The Convention of  

 The Baronage of Scotland 


Feudal Government

To administer these barons, and the country as a whole, three great offices of state were established. The Chancellor was principal officer and responsible for administration of the government and the law. The Chamberlain was responsible for finance, including taxation and the Constable was responsible for the King's peace.

To assist them were Justiciars who dealt administration, the supervision of sheriffs and with serious crime - the pleas of the Crown, fire-raising, robbery, murder and rape. These were powerful, almost vice-regal offices. Initially there was one for the North and one for the South but by Robert the Bruce’s time there were five.

The sheriff had overall military, civil and criminal jurisdictions with the exception of pleas of the Crown for his appointed shire. For instance in 1292 , shortly after Argyll and the Isles were incorporated into Scotland at the Treaty of Perth, Argyll was created a shire. Alasdair of Argyll, Lord of Lorn, 4th Chief of McDougall and the representative of the old dynasty of Somerled was made sheriff.

To encourage trade David I also granted charters establishing burghs. Burghs were centres of administration and were granted trade privileges such as a market or fair. Burgh courts soon emerged dealing with civil and petty criminal matters.