Continued entries/extra info

[Page] 88
Parish of Old Machar

[continued from previous page] Bridge of Don
"Of the Bridge of Don. This ancient fabric is also under the charge of the magistrates
and council, who are the administrators of a considerable fund belonging to it. Some of our historians relate, that it
was projected by Bishop Henry Cheyne, who was ni the Episcopal See of Aberdeen in the end of the thirteenth century, and
built at his expense; but this information must have been founded entirely upon conjecture, which shall be immediately
Shown. Sir Alexander Hay, one of the clerks of session, afterwards lord Clerk register, by a Charter, dated February 1st
1605, granted to the Council and community certain annuities, amounting to £27.8.6. Scottish money, arising from
Various Crofts of land in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, to answer as a fund for defraying the expense of repairing and
otherwise supporting the bridge. These annuities had formarly belonged to the Chaplains of the Cathedral Church of Aberdeen
and were aquired by him subsequent to the Reformation. In that charter, he particularly mentions that the bridge
was the noble work of the renowned and illustrious King Robert Bruce; and that he had obtained this information from
certain annals, to which he had had access. This donation from Sir Alexander Hay, being only £2.5.8½ Sterling, was the
original means of raising the present opulent fund belonging to the bridge. The annuities which he transfered were lent out and
improved at interest, under the direction of the administrators, till the year 1709, when the Council having pur-
chased the land of Easter Skene, for the behoof of various public institutions under their administration a certain
portion of these lands was appropriated to the bridge, and the accumulated fund applied, in part, to the payment of the price.
By the rise in value of the property which had been thus purchased, the yearly revenue of this
fund has now increased to about £600 Sterling, and the property belonging to it is estimated to be equal to £12.000 Sterling.
The structure is formed of one Gothic arch, founded upon a rock on each side of the river, where it is narrowest. It is sixty
six feet ten inches wide at the bottom, and thirty four feet six inches high above the surface of the river, which, at ebb tide, is
here 19 feet & an half deep. The bridge is so narrow that two carriages cannot pass upon it, and is become very much decayed
besides, the approaches to it from the higher grounds, on each end, are extremely inconvenient, and even dangerous, to
loaded Carriages. In ancient times it would appear that the bridge, distinguished by the name of "Polgown," was provided with a chapel, for religious pur
poses in the same manner as the Bridge of Dee, according to the Custom of the age, and was under the sole charge and direction of the magistrates of Aberdeen. In
the year 1443, they Voted the admission fees of a burgess of Guild to be paid to Sir William Ettles, the Chaplain, for defraying the Expense of repairing the bridge; and , and in the year 1605
the community Voted the sum of five hundred merks, for the same purpose; but the donation from Sir Alexander Hay, which followed within a few months after, superseded the necessity of levying this grant from the citizens.
Extracted from 'Kennedy's Annals' Vol.1. Pages 420. 1. & 2.

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