Saturday, 6 April 2013

A-Z 2013 'F' is for Fines ......and Fornication!

Of course, we all like to think there's no 'impropriety' in our family history, but most of our forebears were only human, after all. It's interesting to do the maths and realise that a lot of the first-borns were born 'early'! ;-)

Then, there are the blatant births outside wedlock - and here I have to own up to 'impropriety' in the extreme, where some of my folks were concerned. Naming and shaming in Scottish Kirks in the 18th and 19th Centuries meant you were entered in the parish records for your misdemeanours - and you were fined for it, too!

Taken from the parish records for for Ewes, Dumfriesshire, is the entry for Sept. 27th, 1801 - and that's my 3xGreat Grandmother, Agnes Lawson getting fined 5shillings for (shhh) fornication ! :-o

Two entries further down we see her character redeemed as my 3xGreat Grandfather, Charles Beaty makes an honest woman of her - even if it was late in the day, as their first daughter was born 27th June, just a few days later!

.....and they're not an isolated case, I have to say! (ahem!)


  1. I'd say fornication would be worth 5 shillings at least to me :)
    Shawn at Laughing at Life 2

  2. LOL! I did a google search and five shillings is in the ballpark of ten to twenty pounds today.

  3. Wow, so glad that fine was dropped...I cant imagine being more broke than I already am.

  4. Sue, you really make me want to find out what sordid tales I may have lurking in s faraway closet...of the past.

    I think this is so cool you sharing all your findings with us. I won't miss a one! (even though I will have to catch up when I get back from vacation on the 30th :))

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

  5. This is unique! But I wish I could have read the scans of the records.
    Mary at Mary A to Z

    1. Mary - if you click on the scans they can be enlarged so you can read them! :-)

  6. Family history is so enlightening. In mine, there are many instances of babies being brought up by grandmothers or aunts as their own children. Some as recent as the 1950's. How times have changed. Sort of.

  7. only 5 shillings? I wonder what her father did to her?