Tammy Chalmers, Stirling Bellman
Tammy Chalmers – a Stirling Bellman, was also a letter writer and bill poster in Stirling and St. Ninian’s during the 19th Century. He was the subject of a David Taylor poem (referred to in the Stirling Observer 15 Aug 1944, article (p5)) in celebration of him receiving his new “official dress” which had apparently been paid for by some of his admirers in the town, as the Town Council appeared to have delayed dealing with this matter.
Local poet David Taylor considered “Tammy” the “best of all the Stirling bellmen,” and “quite an exceptional fellow in many ways.” His appearance appears to have been “impressive”.
Taylor describes him thus, -
“Pink to perfection, praised be his attire,
Thy speckled breeches, vest
coat so blue ---
Neck of the latter Red an glowin
And a grand cocked hat, a- man
great to view.
Isaac Spyron, the official town drummer, was not best pleased by this development, but Tammy appears to have been a capable, well liked and “eloquent fellow” who according to Drysdale (1898) p144, attended the Sheriff and Police Courts, through which he acquired “ a smattering of law”, which he used “to good purpose” He apparently he sometimes wrote letters for, and gave advice to members of the “poorer classes.”
Tammy was born in St. Ninian’s and as young man, became a tartan weaver. He appears to have been chosen to become “crier” in St. Ninian’s because he had “a gey guid conceit o’ his pooers.” His first proclamation was to prohibit the theft of slate from the Temperance Hall. He often officiated at
neighbouring villages, where it was said he was “guid crier but had a horrid bad bell.” Because Tammy could not afford a new bell he apparently appealed to the “St. Ringans folk to provide it.” A social gathering was arranged at which money was raised to purchase a new bell.