Records of the Scottish High Court of Admiralty

which mention ships and/or people of Dundee

All the records are in manuscript, either bound volumes or bundles of loose papers. They are held at West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh (the Dundee to Edinburgh buses stop at the door of WRH). 

Contents of Bundles
Reference no AC9
Processes in Foro

Because they pertain to cases which were often hotly contested, these bundles are generally larger than those in the previous section, containing up to 100 items, although most contain between 15 and 25. Besides administrative papers such as make up the bulk of the AC8 bundles, they contain documents which both protagonists have produced in court to back up their claims, along with the depositions of witnesses and other evidence. Each bundle is endorsed with the names of the protagonists and a date.
As well as the Precept, Executions and Minutes described in section iv, many other types of document are found in the Process bundles. Descriptions of the main kinds are given below. Each is headed by the name by which it appears in the description of bundle contents, which have sometimes been abbreviated for reasons of space. The full designations are given in brackets. Some designations, such as Letters, Valuations, Declarations etc, are self-explanatory. Some of the rarer kinds may have been omitted, but explanations should be found in a dictionary of Old Scots if necessary.

Legal Documents

Petitions, Counter Petitions, Answers, Replies, Defences, Objections, Protests
These are the written means by which the case was prosecuted. They can be very informative about details, but they often consist of an ongoing wrangle over points of law.

Advocation
The calling of an action before a superior court.

Preference (Grounds of Preference)
Where several creditors are pursuing one debtor, any individual among them may give in reasons why his claim is the most important.

Condescendance
An agreement, specification, or legal statement of the facts of the case.

Libel              
Formal statement of the grounds on which a prosecution is brought, eg as stated in the Precept

Intimation
An official notice given to persons concerned, of something required of them and the penalty in case of default.

Depositions
This is the record of verbal evidence given in court, either by witnesses or by the protagonists. In most cases the name, trade, age (approximate) and marital status of witnesses are given. The document should include a record of the court's decision on the basis of the evidence given.

Interogators
A list of questions to be put to those called to make a deposition.

Diligence (Letter of Diligence)
This is usually a summons to the witnesses to compear. Diligences might also be used to enforce payment of a debt.

Interlocutor
i)  A court order
ii) An order or judgement given in the course of a suit, before the final judgement is pronounced.

Caution (Bond of Caution)
The agreement by which the cautioner agrees to become surety, usually for the payment of a debt or the compearance of an individual in Court (bail). Admiralty Bonds of Caution were also granted to the masters of ships under arrestment. If the master needed to make a voyage, he had to find a cautioner that the ship would return to Scotland. Caution was sometimes given that good arrested for debt would be made forthcoming to the creditor.

Horning (Horning and Poinding)
In earlier times the Horning was an announcement that a criminal had been 'put to the horn' ie pronounced an outlaw, in which case all his goods would be escheated (confiscated). The eighteenth century Hornings of the Admiralty Court authorise the arrestment and poinding (confiscation) of the goods of a debtor until the debt is paid. If no payment was forthcoming after a certain time, the goods would be rouped (auctioned).

Instrument
A formal narrative, duly authenticated, of any proceedings of which a person wishes to preserve a record, often with a view to registering a protest or appealing against a decision.

Act of Roup
When a ship or goods was ordered by the Admiralty Court to be rouped, a document was written which set out all the circumstances of the case, details of the trial, transcripts of documents etc. The result is often an extremely long and unwieldy document which will reveal little that is not already known from the other items in the bundle.

Minutes of Roup (Conditions and Minutes of Roup)
This is in two parts. The first gives the place and time of the roup, and lays down the rules by which the roup is to be conducted. The second states the names of the bidders and how much each man bid, in the order in which the bids were placed. The document ends with a short bond of caution that the money will be paid to the Clerk of the Court, who then hands it over to the seller or his creditor.

Inventory
Before a ship could be rouped, the master, or another person designated by the court, had to make and sign an inventory of her rigging, sails and equipment. Sometimes these were extremely brief, but some are very detailed indeed; down to such details as the number of 'cloths' in each sail and its degree of wear, the brushes and pails for scrubbing the decks, and the number and type of pots in the galley.

Commission (legal) (Act and Commission)
Sometimes a group of men would be appointed by the Court to look into certain aspects of the case. The document is almost always accompanied by the Report of the Commission, which usually consists of the depositions of witnesses.

