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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Vesitour, Visitour, Vesiar, n. Also: vesatour, vesetour, weseter, visitoure, -or(e, -er, visato(u)r, viseto(u)r, wisitor, wissitour, wisetor, vysetour, visiar, visayar, vissier. [ME and e.m.E. visiter (Wyclif), visitour (1426), visitor (1553), AF visitour; Vesy v.]

1. An inspector or examiner a. Of ecclesiastical matters, esp. with regard to organisation and church government, esp. in the post-Reformation period. b. Applied to the administration of the burgh. c. Applied to other matters. d. Of schools.a. 1516 Reg. Privy S. I 441/2.
That we … wald autoris … mayntene and defend hym [supra the said dene Thomas] in the said visitatioun as our noble progenitouris hes done … till all visitouris of the said ordour [sc. Cistercians] and religioun
1546 St. P. Henry VIII V 570.
Efter my cuming to Rome … I gat my caus presentit and committit to ane cardinall to vesye it, and in the next consistorye … will get it referrit, and as I am suirlie informit ane sentens pro arbitrio … My lord ȝe sall understand that … Salmond … past to the cardinell visetour of the processes and said it wes off malice deducit [etc.]
1569 Reg. Privy C. I 675.
The superintendentis and visitouris of the kirk
1574 Misc. Maitl. C. I 104.
Superflowis bankatting … as the bailleis and eldaris than vesatouris presentlie declarit; and thairfoir the kirk suspendis the said Thomas
1576 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 358.
The brethren … appointed to the limitation of the bounds to be committed to the visiters of countries gave in their judgment how they might be best … visited; wherewith the Assembly … divided the bounds to the visiters underwritten … To Mr. Gilbert Foulsie … Orknay and Ȝetland [etc.]
1576 Reg. Privy C. II 545.
The bischoppis superintendentis and visitouris of the dyoceis and cuntreis
1580 Reg. Privy S. VII 418/1.
[The] commissionare or visitoure of the kirkis of Eist Louthiane [to examine the said Patrick and admit him if found qualified to serve as a reader]
1587 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 11 June.
Ane supplicatione … to Mr. George Haye persone of Raffene, & vesatour of the haill kyrkis of this part of the realm, that he wald cum & minister the commwnione on to thame … for thai haid nocht gottin thair communione that twa ȝeir of before
1619 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 96 (30 June).
c1634 Aberd. Trades 278.
Quhosoever beis fund on the Sabbothe day [etc.] … salbe punishitt … And ordains visitoris to be appoyntit for that effect
1649 Lothian and Tweeddale Synod 288.
The visitours of the buik reported they find in the presbitrie buik a reference for advyse [etc.]
a1667 Butler Leighton 405.
In Scotland they had used the help of visitors for the reformation of their churches
b. 1588 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 524.
The ordour … of the visitouris in ilk quarter … Thay sall … owersie the howshalderis and fameleis within thair bounds, thair estaitt, lyfe and conversatioun … That thai se the nichtbouris … be sufficiently prouydet of … airmour [etc.]
c. 1595 Cal. Sc. P. XI 645.
[That my master be appointed by his Majesty] visitour [as admiral of our west seas to take order that no] furnitour [of munition or victuals be transported to the aid of her Majesty's rebels]
d. 1643–4 Misc. Spald. C. V 106.
For thre penneis, quhilk the wisetoris gave to the scolleris for thair premium, 10 s.
1644 Boyd Garden of Zion Watchword.
To ordaine, by the visitors of schooles, that all these monuments of idolatrie be removed
1655 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 157.
Visitours of the scooll
1659 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 182.
That the visitors haue ane cair not to giue anie præmium in a partiall way

