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A Poaching Affray

The Father of Robert Flockhart Vickers, William Vickers, and three of his brothers, were involved in a very similar incident to that which resulted in the execution of his son. Ramsay Vickers mentioned in the story was my great great grandfather.

Signature of Ramsay Vickers, taken from his statement


The Scotsman 20 October 1847

Poaching Affray

On Monday evening a serious encounter, took place between a party of poachers and a party of game-keepers in a plantation near Dalhousie Castle, Parish of Cockpen. The poachers were eight in number, and all of them were colliers from the neighbouring village of Gowkeshill. The gamekeepers were five in number; two of them being in the service of the Earl of Dalhousie; two in that of Mr. Ramsay of Arniston.

It appears that the gamekeepers had assembled in such force, in consequence of bands of poachers having been for some days past, peramulating the woods at Dalhousie. On the gamekeepers coming within sight of the poachers; two of the latter presented their guns and threatened to shoot the first that approached. The gamekeepers, nothing daunted, continued to advance, when a couple of shots were fired, one of which took effect on the leg of Mr. Hume, head-gamekeeper to the Earl of Dalhousie. A determined struggle then took place between the parties in the course of which Mr. White, the keeper of Mr. Dundas of Arniston, received a severe wound on the head, either from the butt-end of a gun or from a heavy bludgeon. The gamekeepers eventually overcame their opponents and secured of one of them of the name of Beveridge, information of the affray having been sent to the county police station at Gorebridge, a party of constables proceeded to the village of Gowkeshill yesterday morning and apprehended four of the poachers named Vicars, and one named Wise; so that there are now in all six individuals in custody, and two still at large. Hume we believe was in a very dangerous state.

Court Records @ West Register House [7 January 1848]

Confession to the assault of the Gamekeepers The pannels being interrogated in the libel by the covel, they all pleaded guilty of the offence specified in the Ninth section of the statue as libelled. The Pannel William Vickers pleaded guilty also of the assault on Archibald White as libelled, but not to the danger of life, and the pannel Alexander Vickers pleaded guilty also to the assault by shooting at Robert Hume as libelled to effusion of blood but only to the injury of the hit person, and the pannels William Vickers and George Vickers authorise their councils to sign this confession for them in respect that they can not write Signed William Beveridge, Alexander Vickers Ramsay Vickers Harry Ritchie for William & George Vickers [7 January 1848] Judge's Sentence (of William, Alexander, George & Ramsay Vickers & William Beveridge)

The Lords Commissioners of Justiciary discern and adjudge the pennels William Vickers and Alexander Vickers to be transported beyond --------for the period of seven years from this date and that powers ------------contained in the acts of Parliament made hereto and order them to be detained in the prison of Edinburgh till removed for transportation and further discern and adjudge the pennels William Beveridge, George Vickers and Ramsay Vickers to be taken from the bar to the prison of Edinburgh and from hence to be forthwith conveyed to and imprisoned in the general prison at Perth for the period of eight months from this date provided they can be received there in terms of the rules thereof and if they cannot be so received then to be detained in the prison of Edinburgh aforesaid for the said period and thereafter to be set at liberty.

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