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Mediaeval Scotland

1. p. 17—Grassum a sum of money paid by the tenant to his landlord on entering into possession of his farm ; or by the fiar to his superior on succeeding as heir.

2. p. 17—Gule : the corn marigold (chrysanthemum segetum'). A farmer planting gule was to be punished as if he were a traitor leading a hostile army; and a serf so offending was to pay a fine of a sheep and to cleanse the land. [Act Parlt., vol. i., pp. 750, 751.]

Lord Hailes says [An. Scot., vol. ii., p. 339] that this statute was still enforced in his day. in the barony of Tinwald in Annandale.

In the parish of Cargill in Perthshire a curious custom is recorded in the Statistical Account, vol. xiii., pp. 536, 537.

“An old custom takes place in this parish called gool-riding, which seems worthy of observation. The lands of Cargill were formerly so very much over-run by a weed with a yellow flower that grows among the corn, especially in wet seasons, called gools, and which had the most pernicious effects; ndt only upon the corns while growing, but also in preventing their wiiming when cut down, that it was found absolutely necessary to adopt some effectual method of extirpating it altogether. Accordingly, after allowing a reasonable time for procuring clean seed from other quarters, an Act of the Baron’s Court was passed, enforcing an old Act of Parliament to the same effect, imposing a fine of 3s. 4d., or a wedder sheep, on the. tenants, for every stock of gool, that should be found growing among their corns at a particular day, and certain persons stiled gool-riders were appointed to ride through the fields, search fox gool, and carry the law into execution when they discovered it. Though the fine of a wedder sheep is now commuted and reduced to a id. sterling, the practice of gool-riding is still kept up and the fine rigidly exacted. The effects of this baronial regulation have been salutary, beyond what could have been expected. Five stocks of gool were formerly said to grow for every stock of corn through all the lands, of the barony, and twenty throols of barley did not then produce one boll. Now the grounds are so cleared from this noxious weed, that the corns are in high request for seed j and after the most diligent search the gool-riders can hardly discover as many growing stocks of gool the fine for which will afford them a dinner and a drink.”

3. p. 17—Sauch, or saugh : the common willow tree (salix caprea).

4. p. 18—Ploughgate: contains eight oxgangs of thirteen Scots acres each, or one hundred and four acres altogether. (See chapter on Weights and Measures.)

5. p. 20—Beltane : was the 1st of May old style.

6. p. 21—Firlot : the standard firlot was in the custody of the Burgh of Linlithgow. As a measure it varied very considerably. The alterations are given in full detail in the chapter on Weights and Measures.

7. p. 23—Acta Dominorum Auditorum, or the Acts of the Lord Auditors of Causes and Complaints, are given in the original records, along with the proceedings of the Three Estates in full Parliament; but those of the reigns of James III. and James IV., from 1466 to i494> were published in a separate volume in 1839, containing much of the highest interest regarding the state of the country at that time as shown by the prices of commodities, the value of money, and other statistical information.

8. p. 23—Boll: see the chapter on Weights and Measures.

9. p. 23—Merk: was equal to thirteen shillings and fourpence Scots. The merk was only a money of account, but half-merks and quarter-merks were coined by James VI. in 1591, 1592, 1593, and a few in 1594. (See Records of the Coinage of Scotland., vol. i., p. clvii., pp. 118, 177, 253, and vol. ii., plate ix.)

10. p. 25—To fee : the term used in Scotland for hiring farm servants. Feeing fairs are not yet altogether extinct, at least in the west of Scotland.

11. p. 27—Birleymen: otherwise Burlie men, Burlaw men, or Byr-law men. This was an institution of high antiquity now almost unknown. Skene says:—“The laws of Burlaw ar maid and determined be consent of neichtbours elected and chosen be common consent in the courts called the Byrlaw courts in the quhilk cognition is taken ot compaintes betuixt nichtbour and nichtbour. The quhilk men sa chosen as judges and arbitrators to the effect foresaid ar commonly called Byrlaw men.

In the Rej. Maj., bk. iv., c. 39, c. 18, Birlaw courts are said to be ruled by the consent of neighbours. These existed in the north of Scotland so late as 1721. (See Jamieson’s Scot. Diet., sub voce.)

12. p. 27—Thirled : to thirl was to bind the tenants to grind their com at some particular mill. Erskine defines thirlage as constituted by writing either directly or indirectly; and a proprietor could thirl his tenants by an act or regulation of his own court. {Inst., bk. ii., tit. 9, s. 21.)

