The History of Leith

June 10, 2012

The BOAR CLUB

The BOAR CLUB was chiefly composed,eventually,
of wild waggish spirits and fashionable young men,
who held their meetings in Daniel Hogg’s tavern,
in Shakespeare Square, close by the Theatre Royal.
” The joke of this club,” to quote ” Chambers’s
Traditions,” ” consisted in the supposition that all
the members were boars, that their room was a stye,
that their talk was grunting, and in the double entendre
of the small piece of stoneware which served
as a repository for the fines, being a pig. Upon
this they lived twenty years. I have at some expense
of eyesight and with no small exertion of
patience,” continues Chambers, ” perused the soiled
and blotted records of the club, which, in 1824,
were preserved by an old vintner whose house was
their last place of meeting, and the result has been
the following memorabilia. The Boar Club commenced
its meetings in 1787, and the original
members were J. G. C. Schetky, a German
musician ; David Shaw, Archibald Crawford,
Patrick Robertson, Robert Aldrige, a famous pantornimist
and dancing-master; James Nelson, and
Luke Cross. . . . Their laws were first written
down in due form in 1790. They were to meet
every evening at seven o’clock ; each boar on his
| entry contributed a halfpenny to the pig. A fine
of a halfpenny was imposed upon any person who
-called one of his brother boars by his proper outof-
club name, the term ‘ Sir ‘ being only allowed.
The entry-money, fines, and other pecuniary acquisitions,
were hoarded for a grand annual dinner.”
In 1799 some new officials were added, such
as a poet-laureate, champion, archbishop, and chief
grunter, and by that time, as the tone and expenses
of the club had increased, the fines became
very severe, and in the exactions no one met with
•any mercy, “as it was the interests of all that the
pig should bring forth a plenteous farrow.” This
practice led to squabbles, and the grotesque fraternity
was broken up.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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