Collection MS 90 - Calendars of Confirmation

Identity area

Reference code

MS 90


Calendars of Confirmation


  • 1876-1936 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

77 Items

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

At the Reformation of 1560, the system of consistorial courts where the bishops exercised their civil jurisdiction over executry and matrimonial cases, broke down. This led to such confusion that the commissary courts were re-established between 1564 and 1566. The new system of commissary courts lasted until 1823 when all inferior commissary courts were abolished and their business transferred to the sheriff courts. The principal commissary court at Edinburgh had general jurisdiction over the whole of Scotland and local jurisdiction over the Lothians, Peebles and part of Stirlingshire, the two latter areas being later removed. In 1836 the commissary court of Edinburgh was abolished and its powers and jurisdiction were transferred to the sheriff court. The commissary courts were finally abolished completely and their functions taken over by the sheriff courts in 1876. The office of commissary clerk of Edinburgh was retained, however, and the sheriff court of Edinburgh remained the proper forum for the confirmation of testaments of persons dying outside Scotland possessed of moveable estate there. It had exclusive jurisdiction in cases of a strictly consistorial nature, such as marriage, divorce, separation and legitimacy and in the confirmation of testaments of all persons dying outside Scotland, with or without any fixed domicile, who had moveable estate in Scotland. The court had the right of review of inferior commissaries throughout Scotland although appeals were usually made direct to the Court of Session, which also had right of review of the decisions of the principal commissary court. Source:

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Calendars giving the name and address of the deceased, date and place of death, testate or intestate, date and place of confirmation or granting of probate, names of executors or next of kin, value of estate.


Not expected

System of arrangement

Usually chronological within series.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act (2018), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, 2018) and any other relevant legislation or restrictions. Clinical information is closed for 100 years.

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges may be made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply; please check with the Duty Archivist.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Bound volumes

Finding aids

Descriptive list

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area


[On indefinite loan from the Scottish Record Office.]

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Description control area

Description identifier

MS 90

Rules and/or conventions used

Description compiled in line with the following standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) General International Standard Archival Description; International Council on Archives, ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997



Dates of creation revision deletion


  • English



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