Alva Collection


Alva Collection


This collection comprises 379 volumes from the library of James Erskine, Lord Barjarg, who later used the judicial title Lord Alva (1732-1796). Most of the books are continental law books of the 16th and the 17th century, with the some 18th-century items as well. Many of them belonged to his father, Charles Areskine [Erskine], Lord Tinwald (1680-1763), and contain his bookplate. Both Erskines had prominent roles in the Scottish legal system. Charles's long career as judge and MP led to him becoming Lord of Session and then Lord Justice Clerk; James Erskine was appointed judge of the Court of Session in 1761. On his death in 1796 the family library passed to his grandson, James Erskine of Aberdona (born 1787). Erskine of Aberdona was less interested in maintaining the family legal collection, particularly as the books were now out of date for legal practice. The books ended up in the Dollar Institution (later Dollar Academy), as from 1826 onwards Erskine of Aberdona was a Trustee of the school and he may have donated the books.


The books have been catalogued individually and have the shelfmark 'Alva.'.


In 1927 the Trustees of Dollar Academy presented the collection to the Library and also 258 legal books to the Advocates Library.

Related collections

The books in the Advocates Library are in the online catalogue of the Advocates Library.


'Charles Areskine's library: lawyers and their books at the dawn of the Scottish enlightenment', K Baston, Leiden, 2016.

Online resources

Advocates Library Alva collection