Legal registers

Registers of sasines

An instrument of sasine (pronounced 'say-zin') is a legal document that records the transfer of ownership (usually a sale or inheritance) of a piece of land or a building. It normally details the names of the new and previous owners and will give a basic description of the property transferred. There were several attempts to start a national register of sasines in Scotland. One early attempt, the Secretary's Register, started in 1599 and ended in 1609. It is very incomplete. The full register really begins from 1617 and it runs until the present day. The General Register covered all of Scotland and the Particular Registers covered individual counties. The General Register was also used to record details of properties that were spread over more than one county. Royal burghs kept their own registers of sasines.

Particular registers and burgh registers

poser 343 - Register of Sasines for Glasgow, 1654-1656
poser 346 - Secretary Register of Sasines for Perthshire, 17th century

Registers of deeds

A deed is a legal agreement, obligation or other document registered with a court. This is sometimes done for safekeeping but is more usually done to establish the basis of a legal right before proceeding to a related legal action. In registering the deed, the person presenting it paid a fee to a court clerk, who copied the document into the register and then kept the original document. This original document was called the warrant. Most of Scotland's national and local civil courts kept registers of deeds. The largest register of deeds consists of volumes containing deeds recorded by the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland, and the these are often referred to as the 'books of Council and Session'. The series commenced in 1554 and was based at Edinburgh. The register contains contracts and other obligations such as sales of contracts, dispositions of heritable property, marriage settlements, bonds, shipping agreements, building contracts and occasionally some apprenticeship agreements.

poser 344 - Bond from Register of Deeds, 1686
poser 345 - Bond from Register of Deeds, 1686
poser 356 - Deed from bailliary court of Cunninghame, 1698

Help on other websites

For more information see the guide to court and legal records on the National Records of Scotland website.

Posers arranged by type

Go to other posers arranged by type of record.

Posers arranged by date

Go to posers arranged by date.