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1613 - 1613
A bigamous marriage in Aberdeen
This case was heard before the kirk session, the local parish court. George Jacksoun had been abandoned by his wife, Isobel Quhytcorse, who had married a second time when George was out of the country, claiming that her first husband was dead. Did she know that he was still alive? The testimony shows the process of marriage which was encouraged by the kirk.
The document is translated from the original Scots.
20 June 1613
The which day, after incalling of God, anent the bill given in to the bishop, ministers, and elders of the session, by George Jacksoun, against Isobel Quhytcorse his spouse and William Robertsoun, litster [dyer], now her pretended husband, making mention that when the said George being lawfully married with the said Isobel Quhytcorse, who since the time of their marriage and before George’s passing forth of Scotland, having born several bairns to him, the said Isobel, not abstinent thereof, forgetful of her duty to God, and to the said George her lawful married husband, has shamefully abused herself, by conjoining her in a second pretended marriage with the said William Robertsoun, and giving the use of her body to him, and keeping company and society with him at bed and board at all occasions, these last two years. Desiring therefore, that the said Isobel may be publicly and orderly ordered to adhere to the said George Jacksoun, her lawful married husband, and to keep society and company with him in time coming, according to the law of God, so long as they live together, as at more length was contained in the said bill. The said George Jacksoun, complainer, being personally present, and the said Isobel Quhytcorse being lawfully warned to appear this day and also to the two session days immediately bygone, often called and not appearing, and the said William Robertsoun, being personally present, alleged that no fault or crime should be imputed to him for marrying the said Isobel, as he has been orderly married with her by one of the ministers of this burgh, after public proclamation of their banns three separate Sundays, in both the kirks of this burgh, and using of all other solemnity according to the order prescribed by the kirk, as likewise the ministry having received testimony of the death of the said George Jacksoun. And now, seeing that the said George is alive, the said William is content to obey the ordinance of the bishop and the session, such as they shall order him to do, according to the situation. Whereanent the bishop, ministry, and elders of the session, advising and considering that the said Isobel by her second marriage with the said William Robertsoun proceeded upon the production of a false testimonial directed to them out of Holland, testifying the said George to have departed this life in the guesthouse of Dort, but the contrary being true as he was yet alive and here personally present. Therefore they ordain the said Isobel Quhytcorse to adhere to the said George Jacksoun, her first husband, and to cohabit and keep society with him in time coming, as with her lawful married husband. And ordains to proceed against her with the censures of the kirk until she gives adherence. And likewise they decern and ordain the said William Robertsoun, her last husband, to desist and cease from keeping any further society and company with the said Isobel in any time coming. With certification to him, if he do in the contrary, he shall be called and pursued as an adulterer, and punished therefore, conform to the order and discipline of the kirk, in respect that his marriage with the said Isobel has not been lawful, her first husband being yet alive.
Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen ed. John Stuart (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1836) pp 79-80. translation E. Ewan