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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
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March, Merch(e, n.2 Also: marche, marcht, martch, marsch, mertch(e, mersch, mairch, mairtch, meyrch(e. [ME. (c 1290), e.m.E., and F. march(e, med.L. marchia, related to Mark n.1]

1. The border or frontier of a country, also of a district or region.Also, a tract of land near a border.Freq. plur. in collect. use: Borders, bounds, outer limits.(1) 1533 Bell. Livy I. 16/18.
Sic pece was made … that the river … Tyber was equale marche to thame baith
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 184.
Effesoun is ane fair cite … in the marches of Calde
c1420 Wynt. i. 1202.
Alpes … Departand Ytaly fra Frawns Be marchis, merys and distawns
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 248/3.
The peple of Scottis and Pictis … huntit in the merchis of thar regionis
Ib. 304/25.
In the extreme merchis the montanis of Gilboy
1513 Doug. i. vi. 61.
Ȝhe bene in the merchis of Lyby
Ib. iii. v. 110.
Quha maid thé heir arrive At our marchis?
Ib. ix. 54. 1531 Bell. Boece I. xxvi.
Eftir the expulsioun of Pichtis, it wes namit the Mers, that is to say, the marchis
Ib. xxx.
The montanis … quhilkis wer sum time the gret marchis betuix the Scottis and Pichtis
Id. Livy I. 74/32.
Als sone as he is cumin to the marchis and vtir boundis of that pepil
1596 Dalr. I. 170/4.
Violentlie in ower thayr [the Scots'] mairches he brekis
1625 Garden Sc. Kings 14.
Thou dreave thame from thy merches ev'rie man
c 1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 519.
Cuming out of Lochlagan at the marches of Badenoch

b. A (? not necessarily frontier) district. 1494 Loutfut MS. 2 a.
The king or his marschall of the marche quhar the gaigis war gevin

2. Commonly, the Scottish Border with England, or conversely. Freq. plur. as collect.: the Borders.Also, the est, middil or west march(is.(1) 1375 Barb. xix. 776 (C).
Erllis twa, Of Marche [E. the Mers] and Angous war thai
1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38. 1386 Ib. No. 9.
The Erle of the Marche, wardain of the est marche of Scotland
1515–6 Exch. R. XIV. 35.
Marchie signifero
(2) 1375 Barb. xv. 431 (E).
Till the march … he tuk the way
1400 Douglas Corr. 59.
Fore tretee of the quhilk matere will yhe … charge the lord the Fournivalle [etc.] … to the marche
1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
James of Douglas wardane of the marche
c1420 Wynt. viii. 5783.
The castelwartis on [the] Marche
c1475 Wall. viii. 1602. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 229/22. 1531 Bell. Boece I. xxvi.
This watter of Sulway … is the marche of Scotland fornence the west bourdouris
Ib. II. 169.
The watter of Forth sall be marche betwix Scottis and Inglismen
1578 Reg. Privy C. III. 79.
The Englische marche fronting to this realme
1587 Acts III. 452/1. 1649 Dumfries Kirk S. 16 Aug.
In marieing beȝond the march
(3) 1375 Barb. xvi. 358 (E).
Of the marchis than had he The gouernaile
Ib. xix. 204.
The trewis war Lestand on marchis
Ib. xv. 403 (C). Ib. 531 (E). 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
Als fer fra the marches as Edynburgh
c1420 Wynt. viii. 900.
Gyve Brws beis kyng off Scotland, Kepe welle thi marchys off Ingland
Ib. 6298.
At Colbrandispethe and at Soltre That tyme thai gert the marchis be
1424 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 14.
At yhour cummyng to the marchez
1436 Acts II. 23/2. 1489 Ib. 214/2. 1531 Bell. Boece I. xxiii.
Quhill it come to the uter marchis … of Ingland and Scotland
Ib. II. 388. a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xvii. 52.
That we get Berwik our merchis for to mend
1587 Acts III. 452/1.
All … guidis transportit in Ingland fylling thair merches
1596 Dalr. II. 140/32.(4) 1385 Rotuli Sc. II. 73/2.
The day on the est marche
1429 Cal. Doc. IV. 405.
The est and middel marche of Scotland
1476 Fam. Innes 82. 1573 Reg. Privy C. II. 300. 1586 Cal. Sc. P. IX. 151.
The lyke commandement may be gevin to ȝour wardane of that marche
1587 Ib. 474.plur. 1456 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 10.
Wardene of the est and the myddyll merchis of Scotland affornent Ingland
1459 Exch. R. VI. 552.]
[Domino Andree Stewart … gardiano west marchiarum Scocie versus Angliam
1515 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 53.
Within the bowndis of the middill merchis and bordowris of Scotland forganis Ingland
1520 Edinb. Chart. 204. 1528 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. 263. 1545 Douglas Corr. 159.
Mee lord varden off the middille marches off England
1561–2 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 256/2. 1584 Gray Lett. & P. 41.
That he lay at Beaucastell on the vest mairtches

