Burning a Preacher’s Effigy



At Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday afternoon, William Erskine, labourer, and three young lads were charged – before Sheriff Gillespie – with creating a disturbance in Cairneyhill village on the night of the 7th inst. [current] by burning an effigy opposite the house of Mr William McAulay, preacher, the effigy being intended to represent Mr McAulay.

Mr McAulay, an old man of 74 years, deponed that his house was surrounded by an excited mob, and that in addition to the burning of the effigy a large quantity of stones and bricks was thrown at his door and windows, he being afraid to venture outside, as there were loud calls of ‘Come out, McAulay, ye b-! and we will do for ye’.

Many witnesses were called, but all gave their evidence with great reluctance; and one of them named James White, a farmer at Muirkirk, Cairneyhill, was rebuked by the Sheriff, and sentenced to the forfeiture of his witness fee. The Sheriff said it was clear that there had been a great disturbance, and that it was most discreditable to the people of Cairneyhill that they give their evidence so unwillingly in such a serious case.

The ringleader in the affair evidently was Erskine, and he would sentence him to pay a fine of £1, or 10 days’ imprisonment.

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