Saturday, 20 June 2009

Marital Disharmony in 18th Century Scotland

Whilst researching at the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) this week I came across the following record which shows the problems one man experienced with his wife and how the difficulties this caused between him and the church continued into his subsequent marriage.

The spelling is rather more phonetic than is usual for this date but is hopefully intelligible. In some places the letter 'w' is used instead of 'u'.

This extract is taken from the Minutes of Duns Relief Church, Berwickshire - NAS Ref. CH3/1146/7.

Reliefe Records of the Session in Dunse 1800

Augest 17th About the speace of Sevin years ago There arose a Diference Betwx George Bone and his Wife Jean Jafrie then Liven at Polwart wood Heads being Galows of her Husband George Bone She having been maried a number of years to him and had a famlie of Children to him outerly refused him of his Privelidge as a husband in Brech of her Marige Bond Likewise Provicken him to go to sike another Wife Declireng that hi should have no more fredom with her as a husband ought to have with his wife this Contwning for a Long time Alexander Bell farmer at Crunklie being Elder of that South qarter of the Reliefe Congregation Reperisented it to the Session

The Revd Mr Thomas Thomson being then Minester in Dunse it was a veray Longe Tidwes Trayel George Bone being Brought before the Session Declered that Ther was a Great dispace Betwx his wife and him and Likewise she had seet the whole famlie aginst him and she had Disired him often to go to seke a nother wife and ould some times Give him Bread and Cheis to put in his Pocket to go to sike another wife which she acknolidge to be trwe her self in the Session when she was Brought to the Session Likewise she Disired him to make a new Bond of Sepration Betwx him and her which They Did

Some time afore or after George Bone Gave a Bond to a nother woman that had been his Servant which Bond his wife Jean Jafrie found in George Bones Saboths Cloas and brought it to the Revd Mr Thomas Thomson but her Husband misin the Bond Demanded her to Preduce that Bond or Eles hi ould Burn her in a fire to Death the Session Could not Determinet maters betwx them ther being so maney Difrent Grivences from both Parties the Sesson Consiston then of teen Elders thought Proper to Leay them both aside from Church Prividelidges which they Did and George Bone was publickly lead aside from the Pulpet by the Revd Mr Thomson Minester then George Bone Stil adhering to the mitten keeping his seat paying his Seat rent aplaying now and then for to git Church Privelidges but Still Refused of them

At Lenth throw process of time the woman that hi had or was to give the Bond to to take her for his wife maried a nother man at the same time Jean Jafrie his Lafwl wife Lived a veray agreable Life with her husband George Bone which hi Declared to Robert Gray Elder which Contwance was for a year before her Death but all the time of her Life she had no Church Prividlegs at Lenth Jean Jafrie Deid and George Bone was maried to a nother Woman George Bone still aplayen for Church Prividledges but was still refwsed of them

On the year 1799 the Revd Mr John Wattson being Minester in Dunse Reliefe Congregation George Bone still aplaying for Church Prividleges a Bar Being in Georges way Concerning some monie that was taken out of a Chist in Georges howse which hi impetecd his son with which was a Law Procces his son being Clerad George still aplayen for Church Privilidges at Lenth the Revd Mr John Wattson Leaving Dunse not being ther Minester any Longer who was Placed on Tusday 21th of Augest 1798 and was Lowsed by the Edinbrough Presberty on May 6th 1800 to go to Glasgow we not having a Minester the Congregation agrieing to have the Saccrament Dispenced among them wrot to the Revd Mr Andrew Thomson Minester at Berwick which Came to Dispence that Ordnance with others wpon the fourth Day of July 1800

The Session being Constuit by Prayer the Revd Mr Andrew Thomson Being Morator George Bone being Presant in the Session ther was a Contest in the Session about George Bone some was for absolven him Publickly The Majority Caried to admonise him in the Session as ther was no Book of Records which Tistefied agenst him only some Scrols of Paper which was Lost hi being admonised by the Revd Mr Andrew Thomson Morator Receved a token from his Elder John Sklinskel in Polwart becaws hi attested Georges Carator for some years bygon

Georges Wife having a Child to him Disiring the Session to favour him to have his Child Baptised on Tusday first after the Saccrament which requist they Granted accordingly The Revd Mr John Pitkern Minester at Kelso upon the Monday intmited that ther was a Child to be Baptised on Tusday the Day folowing when that Day Came hi refusied to Baptise the Child becawse George had not been absolvied Publickly althow George had Jonied upon this occision the Elders being Put to a nonplush not having a Minester at that time agreed to refier it till some Statited Minister Should Come and have a nother Session

Accordingly the Revd Mr Ried Came a Session Being Constuit by Prayer the Revd Mr Reid being Told what had been don with George Bone hi being Presant advised George to apier Publicty in the Mitten house on the Saboth after being the 24th of Augest 1800 which hi willingry agreed to and Likwise on that Day was admonished Publickly By Mr Reid and on The afternoon the Revd Mr Reid intemited from the Pulpit that ther was to be a baptesim at Polwart Woodhead on wedensday first which hi accordingly Did and Baptised two Children To George Bone at that Time for his Wife was Deliverd of a nother Child befor George was Clerad

Robert Gray Session Clerk

Note: Galows = Jealous - here probably meaning mistrustful, or resentful of a suspected or known infidelity

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Professional What?

Firstly, I’d like to thank Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, authors of ‘Good Omens’, for the title of this blog. Anathema Device, the Professional Descendant of the novel, is not a genealogist but it seems like a good job description for someone who has based a career on who their ancestors were. Anathema is a descendant of the witch Agnes Nutter and appears to have inherited some of her ancestor’s talents. Having long suspected there were some Nutters in my own family tree I feel a certain kinship with her!

These days I spend most of my time researching other people’s ancestors and I felt it was time my lot started earning their keep. This blog will be a place to tell some of their stories, to celebrate them and to air some of the family’s dirty laundry. I also intend to include some extracts from the records I come across whilst carrying out research and to discuss some of the broader questions raised by the study of family history.

My own ancestors are a mix of English, Scottish and Irish. A fairly ordinary bunch but at times quite a challenge to trace. What fascinates me about family history is not only the process of research, piecing together small scraps of information to reconstruct a person’s life, but also what it can reveal about social history and human behaviour, the insight it gives into a world that can seem very different from our own but populated by individuals with our strengths and our weaknesses, our virtues and our failings.