b. Law (also statutis etc.) of (the) March(is, the code of regulations governing mutual intercourse on the Anglo-Scottish Border. 1384 Acts I. 349/1.
That … nane … sal do skathe to tha of the boundes of the tothir partie bot tha sall ger it be redressit als law of marche vill enterchaungeabely
Ib. 83*/2.
The lawis of the merchis betuix Scotland and Ingland
1448 Ib. 350/2.
[To] put in wryt the statutis ordinancis and vse of merchis
Ib.
It is … statut be law of merche … that na … persoun … sal intercomoun with ony Inglis man or woman outher in Scotland or Ingland without special licence of the wardane

c. Day of march, a day of truce on which a court of the wardens or commissioners of the respectively opposing marches heard complaints of infringements of the laws of march. 1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
Redresis … the qwhilk my deputis has askyte at dayis of marche & nane has gotyne
1429 Cal. Doc. IV. 405.
He sal be broucht to the day of marche at the soyt of the perti playntif
1475 Ib. 408.
We have written to oure wardane … to sett the dais of merche and meting on the bordouris
1563 Balfour Pract. 607.
The wardanis must keip thair dayis of marchis oft … swa that … everie moneth ane day of trewis be keipt at everie marche
1574 Reg. Privy C. II. 357.
All … frehalderis within the boundis of the wardanriis ar … debtbund to await upoun his hienes wardanis at the dayis of marcheis. … Nevirtheles … Williame Creychtoun … absentit himself fra the dayis of trew kepit at the west marche
1578–9 Ib. III. 81. Ib. 82.

d. The court of march wardens or commissioners for dealing with such infringements; a sitting of this court. 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 38.
That gif ony man of the ta reaume dois harme with in the tothir reaume … the wardanis of the marches gif he be within thair boundis … sal … bryng [him] … to knawlage of marche
14.. Acts I. 84*/2.
Gif he denyis that dett he sall purge him therof at the merchis within the nixt xiiij nycht

3. The boundary or boundary-line of a property or of lands belonging to a community.Freq. plur., bounds, limits.Also Land-march n.Also as marked with stones, cairns, stakes, dikes, ditches, bauks, etc.: see also d below.For further examples, see the various synonyms, as Devis(e, Landimer(e, Mark, Mere, Methe. To divide (devide), line, perambulate, red, rid, ride, the marchis, see the verbs and verbal nouns.plur. (a) 1402 Scone Indenture (Reg. H.).
[To] delyuir the landis … with sic marchis & meris as thai had of ald tyme
1425 Liber Melros 545.
The … clamys on ilke syde herd the sayd assyse determynit the marchys
c 1434 Liber Aberbr. II. 67. 1450 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 143.
That … ȝe mak the boundis and the marchis off the landis of Menmur bayth off propirtye and commontye
1533 Boece i. viii. 52.
Be the maist equale marchis thai couth
1550 Rec. Earld. Orkney 239. 1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 69. 1609 Acts IV. 434/1. 1643 Dumfries Treas. Acc. MS. 2.
At hallowmes at the marches ryding for ane pek of aples
1659 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 423.
At the last sighting of the marches
1666 Corshill Baron Ct. 73.
Martches
1673 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. MS. 10 Feb.
Furnishing ane hewen stane to thair marches
(b) 1434 Liber Aberbr. II. 66.
Thir ar the merchis devydand Dunberrow on euery syde
? 1506 Fam. Rose 179.
Anent the diuiding of the merschis
1512 Prestwick B. Rec. 44.
For the wrangwys brekyn of his merchys of land
1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 175. 1525 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. V. 30. 1529 Dundee B. Laws 546.
The ald merchis to be merche and merche of the said dyk
1596 in Melvill 381.
Giff anie gentilman … haid bein sa used with his nibour in questioun of his mertches
1641 Aberd. Council Lett. II. 281.
To give order to some few of your number who ar best acquaint with the merches of the fredome to pas out
1662 Forbes Baron Ct. 230.
The birlamen … quhair thair is any controversie either in merches setting [etc.]
1667 Rothesay B. Rec. 138.
To sie the merchis cleirit
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 82 (14 ? July).
Quhat old men leatt you sea and told that thes was the merches
(c) 1519 Rec. Earld. Orkney 93.
To pruiff the auld mairchis betuixt Sabbay and Thoep
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 310.
For the better ordour to be tayne in visitatioun of the mairches of thair commoun lands … it is … ordanet that … the provest [etc.] … sal pas … the said mairches vpoun fute
1617 Melrose P. 297.
Questiouns of mairtchis in thair wooddis, forrests, and hountings
1634 Peebles Gleanings 171.
Anent the mairches that our men had castene turfs [on]
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes 14 July.
Whither … any of the saids witnesses knowes any mairches betuixt the Kings comon and kirk comon
1672 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. MS. 10 June.
For the better observing and keiping of the mairches in tyme comming that all burgessis … sett in ane stone … with tua K.K. … therupon
sing. (a) 1456 Liber Aberbr. II. 89.
Passande west one as the proppis ar set to the marche of Kynblathmont
1485 Lag Chart. 54.
A marche set wyth erde and stane quhill it cum to the burn
1592 Stirling B. Rec. I. 85.
As the marche passis about the said bray
1596 Black Bk. Taymouth 419. 1608 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 47.
The tounis marche hes bene … subject to alteration
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 63.
To fix a march … he convocats the whole country and erects crives … from one side of the river to the other
(b) 1556 Peebles B. Rec. I. 230.
To the metyn of the merche betuix Burrelfeild and Jedburghfeild and Hammiltoun
1582 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 70.
Ilk nychtbour, twa and twa betwix thame, casting halff darge turffiis, betwix the eist merche and the mos
1593 Lanark B. Rec. 110.
To begyn at Thomas Hutoun merche
1596 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 148.
The banis found erdit beȝond thair nychtbouris merch
1600 Reg. Great S. 384/1.
As merche of propertie distinguisend the saidis landis of Tullich [etc.] … fra the landis of Brachlie
1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 322.
And thairfra red furth the said wayne gett directlie, as merche of propertie of the said burgh
1620 Aboyne Rec. 267. 1650 Brechin Presb. 35. 1652 Peebles B. Rec. II. 7. 1679 Banff Ann. I. 159.
The magistrats … hes … dispensed with the common venniall … which wes the former merch … betuixt [two holdings]
(c) 1631 Dumbarton B. Rec. 36.
[Fined] for extending beyond his mairch
1667 Urie Baron Ct. 85.
Within ther heid rowme or within the mairch of the land

