1843 Poor Law Commission

Extracts from "Poor Law inquiry (Scotland.) Appendix, part III. Containing minutes of evidence taken in the synods of Angus and Mearns, Perth and Stirling, Fife, Glasgow and Ayr, Galloway, Dumfries, Merse and Teviotdale, Lothian and Tweeddale. "

Notes of Cases of Paupers visited at Dalry, Friday, 24th November 1843.

1. Janet Bone, aged sixty-seven. Allowance 4s. a month; and the session pays £1 a year for her rent. She is the wife of a saddler, whom she has left, having disagreed with him. She winds pirns, and lives with two sisters, aged fifty and forty respectively, both of whom wind pirns. The rent of the room is £2. The youngest sister is a widow, and has three children: James, aged seventeen; Hugh, aged ten; and Mary, illegitimate, aged three. James is a weaver, and Hugh an apprentice weaver. Janet Bone receives coals from private donations in winter. Room small, but clean and decently furnished.

2. Widow M’Kenzie, aged about sixty. Allowance 6s. a month, and the session allows £1 towards her rent. She lives with her daughter and son-in-law. The latter is a miner, with one child, an infant. The rent is £2 2s. 6d. The mother is regarded as half fatuous, and scarcely does anything except attend to the house. Room in confusion, but decently furnished.

3. Janet Chalmers, aged seventy-seven. Allowance 6s. a month. Rent 30s., of which £1 is paid by the session. She lives alone, and spins a little when she can get employment. She occasionally gets a very little help from a nephew, who has a small farm of thirty-five acres about five miles distant. He has a large family of his own. She receives a cart of coals from private donations in winter. This is said to be given to almost all the paupers on the roll, and to some others. Room poorly furnished, and cold.

4. Marion Miller, aged about fifty-six. Allowance 4s. a month. House rent-free. She winds pirns, by which she earns 2s. 6d. a month. She has a female lodger with three children, who pays 1s. a week. This lodger is the wife of a soldier in the Scotch Greys. She is a weaver, and sews muslin occasionally. Room very barely furnished. Her allowance is given her in victuals as she cannot be trusted with money (not on account of intemperance, but because she trifles it away).

5. Widow Macinnon, aged about forty. Allowance 3s. a month. Rent £2, of which £1 is paid by the parish. She has three children living with her. Mary Anne, aged fourteen; Janet, aged nine; and James, aged four. Mary Anne works in a wool mill, by which she earns 3s. a week. The mother herself winds pirns, by which she earns 2s. or 2s. 6d. a week. Janet is not at school at present ; but she has been at school for a twelve-month. Room dirty and poorly furnished.

7. Janet Marshall, aged seventy-three. Allowance 3s. a month. Rent £2 a year, of which £1 is paid by the parish. She lives with four grand-children: Archibald, aged nineteen; Jane, aged ten; Robert, aged seven; and Andrew, aged six. Archibald is a weaver, and Jane draws to an elder brother, a weaver, who is married. The old woman winds pirns. The father of the children is a weaver, working in a factory at Glasgow, where he has regular wages of 12s. a week; but he has married a second wife, by whom he has two children. Room small, poorly furnished, and dirty.

7. Widow Anderson, aged about thirty-five. Allowance 6s. a month. Rent £3 a year, of which £1 is paid by the parish. She has four children: Thomas, aged thirteen; Anna, aged eight; John, aged six; and David, aged four. Thomas is apprenticed to a weaver, by which he earns 3s. Anna and David are taught at school gratis. The mother winds pirns, and keeps a regular lodging-house. Room dirty, and poorly furnished.

8. Thomas Cochran, aged eighty-five. Allowance 8s. a month. He lives with his daughter, aged forty, who is married to a weaver, with two children, aged six and four respectively. The old man knits a little for his own amusement. He has three grown-up children who assist him; two of whom are sons, and weavers in comfortable circumstances, and one is a daughter married to the tenant of a farm of more than 100 acres. The children maintained the old man entirely till the late depression of trade.

