Selections from the Judicial Records of Renfrewshire (Scotland)


Illustrative of the Administration of the Laws in the County and Manners and Conditions of the Inhabitants in the 17th and 18th Centuries

A fascinating collection of articles and original documents culled from the public records of the county of Renfrew, Scotland and the town of Paisley. This material is drawn primarily from the Judicial Records of the Courts of the Heritable Sheriffs and Bailies of Barony, including Registers of Writs, Court Minute Books and a number of other registers containing reports on various institutions within the county.

Each chapter examines a number of different court cases, property transactions and other activities relating to the judiciary that were noted in the public record to provide a detailed sociological portrait of life in Renfrewshire during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Space limitations prohibit a complete listing of topics, but the following examples as well as many others of interest are included: Parliamentary Representatives of Renfrewshire, 1593-1874; The Sheriffs of Renfrewshire; Oppressive Punishment for Common Assault; Iniquitous Prosecution under the Game Laws; Killing a Horse, Charged in Criminal Libel as Murder, 1721; Sheep Stealing; Rowdyism in Port Glasgow; Traveling in Scotland in 1703; Prevailing Poverty of the Population; Custom-House Officer Mobbed by Women, 1717; Clandestine Marriage-Its Penalties in 1731; The Burgh of Paisley; Rents, Prices, etc., 1730-1750; Slander and Evil Speaking; and more. “Old County Families and Estates” focuses on the Napiers of Blackstone, the Walkinshaw family, the Semples of Balgreen, the Hows of Damtoun and Penneld, the M’Dowalls of Castlesemple and the estate of Houston. Another fascinating section examines the state of Renfrewshire’s prisons from 1747 to 1820 and details such diverse problems as irregularity regarding the liberation of prisoners, the overcrowding of penal institutions with debtors and the curious if not questionable practice amongst prison governors and wardens of selling malt liquor to convicts. As with any volume of this type, the text is replete with the names of Scottish ancestors and of interest to the historian and genealogist alike.

William Hector

(1878), 2016, 8½x11, paper, index, 340 pp.

ISBN: 9780788412813