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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.

Likarstane, Lykyrstyne, Lekker-steane. Also: leckarstain, lekcarstane. A name of obscure origin and meaning given to a conspicuous stone or heap of stones in various places in eastern Scotland: for a number of modern occurrences of very similar geographic distribution, as Lickerstane, Lecker-, Lacker-, Liquor-stone, Lecture-stane, and, in Aberdeenshire, Liggarsteen, see SND, s.v. Leckerstane, and also Soc. Ant. XXXVI. 517. (There is a late and possibly spurious tradition that on these stones coffins were rested ‘at the time that the burial service was read’ on the way to the graveyard (New Statist. Acc. Scotl. (1839) Kinross p. 41, Sc. Ant. VI. 48). An earlier traditional association with graves appears however to be implied by our 1611 quot. If either of these were correct, a formally possible etym. would be an OE. or early ME. *lícrest(e)-stán, f. OE. lícrest(e, ME. (Layamon) lich-raste, e.m.E. (Somerset) lych-reste, a resting-place for a dead body, a burial place, in OE. also a bier: see Lyke n. 1 b.) — 14.. Reg. St. A. i.
Diuise merchiarum terrarum de Kyrknes [in Kinross]: … Ad vnum aceruum lapidem qui dicitur in wlgari lykyrstyne
1572 Crail B. Ct. MS. 6 Oct.
It is statute ... that na falis nor dywettis be cassin in ony tyme heirefter ... vnder the leckarstaines within the bonis off the samin
1578 Aberd. Chart. 341.
The haill without the Dene Fald to the likarstane to ly commontie
1582-3 Crail B. Ct. MS. 7 Mar.
That the said Elezabethe was ... purpossit to haue burrit the said bairne at ane lekcarstane to the effecte that na knawlege sould haiff bene gottin off the murther of the samin
1611 Reg. Panmure I. xcv.
Fra the Croce [of Camuston] the space of fourscor passes thear is ane lawe callit the Dwrlawe and thearby ane heape of steans callit ane lekker steane and thearfra agane neir ane qwarter mile ane wther heape lyand west thearfra. It is thought thear wor swme of the Danes slane thear quha did flea in companie with Camus

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"Likarstane n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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