Hood Family and Coal Mining

Clerk v Ross and Others


20 'Depositions' (July 1772)


[Deposition of William Watson, oversman at Pendreich, age 42. Begins page 1 ….]
Page 7 …Loanhead or Pendreich, that upon this the deponent desired these defenders to come and speak with Mr Clark on the Monday following and promised to give them days wages on that condition that accordingly they came up in a body to Elding to Mr Clark that they all acknowledged themselves to be Carnwaths coaliers and a great many of them agreed to enter to Mr Sir James and Mr Clerks coallieries and to continue thereat during the currency of their tack with Carnwath upon the pursuers Sir James & Mr Clerk their paying the defenders debts owing at Niddery coalworks and other places and getting deduction if five pounds each from the said debts, that upon this agreement the defenders insisted to be immedeatly removed from Niddery to the pursuers coalworks. That Thomas Hoods, William Red & David Hislop came home immediately to Mr clerks coalliery at Pendrich and that Robert White, James Hoods, Alexander Sniddon, David Ross went all home to Sir James’s coalworks at Loanhead [in margin and being interrogate by the defenders] Depones that William Ross younger and another of the defenders who he cannot recollect William Pentland agreed upon the same terms and [in margin asked it of Mr Clerk as a favour that they might be] upon condition that they were allowed as much time as to work out a bargain with respect to a coal mine they were under with Petter Hunter at Niddery and they made this further that Mr Clerk would allow their old parents dargs at uncost. That Mr Clerk agreed to allow these defenders time to work out their bargain but as to the other article said he could give them no answer at that time [in margin and upon the pursuers interrogatory] depones that when he went to Niddery Petter Hunter tacksman of that coal desired The defenders to go peaceably to the pursuers coalworks at Pendreich & Loanhead that Mr Hunter told the deponent he would give them all the assistance in his power and accordingly went with the deponent to the oversmans house and advised them as above deponed to, that is advised the defenders then at Niddery coalworks to go to the pursuers coalworks at Pendrich & Loanhead. Causa suintie patet and this is truth as he shall answer to God. One word on the first page, eight on the second, two on the third, two on the fifth, and thirteen on the the eight all delete before signing

William Watson
Gilb. Mair


Compeared James Moffat, Coal Grieve at Pendreich aged twenty nine years , married Against whom it was objected for the defenders, that he is the pursuer Mr John Celerks coalgrieve that he has been extremily active in going among the defenders both before and after the commencment of this process in endeavouring to perswade them to engage in Mr Clerks coalworks as coaliers of Dryden and therefore is not a proper witness in this cause to which it was answered for the pursuer that the witness being in the employment of Mr Clerk is not a sufficient reason for rejecting his testimony, and altho in the course of this duty he may have been employed in calling upon the Dryden coalliers to repair to the coalworks of the pursuers, as this is the fact which is principally meant to be proved by his evidence he is [  ] a habili witness.
The commissioner allows the witness to be received reserving the consideration of the objection and answers to the Lord Ordinary at advising. And the said James Moffat being purged of partial council solemnly sworn and interrogate Depones that he was dent by the pursuer Mr Clerk to sundry coalierys in the neighbourhood to call home coaliers as belonging to Dryden to the pursuers work at Loan-head and Pendreich vizt Stobbs where William Liddel was working to Newhall where one Ross and another whose name he does not remember were working. That when he went to Newhall had in his hand a list of about twenty seven coaliers as belonging to Dryden which list he got from the pursuer Mr Clerk, that he read over the list to William Johnston’s son who said knew a good many of the persons on that list to be Dryden coaliers and at the same time gave the deponent a list of debts that were sue by some of these coaliers to the said William Johnston contracted when they wrought at Dryden (in margin – which list the deponent exhibits and the same is marked by him and the commisioner) That he was sent to Niddry where Thomas Hoods and William Reid defenders were working. That he remembers to have seen also at Niddry the following defenders viz George Ross, William Ross elder William Ross & George Ross sons to George Ross elder and George Ross commonly called Red George. That one or two of the above defenders whose names he does not remember said they were willing to work at Dryden but mot at Pendreich or Loanhead. Depones he did not at ask them the question whether they were Dryden coaliers or not but never heard them deny they were. Depones that he was told by William Watson overseer at Pendreich that he Watson on behalf of the pursuer Mr Clerk had made a bargain with William Liddel one of the defenders as a Dryden coalier to come and work at Pendreich during the currency of the pursuers tack with General Lockhart, that Liddel was to get five pounds in a compliment and his debts paid at Stobs, that the day after the deponent was told of this bargain he went to Stobs with two carts, paid Liddels debts and brought his furniture to Pendrich and in consequence of the said bargain William Liddel continues to work at Pendrich. Depones he never enquired at Liddel the terms of the bargain that Watson had made with him. Depones he was informed by said Watson that he had made the same bargain with the defender James Campbell that is he got five pounds in a complement as he had no debt, that his furniture was brought from Dalkeith to Pendrich and that he continues to work at Pendrich to this day and the deponent heard James Campbell himself acknowledge the bargain made with Watson. Depones that the Dryden coaliers that were at Niddry came up in a body to Mr Clerks house at Elding that the deponent was not present at what passed betwixt Mr Clerk and them, that he saw them on the green after they had been with Mr Clerk and that two of them Thomas Hoods and William Reid insisted that carts should be sent for their furniture next day that there was one or two more of the defenders who wanted to be flited whose names the deponent does not remember, that the carts were sent down to Niddery the day following and brought Hoods & Reid their furniture to Pendrich. Depones he was told by William Watson that Hoods and Reid were to get five pounds each in a compliment and their debts paid, that William Watson accordingly paid their debts and the deponent has seen and had in his possession the bills retired by Watson from Petter Hunter at Niddery and depones that Thomas Hoods and William Reid are still working at Pendrich in consequence of that bargain. Depones that the day the coaliers came in a body from Niddery to Pendrich the deponent paid them a shilling each for their days work, at least several of them got shillings and which the deponent stated in his book. Depones he heard one of the coaliers who came from Niddery ask the favour of Mr Clerk to work out a bargain he had with Petter Hunter at Niddery as it was a benificial one, and that so soon as it was done he would come to Pendrich. And being interrogate for the defenders. Depones that the reason of his calling the coaliers Dryden coaliers was from the list he got of them that they were therin designed Dryden coaliers that he heard them called such by William Watson and Mr Johnson and that the deponent never heard them deny their being Dryden coaliers. Causa suintie patet and this is truth as he shall answer to God, three words on the eleventh page & fifteen on the twelfth page delete before signing

