400th anniversary

2017 is another big one for Scotland — featuring the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology festivities — but it’s also a landmark year for the Registers of Scotland. In 2017, we’re celebrating a mammoth 400 years of the world’s oldest national land register, the General Register of Sasines.

400th anniversary commemorative booklet

On 28 June 2017, Registers of Scotland (RoS) mark 400 years of the General Register of Sasines, the oldest national land register in the world. Created by the 1617 Registration Act of the old Scots Parliament, the sasine register allowed individuals to have their deeds recorded in official registers, and RoS and the sasine register have underpinned the Scottish property market, and overall economy, ever since.

To mark this momentous occasion, we’ve brought together the stories, people and projects that have characterised Scottish land registration over the last 400 years, to create this commemorative book. Read on to find out more about RoS, from the world’s first purpose-built records repository, to how we’re revolutionising land registration in Scotland through our dramatic digital transformation.

400th anniversary commemorative booklet

What is the General Register of Sasines?

This ancient document — also known as the ‘sasine register’ — is the first ever national public register of property ownership rights. Dating back to 1617 and the Registration Act of the old Scots Parliament, it is a chronological list of land transaction deeds which contain written descriptions of what the ownership covers.

How are we celebrating 400 years?

We’re in the middle of a year-long series of events and partnerships marking the momentous 400th anniversary. Recently staff and stakeholders helped raise over £4000 for Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland with a charity golf tournament, and planning continues as we get set to host the highlight of the global land registry calendar, the Registrars of Title Conference (ROTC).

Happening in October, ROTC is an invite-only event for land registrars across the globe, we’ll be hosting #ROTC2017 in Edinburgh which — fittingly — is not only the home of our modern offices but also of Edinburgh Castle, which housed the first thirteenth-century inventories.

We have also sponsored a Masters in research at the University of Glasgow. Read more about Michael Arthur, the student who won the scholarship and his project supervisor Dr Jill Robbie on our blog insideRoS.

How can you get involved?

We are sharing snaps and stories on our social media channels using the hashtag #RoS400. We’d love you to join in whether that’s by asking us questions about our history through Twitter, watching our fun videos on YouTube or sharing our updates with your own friends on Facebook or LinkedIn.

We’ve also just completed a video and blog series, ‘On our registers’ where we go behind the scenes of some of Scotland’s most historic buildings using the world’s oldest national land register, the General Register of Sasines, to piece the story together. You can catch up on all four, starting with a fascinating look at one of Scotland’s earliest castles, Aberdour Castle in Fife.

RoS400 on YouTube

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On our registers: Huntingtower Castle

Blog by Sally Pentecost, Medieval History undergraduate at The University of Edinburgh

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On our registers: Stanley Mills

Blog by Laura Brown, Social Media Manager at RoS

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Teeing off for charity! Q&A with Paris Steele

Blog by Julie Grant, Communications Officer at RoS

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