Mary McGlashan 1837 - 1889

Name: Mary McGlashan

Father: Peter McGlashan

Mother: Margaret McCaul

Born: 1 Nov 1837, Halftown, Stachur1
Baptized: 19th of Nov 1837, Halftown, Strachur


  • John McGlashan b. 25 Feb 1836, Half Town, Strachur2
  • Peter McGlashan b. 6 Aug 1840, Halftown, Strachur3
  • Sarah McGlashan b. 15 Aug 1843, Halfton, Strachur4, died in infancy
  • Neil McGlashan b. 12 Feb 1846, Halfton, Strachur5
  • Dugald McGlashan b. abt. 1849 Strachur
  • Margaret McGlashan b. abt Mar 1851, Strachur, died in infancy

Died: 15 Dc 1889, Salachary, near Inveraray

Married: 12 Dec 1873, St. Catherines, Stachur to Donald Sinclair
Witnesses: Edward McCallum and Neil McGlashan

Jessie Sinclair b. 18 Aug 1869, Poll, Stachur
Bella Sinclair b. 1877, Clachanbeg, Kilmorich
Peter Sinclair b. 1879, Salachary, near Inveraray
Sarah Sinclair b. 15 Oct 1881, Salachary, near Inveraray

She was accused of child murder in 1864 when she was 27 years old, punishment of 6 months imprisonment
Mary McGlashan a domestic servant, admitted to the Jail on New Year’s Day 1864, was tried on 15th April that year by Lord Deas sitting with a jury.
She was convicted of the charge of Concealing her pregnancy, but found Not Guilty to the charge of Child Murder.
Sentenced to six months imprisonment at Inveraray Jail, Mary McGlashan was finally released on 15th October 1864 having spent 288 days in prison.
Memento Mori - a short story based on one of the Jail records

NAS Ref: AD14/64/124

Precognition against Mary McGlashan for the crime of child murder, or concealment of pregnancy at Hapton (Halfton), Strachur and Stralachlan, Argyll (1864)

Related Records: JC26/1864/127 (Trial papers)

Victim is "unnamed male infant".

“The usual story of a young unmarried woman finding herself pregnant and unwilling to face the shame. She successfully hid her condition throughout the time and gave birth by herself without making use of help or assistance. Having delivered herself of a male child, she wrapped it in a bed-gown and shift, then put it in a small box, which she hid in a chest at the Pole Schoolhouse. In her haste - or maybe lack of knowledge - Mary failed to tie the umbilical cord. As a result of her actions, the baby died.”

Prisoner 307 Inveraray Jail 1 Jan 1864 - 15 Oct 1864

As part of the trial papers is a description of the house she lived in. (with grateful thanks to Mary Sinclair6 )

It describes their house in Hafton, Strachur in 1864; …
The whole house does not stand to above 20 feet by 14 feet.
It is made of posts & slabs with a turf roof.
A press bed is placed in the middle so as to divide the place into two apartments.
That bed seemed to be used by McGlashan, his wife and a little girl.
In the other end there was a bed used by three sons, and a small place at the foot of it was used as a bed for the accused…
The house we occupy is only a shed, and it is neither wind nor watertight, so that we could keep nothing without being damaged.