Glossary of Terms used in the database



























For any terms not included here see Dictionary of the Scots Language



An abstract or abridgment. A term used in adjudication and sequestration.


A decision by the court in favour of the defender or defendant.


Garments or clothing; also accoutrements, arms.


Sc. Law. The remission of a debt without payment; a verbal release of a verbal agreement.

act salvo jure cujuslibet

Literally ‘act saving the right of anyone’, instituted to protect the rights of individuals against private legislation, ratifications, etc.


Sc. Law. The legal seizure, or judicial conveyance of the debtor’s estate, for the creditor’s security and payment.


Sc. Law. Collateral proof or evidence.


Sc. Law. The calling of an action before a superior court, either for further procedure or that the judgment might be reviewed. Also, the right of presenting a nominee to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice, equivalent to the English ‘advowson’.


Maintenance or support claimed from another, to which they are legally entitled by law.


The endowment or revenues of a particular altar; the right to these on the part of an ecclesiastic.


Sc. Law. A pecuniary penalty or fine, which a judge has power to impose on litigants in a civil cause.


To omit, to lose or to relinquish rights on failure to meet obligations.


With respect or reference to; in regard or relating to; concerning, about.

annat (ann)

The first half-year’s income of a benefice legally due to the executors of ministers, over and above what was due to the minister himself for his incumbency. In plural ‘annates’, also the first year’s revenue of a see formerly paid to the Pope.


An appendage or appurtenance, chiefly land. See also connex.


Interest on money lent, chiefly (though not always) paid from the yearly rent out of land.


The valuation of poinded goods.


The valuation or estimated worth, often of land to pay debts. In Sc. Law, also the sentence of a sheriff by which the heritable rights belonging to the debtor were sold for payment of the debt due to the appriser.


The seizure or apprehending by legal authority, often of debts, or property in lieu of, via a third party.


As in ‘arriage and carriage’ in Scots feudal service. A term used to signify services by horses, or carriage by horses, due by a tenant to his landlord.


Sc. Law. A lease, the act of letting or leasing.


Legal assignment, the conveyance to another of one’s rights in moveable property, or one’s claim for debts, or rights in land which is leased.


Sc. Law. A juror.


To bind by legal or moral obligation, frequently in the phrase ‘astricted multures’.


Sc. Law. A person who transmits by disposition inter vivos a feudal right to another; also forerunner or ancestor.


A duty or impost on goods; a charge additional to the freight.


Sc. Law. Consideration of a case out of court, prior to pronouncing a judgment.

avoir du pois

The name of a particular kind of weight, in distinction from the Troy weight.

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Sc. Law. A document acknowledging that the party receiving or holding title does so in trust for a specific purpose and must account to the grantee when the purpose is served. Also, a deed attaching a qualification or condition to the terms of a conveyance or other instrument.


Sc. Law. A tack connected with wadsets, whereby the actual possession of the wadset lands was continued, or returned, to the proprietor or reverser, on payment of a rent corresponding to the interest of the loan.

balk or bauk

A ridge or unploughed strip lying between two portions of ploughed land.


As payment, a small quantity of meal, oats, barley or peas (sufficient to make a bannock) due to the servant of a mill from those who use it or are thirled thereto.


A small ship propelled by oars or sails, a barque.


A pauper or licensed beggar; one who prays for another, especially one receiving alms from the king to pray for his welfare; often an inmate of a hospital or almshouse.


A kind of barley hardier than the ordinary kind but of inferior quality.

bell custom

A custom duty applied to the upkeep of a bell.


The subsidiary buildings on an estate; a cluster of houses, a hamlet.


A large rowing boat or barge used in the West Highlands.


Sc. Law. As applied to holding of the land, free or involving payment of a merely nominal rent, as in blench ferm.


Guiltiness of, or liability to a penalty for, bloodshed; an action against a person for bloodshed.


A measure of capacity for grain, malt, salt, etc., or of weight, varying for different commodities and in different localities.


A birth certificate.


A custodian of the box belonging to a guild or corporation; a treasurer.


The (steep or sloping) bank of a river or lake or shore of the sea; a steep slope rising from water.


Tallow handed over as a tax on private brewing.


Sc. Law. A legal writ, an official document.


To have or enjoy possession of, frequently of lands.


A particular kind of cargo-vessel or fishing-vessel; a buss.


A ridge or strip of ploughed land; a piece of ground, which in ploughing does not form a proper ridge, but is excluded as an angle.

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An itinerant dealer, hawker or carrier of goods.


A stretch of paving; the paved part of a street, usually cobbled.


Legal arrest or apprehension; a warrant for arrest.


To make void, render ineffective, annul or disable.

casualty or casuality

Sc. Law. A casual charge or payment exacted by a superior from a vassal in feudal times in certain contingencies.


A damhead; a weir or dam to divert water for a mill.


Sc. Law. Security, bail.


Sc. Law. The person who becomes security, a surety.


