(395) HALLOWEEN NEWS: BARON COURT OF PRESTOUNGRANGE PARDONS WITCHES: TRICK OR TREAT?
HALLOWEEN NEWS: BARON COURT OF PRESTOUNGRANGE PARDONS WITCHES: TRICK OR TREAT?
Scots Law News No 366 drew attention to the activities of the baron court of Prestoungrange and Delphinton which are occurring despite – or perhaps because of – the impending destruction of barony tenure and any vestigial barony jurisdiction by the coming into force on 28 November 2004 of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000. The court has got into the news again – or at least into the Edinburgh Evening News for 28 October 2004 – by announcing its intention to pardon 81 East Lothian persons convicted of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries. The pardoning ceremony will take place at the Gothenburg pub in Prestonpans on Halloween (31 October). It does not seem to be clear, however, whether or not the court originally convicted the unfortunate witches, or whether a baron had or has powers to grant pardons for any crime. The Evening News illustrated the story with a picture of the Wicked Witch of the East from The Wizard of Oz – possibly a cunning pun of some kind on the fact that the baron, Dr Gordon Prestoungrange, is currently at his winter HQ in Queensland. Or is Scots Law News being too smart for its seven-league boots here?
A reminder of the Prestoungrange court’s cyberfeudalsim” website: www.prestoungrange.org/prestoungrange/index.html.