James FORREST (1715-Unknown)

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James FORREST was a farmer in Wester Hairburnhead (or Harburnhead), West Calder, Midlothian. He was born at Grange, West Calder, Midlothian and baptised on the 8th May 1715[1].

The Kirk Session minutes record a petition from the Elders and several others in the Parish of West Calder to the Presbytery “That your petitioners were greatly concerned to hear the issue of a late process referred by the Session of this Parish in your Presbytery about James Forrest in Westerhairburnhead, who had given great offence to this Congregation and to several others in the neighbourhood thereof by bleeding six or seven horses on the Lords day without any evident necessity which example was followed by another the very next Sabbath giving them phiseck [medicine] ”[2].

Official records for James’ wife and children cannot be found, however family stories tell that James had a son who was brought up by his uncle Rev David Forrest. James had a bad temper and used to beat his son with a Malacca cane but his wife, on her deathbed, told him to strike him no more; however he threw the stick at his son instead[3].

The son,

i. Captain James FORREST, was a sailor who, according to the family stories, was taken prisoner by the French on the Gold Coast. He married on the 6th Jan 1787 at The Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire, Margaret Peggy HUTTON, born 1761.
  1. Old Parochial Register, Births, West Calder, OPR Ref. 701/0010 0093
  2. Petition to the presbytery of Linlithgow 25th May 1742, National Archives Scotland Ref. GD215/1223
  3. Letter from Jane or Margaret Forrest to Nola Forrest (1918)