13. p. 27—Multures. The multure was the toll of the miller for grinding the grain into meal and was usually taken in kind. The ancient regulations about mills are very curious. By the assize of William I. if a man bought corn in one lordship to carry into another to grind, and stopped at a tavern to eat and drink, he had to pay the multure if he put the sacks in the house or on the midden; but he was free from the toll if he left the sacks in the king’s highway. Burgesses of a burgh might use hand mills, but it was illegal for any others to do so. In 1640 all Sunday work was prohibited in mills.

14. p. 28—Red Fish. Regulations against killing unseasonable salmon, which were called red or black fish, are found at a very early period. The principal enactments are noticed in the chapter on the Fisheries.

15. p. 28—Flyting. Scolding or using bad language and quarrelling seems to have been a common imperfection amongst the women of Scotland in early times. The records of more modern police and petty session courts show that it is not altogether a relic of the past.

16. p. 35—Rig : that part of the web which is folded down or doubled.

17. p. 35—Selvidge: the rest of the web as distinguished from the rig.

18. p. 35—Seal of cause. A writ under the seal of the municipality conferring certain privileges on the particular craft. Thus the Cor-diners of Glasgow had a seal of cause from the Lord Provost, Bailies, Council, and Community of the Burgh and City of Glasgow in 1558 in their favour which was confirmed under the seal of James, Archbishop of Glasgow.

In other cases the seal of cause was confirmed by Parliament.

19. p. 35—Walker. To “walk” or “wauk'' cloth is to thicken it. Garnett in his tour in Scotland, gives an ingenious derivation of the term. He considers the operation as so-called because the women sit round a board and work the cloth with their feet as if walking. Wauk mills were in existence in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire till a very recent period.

20. p. 35—Wobster : a weaver. The word also occurs in the form of “webster” and “wabster.”

21. p. 35—Serplath. A measure of wool equal according to Skene to eighty stones. (See chapter on Weights and Measures.)

22. p. 37. Serges : a sort of light cloth.

23.- P- 37- Growgrams, otherwise grogranes or grograms : a kind of coarse silk taffety.

24. p. 37. Bombesies : a thin hard stuff.

25. p. 37. Stemmingis : a cloth originally made of goat’s hair, afterwards of wool or silk. It is called also taminy.

26. p. 37. Beyis, or bayis : the cloth now called baize.

27. p. 38. Schone : shoes.

28. p. 39. Sinderit: parted or separated.

29. p. 40. Plotter : one who makes bare or smooth.

30. p. 40. Camber, or camester : a wool comber.

31. p. 40. Scherar : a wool dresser.

32. p. 40. Spyner : a wool spinner.

33. p. 42. Kerseys, or kairsays (see Scots Acts, vol. vi. 1. 727): a sort of cloth.

34. p. 44. Seys : a sort of coarse homespun cloth. (See Thom’s Hist, of Aberdeenshire, ii. 151.)

35. p. 45. Speir : to search out; make diligent inquiry for.

36. p. 45. Touk of Drume : beat of drum.

37. p. 56. Garnels : granaries.

38; p. 60. Lame : earthernware.

39. p. 60. Schryno : a small casket or cabinet.

40. p. 64. Doucat, more commonly dowcate; a pigeon house. By an Act of James IV. in 1503, every laird was to have a park with deer, fish ponds, rabbit warrens and dowcatis.

41. p. 70. Coups, or cowpis : a sort of basket trap for catching fish at a fall.

42. p. 70. Prins, or firynis : another sort of fish trap.

43. p. 76. Stallage : money payable for the privilege of erecting a. stall in the market.

44. p. 76. Pined : dried by exposure to the weather after salting.

45. p. 79. Since this was written an excellent index has appeared which entirely removes the complaint made.

46. p. 80. Wageouris : soldiers hired for pay.

47. p. 115. Alderman : an official of burghs in Scotland. This title, so well known south of the Tweed, was once a familiar one in Scotland. The “Assise Regis David” prohibited any alderman intromitting with the pleas of the crown. The “Leges Burgorum*' ordered the alderman of each burgh to swear in twelve burgesses to maintain the laws. An Act of Parliament in 1425 enjoins the alderman and bailies of a burgh to hold wapenshaws four times a year. Provosts, aldermen, and bailies of burghs were ordered to fix the price of fish each market day by an Act of 1540. Shortly after this period the title fell into disuse.

48. p. 121. Tome : more frequently tume or toom : empty.

49. p. 128. Pullici and Rembertini: merchant companies of Italy who played an important part in the financial transactions of the Middle Ages. The Rembertini, like the Friscobaldi, Bardi, and Spini, had their head quarters in Florence. Others, as the Ballardi, belonged to Lucca.

50. p. 139. Stented : taxed or assessed.

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