Tuesday, 4 November 2008

National Archives of Scotland loans items for British Library exhibition

The British Library in London has a new free exhibition running from 31 OCT 2008 to 1 MAR 2009 entitled Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights , which looks at the history of British democracy. Amongst the exhibits on display are four items loaned from the National Archives of Scotland.

These are (as stated on the NAS website):

1) Papal Bull of Honorius III, 'Filia Specialis', affirming the independence of the church in Scotland from any jurisdiction except that of Rome, dated 21 NOV 1218 (NAS reference RH5/3). It confirms a privilege granted to the Scottish church in 1192 by Pope Celestine III, effectively stating that neither the archbishoprics of York nor Canterbury could claim jurisdiction over its bishoprics as they were directly subject to the apostolic see.

2) ’The Ayr Manuscript’ (a volume containing transcripts of early Scottish laws etc), 14th century (ref PA5/2). The Ayr Manuscript features an act of parliament of 1318 which underlines the concern of king and parliament that law and justice be readily accessible to all.

3) A volume of statutes of Kings Robert III, James I and James III, 15th century (ref PA5/6). It includes a 1425 statute which enacted that if anyone could not afford an advocate to pursue his or her cause then the king shall provide one: an early expression of the principle of legal aid.

4) Articles of union between Scotland and England signed by Scottish and English Commissioners, 22 Jul 1706 (ref SP13/209). The Articles of Union are displayed as part of the theme of transition to modern times and the development of the centralised British state.

For more on the exhibition, visit www.bl.uk/takingliberties


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