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Abstracts of Protocols of the Town Clerks of Glasgow, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

Abstracts of Protocols of the Town Clerks of Glasgow, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Abstracts of Protocols of the Town Clerks of Glasgow, Vol. 1

The Protocol Book of Cuthbert Simson, published by the Grampian Club twenty years ago, has to some extent familiarised students of local history with the general characteristics of the class of records to which it belongs. But while all the protocol books of notaries officiating in this country possess features in common, their distinctive peculiarities vary with the sphere in which the notary exercised his vocation. Simson was chapter clerk of Glasgow at a time when the ancient church was powerful in the land. He had a large share, if not a monopoly, of the notarial business which the Glasgow clerics had at their disposal, and, accordingly, in his register are to be found not only particulars regarding properties throughout the diocese, but also accounts of proceedings against heretics and other transgressors of ecclesiastical law, together with references to the various matters coming under the wide jurisdiction of the consistorial court. Contrasted with this extensive range of subjects, the Protocols now introduced to the notice of the public deal with matters comprehended within narrow limits, being confined almost exclusively to transfers of property in Glasgow and the western shires; but still the stores of topographical and genealogical information which they contain are such that their publication will doubtless be welcomed by investigators into these branches of knowledge.

Outside legal and archaeological circles so little is known concerning Notaries and their Protocols that it has been thought desirable to give a brief outline of their history.

Under the Roman system of jurisprudence, Public Notaries, or Tabellions, as they were otherwise designated, were erected into a school or college, governed by a superior officer holding commission from the Emperor, and care was taken that none should be admitted into the body except those who were of good fame and skilful in the laws. The members were employed in preparing agreements and forming public instruments regarding them, which were treated as probative and entitled to receive legal effect; and they also formed the acts and judicial proceedings of the courts of law.

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