Hood Family and Coal Mining

Clerk v Ross and Others


9. '1st Report - 8 June 1772', in the court case against the bound colliers of Dryden Coalworks


At Edinburgh the eight day of June 1772 years in presence of an act and commission by the right Honourable the Lords of council and session dated the 21st day of February last at the instance of Sir James Clark of pennycuik, Baronnet and John Clerk Esquire his brother german against George Ross, William Ross and others... [notes on administration of oaths]
And accordingly the persons after names cited in virtue of letters of diligence and compeared in manner following Viz


William Kelly servants to Robert Hepburn Esquire of Clerkington aged 64 years married ... Depones that he was Servant to the deceased Mr Lockhart of Carnwath for about 40 years preceding his death which happened in the year 1764. That Carnwath's Coal works were sometimes going sometimes not. That James Stothart, factor for Carnwath had these works for some few years and wrought in Bilston Burn and they were afterwards possessed by William Johnson for some few years preceding the late Carnwaths death and continued some time after his death, that he had cause to see the colliers employee at these works and particularly remembers to have seen the following Vizt. George and William Ross both sons to George Ross elder, James Hoods, David Hyslop, Thomas Ross, Alexander Reid, Alexander Young and James Campbell and that the above named persons wrought at the coall while it was possessed by William Johnson. Depones that Carnwath's Coalliers were in use on his birthday which was the 18 June to come to Dryden from the different coalworks (inserted in margin - in the neighbourhood such as Gilmerton and others) And brought their children along with them where they were entertained with a nine gallon tree of ale and one Birthdays got their dinner, that some of the children he looked upon to be bearers and others were too young for the work that he remembers to have seen the persons above condescended on at the said birthday. Depones that the colliers that attended on that day where to the best of his knowledge all belonging to Carnwath. Depones that Mr Lockhart told him that the reason of his assembling the colliers on his birthday was to show that they were his colliers, that the coallier's generally bought brought a piper with them who was paid by Carnwath that were women races at which a good many people assembled from the country and that Carnwath and his company came out after dinner and saw the races. Depones upon recollection that he thinks that there was but one race and that it happened about the year 1745 and that he thinks William and George Rosses were not of an age to attend the birth day at that day (inserted in margin - tho he remembers to have seen them at after birthdays) Depones that he remembers one George Liddill a Collier at said Coalworks. and this is truth as he shall answer to God.


William Hall servant to General Lockhart at Dryden aged 39 years... Depones that he entered into the late Carnwath service in the year 1760 and has continued in general Lockharts and his father's service ever since. Depones that William Johnson possessed Carnwaths coalwork still Mr Johnston gave up his tack and that the coalliers wrought it afterwards till the Pursuers got the tack. Depones that Carnwaths colliers to the amount of about a dozen with their wives and bairns were in use to attend at Dryden yearly on Carnwaths birthday and that from the different coalworks they wrought at X (in margin - not only from Mr Lockharts coalworks where some of them were working but from others) such as Gilmerton, Pendreich and others, that Carnwath gave them a dinner and a drink, that he remembers to have been at Dryden on said birthday George Ross elder, William and George Rosses his sons, Thomas Hoods, William Reid, James Campbell and Thomas Pentland and his two sons and a collier who wanted an eye but whose name he cannot recollect. That he was told by some of the colliers that they came their at Carnwaths desire in order that he might give them a dinner upon account that they were his men. Depones that there were no other coalliers attended on that day but such as were Carnwaths Coalliers. Depones that last year in April he saw a number of Carnwaths Collier's at Dryden when he saw Mr Stoddart Carnwath factor take a list of them (inserted in margin- and that he never saw any other list taken by Mr Stoddart or any other person) and being interrogate by the defenders who of the colliers told him that they were brought to Dryden that Carnwaths desire on account that they were his men depones Alexander Snedden told him so and thinks that none of the rest told him so.


