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St. Boswells Scotland
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Information on the village of St. Boswells in Scotland.
The cornmill of St Boswells had always belonged to the monks of Dryburgh, and with the surrounding land brought them in a tax of £300 per annum. Those who cultivated the lands were obliged to take their grain to be ground at the overlord's mill. This system was known as "thirlage". The monks may have been the originators of the system of "multures" and "sequels" - the former being the proportion of grain due to the miller, and the latter an enforced tip!
In the year 1675, the mill was the scene of several assaults on the persons of Violet Riddell and her sisters. These Riddells were the direct descendents of Andrew Riddell who married Isabella Pennie to whom the Commendator of Dryburgh, in May 1579, granted "to her in life rent and her son Andrew Riddell in fee of the mill, and the mill lands of St Boswells".
One of the Kers of Littledean was a commissioner for the re-valuation of real estate in the Sherrifdom of Roxburgh, and was rather inclined to take the law into his own hands. A dispute about property had arisen between him and the Riddells.
The two brothers Mark and Andrew Ker and their followers "armed with swords, pistolls, staves and other weapons invasive, did upon the - day of May last, violently assault the said Violet Riddell at St Boswells milne, where she was living peaceably, and not only beat and wounded her to the effusion of blood, bot also dragged and drew her by her leges and armes near to the milne wheills and threatned with great and horrid oathes to throw her in amongst the wheills (the milne being then goeing) and had undowbtedly effectuat his threattes if he had not bein hindered" etc.
The outcome of this, and a series of other offences, committed by the Kers against the Riddells led to their appearance before the Lords of Council in Edinburgh. Found guilty, Andrew was fined 1000 merks and committed to the Tolbooth until payment was made; Mark was imprisoned but was released in only two weeks.
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