|Scotland - a glossary of archaic terms, as well as a number of Modern Scots words and phrases, useful for genealogical research. Legal terms, words linked to property and possessions, found in wills and testaments.|
BACKMAN, supporter in time of war
BACK UP, endorse
of land, backsets, subleases.
BREAD (balk breddis),
kneading trough or baking board.
(baillie, bailzie), magistrate
in a burgh or in a barony, officer employed to give seisin or formal possession
Bail(i)ery, the bailie's area of
Bail(i)ery, the bailie's area of jurisdiction
BAILIE-COURT, a court presided over by a bailie as magistrate.
BAIRN, barne, 1. young person, youth (as opposed to contemporary use, child or infant) 2. Schoolboy or chorister
BAIRNTIME, bairnteme, offspring, brood of children (also of animals)
BAITH, baitht, bath, batht, bayth, both
BAIT WRICHT, shipwright, boat-builder
BAJAN, first year university student
BALLANCE, flat dish, plate
(for maddir), balances or
scales for madder, a kind of
dye stuff or (believed to be) a measure.
BANDIS, marriage banns
BANERMAN, bannerman, bennerman, bearer of army standard
BANIS, baneis, banish. Banisment, baneisment; banishment
BANNES, banish ; bannest, banished
BAPTIST, christened, named
BAREMAN, a bankrupt individual, person in debt
BARGAIN, bergan, dispute
BARON BAILLIE, baron's deputy
BARON COURT, within a barony, a tribunal presided over by the baron or his deputy (baillie)
free, an estate holding of the crown, and erected by crown charter into a barony, with power to hold courts, inflict penalties, etc.; see s. Regality,
BARRIKIN, small barrel
BASSING AND LAWAR, bason and laver (washing-jug)
BATAILZE, brattle, battle
BATEL, battel, battle pl. battelis
BATHE AS ANE AND ANE AS BATHE, jointly and equally
BATTARD, small cannon
BAUCHILL, to denounce/disgrace publicly
BAUDKIN, bakin, acloth, richly embroidered
Baxtarie, baxtrey; the craft of
Baxtarie, baxtrey; the craft of baking
BAYRN, pl. bayrns, or barne, pl. bairnis, child (children)
BE, (prep.) by
BEAR, bere, barley. Bear-sawing, bear-seed; 1. Seed barley 2. Barley sowing season
BEARER, coal carrier, often a girl or woman, who carried the coal in baskets from the face to the shaft
BEDDAL, peddel, 1. church (kirk) officer 2. University officer
BEDHOUS, BEDE HOUS, hospital or almshouse
BEE-SCAIFS (or bee-skeps), bee-hives.
BEET, flax, bundle of
BEETYACH, bittoch, bittock, small sword or dagger, knife
bear, i.e. barley.
BEKEN, admit as possessor
BELL PENNY, money saved for funeral costs
BENT SILVER, financial contribution from children at school to pay for 'bent grass' to cover the floor
BEREANS, Protestant sect
BERE FRA, to dispossess someone of land or property
BERIS, place of burial
BERN, pl. bernis, barn
BERS, barse, bas, very small cannon
BEST AUCHT, the most valuable possession (animal, article) that may be claimed by a superior on the death of his tenant
BEUK, buik, pl. beukis, book(s)
BIG, build bigget, built
BIGGEN, with child
BIGGING (biggin), building.
