Held on the 15th of May, this date holds historic value to the Trades and the Incorporated Trades as a whole…
In Scotland there are two legal terms, the 15th of May (Whitsunday) and the 11th of November (Martinmas). These dates mark the terms of the legal year in Scotland. They were historically used as the days when contracts and leases would begin and end, servants would be hired or dismissed, and rent, interest on loans, and ministers’ stipends would become due.
The terms have historically been significant for the Trades and Trinity Hall because Feu Duty used to be payable twice a year on these dates. The use of term days is now virtually obsolete, and any reference to them tends to be historical or ceremonial.
Feu Duty came to be a major source of income for those Trades who had sold land. Payment was collected on the term dates and historically when the Hall was on Union Street, there would be queues of people along the street waiting to enter the Hall and proceed to the relevant Trade table. These tables would be manned by the Deacon, Boxmaster, Factor (and perhaps a Clerk) and they would tick off all the payments to ensure that Feu Duty was fully paid. The Feu Duty lunch which is now an evening meal began as a means of providing a lunchtime break to those officials who were involved in collection of the duties.