Robert Aitken servant to General Lockhart at Dryden aged 44 years...
Depones that he has been upwards of 19 years servant to the late Mr Lockhart of Carnwath and the present General Lockhart his son. Depones that he had occasion frequently to see Carnwath colliers and remembers the following persons wrought at his coal works there Vizt. George Ross elder, William and George Ross's his sons, William Reid, James Ross who was blind of an eye and son to Thomas Ross and James Hoods, Alexander Reid, Thomas Pentland and William Hoods. Depones that he has seen the persons above condescended upon and sundry other colliers attend at Dryden on Carnwaths birthday but whether these other coaliers were Carnwaths he cannot say. That the colliers were entertained with drink every year and got a dinner one year. Depones that he does not known her reason of their coming there but that they certainly owned him for their master otherwise they would not have come. And been interrogate if defenders if he knew of any other persons being entertained with the colliers that he understood belonged to Dryden and whether these people came by the invitation of the coaliers or otherwise depones he has seen several persons whether they were colliers or not he cannot say entertained alongst with Carnwaths coalliers at Dryden but by whose invitations he knows not.


James Stoddart Chamberlain to General Lockhart of Carnwath aged 69 and upwards [note of objections to Stoddart giving evidence]
And said James Stoddart being solemnly sworn and interrogate depones that he has known the coal works in question since the year 1723, that he officiated as clerk to the manager of the said coalworks for about three years, that after that manager gave up the business the deponent took upon him the management and continued in it till Carnwath gave up the coall works which so far as he remembers was in the year 1736. That upon the work being given up, Carnwath gave liberty to his coalliers to work at any of the coal works in the neighbourhood where they could find employment, upon the Gentlemen concerned in these coalworks, their giving Carnwath a letter or obligation to return his coalliers when demanded. That in the year 1744 the deponent made a purchase from Carnwath and Sir Alexander Gibson of the gushet of coall that lay in the march the twixt these two gentlemen. That upon this purchase the deponent by Carnwath's authority called back his coalliers from the different collieries and wrought out the said gushet. Depones that he does not remember the names of the coalliers so called back, but that they were all insert in the book kept by his Coal Grieve and were all to the best of the deponents knowledge Carnwath's bound coaliers. That a left the said book at Walstoun when he moved to Carnwath and believes it is still a Walston and if extant will produce it. That the gushet of Coal before deponed to was wrought by Carnwath bound coalliers and that he employed no free coalliers to the best of his remembrance because Carnwath had more bound coalliers than that deponent had room for. Depones that William Johnston and others got some years ago a tack of Carnwaths coall from the park dyke that lyes on the road leading from Edinburgh to Rosline as far west wards as Carnwaths lands go. That they continued to work the Coal till about two years ago. That he believes he is possessed of the tack sett to Johnston and others and will produce it. That the tack contains as he thinks tho he cannot be positive, a liberty to the tacksman to called back the coalliers, and that they sometimes got lines from Carnwath and at other times from the deponent for calling back the coalliers. Depones that the tack said Johnston and his partners was given up by them before the expiry of it. That upon this at least sometime after the up giving, Johnston to the new tack for himself in which he did not choose to take any rights to Carnwath bound coalliers, and the reasons he assigned was the Carnwath to their part and he would not get them to work unless he gave them higher wages than he could get other coalliers for. Depones that not withstanding his objection to Carnwath coalliers, he Johnston did call them back to the work and the deponent only remembers of Johnston's having one free coallier during this new tack. And during the currency of it, Johnston's sometimes got the deponents line to call the coalliers back. And in consequence thereof some of the coalliers returned whose names he cannot particularly remember and missive letter dated 16th May 1765 with a list subjoined, which letter is signed by James Stoddart and addressed to William Johnson at Dryden Coall and runs that the persons mentioned in said list are the property of Collonell Lockhart. Depones that the said letter is of his handwriting and which letter is marked as relative hereto. Depones that it was customary for the late Carnwath to intimate or cause of intimate to some of his bound coalliers who made intimation to the rest to attend on his birthday at Dryden. That they accordingly attended and got drink in the court and had a piper alongst with them. That they came from different coalworks in the neighbourhood and Carnwath took this method of calling them together to keep up his property in place of calling them in a legal way and that at these meetings on the birth day the coalliers drank Mr Lockhart health as their master. Depones upon General Lockharts coming to Scotland in spring 1770, that deponent advised him to call a meeting of his coalliers, that he does not remember whether Alexander Snedden one of the coalliers was desired to call such a meeting or some other of the coalliers was desired to do it, but so it was that they came on the day appointed and waited on Generall Lockhart, that on that day the deponent was employed as a judge of a roup of some woods hard bye the house of Dryden, that the General came to him and told him his coalliers had been with him and he had given them a guinea to drink upon which the deponent wished that he had seen them so as to have taken a note of their names and the places where they were working. That at this time the coalliers were a short way off and upon their being called back the deponent took a list of the them to the number of sixteen as with Mr Hunter which the best of his knowledge were all present, but with regard to the others mentioned in the list he cannot be positive as the their being present, but that they either were present or given up by some that were present all which names so given up he knew to the name of General Lockharts coalliers. Excepting Robert White who is one of the sixteen working with Mr Hunter as to whom the deponent made some difficulty, but at this time the deponent was told by some of the coalliers of some circumstances that satisfied him at the time that White was one of the Generalls Coalliers and the list referred to is marked by the deponent and commissioners relative hereto. And depones and exhibits some pieces of writts conformed to inventory which inventory is marked by the deponents and commissioners and being interrogate for the defenders. Depones that he understood the coalliers who wrought at Mr Lockharts coalworks and acknowledged him for their master to be his bound coalliers. And because they were in use to come to the deponent when they were all ill used and desire him to get them freed from some coal works where there were working that is to apply to Mr Lockhart their Master to get them relieved. Depones that he cannot condescend upon the particular coalliers who were in use to work to William Johnston have come in a body to Dryden and likeways seperately and made complaints. Depones that he does not remember that at any of the meetings of the coalliers up on Carnwaths birthday any list or declaration was taken while he was manager of Carnwaths coalworks he was not in the practice of making any entry in the books either of the coalliers or bearers upon their first entry to the work. And being interrogate for the pursuers depones that when Carnwath in the year 1736 gave his coalliers liberty to go to other coalworks, he recommended to them to go to the Barron Clerks coalworks at Loanhead and the deponent thinks that some of them went there accordingly and particularly he knows that David Ross and William Ferguson went both to Loanhead and some time thereafter fewed houses there. Depones that in spring 1770 so far as the deponent can remember, Peter Hunter tacksman of Niddry coall works was present at Dryden when the list above deponed to was taken by deponent [ ] Mr Hunter having been present at a roup of wood exposed to sale that day.


