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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Jowel(l, Jowal(l, n. Also: jowelle, jouel(l; jowele, jouele, joweill(e; jowalle, jouall; jowale, jowaill; joul; joell. [ME. iowel(le (c 1330), iowaile (c 1400), OF. jouel, also earlier joel. Cf. Jewell and Juell.]

1. A costly article used for decoration or for personal adornment; a precious ornament. In plur., (a person's) valuables or treasure, the treasures (of a church).(a) 1375 Barb. xviii. 560.
With presoners and catele, Riches, and mony fair iowele, … tuk thai hame thar way
a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 499.
Of oure iowelys als tak ȝe, & berys hyme
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1934.
He gave his lemman thare a ryng, And bade hyr that scho suld … hald for hys luve that jowele [: welle]
?1438 Alex. ii. 7017.
Bettir is gude men tretit weill Than ony treasour or ioweill!
1505 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 75.
The alderman [etc.] … gaf … keping of thair jouelis and ornamentis of thar kirk to Sir Dauy Waus
1568 Melville Corr. 8.
All our joueles, clet[h]yng, horsis
(b) c1420 Wynt. vii. 666.
Haly placys … till honowre in ornamentys, Jowellys, bukys and vestymentys
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 79.
I maid hurdis of gold and tresore … , with jowellis of al fynest mettallis of all fassons, plesand with precious stanis
Ib. 315.
It is bettir a gud name na mekil riches in this warld or ony othir precious jowellis
1461 Liber Plusc. I. 397.
Al the sowmis of jowellis and tresour Of thine elderis, quhair is it went away?
a1500 Henr. Fab. 81.
O gentill jasp, … Thow art ane iowell for ane lord, or king
1513 Doug. ix. vi. 139.
Ane rych tysche or belt … , Euryll … hes this jowell hynt
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II. 382/7.
He gatt mony goldin and siluer iowellis with mony precious hyngaris
1569 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 656/1.
The crwin jowellis, guidis and gere
1573 Inv. Q. Mary clvii.
Inquirit quhilk jowell wes it that the Lard of Grange gaif to the Merschaell … declaris that he belevis it wes a ring
1570 Leslie 191.
The castell wes weill plenished … with coistlie abilyeamentis, kaipes and kirk jowellis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 360/6.
Ringis, tablattis, dayamondis, rubieis, sapheris, witht money wther pretious iowellis
1603 Moysie 56.
Sir William Steuart wes sent for the jovelis … , ressavit the cheife jovell, namely the H, with ane chenyie
1608 Crim. Trials II. 547.
Fra quhome … ane jowell composet of mony stanes is stown
1644 11th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. vi. 57.
I leiue Anna Lindesay … the two thousand marks … to bay ane jouel with
1651 Montgomery Mem. 314.
A brod iouell with dayamonds
(c) c1420 Wynt. v. 1543.
All hys wywys hedgere hale Wyth mony othire fayre jowale
1436 Acts II. 24/2.
That nane haif out of Scotlande golde, siluer, na jowalys conȝeit nor vnconȝeit
1456 Hay II. 128/28.
Faire clething … , our all grathit with precious jowalis, uchis, and besantis and stately array
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 107.
For caddas to stuf the litil coffrez with jowales and pakking threid to bind the samyn for breking of the jowales
1591-2 Rob Stene 1.
His jowaillis, movabillis and plaitt
(d) a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 521.
Ane gyrdill … , Ane purs of gold, and mony gay jowall [: memoriall]
1560 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 97.
The haill westimentis and jowallis pertening to the Haly Blude alter
1563 Montgomery Mem. 195.
I leif to … my spous, … all gold and siluer … and all vthir jovallis
1608 Crim. Trials II. 544.
Gif it war fund that ȝe had ony vther jowallis of worth
1632 Montgomery Mem. 290.
A great jowall in forme of a feather, all sett with great and small diamonds
(e) 1649 Wemyss Chart. 232.
This is my will quhaitt sall bei doun uithe my iouls and bodei klothes
(f) 1456 Misc. Bann. C. III. 100.
Quhat gold, joells ... that I have ... forȝet

b. Precious objects collectively, treasure in this form. c1420 Wynt. iv. 2194.
Off thare tresowre a gret dele Bath off mone and jowelle [v. rr. joweill(e]

2. transf. Applied to any object or thing regarded as precious: a ‘treasure’. a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 905.
The bane … Is stedit thar-in as jowel In fyne gold and cristel
c1420 Wynt. iii. 1049.
A gret stane … That for this kyngis sete wes made, And haldyne wes a gret jowale [C. iowalle] Wythtin the kynryk off Spayne hale
c1475 Wall. i. 128.
This jowell [the Stone of Scone] he gert turs in till Ingland
a1500 Bk. Chess 1211.
Thair faderis so thé traist thai wald That thair maist jowellis gaif thai thé to hald
a1500 Seven S. 1820.
[They] sperit quhy his gret covatis Had spilt thair jowell on sic a wys
1490 Irland Mir. I. 46/6.
The haly kyrk, … in His awine last testament He has left it to ws for the … maist precius tressoure … and maist nobile jowell
1533 Boece x. x. 371 b.
Kenneth causit the fatale chyare … be brocht … to Gowrye … as an precios jowell
1557 Irvine Mun. II. 10.
The said William producit the kinges confirmatioun … and said it was ane our precious jowall … to turs betuex bourghes

b. Appositive as adj., = prized as a ‘jewel’ or treasure, treasure-. a1500 Seven S. 1810.
Thus was this jowell myrrour tynt
Ib. 2057.
Quhen he his jowall bird had slane

3. fig. Applied to a person highly prized as of great worth. ?1438 Alex. ii. 1936.
‘In this castell I think to schew ȝow ane iouell Sa fare, sa suet [etc.] … ’
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10310.
That gude jowell King Alexanders quene In adultrie that sa done lang had bene
1622-6 Bisset II. 160/5.
Our maist precious jowell and soverane lord … hes sittin upoun the samin [Stone of Destiny]

4. Jowall coall, = jewell coal, Jewel(l n. 1683 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt Nov. 24.
The first work of the jowall coall

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"Jowel n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Apr 2024 <>



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