Crime and Punishment in Early-Modern Scotland: The Secular Courts of Restoration Argyllshire, 1660-1688

Allan Douglas Kennedy


The study of crime in early-modern Scotland remains under-developed, some strong local and thematic studies notwithstanding, and Scottish historians have not so far been able properly to assimilate the theoretical and methodological advances pioneered by scholars working on other jurisdictions, particularly England. This article seeks to begin addressing that gap through a detailed micro-study of crime and its punishment in Argyllshire during the Restoration (1660-88), rooted in systematic analysis of surviving court records. The results add weight to the growing historiographical evidence against traditional notions of a stark Highland/Lowland divide in the seventeenth century, while also outlining patterns of secular criminality and criminal justice which could form the basis of further research.

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