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

habit and repute
the Scottish legal terms for what is common knowledge or generally accepted by people as a fact; usually applied to one way in which a marriage could be recognised, which was by two people living together and being commonly looked on by others as being man and wife.
hamesucken
the crime of assaulting someone in his own home.
 
heir, heirs
can come in various forms.  The heir general is one who succeeds to both the heritable and moveable property of a deceased person, who also happens to be that person's heir at law and heir by normal course of succession (his heir of line); the heir of provision on the other hand, is one who succeeds by virtue of the terms of a settlement or some express provision; ‘heir special’ refers to the right of an heir to receive infeftment in particular lands; an heir of conquest is one who inherits lands or other heritable rights from someone who did not succeed to the lands or rights himself but acquired them in some other way; and heirs portioners are women who succeed jointly to heritable property; see also apparent heir.
heirship moveables
certain moveable goods (generally the best) belonging to the deceased, to which the heir in heritage was entitled by law.
heritable bond
an obligation to repay borrowed money, which has been secured by a grant of land which would be held by the lender as security for the repayment.
heritable property
one of the two types of property recognised in Scots law.  This concerns all rights to land and whatever goes with land, houses, mills, fishings, teinds and so on. (The other type is, of course, moveable property, which comprises just about everything else.   The laws and documents relating to each type of property are different).
 
heritable security
see heritable bond.
heritors
the landed proprietors in each parish who were responsible for the upkeep of the parish church, the parish school, payment of the minister's stipend and schoolmaster's salary etc.
hership
nothing to do with heirship (though it is sometimes spelt the same); this is the crime of making away with someone's cattle by force.
homologation
the act by which someone approves of a written deed (and thereby binds himself to fulfil its terms).
horning, letters of
one of the forms of diligence; the comparatively mild one.  Takes the form (as they generally do) of a letter in the monarch's name under the signet seal.  Which is sent to a law officer instructing him to charge someone who has defaulted on an agreement to pay or perform what he had agreed within a set time under pain of being denounced rebel and " put to the horn " - it opens the way for the action by which the defaulter's moveables can escheat to the Crown in theory and in fact be sold to satisfy the complainer in practice. See poinding.


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