BILGET, billiet, military order in document form
BILL CHAMBER, court presided over by judges of Session
BIND, bin standard barrel measure for packing goods
BING, funeral pile
BIRD ALANE, only child
BIRLAW COURT, local court for lesser disputes. Birlaw man, person elected to the function of judge in such a court
BIRLIN, birling, lagr rowing boat, or a galley, from the West Highlands
BIRL QUHEIL, spinning wheel
BIRNING, punishment by branding
BIRNY, byrne, coat of mail
BIRTHFUL, berthy, birthy, fertile, usually with reference to animals
BLACK HOUS, thatched Highland hut of stone and turf, central fireplace on earthen floor
BLACK WARD, holding in ward by a subvassal of a different vassal who himself is held in ward of his superior
BLANTER, oat-based food (eg. porridge or bread)
BLASON, King's messenger's badge of authority
BLEEZE SILVER, gift of money to schoolteacher at Candlemas
FERME (also blench-duty), mode of land-tenure, a nominal or peppercorn rent
; cp. Blanch rent, or Free
Blench holding, the holding of land
under this system of tenure
Blench holding, the holding of land under this system of tenure
sex ellis of lange, bargained
for ; cp. Blok, a bargain.
BLUDE ROLL, list of those accused of bloodshed. Bludewite, bludeweck; guilty of or liable to such a charge
BLUE, a spirit, usually whisky
BLUE BLANKET, Edinburgh craftsmen's guild banner
BODAY, a scarlet dye
BODDOCH, (contemp. mutchkin); liquid measure equivalent to three-quarters of a pint
personal (e.g., bodily oath, great bodily oath), solemn oath personally given.
BOIRDOURS, bordours, borders
the heaped measure of that name, most commonly equivalent to six bushels, e.g., boll's
oatmeal (measures of oatmeal), bear
meal (barley meal), victual
Also a valuation of land according to the quantity of bolls it produced
Also a valuation of land according to the quantity of bolls it produced
BONDAGE, binage, bonnage, service owed and performed by a farmworker for the farmer
OF PROVISION, bond by a father, providing for his children.
OF TAILLIE, entail.
BONDELSOURE, bonelesew, pasturage linked to bond service
BONE WARK, bonday wark, service, unremunerated work as part of tenant service, bone/bonday plewis, unpaid ploughing as part of tenant service, bone/bonday silver money paid in lieu of service
BONNET, bannet, protective metal helmet
BONNET LAIRD, small farmer tending and owning his land
BOOKING, tenure of, system of land tenure in Paisley burgh necessitating an entry on the burgh register
BOOKS OF DISCIPLINE, Two volumes containing the laws of the Reformed Church, adopted 1560 and 1581. Also referred to education.
WARRANT, a warrant for the seizure of the effects and
person of a man in England for debts owed in Scotland.
BOREAUS, borreaus, executioners, hangmen (M.Sc. burriours)
BORDEL, brothe. Bordeler; brothel-keeper (occasionally, a frequenter of brothels)
BOROW, borrow, stand surety on behalf of (bail). borch, broch, borowis; bail, surety
BOS, leather wine container
BOT (butt), without.
BOTE, wine cask
BOTHYN, a lordship or occasionally a sheriffdom
BOTISMAN, boitisman, boitman, botman, boatman
BOUND COURT, district tribunal
BOUNTY, extra sum paid to fishermen at end of season's fishing, over and above that received for fish caught
BOUTHOUS, mill building for the sifting (bolting) of the flour
BOW, 1. herd of cattle, cattle-stock, (usually cows) 2. Sealed church missive
BOW HOUS(E), cow shed
MASTER, treasurer, keeper of the cashbox.
BOX PENNY, market duty
BOYART, single masted small vessel
BRAE, salmon trap
BRAIG, large knife
BRANKS, iron bridle/gag, for the public punishment of the likes of abusive language
BRED, measurement unit for skins
BREEK BROTHER, rival in love
(brief), a writ from chancery
authorizing an inquest or service.
