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1539 - 1539
Banishment for crime in Aberdeen

A mother and daughter are both banished from the burgh for their crimes. The punishment of burning on the cheek, threatened here if they return to the town, was mainly restricted to women; men might be branded or marked in other ways. Note how the banishment was publicized.

The Scots version follows the translation.



19 May 1539

The said day, Ellen Ranaldson was convicted by her own confession for the opening of neighbours’ doors with false keys, and stealing their stuff, under silence of night; and also Elspeth Meldrum, her mother, was convicted for escaping from the king’s ward [prison], also under silence of night. Therefore each of them were fined by the court and were not to do the same again, and were to make such amends as the law demanded. And the council and bailies present at the time ordained them to be banished from the town forever and if ever either of them were found within this town, a hot iron was to be laid on their cheek. And that was given as the judgment of the court by the mouth of John Scherar, dempster [doom-sayer] of the court for the time. And also the bailies passed to the market cross with their clerk and officer, and there, by open proclamation, banished the said persons, as said is, for their demerits.

The said day, Ellene Ranaldsone wes convict of hir awin toung grant maid in jugment, for the oppynnyng of nychtbouris durris with wrang keyis, and steling as of thair stuff, wnder silence of nycht; and als Elspet Meldrum, hir modir, wes convict for the braking of our souerane lordis vard, vnder silens of nycht, siclyk; quhairfor ilkane of thaim vas put in amerciament of court, to forbear in tyme cuming, and amend as law will; and the consall and balzes present for the tyme ordanit thame to be banist of this gud towne thairfor for euer; and gif euer ony of thame var fundin within this toune, ane hait irne to be laid on thair cheyk. And that wes gyffin for dome, be the moucht of Johne Scherar, dempstar of court for the tyme. And als the balzes passit to the mercat croce, with thair clark and officiar, and thair, be oppin proclamatioun, banyst the saidis personis, as said is, for thair demeritis.


Extracts from the Council Register of the Burgh of Aberdeen 1398-1570  ed John Stuart (Spalding Club, 1844) p. 163. Translation by E. Ewan