Assault by Archibald Maclean at Salen in 1851
by John Dye

Transcribed handwritten material from the office of the Procurator Fiscal of Tobermory, currently held in the Argyll Archive at Lochgilphead.

The police intervened in a fight taking place in Salen - and got more than they had bargained for.

Archibald Maclean, a sailor was causing a disturbance in Mary Lowrie's tent at Salen one evening, when a patrol of police came by. They stepped in, but when trying to make an arrest, he threw one in a pond and tried to strangle another.

Police Report - Assault by Archibald Maclean - 1851 Strontian

6th November (1851)


I beg leave to Report a case of assault against Archibald Maclean, Sailor, Carna in the parish of Morvern.

Constable McGregor tells how he fell in the pond in the struggle with Archibald Maclean and how he had to cut Constable Cameron's neck cloth to prevent him being strangled

On the 22nd October 1851, about the hour of 7 or 8 p.m. farther time(?), Allan Cameron, Police Constable Coran and I was patrolling on duty on the public road at Salen, Ardnamurchan, and on hearing a noise at the close (?) of a Tent possed by Mary Lowrie or Cameron. We immediately went forward and saw the accused Archibald Maclean quarrelling at the close (?) of the Tent and wishing to get hold of Donald Cameron, Carpenter, Carna in the foresaid parish, and on seeing him I gave my staff to P. C. Cameron and got hold of the accused A. Maclean and took him from the Tent to the main road and by the accused making some struggle for geting away, he and I tummeled in a pond at the road side, and on observing to P. C. Cameron that I was down he came to lift me up. Then the accused McLean got hold of P. C. Cameron's neckcloth and would not let him go till Allan McQueen, Ploughman to Mr Hugh McPherson, Farmer, Resipole in the parish of Ardnamurchan, assisted me and cut P. C. Cameron's neckcloth. Then some of his friends took him away and we went to Mr Paton's house and got dry clothies.
John McGregor, Constable

Mary Lowrie, who's tent it was where it all started, tells how Archibald Maclean was striking Donald Cameron, a carpenter from Carna in Morvern when the police arrived and confirms what Constable McGregor asserted

Compeared Mary Lowrie or Cameron who says:

I am thirty years of age and a widow. I reside with my Father, James Lowrie, Crofter, Ranachan in the parish of Ardnamurchan and Declares on the 22nd October 1851 I had a tent at Salen and about the hour of 7 p.m. Donald Cameron, Carpenter, Carna in the parish of Morvern, came in to my tent and greeting said that the accused A. McLean was striking him with his fists and immediately the accused A. McLean was after him wishing to get hold of him. Then Hugh Cameron, Ranachan got up to keep the accused from the Carpenter. Then the accused McLean got hold of Hugh Cameron by the neckcloth and blowed out the candle and I did not see how Hugh Cameron got from him but I saw afterward when I got lite that Cameron's neckcloth was in two peses. Then I saw John McGregor , P. C., Strontian, coming and taking hold of the accused McLean and taking him away from the tent. I saw no more.

Two other witnesses, who were in the tent at the time, also saw Archibald Maclean's offence

Ann McPhee or McLachlane, residing in Ranachan was present in the Tent at Salen at the time and will corroborate the preceeding. Witness John McPhee, Farm Servant to Sir James Milles Riddell Bart of Ardnamurchan was in the Tent at the time and states the same declaration.

Hugh Cameron, Labourer, Ranachan is from home and I cannot get his Statement. Alexr. McArthur, Carrier, Ardnastang, states that he left the Market before the afray took place and saw nothing. John McGregor, Constable.

Maclean was fined 30 shillings or thirty days in prison

There is a note on the cover to the effect that Archibald Maclean was tried, pled not guilty and was found guilty as libelled. He was sentenced to 30/- fine or 30 days' imprisonment.