One who cedes or assigns property to another.


An assessment tax or levy, originally from land; see also valued rent.


One to whom a cession (surrender) of property is made.


A measure of capacity for grain, malt, lime, coal, etc. The chalder of grain contained sixteen bolls.


A male sheep imperfectly developed in the genitals, which causes it to desire and chase ewes.


Sc. Law. To reject as being legally invalid; to declare or claim (the term for leading a proof) to be elapsed.


A claim against a holder of property.

clare constat

Sc. Law. A deed executed by a subject superior, for the purpose of completing the title of his vassal’s heir to the lands held by the deceased heir, under the granter of the precept.


A coal-working, coal-pit.


A name given in the 17th and 18th centuries in Ireland, and subsequently in some British colonies and possessions, to the Spanish dollar or ‘piece of eight’.


The distinctive seal of the custom house, or a document sealed with this and delivered to a merchant as evidence of having satisfied the requirements of the customs.


That part of the royal revenue derived from the collection of the thirds of benefices.


A commissary; a delegate or representative, especially one having an official position.


A common land, often with the right of pasturage.


Sc. Law. To appear in court as a party to a cause either in person or by counsel.


To come to an agreement (with another for something); to compound or settle a matter by making payment or otherwise.


To value, appraise; also the seizure of goods of a debtor.


To agree upon; to settle, arrange.


Sc. Law. A compulsory instrument or act; anything which compels.


Sc. Law. An appurtenance; an item of property connected with another. Always used in conjunction with annex.


Acquisition, especially of property; property acquired (in contrast to inherited).


Consigning, delivery; specifically the depositing of money or the sum deposited.


The skin of a rabbit.


A house or shed used for curing salmon, and for storing nets during the close season.


Land attached to a cottage.


A tenant occupying a cottage and the land attached to it, belonging to a farm, for which he has (or had) to give or provide labour on the farm at a fixed rate, when required.


A hamlet of cottages.


The feudal privilege of dealing with complaints made to a local court of justice.


A small trading vessel.


A district officer charged with maintaining certain rights of the crown; a coroner. Also crownarship, the officer of a crownar.


A wicker or wooden enclosure placed across a river or tideway for catching salmon or other fish.


Sc. Law. The surety given on removing a case from one court to another. Required especially when a cause was removed to the court of a lord of regality.


A rabbit-warren.


Sc. Law. An administrator of another person’s affairs either nominated in a will or otherwise, or appointed by court.


A coracle, a small wickerwork boat covered with hides.


A grove; a small wood.

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Money given as a dole or alms.


A quantity (of turf, peats or hay) representing a day’s work.


A measure of land, commonly explained as equivalent to four ploughgates, but perhaps differing according to the particular locality.


A slice sawn from a log of timber and usually understood to be more than seven inches wide, and not more than three thick; a plank or board of pine or fir-wood.


A decreet or sentence of a court.


Sc. Law. A judgment given in court at the instance of the pursuer for the declaration of some right or status.


Sc. Law. The privilege which a party has, in certain circumstances, to decline judicially the jurisdiction of the judge before whom he is cited on account of partiality.

decreet of ranking

The ordering of the claims of persons having claim on a bankrupt estate.


The judgment or sentence of a court of law whereby the question at issue is decided.


To conduct, lead or prosecute a process or cause.


The deceased; one who is dead.


Sc. Law. A wrong, offence or crime.


Sc. Law. A formal decision or judicial judgement.


The officer of a court who pronounced doom or sentence definitively as directed by the clerk or judge.


A narrow valley or hollow between hills, frequently surviving in place-names.


To deprive or divest (oneself or another) of some possession, property, office or right.


To make a formal or sworn statement; to declare or testify upon oath. Also deponent, one who makes a statement of this type.


A legal contract where moveables are entrusted to another.


Of grain, cleaned or separated from the chaff; of skins, properly prepared or dressed.


The number of ten, being the customary unit of exchange in dealing in certain articles, especially hides or skins.


To accuse, charge, inform against.


A delay, especially in giving a legal decision.


Application of legal means against a person, especially for the enforcing of a payment or recovery of a debt.


The action of giving up or laying down an office, possession, etc.


A wether between the first and second shearing.


To seize goods or land by way of enforcing an obligation or payment of debt.


A statement of the charge or charges against an accused person; an indictment.


An endorsement; a statement in Latin, appended to a document transferring property, setting forth particulars relative to the attestation of the notary who prepared it.


Harbour dues.


Of or pertaining to the Lord; or belonging to a demesne or domain.


The legal right to receive donation, especially in cases of failure of succession, of forfeiture of ward/marriage.


The receiver of a donation.


A female donator.


A judicial sentence, used in both civil and criminal cases, but often in the formula of a death sentence.

draff, barm and dreg

The dregs, yeast froth and distilled malt refuse from brewing.

drap or drop

One sixteenth of an ounce, frequently used in reference to coinage.

dry multure

A yearly sum of money, or quantity of corn paid to a mill, whether those liable in the payment grind their grain at the mill or not.


