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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Mainis, Maynis, Manis, n. Also: maines, mainnis, -es, ma(i)ynis, -ys, -e(i)s, -ez, maynnis; manys, -e(i)s, -ez, mannis, manzies; mean(e)is; mains(e, mayns, manse; and (double pl.) mains(s)is, maynsis, manses; and see also (comb. form) Main-. [Aphetic f. Demayn(e n., Domaine n., with plur. ending appar. as Land n.1 6, sc. ‘domain lands’, ‘lord's lands’: also north. e.m.E. maynis (1589).]

That part of an estate which is, or formerly was, farmed by the proprietor himself, as distinguished from the land set to tenants for rent and services; the demesne, the home farm.Also occas. transf. to the lord's manor-house.For the occasional confusion or ambiguity with Manse n., see that word.

1. Treated as a plur.Applied to one, or, less freq., more than one demesne.(a) c 1398 Liber Calchou 411.
Cum quadam particula terre de le maynis
1423 (1431) Reg. Great S. 45/1. c1420 Bute MS. 141.
That thu come … tyl a certan place that is to say maner tenement with in maynys or som certane place be name of that lordschyp
14.. Acts I. 70/2.
Gif … that trespassour be in the kingis maynis or thanagis
1433 Raine N. Durham App. 63.
Tenandis clamand for to haue comon … in diuerse maynis of the priouris
1561 Glasgow Prot. III. 3.
The saidis haile mayneis with towre and fortalice
1566 Reg. Soltre 129. 1587 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 438. 1591 Thanes of Cawdor 194. 1604 Urie Baron Ct. 177.
With harrage, carrage within the maines
1627 Orkney Rentals iii. 85.
As concerning rowmes maiynis or great farmis … their ar non such heir
1627 Rep. Parishes 42, 47, 57, etc. 1642 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 38. c1650 Spalding II. 359. 1661 Misc. Spald. C. V. 232. 1698 Stitchill Baron Ct. 131.
Whatever portioner in the mayns shall be convicted of having lifted corne off ther neighbours rigg … shall be lyable for whatsoever corns ar missing through the wholl maynes
1627 Rep. Parishes 16.
Sir William Cokburn … he payes tuentie pund to the minister for the viccarages of his haill mainssis
(b) 1457 Stirlings of Keir 232.
Ten markis worth within my landis … outtakand my manys and chemys
1482–3 Acta Conc. II. cx. 1488 Acta Aud. 129/1. 1489 Acta Conc. I. 115/1. 1505 Exch. R. XII. 236 n. 1538 Exch. R. XVII. 754.
Terrarum de Hanyng cum manerio earundem lie manys
1605 Misc. Spald. C. IV. 274 (see Leit n.1 1). 16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 160.
The most part of the heritours … gave out all their lands to their tenants … and reserved only some few manses for their own sustenance
(c) 1610 Dunblane Test. III. 115.