James Moffat
Gilb: Mair

[swearing in of new writer to take depositions]


compeared George Kerr coallier in Niddry who being solemnly sworn purges of mallice partial council. Examined and interrogate being aged sixty and upwards married. Depones that he knows George and Wiliam Ross’s sons of George Ross & William Pentland, and remembers them working at the coallwork of Dryden but how long it is since, he cannot mow condecend upon, that he knew the said George and William Ross’s and William Pentland working at the coallworks of Gilmerton & Melvilmuir before they wrought at the coallworks of Dryden; causa scientiae patet and this is truth as he shall answer to God.

George Kerr


James Sharp coallier late at Woolmet now at Gilmerton aged thirty one years married, who being solemnly sworn purged of mallice partial council. Examined and interrogate. Depones that he is acquainted with the defenders Thomas Hoods, George and William Ross’s sons of George Ross and William Pentland, and remembers them working as coalliers at the coall works if Dryden about six years ago. Depones that Thomas Hoods, George and William Ross’s and Will: Pentland all wrought at the coall works of Gilmerton both as bearers and pickmen before they came to the coall works of Dryden and that George & William Ross’s upon leaving Gilmerton works went to the coal of Melvilmuir before they came to Dryden. Depones that he has known William Pentland since he was a boy, that before he entered to any coall work the deponent remembers of his going to Newcastle to an uncle he had there, a baker by trade with an intention to learn that business but after staying there some short space of time he returned to Scotland and entered to the coal works at Gilmerton which was the first coal work he was at. And being interrogated for the pursuers what age the defender George Ross might be when he knew him entering as a bearer at Gilmerton depones that he does not remember at present how long George Ross wrought as a bearer at Gilmerton but when he gave over being a bearer and became a pickman the deponent thinks he was about fourteen years of age. causa scientiae patet and this is truth as he shall answer to God, one word on the preceeding page delete before signing

James Sharp


Charles Sharp coallier at Niddry aged about twenty six years being sworn purged of mallice partial council. Examined & interrogate. Depones that he has been acquainted with the defender William Pentland for these eight years bygone and when the deponent became first acquainted with him he William Pentland was working at the coalwork of Dryden and upon recollection depones that he knew William Pentland before he wrought at any coal work go to Newcastle to learn to be a baker where he stayed sometime and upon his return he entered to the coalwork at Gilmerton where he wrought along with the deponent as a bearer and after this he wrought at the same coal works as a pickman [ ] of the deponents nighbours and after that went to Dryden and all this happened within these eight years; and being interrogate for the pursuers and desired the deponent would explain himself what he meant by William Pentland going to work with a nighbour as a pickman, depones that when William Pentland gave over being a bearer along with the deponent where he had learned something of the picking, he went and joined with his uncle who was a pickman to the same work and wrought as a pickman with him, causa scientiae patet and this is truth as he shall answer to God; and depones he cannot write. six words on this page delete; before signing


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