small caldrons, two balances, two worked wash hand basins, one hundred and eight pounds of hemp, six pewter tankards, eleven decades of white and red pots, which together in sum rose to twenty-six pounds English.
  21. The beforesaid David took of Andrew Jonson from the same vessel six caldrons, to the value of six nobles.
  22. The beforesaid David made Nicholas Jonson be spoiled of forty shillings English, in gold and silver, because he had joined Thomas Sincler, and obeyed the diploma of the most clement king in that he appealed to the laws, but in vain.
  23. He took two cows and one ox from Patrick Thyrgelson for the same reason.
  24. John Fif, thrown into the tower, he bound cruelly with iron fetters, and fined him twenty nobles, only because he said that the earl was more powerful by right than he in the Orcadian country, and that himself was related by blood to the earl.
  25. He seized by night from John Blatt fifty marks English, because he had united with Thomas Sincler in vindicating the mandates of the king, and also implored for the laws and a trial, but without success.
  26. William Graa complained that he was forced by him to send over his ship to an island far distant in the sea, called Suleskerry, under threats of banishment; and when he had placed his two younger brothers and eight other natives on the ship, all perished with it; the ship with its tackle and goods estimated at fifteen English merks.
  27. Samson Williamson deplored that he was violently snatched from the cathedral, bound after the manner of the condemned, destined by David to the loss of his head forthwith, unless the canons with his own wife had interceded; and, besides, fifty-one shillings English were wrung from him without process of law, only because he had charged himself that he had wounded his servant, and was not allowed, though he wished it, to purge himself of the crime by the laws.
  28. Paris Lutzit had declared that he also was shut up in the tower, forced into fetters of iron, three whole days and nights, then obtained his freedom by payment of ten minted merks, convicted of no crime inadvertently, only because, a dependant of Thomas Sincler, he studied to run the king's mandates.
  29. The beforesaid mandate, while being read to Paris, was snatched by David, who remarked that he could buy such letters, translated into a foreign language, for eighteen English pence in Denmark. He retained it then, and retains it today, when this complaint has been initiated.
  30. He seized from Thomas Bimson twenty-one merks English, the case unheard.
  31. The case also unheard, without trial, against the laws, he took from Magnus Jenneland twelve casks full of barley to the value of twenty-four shillings English.
  32. He put William Geredson and his horses into the tower, without legitimate process, only because he supported the rights of Thomas and of the royal mandate, compelled to buy his liberation with thirteen merks English.
  33. For the same reason he spoiled by night Sander Brun of twenty seven English merks.
  34. The servant also of the beforesaid Sander he spoiled of eleven merks English on the pretext of the same charged offence.
  35. Sir Nicholas Myre and Sir Laurence, canons, complained because he had taken out the seal of the chapter, which stood in it box in the inmost part of the cathedral, and had detained it beyond half a year, and ordained that anything to he written he would make to be sealed for himself, not for them.
There are many more things which could and were necessary to be written about the deeds of David Meyner and the losses brought on the Orcadian people by him, but the heap and long series of his crimes they are unable to declare at present; only in testimony of these heads more strongly, and in the greater security, these letters were signed by the seal of their country and people, confirmed also by the seals of a revered and worthy man, William Thurgilson, lawman of the region, Kolbein Flaet, John Magnusson, and William Irving.

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