2017 The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in Scotland

In the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 we can celebrate the richness of Scotland’s intriguing history, impressive cultural heritage and fascinating archaeology at exciting events. We can explore ancient sites that date from the Neolithic era, uncover the history of the Scottish clans and taste whisky and local delicacies that have been hand crafted in Scotland for years. But alongside the epic landscapes, carved out by icy glaciers millennia ago, towering castles which have stood for centuries and mesmerising stories, traditions and legends having been passed down for generations, unbeknown to me  the Registers of Scotland ,the world’s oldest national register of land and property,  will celebrate its 400th anniversary this year . Wednesday 28 June 2017 will mark 400 years since the General Register of Sasines was created by the Scottish Parliament’s Registration Act 1617.

Sheenagh Adams, the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, said:

“Scotland has always been an innovative nation when it comes to the protection of land, property and the rights of the citizen. From the ancient ceremony of sasine to the development of legally-recorded sasine deeds in the 17th century-as seen in hit – Amazon prime television series Outlander-to our current position as a global leader in digital land registration, Registers of Scotland is unique.”

I wanted to know more and this is what I found out about the Registers of Scotland :

  • In 1248 the first written records of the ancient sasine ceremony were made. Transfers of property were originally by symbolic delivery, by handing over a clump of ground or a stone or similar object on the property itself and then registering the “deed of conveyance” in the local “Register of Sasine.”
  • In 1286 the first inventory and register was housed in Edinburgh Castle.
  • In 1491 there began the first records of ownership not granted by the Crown
  • In 1617 the Registration Act of the old Scots Parliament allowed individuals to have their deeds recorded in official records. The first land register in the world begins- the General Register of Sasines.
  • In 1662 the Records were moved to Parliament Hall on the Royal Mile
  • In 1765 the first purpose built record repository in the world was commissioned: Register House in Edinburgh
  • In 1868 the Land Register Scotland Act introduced reforms to the Sasine and other registers. All information relating to land and property would now be recorded in presentment books, sorted by county and held centrally in Edinburgh.
  • In 1871 search sheets were introduced to reduce the time and cost of searching and producing the registers.
  • Typewriting machines were introduced to replace handwriting on search sheets in 1921 with photocopying being introduced in 1934
  • In 1948 the Office of ‘the keeper’ was split into two bodies: the General Register Office of Scotland and the Registers of Scotland.
  • The Registers of Scotland moved from Register House to Meadowbank House in 1976
  • The Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 introduced the map-based Land Register
  • In 1981 the Land Register went live progressively replacing the General Register of Sasines, county by county.
  • Registers Direct was launched, providing online access to the Land Register in 1999
  • The last legal ceremony of sasine is performed as Glenmorangie handed over the land of St Mary’s chapel in Easter Ross to the Cadbol Trust in 2002
  • The final county is moved from the General Register of Sasines to the Land Register in 2003
  • In 2007 customers could register their title deeds online for the first time as ARTL (automatic registration of title to land) goes live
  • The Land Registration Act etc (Scotland) 2012 allowed the introduction of electronic documents, signatures and registration and the phasing out of the General Register of Sasines.
  • In 2014 Scottish ministers invite the Registers of Scotland to complete the Land Register in ten years with all public land being registered in five years.
  • In 2017 Registers of Scotland celebrates 400 years of Land Registration.

The Keeper Ms Adams has said “We are delighted to announce our programme of events for our 400th anniversary year.”

“RoS has commissioned, through an open competition , a unique piece of public art to symbolise our centuries –old commitment to serving the people of Scotland. The artwork, like our registers, will be publicly available to view and will be held for the people of Scotland.”

Posted by Sarah Ramage Trainee Residential Conveyancing paralegal

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