Peter Hunter tenant at Gilmerton Grange and tacksman of Niddery and Fuffets coalworks, aged thirty and upwards.
Depones that he employed George Ross elder, William and George Ross the son David (sic) William Ross the son of George Ross elder, James Ross also son to George Ross elder, George Ross another son to George Ross elder, William Pentland, George Ross son to David Ross commonly called Red Geordy, John Ross and Thomas Ross another son to (sic) James Ross brother to the said John Ross and Thomas Ross another brother, Robert White, James Hoods, Thomas Hoods and William Reid all at the deponents Coall works at different times. And he has heard these men in general say that Carnwath was their Master. Depones that sometime ago in the spring about two years ago [this part of deposition backs up James Stoddarts statement on Roup of wood at Dryden and colliers coming to see Lockhart, however, Peter Hunter goes on to say]… depones that does not think there were above seven or eight of the persons mentioned in that list present among whom where George Ross oversman at Niddry William Ross his brother (sic) William Ross son to George Ross elder and John Ross oversman at Melville Moor and George Ross, commonly called Red George, Thomas Hoods. Depones that this said list made up by Mr Stoddart was made out upon reports of the persons there present upon Mr Stoddarts enquiry for such and such persons children. That he does not know what was Mr Stoddart view in making that enquiry unless it was that the tho’t them Mr Lockharts Coalliers or wanted to make them so. Depones that he employed the persons above named as free Coaliers and he never gave any obligation so far as he remembers to return them to any Master whatever, and none of them were ever reclaimed by any Master. That it will be about ten years since he first employed some of these coalliers. Depones that he has heard some of them say that the deponent was their master, some of them Lord Hoptoun and other people were their masters and not Mr Lockhart if any person had a right to them and that the reason of claiming Mr Lockhart for a Master was that he was a good man and allowed his coalliers to work where they pleased and the deponents opinion as to their saying so was that it might prevent other people from claiming them. Depones that it is the custom of the County for the coal masters to give the coalliers working at their works two Feasts or Treats in the year, one at Hanselmonday and another at Pasch, that the coalliers sometimes called these feasts birthdays, and he believes that term was brought in by the coalliers from Carnwath, commonly called Carnwaths Coalliers. That his coalliers are in use to bring to their feast their acquaintances coalliers and others and he has been informed his coalliers have been at other peoples Feasts. Being interrogate for the pursuers depones that when a coalier who he knows to be bound comes to him, he takes him bound for a year and day unless he be recalled by his master and likewise take him bound that he shall not flit or remove until he make payment to the deponent of what sums has has advanced to that coallier. Depones that he knows it has been the custom at Duke of Buccleughs, Lord Somerville and Carnwaths when there are no going Coall, for their coalliers to assemble from the different collieries at which they have been employed and receive an Annual Feast, and that the deponent at apprehends the meaning of such annual feasts to be in order to preserve the property and keep up the number of their bound coalliers. And upon the defenders interrogatory depones that he has known coalliers go to the feasts at Dalkeith, Drum and Dryden who were the property of other Gentlemen and went there because their fathers or grandfathers had belonged to the places at which the feasts were held. Depones that two of his coalliers gave up their names to Mr Greirson as the property of the Duke of Buccleuch that they got themselves inrolled as the Duke of Buccleuchs coalliers with Grierson so as they might work where they pleased upon which the deponent applied for a warrand against them, brought them before Sir Gilgert Grierson and upon their confessing they had never wrought at the Dukes coal works, Sir Gilbert dismissed them and bid them go up their business, and they accordingly came back to the deponents work, as they were the property of Captain Dalrymple of whose coalwork the deponent is tennant.


