This case determined which of three parishes—Irvine, Dalrymple, or Dalmellington—was required to provide for the maintenance of James Wallace, an insane pauper. The statutory obligation to aliment certain persons was assigned to parishes based on residency. However, Wallace was an itinerant worker, complicating the analysis. Before losing the ability to support himself, Wallace had been a dance master who spent winters in the town of Irvine but traveled in the summer to teach. He spent his early years in Dalrymple and later went to Dalmellington, where he was employed for a time. More than a dozen witnesses from the three parishes testified about Wallace’s whereabouts over the course of his life, giving sometimes contradictory evidence. The court found that the parish of Irvine was liable, comparing Wallace to tradesmen who travel to seek work in the summer.

Published Reports

William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. 3