ON MONDAY, October 17, 1871, a publican in Tillicoultry faced charges for contravening the Public House Act at a time when hotels only served alcohol to people staying in their hotels or to bona fide travellers on a Sunday.

On the 2nd of that month, David Murray of the Royal Hotel was the publican when three young men entered.

They had been walking from Sauchie to Dollar where one of them was going to be staying overnight.

When they entered the hotel, they were given some alcoholic drinks by staff, after Murray was convinced that they were bona fide travellers.

Due to the distance they had covered, he felt he was entitled to serve them the alcohol and was not breaking the terms of his licence under the Act.

He confessed in court this was normal practice but insisted he was acting within the parameters of the Act.

However, the three men were challenged by Constable Mackay who was in the area at the time, and when they explained where they came from and where they were going, he concluded that Murray had been in breach of the Act and duly reported the case to the relevant authorities.

The Procurator Fiscal said that it was not only this case that had to be decided but also whether people could be termed travellers if they were walking from Sauchie to Tillicoultry or from Alloa to Alva on a Sunday which could justify hotel keepers serving them alcohol on the Sabbath.

Only people on urgent business were allowed to be supplied with drinks on a Sunday.

He said that people who loitered two or three miles from home on a Sunday afternoon could not be said to be on urgent business, nor were they, in his view, bona fide travellers.

Murray told the court he ran his business in a respectable manner, adhering to the law, and believed he had done nothing wrong.

The Procurator Fiscal agreed that he had not intentionally breached the Act but that he had not understood it.

The Sheriff agreed the Act did not define in detail what a bona fide traveller was, but it was there to try and prevent the consumption of alcohol on a Sunday.

That being the case, he concluded that the three men who had walked from Sauchie were not real travellers in the sense of the Act and imposed the lowest penalty possible for Murray.

The hotel keeper was fined £1, 5s with a further £1, 18s 2d in expenses.