One Dalkeith - Community Development Trust

People from all parts of the community coming together  and joining in to regenerate Dalkeith; socially, environmentally and economically

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18th Century Scandal………


Wicked Women of Dalkeith ………

#Dalkeith ........ where the past is coming to life .........

For a change, this is not a story of witchcraft but of 18th century scandal………

Fasten your seatbelts, climb into the time machine and we arrive in the busy market town of Dalkeith in the 18th century.

Bump! Here we are in the year 1738 at a time when the Kirk of Session once again played judge and jury over the lives of ordinary people …… and seemed to delight in admonishing and punishing women for alleged crimes of the flesh ………….. fornication was seen as THE ultimate sin.

But I hear you ask ‘What is fornication and why is it a crime?’ Fornication can be defined as having both a narrow and a broad meaning and both are used in the Bible. In its narrow meaning, it refers specifically to physical relations between two unmarried people.


Living in the North Wynd in 1738 was a lady called Mrs Watson. We can assume that Mrs Watson lived a comfortable existence as she was able to employ servants. However, one morning a servant girl called Margaret McDonald was found in bed with one James Amos.
Without further ado, Margaret was called before the Kirk of Session to be admonished for her sin. When asked to explain herself, she told her accusers that she had gone to bed alone and when she became aware of someone else in her bed, she thought it was another servant girl, for it was common for servants to share a bed at that point in time.

When asked to explain himself, James Amos asserted that he did not know what took him to Mrs Watson’s home but he claimed to have been drunk at the time. He thought the body he was lying beside ………. belonged to his brother.

Well, my dear readers, is that not the best excuse yet??

The next time you park your car in the North Wynd car park, have a think about the saucy ladies who lived there ...



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One Dalkeith is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) No. SC048018

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