Glossary

This glossary defines archaic words and phrases, mostly Scots law terminology, commonly found in our documents and records. For a larger resource go to the online Dictionary of the Scots Language, which contains Scots words and phrases, including legal terms.

It also includes definitions of archival terminology, although not all these terms have been used in this catalogue

With thanks to the Scottish Archive Network

factor
usually the administrator of an estate, but can be any agent whose powers depend on some specific authority within which he acts.
fee or feu
one of the four conditions, or tenures, on which lands could be granted by charter.  In this case, the superior received (usually annually) a return ('feu duty') in agricultural produce or money, rather than military service. The 'fee' or 'feu' was also the name of the piece of property so conveyed, and the 'feuar' the vassal who held the property by feu tenure.
 
feuar
see fee or feu above.
feu disposition
in the nineteenth century the distinction between the charter and the disposition was that a charter was used to create a new feu, and a disposition to carry an existing feu forward to a new proprietor. A form of disposition was also used for the former purpose, however, and was known as a feu disposition.
fermorar
farmer.
fiars or fiars prices
prices of grain which were fixed for each county by its sheriff and a jury of locals every February; a "fiar" could also be someone who held lands in which someone else possessed a liferent.
Finding aid
A catalogue, index or list describing archives, intended to help researchers find what they need.
fire and sword
letters of.  These were an order to a sheriff to muster the assistance of the men of his county to dispossess tenants who had illegally retained possession of lands; on the other hand, they could be issued against people like the MacGregors on apparently any excuse.
firlot
a Scottish measure which, like the rest, differed from place to place and depended on what it was being used to measure; as far as grain was concerned, it was the fourth part of a bol (and therefore anything from about nine-tenths to one and a half Imperial bushels).
Fonds
All the archives created or accumulated by a specific person, family or organisation.
forestalling or regrating
forestalling was the crime of buying goods on their way to a market with the intention of selling them there at an inflated price.
forfeiture
the loss of property following on the commission of a crime or on the breaking of some condition by which the property was held from a superior; usually coupled with escheat.
forisfamiliat, forisfamiliate
relating to a son or daughter separated from the father's family by marriage, living elsewhere, or by having received a separate share of property before the father's decease.
forisfamiliation
the separation of a child from its father's family, by marriage for instance; it could happen if the child gave over his/her claim to legitim.
forthcoming
a legal action ordering a debt to be paid or a debtor's property to be surrendered to his creditor(s).
freeholders
were those who were entitled to elect (or be elected) members of Parliament on the grounds that they held lands worth more than a certain sum.
fruits
simply the produce of a piece of land (which did not depend on whether it had any orchards or not).


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