Our Legal Heritage

31-45 of 59 Articles
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A bid is underway to clear the name of a Scots sailor whose body was left hanging over the Thames for three years as a warning to other would-be pirates. Born in 1645 most likely in Dundee but possibly Greenock, Captain William Kidd's early life is obscure. It is believed that, like his father, he t

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Lauren Brown looks back at the long summer of 1597 when Scotland was swept by witch-finding fever. Between March and October 1597, Scotland was gripped by witchcraft hysteria. Around 400 people were tried for witchcraft and 200 are believed to have been executed. The number of people accused was dou

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Seosamh Gráinséir recounts the Yelverton saga, litigated across the Scottish, English and Irish courts and which resulted in marriage reform in Ireland. On 15 August 1857, Maria Theresa Longworth and Major William Charles Yelverton got married in a Catholic Church near Rostrevor. They

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In 1941 at a seancé in Portsmouth, the spirit of a sailor was said to have appeared to announce the sinking of HMS Barham. But the battleship, which had been sunk in an attack by German forces off the Egyptian coast, was not officially declared lost until a number of months later, an effort b

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Donald Findlay QC has narrated an audiobook on the divorce case of the Duchess of Argyll – Allan Nicol’s Three Strand Pearl Necklace. The book recounts a tale that scandalised and shocked the country in 1963.

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In many of his works Sir Walter Scott referred to real cases and described real criminal court room procedure, drawing on his legal training and experience as an advocate. He once wrote: His library at Abbotsford contains a copy of the trial of Philip Standsfield. An entry dated March 1797 in his pr

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The Faculty of Advocates is proud custodian for the nation of “a most curious Scots relic” from the Battle of Flodden. The standard of a Scottish nobleman which was carried into battle that fateful day – 9 September, 1513 – is now to be found adorning a wall in the Faculty&rs

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To celebrate Burns Night, we consider links between Scotland's national Bard and the Faculty of Advocates This year marks the tenth anniversary of a special publication of a Robert Burns book which was discovered in the collection of one of his greatest admirers – the advocate and author Sir W

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Dr Karen Baston looks at a particularly acrimonious legal dispute from the eighteenth century over the use of a garden. In February 1760, advocate Walter Steuart presented a petition to the Court of Session on behalf of his client, John Grieve, a taylor in Potter-row. [1] The petition was part of a

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Graham Ogilvy considers one of Scotland’s less celebrated legal innovations – the Scold’s bridle or Branks. As a boy, the Scold’s Bridle exhibited in Dundee’s Albert Museum was an object of gruesome fascination. An accompanying illustration showed how unfortunate women

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It is unlikely that any of the former inmates of Peterhead Prison will be beating a path to spend a pleasant afternoon in what must rate as Scotland's most unusual tourist attraction. 'The Hate Factory', as it was dubbed by its guests, is now a museum and was recently nominated for a tourism award.

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SLN reflects on one of Scotland's most famous miscarriages of justice as a new play – Oscar Slater - The Trial That Shamed A City – opens at the Òran Mór in Glasgow this week, running until Saturday. Book your tickets here. On 6 May, 1908, Jewish immigrant Oscar Slater

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Graham Ogilvy looks at the life of the radical William Davidson. The release last week of Mike Leigh's new film Peterloo telling the story of the notorious 1819 massacre of supporters of parliamentary reform in Manchester brings to mind the intriguing story of William Davidson, a Jamaican-born black

31-45 of 59 Articles