 Expenses
An account of the legal expenses of the court case. As well as legal fees, they may include items such as horse hire to visit places at a distance, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Roll
A list of defendants, usually debtors. These will also be named in the precept, but the Roll is often easier to read.

Personal Papers

Assignation
The record of an agreement whereby a debtor assigned to his creditor debts which were due to him, which the creditor could then attempt to recover. In order to avoid unnecessary problems after death, a husband and wife might make a mutual assign each others' debts, to take effect after the death of either.

Obligation
This usually takes the form of an IOU.

Receipt
These documents are usually labelled 'Discharge'.

Commission (pers)
An instruction by one individual to another to perform a service. In this case it usually takes the form of a letter from a merchant to a factor instructing him to buy or sell.

Factory
A document appointing a factor; in a business deal or to represent a litigant in court.

Charter Party
From the French charte partie. It was at one time the practice to divide the charter in two and give half to each person. The document was the agreemet between the ship's master and the hirer/freighter of the ship. It stipulated the ports at which he must call, the goods to be loaded or unloaded at each one ,the number of days he should remain at each (lie days), and any other relevant details of the voyage. The master had to promise that his ship was in good condition and that manned by an experienced crew which was large enough to sail her safely.

Lading (Bill of Lading)
A fairly small document, usually printed with spaces left to fill in details. The name of ship and master are given, with the present whereabouts of the ship and the name of the port to which she is bound. The cargo is described and the name(s) of the consignee(s) given, together with their merchant marks.

Accounts
Especially in debt cases, the relevant accounts were sometimes produced in court. Less often, the account will be a statement of the expenses and earnings of a ship, produced by the master in a dispute with his owners. The size of ships' accounts can range from a single sheet to a small volume covering several voyages.

Average
The more usual definitions of Average will be found in the Glossary, but the Average accounts which are to be found in the Admiralty records are for port duties payable on ships and cargoes, eg: shoredues, pilotage, lighthouse dues, porterage, mettage, etc. These varied from place to place and were often presented by the master to the ship's owners as an account separate from those for other expenses of a voyage.

Vendition
The document recording the sale of a ship or a share in a ship.

Ransom  (Ransom Agreement)
The Ransom Agreements which have been preserved in the Admiralty records are those made by Scottish skippers with their French or Spanish captors. They are often printed documents with spaces left to fill in such details as the name and tonnage of the captured ship, the amount of the ransom, and the names of her Master and the agreed hostage. The agreement will include an 'amnesty' clause which allows the skipper time to return to his home port without further capture.

Bottomry Bill
If a skipper, away from his home port, was in urgent need of money to complete a voyage, he was able to borrow what he needed, using the ship as security. The document recording the transaction was a Bill of Bottomry.

Note    The year dates given for the processes below sometimes differ from those in the West Register House Index. The reason for this is that the Index gives the year in which the case began, whereas the bundles in the archive are arranged according to the year in which each case was concluded. For reasons of convenience, it is the second set of dates which have been used in compiling this Guide.

AC9/32  Reid v Ogilvie - 1703  (see also AC9/70)

George Ogilvie maltmaker of Dundee, owes John Reid sailmaker of Leith, £200 sc for 1/8 share of 'Elizabeth' of Dundee, which John Reid bought for him.

18 Items

Vendition

Petitions
Precept
Defences

Executions
Answers
Answers

Caution
Deposition
Minutes

People

 

Jn Raite skr
Ja Whittoun

 

AC9/66  Lyell v Mitchelson - 1704


James Lyell of Garden, factor for Jonas Lind skipper and sole survivor of wreck of 'Island' of Copenhagen (c400 tons, 16 guns) off Muckle Roe, Shetland. Dispute with George Paterson skipper of Dundee, and John Scot jnr merchant of Shetland, who 'salvaged' some gear.

32 Items

Precept  Minutes

Answers     Depositions
Caution      Defences

Act of Roup
Minutes of Roup
Executions
Petitions

People

 

Geo Paterson skr D'dee
Jn Scott jnr mcht Shetland
Adm Depute of Shetland

AC9/67  Thomson v Debtors - 1704


Thomas Bowar merchant of Dundee (factor Alexander Thomson mbE) is owed money by two debtors.

