With these words, over 330 years ago, the Court of Session in Edinburgh rejected slavery... But slavery still survives around the world, even in Scotland.
Welcome to the website of the Tumbling Lassie Committee - we exist to raise awareness and funds for charities fighting against modern slavery and people trafficking and to help survivors in Scotland and beyond.
If you agree with usthat slavery should belong only in the history books, please help us to support charities that are working to make that a reality.
The Fifth Tumbling Lassie Ball, Prestonfield House, Edinburgh
Saturday 28th October 2023
The Ball was a great success - an evening of glamour and fun in a superb setting that also generated an estimated £20,000 for the Tumbling Lassie charities, IJM and SOHTIS.
That figure brings total sums raised for our charities since the Tumbling Lassie appeal began in 2015 to over £100,000. None of this could have been raised without our wonderful donors and supporters, to whom we are very grateful.
Plans for next year's Ball are already under discussion and details will appear here in due course!
also on Saturday 28th October 2023
in the morning -
Tumbling Lassie Seminar, Mackenzie Building, off the High Street, Edinburgh
A half-day seminar on modern slavery and people trafficking in Scotland and elsewhere, chaired by Eric Robertson, A-D
The Tumbling Lassie Seminar 2023: "Cross Border Human Trafficking" featured a fascinating programme including a brief review from Eric Robertson, Advocate Depute on the Gombar case of sexual exploitation across borders, insights from Police Scotland's Detective Superintendant Steven Bertram (head of the Human Trafficking Unit), and a view from Lia Husarciuc who works with Intetnational Justice Mission (IJM) in Romania and beyond. Added into the mix was Joy Gillespie of SOHTIS (Survivors of Human Trafficking in Scotland) on current challenges and the Illegal Migration Bill.
A panel discussion at the close looked in more detail at the issues raised.
Donations from those who attended were added to the amount raised by the Ball.
Thanks to all who spoke and all those who came.
A further author generously adds his support to the Tumbling Lassie
July 2023 saw the publication of a fascinating new historical study touching on the relationship between Scotland and slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in the form of Richard Blake's Sugar, Slaves and High Society - The Grants of Kilgraston, 1750-1860 - recently featured on the BBC News website and in The Scotsman.
A beautifully and extensively illustrated book based on new archival research, it lays bare the hidden links between the fortunes of privileged and wealthy Scots in the Georgian and Victorian period and the terrible fates of slaves on plantations in the West Indes.
In a gesture of great generosity, and to bring modern good out of ancient evil, Richard is donating a portion of the proceeds of sales of his book to the Tumbling Lassie appeal.
The book can be purchased direct from the publisher at
The first Tumbling Lassie event since the arrival of Covid-19, the performance of the operettas Dandie Dinmont andThe Tumbling Lassieat the Queen's Hall on Sunday 10th April 2022, raised over £1,000 by way of donations from a generous and enthusiastic audience. Those donations have already been forwarded to our charities. We record here our thanks to Alexander McCall Smith, Tom Cunningham and the performance team who arranged for this excellent production to take place at no cost to the appeal. For a review go to: https://theqr.co.uk/2022/04/11/the-tumbling-lassie-dandie-dinmont-queens-hall-edinburgh/
On Thursday 15th December 2022, we were delighted to host a seminar at the Mackenzie Building, High Street, Edinburgh (by kind permission of, and generously supported by, the Faculty of Advocates), which was addressed by the Solicitor General for Scotland, Ruth Charteris KC under the title "So we have no slaves in Scotland?"
Scottish criminal justice system regularly encounters situations where
accused persons may have been trafficked and/or forced into criminality. The Solicitor General's address discussed the Crown's response
to these complex circumstances and the relative Lord Advocate's
The event was followed by a reception with mulled wine and mince pies - a first opportunity for Tumbling Lassie supporters to meet together for more than two years...
The generous donations given on the evening will be forwarded to our charities, to support their essential work.
On the evening of Wednesday 15th February 2023, at the kind invitation of the Colinton Literary Society, Alan McLean KC, Chair of the Tumbling Lassie Committee gave a talk on"The Tumbling Lassie case - its context and its modern resonances". The talk was followed by a stimulating Q&A session with the large audience. Generous cash donations given on the evening will be forwarded to our charities.
On Thursday 23rd March 2023, in conjunction with the Scottish Young Lawyers Association, we held an event at the Mackenzie Building entitled "BUT WE HAVE NO SLAVES IN SCOTLAND...", when Alan delivered his illustrated talk on the Tumbling Lassie case, its modern resonances and its inspiration of the appeal. The talk was followed by a reception with refreshments. A good and social evening produced many volunteers keen to get involved with the work of the appeal.