Sunday, April 5, 2015

Writ of Execution for Fergus MacRae

Several weeks ago I was going about my business in the Royal Room sorting scrolls, when I was asked, "Hey Alys, do you know anything about period writs of execution?"  Why yes, yes I do  :-)

As part of an ongoing bit of court schtick, and as an excuse to roll out a new persona after 25 years, +Clark Wright arranged with the Crown to have his old persona executed when he stepped down as Baron of Carolingia.   And, because +Edward Grey and +Thyra Eiriksdottir are some of my best enablers EVER, they let me compose a 16th cen. Scots writ of execution based on the 1584 document issued against one of the men convicted of assassinating Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots.  +Soto Erik then did some fantastic last minute calligraphy.

Part of the fun of putting this text together was reading through the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue for various crimes of which Fergus was guilty.  I've footnoted the text with definitions and notes where appropriate.  All definitions are from the Dictionary.

In the judiciall court of our supreme lord and ladie Edward and Thyra, hald in the Baronye of Carolingia upon 4 Aprill in the fourtie-ninth year of the Societie.   Sectis vocatis, curia affirmata.[1]

Fergus MacRae, being indytit and accusit of gret myscheiff and sundrie wrangwous and unlegall deeds, to wit: impudencie[2], proprusion[3] and glipstair[4] of Royall landis and gudes, novell dissaisine[5] of gudes and scheipe[6], and fyre-raising[7].  The saide Fergus being foundin giltie of the abuve written crymes, it is here-by disponit and ordanit that the saide Fergus be punissit thairfoir with all rigour by tynsell[8] of landis and guidis and by extinctioun of fame, titillis, honour and memorie conforme to the lawis of this realme.  Therefore, we decretit and ordanit that the said Fergus suld be had to ane geibbett beside the mercatt croce of the said burgh of Carolingia, his heid thair to be strukkin from his body; further that all his landis, heretageis, offices and possessionis, takis, stedingis, cornis, cattell, actionis, debtis, obligationis, guidis movable and unmovable, and utheris quhatsumevir quhilkis pertenit to him suld and aucht apertene to our soverane lord and ladie and to be applyit to theyr use be reasoun of escheat of foirfalture, to be uptakin, usit and disponit by the Croune at theyr pleasour, as the proces devisit thairapoun bairs.  So commandit, decried and ordanit by Edward the Kyng and Thyra the Queene.

[1] In the original Writ, the entire introductory part is in Latin, with the body of the text in Scots.  Because I was doing this text very quickly, with a short deadline, I did not have time to put my entire adapted introduction into Latin.  But I left the formal convocation of the court that way, because it looked cool.  "Sectis vocatis, curia affirmata" means "suits were called and the court affirmed."

[2] Impudency, -encie, n.  Effrontery, insolence.

[3] (Proprision,) Proprusion, n.  Illegal encroachment or enclosure of real property.

[4] Glipster, -stair, n.  Illegal occupation or seizure of another's land or property.

[5]  Novell dissaisin(e), n.  Wrongful ejection or eviction from landed property or dispossession of goods.  (In other words, he's the mean landlord throwing other people out of their homes).

[6]  Because who will speak for the sheep?

[7]  (Fire-,) Fyre-, Fyir-rasing, n. Also: -rysing.  Malicious or hostile kindling of fire.

[8]  Tynsal(l, Tinsal(l, -el(l, n.   The losing (of possessions, etc.); loss, destruction, harm, detriment.



  1. This has been reblogged in full at

  2. Reading this aloud in a Scottish accent makes it *really* pop. Fabulous.

    1. Indeed ... that just makes it even more special. :)