The Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) Glossary defines archaic words and phrases, mostly Scots law terminology, commonly found in documents and records in Scotland's archives. If you think a word or phrase should be added to the glossary, or an existing entry could be defined better, please contact us. Since the SCAN project ended, the Dictionary of the Scots Language has gone online at http://www.dsl.ac.uk/, and this should be consulted for Scots words and phrases (including legal terms).
a written deed which transferred land to another
a security for, or in satisfaction of, a debt
due to him by the granter of the deed, with
a reserved power to the granter (called the
reverser) to redeem his lands from the lender
of the money (called the wadsetter) when his
debt was repaid or his obligation fulfilled.
It was the usual dodge adopted by those who
needed to borrow money at the time when the
Church was very much against the idea of lending
money at interest, and it cam in two types.
The "proper wadset" allowed the wadsetter
(lender) to enjoy the whle yearly profits of
the land as his interest until his money was
repaid and the lands redeemed, and if these
were lower than the accepted rate of interest,
it was just too bad; on the other hand, he might
end up in profit. The "improper wadset"
cut out this element of risk to the lender;
if the profits of the land for the year were
less than the interest due, he could recover
the deficit from the debtor, but if they came
to more than the interest he was bound to account
for this surplus to the debtor and make it good,
usually by reducing what the debtor would have
to repay by that amount. See alsoredeemable
given or expended; the usual phrase is when
someone agreed to "wair [a certain sum
of money] upon land"
the means of reviving a legal action which
had lain dormant for a year and a day
a feudal casualty due to a superior
on the death of a vassal.
This one was payable when the vassal's heir
was a minor, and was due from the time of the
vassal's death until his heir reached 21, when
he could legally succeed to the property. (Such
a minor heir would then have to pay his relief
when he was entered by his superior and also
of marriage when he got married).
was the fourth, and the original condition
on which lands could be granted by charter;
in this case, the return which had to be made
to the superior for the grant was the performance
of military service.
an undertaking, usually in the form of a "clause
of warrandice "in a grant, whereby the
person making the grant promised to maintain
and support the grantee in the property or right
granted him, against all challenges made to
his right or impediments concerning it which
might arise after the grant was made.
"Real warrandice" was an undertaking
that if the grantee were to lose his right to
what had been granted, then the granter would
grant him something else of equal value
were originally clerks who prepared letters
under the king's signet seal. However,
when the signet came into widespread use as
the means of sealing all summonses to the king's
court and all diligences issued by it, they
increased in number and, as writers to the signet,
not only prepared all summonses and diligences,
but acted as agents or attorneys in presenting
cases in the Court of Session