9. John Murray, aged eighty-six. Allowance 8s. a month. Rent £1 15s, a year. He lives with an unmarried daughter, aged fifty-six, who winds pirns, by which she earns 2s. 6d. a week. The old man worked as a weaver until the last three years. He now assists his daughter in winding pirns. He appears healthy for his age. Room clean and decently furnished - two handsome chests of drawers.

10. Ann Hunter, aged eighty-one. Allowance 10s. a month. She lives with a daughter, married to a shoemaker, who has one child, aged five. The old woman is paralytic, and has been bed-ridden thirteen years. Until three weeks ago, she lodged with another daughter, married to a weaver. Room poorly furnished.

11. Thomas Ranken, aged nearly eighty-one; and his wife, aged seventy. Allowance 8s. a month. Rent 30s. a year. The old man is unable to work, but his wife goes to houses in the town seeking aid. “I’ll be aye waur till I am in the grave." During the visit to the house the old man, asked the session clerk to lend him the life of John Knox out of the church library. Room very barely furnished.

12. Widow Robertson, aged eighty-six. Allowance 3s. a month. Rent 30s. a year. She begs a little. She has an illegitimate daughter, aged fifty-six, in good circumstances, who is a widow, and keeps a toll gate. The daughter helps to pay the rent. The reason why the allowance to the old woman, is so small is that the daughter, it is said, has offered to receive her into her house. The mother and daughter do not seem to agree with each other, and the old woman denied that the offer was ever made. The latter has been the mother of seven illegitimate children. Room very poorly furnished.

13. John Cruickshank, aged twelve. Allowance 3s. during the last month. An accident happened to him on the railroad, by which he became lame. He was sent by the parish to the infirmary at Glasgow two years ago; and since he came out of it he has had an allowance varying from 1s. to 3s. a month. He now works as a drawboy, and earns 2s. 3d. a week. He lives with his sister, who is married to a labourer, and has two young children. Furniture - two beds, one table, one chest, eight chairs.

14. Agnes Maurice, aged seventy. Allowance 4s. a month. House rent free from her brother, who is a weaver. She does not work, but is helped by her neighbours and sometimes by her brother. Room small, and poorly furnished.

15. Widow M‘Kay, aged seventy-six. Allowance 6s. a month, and she is now receiving 1s. a week extra. Rent 30s. a year. She lives alone, and knits stockings when in good health. At present she is unwell. She has no relations alive. Room small and very barely furnished; the bedding, part of which was supplied by the parish, seemed sufficient. The old woman is addicted to drinking when she has money in her own hands, and her allowance is, therefore, given her in food from a grocer’s shop.

16. Janet Scott, aged seventy-three. Allowance 4s. a week. Rent £2 5s., of which £1 is paid by the parish. She has two tumours on the sides of her stomach, and is totally unable to work. She has an orphan girl, aged fourteen, living with her, whom she brought up, although no relation. The latter sews muslin, by which she does not earn more than 1s. a week, as she is obliged to attend to the old woman. Room decently furnished.

17. Robert Grant, aged thirty-four. Allowance 4s. a month. He is a fatuous person, and lives with an unmarried sister, aged thirty-six, who sews muslin, by which she earns, with hard work, 6d. a day. She has a very small shop, in which she sells a little earthen-ware. Rent of house and shop £3 15s. Room very decently furnished and remarkably clean. The brother is perfectly harmless, but he goes about the town and asks passers-by for halfpence, which he expends on tobacco. The sister has an illegitimate son, aged about eighteen, who is a weaver.

18. Widow Galston, aged seventy-five. Allowance 4s. a month, and £1 a year for rent. She lives with a daughter, who is married to a weaver, and who has four children under nine years of age. The son-in-law hawks tea when he is not weaving. The old woman winds pirns. She has a daughter married to a proprietor of fifty acres, who farms his own lnd.

19. Susan Kilpatrick, aged eighty. Allowance 3s. 6d. a month, and 10s. a year for rent. She lives with an unmarried sister, aged seventy-eight, who is not on the poor roll, but has means of her own. Rent £4. Rooms very clean, and well furnished.