ON JANUARY, 1711, there occurred a dispute in Alloa between Andrew Miller and Isabella Paterson when the Proclamation of the Banns went up for her intended marriage to James Dickie.

Andrew claimed he had a solemn promise from Isabella to marry him and that she had stipulated that she should never marry another man for as long as he lived.

In front of a church court, she denied she had said any of this to him. He countered that he had gone to her father’s house in the spring of 1710 at either ten or eleven o’clock one night when he met her coming out of her father’s barn and took her by the hand, promising her that he would never marry another while she lived and was unmarried.

He said that he had asked her to promise him the same, but she had refused to make any such promise.

If she could not promise that, he then asked her to kiss him on the forehead which he took to be the equivalent of a promise. He told the kirk session she had indeed kissed him on the forehead.

Isabella in response, agreed that they had met while she was coming out of her father’s barn, and said that Andrew took hold of her and grasped her in his arms.

He had said to her that she could not leave until she had made the promise and while she refused, she explained that it was not in her power to make such a promise even though she thought she should do so.

She did not recall whether she kissed him on the forehead or not, but she said that if she did, it was simply to get herself free.

Immediately afterwards he said he would free her from her obligation if she would give him a choppin (half a pint) of ale.

When he was further pressed by the session as to whether he did, indeed, want to marry the woman, he replied he now had no inclination to do so.

Giving the case due consideration, the session found that, as it was difficult to tell whether Andrew was telling the truth or not, Isabella was free to marry another man.

That said, they were both found to be at fault and had to repent their sin and were told to live soberly and Christianly lives.

The marriage banns that had been proclaimed with her suitor James Dickie were upheld by the kirk.