In 1736 a smuggler named Wilson, who had won popularity by helping a companion to escape from the Tolbooth prison, was hanged; and, some slight disturbance occurring at the execution, the city guard fired on the mob, killing a few and wounding a considerable number of persons.
He was indeed taken in June 1673 while holding a conventicle at Knockdow, and condemned by the privy council to 4 years and 3 months' imprisonment on the Bass Rock and a further 15 months in the Tolbooth at Edinburgh.
A sum of Lioo,000 was bequeathed by Mr Andrew Usher (1826-1898) for a hall to be called the Usher Hall and to supplement I The original Tolbooth was completed in 1501, but a new one took its place in 1563-1564, and was subsequently altered.
Into various parts of the fabric were built relics and curiosities from historical structures, such as the doorway of the old Tolbooth in Edinburgh.
The Canongate Tolbooth adjoins the parish church, in the burial-ground of which is the tombstone raised by Burns to the memory of Robert Fergusson, and where Dugald Stewart, Adam Smith and other men of note were buried.
The public buildings include the town-hall (dating from 1762 and altered in 1876), the tolbooth (1590), and the grammar school.