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MS precept of seisin signed by George Durie commendator of Dunfermline Abbey 1544

Identifier: Coll-1595

Scope and Contents

This Latin manuscript in ink - a 'precept of seisin' - on a single sheet of vellum is signed by George Durie and twenty-one monks, being: John Baxter, James Murcheston, Thomas Burne, James Re[?], William Burne, James Thomson, Alexander Hunman, John Spendluff, James Crethorne, John Boswell, Patrick Masoun, James Dundass, Thomas Jamesson, John Tresam, David Dundas, John Murray, Robert Hogh, Andrew Brown, Alexander Mow, Alexander Alkyn, and Thomas Lytilione

There is an early endorsement on the document stating that it is : 'Ane precepte off sesing of the Manys Place landis of Edmonstone perteining to Jhone Edmonstone of that ilk and Ewfame Wauchop his spowse'. Durie's bailies are ordered without delay to place John Edmonstone in corporeal possession of the inheritance, estate and seisin of the property. It recites the free surrender by John Edmonstone, as to the lord of the fee, by rod and staff (per fustum et baculum) as is the custom; grant in fee farm to John Edmonstone of Edmonstone and his wife Euphemia Wauchope and the longer liver in joint fee, and to their heirs male, remainder to any of John's heirs bearing the name and arms of Edmonstone, remainder to John's next lawful heirs.

Apparently the signing of a document of this type and date by all the monks of a particular abbey is a relatively unusual feature.


  • 1544


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit. This material cannot be run on Reading Room equipment.

Biographical / Historical

George Durie, born around 1496, was from 1527 until 1530 judge and executor of Arbroath Abbey. During this same period he assumed the title Commendator, in effect the Abbot, of Dunfermline Abbey. He sat in Parliament and was a Lord of Council (one of the Lords of Articles). In 1539 he was a member of the group convened by David Beaton (1494-1596) to battle heresy in Scotland, and he participated in several notable heresy trials. He was also involved in the formulation of military policy and travelled to France on government matters in 1541. He returned to France in in 1561, remaining there until 1570. He died in October 1577.

Durie is particularly remembered as an administrator, and a document - a precept of seisin - of 1 February 1544 records the transfer of possession of the 'Lie Mains of Edmonstone' to John Edmonstone of Edmonstone and his wife Euphemia Wauchope. His agents, or bailies, William Boge and John Trulle, had been authorised to give possession.

Sasine (in Scottish law), or seisin, is the delivery, or transfer of possession, of feudal property, typically land. A land proprietor might authorise his or her agent or factor to give possession of a property to someone else through a document known as a 'precept of sasine'. Over time, 'sasine' has come to refer to the deed or document recording the transfer, rather than to the transfer itself.


1 document

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by purchase in December 2014. Accession no: E2014.83.

Related Materials

Also within Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library, there are the 'Papers of the family of Don Wauchope of Edmonstone', Coll-708.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 23 April 2015
Precept of seisin (or sasine) signed by George Durie (d. 1577), Commendator of Dunfermline Abbey, granting a property to John Edmonstone of Edmonstone and his wife Euphemia Wauchope, 1544
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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