Hood Family and Coal Mining

Clerk v Ross and Others


3 'Condescendence for George Ross & Others, Coaliers' 1771, in the court case by Sir John Clerk against the bound colliers of Dryden Coalworks




Condescendence for George Ross and others Coalliers, alleged to
belong to the Estate and Coallworks of Dryden,
Defenders —

In obedience to the interlocutor of Lord Ordinary of date the 5th of July current, the defenders do condescended and say that about 40 years ago the coalworks of Dryden were given up and their being then no work for the coaliers they were allowed to work at other coal works where they could find employment. That it continued so for 13 or 14 years till the year 1743 when they were sett to Mr Stodhart who wrought that coal only about 5 years and then gave it up. - That it again remained unwrought for about 10 years till the 1756 when it was taken by William Johnston and Co. who wrought it so poorly they never had constant work for above 3 or 4 coaliers. – That at the time first above mentioned when the coalwork was given up, the Defenders
Alexander Snedden now at Loanhead
George Ross elder now a Niddry
David Ross now at Melvillmuir
William Hislop now at Blairbog &
Alexander Reid now at Melvillmuir -
were coalliers belonging to the estate of Dryden and were allowed as there was no work at Dryden to go with their wives and children (who at that time were so young that they were not fitt for work) to other coalworks in the neighbourhood where they could find work and where they wrought as Free coalliers for 13 or 14 years till they were called back by Mr Stoddart in 1743 with whom they wrought three years. After which period they and their familys went where they pleased and wrought as free coalliers as they do at this day.


That at the time the coal was not wrought at Dryden and the old coaliers allowed to work at other coalworks the following persons, Defenders viz
John Ross now oversman at Melvillmuir
James Ross now at Woolmet
James Hardie there
Robert White there
Thomas Hoods there
George Ross now at Niddry
George Ross son of George Ross there

William Ross son of Do.
James Ross son of Do.
William Pentland there
George Ross called red George
all at Niddry

David Hislop now at Abercorn
Alexander Reid younger now at Bowes
Alexander Young now at Loanhead
William Liddell now at Pendreich
William Reid there
James Campbell there
David Pentland now in Niddry Who are some of them children of the old coalliers and were very young when their parents left Dryden and took them along with them to other coalworks — Did enter to the different coalworks in which their parents were employed and if they are the property of any coalmaster it must belong to the those whose work they first entered into and wrought in agreeable to the custom that prevaills among coalmasters. That when Mr Stodhart called some of the old coaliers back and at the time he wrought the coal, some of the last mentioned coaliers, tho they were noways bound nor no requisition made of them yet voluntarily wrought to Mr Stodhart at Dryden as he then gave as good encouragement as any other coalmaster and left him when they thought proper, and have not wrought at Dryden since he gave it up wrought where they pleased without challenge till this process was brought against them.


That the other defenders viz
William Ross now at Niddry
Edward Ross now at Gorton
Thomas Ross now and Melvillmuir
Robert Brown now at Newhall
John Brown at Hawthorndean
William Brown there &
William Young at Loanhead
Never wrought within the coallworks of Dryden and even some of their fathers viz the Browns never wrought there but they all entered to other coalworks therefor the process against them is most vexatious and they ought to be a assoilzied and allowed their expenses.


[Interlocutors - last page]
Lord Hailes 25th Novr 1771
The Lord Ordinary having considered this Condescendance with the answers, observes that the answer with respect to the Condescendance of the third class of Colliers is all-together vague and not hitherto reduced into that form which is necessary for founding a proof. Therefor appoints the Pursuers specially to condescend on the circumstances which they offer to prove with regard to the said third class of colliers & that in eight days from this date with certification.
Dav: Dalrymple


20th December 1771 Lo Hailes
The Lord ordinary having again considered this condescendance answers and Replys, Before answer ordains the pursuers to condescend upon the day of Mr Lockharts birth and to produce the books wherin the pursuers alledge the coalliers in the third class were entered and from them inferr they are bound and for that end grant warrand for letters of incident diligence at the pursuers instance against havers for recovering these books to the fourteenth of January next.
David Dalrymple



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