Orkney Islands Council
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Keeper of Registers of Scotland visits Archive after tweet about oldest document

Keeper of Registers of Scotland visits Archive after tweet about oldest document
26 September 2018

The Council's Orkney Library and Archive team have been in the news again - this time for their tweet about an item in their care which documents the selling of a piece of land for 'five crowns/krona and two ky' (cattle) in 1402.

The document - a Disposition dated 16th Feb 1402, by Andro and Jonet Malking of ½ penny land in Wasbuster in Holm to John Mason,  for ‘fyve cronis of vsuale mone of Skotland and twa ky’ (five crowns/krona of usual money of Scotland and two cattle) - is so old it predates the oldest register of land transactions in Scotland (which itself is the oldest in the world) held by the Registers of Scotland.

The team's tweet, originally posted in August, caught the interest of the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, Jennifer Henderson - she dropped into the Orkney Library and Archive to see the document for herself yesterday (25 September).

The story has featured on BBC Radio Orkney's 'Around Orkney' programme this morning (September 26) and on the BBC Scotland website.

View the original tweet by the Orkney Library and Archive, which has attracted more than 7,100 likes and has been retweeted over 3,800 times.

Registers of Scotland (RoS) looks after 20 public registers relating to land, property and other legal documents in Scotland, including the oldest national land register in the world, the 400-year-old General Register of Sasines. The document featured in the Orkney Library and Archive tweet far outdates this.

RoS is currently digitising centuries of land and property archives and has a launched a campaign – ‘Ayr to Zetland’ to keep the public informed of this and the wider work of the organisation. Find out more by visiting the Registers of Scotland website.

The Orkney Library and Archive has been providing books and more since 1683. Their twitter feed @OrkneyLibrary has almost 60k followers. The Archive collection, established in 1973, contains 1200 collections containing over 100,000 items of local heritage and interest – the oldest is believed to be a Disposition by Andro and Jonet Malking of ½ penny land in Wasbuster in Holm to John Mason, dated 16th Feb 1402.