Hood Family and Coal Mining

Clerk v Ross and Others

1771 Court Case Against the Bound Colliers of Dryden Coalworks

"Sir James Clerk of Penicuik and John Clerk against George Ross and others, coalliers, 1771"


This was an important case about the law on 'bound' colliers - in Scotland it was the custom that a collier could be bound for life to work at a particular colliery (as long as there was work for them there) by virtue of beginning to work there as a child and accepting a sum of money known as 'arles', or by working a year and a day at the coalworks. This system was finally ended by Acts of Parliament in 1775 and 1799.

The court case is part of the Court of Session records at the National Archives of Scotland - Reference: CS230/Currie Dal.C.6/1

1. Summons - Note of the summonses served on 30 colliers, 17 May 1771

2. List of defenders dated " 1772"

3. Condescendence – facts of the case stated by George Ross and the other defenders

4. Answers – Clerk's reply to the defenders (Ross and others) statements made in the condescendance

5. Minute for Clerk – explanation of law regarding colliers, argument by both sides

6. Additional Answers - Mostly repeats answers to condescendance about 3rd class of colliers

7. Replys for George Ross and others to the Answers for Sir James Clerk and Mr John Clerk to their condescedance 1771

9. Report 8 June 1772 - Depositions (statements) of the witnesses

10. Inventory of Writs produced by Mr Stoddart
      Notes from various people dated 1762 offering to return bound colliers to Dryden

11. List of Coalliers (original list written at Roup)

12. List of Coaliers belonging to Genl Lockhart 1765
      addressed to Mr William Johnston, tacksman of Dryden Coall. Dated 'Wallstone 16 May 1765'

20 Depositions

21 Diligence - Clarks agt Witnesses & Havers 1772

22 List of Coalliers compiled at 1770 'Birthday'

23 Memorial for Sir James Clerk 1773

24 Memorial for Ross and Others

25 "Abstract from Dryden Coal books of the periods at which the coalliers wrought" - note of covering dates only of when particular colliers worked there

26 Petition - Hood and Reid

27 Representations for James Ross, James Hood and Robert White

28 Representations by Clerk June 1773

30 Answers for George Ross oversman of the Niddry Coal and others 24 July 1773

33 Answers for George Ross and Others 1774 - Includes certificate of Baptism for William Ross, son of George Ross and Janet Martin. 1743 Cockpen.

List of the colliers and their current coalworks as given in the condescendence (part 3 of case) :

Alexander Snedden now at Loanhead
George Ross elder now at Niddry
David Ross now at Melvillmuir
William Hislop now at Blairbog
Alexander Reid now at Melvillmuir
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 at Niddry
William Ross son of George Ross at Niddry
James Ross son of George Ross at Niddry
William Pentland at Niddry
George Ross called red George 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
William Ross now at Niddry
Edward Ross now at Gorton
Thomas Ross now and Melvillmuir
Robert Brown now a Newhall
John Brown at Hawthorndean
William Brown there
William Young at Loanhead

[James Hoods was not amongst the colliers named in the condescendence]



© 2012   A Russell