Town council minute books are not known for
their exciting dramas but every so often they
relate a story straight from a soap opera. A
Forfar Town Council minute book records a supplication
made to them by Jean Milne, widow of Provost
David Dickson. Her son William was a soldier
with the Laird of Claverhouse. He had been charged
with fornication with Jean Cuthbert, daughter
of Bailie William Cuthbert.
A child had been born of their irregular union
but the minister Thomas Small had refused to
baptise it. He demanded William and Jean should
stand before the congregation and answer for
their sin. William could not do so because he
had left Forfar for military service. Nor could
Jean appear before the minister as she had left
town after depositing the baby with William's
mother, Jean Milne.
Jean wanted the Town Council's help to persuade
the minister to baptise the child, as she was
afraid to have an unbaptised child in her house.
She succeeded in her supplication. The Council
agreed to send a delegation of Provost John
Carnegy and Bailies Andrew Coutie and John Binnie
to entreat with Rev. Small
There is no record of a baptism of a child born
to William Dickson and Jean Milne in the Forfar
Old Parish Registers.