Sc. Law. A defender’s rejoinder to a pursuer’s reply. In subsequent pleadings, as triply, quadruply, quintuply, etc.

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Of a cow, to be ready to mate.


To do away with, annul, quash.


A measure of length varying in different countries, in Scotland equivalent to 37.2 inches.

enorme lesioun

Severe or excessive damage or injury in respect of property or rights.


The settlement of the succession of a landed estate, so that it cannot be bequeathed at pleasure by any one possessor.


A balanced account; an acquittance, receipt, from the phrase et sic æque, which was written at the foot of an account when it was closed or settled.


Property, possessions or goods taken from a person by forfeiture or confiscation, especially falling to the crown in this way.


An excuse, especially one offered as a legal defence; a pretext or representation.


A document establishing a legal right or title to anything; a piece of evidence or proof.


Sc. Law. The exchange of lands or property.


Sc. Law. A plea against a charge; a defence.


Sc. Law. The carrying out by an officer of the law of a citation. Also an attestation, under the hand of the messenger or other officer, that he has given the citation in the terms of his warrant for doing so.


Sc. Law. Instructions or legal authority for executing a decreet or sentence of court.


In the phrases old extent and new extent, the names given to the general valuations of land in Scotland for the purposes of taxation, casualty assessment and franchise. The old extent was made in the reign of Alexander III, the new, as a result of the improvement of land and altered money values, in 1474. Later valuations were generally calculated in multiples of old extent, until superseded in the 17th century by valued rent.

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One empowered or appointed to act for another; an agent or steward who manages land or house property for its proprietor; one who has charge of the administration of an estate. Also factory, the office of a factor.

fail and divot

Sc. Law. Servitude giving the right to cut turf for building, thatching or fuel, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


A farmer of dues or imposts.


An enclosed piece of ground used for cultivation; a small field.


Of men, capable of bearing arms for the defence of the country; liable for such military service.


The condition of land being let at a fixed rent or the fixed yearly amount paid for that land.

feu ferm or feuferme

The tenure of land or other property in feu.


The tenure of land in perpetuity in return for a continuing annual payment of a fixed sum of money to the owner of the land; a tract of land held in fee.


Sc. Law. The ultimate and absolute possessor of a property as distinguished from a life-renter of it; one who has the reversion of property.


A measure, most commonly of grain, amounting to the fourth part of a boll. Also heap firlot, one fill of the firlot, a heaped measure.


Confinement, custody; imprisonment.


Sc. Law. The public treasury, the crown in regard to its revenues, especially from legal penalties and specifically that of forfeiture of the moveable estate of rebels.

fitted (accounts)

Accounts between parties who have had business transactions, rendered by one party and accepted as correct by the other without any express discharge.


The aftermath or second crop of grass after hay, winter grazing or grass. The right to pasture animals on this.


Sc. Law. Of a minor, living independently of his or her parents, as by having a separate estate, by setting up on his or her own account, being married, etc.


A high official in Orkney and Shetland, acting as sheriff, steward or bailiff. Also foudery, the office or jurisdiction of a foud.


The polecat, frequently used in reference to the skin of the animal.


A proportional payment for horses furnished for military service; a certain number of persons required to furnish and pay a leader of horse.


Freehold, relating to lands held of this tenure.

furca et fossa

Latin for pit and gallows, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


Out of, from.

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Immunity from harm based on the recognition of a customary refuge or sanctuary, especially in a church. Girth cross is a cross marking the limits of a place of sanctuary.


Sc. Law. A sum of money paid or promised by a tenant to his landlord at the grant or renewal of his lease or by a feuar to his superior at the grant of the feu right, in addition to the periodical rent or feu duty stipulated for in the grant.

green or grein

Of fish, especially herring, not yet salted, dried or preserved in any way. Of skins or hides, untanned.


Leave given to vessels, especially in ports, to make use of ground on shore; the duty payable for this.

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The enclosing of ground by fences, hedges or walls; the fence, hedge or wall forming the boundary of an enclosure.


A small coin of Mary I and James VI, originally valued at three halfpence.


A bird which lives on heaths, specifically the black grouse.


A feudal privilege formerly possessed by landed proprietors of claiming the best animal belonging to a tenant on the latter’s death.


A net with a very small mesh used to plunder a stream of fish.


Plundering or devastation by an army or rebels, especially the forcible carrying off of cattle in a foray.


In legal use, coupled with staple as a symbol of possession in the process of giving sasine.


A hollow, a low-lying area, often surrounded by hills.


Sc. Law. The process of putting a person, or the fact of being put, to the horn, i.e. being proclaimed an outlaw. See also letters of horning.


A young heifer; the skin or meat of one.

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Obtained by application, especially perpetrated, gained or contrived by fraud or other dubious means.


Sc. Law. Disproof, confutation of a writ; an action brought to prove a document false or forged and therefore invalid.


