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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Soverté, n. Also: soverty(e, -tie, -tay, -ta, souerte(e, souuert(y)e(e, -tie, sowert(i)e, sovirté, -ty(e, -tie, sovorté, sovartie, suferté, soverité, -ty, soviritie. [Sover adj.; also, as a legal term, in later Sc. law. Cf. Securit(i)e n. and Sur(e)té n.] Security or surety, in various senses.

1. Safety. 1447 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 197.
The castell of Kildrumy … is a place conuenient of souerte

b. Making safe, safeguarding (a person or his rights). 1482–3 Acta Conc. II cxviii.
The said Schir Alexander sall gif in dewe fourme a charter [of conjunct feftment] … to be kepit be the said Lord Somervell for the souerte of his said douchter
1515 Douglas Corr. 318.
For the weyll and souertie of the kyngis grace
1521 Douglas Corr. 79.
We sal de and liff in the querrell for the souerte of oure said soverane
a1578 Pitsc. I 74/11.
For our awin defence and souertie of our selffis frome the iniurieis of our enemieis

2. Safe-keeping. 1451 Aberd. B. Rec. I 19.
Thai ordane that the admiral deputis sall intermet with, and keip the forsaid Duche mennys schip, gudes, and fracht in souertee

3. Binding assurance or guarantee (that some action will be taken, some payment made or some condition maintained), or an instance of this; security (for the performance of an obligation, etc.). Also under (upon) soverty (soverties).For further examples see Law-borowis n. 1 and 1 b.(1) 1429 Lanark & R. 284.
To the mare soverte and sekirte the seel of Sir Robert of Conynghame, Alexander of Mongumry [etc.] … to thir lettres ar to put
1456–7 Reg. Dunferm. 341.
And for the mare souerte in presens of Huchoun Ker … notar … I haue gevin gude faith and bodely oblising
1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 329.
For souerte of the quhilk forsaide payment … the said James sall infeft the said Williame … in fourty merkis wortht of lande
c1500-50 Brevis Cronica 322.
Fulgentius, Duke of Brittonnis, … fled to the Scottis … and left his twa sonnis in hostage for mair souerte
1525 Acts II 297/2.
Becaus mony persouns indytit to justice airis ar [? = or] chargeit with souirtie to justice courtis vsis to absent thaim and fle
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 290.
The said Alexander … [was] randerit in the castell of Edinburgh, as pledge for souertie
1592 Acts III 556/1.
That the lordis of counsaill … grant na lettrez of suspensioun … without consignatioun or guid souirtie
(2) 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 196.
The proveist of Sanct Androis come home, vndir soverties
c1575 Balfour Pract. 273.
Gif ony manis beist, or uther gudis or geir, be put under pledge and sovertie to enter to the court [etc.]
(3) 1533–4 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 414.
That lettres be writtin … to all maisteris of girthis … requiring thame to nem ane certane person … to be maister of the girth, quha sall … deliver the personis apon souirte that reparis to the samin girth
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 14.
Apone syk souerte thai have send be this wrytyng
1551–2 Treas. Acc. X 55.
Lettres chargeing Robert Ker, tutour of Gradane, fynd souerte to underly the law for the slauchter of Williame Ruthirfurd of Langnewtoun and to remane upoun the sourteis
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 129.
Some travellouris of this toun of Edinburgh, whome they late depart vpon sovertie to enter agane at their calling

