The Stair Society: Scotland’s Legal History Society

Jus feudale tribus libris comprehensum, Book 1

Stair Society Volume 64

Thomas Craig’s Jus feudale was the first comprehensive legal treatise be written in Scotland. As its title indicates, its subject is the feudal law. It is a book concerned chiefly with immovable property, with the ownership and possession of land, at a time when land was by far the most important form of property an individual could own and when the greater part of that property was still held under some form of feudal tenure.

For very practical economic reasons, the feudal law was of immense and direct importance for land-owners, tenants, and any one whose finances or business were in any way connected to the holding of heritable property.

Craig probably began writing the Jus feudale in the late 1590s and possibly revised it in 1606. The text’s importance was recognised practically as soon as it was written and it circulated among lawyers in manuscript form until it was published in 1655.

This volume is a translation and an edition of the Jus feudale. The English translation is accompanied by a facing Latin text derived from extant manuscripts and the three printed editions. Readers can compare Craig’s Latin text with Dodd’s English translation or use this new Latin edition to make their own translations.

By Thomas Craig of Riccarton, translated, edited and annotated by Leslie Dodd

Published 2017

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