The Tolbooth, Town House and Tron – 1861 / 1862

Posted on Posted in The Irvine that was

THE TOLBOOTH, TRON AND TOWN HOUSE IN 1862 The Tron, or Burgh weighing machine, stands on the plinth at the rear of the Tolbooth. When the Tolbooth – built in 1386 – was demolished in 1862, the Tron, which had stood on this spot for several hundred years, became redundant, and was removed in 1866. The newly-built Townhouse can be seen in the background. The building with the gable facing the road was William Templeton’s bookshop, a haunt of Burns during his stay in Irvine. The demolition workers can be seen on the roof of the Tolbooth. These are the earliest photographs of Irvine I’ve come across.

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The Tron in Irvine – 1859 plan

You can see on the plan above the location of the old Tron in Irvine. The place marked ‘Inn’ is where today’s Iceland is. The old Tolbooth, just down from the Tron, was demolished only three years later, in 1862.

A tron was a weighing beam in medieval Scotland, usually located in the marketplaces of burghs. There are various areas of several Scottish towns which take its name. them. Etymologically the word is derived from the Old French ‘tronel’ or ‘troneau’, meaning ‘balance’.

From the 12th century, the city fathers of Scottish burghs needed to standardise weights and measurements, partly to collect the correct taxation on goods, and partly to stop unscrupulous merchants short-changing citizens. Trons were set up in marketplaces throughout Scotland, with each burgh having its own set of, sometimes differing, weights.

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The Town House being erected in 1861.

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The Tron, or Burgh weighing machine, stands on the plinth at the rear of the Tolbooth. When the Tolbooth – built in 1386 – was demolished in 1862, the Tron, which had stood on this spot for several hundred years, became redundant, and was removed in 1866. The newly-built Townhouse can be seen in the background.

The building with the gable facing the road was William Templeton’s bookshop, a haunt of Burns during his stay in Irvine. The demolition workers can be seen on the roof of the Tolbooth.

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