In 1770, Sir Robert Pollock of Pollock let the lands of Floak and Floakside to Thomas Paton, a tenant of some years. The missives of the new agreement contained an additional clause that if Paton were to plough any land in addition to what he had ploughed the previous year, he would pay £100 Scots for each additional acre. After Paton had quit Floak and Floakside, Pollock brought action before the Sheriff of Renfrewshire, requesting the requisite payment on a newly-ploughed acre and a half. The sheriff-substitute initially ruled in Pollock's favour, however after consulting with the sheriff-depute he declared the extra provision to be a penalty that must correspond with real damages. Sir Robert, the pursuer, then applied to the Court by bill of advocation, claiming to have undertaken many costly improvements of his land, which would come to nought should tenants such as Paton be allowed to plough a meadowland of rich soil. He pointed out that Paton had been under no obligation to enter into the tack, and under no obligation to plough the extra land. The defender, on the other hand, stated that Pollock was severely exaggerating the quality of the land in question; he described it as a bare moor farm whose sole improvement was a stone dike on the common march. Furthermore, he claimed that in previous years he had been allowed to plough the land in question at no additional cost. The Court found in favour of the pursuer, determining the money asked for to be a form of rent.

Published Reports

William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. 6, , pg. 15262
Sir David Dalyrymple of Hailes, Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session, from 1766 to 1791 (1826), pg. 766
Mungo Brown, Supplement to the Dictionary of the Decisions of the Court of Session (1826), pg. 517


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