Writers to the signet: Estimates of adult mortality in scotland from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century

R. A. Houston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Summary: Using a methodology previously applied to advocates, this article looks at the adult life expectancy of another group of Scottish lawyers, Writers to the Signet (WS). The mortality of WS fell decisively in the early eighteenth century. The social origins and living conditions of the WS are discussed and two conclusions drawn. First, improvements in mortality were not related to any significant change in hygiene, housing, or diet. Secondly, the lifestyle of WS probably typified that of Scotland's middling ranks and their demographic experience was likely to have been representative of the population at large. Comparisons are drawn with English and Continental data and the implications for understanding the course of population change in eighteenth-century Scotland are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-53
Number of pages17
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1995

Keywords

  • Demography
  • Lawyers
  • Mortality rates
  • Scotland

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