The right of the lord of a manor to take and try one committing a theft within his property, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


To invest with legal possession a person with heritable property.


Sc. Law. The investing of a new owner with a real right in or legal possession of land or heritage; a document specifying the infeftment.


Entry into possession or occupation (of property), frequently coupled with regress.


The best land nearest the farm buildings, kept continuously under crop and well manured in winter, or a sub-division of it. Used only in conveyancing formulae describing landed property. See also outset.


Furniture, household goods. See also outsight.


In ‘first instance’, the first pleading, that before an ordinary court. The ‘second instance’, the second pleading, that before a court of appeal.


Sc. Law. To furnish (a statement) with evidence or proof; to confirm by evidence, substantiate.


A notarial instrument; a formal and duly authenticated record of any proceeding or transaction drawn up by a notary public. Frequently in the phrase ‘to take instruments’, to request, supply or obtain such a statement, the protester laying down a coin thereupon as a fee for the service.


Sc. Law. To have intercourse, dealings or correspondence with proscribed persons or outlaws; to be under such a sentence of oulawry.


Sc. Law. A term applied to an interim order or decision of the court of session or of a lord ordinary before final judgment is pronounced, but in practice applied to any order of the court.


Sc. Law. To handle or deal with funds or property, especially of another person living or dead, with or without legal authority.


The conclusion of a period of time, especially the (date of) expiry or termination of a lease.

ish (free) and entry

Right or facility of exit or egress.

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jedge and warrant

An order issued by a dean of guild, giving authority to repair or rebuild a ruinous house and to constitute the expense as a real burden on the property.


An instrument of punishment or public ignominy consisting of a hinged iron collar attached by a chain to a wall or post and locked round the neck of the offender, frequently used as an ecclesiastical discipline.

journey or jurnay

One minting or portion of work in coinage, originally the work of one day; the quantity of coins produced in one minting.

juratory caution

Sc. Law. Inadequate security allowed in some civil cases where the party swears he cannot find other or better security.

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A portion of the produce of a tenancy payable as rent; a rent in kind; payments of this sort, collectively.


A body-garment for a man, a kind of coat or tunic reaching below the knees, worn alone or under a cloak or mantle. In women, a frock or close gown.


Clapboard, a plank, stave, especially of oak used in making casks.


A miller’s servant, generally employed in carrying the sacks of corn and meal; an undermiller.


Sc. Law. The quantity of corn or meal payable to a miller's servant as one of the sequels or small dues levied on each lot of corn ground at a thirlage mill.

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In, towards or in the direction of the land, or country, as opposed to the town; the rural part of a district, parish, etc.


A lapse, slip or error. The termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it within the limited time, or through failure of some contingency.


A denomination of quantities of commodities or measure of cargo, chiefly as transported by water; as a unit of measurement of a ship’s burden.


Sc. Law. The legal security given by one person that he will keep the peace towards another who can show reason for apprehending violence or mischief at his hands. ‘Letters of lawburrows’, the warrant issued to the complainer by a court charging the person complained against to give security.

leading away

The action of removing or conveying away, especially of peat, or collection of rent or money dues.


A military encampment, especially one engaged in a siege.


The spreading of calumny against the sovereign likely to cause sedition or disaffection.

lentren ware

The skin of a lamb that has died soon after birth.


The crime of treason.


The condition of being under legal age, minority, nonage.

letters of horning

Letters in the sovereign’s name charging the persons named in them to make the payment or performance ordered under the penalty of being put to the horn for disobedience. See also horning.


A piece of land worth a pound a year.

licet sic scribatur

Literally ‘although it should be written thus/here’. Per licet appears to mean ‘by permission/by authority’. Both used when clerk inserts act out of chronological sequence or where gap left for it to be inserted later.


A lighter, a boat or barge as used for ‘lightening’ or unloading ships.

liege poustie

Sc. Law. The state of being in full possession of one’s faculties and so capable of transacting one’s own affairs, sound in mind and body.


Sc. Law. A right to receive till death (or some other specified contingency) the revenue of a property without the right to dispose of the capital.


A dry measure, used in measuring oats, barley and potatoes, normally the quarter of a peck, but occasionally varying in weight according to the district and commodity.


Sc. Law. The stage at or after which an action in court begins to be contested, i.e. when the defender lodges his defences.


A dyer of cloth. Also ‘litting’, the action of colouring or dyeing cloth.


A strip of pasture between two pieces or ridges of arable ground or in a corner or margin of a ploughed field in which cattle are grazed and herded.

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The root of the plant Rubia tinctorum, employed medicinally or as a source of colouring matter; the reddish-purple dyestuff or pigment prepared from this.


Rent, chiefly as paid in money as opposed to kind.


An executive officer of the law of the crown or of a lord of regality. The office was commonly heritable with rights by charter to its privileges and fees, hence mair of fee.


