About the Book
Three huge iron chests lay locked in the office of a law firm, their ancient mechanisms jealously guarding secrets of Scotland’s past. No one had seen inside the chests for over a century or knew what they contained. When the bolts were finally opened, the artefacts contained in these chests revealed more than anyone had expected.
From early monasteries to the digital age, from Robert the Bruce to Adam Smith, from Jacobite search warrants to twins switched at birth, the lost material from these archives has enabled us to reconstruct the lives and times of some of the most romantic, bizarre, heroic and villainous characters to brush shoulders with the law. Their stories reveal very human expressions of the inner conflicts of Empire, Enlightenment, industrialisation and democratisation.
No profession is better placed than the law to track the trials and tribulations of social change, nor is any so closely involved with the outcome of disputes in which people grapple with their own loyalties, sensibilities and sexualities. Pivoting between popes, plots, prime ministers and prime suspects, this kaleidoscopic tour of Scotland’s past may change our perception of the present.