George Robb in the Auchterless kirk session records: Part 2

Following on from the last post:

George Robb’s second appearance before the Auchterless kirk session occurred in 1751. Here’s an extract from the session minutes of 19th May of that year (apologies for my failure to read many of the words in these accounts – the writing is incredibly small and difficult to interpret):

The minister represented to the session that some young people of this parish had gone last sabbath to the church of Fyvie with a burial (?) and had given scandal by spending the afternoon in Lewes of Fyvie in drinking and that particularly two of them George Rob in Mains of Badenscoth and William Durno  in Loggie Newtown had quarrelled in their way home and had beat one another and that he had ordered the said George Rob and William Durno to be called to this meeting of session. The session ordered them to be called and they being called compeared George Rob being interrogate if he had been in Lewes of Fyvie drinking last Sabbath in the afternoon, and if he and William Durno had quarrelled in their way home and beat one another confessed that he had spent the greatest  part of the afternoon in Lewes of Fyvie in drinking and confessed that he was drunk, for which he said that he humbly begged God’s pardon and declared that he was resolved henceforth never to drink in a charge (?) house on the sabbath day and being interrogate if he and William Durno had quarrelled and beat one another in their way home declared that he did not rememember being drunk or whether he had [? illegible] any difference with [?illegible] or whether he had struck William Durno or received any strokes (?) from him. William Durno being interrogate confessed that he went into Lewes of Fyvie with George Rob and several others and came home with him in the evening but was not drunk, and that George Rob without the least provocation, given up on his part, did strike him with his staff once and again. But that he did not so much as offer to resist the [?illegible] and that he offered to prove by witnesses that were in their [?illegible] both in Lewes and on their way home.  On a [?illegible] he had [?illegible] the officer to summoned for the [?illegible] who were standing without and whom he entreated the session would call in and examine anent the matter. Upon which he and George Rob were interrogate and so they were that were in their company at the time they were in Lewes and that came home to them and they gave account of the following [?illegible] namelt George Thomson in Little Milne, Alexander Durno in Newton, James Rob in Mickle Bogs, John Raeburn and John Cowie there and John Hall younger in Loggie Newton, beside two or three young people of the parish of Fyvie. The session considering that not only George Rob and William Durno had given great scandal by drinking the whole sabbath afternoon in a publick house and quarelling by the way in their coming home but als  all that were in company with them and that George Rob in generously confessing himself to have been so drunk that he does not remember what happened [?illegible] in their way home is a good evidence to the session that the rest [? illegible] had been all the time in company with him  could not be sober. Therefore the session found them all liable to censure and refers to the Presbytery to  meet at Turiff on Wednesday next for their directions how to proceed against them and order their clerk to give the minister an extract of the affair to be be laid before the Presbytery. Session closed with prayer.

Then in the minutes for 3rd June we read:

After sermon session met and constitute. The minister acquainted the session that according to their appointment he had laid the case of George Rob Wiliam Durno &c before the Presbytery and that they had advised that session only concern them before the session and rebuke them sharply for their breach of sabbath and the officer is appointed to commend them for that effect to the session next sabbath. Session ended with prayer.

And again on 9th June:

After sermon session met and constitute George and James Rob William Durno Alexander Durno John Raeburn George Thomson John Cowie [?illegible] being called compeared only George Rob William Durno Alexander Durno and John Raeburn who humbly confessed their sins for sabbath breaking in spending the afternoon of the Sunday in drinking in Lewes of Fyvie. But all the rest except George Rob maintained that they were no ways drunk or gave any offence in their way home. They were sharply rebuked and seriously exhorted to a more Christian and circumspect behaviour for the time to come and particularly George Rob for his scandalous and offensive behaviour in this matter and on a former occasion. The officer appointed to summoned George Thomson John Hall John Cowie Junior and James Rob to the session against sabbath next pro 2do [= for the second time]. Session closed in prayer.

On 16th June the minutes include the following:

After sermon session met and constitute George Thomson James Rob John Cowie Junior John Hall Junior being called and not compearing the officer was appointed to summoned them pro 3do [= for a third time] at sabbath next.

Then on 23rd June:

After sermon session met and constitute the officer being asked if he had called [?] George Thomson &c to this meeting of session declared that he had been at their dwelling places but that he had not personally [?illegible] handed any of them their [?illegible] delay for the meeting of them [?illegible] should have occasion to speak with them in private.

And that is the last we hear of the matter.

In George Robb’s defence, at least he confessed to being so drunk that he could not remember how he had behaved, whereas the others maintained their innocence to the last. Little good it did him: George was singled out for particular rebuke, with a ‘former occasion’ being brought up (was this the affair with Margaret Tap, or another episode of drunkenness, sabbath-breaking and violence?) Once again, it’s hard to reconcile this picture of George Robb with the father of such ‘respectable’ sons. However, these records do have overtones of  the descriptions of George’s great-grandson, James, the Auchterless murderer, who (it will be remembered) was an object of particular fear for his unfortunate victim, even before the fateful day on which he broke into her cottage.

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