A boundary line of a property or lands, as marked with stones, cairns, stakes, dikes, ditches, bauks, etc. Frequently in conjunction with meith.


A duty payable on the cargo of a ship.


A boundary marker; a distinguishing feature by which the boundary of a piece of land is determined. Frequently in conjunction with march.


Applied to a church, the revenues of which, before the Reformation, were appropriated to a bishopric, for the maintenance of the bishop’s table.


In currency, with the value of approximately two thirds of one pound Scots or 13 shillings and 4 pence Scots. A silver coin of this denomination was coined at intervals from the reign of James VI in 1578 to that of Charles II.


A unit of land assessment, being the area which originally had the annual value of one merk, varying in extent according to the productivity of the soil in question.


In general, a fixed quantity or measure agreed in a certain locality, and varying with the place and the thing to be measured.


Sc. Law. A piece of evidence linking a claimant with the right claimed.


A channel leading water to a mill, a mill-race.


A moor; land of a moorland nature.


The controlled burning of old heather and rough grass on moorland to clear the way for new growth.


A bird of one of the species which nest on moorland, specifically the red grouse. See also heathfowl.


A fine imposed for an offence; a penalty or punishment of any kind.


The duty, consisting of a proportion of the grain, exacted by the proprietor or tenant of a mill on all corn ground there.

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Cattle; oxen, bulls and cows, collectively.


Failure to enter into possession of a property, and the feudal casualty consequent on this.


A matter of common knowledge; well known; manifest, patent, evident; said of crimes, faults, guilt, discreditable circumstances, and the like.


Sc. Law. The formal renewal (with or without alterations) by a feudal superior of a former grant; a statement to this effect in a charter renewing a grant in this way.

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obit silver

The payment for an annual memorial service; after the Reformation an endowment, or the revenue from it, originally intended for the provision of such a memorial service.


A contractual promise or undertaking; also, one of several particular undertakings embodied in a single agreement or contract.


Usury, the lending of money at interest.


Failure to perform some due action or obligation.


Rough, shallow or stony land reclaimed for arable land, marginal land; the crop grown on such land.


The right to pursue a thief outwith one’s own jurisdiction and to bring him back to one’s own court for trial, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


A smaller piece of land outlying or detached from, but dependent on, a main estate or holding; such a piece of land reclaimed from moorland and brought into cultivation or habitation. Used chiefly in conveyancing formulae describing landed property. See also inset.


Movable goods used out of doors, one’s stock of implements. See also insight.


Sc. Law. Outside the sucken or thirl of a particular mill and therefore not liable to certain dues payable to the miller of that mill. See also sucken.

oxgang or oxengate

A measure of land equal to one eighth of a ploughgate and reckoned as approximately equivalent to 13 acres.

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pack and peel

To pack and unpack goods, to act as a wholesale merchant in export and import trade.

pacta nuptialia

A marriage pact.


An agreement, bargain, an understanding, specifically in Sc. Law, an unofficial agreement as distinct from a legally binding contract.


A piece or portion of landed property. With an ordinal numeral, forming a fraction of which one is the numerator and the number specified the denominator, e.g. a fourth part being a quarter, etc.


A lineal measure of land equal to six ells; a square measure of land equal to one quarter of an acre.


Strips of gold or silver lace or silk braid used as decorative trimming.


A property inherited by a person, institution or corporation from one’s father, forbears or predecessors.


A pouch or case for holding cartridges and other ammunition.


The measure of capacity for dry goods, in Scotland, a fourth part of a firlot and amounting to four lippies.


A piece of land or other property regarded as subsidiary to a main estate.


Sc. Law. Any adjunct, accessory or privilege pertaining to a piece of land or heritable property; an appurtenance.


Sc. Law. An applicant, petitioner, claimant in a lawsuit. Hence ‘petitory’, characterised by supplication and soliciting, petitionary, putting forth a claim.

pit and gallows

Sc. Law. A right of jurisdiction, conferred in grants of baronial rights, over criminals taken in the barony. See also furca et fossa.


The revenue from a bequest or endowment originally given to a religious house as a pious donation to make additional provision of food, wine, etc. for the religious on special occasions.


A small Scottish coin, issued by James III c.1470, and later monarchs till the Union of the Crowns in 1603. It was valued at four pennies Scots.


Equipment, gear, stock, or furniture; household furnishings.

ploughgate or ploughland

A measure of land, generally equivalent to around 104 acres or approximately 42 hectares.


A net in the form of a bag or pouch used for catching salmon, a purse-net.


Sc. Law. To seize and sell (the goods of a debtor), to impound, to distrain.


A length of cord, ribbon, leather or the like, generally metal-tipped, used as a fastening, a lace.

porteous roll

The official list of accused persons to be tried before the circuit courts of justiciary, made up by the justice clerk with a general warrant to cite the persons named.


Sc. Law. The proprietor of a small estate or piece of land resulting from the division of an original forty merkland among co-heirs or otherwise, a small land-owner.