b. The limit of a working, or boundary between two workings, in a coal-mine. 1678 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt.
For the expensis in pyllyng the controverted marchies betwixt Jhone Braces & Wolmet
1679 Ib. Nov. 22.
For pyling Major Biggars marches a gall. aill

c. (Liand) (be) dry march(is), (dwelling on the other side of) a land frontier or boundary, one not marked or protected by water, as the sea or a large river.(1) c1420 Wynt. ix. 1494.
The few folk off Scotland That be dry marche ar lyan Nere yhow
1531 Bell. Boece I. xxvii.
Becaus thay have Inglismen … liand dry marche apon thair nixt bordour
(2) 1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 241.
Tham on bordouris and dry merchis and utheris apon the schoirris of the sey
16.. Symson's Descr. Galloway (1823) 120.
Kyle … marcheth the Stuartry with a dry march near to the head of Kenn
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 159.
The said Robert … abuseth all his neighbours in hunding ther guids of his gras upon dry marches so that … all the most pairt of the lands adjacent will be casten waist

d. Attrib.With balk, burn, cairn, cryke, fur, furd, mark (= next sense), rig and in March-dyk(e, -stane.(1) 1595 Reg. Great S. 110/1.
Fra stane to stane quhill it cum to ane stane at the heid of the mertche bauk … and thairfra … till it cum to the end of the mertche rig of Myddiltoun, and thairfra … till ane mertche cairne
(2) 1602 Reg. Great S. 474/1.
Ane braid balk … quhilk … is … to … remaine as ane perpetuall merchebalk and lone to the landis wnderwrittin
1683 Fountainhall Decis. I. 224.
Upon her tilling and riveing out the march-balk
1597 Reg. Great S. 186/1.
Fra the marche burne of Craigskene
1512 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 154.
The carn of stanes that is in the mercat gait quhilk is ane of the marcht cairnis
1555 Coll. Aberd. & B. 383.
Ane merch carne made and biggit of the ald in ane merch lyand [etc.]
1563 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 364/1.
Ex boreali et torrentam lie marche cryke
1568 Prot. Bk. J. Foulis MS. 61 b.
Ane goit to be cassin in the medo to the merche fur as the pittis ar set
1567 Reg. Privy S. V. ii. 344/1.
A superiore lie Marchefurd usque ad lie Stokefurd de Fyvie
1667 Old-lore Misc. IX. 141.
The first march mark dividing these scattalds stands upon the top of the little hill
1623 Reg. Great S. 225/1.
Terras de Kersheade cum lie merchrig

