Closing Bonspiel – (Vassie Medal)

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Vassie Medal – 1865

BACKGROUND

If possible the Vassie Medal is played for on outside ice normally on Lanark Loch. It was last played outside in January 2010 when Martin Yuill, Tom Steele, Alan Sellars & Iain Hutton were the highest up rink. (OUT & ABOUT/LANARK LOCH – 2010)

However with the vagaries of a Scottish winter it is usually competed for in the Club’s closing Bonspiel at the LIR with the highest up rink (shots) the winners.

Closing Winners_L-Loch_1001_3357

WINNERS – LANARK LOCH – January 2010 – AS TS MY (Skip) IH

SCORE CARD – By Season

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Vassie – STANDINGS  (previous winners information required please)

Competition – RULES

HISTORY

Closing_John Vassie_tab

JOHN VASSIE – Lord Cornet of Lanark (1841)

Inscribed on medal:

PRESENTED

By

John Vassie

Crofton Hill

To The

LANARK CURLING CLUB

Nov 1865

Extracted from Lanark Rocks  – AH

In the past it comprised of a knockout competition. Each rink had 6 players allocated though 4 only played. Two games were played each day – one morning and one in the afternoon.

The winning rink would get the gold medal to keep for one year + badges for the team. However, a player could only ever hold one badge – no accumulation was allowed. I believe the badge was also in gold – as an archive letter would suggest – see ** Letter from Miss Vassie – dated 20 January 1940 – below.

Excerpts from Minute Books of Lanark CC re the Vassie Medal:

1865 –  Mr John Vassie was elected as President of LCC. He presented a gold medal for an annual competition (outside ice) which was to replace the current Silver Medal competed for. (The silver medal was not to be played for again – kept by the Treasurer until a decision was made re its future use etc)

1874 – AGM – decision taken that the Silver Medal was to be given to Runner-up for the Gold Medal.

1899 – John Vassie Esq of Croftin Hill was made a patron of Lanark CC

1905/06 – John Vassie died. His widow wrote a letter to Lanark CC (which club still has within its Minute Book). Mrs J Vassie proposed that the Vassie Medal still be competed for as an outside competition annually. She gave the club a Pref Ordinary Share thus allowing the annual dividend to be used to buy the replicas for winners of the Vassie Medal competition. The club became the owner of this share investment – its value being £42. The annual interest accrued was 25/- per annum. Mrs Vassie arranged for Messrs Brook & Son (Edinburgh) to supply a new badge as per same design as the last medal won by last year’s winning rink. She applied conditions for this competition ie

· That any 4 players within Lanark CC could form a rink and participate for the medal
· That the medal shall be played on the first suitable ice (as current practice)
· “When play for the medal is commenced the rinks left in shall not take part in club matches (except the Upperward Bonspiel and the Caledonian Cup matches) ‘til the medal is won”
· That the final shall be a game of 31 shots or 4 o’clock.
· That the winning skip gets the badge unless he is the holder of a former one – in which case, it passes to the next member of the rink who has not got one
· If there is any accumulation of badges they shall be allocated up to four (which shall be the maximum number of badges disposed of in any one season) in the following order: 1st – skip : 2nd – the 5&6 player : 3rd – lead, and, 4th – the 3&4th player

Over the years the annual dividend would decrease and by the period of WW1 the costs of badges exceeded the receipt of annual dividend. This information was extracted from a letter (still in Club hands) from John Vassie Jnr who wrote to the curling club – (complete excerpt below – dated 6 November 1918)

“Dear Alick,

Mr Houston, Treasurer of the Curling Club mentioned the other day that he would like to have a talk with me about the ‘Vassie Badges’ so I called on him yesterday.

Mother bought £42 NB Preferred Con Ordinary Stock and handed it over to the Curling Club with a deed of gift attaching the conditions as to the use of the effering dividends, to provide for all time a Badge for the annual winner of the ‘Vassie Medal’. At first the investment yielded 23/9 after deduction of Income Tax, but with Income Tax at 6/- per £1 the nett return is only 17/6. You may perhaps know that Clubs cannot obtain abatement of or exemption from Income Tax.

