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

narrative clause
the clause in a charter or other deed making a grant, which names the granter and the person receiving the grant and says why it is being made.
nd or n.d. - stands for 'no date'
This may appear in a catalogue when the creation dates of archives are unknown.
net and coble
was how the grant of fishings was symbolised; see symbols.
 
nonage
was when a person was considered to be incapable of performing a certain act of the grounds of youth, and was generally applied to those under 21; it might be found spelt "non-age", and a minor might be said to "be in nonage".
 
non-entry
a feudal casualty.  This was the rents from a dead vassal's property which fell due to his superior until the vassal's heir was entered with the superior.
notarial instrument
strictly, any document drawn up by a notary. The document referred to as such in the late nineteenth century may concern the adoption of a trust by trustees, or the addition of new trustees, but there are various other forms.
notary public
in the middle ages, almost invariably a churchman. who had been admitted to practice by the authority of the Pope or the Holy Roman Emperor.  But there seem to have been little to stop anyone who could write from setting himself up as a notary, and the authority of some them to do so and their trustworthiness were, to say the least, doubtful - Scottish parliaments were much concerned about "false notars".  After the Reformation, they were regulated to become public functionaries who, on passing an examination and trial were admitted by the Court of Session to the power of making instruments which had "faith in law"; these could be about any "lawful and honest business " but in practise were usually instruments of sasine.
novodamus
a charter containing a clause in which the superior of a property grants it "of new" because of a defect in the original title to the property or because either the vassal or superior wanted to get the conditions of the original grant altered.


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