2. a. In the burghs: A superintendent or inspector of the craft guilds. See also Wra(i)ker n. for further examples. b. An inspector of places with regard to states of repair, etc. c. An inspector or supervisor in other contexts.a. a15… Aberd. B. Rec. (Jam. s.v. Vesiar).
Cerciouris, vesiaris
1555 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 58.
The hail craft convenit in Thomas Clerkson hovs, visayar for the tym, and thair [ordanit] that na prentice be resavit … quhill thai cum befor the visator or dekyn for the tym
(b) 1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 228.
The prouest … with consent of Thomas Boyis vesitour of the baxter craft … ordanis all the quheit that the saidis visitouris and baxteris … happynnis to send [etc.]
1555 Edinb. Hammermen 200b.
The personis that wes chosing superioris of craftismen wes callit vesitouris & thai wer chosing be prowest baillis and counsall of euery burcht at Michaelmes and nocht be the electioun of the craftismen
1582 Crail B. Ct. 1 Nov.
James Annand [etc.] … ar electit and chosin vesitouris to oursei and considder the foirsaid wark
1597–8 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 21b.
To the weseter of the balest xiii gros
1599 Edinb. B. Rec. V 261.
The skynner to have samekill of the fleschour as the vesetouris estimis the samyn war in holling of the ledder
(c) 1555 Acts II 498/1.
To cheis the maist honest man of craft … ane of euerie craft to visie thair craft that thay laubor sufficientlie and that the samin be sufficient stuffe and wark and thir persounis to be callit visitouris of thair craft
1555 Dunferm. Hammermen 43.
[That] no deacon be chosen within burghs, but that the provost, bailies, and councillors should choose the most godlie and skillful man of every craft; and that these men should be called visitors
1555 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 58 (see a above).
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 345.
Johne Hart and Nicoll Syme appointit visitouris thairof [supra the cunȝiehous]
1576 Inverness Rec. I 250.
For his inobedience in the non-presenting of his wark to the visitour
1578 Reg. Privy S. VII 263/1.
[Robert Erskin] visitour and sercheour of all the salt … and that the pan maisteris … answer and obey to him
1592 Burntisland B. Ct. 159a (20 Oct.) (see Prisar n. a). 1599 Edinb. B. Rec. V 260.
1622-6 Bisset II 240/25.
That the maisteris … of schipwrychtis and calfattaris sall chuise for thrie ȝeiris keiparis, gardaris and visitouris … the quhilkis visitouris and wardennis salbe obleist to reddilie visie quhen they salbe requyred thereto
1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 100.
Auditouris and wissitouris of the saidis compts appoynted be the counsell for that effect, the counsell findis the saidis compts sufficientlie werefied
1653 Lanark B. Rec. 153.
1654 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II 974.
Robert Bell Thomas Lyntoune [etc.] … to be ordinar visiteris of the meill marcat
1672 Duncan Glasg. Physic. & Surg. 56.
A praeses, whose correct designation was the visitor
1680 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 106.
1684 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 106.
Compeired John Jossie apothecary and produced ane act of the lords nominating him visetor for convenieing the fraternity of the appothecars
1684 M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. III 628.
John Joussy to be the apothecaries' visitor, as to the sufficiency of their drugs, etc.
1692 Misc. B. Rec. 105.
The saids magistrats have produced to the saids visitors their elven, weights, measours for bear and whyte [etc.]
b. 1555 Peebles B. Rec. I 218.
Tua vesitouris to be maid and chosing perpetualie to vesy yeirlie … all properteis and commonteis pertenyng to the … fredom of burgh
1624–5 Misc. Spald. C. V 101.
The librarie of the college … to the principall [etc.] … and wtheris quha wer sychting the bookis for ane dynner 4 lib. 10 s. … For the visitouris denner the morn therefter … 10 lib. 10 s.
1657 Lanark B. Rec. 159.
The visitor of the tolbuith … declarit they had taken craftismen … quha declarit they thought it most fit … to raise the said wall [etc.]
1665 Edinb. B. Rec. X 4.
[The town council] appoynting a visitatioun of the hous and finding be report of the visitoris that the said house might be compleited [etc.]
c. 1566 Inv. Wardrobe 175.
In witnessing of the deliverance and ressait of all the artailyearie plenissing and munitionis abonewrittin the said Sir James Balfour of Pettindreich knycht vissier and ressaver
(b) 1571–2 Reg. Privy S. VI 278/2.
Mr. George Halkheid, conservatour of the Scottish natioun in Flanderis, visitour and lauchfull sercheour … for apprehending of all victuallis and utheris guidis prohibite … to pas furth of this realme

3. a. One who gives advice or treatment with regard to sickness or disease. b. One who inspects the sick or investigates the incidence of disease as a matter of public health. c. One whose function was to investigate unusual or untimely deaths.a. 1533 Boece 73b.
Before that tyme oure nacioun vsit na medicinaris in speciall … bot conforme to the ald rite of Egipcianis thai producit the seik or sare to the strete … sua that the visiaris suld gif consale [etc.]
(b) 1622 Crim. Trials III 516.
Vizeiting a patient, be a freind or a phisitioun, to wit, graipping of the pulses or chaikill-bane and breist quhilk … is the ordiner behauiour vset … be the visitouris of ony patient
b. 1574 Glasgow B. Rec. (MC) 29.
Gif ony … induellaris … happins fra this tyme furtht to fall seik, that the maister of the hous incontinent cum to the visitors and sercharis of the gait … and schaw the samyn, that thai may be sichtit; and gif ony persones happinis to deceis … that the maister of the hous sall cum to the visitouris appoyntit for sichting thairof or thai be wyndit … sersaris … ilk ane in the gaittis quhair thai duell … sall pas … throcht the gayt … and visie and inquyre of ilk hous that may be seik
1615 Brechin Kirk S. Acts & Ordinances.
Whan susspitione is that pepill hes cloised themselvis within thair house they sall mak patent dores or the visiters to ding tham up
1647 Glasgow B. Rec. II 113.
James Robiesoune … to be visitour of the mwire quhair the vncleane folkis ar and to set doune in a register all occurrantes … anent the infectioune
1649 Dumbarton Treas. Acc.
For … corne to the visiters horse who come out of Paslay to visit the woman who died in McIlbreid his house … Item for sax runges to the cleingers when they cleinged McIlbreids house
c. 1599 Duncan Glasg. Physic. & Surg. 40.
Maister Peter Low our chirurgiane … with the assistance of Mr. Robert Hamiltone, professoure of medecine … full power to call … before thame … all personis … using the said airt of chirurgerie … The visitors [the official designation of Lowe and Hamilton … were to] visit everie hurt, murtherit, poisonit, or onie other persoun tane awa extraordinarily [and to report to the magistrates]

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"Vesitour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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