Law, tenure and Douglas lordship: A fifteenth-century case study

Alan Borthwick, Hector MacQueen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study starts from a court case decided in the mid-fifteenth century. The underlying stories touch upon the Anglo-Scottish and the Anglo-French/Scottish wars of the preceding hundred years and more, and are also vitally connected with the events leading up to the fall of the Black Douglases a few months after the court’s decision. While politics and power struggles are not irrelevant to the case, the law, which reflected, supported and guided the social system of kingship, lordship and landholding, was also a significant element reaching beyond the peaceful resolution of disputes in court. The discussion demonstrates the value of legal analysis to gain a deeper understanding of what was going on, not only in the case that is the point of departure, but also more generally in the social and political world from which it emerged in the first place. The study reinforces Sandy Grant’s appreciation of medieval Scottish noble society as more than a continuous series of contests for political dominance or raw power, requiring for fuller understanding of the individual ties involved in kingship, lordship, governance and landownership, sensitivity to the countervailing existence of what in that society was the ordinary and the routine (including the law).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKingship, Lordship and Sanctity in Medieval Britain
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Alexander Grant
EditorsSteven Boardman, David Ditchburn
Place of PublicationWoodbridge
PublisherBoydell Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781800105782, 9781800105799
ISBN (Print)9781783277162
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameSt Andrews Studies in Scottish History


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