9 Items

Precept
Instrument
Minutes

 

Executions
Account
Defences

People

Wm Crombie skr Lt
Mr Ja Pitcairn of Bemehill, minister of the Gospel

 

Martin Robertson
Jn Home, Cockburnspath
Jn Wauchope jnr,              Clottingcleugh

AC9/70  Reid v Callander et al - 1704


John Reid, sailmaker of Leith, acted for John Raite, skipper of Dundee, in his purchase of a share of 'Christian' or 'Mary' of Bo'ness, from her master William Callander skipper of Bo'ness. The other owners of the ship are protesting at the sale.

93 Items

Precepts
Petitions
Defences
Answers
Depositions
Letters
Diligences
Accounts
Venditions  
Assignations
Bottomry
Bonds
Obligations
Minutes

People

Jn Baxter, Lt
Tho Moreson mbE
Da Brand baxter Lt
Jn Douglas rmkr Lt
Geo Livingston
Patr Haliburton dn gld Edr
Ja Robertson shblr Lt
Wm Carfrae wr Edr
Patr Carfrae mason Edr
Ja Baird bai Stir
Christine Russell
  wid Alexr Christison mb Stir
Janet Stevenson
  wid Ja Baird jnr, ex bai Stir

 

Jn Ouchterlonie ws
Tho Wordie mb Stir
Ja Chrystie mb Stir
Wm Stewart mcht Lt
Ja Callander wr Edr
Gilb Stewart
Ja Beattie shblr Lt
Da Pride smkr Lt
Peter Wilson rmkr Lt
Jn Douglas rmkr Lt
Tho Pearson
Alexr Cameron svt
Wm Burd mb Stir
Geo Dundas skr Lt
Eliz Syme, Lt

AC9/120  Fletcher v Reid - 1705


Patrick Fletcher merchant of Rotterdam, pursues Alexander Reid jnr merchant of Dundee, for the proceeds of the sale of holland cloth and tobbaco stalks.

20 Items

Precept
Executions
Petitions
Depositions

 

Defences
Answers
Letters
Accounts

 

Diligences
Interrogator
Report
Minutes 

People

Patr Stewart mbE
Tho Crawford mcht R'dam
Gilb Black mcht R'dam

 

Robt Tod mbE
Adam Lind mbE

AC9/136  Reid v Haliburton - 1705


Alexander Reid merchant of Dundee, put 28 barrels of salmon in the 'William' of Dundee, master John Haliburton, skipper of Dundee. Haliburton would not give Reid a bill of lading, so he was unable to insure the fish, which was lost when ship captured by a privateer.

25 Items

Precept
Executions
Petitions

 

Defences
Answers
Letters

 

Depositions
Declarations
Bonds
Minutes

People

Patr Fletcher mcht R'dam
Ja Haliburton of Foddrance
Gilb Stewart mbE

AC9/177  Graham v Waddel - 1706


John Graham bailie of Dundee, shipped 6000 slates in the bark of John Howat skipper of Queensferry, who delivered them at Prestonpans at the order of William Waddell skipper of Prestonpans and John Bartleman mariner there, who refused to accept them

12 Items

Precept
Executions

Petitions
Defences

Answers
Caution

Objections
Minutes

AC9/209  Innes v Oliphant - 1706


Alexander Bower skipper of the 50-ton 'Alexander' of Dundee, John Innes merchant of Aberdeen freighter, and John Joffray his servant, hostage; pursue the owners of the ship for ransom. She was taken by the French privateer 'Diana', commander Pierre de Cunnick, on a voyage from Trondheim to Leith

12 Items

Precept
Executions
Ransom
 (printed)
Defences

Minutes of roup
Act of roup
Minutes
Answers
Petitions
Inventory

Owners:
Mr Alexr Duncan of Lundie
Jn Oliphant mcht D'dee
Tho Fairweather
Hen Crawfurd
Patr Balneaves
Alexr Kid

Other

Jn Reid sailmaker Lt
Patr Stewart mbE
bailie Hutcheson

AC9/216  Reid v Kinnaird - 1706


William Reid merchant of Dundee pursues 18 debtors for debts dating back to 1697

8 Items

Precept
Executions
Accounts
Defences
Minutes

People

Tho Black weaver Backside of Liff
Ja Ogilvie litster Alyth
Da Lyon of Banchry
Mr Da Lyon mcht Kirriemuir
Da Mill maltman Kirriemuir
Ja Dall, Brechin
Jn Sandison, Brechin
Ja Gibb

Robt Mitchell, Farnell
Ja Ferrier shmkr, Farnall
Cha Hobart shmkr, Forgan
Ja Garden bonnetmaker, Hill D'dee
Robt Watson maltmaker D'dee
Robt Garden mcht D'dee
Wm Stevenson bellman D'dee
Wm Brown bellman D'dee
Tho Blyth mcht D'dee
And Kinnaird maltman D'dee