A creek or inlet serving as a dock or wharf; a landing-place for boats.


The established usage or normal practice of a body of persons or an institution or in some form of activity.


A command or injunction to do some particular act; an order. Also a writ ordering the formal giving of possession of heritable property to an heir or successor.


Sc. Law. Of an action or the like: to become invalid through the passage of time, to lapse, lose validity; to be immune from prosecution through lapse of time.


A sum of money paid to the master and crew of a ship for the loading and care of the cargo, primage.

procuratory of resignation

Sc. Law. A disposition executed by a vassal in which he resigns his lands into the hands of his superior with the request that they be either retained by him or transferred to another vassal.


Sc. Law. The authorisation of one person to act on behalf of another.


Sc. Law. A series or progression, especially a ‘charter by progress’, a feu-charter which repeated or confirmed a grant of land as distinct from that conveying the original grant.


To put forth or display, declare, offer as a reward, propose (for an answer), intend.


Sc. Law. To establish (a thing) as true; to make certain; to demonstrate the truth of by evidence or argument.


Provision or entitlement to food supply for an army.


A large cask for liquids, fish, etc.; specifically one of a definite capacity, varying for different liquids and commodities.


The stage of life at which one is a minor or below the age of legal puberty.


Sc. Law. Encroachment on another’s lands, especially on royal or common land.

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The proportion, the twentieth part, of a deceased person’s moveable estate, payable in pre-Reformation and episcopal times in Scotland to the bishop of the diocese on confirmation of the testament.

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Express approval or confirmation; an instance of this. Also approval or sanction of a criminal act given in such a way that the giver may be charged with being accessory to the crime or an abettor of its perpetrators.


Sc. Law. The feudal casualty whereby, in ward tenure, a vassal was liable to forfeit his land to his superior, if he alienated half or more of it without his superior’s consent.


The duty, either in money, kind or service, to be paid by a vassal to a superior as set forth in a feu-charter.


That has to do with legal reduction; that ‘reduces’ or annuls, especially an act or measure that restores someone under forfeiture.


The re-admission by a feudal superior of a vassal to land which the vassal has conveyed to a creditor in wadset as security for a debt and which he has managed to redeem.


A plunderer, a robber, especially one who rides on an armed foray or border raid.


Sc. Law. A payment made by an heir of a deceased vassal to the feudal superior for his recognition as lawful successor to the deceased vassal. Also the right of anyone standing security for a debt to reclaim payment from his principal or from his fellow cautioners if he has paid more than his share. ‘Bond of relief’ is the obligation entered into by a debtor to repay a guarantor.


Sc. Law. The withdrawing of (a case or person) from another jurisdiction to one’s own.


One who receives within his house or town, harbours or shelters a fugitive, wrongdoer or other proscribed person without having permission to do so. Also ‘reset’, to receive, harbour, give shelter or protection to a fugitive, etc.

resolutive clause

Sc. Law. A clause that provides for the extinction or nullification of an agreement if certain conditions specified in it are contravened.

respondie book

Sc. Law. A book kept by the directors of chancellery, in which are entered all non-entry and relief duties payable by heirs who take precepts from chancellery receipt books. Also, one in which decreets and acts are entered by the clerk of the session, providing a record for the charging of fees. In general, a book in which records or receipts are kept.


A return drawn up by a judge and assize, and sent to the chancellery in response to a brieve requiring a verdict on certain matters pertaining to the ownership and value of land.


Sc. Law. To restore, hand back to the original possessor a right temporarily assigned to another; to restore to a post or office, to readmit, reinstate.


The right of a debtor who has borrowed money on security of land to redeem the land within a limited time by payment of a sum specified in the original contract or in a separate deed.

rex or rix dollar

A silver coin and money of account, current from the latter part of the 16th to the middle of the 19th century in various European countries, including Scotland.

ring bear or ring oats

The meal which, in the process of grinding, falls into the space between the millstone and the casing surrounding it, regarded as the miller’s perquisite.


Moorish or marshy ground, covered with coarse grass or sedge; unproductive land.


To sell or let by auction.


To sprinkle fish with salt in the process of curing.


A land measure, amounting to a portion of an acre, but varying according to locality.


A strip of cloth, often the border of a larger piece; a selvage.


An officer in a cavalry regiment in command of a troop of horse, equivalent to a captain of foot.

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The mature coal-fish.


Sc. Law. The act or procedure of giving possession of feudal property, by the symbolical delivery of earth and stones or similar appropriate objects on the property itself.


Sallow or willow trees or bushes, collectively.


A sheepskin of low value.

scot and lot

A municipal tax levied on burgesses for defraying communal expenses.


A barrel stave, a thin plank from which barrel staves are made.


The list of names of those present at a meeting of a deliberative body.


A duty consisting of a small quantity of grain levied from each consignment ground at a mill, as a perquisite for the miller’s servants. See also bannock, knaveship and multure.


