The Black Book 7



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?....

17 March 1698

William Clark at Nether Mill of Balmain, Isobel Dunbar his spouse, Jane Clark their daughter, John Bruce, James Aitkenhead, Elspet Hampton, and Isobel Walker their servants: Janet Baine at the said mill, Thomas Greig her son: David Croll in Fettercairn, Elspet Clerk his spouse, Euphemia Croll their daughter: Alexander Scott in Harvistoune-muir, Euphemia Clark his spouse, Margaret Cook, and Janet Gentleman their servants: and Mr David Clark, incumbent at the Kirk of Fettercairn, summoned to answer for their unchristian, illegal, and masterful troubling and molesting Mr Francis Melvill, minister of Arbuthnott, upon the 13th February last, in the Kirkyard of Fettercairn, being the Sabbath day, when he was bussied about divine service and declaring the said Kirk of Fettercairn vacant. And putting violent hands on the said Mr Francis, beating and blooding him with stones, rending his clothes, and keeping up by themselves and others in their names, of their causing commanding and ratihabition of the keys of the said Kirk door, and committing wicked insolencies by word and deed in proud and manifest contempt of the Laws of the Kingdom made in the conterar. The saids Isobel Dunbar, Jane Clark, John Bruce, Alexander Aikenhead, Elspet Hampton, Isobel Walker, Janet Baine, Thomas Greig, Elspet Clerk, Euphan Croll, Euphan Clark, Margaret Cook, and Janet Gentleman not compearing were amertiate in poenam contumatice, ilk one of them, in the sum of ten pound scots: And also the said Elpset Hampton, Isobel Walker, Janet Baine, Thomas Greig, Margaret Cook and Janet Gentleman, being summoned and not compearing were declared fugitives and their goods escheat: And the haill remanent Defenders also being again summoned, and deponing in the said matter, by virtue of the Sheriff's Interlocutor, and the matter being continued to this day the Sheriff absolved the said William Clark, Isobel Dunbar, Jane Clark, John Bruce, James Aitkenhead, David Croll, Elizabeth Clark, Euphan Croll and Alexander Scott, from the crime libelled of putting violent hands upon the said Francis Melville, on the said Sabbath-day, or then troubling or molesting him or hounding out any person against him: And also he amertiated and fined the said William Clark and Alexander Scott, ilk one of them, in the sum of fifty pounds Scots money for harbouring and resetting the persons after named, after they had committed the foresaid riot; And ordained the said William Clark with all diligence to apprehend and bring before the Sheriff the said Elspet Hampton, and Isobel Walker, his servants, Janet Baine his subtenant, and her son: And ordained the said Alexander Scott to apprehend and bring to him the said Margaret Cook, and Janet Gentleman, his servants, under the pain of fifty pound for each of them: The Sheriff likewise absolved the said Mr David Clark from troubling and molesting the said Mr Melville in manner libelled, and yet, nevertheless, amertiated and fined him and the said William Clark, and his father for his interest, he being in family with him, in the sum of fifty pounds Scots, for keeping up the keys of the said Kirk door.

7 April 1698

Margaret Thow in Knowgreens, summoned to underly the law for spoiling, robing, and away-taking a pirn, and breaking a lint wheel belonging to Isobel Carnegie in Balmanno. Failed to appear - was declared fugitive.

7 June 1698

George Ker in Easter Migrie in Cromar, apprehended with the fang, and confessed that he did steal from John Blews in Johnshaven, three killings; and went into the barn of John Greig there, by creeping under the back door, and did steal a peck and a half of pease. Ordained to be scourged through the town - Banished the shire, and his goods escheat.

8 July 1698

John Cowie in Faskie, summoned to underly the law, for stealing, cutting, and away-taking, under cloud of night, several young trees out of the plantation of Faskie, belonging to the Laird of Balmain: And for stealing a certain quantity of bear belonging to the Laird of Thornton. Failed to appear - was declared a fugitive, and all his moveable goods declared to be escheat.


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