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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Lords and Vassals in Medieval Scotland (LAWS10186)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore the creation of the Scots common law in the middle ages and the components that made it up with a special focus on the development of feus and feudal law, though paying attention to royal institutions.
Course description The course will consider the background to the 'feudalization' of Scotland, reflecting on Celtic institutions and their survival, before considering such 'feudalization' in the light of the work of Reynolds and MacQueen. The introduction of Anglo-Norman institutions and structures of government will be assessed, reflecting on their impact on the law, and how they moved to create a Scots common law. Consideration will be given to royal courts, baronial, and feudal courts, Parliament and the impact of the English Conquest and the Wars on Independence, as well as on the role of the Church and its laws. Students will understand why feudal tenures and structures were introduced, how they were introduced, and their impact on Scottish society and Scots law, developing a critical understanding of and insight into the origins of Scottish law and governmental practice in the later middle ages.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a comparative knowledge of the position of Lords and Vassals in Medieval Scotland and of the complex history and law surrounding them.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to research and write about historical legal source and secondary material in a thoughtful and critical way.
  3. Consolidate and develop writing skills through the production of essays.
  4. Have consolidated their ability to reflect and to consider historical and legal material, and have expanded their skills in critical reasoning.
Reading List
Susan Reynolds, Fiefs and vassals: the medieval evidence reinterpreted (OUP, 1994)
H.L. MacQueen, Common Law and Feudal Society in Medieval Scotland (EUP)
GWS Barrow, The Anglo-Norman Era in Scottish History (1980)
Atlas of Scottish history to 1707 (1996)
C J Neville, Land, Law and People in Medieval Scotland (EUP 2010)
Alice Taylor, The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1100-1290 (OUP 2015)

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsLords,Vassals,Medieval Scotland,Legal History,Lords
Course organiserDr Andrew Simpson
Tel: (0131 6)50 2329
Course secretaryMiss Chloe Culross
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