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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


370 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Moultray?s HilL of the realm have been open to all genuine scholars. Another result of his tenure of office has been the publication of a series of documents and works of the utmost value to students of Scottish historythe completion of the Acts of Parliament begun by Thomas Thomson and finished by Cosmo Innes, the Treasurer?s accounts of the time of Tames IV,, the Exchequer Rolls, &c. No person sleeps in any part of the building generally, the whole being allotted to public purposes only. In the sunk storey under the dome, when the house was built, four furnaces were constructed, from each of which proceeded a flue in a spiral direction, under the pavement of the dome, for the purpose of securing the records from damp. Among other offices under the same roof are the Privy Seal, the Lord Keeper of which was, in 1879, the Marquis of Lothian; the signet officer; the Register of Deeds and Protests ; and the Sasine Office, in the large central front room up-stairs, where a numerous staff of clerks are daily at work, under the Keeper of the General Register and his five assistant-keepers. The Register of Sashes, the corner-stone of the Scottish system of registration, was instituted in 1617. It had, however, been preceded by another record, called the Secretary?s Register, which existed for a short period, being instituted in 1599, but abolished in 1609, and was under the Scottish Secretary of State, and is thus referred to by Robertson in his Index of Missing Charters,? I798 :- ?The Secretary?s Register, as it is called, was the first attempt to introduce our most useful record, that of sasines. But having been committed to the superintendence of the Secretary of State instead of the Lord Clerk Register, and most of the books having remained concealed, and many of them having been lost in consequence of their not being made transmissible to public custody, the institution became useless, and was abolished by Act of Parliament, The Register of Sxsines in its present form was instituted in the month of June, 1617.? In the register of this office the whole land writs of Scotland are recorded, and the correctness of it is essential to the validity of title. To it all men go to ascertain the burdens that affect land, and the whole of such registration is now concentrated in Edinburgh. In 1876 the fees of the sasine office amounted to ~30,000, and theexpensewas AI 7,000, leaving a profit to the Treasury of &13,000. In a part of the general register house is the ofice of the Lyon King-of-arms. , This offiqe is one of high rank and great antiquity, his station n Scotland being precisely similar to that of the ;arter King in England; and at the coronation )f George ,111. the Lord Lyon walked abreast with the former, immediately preceding the Lord ;reat Chaniberlain, Though heraldry now is little mown as a science, and acquaintance with it s, singular to say, not necessary in the Lyon Office, n feudal times the post of a Scottish herald was ield of the utmost importance, and the inauguration 3f the king-at-arms was the mimicry of a royal me, save that the unction was made with wine nstead of oil. In ?? The order of combats for life,? ordained by lames I. of Scotland in the early part of the fifteenth :entury, the places assigned for the ? King-of-Arms, Heraulds, and other officers,? are to be settled by :he Lord High Constable. In 1513 James IV. jent the Lyon King with his defiance to Henry VIII., then in France, and the following year he went to Pans with letters for the Duke of Albany. kcompanied by two heralds he went to Paris igain in 1558, to be present at the coronation of Francis and Mary as King and Queen of Scotland. Of old, and before the College of Arms was .econstructed, and the office of Lord Lyon abolished iy a recent Act of Parliament, it consisted of the ollowing members ;- The Lord Lyon King-oFAms. The Lyon-Depute. Rothesay. Kintyre. Marchmont. Dingwall. Albany. Unicorn. Ross. Bute. Snowdon. Carrick. Islay. Ormond. Heralds. Pursuivants. 3ix trumpeters ; a Lyon Clerk and Keeper of Records, with lis deputy; a Procurator Fiscal, hiacer, and Herald Painter. According to the ? Montrose Peerage? case in t 850 there would appear to have been, about 1488, mother official known as the ?? Montrose Herald,? Zonnected in some manner with the dukedom of 3ld Montrose. By Acts of Parliament passed in the reign of James VI. the Lyon King was to hold two zourts in the year at Edinburgh-on the 6th of May and 6th of November. Also, he, with his heralds, was empowered to take special supervision of all arms used by nobles and gentlemen, to matriculate them in their books, and inhibit such as had no right to heraldic cognisances, ?under the pain of escheating the thing whereupon the said arms are found to the king, and of one hundred pounds to the Lyon and his brethren, or of imprisonment during the Lyon?s pleasure.? ,
Volume 2 Page 369
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