#RoS400 – one year to go!

Blog by Sheenagh Adams, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland.

A year today, we will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Sasine Register. Four hundred years of recording and safeguarding the rights of property owners in Scotland is a remarkable achievement. As someone with a history degree, I do like to think about what things were like in the past and how things have changed.

Back in 1617, James VI and I sat on the Scottish and English thrones. In that year, he returned to Scotland to undertake a royal progress, the only time he came back to his native land. The visit was a huge undertaking, as 5,000 people (and horses) were expected to accompany the King. I think Isla MacLeod, who is leading the work for our 400th anniversary celebrations, would have been somewhat daunted if she had had to deal with that task.


Lots was happening in the world in 1617. The Ming dynasty was in power in China; the Spanish built the San Diego fort in Acapulco to protect their empire; and in Edinburgh, Gladstone’s Land was bought and redeveloped by a prosperous Edinburgh merchant and burgess Thomas Gledstanes. No doubt he was glad of the protection offered by this new-fangled register of deeds.Things have changed so much since then, we live in a modern democratic society, where we all have the right to vote; many more people own property, life expectancy has increased dramatically; and I am very unlikely to be charged with witchcraft (which would probably have been my fate if I had bumped into King James one dark and stormy night).

Things have also changed a great deal since I joined RoS a decade ago. We are a much more efficient and customer-focussed organisation; we positively embrace change; and our business transformation is laying the foundations for our next 400 years.

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