Register of Hornings

This register was used for the recording of documents issued by the court against debtors who had not fulfilled their financial obligations.

Letters of horning were abolished by the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987, effectively ending the use of this register. Its functions have been superseded by the Register of Inhibitions.

The register's unusual name derives from the old practice of putting a debtor "to the horn". This involved a messenger-at-arms reading letters of horning publicly, blowing three blasts of his horn, and denouncing the debtor as an outlaw.

Letters of horning would be affixed to the market cross of the burgh where the debtor lived. In Edinburgh, this ceremony was performed at the Grassmarket or the market cross that once stood in the Shore area of Leith.


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