William Johnston tennant in Gouklawmoss, aged 57
Depones that he was one of the three tacksman of the coal works at Gouklaw Moss that he entered to these works about the year 1753, and continued in the management of them for several years. That the tack was given up and the deponent got a new tack to himself some more than a twelvemonths before Carnwath died and possessed in virtue of the said tack till within these two years or thereby. Depones that when he and his partners entered upon the work, they usually employed about 8 or 9 coalliers. That when they wanted coalliers the deponent was in use to apply to Mr Stoddart for the orders to bring Carnwaths coalliers to the work, that he got these orders and intimate them to Carnwath coalliers at the works where they were employed, that sometimes they came and sometimes not and that the deponent never took any judicial steps against any of them except one David Ross against whom he obtained a warrand and threatened him with imprisonment but did not pursue the warrant in execution. That he looked upon the coalliers for whom he got the orders to be Carnwaths bound coalliers, that they never disputed that matter with the deponents and when they thought he used them harshly they went and complained to Carnwath as their master. Depones that for the course of the work they employed sometimes one sometimes two and at other times half a dozen less or more. Depones that the coalliers sometimes when away against the deponents will and at other times when he had no work for them. Depones that the following persons were employed by him as coalliers at the said work viz George Ross elder, Alexander Reid elder, David Ross, Alexander Snedden, George Ross son to David Ross deceased, and William, James and George Ross's all sons to George Ross elder, William Pentland, Thomas Hoods, John Ross, William Liddell, William Reid, Thomas Pentland, William Hoods, James Ross who is blind of eye, James Hoods, Robert White, Alexander Reid and James Campbell and another coallier of the name Ross, besides those abovementioned whose name he does not remember but wrougt from his infancy with his father whose name was David Ross. That he does not remember any other coalliers who wrought with him. And missive letter of the sixteenth of May seventeen hundred and sixty five by James Stoddart addressed to the deponent being shown him, depones he received said letter from Mr Stoddart and that it was several years in the deponents custody. Depones that he called the persons above named as Mr Lockharts bound coalliers and they came and wrought to him as such and a check books being shown to the deponents, depones that these books were kept while the deponent possesst the Coalworks and that the names of the persons insert in those books as coalliers are the names of the Coalliers employed by the deponent and that the names of the persons condescended on as Coalliers in the former part of his deposition are insert in said books by which means that the persons condescend on are all insert in the check books kept at said work whereof the eight books produced are only a part. Depones that besides Carnwaths Coalliers he employed severall stranger Coalliers particularly Henry Smith, John Bishop, James Sharp, Thomas Cunningham & James Miller, Charles Pierie none of whom he considered Mr Lockhart Coalliers, that he gave these Coalliers money & still lyes out of it. Depones and exhibits a warrand by the Commissioners of Collonell Lockhart to the deponent dated thirteenth of May seventeen hundred & sixty five and which is marked by the Commissioner & Clerk as relative thereto. And being interrogate for the defenders Depones that the way he came to understand the persons Condescended on as Carnwaths Coalliers to be such was by their own talk both before they came to work and after, and that when any dispute happened twixt the deponent and the Coalliers, they said they would go to Mr Lockhart their Master & complain to him & Sometimes went accordingly.…when they all went to Carnwath at one time only Henry Smith did not acknowledge him as his master, but went along with the others.

