Alastair Shepherd appointed custodian of the Scottish Barony Register

Alastair Shepherd appointed custodian of the Scottish Barony Register

Alastair Shepherd

Alastair Shepherd has been named as the new custodian of the Scottish Barony Register, succeeding Alistair Rennie.

Mr Shepherd is currently a partner in Coulters Legal LLP, but is due to retire from private practice in April 2021, after 40 years as a solicitor, with Brodies, Henderson and Jackson WS, and latterly with Coulters. He has been involved with the sale and purchase of barony titles since qualifying in 1981 and is a writer to the Signet and notary public.

The Scottish Barony Register opened for business on 28 November 2004. It was created to fill an information black hole as regards ownership of the dignities of feudal baronies which resulted from the provisions of section 63 of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000, which came into effect on that date.

It was decided by some parties involved in the market that the answer was to create a private register in which transfers of the right to a baronial dignity could be registered.

A search in such a register would reveal any transfer of a dignity after the appointed day. After a feasibility study as to how this could work the register was established as a company limited by guarantee in time to be in operation at the appointed day. Mr Rennie, the then recently retired Deputy Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, was appointed custodian.

The register has become a recognised and trusted part of the process of selling/transferring baronial dignities. Purchasing solicitors invariably require a letter of comfort from the custodian regarding any transactions that have been registered since the appointed day.

As far as it is possible to tell every transfer of a dignity occurring since that date has led to an application to register the acquirer’s claim of entitlement to the dignity in the register.

Share icon
Share this article: