The Black Book 4



The Black Book of Kincardineshire....


Containing miscellaneous papers connected with the county the Black Book of Kincardineshire is a rare collection of accounts dating back to the 17th century which have never been surpassed. I want to concentrate here on the documented criminal trials within those pages. They are a wonderful source of names, places and events.

Are your ancestors among those described. Dare you look?....

23 April 1700

Alexander Matheson, sometime in Tarnetwell, and Christian Welsh, his spouse, prisoners within the Tolbooth of Stonehaven, charged with having harboured in their house and family the person of John Erskine, fugitive thief, now prisoner within the Tolbooth of Stonehaven, at several times, for divers weeks and days together, with some of his stolen gear, stolen by him during the time of his first coming to their house, about Candlemas last, to the time of his being last apprehended, the twenty-eight of March last; since which time there were some of the goods stolen by the said John Erskine, and found in their possession, viz:- One coat of Grays, belonging to John Edward, in Barras; two cravats, belonging to William Marnoch, in Tillibridies, whose house was broken and the said goods stolen by the said John Erskine, in manner mentioned in the said John Erskine's Indictment. Likeas, the said Christian Welsh did sell to divers and sundry persons, divers quantities of green yarn, stolen by the said John Erskine, called her sister's son's thereby intending to conceal the said John Erskine his thefts and guilt, and to inhance a part of the benefit to herself; particularly she did sell to Margaret Bruce, spouse to Peter Mather, at Parkside, twenty-two hear of linen yarn, and when the said Margaret Bruce challenged her the said Christian Welsh, for some of the said yarn that the same was not well reeled, the said Christian Welsh said it was her husband's reeling when she was sick; which, and the selling of the rest of the yarn, she did confess before the Sheriff-Depute, judicially: In like manner the said Christian Welsh did sell to Isobel Rodger, spouse to Alexander Chalmers, weaver in Glenton, and a woman called Janet Neilson there, a spynle. Item to ____ Keith, spouse to ____ Beattie, in Elphill, she did sell ten or twelve hears tweedlin yarn: As likewise she did offer yarn coats and craig-cloaths to be sold to several other persons, which she said her mother, sister, or sister's son, had at her house to be sold, and invited them to come and buy them: And farther at daccering of the said Alexander Matheson and Christian Welsh their house, there was also found in it, since the apprehending of the said John Erskine, some green sheep's tallow, two green pallets wanting the wool, hid, stinking, in a private place of the house, with some sheep's-skin-wool, for which she could give no famous seller, nor a reasonable account how she came by same.

Stonehaven, 25 April, 1700 in the presence of Mr James Keith, Sheriff. The sheriff having considered the probation and verdict, he ordains the said Alexander Mathieson and Christian Welsh to be scourged through the town of Stonehaven, the morrow, by the hand of the common hangman; and thereafter to be brought back to prison, to be carried fettered by the arms, in company of John Erskine, condemned thief, to the Gallow-hill, and there to stay till he be executed: And thereafter to be kicked with the foot of the common hangman, and banishes them this shire thereafter under the pain of death; to which sentence they acquiesce under the pain foresaid. And the Sheriff ordains their moveable goods and gear to be escheat, whereupon the Fiscal takes instruments.

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