[questioned about where they worked previously]... That the following persons defenders were coalliers employed at any other works before he employed them at Dryden Vizt John Ross now at Melvillemoor, Thomas Hoods at Woolmet, George Ross now at Niddry George Ross son of George Ross senior, William Ross son of George Ross senior, William Pentland ay Niddery, George Ross called Red George, William Liddel at Pendriech, William Reid there. Depones that John Ross from his age had been at some other Coall work before he came to Dryden but does not know where. That he does not think Thomas Hoods was capable to have wrought any other where for that he was young & came with his father, that he bore with the deponent & before he went from him wrought a very little at the Pick, .…
[evidence on others given but I did not copy it out] + [Deposition on trying to reclaim coalliers in 1765. Eventually 9 colliers from list dated 16 Dec 1764 were employed on warrant for James Stoddart]


James Borthwick Gardener at Dryden aged twenty nine....(born at Dryden and has been gardener to Lockhart and his son for 10 years)
Depones that he knew the following persons wrought at Dryden Coall works Vizt [George Ross.…. William Pentland, John Ross, Thomas Pentland and William Hoods which two last mentioned are both dead, James Ross who was blind of an eye, James Hoods and James Campbell….. this list is incomplete as my notes are too badly written to read most names!] and other colliers who he understood to be Generall Lockharts Coalliers... Depones that he never knew James Ross son to George Ross elder, George Ross commonly called Red George, William Liddel, William Ross at Niddry son to David Ross working at Dryden Coall works, that he has heard Thomas Hoods was a Coallier at Dryden or was working there tho he never saw him working there, but as he has already deponed that severall Coalliers wrought at Dryden who he did not know, that the about named persons might have wrought at above named works without his knowledge. Depones that about three or four years before the late Carnwaths death, a number of Coalliers about twenty or upwards assembled at Dryden on Carnwaths birthday, that the deponent looked upon them to be Carnwaths Coalliers, that they had a Bonfire in the Avenue and Drunk Carnwaths Health. That his Opinion is the Coalliers came there to drink Carnwaths Health as their master. Depones that these Coalliers came not only from the Coalworks upon Mr Lockharts own Estate but also from other Coalworks in the neighbourhood but the deponent understood them all to be Mr Lockharts Coalliers. Depones that it was not customary for Coalliers other than Carnwaths own coalliers to meet at Dryden on said birthday but he has heard amongst Carnwaths servants that they doubted whether such a person one or more were Carnwaths Coalliers but that the number doubted of were very small... Depones that the reason of his thinking the persons above deponed to were Carnwaths Coalliers were they came & drank his health, wrought at his works & complained to him when they were ill used, as their master.
[rest of deposition about a roup of wood on 10th April 1770 when coalliers came to Dryden, and backs up what was said by Mr Stoddart . The list was written on a page torn from the book he used for noting the roup of wood and the list of colliers, and he is certain the list produced in this process is the same.]
Depones that it is the list taken by Mr Stoddart …. That he saw it torn out of the said book & contains on the back the following words "payments of Wood" holograph of the deponent…


Thomas Borthwick servant to General Lockhart at Bristol House aged 62 (servant to General Lockhart, his father and grandfather since 1724 and knew colliers especially the old ones.) …last birthday in June and colliers got a dinner & drink. Thinks Carnwath died in October 1764…...