A bale of wool, skins or cloth, of a more or less standard amount, latterly authoritatively defined as amounting to eighty stones of weight.


To cause a deliberative or judicial body to sit; to convene.


A strip of land plainly marked off from its surroundings, a distinct or separate piece of ground; or a place where roads branch off from one another, a cross-roads.

shelling hill

An eminence or knoll on which grain might be winnowed by the wind.


The skin of a recently shorn sheep, also the wool from such a skin.


A piece of ground, especially one cropped rotationally.


A small stream; a ditch or channel containing a stream or rivulet.


Simply, without qualification or condition being placed upon the event described.


Sc. Law. An injunction suspending legal proceedings.


A duty, in money or kind, levied on imported goods by the crown or by burghs at their harbours andoccasionally by others; an impost.


A fine linen or lawn.


A young salmon, a salmon at the stage in its growth when it first returns to the sea.

soke and sak

Frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters, originally denoting certain rights of jurisdiction but latterly apparently merely formal.


A person who exacts free quarters and provisions by threats or force, as a means of livelihood.


The action or practice of extorting free quarters and provisions.

soum or sum

A unit corresponding to the number of grazing animals, usually cows or sheep, which a certain area of pasture can support.


Sc. Law. To carry off another’s moveable possessions without legal warrant or against his will; to rob, despoil, plunder, lay waste. Hence ‘process of spuilzie’, an action for the restitution of these goods.

staff and baston

The symbols by which a vassal resigned his feu into the hands of his superior.


A stretch of slow-moving water, a ditch; a sluggish stream or river. Also, a pond; frequently one specially built or used for keeping fish and, as such, one of the appurtenances of an estate.


In legal use, coupled with hesp as a symbol of possession in the process of giving sasine.


Possession of property, especially in Sc. Law phrase ‘to give or receive state and sasine’, to get or give over heritable property by a formal act.


To ordain, decree, enact.


A place in a river over which nets are drawn to catch salmon.


The valuation or assessment of property formerly made for purposes of taxation.


A vessel for holding, chiefly, liquids; a cask, bucket, pitcher, flagon, tankard or the like.


Violent theft, robbery.


Of charters, infeftments, etc., granted by, or held of, a superior who is himself a vassal of another.


A subtenant holding a subordinate lease from a lease-holder.


Sc. Law. The obligation imposed on tenants requiring them to have their grain ground at a particular mill. See also outsucken.


Attendance by a tenant at the court of his lord, or by landowners at parliament; the obligation to give such attendance. Also the action of prosecuting a person in a court of law; legal action, litigation.


Expenditure in excess of income or receipts; out-of-pocket expenses.


Sc. Law. A halt or cessation of the process of law, specifically of an agreement among creditors or a decreet of a court to suspend execution against a common debtor.


Sc. Law. A bond or obligation entered into between parties that they will keep the peace and not assault or molest one another.


Sc. Law. A warrant for stay of execution of a decreet or sentence of court until the matter can be reviewed, used in cases when ordinary appeal is incompetent.

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A lease, tenancy, especially the leasehold tenure of a farm, mill, mining or fishing rights, tax- or toll-collecting, etc.


One who leases land, a tenant farmer, or one who leases land to sublet, also a lessee of property, mills, fishings, the collection of customs, teinds, dues, etc


A piece of land attached to a larger portion, also, one attached to the end of the site of a building or the lands of a community.


Sc. Law. To determine or tie up the succession to (an estate); to entail where the succession to property is determined beyond or despite the normal rules of heritage.


To draw off and sell (wine, beer, etc.) in small quantities. Hence ‘tapster’, a person who taps or draws ale or wine for sale; a brewer and retailer of ale.


A plug, bung or stopper for a container.

tax or taxed ward

A form of feudal holding whereby the rents and duties due to a superior from lands held in ward tenure were commuted to a fixed annual payment.


The tenth part of the produce of land or industry set apart by the state for the support of religion, a tithe.


Land in or having at some time in the past been in the possession of the Order of Knights Templars or Hospitalers. Also in the form ‘templary’.


Sc. Law. The clause in a feudal charter which expresses the way and manner in which lands are to be held of a superior.


Sc. Law. The right of a widow to the liferent of one third of her husband’s heritable estate, if no other provision has been made for her.


One who makes a will. Also, one who or that which testifies; a witness.


A solemn declaration of fact or belief put in writing, generally on behalf of another person, a certificate, testimonial.


A third part of the revenues, in money or kind, of ecclesiastical benefices, exacted by the monarch for the support of clergy in the post-Reformation church. Also frequently found as ‘thirds of benefices’.


Astriction or thirlage to a mill, the obligation imposed on tenants of having the grain from their lands ground at a particular mill.


A tax or duty paid to a landowner, etc., chiefly on land held in tenancy, on exported or imported goods, for the privilege of selling goods at a market, for right of passage, etc.; a toll.


