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Punishing the Dead?$
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R. A. Houston

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586424

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586424.001.0001

Forfeiture in Scotland

Chapter:
(p.30) 1 Forfeiture in Scotland
Source:
Punishing the Dead?
Author(s):

R. A. Houston (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586424.003.0002

Suicide was a crime punishable by forfeiture of goods to the crown and fiscal sources provide the best sources for analysing Scottish suicide. After assessing how other European countries enforced this punishment, the law and practice of forfeiture are explained. The crown in Scotland used forfeiture as an instrument of government by personal lordship, drawing suicide survivors into a relationship based on gifting and gratitude. The chapter covers formal and informal means of handling the often problematic aftermath of suicide. Topics covered include the law of forfeiture, its geography, how violent suicide was, and the financial effects on survivors. The chapter focuses on 1550–‐1700 and offers reasons for the rise and fall of suicide forfeiture that shed light on many social, legal, and political developments.

Keywords:   Scotland, suicide, finance, lordship, gift, violence, government, society, law, regions

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