b. Defined by a place-name in the following constructions:(1) The Mains of A. (also coupled with landis, toun etc.) and found throughout the whole country. (2) Occas. with of omitted. (3) (The) A. Mains, of which we have only south-eastern and southern examples.(1) 1416 Liber Melros 539.
Fornentis the maynnis of Bemerside
1456 Exch. R. VI. 212. (Home); Diurn. Occurr. 316.
Le maynez de Tarnway
1582 Perth B. Ct. 18 Dec.
Vpone the ground of the mains of the saidis landis of Duncrub
1600 Liber Dryburgh 316.
The teyndsheiffis of the toun and mainis of Mertoun
1611 Dunblane Test. III. 143. (Nairn); 1611 Fam. Rose 300. (Morton); 1617 Douglas of Morton 63.
Of aitis sawin upon the maynis of Cardrus
1621 Misc. Spald. C. V. 222.
The mainse of Pettinkeirrie
1636 Urie Baron Ct. 79. 1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 67.
The baronie … of Kirklistoun, maynes, kirk lands and mylne thereof
1684-9 Glamis Bk. of Record 4.
Taksman of the halfe of the mains of Auchterhouse
1627 Rep. Parishes 4.
The mainsis off Bonkill
(b) 1410–11 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 30.
The manys of Fernwell
1458 Exch. R. VI. 440.
De firmis de Westmanys de Strabrok
1470 Yester Writs 69. (Inchtuthil); 1476 Acta Aud. 45/2. (Winchburgh); Ib. 54/1.
The manis of Ȝester
1480 Douglas Chart. 112. (Dirlton); 1494 Acta Conc. 249/1. (Curry); 1495 Treas. Acc. I. 210. (Tantallon); 1497 Douglas Chart. 165. (Errol); 1498 Acta Conc. II. 129.
The castell and chemis of Auchlek vitht the hail manis of the samen
1506 Douglas Chart. 185. (Kildrummy); 1506 Exch. R. XII. 458.
The landis of the estyr manys of Kirkintullocht
1507 Reg. Privy S. I. 220/1.
The Kingis manys of Dunbar
1509 Ib. 273/2.
His manys and lowis of Lochmaben
1517 Ib. 456/2.
Super terris dominicalibus de le manys de Heliotstoun
1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 178.
The soumes of cattell … pastorit vpone the lordschip & manys of Craghall
1537 Reg. Privy S. II. 343/1.
Togiddir with the landis, manys, tower, houssis … of Crawmond
1543 Carte Northberwic 64. (Maryculter); 1545 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 596.
Wythtin the bundis and manis ouder of the hewht or abay landis of Northt Berwyk
1552 Holyrood Chart. 157.
Owre landis of Bowhous … lyand within our manis of the Cars and barrony of the samyn
1556–7 Reg. Soltre 120.
The teyndshewiffis of the landis and manis of Eister Vemis
1556–7 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 13/1.
Burnefutt alias manis de Symontoun cum turre [etc.]
1559 Wemyss Chart. 296. (Bolton); 1563 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 346/1. (Whitekirk); 1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 134.
Seid to saw vpoun the manis and grange of oure said place
1573 Montgomery Mem. 212. (Kilmarnock); 1575 Edinb. Test. III. 257 b.
The v merkland of Owir Caldwall, manes, tour and fortalice thairof
1587–8 Perth Guildry MS. 440 (6 Feb.).
Johne Reid in Rettray … Thomas Reid in the manys of Rettray
1594 Edinb. Test. XXVII. 234 b. (Greenlaw); 1617 Acts IV. 571/1.
Vpon the ground & landis of the manis of Pitfirrane
1618 Urie Baron Ct. 26.
The manse of Wry
1627 Rep. Parishes 18.
The manis of Langtoun not being in vse to be set
Ib. 197.
The manse of Ednem … was sumtyme set [etc.]
1650 Milne-Home MSS. 103.
The manzies of Wedderburne
1537 Reg. Privy S. II. 349/2.
The tua manis of Douglas … with … kane colis
(c) 1617 Urie Baron Ct. 22.
The … tennentis … to enter to all sort of … serwice within the meaneis of Wry, or wther meaneis within the barrony thairof
(2) 1509 Rentale Dunkeld. 102.]
[Mains of Ouchtergawine, … Manes Strathord
1567 Digest Justiciary Proc. G. 13.
The barne ȝard of the maynes Dalmelling toune
(3) 1464–5 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 60 (22 Jan.).
The landis callit the Kyrktoune manys [Roxburghshire]
c 1556 Melrose Reg. Rec. III. 238.
The landis in the Merse. Hassyntoun Mains [£5/15/ = ], … the four landis of Hassentoun [£1/10/ = ]
1567 Liber Dryburgh 403.
Geven … to ane fuill in Thirlstane manys
1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII. 236.
His … kist that standis in the spens of the said Lowdoun Hill maynes [infra the maneis of Loudoun Hill]
1641 Acts V. (1817) 646/2.
The landis and baronie of Pencaitland maynsis

c. = Mainsing n. a1595 Descr. Isles 436.
The said John Stewart hes it all under maynes, and quhan he settis the same it payis six score bollis

2. Treated as a sing.: A demesne. 1428 Liber Melros 521.
The west maynis, … in that maynis
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Manerivm.
Ane mainnes or domaine landes: Or terræ dominicales: Because they ar laboured and inhabited be the lorde … of the samin
1627 Rep. Parishes 36.
Torcraik … is devydit in ane maynes and ane coit toun
1656 Edinb. Justices Peace 407. 1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 184.
Giving him a take of that maines
a 1714 Cromarty Corr. II. 474.
He … choisd Kinellan … for his abod … and Braan for a maines

3. Attrib. and comb. Cf. Main-. 1510 Rentale Dunkeld. (S.H.S.) 105.]
[Quhytley with Maneis myln
1627 Rep. Parishes 197.
The whole teandis off this baronie, manse-toune and by roumis
c 1639 Scots Lore 164.
The haill rent of the maynes land conforme to the said rentall
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 142.
To interrogat Harbert Randall now in Knokhullie then maynes officer

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"Mainis n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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