The Historical Journal



a1 University of Sydney


French naturalization of the Scots appears to have evolved from lands granted to individual Scots by Charles VII during the Hundred Years War, and it would seem that the libertas testandi associated with these grants in the fifteenth century was an early form of what were later called lettres de naturalité in the sixteenth century. French naturalization was granted not only to individual Scots but to all Scottish subjects by certain French monarchs from Charles VII to Louis XIV and had its origins in the ‘Auld Alliance’, as the Scots referred to their relationship with France, and the establishment of the garde écossaise by Charles VII in 1445. The sixteenth century saw a continuation of Scottish military service to the kings of France as well as a continuation of grants of lands, pensions, titles and privileges accorded by grateful French monarchs to Scottish soldiers in the main, but other Scots as well, many of whom were, and others who became by letters patent of naturalization, loyal subjects of the king of France.


1 This paper was first presented at the Australasian Historians of Medieval and Early Modern Europe Conference at the University of Adelaide in September 1991. Subsequently, it has been critically read by Professor Hector MacQueen and Dr David Sellar, Senior Lecturers in Private Law, Old College, University of Edinburgh, and I am grateful for their useful and judicial comments. I would also like to thank Dr Bernadette Masters, Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, Department of French Studies, University of Sydney, for her meticulous editing, especially of the French documents. I am equally grateful for financial support from the Eleanor Sophia Wood Travelling Fellowship at Sydney University and to the Sir Robert Menzies Centre at London University, for research funding during my tenure as Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, which enabled me to prepare this paper for publication. I am also grateful for the help given me over a period of ten years by the late M. Michel Bouille, chef d'études documentaires at the Archives Nationales, Paris. He is already sadly missed.