Sunday, 12 February 2012

John Flynn the Vagabond

Looking through the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Records of Criminal Trials April 1858 to March 1859, as you do, I found the following case which interested me. This is just one the thousands of criminal trials from the South of Scotland. We hope to produce an index but in the meantime we can easily search them for you; just email me:

This criminal court material has been bound but originally was folded. When folded the following would have been seen form the outside to inform as to the bundle’s contents (it now appears in page 34 of the book: NRS reference SC16/51/16 pages 29 to 34).

Punishment for Desertion of Wives,
and Refusal to Maintain Ille-
gitimate Children

Petition and Complaint
John Thomson

Inspector of the Poor of the Parish of


John Flynn, now or
lately residing in Castle

[Page 29 of book]

Unto the Honourable The Sheriff of the County of Kirkcudbright or His Substitute. The Petition and Complaint of John Thomson, residing in Gatehouse-of-Fleet Inspector of the Poor of the Parish of Girthon in the County of the aforesaid, with concourse of George Hamilton Esquire Procurator Fiscal of the said County:

Humbly Sheweth,

Than and Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in the year One thousand five hundred and seventy-nine, Chapter Seventy-four, intituled. ‘An Act for Punischment of Strang and Idle Beggars and Reliefe of the Pure and Impotent.’

That by Statute Eight and Ninth Victoria, Chapter Eighty-third, passed of date the Fourth day of August, One thousand eight hundred and forty-five, intituled ‘An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Relief of the Poor in Scotland,’ it is enacted, Sction Eightieth, ‘That every Husband or Father who shall desert or neglect to maintain his Wife or Children, being able so to do, and every Mother and every putative Father of an Illegitimate Child, after the Paternity has been admitted or otherwise established, shall refuse or neglect to maintain such a child, being able to so do, whereby such a Wife or Children or Child shall become chargeable to any Parish or Combination, shall be deemed to be a Vagabond under the provisions of the aforesaid Act of the Scottish Parliament, passed in the Year One Thousand five hundred and seventy-nine, and may be prosecuted criminally before the Sheriff of the County in which such Parish or Combination or any Portion thereof is situated, at the Instance of the Instance of the Inspector of the Poor of such a Parish or Combination, and shall, upon Conviction, be punishable by Fine or Imprisonment, with or without hard Labour, at the discretion of the said Sheriff.’ That

John Flynn Labourer now or lately residing in Castle Douglas and now or lately working on the Castle Douglas & Dumfries line of Railway.

has been guilty of a breach of the said Enactment, in so far as*

That the said John Flynn is the Husband of Ann Colquhoun or Flynn presently residing in Gatehouse of Fleet in the parish of Girthon, and

*Here insert the narrative of the particular offence, taking care to observe the description in the Statute, particularly narrating - 1st That the part is Husband or Father or Putative Father, or the Mother, as the case may be; 2d. The desertion or neglect, or refused to maintain being able so to do; 3d. That the Wife or child has thereby become chargeable to the Parish.

[Page 30]

is the father of the three children born by her to [date.?? (obscured by binding)] That the said John Flynn has for some time de[serted] his said wife and children, and refuses, or ref[used] to maintain them although he is perfectly able so to do; That in consequence of the said desertion and refusal or neglect by the said John Flynn the said wife and children have become charge[able] to the said Parish of Girthon, and the pet[itioner] the said John Thomson has has advanced and i[s] still advancing sums of money for the suppo[rt] of the said Wife and Children.

The Petitioner herewith produces Extract from Marriage Register Kept by the Roman Catholic Clergyman at Dalbeattie of Marriage between the said John Flynn & Ann Colquhoun

That therefore the said John Flynn
ought to be punished in terms of the foresaid Enactments.

May it please your Lord to consider the foregoing, and in respect of what is before stated, to grant warrant to Officers of Court and Assistants, to apprehend the person of the said
John Flynn, and to bring him before you to answer to this Complaint ; and thereafter, upon what has been therein stated being either admitted or proven, to Decern and Adjudge the said John Flynn, as a Vagabond in terms of the before recited Statutes, to forfeit and pay such fine, not exceeding £10 Sterling, as to your Lordship may seem proper, and, in the event of failure to pay the same, to grant Warrant to imprison the said John Flynn for such period, not exceeding 60 days, as your Lordship shall fix, unless paid before the expiration of such period, or to Decern or Adjudge the said John Flynn to be imprisoned in the Common Gaol or House of Correction of Kirkcudbright and for such period, not exceeding 60 days, as to your Lodrship may seem proper, and grant Warrant to imprison him accordingly, or to do otherwise in the premises as your Lordship may see cause, all in terms of the foresaid Acts of Parliament.

According to Justice, &c.

John Thomson

14 March 1859
Wants concurrence
Henry Hamilton Pror. Fiscal

[page 31]

At Gatehouse on the 5th day of April 1845 John Flynn and Ann Colquhoun were married by me in the presence of Bartlry McKenna, Samuel Rogers and others - (signed) John Strain.

Extracted from Marriage Register this 24th day of March 1859.

Alexander Gordon

24 March 1859

[page 32 back of page 31]

Certificate of Marriage
John Flynn
Ann Colquhoun
5 April 1845

Produced with
Petn. & Complt. of Inspr.
of Girthon v John

[page 33]

Having considered the foregoing Petition and Complaint, grants Warrant to Officers of Court and their Assistants to apprehend the person of John Flynn complained on, and to bring him before the Steward or his Substitute for examination, and to answer to the complaint.

(signed) W H Dunbar
Kirkcudbright 31 March 1859

At Kirkcudbright the eighth day of April,
Eighteen hundred & fifty nine years
In presence of W. H. Dunbar. Esq. Steward Substitute
of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright

Compeared the Prosecutor John Thomson with his
Agent W. S. Ewart, Writer in Gatehouse. Compeared also
the said John Flynn and the foregoing Complaint having
been read over to him he answers that he is not
guilty of the charge therein contained.

(signed) John Flynn                  (signed) W H Dunbar

The prosecutor adduced the following Witnesses in
support of the Complaint who were examined upon oath:-

Ann Colquhoun or Flynn, residing in Gatehouse.
John Thomson, Inspr. of Poor, Gatehouse.
The prrosecutor adduced his Proof
(signed) W. S. Ewart Pror.

The pannel stated that he had no evidence to adduce in exculpation.
(signed) W H Dunbar

[page 34]

Kirkcudbright 8th April 1859. The Steward Substitute finds the pannel the said John Flynn guilty of the charge set forth in the foregoing Petition and Sentences and Adjudges him to be imprisoned in the prison of Kirkcudbright for the period of Sixty days from this date with hard labour, and grants warrant to all concerned and Decrees.

(signed) W. H. Dunbar

No comments:

Post a comment