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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.

Law-borch, Lawborgh(e, n. Also: law-borcht, -bowrch, -broch, lauborcht; law-borogh, -burgh, lauborgh. [Law n.1; Borch(t), Borgh n. Variously written as one or two words. Cf. Law-Borowis n. (and Law-sovertie n.).]

1. The person standing as surety for someone that he shall not injure another. Freq. to becum (also to cum) lawborch for. Also uninflected as a plur. or coll.(1) c 1456 Edinb. B. Rec. MS. (Reg. H.) 3.
Archibald Todrik is becuming souerte and lawborgh for Edward Wr that William Dunmure salbe harmeles and scaithles of him but fraud or gile
1458 Peebles B. Rec. 129.
Than thair com law borch for hym John Dekyson … that the said Thom suld be skathlas bot as the curs of common law askis of the sayd Doby and his purches
1467 Peebles B. Rec. I. 156.
Rob Dylkyson fand law borcht for hym Jhon Dykyson that Thomas Haw swld be schathtles of hym … , item, Thomas Haw fand law borch for hym Georg Collan that Rob Dykyson suld be schathtles of hym
1512 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 136.
The quhilk day Dauid Layng is becummyn souerte and lawborogh for Agnes his spous that Katerine Wardlaw salbe harmles [etc.]
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 58.
Jhone Claphane … become souerte & lawbroch for the said Jhone of Spens as gentil man landit that Johne Browne forsaid his wyff barnis and seruandis sal be harmeles [etc.]
1520 Ib. 189; etc.
And than the said maister James offerit to the said schiref his brother maister Alexander Kynnynmontht lawborgh for him … the quhilk the said schiref refusyt because the said maister Alexander wes noucht landit man
1523–42 Carnwath Baron Ct. (ed.) 13.
The inqueist cannocht quit Jhon Pumfra of triblans of my l. court in vordis & onleful langage & Robert Chanslar lawborch for him
1533–4 Treas. Acc. VI. 2 18.
To Adam Stewart, messinger, to pas with lettres to summond Schir James Hammiltoun as souerte and lauborcht for James Hammiltoun
1542 Reg. Privy S. II. 758/1.
The gift of the eschete of … ane hundreth pundis … quhilk Dauid Balfour … , as lauborgh and souerte for umquhill Johne Lessillis, … hes incurrit be resoun that the said umquhill Johne … cruelly slew the said umquhill Alexander and thairthrow brak the said lawborrowis
1578 Reg. Privy C. III. 56.
Souirtie and lawborch
(b) 1484 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 40.
And for the said Johne the Ros, William Futhes is becumin law burgh that William Vmfray salbe unscathit in tym cuming, utherwayes than as law will. And the said William Vmfray has fundin Thom. Sympson law bergh [sic in pr.] for him [etc.]
1578 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. 69.
Johne Gledstanis is becumin lawburgh [etc.]
(2) 1497 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. 75.
Lawbowrch for Dawy Lolquhor, Henre Barbowr and Jhon Sanderis
1521 Stirling B. Rec. I. .
Duncan Smart [etc.] … war lawborgh that Jame Moffet sould be harmles … of Thome Allan

2. To draw (oneself, one's possessions, etc.) lawborgh, to pledge oneself (not to injure another). Also, to becum (one's own) lawborgh.(1) 1466 Acta Aud. 6/1.
Alexander Lorde Glammys has drawin him self, his landis and gudis law borghe that his moder … salbe skatheles of him and al that he may let bot as law wil
1471 Ib. 19/1.
Dauid Ranton … drew his hand his landis & gudis lawborgh to our souerain lord that Archbald of Todrig & the tennandis of Elwinston suld be harmles & skathles of him [etc.]
1473 Ib. 23/1; etc.
Walter Oliphant … has drawin his land & his gude law borgh that Henry Malvill … sall be scathles of him [etc.]
1495 Acta Conc. I. 424/1.
Archibald Forstar … has drawin him self his landis & gudis lawborgh to our souerane lord that Alexander Forster [etc.] … vnder the pain of jc li.
(2) 1489 Acta Conc. I. 121/1.
William Menteth … & James of Crechtoun … ar becumin law borgh that Robert Brois … sall be harmeles … of thaim [etc.] … vnder the pane of jm merkis

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"Law-borch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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