Forfeiture in Scotland

R. A. Houston

in Punishing the Dead?

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586424
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191595356 | DOI:
Forfeiture in Scotland

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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Suicide was a crime punishable by forfeiture of goods to the crown and fiscal sources provide the best sources for analysing Scottish suicide. After assessing how other European countries enforced this punishment, the law and practice of forfeiture are explained. The crown in Scotland used forfeiture as an instrument of government by personal lordship, drawing suicide survivors into a relationship based on gifting and gratitude. The chapter covers formal and informal means of handling the often problematic aftermath of suicide. Topics covered include the law of forfeiture, its geography, how violent suicide was, and the financial effects on survivors. The chapter focuses on 1550–‐1700 and offers reasons for the rise and fall of suicide forfeiture that shed light on many social, legal, and political developments.

Keywords: Scotland; suicide; finance; lordship; gift; violence; government; society; law; regions

Chapter.  33885 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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