Drinking and Rioting


1. Drinking and rioting on the Sabbath morn

by Ian Scott © All rights reserved
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During my research on GGG Grandfather James Scott in Stevenston Ayrshire, I came across this wonderful case story in the Kirk Session minutes of July 1834. It so clearly sets out the activities concerned, I felt as though I had actually been there.

Stevenston, 13 July 1834....

The Session having met and being constituted by prayer, it was reported to them that several persons had been drinking and rioting on Sabbath morning the 29th ult. on the streets and in the neighbourhood of Stevenston. It was agreed that the following persons should be summoned as accused of disorderly conduct to attend a meeting of Session in the Parish when tomorrow evening at 7 o'clock, viz. William Hodgert, Collier in Stevenston, James Scott, Do - Do, Robt. Glen, Weaver Do, William Thomson, Collier Do, James Goudie & wife, together with Elizth. Kilpatrick, W. Fleck Col. and Peter Logan Col. as witnesses.

Closed with prayers. D. Landsborough, Minsr.

Stevenston School House 14th July 1834

The Session having met and being constituted by prayers, present Messrs James Fullarton, Duncan Fullarton, Peter Barclay, Robt. , Hugh Boyd, John Crawfurd, Revd. David Landsborough, Modr, a letter was given in by Robt. Glenn and read as follows:

"To the Kirk Session of Stevenston, July 14th 1834, Gentleman, I am truly sorry that I should be connected with an affair that has caused so much trouble and uneasiness to your honourable body, But I will tell the whole affair just as it came under my observation. It appears that Mr. Hudgert and Jas. Scott had quarrelled on Saturday evening, or I should say Sunday morning, previous to the riot in question and that during the week Scott and his party were preparing for another attack on the Saturday following, this will appear to be true when it is known that he has had his friends from Saltcoats to be spectators of the fight. Being perfectly ignorant of all this until the night in question, I having occasion to convey an acquaintance toward Ardrossan on my way homewards at the end of the new bridge I happened to fall in with Scott and his party just when they were speaking about fighting Hudgert. I naturally asked who it was that intended fighting Hudgert. Scott replied that it was him. I laughed at this proposition of Scott's, knowing him to have been rather a flighty lad, but seeing him so much disposed to fight Hodgert saying I would wager one pound he would lose if he would fight on Monday, besides I was so foolish as to put 5/- into the hands of Scott's party. After this they took they took the advantages of my temper, and urged me to go and tell Hodgert what I had done. This was wrong in me and was just what they wanted, because it had the effect of bringing Hodgert and them together and consequently the riot took place, which has caused uneasiness to me. Then after all this was over Scott and his party met next day, took their several opinions whether they would give back the 5/- or not. This was on Sunday when they agreed they would drink it. They did so in Ardrossan. I would have attended this evening but I am obliged to be in Saltcoats on business.

I am, Gentlemen, your most obt. Servant (Signed) Robert Glenn

18 stehk1a
Stephenston High Kirk: Photo - Ian Scott collection

James Scott was then called and being asked if he had been guilty according to report of quarrelling with Wm. Hodgert on the morning of Sabbath the 29th ult.; he owned that Wm. Hodgert had challenged him to fight him on the Saturday eight days before; that he had agreed to fight him next Saturday (28th June) and had brought up some of his friends from Saltcoats on that night that they might see he got fair play. That he had met Robert Glenn at the New bridge about 12 o'clock on Saturday night. That R. Glen had wagered a pound note that Hodgert would beat him. That they sent for Hodgert who was drinking in James Goudie's. That this was about 12 o'clock. That about one o'clock on the Sabbath morning, Hudgert came from Goudie's, & that they then went altogether to the sand hills and fought. (Signed) James Scott.

Wm. Thomson was then called and asked if he was concerned in this riot, he said that on Saturday 22nd June Hudgert had pursued Jas. Scott down the street and had wished to fight with him; that Hudgert had said he would thrash Scott or anyone that would take his part. That he (Thomson) rose out of his bed and said to Hodgert that he had better go home. That he was asked if he was taking Scott's part and that he replied that he would as fast take Scott's part as his, and that Hodgert then went away. That on Saturday June 28th at 12 o'clock he and Scott met Robert Glen at the New Bridge. That Robt. Glen asked if he would bring forward Scott to face Hodgert; that Scott answered for himself that he was here. That Glen said he would wager a Note to ten shillings on Hudgert's head; that they told him to table the money. That he then said he would give ten to five and that they said table it. That in a short time he did this and told them to go down to the sand hills and that he would bring Hodgert. That this was about one o'clock on the Sabbath morning and that Hodgert was then drinking in James Goudie's, and that Glen followed them with Hodgert when it was nearly two o'clock and daylight, and that they then fought. (Signed) Wm. Thomson

Peter Logan was then called and saw that he had gone with Peter Tamphre to James Goudie after 12 o'clock and had asked (for) a gill and that they saw they would sell no more spirits that night. He said that by this time the rioters were down in the sand hills and that he went after them. P.L his X mark

The Session having taken the matter into their serious consideration are all of the opinion that James Scott and R. Glen by their own confessions had been guilty of very unchristian conduct, and should be suspended from church privileges till they give symtoms of penitence. That James Scott was then called in and being admonished, it was intimated to him that he was suspended from privileges. The Session instruct their Clerk to write to R. Glen intimating that for his unchristian conduct he was suspended from privileges.

Wm. Fleck who had been summoned as a witness having confessed that he had been engaged in the riot in the sand hills on the Sabbath morning (June 29th), after being seriously admonished, was suspended from privileges.

Wm. Hodgert, who had been summoned, being called, did not appear.

James Goudie and Ann Smith his wife, though summoned on the report that they had been in the habit of selling Drink in their house on the morning of the Sabbath, did not appear.

As James Scott and Wm. Thomson had both declared that Hodgert and his party had been drinking in Goudie's house till one o'clock on Sabbath morning when they set out for the sand hills to fight, the Session fears that Goudie and his wife have been guilty of this profanation of the Sabbath.

The Session being deeply grieved with the great wickedness that has been going on in the place, resolved to write to Mr. Wark, P. Fiscal giving in the names of those concerned and begging that he would investigate the whole matter and take such measures as may be thought fit, and punish the guilty for their conduct & to repress their wickedness in future. And they instruct their Clerk to write to Mr. Wark accordingly. Closed with prayers. D. Landsborough Modr.

Note: The various spellings within the minutes have been left as in the original document

Source: Stevenston Kirk Extract - Reference CH2/336/2/90-92

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 October 2013 10:32