Breve, brief of inquest: writ
directing the sheriff (or bailies in a burgh) to try the validity of a
claimant's title. Breve, brief of mortancestry:
writ directing an inquest into a claim that the plaintiff is entitled to
property/land formerly possessed by an ancestor and now wrongfully held by
Breve, brief of inquest: writ directing the sheriff (or bailies in a burgh) to try the validity of a claimant's title. Breve, brief of mortancestry: writ directing an inquest into a claim that the plaintiff is entitled to property/land formerly possessed by an ancestor and now wrongfully held by another
BREW TALLOUN, duty paid for brewing rights
BRIDLE SILVER, tip given to sevant for leading horse
BRIEVE BAUCK, a ridge of land left unploughed
BRIGANTINE, form of armour
BRIM, stream, burn
BROD, brood, brude, yound child, often the youngest in a family
BRODER (brodir, broder, broyr, brudir, brethyr, bredther, brither), brother. ep. Fayr, Moyr, Modir.
BRODER BARN, brother's offspring Broderdochter, brother's daughter; broderson, brother's son
BROGGIT STAFF, a pike
BROKEN, without a feudal chief, outlawed
BROKIN ship-wrecked, or stranded
BROWD, embroider, browstar, browdinstare, browdstare; embroiderer
BRUSERY, embroidery. Brusoure; embroiderer
BUIT, compensation payment
BUITIS, torture instrument
BULGIT, a bag, budget. Fr. Boulgette.
BULLAX, type of axe
BULL'S HEAD, symbol of the death penalty, indicating imminent execution
BUN, small barrel
BUNSUCKEN, bound in service to a certain mill (thirled)
("a toddis heid and bur"), brush (?).
BURCHT, burght, burgh
CLOTH, A, table cloth.
BURDINER, guarantor assuming financial responsibility for another
2. form of tenure under which land in a royal burgh is held by the king (or the
2. form of tenure under which land in a royal burgh is held by the king (or the land itself)
AIR, the heir of a burgess.
TICKET, the document conferring the freedom of a burgh.
BURGH COURT, town/burgh tribunal
BURGH LAW, town law, based on the ealy 15th c. 'Leges Quatuor Burgorum'
BURGH RUDIS, land under cultivation belonging to the town
BURNIS, (A.S. burne), brooks, streams
BURNLEDER, burnman, water-carrier
BUROUSTOUNIS, burroustounis, borough-towns
BURRYMAN, scapegoat for all the ills befalling a community
BUSH, vessel used to carry cargo, or occasionally for fishing
BUTTERMAN, trader in butter
BY, apart from, e.g., "be and by the law," according to and apart from the law.
|This glossary is under constant revision. We welcome all contributions of archaic terms linked to Scotland, that may be helpful in genealogical research. Please complete the SUGGESTIONS form with your thoughts, additions and corrections.|
One of the earliest myths of British history, there were two distinct versions of the legend of Brutus, the older one being found in Nennius, received at an early period by the Scottish and Irish Celts. It is recounted in the opening stanzas of the 'Duan Albanach', which was sung or recited at the coronation of Scottish kings through to Alexander II. It tells of how Brutus and Albanus, the two sons of Isacon (Ascanius), first conquered the island dividing it up between them, naming their respective lands 'Briutain' and 'Alban'. The following version is dated ca. 1070....
A eolchan uile,
A shluagh feuta foltbhuidhe,
Cia ceud ghabhail, an eol diubh,
Ro ghabhasdair Albanbruigh.
Albanus ro ghabh, lia a shlogh
Mac sen oirderc Isicon,
Bathair is Briutus gan brath,
O raitear Alba eathrach.
Ro connarb a brathair bras,
Briotus tar muir n-Icht n-amhnas,
Ro Gabh Briutus Albain Ain,
Go rinn fhiadhnach Fotudain.
O all ye learned of Alban (Scotia)
Ye well-skilled host of yellow hair,
What was the first invasion - is it known to you?
Which took the land of Alban?
Albanus possessed it, numerous his hosts,
He was the illustriuous son of Isacon,
He and Briutus were brothers without deceit,
From him Alban of ships has its name.
Briutus banished his active brother
Across the stormy sea of Icht,
Briutus possessed the noble Alban,
As far as the conspicuous promontory of Fotudain
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