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

lawburrows
letters of, were letters in the monarch's name under the signet seal to the effect that a particular person had shown cause to dread harm from another, and that therefore this other complained of was commanded to find "sufficient caution and surety" that the complainer would be free from any violence on his part.
lease
generally called in Scotland, a tack.
leasing-making
nothing to do with a lease (which is perhaps why they are called tacks in Scotland); this is really the same as lese-majesty, verbal contempt of the Crown.
Leillie & treullie
legally and honestly (in later testaments the word used was ‘faithfully’).
letters
in Scots law there were various types, those in the name of the Crown being under the signet seal; most of the types are covered under the headings, caption, cocket, diligence, fire and sword, horning, inhibition, lawburrows, marque, poinding, regress, reprisal, respite and slains.  "Letters of four forms" were a form of diligence incorporating successive means of getting debtors to pay up.  They rapidly became obsolete; like apprising they may have been considered too abrupt for the popular taste (given that they seem to have been the horning, poinding and caption in one).
libel
it can mean scandalous statements made in writing about someone in the same sense as in England, but in Scotland most often means the form of a complaint made in a civil case, or the grounds of the charge made against the accused in a criminal one.
lie
This word is used to introduce local names used in documents, or any Scots word or phrase brought into a Latin document.
lieges
the word commonly used to mean "the subject of the Crown".
liege poustie
the same idea as somebody making a will "sound in mind"; it was that state of health which would give someone full and undoubted power to arrange for the disposal of his heritable property in the event of his death.
liferent
a right entitling a person (called a "liferenter") to use and enjoy another's property for life, providing this was done without wasting it; the liferent might be a sum of money paid yearly, or the income from a piece of land.
lindar, linder
woollen jacket or cardigan; woollen or flannel undershirt.
litiscontestation
takes place where both parties in a case have stated their respective pleas in a court, it being then understood that, by doing so, they have consented to abide by the decision of the judge in the case.
loco tutoris
"in the place of (i.e. acting as) tutor.
 
lum, lumb
chimney; chimney-stack.


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