Judicial proceeding: process of forfeiture of James Gifford of Sheriffhall

In the parliament of the most excellent prince and lord James III, by the grace of God most illustrious king of Scots, held and begun at the burgh of Edinburgh on Thursday 26 May 1485, in the presence of the supreme lord our king sitting in the seat of judgement.

On which day our sovereign lord the king sitting in parliament, his three estates being assembled and gathered, John Inglis of Langlandhill, sheriff depute of Edinburgh, put a letter of summons under the white wax and the testimonial of the great seal, the tenor of which follows:

James, by the grace of God king of Scots, to his sheriff and bailies of Edinburgh, and also our beloved Rothesay herald and John Scott, messenger, together and separately, sheriffs in that part, greeting. We command and order you that you lawfully and peremptorily summon before witnesses James Gifford of Sheriffhall, personally apprehended if you are able to have his presence, and you can safely approach him, otherwise at the lands of Sheriffhall or Horndean, and at the market crosses of our burghs of Edinburgh and Lauder, by public proclamation, so that notice of this summons may truly come to his notice, that he compear before us or our justiciar at Edinburgh in the tolbooth of the same in the next parliament to be held there on Wednesday 23 March next to come, at the hour of causes, with continuation of days, for answering to us or our justiciar in the aforesaid parliament concerning the treasonous counsel, consorting and assistance given and exhibited by him to Alexander Stewart, formerly duke of Albany, in his treasonous starting and making of war against us and our faithful lieges, invading our royal person, and for the treasonous counsel displayed by him in the sending or direction of Sir James Liddale into England, without our licence, and in the treasonous reception of Bluemantle, a pursuivant of the king of England, with treasonous muniments and writings, and concerning art and part in the treasonous delivery of our castle of Dunbar to the English, and for the treasonous dispute and warlike armed conflict in our 'field' [campo], against our authority and the flying of our banner on St Mary Magdalane's day last [22 July 1484], and in company with the said Alexander and our other traitors, against us and our kingdom, and in contemptuous lese-majesty to us, [all] made and committed by the said James, [and therefore] for undergoing justice. Intimating to the said James that whether he compears or not on the said day and at that place, with continuation of days, we our justiciar will proceed to mediate justice in the foregoing matters. And you should bring the present letters with you with due endorsement of the execution thereof, and those who were present at the execution of the same, on the said day at the same place before us, having with you testimony of the summons and the names and witnesses of your execution. Given under testimony of our great seal at Edinburgh on 15 December in the 25th year of our reign [1484].

Executed and endorsed by the said sheriff depute as follows below, which he proved in judgement by various worthy and reputable witnesses contained in the said endorsement: that is to say, on the 15th day of the month of January, I, John Inglis of Langlandhill, sheriff depute of Edinburgh, by open proclamation at the market cross of Edinburgh summoned James Gifford of Sheriffhall to answer all points and articles contained in these summons, and according to the tenor of the same before these witnesses, Alexander Hepburn of Whitsome, James Fairlie of Braid, James Aikman and various others, for the greater witnessing to this my endorsement I have affixed my signet and written with my hand. And further John Scott, sheriff in that part, proved the said summons lawfully executed according to the tenor of his endorsement by various worthy and notable witnesses contained in the said endorsement as follows below, which he proved in judgement, the tenor of which follows: On 20 January 1484 [1485], I, John Scott, sheriff in that part, travelled with these our sovereign lord's letters to the ground of Horndean, and there I summoned James Gifford of Sheriffhall to compear and answer to all points and articles contained in these our sovereign lord's letters within written according to the tenor of the same, before these witnesses, John Henderson and John Ewingson, with various others. And further on the 23rd day of the said month I travelled to the market cross of Lauder, and by open proclamation summoned the said James Gifford to compear according to the tenor of these said letters within written, before these witnesses, Alexander Lauder, bailie of the same, Sir James Thin, notary public, George of Lauder, Archibald of Lauder, with various others standing by at the time. And also the 24th day of the said month I came to Sheriffhall and made the execution similarly as is said, before these witnesses John of Cunningham, William Clerk, Thomas Baxter and William Thompson with various others and for the greater certainty I have to this my execution affixed my signet. Which citation of summons and execution being read and lawfully proved by various worthy and reputable witnesses, the said John Gifford being often called and not compearing at the lawful time of day requested [by] the order and process of continuation of the said summons heard, seen and understood at length, lawfully proved on the said day, in the name and [on] behalf of our sovereign lord the king, John the Ross of Montgreenan, as advocate to his highness, sought and requested in his name and authority and by his special command that the lords, barons and the burgh commissioners [give] their ward and judgement of parliament whether the said James Gifford had committed and done treason to our sovereign lord and his realm in the aforenoted points and articles, which lords and estates, being diligently and fully advised, awarded, found and decided that the said James Gifford had committed and undertaken open and manifest treason against our sovereign lord and his realm in all aforesaid points and articles, and thereafter it was given for doom by the mouth of John Dempster of parliament in manner and form as follows below:

This court of parliament shows for law and I give for doom that for as much as it is found by judgement of parliament that James Gifford of Sheriffhall has committed and undertaken treason against our sovereign lord the king and his realm in the treasons and crimes contained in this summons, for which he has forfeited to our sovereign lord his life, his lands, his goods, offices and all his other possessions whatever he had from our sovereign lord within the realm of Scotland, forever to remain with our sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, as property for his treason and offence, and that I give for doom etc.

  1. NAS, PA2/3, f.45r-46r. Back
  2. This act is entirely out of sequence in the acts, coming between acts of June 1483 and Feb 1484. The arrangement of the folios in this order predates Thomson's binding, as the folination is in ink, and of some antiquity (possibly 17th century). Water marks do not aid attempts to identify if any earlier folination has been lost. All the pages in the 1480s have the same mark - a crowned shield, quartered with fleur de lys and fish. The hand, although similar to that found elsewhere in the acts, seems to be of a different scribe. It is neater, and uses a different 'et' abbreviation to that used elsewhere in the period 1483-5. The acts were almost certainly placed at this point in the past due to an assumption that they were connected with the forfeitures of the duke of Albany and James Liddale of Halkerston which are found on ff.37r-44r. Back
  3. Deleted - 'endorse'. Back