Formerly Brook & Son supplied a Badge annually for which the dividend was sufficient to pay, but now the price is 37/6 and the dividend is 17/6 nett. The open winters of 1912, 13 and 14 did not permit of the medal games being completed so in 1915 four Badges had collected to be competed for and according to the revised deed of gift each player in the winning rink in 1915 received one Badge which induced a considerable display of the pot hunting spirit and caused a lot of bad feeling. Mr Houston told me that the games were completed in 1916 and 1917 but as there was not enough money to buy badges of the usual value the shortage was made up out of the Club funds and the winning skip in each of these years received 25/- to buy a souvenir. I had been too much occupied otherwise to take any interest in this matter and did not know about it till Tuesday, when I at once told Mr Houston that this was very considerate but must not be repeated, and I would see what you said about changing the conditions of the deed of gift to meet the altered circumstances.

What I think we should do is to say that a Badge will be presented to the rink winning the ‘Vassie Medal’ each year in which the Tournament is completed, that it will go to the skip of the rink winning the medal if he does not already hold a Badge. If he does, that it will go to the third player and so on to the lead : possession of a Badge barring any player from receiving another when won in that or any other rink, till all the four have one, afgter which the skip will again qualify should the same rink still be in existence. I propose that the Treasurer should keep a note of he dividends received and of the amount expended in purchasing one badge per year the Medial game is completed, and hat I provide the necessary cash to make up any shortage there may be after crediting the balance resulting from the non-expenditure for any year or years in which there may have been no medal won. This should keep up the prestige of the ‘Vassie Medal and Badges’ and give sufficient interest in the winning of them to the players. I also propose to hand over whatever deficiency there was in the dividends for 1915 and 1916 from meeting the cost of the souvenirs for these years.

Signed………………..J W Vassie”

1927  – Vassie Medal stock showed no return with its capital growing less so the Club decided to sell the stock and deposit any fund.

1928 – Mrs Vassie (and daughter, Miss Vassie) wrote the Lanark CC., They wished the club to know that once the above fund was exhausted, they would continue to pay for a replica of the Vassie Medal each year when it is won. Mrs Vassie instructed that the replicas be provided by Messrs Brook & Son

1938 – Lanark Club wrote to Miss Vassie seeking permission if this Medal could be played on inside ice – given no appropriate outside ice available. Permission was granted but Miss Vassie indicated that the replica could only be given to the winner on outside ice only.

1939 –  Communication between Miss Vassie (now residing in Edinburgh) and Lanark CC.

1940 Letter from Miss Vassie – dated 20 January 1940

“Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter of 17th inst re the winning of the Vassie Medal. I have been considering the matter of the replica of the medal.

At the time when it was started watch chain were fashionable but I feel that now it is rather out of date. Also gold has risen considerably in price and the replica costs very much more than it used to. If the curling club is agreeable I should like to alter the momento to a pair of silver ash-trays like the enclosed sketch.

Will you please let me know what you think in the matter?

Signed…………E L Vassie”

The Club accepted this generous offer.

1942-45 –  No games held due to WW2 and difficulty in getting enough men to play who weren’t in service.
1952 –  Members query conditions of Vassie Medal. Committee wrote to Miss Vassie asking that the game be played whenever it suited the club members – more flexibility re time of play sought. It also meant that new members were eligible to play as previous conditions insisted on daytime curling only – now the game could be held in the evening therefore more people able to compete. Permission was granted by Miss Vassie.
To this day Lanark CC still play for the Vassie Medal on an annual basis.

If there is outside ice available on Lanark Loch then the Vassie Medal is competed for.

When no outside ice is available then we play for the Vassie Medal as our club’s Closing Bonspiel.

The winning team receive the Vassie Medal only – no replicas/Badges are available.

AH