Bloodfeud, Kindred, and Government in Early Modern Scotland

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Wormald, Jenny. Past and Present 87, no. 1 (1980): 54–97.

This article is an interesting depiction of the aftermath of Anglo-Scottish conflicts, under the focus of proper retribution and the maintenance of a relationship between these two nations. Jenny Wormald provides insight into the difference in English and Scottish perspectives on the proper procedures for justice and retribution in peace-building. She delves into the contrasts and parallels between ideas of private and public justice, as well as different interpretations of violence in early modern Scotland. Wormald also builds a chronological illustration of the development of the law profession. The role and status of lawyers changed drastically throughout this period, especially in relation to creating justice in the aftermath of conflict. At first, lawyers appeared as friends and family of individuals who had had a crime committed against them, applying cultural norms of justice and common sense to their sentences of retribution. As the years went by, lawyers became more educated and versed in the Aulde Laws . Moreover, lawyers created new laws and legal systems to fit with changing cultural perceptions of justice. The change in attitudes towards feuds was a significant reason for the development of Anglo-Scottish conflict within the early modern period, and therefore a similarly significant reason for the countries’ turn towards a more peaceful union.

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