b. In various other special collocations and formulae.Also Law-sovertie n.(1) 1483–4 Acta Aud. *135/1.
[They] sal fynd sufficiand souuerte to the said George to kepe him scaithles at the handis of the laif of executoris
1488 Lanark B. Rec. 4.
Thai fyndand souerte to the town the arschip salbe furthcumande to quham that efferis
1491 Acta Conc. I 196/2. 1522 Acta Conc. MS XXXIII 53.
The lard of Mynto to find caucioun & souerte to mary his sonis dochteris apoun landyt men of … greit importance
1531–2 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 118.
Na man vauld fynd souerte for to enter that yong stot. And thairefter … thai put this yong stot in souer keiping
1561 Reg. Privy S. MS XXX 50.
The said Johnne put to the horne for nonfinding of souirtie
c1575 Balfour Pract. 499. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 305.
For suritie heirof ilk ane fand souertie
a1578 Pitsc. II 85/6.
To find sowertie to wnderly the law withtin sex dayis or ellis to gang to the horne
(2) 1446 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 312.
Latand ȝhow wit that we hafe tane souertee our selfe of the said Robert of all dwiteis belangand till vs of the said landis
1474 Acts II 106/2.
That the custummaris sall or thai gif the coket till ony schip tak souerte and borovis of ilk a merchande for the hame bringyne of bulȝeon
c1475 Wall. iii 414.
And chargyt him tak souerte of Wallas
1501 Treas. Acc. II 116.
1540 Acts II 357/1.
The party appellant being warnit and callit to heir the souirtie and cautioun tane
1581 Aberd. B. Rec. II 44.
That the said maister of kirk wark … sall tak no … souertye for payment of the said lair siluir bot onlie hand payment
1589 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 189.
To tak souirtie for the entrie of all personis chargeit to vndirly the law
(3) a1500 Lanc. 2386.
What souerte schal I have for to gone At libertee out of this danger free?
1513–14 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 9.
Dene Alexander Cunyngham … till have souirtie and lawborrois … of the erle of Arane [etc.]
(4) 1498 Acta Conc. II 246.
Jhone, Lord Drummond, quhilk has gevin cawcione and souerte that the sade Margret … sal hald ferme and stable
(5) 1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 46.
I mycht nocht cum to get souerte to lows the said arreistment
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4731.
Thay hauld the corps at the kirk style, … Tyll thay gett sufficient souerte, For thare kirk rycht
(6) 1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 44.
That thir gentillmen … may be lattin to souerte … to entir thame at ane day befor your lordship at is notrale
1546 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale App. lxxii.
That quhayr Jhon Ker … hays in to prison John Elwand [etc.] … we desyr him to lat ws tham to souerte
(7) 1593 Acts IV 18/1.
To the effect that souirtie micht be ressauit vnder greitar panis nor the commoun accustumat ofbefoir
(8) 1596 Misc. Spald. C. II 131.
Thow being chargit to haue set souertie at ane certane day bypast
1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 35.
To set sufficient cautioune and sovertie for his good cariage

c. An item of property capable of serving as security; a pledge (in goods or money). 1526 Wigtown B. Ct. 173a.
Gilbert McCayne allegis that he hais na souerte in the tolbuith bot his hand guydis & heretage
1530–1 Edinb. B. Rec. II 45.
That all the souerteis of the broustaris that has falit and brokin the statutis of the toune … be poyndit for xl s.
1551 Dundee B. Ct. II fol. 87b (11 Sept.).
To releif Andro Fothringhame of his said souertay
1614 Aberd. Council Lett. I 129.
The ane sowertie of ane thowsand merks wes receavit befoir the coming of ȝour letter

