|Scottish litigants, rebels and cautioners: excluded names
The Privy Council of Scotland exercised a superior judicial authority in the kingdom, and consequently received and dealt with a constant stream of petitions, as well as dealing with the internal security of the state. This register of the council from July 1569 to June 1578, in the reign of king James VI, was edited by John Hill Burton, Historiographer Royal for Scotland, and published under the direction of the Lord Clerk Register of Scotland in 1878. Some of the individuals mentioned are the complainants, those of whom they complained, and the sureties on both sides: at this period, some of the complainants are alleging serious attacks, often of a feuding nature. Many of the bonds entered into by the cautioners are promises to keep the peace towards such enemies. Failure to answer to the council when summoned was a serious contempt, leading to being denounced a rebel, with serious consequences. But 'horning' was also used in the pursuit of debts: there was no imprisonment for debt in Scotland, but a creditor could have an obstinate debtor ordered, in the sovereign's name, to pay what was due, failing which, the debtor could be put to the horn, denounced as a rebel, and imprisoned as a rebel. In his preface to the first volume, Burton remarked that "There might perhaps be objections to the abundance of names of persons and places unknown to fame; but it was considered that in such a work the proper names of all persons and places occurring in the Register should be preserved, to be at the service of genealogical as well as historical investigators". But by this, second, volume, he decided that complete coverage was impractical, with "the crowding in of proper names, all but a few being the names of obscure persons ... Borderers are called up in considerable groups, and ordered to find, or recorded as having found, sureties for giving compensation to persons plundered, or for good conduct for the future. Several burgesses are sometimes entered in a minute about a Corporation quarrel. When the particulars of unimportant private litigations are omitted, the names remain." He therefore devised this 'Index of Names excluded from the Text', giving name, conditions, and date in register.
SPREULE. Cost: £4.00.
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