Diane Baptie Picture by SeeSawPhotos: Gairloch Village and Baosbheinn (Hill of the Wizard), Wester Ross, Scotland.

Property Records

Landholding was feudal until 2000, when feu holding was abolished.  Up until then, changes of ownership of land were recorded in Registers of Sasines,  now replaced by a Land Register.

Sources prior to 1617

  • Register of the Great Seal (printed to 1668, thereafter typescript indexes exist)
  • Protocol Books (records kept by notaries which predate the Sasine Registers – see below)
  • Register of the Privy Seal (printed to 1584)
  • Calendar of Charters (1142-1600)
  • Register of Signatures (1607-1847)
  • Papers of Landowners

Post 1617

  • Sasines before 1781 – there are Particular Registers for each county and a General Register covering the whole of Scotland which began in 1617, following on a brief experimental period between 1599 and 1609 called the Secretary’s Register. Some counties have complete indexes up to 1781, while others can be sporadic or non-existent. There are Minute Books which generally fill the gaps
  • Sasines after 1781 – there are Abridgements with Persons and Places Indexes for all counties which lead to the actual sasines
  • Royal Burghs kept their own Registers of Sasines involving property within their bounds. Some of these are held in local archives
  • Retours and Services of Heirs – records of heirs succeeding to property held directly from the Crown. Retours exist from 1545-1699 and Services of Heirs from 1700 onwards. They are in Latin until 1847
  • Register of Tailzies (Entails from 1688)
  • Valuation Rolls – before 1855, they are sporadic, but after 1855, there is a continuous run. These name the owner of the property, the tenant and occupier. They are in the process of being indexed and digitized and some midway between the censuses are available on the ScotlandsPeople site


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