Stair Society Volume 58
The title of this collection indicates a different substance than the title of the first study of them, Lord Cooper's Register of Brieves, 1286-1386 (Stair Society, vol 10, 1946), prepared in wartime when access to records and manuscripts was severely limited.
There are many brieves in the present collection the styles of which (and the accounts given of them in such treatises as Regiam Majestatem and Quoniam Attachiamenta) are amply borne out as practical realities by other sources, mostly of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But there are also many texts which would have little, some no, relevance to any action at law.
The formularies are as much a political as a legal register, from a period when parliamentary acts were to acquire the force of statutes and gradually to displace the auld laws. The six manuscripts from which the formulary parts are edited here range in date from the fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries. They are a rich source for the socio-economic and political as much as the legal history of Scotland, throwing invaluable light on the mechanisms of diplomacy and trade.
To Professor Duncan's introductory matter and annotations is added a short but specifically legal commentary by the Society's Literary Director, to provide further context for the formularies as a whole, and to expand upon their significance as a source for the legal history of Scotland.