Chapter

The development of ‘trust in writing’: written documents and seals in Scotland, 1100–1300

Cynthia J. Neville

in Land, Law and People in Medieval Scotland

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780748639588
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653492 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639588.003.0004
The development of ‘trust in writing’: written documents and seals in Scotland, 1100–1300

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This chapter evaluates the ways in which lay persons became accustomed to using written documents in the important business of acquiring and conveying estates of land and their perquisites. It also traces the proliferation of seal usage in Scotland. The chronological focus in this chapter is on the century or so between the accession to the throne in 1124 of David I and c. 1250, by which time there is discernible in Scotland a ‘community bound together by a common attitude towards the uses of documents and a shared interpretation of certain texts’. It notes that within the mere century and a quarter between these dates, title to property and its revenues had become so closely tied to possession of some kind of sealed instrument that in almost all regions of the kingdom there can have been few landholders who were not thoroughly acquainted with the evidentiary value of written charters.

Keywords: lay persons; written documents; estates; seal usage; Scotland; David I; property; revenues; landholders

Chapter.  18481 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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