4. A boundary marker, as a march-stone or cairn, boundary-dike, etc.See also Methe n., Prop n., Stob n., for further examples. 1495 Acta Conc. I. 394/2.
The wrangwis … vptaking of ther merchis and stanis and making of wrang marchis at his avne hand
1505–6 Peebles B. Rec. I. 33.
The actioun … for the wrangwis … dovnecasting of thar dikis and merchis of the sammyn [lands]
1509 Rec. Earld. Orkney 82.
Anent mark-stenys, leyll meyrcheis and methis … the dyk-steith … sall be meyrche on the ane part [etc.]
1513 Doug. xii. xiv. 30.
Ane ald crag stane … was liggand neir, A marche set in that grund mony ȝeir Of twa feildis
1537–8 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 153.
Robert Orrok … brak and destroit the ald marsches of Wester Kingorn
1549 Prot. Bk. Sir J. Cristisone 101.
One the vest bank the iugis maid ane hoyll in the erd and put in stanis for ane marche
1552 Prot. Bk. R. Lumsdane 20.
Ane karne maid for ane merche
Ib.
Ane ȝerd fast stane maid for ane merche
1551 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 21. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 31. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 300. 1576–7 Crim. Trials I. ii. 66. 1585 Echt-Forbes Chart. 122. 1596 Dalr. I. 312/29.
The crose for a marche betueine the twa realmes thay walde affix
1596 Reg. Great S. 194/1. 1602 Ib. 474/2.
Fra the north end of the said heidrig as the merchis standis
1603–4 Ayr B. Acc. 220.
[For] carpoillis to sett merches [between the sands and the hills, 10 s.]
1616 Dalyell Darker Superst. 179.
[She refused to speak before passing] the boundis of hir ground and thair sat down, plaiting her feit betuix the merchis
1627 Linlithgow B. Rec. ii May.
The burgess eldest sonnes to accompanie the baillies [at the riding of the marches] and help the merches as they go by thame
1655 Peebles B. Rec. II. 197.
Quhen the bealyies and … counsell met with John Scots … and set the merches
1681 Stair Inst. ii. vi. 14 (1693) 277.

5. a. A natural frontier or limit (of a stretch of land or water); a shore or margin (of the sea), a bank (of a river). b. A (constructed) border or surround (of an enclosure, etc.).a. c1420 Wynt. i. 1126.
The wattyre of Ynde … On est half is the marche off it [sc. Africa]
14.. Acts I. 384/2.
Gif ony fysch or a litill quhail besyde the merchise of the sey be fundyn
1533 Bell. Livy I. 18/6.
Quhen the river was fallin to the ald marchis
Ib. II. 204/17.
Ane vncouth … inemye … fra the occeane sey & vthir the last boundis & merchis of the warld
15.. Acts I. 201 (red).
All kynd of monthis … hes mercheis thre, Heidrowm, watter, and monthis bord
1581-1623 James VI Poems I. 86/24.
So shall she neuer droun againe the land, But brek her wawes on rockis, her mairch to keip
Ib. 106/26. 1596 Dalr. II. 327/27.
Tha held thame back fra the marches of the ile als weil as thay culd
1587-99 Hume iv. 70.b. 1657 Moses Bundles MS. (Edinb. City Chambers) 39/1642.
Ane yaird lyand besouth the said halfe land surrounded with ane dyik and march
1674 Cunningham Diary 44.
For laying marches to the ash midding, 2 s.

6. fig. and in fig. contexts, in various above senses.To red, rid marches (between jurisdictions, spheres of influence, principles etc.), see Red v., Rid v.plur. 1562-3 Winȝet II. 54/19.
Pas nocht ouer thai boundis, proptis or marcheis quhilkis thy fatheris hes put
1605-6 Welsh Forty-eight Serm. 449.
He has gone over the back of death and … come within the marches and limits of eternal life
Ib. 518.
There are marches and meithes set down … and they that want thir marks and are without the marches, they may make them for the wrath of God
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1664) 132.
So marches lie still unrid & counts uncleared betwixt us
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 417.
The rise and close of that prophesie … will fall under the same times and marches
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. II. 124.
The actes of Assembly and the Booke of Policye … puttes cleare marches betuixt civill and ecclesiasticke jurisdictione
sing. 1604-31 Craig i. 22/16.
[Neither] those alps, nor Tybers volted arche Vnto that archimonarche great King James must be a marche
1630 Rutherford Christ & Doves (1709) 14. 1635 Dickson Hebrews 143.
To renounce the march set betwixt the lawe and the gospell
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 171. 1638 Protestation of Subscribers of Confession of Faith and Covenant.
It is at least the hyding of the merch in the ground that it bee not seene
a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 727.
To shew what is … the march and terme differincing the sixth from the seventh [trumpet]

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"March n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/march_n_2>

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