Plans showing Stirling Burgh rights over the fishings on the River Forth 19th century

2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and we are going to be featuring records held at the Council Archives that reflect this theme on our blog throughout the year. Our Document of the Month for January, focuses on records relating to the Council’s fishing rights on the River Forth.

The earliest document that we hold in the Council Archives relating to the Council’s fishing rights over the River Forth around Stirling is the charter of King Robert II of Scotland (reigned 1371 – 1390) dated 13th July 1386. This Charter confirms the rights and privileges of the Burgh including rights over the salmon fishings in the River Forth, indicating that the actual granting of the rights by the crown must date from some time before this. This grant gave the Town Council of Stirling the right to give licenses to fish for salmon on the River Forth and was a valuable source of income for the Council. Inevitably, there were disputes with other landholders in the Forthside area over fishing rights and in 1581, in an attempt to deal with these, the Scottish Parliament gave the Town powers to regulate the fishings via a new body called The Fisher Court, a body that lasted from this date until it was in its turn superseded by British Parliamentary legislation of the 18th and 19th century.

The Archives holds a collection of records relating to the administration of fishing rights and there are references to this in the Council minutes from the 16th century onwards.

Fishing for trout and salmon is still regulated by Stirling Council on the River Forth and other waterways in the Council area.