John Wardlaw was a potato dealer at Old Bridge Street in Alloa in the 1870s.

He also had a licence for selling table beer at not more 1½d a quart. However, he breached his licence, and this saw him in court.

On Tuesday, June 10, 1873 he stood accused of giving out three quarts or so to labourer Peter Buddo in violation of his terms. He had been in front of the justices before for breaching his licence, and was defended by solicitor Mr McLuskie of Stirling. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Buddo, who was in custody at the time, was the first witness to be called. He said he had been in his house on the morning of Sunday, June 1, along with Thomas Hamilton and William Williamson, which was above Wardlaw’s. He had been drinking and went in search of more beer, returning soon afterwards with a pitcherful. He refused to say where he got it but claimed it was not from Wardlaw.

Williamson was next, and corroborated who was in the house. He had given Buddo sixpence to go and get some ale. He went down the stair, heard him knock at Wardlaw’s door, but Wardlaw stated he would not get ale there. Buddo was gone for five minutes then returned with the jug. He was sober and did not believe Buddo had time to go to another house. Williamson asked him not to tell him where he got the ale.

Thomas Hamilton gave similar evidence, telling the court he had been drinking but was not drunk, and did not know how long he was in Buddo’s house.

Superintendent Carmichael gave evidence regarding Wardlaw’s previous conviction.

A lodger at Wardlaw’s house Agnes McLaren then stated she heard Buddo knocking at the door, asking for beer. Wardlaw told him he had no beer, and even if he did, he would not get it. She went on that Wardlaw was thinking of giving up the business. To her knowledge she did not think Buddo had got beer that morning, as he would have had to go through her bedroom to get to where Wardlaw kept it, and he did not.

Mr Laing, the Procurator Fiscal, told the sheriff the case had been clearly established while McLuskie claimed the evidence of the defence was clear.

The magistrate John Ewing concluded the case for the prosecution had been proven. He fined Wardlaw £10, but failing payment within 14 days, he would spend two months in jail.

He paid the fine.