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

Access conditions
Restrictions on researchers' access to archives, whether because of a legal or other closure period, or because damage or fragility makes archives unfit for production.
Accessions
A record of the addition of a new item or collection.
adjudication
or 'adjudication for debt', the legal action by which a debtor's property was passed to his creditors.  Adjudication in implement on the other hand, is a decision by a court to implement a defective title to land.
Administrative history
Information about the history or life of an organisation, family or individual who is or was the creator of archives. In this online catalogue we have simply used the term ‘History’.
alba firme
The Latin term, whereby lands are held for a 'peppercorn rent'.
aliment
a maintenance.
allenarly
only, solely or exclusively.
amerciament
a fine imposed on a wrong-doer; ("being in mercy" means the same).
anent
concerning.
annexation
the act of uniting lands to the Crown (politely used for "confiscation").
annual rent
interest on money which has been lent, which takes the form of a yearly rent out of land.
apparent heir
not the person who "appears" to be heir to landed property, but the heir who has already succeeded to it.
apprising
the sentence of a court affecting a debtor's heritable property, as a consequence of which that property would be sold to pay the debt.  It was really replaced by the adjudication, because it was too abrupt for popular taste.
Archival history
Information about the history of archives - such as former ownership, storage or custody. Used interchangeably with ‘Custodial history’.
Archives
Records in any format and of any date, created by individuals, families or organisations in the course of their activities or business, and preserved permanently. See also What are Archives?
arrestment
seizure by legal process of a person or his property.
articles of roup
the conditions under which the property was to be auctioned.
assignation
can have various meanings.  In general, it means the conveyance to another of one's rights in moveable property, or ones claim for debts, or rights in land which is leased.   The person who gets an assignation is called the assignee.
assize (or assise)
just means the sitting of a court.
assoilzie
to find someone 'not guilty', to absolve them from the outcome of a legal action.
augmentation
an action pursued by a minister of the church to get an increase in his stipend.


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