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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Penny-stane, -stone, n. Also: penni(e)-, penne-, pen(n)ey- and -staine, -stonne. [Late north. ME. and north. e.m.E. penystane (Cath. Angl.: gl. discus), pennyston (1519), f. Penny n. and -stone. Also in mod. Sc. and north. Eng. (Cumbld.) dials.] A game, similar to quoits, played with a flat round stone or ‘pennystone’. b. A stone so used.Common in the phr., play at the penny-stane.sing. (a) 1577 Reg. Privy S. VII. 162/2.
And schuittand with the uther bairnis of the scoill … at the pennystane in thair common playing place
1592 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 63.
At ony pastymes or gammis … upoun the Sabboth day sic as golf, archerie, rowbowllis, penny stane, kaitchpullis
1601 Elgin Rec. II. 90.
He saw John Murray … playand at the penny stane on Sonday
1610 S. Leith Rec. 8.
Peney stane
1634 Peebles Gleanings 125.
John Pringill … grantit he … playit at the pennie stane upone Tueid Greine
1640 Mouswald Kirk S. 1 July.
Pleying at nyne hollis, pennie stane or any such lyk idle pastymes
c 1695 Hawick Arch. Soc. (1904) 30.
[One profanes the Lord's day by] gameing at the bob and penny stane
(b) 1622 Elgin Rec. II. 171.
That he was playing at the penny stone efter the preitchingis
1628 Dundonald Par. Rec. 249.
1647 Rec. Old Aberd. II. 27.
1649 Cramond Ch. Speymouth 8.
1672 M.P. Brown Suppl. Decis. II. 696.]
[(He) played at the pennystone and lifted it himself played four games [etc.]
1677 Auchterhouse Ann. 138.
And in time of divine service went to the churchyard and plaid at the penniestonne
1688 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 247.
He was sieing some persones playing at the pennistone
plur. 1610 Lee Hist. Church App. ii. 413.
Referred to the sessions … for playing at the penny stones on Sabbath

c. attrib., also possess., with -cast, = the distance a ‘penny-stone’ can be thrown, a short distance.(a) 1375 Barb. xvi. 383 (C).
In-till ane place the vay Wes nocht a penny-stane cast of breid
Ib. xiii. 581 (E). ?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 57.
Besides this ile be ane pennystane cast till it thair is ane uther ile
Ib. 76.
Penniestane [v.r. penneystaine] cast
1602 Reg. Privy C. VI. 451.
Within a pennystane cast to his majesteis palice
1627 Rep. Parishes 68.
Penny stane cast
1642 Justiciary Cases II. 472.
And Lawrance his brother was about ane pennystane cast befoir Mr. Patrik
(b) 1701 Brand Orkney & Shetl. 130.
Within a pennie-stone cast of the shore

d. Applied to a large stone, like a penny-stone in shape. — 1692 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 67.
A stone four or five foot in diameter called the Pennystone under which money is fancied to be

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



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