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Noble Power in Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution$
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Keith M Brown

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612987

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612987.001.0001

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(p.89) Chapter 4 Magistrates
Noble Power in Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution

Keith M. Brown

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses Scottish nobility which exercised private justice. It notes that private jurisdiction was less common and less powerful in Sweden, Castile, northern Italy, and England, but even in England the veneer of royal authority concealed the reality of huge fiefdoms dominated by a handful of magnate families like the earls of Derby in the northwest of the kingdom. It further notes that late medieval Scotland developed a system of courts and law that ultimately derived authority from the crown creating a pronounced legal culture that should not be underestimated. It further adds that another legacy of the late medieval era was that as a consequence of warfare, particularly in the fourteenth century, local government was largely in the hereditary hands of the nobility.

Keywords:   Scottish nobility, private justice, England, royal authority, earls of Derby, courts, law, medieval era, warfare

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