4. A person or persons standing pledge for another, also, for goods, etc.; (a) surety. Also, to becum (or to cum) soverty, and to find (another) soverty, with following prep. phrase or noun clause. Also transf. of a burgh.Freq. coupled with catioun, cautionar, law-borch, law-borowis and plege, qq.v. for further examples. See also Law-sovertie n.(1) 1490–1 Treas. Acc. I 197.
Thomas Steuart, merschiale, souerte
1491 Acta Aud. 157/1.
& the said Johne Wilsone souerte & pleg for satisfactioun of parttj as wes allegiit
1496–7 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 71.
The provest to charge the fermorar and his souerteis in waird … quhill it be payit
1504 Treas. Acc. II 427.
To David Tempilman to pas to warne the personis that wer souerteis for the Heriotis to enter thaim to ane assignit day
1522 Fife Sheriff Ct. 244.
That ȝe tak ilkane of the saidis personis souerte for utheris … the thrid day of our nixt justice aire
1522–3 Fife Sheriff Ct. 276.
Thai are pure lauboraris & can get na landyt mene to be souerte fore thaim
1537 Glasgow Prot. IV 115.
The said James was akkyt as souerte for Petyr Colquhon to paye Jhon Law sax scoyr merkis
1551 Hamilton Cat. 190.
The Godfather and Godmother … ar maid borrowis or souerteis for the barne
1553 Lanark B. Rec. 29.
1566 Reg. Privy C. I 457.
[To] charge Thomas Ker … to find sufficient souerteis, burgessis of Edinburgh or utheris substantious inlandit men
(b) 1565 Reg. Soltre 127.
That Maister George Portewis … be actit souertie … in the buikis of Counsale or Commissar Buiks of Edinburch
c1575 Balfour Pract. 498.
The sovertie beand callit and summoundit to heir and se the price provin
1587 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 104.
[Thomas Myller, cutler, who is] souerty for extentis watches and airmor
1679 Kelso Baillie Ct. 77b.
William Bell … obleist him as cautione soverty for borghe & hamehald for John Bevelstoune
(c) 1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 4.
The Kirk will persew Robert Broun … his sowertie
1620 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 297.
Robert Gordoune … as cautioner sowertie and full dettour for and with the said Margaret
(d) 1520 Edinb. Hammermen MS 102.
Siluer in part of payment & hym self souerta for the ramans
(e) 1523–4 Treas. Acc. V 235.
1558 Admir. Ct. Bk. (St. S.) 86.
Nor was [the said James] nocht souirtie nor dettour for his fraucht
1566 Argyll Fam. Lett. 5.
The souirteis … mon be lawland men and not of the gretast of oure nobilitie
1582 Reg. Privy C. III 531.(f) 1569 Grey Friars 118.
(g) 1612 Conv. Burghs II 354.
(h) 1508 Reg. Privy S. I 269/1.
All amerciamentis and unlawis he or his suferteis wer adjudgeit in
(i) 1569 Old Ross-shire I 345.
1580 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 106.
1583 Conv. Burghs I 162.
In respect of the said Adamis comperance [he] protested Jhonn Arnott souerity for … Robertt Monrow … suld be fred of his cautionarship
(2) 1482–3 Acta Conc. II cxxi.
David Erle of Craufurd is becumin souerte … that Schir James Ogilby salbe … scaithles [etc.]
1482–3 Acta Conc. II cxxiii.
Anent twa sek of woll quhilkis the said umquhill George come souerte for to George Robison for the said William
1498–9 Acta Conc. II 295.
Walter Wod of Bonyngton is becummyn plege and souerte be the extensione of his hand be his land … that [etc.]
1532 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 63.
Schiris Peter Creichton … and Jho[ne Maluil] … com souerteis conjunctlie and severale &c. for the samyn
1536 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 150.
Villiam Bwrn … confessit he com borrowgang and souerte for Alexander Jamesone
1572 Peebles B. Rec. I 339.
William Kello … is becumit causcioun and souerte to deliuer the pavaleoun of the burgh of Peblis
1630 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II 410.
Alexander Mowat is becum cautioner and sovirty for Robert Mowat his brother
(b) 1473 Acta Aud. 25/1.
Becaus the said George come souuerte & dettour for the said William
1566 Cal. Sc. P. II 309.
(3) 1482 Prestwick B. Rec. 30.
Wille Hewyre … fand Wille Dale souerte that he suld be strenȝeable within a ȝere & a day
1526 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 81.
He fand Jhone Achesone … souerte for the meir and hir valour
1556 Inverness Rec. I 3.
Patre Skynner … hes fundin James Skynner souerte to the balȝes for the spice and the wine and his gyld hoys
(4) 1583 Conv. Burghs I 183.
[The burghs of Edinburgh (etc.)] as souerteis … for payment of the dewties awand to his hienes … protested … thatt they suld be relievitt of thair souertiship

b. Also said of two or more persons collectively. 1476 Acta Aud. 57/1.
Falȝeand of thir persons will nocht be souerte he sal gif hir vtheris that scho salbe emplesit
1496 Acta Conc. II 13.
The sade … Lord Creichtone … sal find sufficient souerte of burgessmen in the burowis of Edinburgh, Perth or Aire … that [etc.]
1498 Acta Conc. II 162.
The sadis Duncane and Gillandris sal … pay to the sade Alexander threscore and ten ky as thai that become plege and souerte … for the sadis Jhone and Donald
1502 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 368. 1508 Reg. Privy S. I 269/1.
Soumes of money … aucht be … otheris personis as souerte for him
1517 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 82.
And the said capitane sall find the erle of Mortoun, abbot of Halyrudhous, lard of Cragmillar, and uthiris his frendis … souirte for his lawte and sure keping of the said castell

5. To draw (oneself, one's goods, etc.) soverty, to put in pledge, offer as security. 1479 Acta Aud. 93/2.
The said James has drawin him self landis & gudis souerte to the kingis hienes for the said inscriptioune
1494 Acta Aud. 190/1.
Dauid Balfour of Carraldston has drawin him self his landis & gudis causion & souerte vnder the pane of jc li that [etc.]

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"Soverté n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 May 2024 <>



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