A measure of cut grain, oats, wheat, barley or peas, or their straw, or of reeds or heather for thatching, consisting of two stooks or shocks, generally containing twelve sheaves each, with variations.


Marriage portion, dowry paid by a bride’s family, chiefly her father, to the groom or his family.


The skin of a fox.


The site of a house or buildings; a homestead, also apparently, sometimes with reference to land, attached to a homestead.

toll and theame

The right of a lord to jurisdiction in a suit concerning the recovery of goods alleged to be stolen in which a third party would vouch for the plaintiff’s claim to the goods, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


A warrant issued by the customs authority allowing the passage of goods.


A transcript or copy of a document. In Sc. Law phrase, ‘action of transumpt’, an action calling for a document to be produced in court in order that it might be transcribed for one of the litigants.

Troy weight

The standard system of weights used for precious metals and precious stones; formerly also for bread.


A meeting arranged for the purpose of negotiation towards the settlement of a dispute. The action of negotiating such a settlement; arbitration, negotiation.


A fishing net that is drawn through the water, a drag-net.


A cask or barrel of a standard size used as a unit of capacity or weight, chiefly used for the transportation of wine but also for other goods.

tutor dative

A tutor appointed by a magistrate or court, instead of by testator, in cases where the other kinds of tutor are not available.


Sc. Law. A person who is guardian and administrator of the estate of a pupil or child under the age of minority. In land, an administrator over such property on behalf of a minor. Differs from a curator by having responsibility for the child’s person in addition to their estate.


The cover or casing, filled with feathers, etc., used as a mattress or pillow.

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A fine, usually a financial penalty, exacted from one found guilty of a crime or misdemeanour.

use and wont

Usual and customary procedure.

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valued rent

A land valuation carried out in 1667, for the purpose of taxation and determining public expenditure, superseding old and new extent.


In lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters granting land, etc., frequently in collocation with vert, the right to hunt and take wild game.


A narrow alley or lane between houses.


As a feudal privilege, the right to cut green wood, serving as a cover for deer, frequently combined with venison in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


Sc. Law. With reference to property, to ‘succeed in the vice’, to take over a tenancy by collusion and without the consent of the owner.


Exact meaning of this word is obscure. Probably a unit of 20, like quadruples as a unit of 4, and quintuples a unit of 5.


Sc. Law. To spoil, deface, tamper with (part of a document), especially a formal or legal document, in some way.


Sc. Law. Faulty, defective, illegal. In the phrase ‘vitious intromission’ or ‘possession’, the unwarrantable interference with the moveable estate of a deceased without legal title, whereby liability for all the deceased’s debts may be incurred.


The action, fact or process of voting by voice.

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The conveyance of land in pledge for or in satisfaction of a debt or obligation, with a reserved power to the debtor to recover his lands on payment or performance.


A wagon, a large open two- or later four-wheeled cart, chiefly for agricultural use.


Ware, seaweed, especially used as manure.


Lost or stranded goods or animals, strayed animals for which no claim of ownership is made, and which are, in consequence, after due notice, escheat to the overlord or the crown, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters.


A periodical muster or review of the men under arms in a particular lordship or district.


Sc. Law. The oldest form of feudal land tenure, namely by military service, with various attendant rights and obligations, especially that of the superior to uphold and draw the rents of the lands of a deceased vassal while the heir was uninfeft or remained a minor, as an equivalent for the loss of military services during such period, the usage being termed ‘simple ward’. See also tax or taxed ward.


A guarantee, as an undertaking to protect another, safe-keeping; or as given by a seller to a buyer, vouching for the article sold.

watch and ward

A feudal obligation owed by burgesses or freemen of a town to participate in the activities of the town guard, sometimes commuted to a payment.


Apparently a levy of oatmeal on the parish of Kilpatrick, in support of Dumbarton Castle.

water met

A measurement for goods, chiefly grain and salt, transported by ship; a vessel for measuring by this standard.


Sc. Law. To revive a process in the courts in which no further action has been taken for a year after the original calling of the summons.

waulk mill

A fulling mill where cloth is made thick and felted by a process of soaking, beating and shrinking.

waulkster or waulker

A fuller of cloth.


A due paid for the weighing of goods.


Spermaceti, used largely in various medicinal preparations, and in the manufacture of candles.


A short stabbing sword, a hanger, which apparently seems to have been used both at meals, as a knife, and in combat; a whinyard.


To extract (a resource), to get (coal, stone, etc.) from a mine, quarry, etc., to cut (peat or turf) for fuel.


A vessel used in the beer-making process.

wrack and wair

The legal right to collect wreckage and seaweed from the sea, frequently in lists of rights in the tenendas clause of charters. Wrack also used in conjunction with waith.


A writing having legal force, usually as witnessed, signed or sealed, a deed, a formal written document.

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An enclosure, generally built of stones or occasionally of wattle-work, in an estuary or in a bay on the sea-shore, to trap fish, especially salmon, in nets or by hand, as the tide recedes.

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