Scotland, January 1512 CE. This is vellum document called an instrument of sasine (pronounced "say-zin" and in a Scottish accent), which is a legal document to record the transfer of ownership of land or buildings. The sasine is an ancient legal document, dating back to at least the 14th century. This particular one is from James Edmondston to Alexander Stuart, who was the Archbishop of St Andrews, the most important bishopric in Scotland; he was also the Commendator of Dunfermline Monastery, which was a large Benedictine abbey that, prior to the Scottish Reformation in 1560, was immensely wealthy and powerful in Scotland. The land in question is Edmondston, southeast of Edinburgh, in the Borders, and James Edmondston was one of a long line of Edmondstons (many of them also named James) whose names appear commonly in the Register of Sasines. Alexander Stuart is quite an interesting fellow - his last name might have tipped off keen fans of Scottish (and English) history - because he was one of King James IV's illegitimate children by mistress Marion Boyd. Unable to inherit, he was groomed for a life in the church, with an excellent education that included time in France, the Low Countries, and Italy. In the latter, he studied Greek under Erasmus. At age 17, he became Lord Chancellor of Scotland and Archbishop of St Andrews, but, unfortunately, a year after this letter was written, he died at the age of 20 in the Battle of Flodden. Size: 13.25" W x 11" H (33.7 cm x 27.9 cm)
Provenance: Ex-Bastiaan collection, acquired at Artemis Gallery in 2004
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