Monday, 25 April 2011

Wigtown Sheriff court books

I have now started work on my newest project; indexing the Wigtown Sheriff court books. The cases obviously vary in gory detail however here’s one to whet your appetite!

At Wigtown and within the Court House thereof the thirtieth day of June Eighteen hundred and forty seven years

Sederunt Adam Urquhart Esquire Sheriff of the County of Wigtown.

Intran Patrick Hannay labourer Indicted and accused into the instance of Alexander McNeil Caird
Writer in Stranraer PF of Court for the Crime of Assault to effusion of blood and danger of life, in manner particularly mentioned in the Criminal Libel raised against him thereanent.

For the public prosecutor } For the Pannel
Alex McNeil Caird PF } Thomas F Smith Writer Wigtown

The libel being read over to the pannel in open Court, he pleads not Guilty.

The sheriff finds the libel relevant to infer the pains of law, but allows the pannel a proof in qualification and alteration, and remits him with the libel as found relevant to the knowledge of an Assize. Adam Urquhart

The following Gentlemen were there ballotted to pass upon the assize of the pannel Patrick Hannay vizt.

Special Jurors
John McGill farmer Barsalloch
Thomas Murray banker Wigtown
Colin Christison factor Barglass
William Brown tanner Whithorn
William McQween farmer Newmilns
Common Jurors
William Hunter farmer Causewayend
John Fraser farmer Isle farm
John McConnell farmer Grennan
Peter Kevan farmer Airies Knows
William Broadshaw farmer Backbraes
John McCandlish farmer Clauchrie
John McGuffie grieve Barnbarroch
Matthew Martin shoemaker Kirkcowan
John McCulloch farmer Skaith
Robert Kelly farmer Glenruther
At this stage of the proceedings the pannel pleaded Guilty as libelled. In witness whereof his Agent has subscribed this Plea in respect he declares he cannot write. Thomas S Smith p pannel.
The Pannel adduced the following Witness in alleviation vizt.

Samuel Shearman or Shearn labourer in Portlogan being No. 8 of the List of Witnesses appended to the Libel.

The Jury without retiring returned a Verdict unanimously finding the pannel Guilty as libelled in terms of his own confession, but by a majority recommending him to the leniency of the court.

The sheriff in respect of the foregoing Verdict Decerns and adjudges the pannel Patrick Hannay to be taken from the bar and imprisoned in the prison of Stranraer, subject to the rules of that Establishment, for the period of two calender months from this date; and warrant is hereby granted to the Keeper of said prison to receive, detain and liberate the pannel accordingly.

Adam Urquhart

© National Archives of Scotland - reference SC/19/51/1
Transcription © Graham Maxwell, April 2011