Peasants, servitude and unfreedom in Scotland, 1100–1350

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:
Peasants, servitude and unfreedom in Scotland, 1100–1350

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This chapter evaluates the other end of the social spectrum — the people at the lower ranks of Scottish society who experienced unfreedom and servility in the period between roughly 1100 and the middle years of the fourteenth century. It explores the ways in which the changing economic, political, and social landscapes that marked the ‘Anglo-Norman era’ in Scotland affected people of low social rank, especially native Gaels. It argues that the conditions which transformed the social and legal status of a broad spectrum of the indigenous population in Ireland after 1171 were in many respects similar to those which affected peasants in the course of the ‘Normanisation’ of Scotland. It applies the methodologies and findings of Irish historians to Scottish charter texts in an effort to detect the otherwise muted voices of the tillers of the soil.

Keywords: Scottish society; unfreedom; servility; native Gaels; Ireland; Scotland; indigenous population

Chapter.  18509 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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