Poser 261 – High Court Book of Adjournal, 1677

This poser is the first part of two taken from the High Court Book of Adjournal and relates to a case of wilful fire raising brought by the Earl of Kinghorn against Alexander Cuninghame, his cook in 1677 (Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland, JC2/14, page 335).

The passage relates to deliberations as to whether someone could be called as a witness or not. It refers to the phase 'not worth the King's unlaw'. In Scottish law a witness was formerly inadmissible [repelled] who was not worth the King's unlaw, that is, he could not raise the sum of 10 pounds scots then the common fine for absence from court.

The handwriting is slightly rushed but the clerk is consistent in the way he forms his letters. Watch out for numerals, abbreviations, the clerk's capital letters, his letters s and d. Tight binding leaves some words on the right margin uncertain. The words affected are: efternamed (line 1), Swan (line 3), fourteen (line 4), [terti]o (line 5).

Extract from High Court Book of Adjournal, 1660 (National Records of Scotland, JC2/14, page 335

Question: why was James Swan unacceptable as a witness?


For help with reading the poser, use our coaching manual. The following area may be of particular assistance.

Capital letters
Letter s
Letter d