Ragman Rolls - Encyclopedia


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RAGMAN ROLLS, the name given to the collection of instruments by which the nobility and gentry of Scotland were compelled to subscribe allegiance to Edward I. of England between the conference of Norham in May 1291 and the final award in favour of Baliol in November 1292, and again in 1296. Of the former of these records two copies were preserved in the chapterhouse at Westminster (now in the Record Office, London), and it has been printed by Rymer (Foedera, ii. 542). Another copy, preserved originally in the Tower of London, is now also in the Record Office. The latter record, containing the various acts of homage and fealty extorted by Edward from Baliol and others in the course of his progress through Scotland in the summer of 1296 and in August at the parliament of Berwick, was published by Prynne from the copy in the Tower and now in the Record Office. Both records were printed by the Bannatyne Club in 1834. The derivation of the word "ragman" has never been satisfactorily explained, but various guesses as to its meaning and a list of examples of its use for legal instruments both in England and Scotland will be found in the preface to the Bannatyne Club's volume, and in Jamieson's Scottisk Dictionary, s.v. " Ragman." The name "ragman roll" survives in the colloquial "rigmarole," a rambling, incoherent statement.

The name of "Ragman" has been sometimes confined to the record of 1296, of which an account is given in Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland preserved in the Public Record Office, London (1884), vol. ii., Introd., p. xxiv; and as to the seals see p. Iii and appendix.

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