Alexander Sharp Coalhewer at Gilmortoun aged thirty three….. Depones that he is acquainted with William Pentland, George Ross son to David Ross, George Ross and William Ross sons to George Ross, that he has known the above named persons working at Dryden Coalworks, that he knew them before they went there, that William Pentland wrought as a bearer at Gilmerton but not as a Pickman. That he knew George Ross son to David Ross working at Gilmerton as a Pickman. That George Ross son of George Ross wrought at Gilmerton as a bearer and afterwards as a Pickman and that William Ross son of the said George Ross wrought at Gilmerton only as a bearer all before they went to Dryden - Depones that he does not know where George and William Rosses son to George Ross went first to work after they left Gilmerton, but that he knew them working at Dryden. Depones that it is usuall for the Coalliers in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh to get one or two Feasts from their masters in the year, that he has been at some of his neighbours feasts and that stranger Coalliers have been at the feasts to the number of one, two or three [explains that it is quite common especially if feast on Monday "that when they happen on a Monday & that the Coalliers are often idle on that day"]... Depones that George Ross son to David Ross came to work can Gilmerton about eighteen years but cannot be positive and that when he came there the deponent was bearing with his father to be at pick man by he was 12 years of age. Depones that he never knew George Ross son to David Ross before he came to Gilmertoun where he came as a pickman. Depones that all the acknowledgement the persons above named made of Mr Lockhart as their master was that they went to Dryden on his Birth day. Depones that the reason of the persons about named going from Gilmerton to Dryden was that the work at Gilmerton went mostly down and that some of the Gilmertoun Coalliers went to other Coall works, particularly the deponents father and his family went to Loanhead, that at this time the overseers at Gilmerton were Thomas Logan and George Pride And been particularly interrogated whether he can say that he never heard of any of the persons above named Declare that Carnwath or Mr Lockhart was their Master, Depones he has never heard them say that Mr Lockhart of Carnwath was their master, and being further interrogated Depones that he does not known whether William Pentland, George & William Rosses sons to George Ross came from Loanhead or Dryden but heard that they came from that part of the country & that they came along with their parents to Gilmerton .


John Sharp Coal hewer at Gilmerton aged fifty six years... Depones that he knows William Pentland, George Ross son to David Ross,... Depones that he has known the above named persons working at Dryden Coall works, that he knew them before they went to Dryden or Gouklawmoss all working at Gilmertoun. That William Pentland wrought both as a bearer and Pickman that George Ross son to David Ross wrought only as a pickman that George Ross son of George Ross was at bearer and was also learning with his Father to be at pickmen and that William Ross was a bearer & sometimes wrought with his father in the morning is at pickman All before they went to Dryden And upon the pursuers interogatory Depones that George Ross son of David went from Gilmerton to England and some time thereafter came back to Gilmerton that he does not remember where William Pentland went to and he cannot tell whether George & William Ross went to Gouklaw moss or not but that they went with their father. Depones that he cannot tell where the said four persons came from when they first came to Gilmerton Depones he cannot say they belonged to any body having come when boys to Gilmerton work. Depones he never heard them say any particular person was their master. Depones he does not know the reason of their leaving Gilmerton coalworks. That William Pentland and George and William Rosses sons to George Ross the deponent supposes went to Gouklaw moss.


Thomas Browne Coallier at Melville Moor aged about fourty eight.
[deposition concerns John Ross at Melville Moor who worked at Muiravonside at the Earl of Errols coalworks. Mostly legal argument about relevancy of documents produced and previous action between Clerk and Ross over ownership]



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