‘Malice’ and Motivation for Hostility in the Burgh Courts of Late Medieval Aberdeen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the use of particular terms of art in court cases heard in the burgh of Aberdeen in the fifteenth century. ‘Malice’ is a term detectable in Aberdeen’s medieval council registers, as are some of its variants. The copious legal cases recorded in Aberdeen’s municipal registers are ripe ground for interrogation of the terminology of malice in Scotland, and in fact they demand to be put to use, given the general dearth of surviving court records from the period. It is possible to test the point by looking for evidence in the wider Aberdeen Registers Online corpus to suggest that pre-existing enmities did, in fact, colour some of the cases under consideration. One such example explains the motivation for hostility between two townsmen. More generally, an examination of malice in the urban courts of Aberdeen offers a new vantage point into the language of enmity in late medieval Scotland.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures of Law in Urban Northern Europe
Subtitle of host publicationScotland and its Neighbours c. 1350 – c. 1650
EditorsJackson W Armstrong, Edda Frankot
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429262869
ISBN (Print)9780367206802, 9780367206796
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameThemes in Medieval and Early Modern History


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