AC9/238  Donaldson v Macgie - 1706


William Donaldson skipper of Dundee and the owners fo the 'Helen' of Dundee, master John Marr jnr, pursue Charles Mcgie merchant of Perth concerning a voyage from Dundee to the Pow of Elphinstone for coal

13 Items

2 Precepts
Executions
Petitions

Defences
Answers
Depositions
Declaration
Minutes

People

Wm Markie chln to
  Ld Elphinstone
Da Brown mcht D'dee

 

Tho Kessan mcht D'dee
Jn Dowie skr
Gilb Smith mcht D'dee

AC9/247  Swinton v Thom - 1707


John Bonar of Gregstoune and Robert, Margaret, Anna and Mary Bonar his brothers and sisters german, are executors to the late William Bonar, clerk to HM mint, their brother. They pursue William Dippi, wright of Leith, for a debt.

18 Items

Precept
Executions
Petitions

 

Defences      Depositions    Minutes

 

Commission
Answers       Report

People

Jn Thom mcht D'dee  Margt Nichol his wid
Margt Thom their dr

Jn Thom their son
Jn Brown maltman Dundee, husb Margt Thom
Alexr Swinton of Strathear, clk C'gate

AC9/318  Man and Graham v Smeaton - Process wrongly endorsed 1709, a misreading of 1704


John Graham and James Man, merchants of Dundee, pursue Andrew Smeaton merchant of Dundee and then master of the 'Post' of Dundee, for payment for herrings shipped with him in 1688 and sold at St Martins by Patrick Yeaman merchant of Dundee. The current case continues a process begun in 1703

7 Items  Libel    Condescendance

Answers   Defences   Replies

Petition  Answers

AC9/321  Innes et al v Gregory - 1709


James Innes merchant of Elgin and John Fenton merchant of Leith, are in dispute with William Gregory of Ferryport on Craig, master of the 'Janet' of Dundee, concerning a voyage from Leith to Speymouth and back.

16 Items

Precept
Executions

Defences
Petitons

Protest
Answers

Diligences
Commission

Charter Party
Minutes

AC9/337  Jackson v Van der Hason - 1709


David Jackson merchant of Perth, pursues Bartram Van der Hason merchant of Hamburg, for the proceeds of the sale of herring left with him by Mr Henry Guthrie merchant of Dundee. The case involves a bill of exchange drawn on Mr John Gordon

32 Items 

 

Precept 
Execution
Deposition

Petitions
Answers
Replies

Defences
Diligence      Minutes

People

 

Provost Coutts
Ja Gordon snr mbE
Cha Gordon mbE

AC9/359  Ramsay v Donaldson - 1710


David Ramsay skipper of Dundee is in dispute with William Donaldson merchant of Dundee, concerning freight for a voyage of the 'Beryamen' of Dundee from Dundee to Hamburg. (Detailed account of voyage)

19 Items

Precept       Executions
Petitions     Defences
Answers       Interogators

 

Depositions   Expenses
Diligences    Minutes
Caution

People

Robt Speid wr D'dee
Da Ramsay jnr mcht D'dee
Jn Scott mcht D'dee
Jn Graham ex bai D'dee
Ja Young wr Perth
Tho Williamson mbE

 

Alexr Reid jnr mcht D'dee
Jn Spink skr Arbroath
Geo Watson mcht D'dee
And Hunter mcht D'dee
Da Ramsay mcht D'dee
Jn Graham snr mcht D'dee

AC9/369  McKenzie v Rait - 1710


Mr Roderick McKenzie mbE; dispute with Robert Rait master of the 'Alexander' of Dundee, concerning a charter party for three voyages to London

8 Items

Minutes
Precept

Executions
Receipt

Defences
Answers  Claim

People

Ja Watson printer Edr
Mr Geo Maul factor Earl of Panmure

AC9/378  Duncan v Abercrombie and Crawford - 1711


George Duncan ws has arrested the 'George' of Dundee, Thomas Abercrombie master, of which his creditor Henry Crawford, merchant of Dundee, is 1/16 owner.

12 Items

Precept
Executions
Petitions

 

Expenses
Commission
Minutes

People

Mr David Lyon, mcht Dundee
Jn Dowie jnr, mariner
Patrick Durham, wr Edr                         

 

Continued >