Comedian’s recent perspective on Scotland’s “brutal and bloody” previous

SCOTLAND’S legal previous supplies inspiration for a brand new comedian e-book telling a historic story of intercourse and betrayal.

The Persecution of Jean Lands charts the conviction of Daniel Nicholson and Marion Maxwell, two lovers who plot to kill Nicholson’s spouse in order that they might be collectively.

The sensational trial, which occurred in Edinburgh in 1694, noticed the 2 accused of “infamous adultery.”

A panel from the Jean Lands comic showing the execution
The Persecution of Jean Lands

The case resurfaced by analysis by Dr Allan Kennedy following latest journeys to the Nationwide Information of Scotland, which holds the data of the Excessive Court docket of Justiciary.

Dr Kennedy, lecturer in Scottish Historical past at Dundee, mentioned: “Comics are an effective way of sharing historical past.

“As a result of the illustrations carry a lot element, the storytelling might be extremely environment friendly.

“That’s vastly necessary when attracting a unique form of viewers to that which can normally be drawn to historical past.

“This case is especially attention-grabbing as a result of it featured a cost that was fairly uncommon and moderately salacious.

“It additionally permits us to watch the social historical past of the time. Scottish historical past is commonly portrayed by the prism of a small variety of well-known occasions or figures.

“A case like this permits us to look at extra on a regular basis experiences away from huge battles or the royal court docket.

“In addition to displaying how the judicial system labored, the information I’ve accessed contact on the native economic system of Edinburgh on the time, how female and male relationships labored, and likewise the function of the church in society.

“These are fascinating insights into on a regular basis life which are typically neglected once we speak about Scottish historical past.”

The 1694 trial of Nicholson and Maxwell advanced and introduced in a 3rd suspect, Dr John Nichol, an area apothecary whose involvement within the plot noticed him charged with forgery.

Dr Kennedy found papers regarding the trial as he searched by Excessive Court docket paperwork as a part of a analysis venture.

As Advisor Editor of Historical past Scotland journal, he collaborated with colleagues at each Historical past Scotland and Dundee’s Comedian Research to carry the story to a contemporary viewers.

Dr Kennedy spent numerous hours working with the court docket archives, he says that the eye to element inside Scotland’s judicial system at the moment might shock readers.

He added: “An attention-grabbing factor from inspecting these data is that the judicial system was far more refined than we might doubtless anticipate.

“A considerable amount of care was taken in gathering proof of guilt, and acquittals weren’t unusual.

“Whereas there was undoubtedly a brutal and bloody aspect in sentencing extreme crimes, the expectation we might have in the present day of torturous punishments being handed out with little consideration just isn’t wholly correct.

“The data that had been stored from authorized proceedings are additionally very detailed, with depositions being recorded verbatim and indictments being written with vibrant and evocative language.

“It is extremely totally different from the best way legal justice up to now is commonly portrayed in in the present day’s standard media.”


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