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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
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Baillie, Ballie, n.1 Also: bailli, baille, bailie (-ee), baily, bayli(e, bayllie, baylly; balle, bally, bal(e)y, balie; bely, beillie, bealyie, byillie, byel(l)e. [ME. baili, baily, bayly, baille, baillie, etc. (c 1300), a. OF. bailli, later form of baillis (acc. baillif Bailiff). See also Bailȝe n.1]‘Willelmus Baly’ occurs as a witness c 1300 in Liber Dryburgh 270, and ‘Willelmus Bailly de Scotia miles’ in 1378 in Rotuli Scotiæ II. 13/1.

1. A town magistrate corresponding to an alderman in England.(a) 1393 Charter Thos. Dunbar MS. (Reg. H.).
Tyl the aldirmen the baylis of our burgh of Elgyne
1412 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 389.
The aldirman and the baillies of the tovn [of Aberdeen]
1455 Edinb. Chart. 79.
The Prouost, Baillieis, Counsale and Communite of the Burgh of Edynburgh
1476 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 33.
The provest, baillies, and counsale of the burgh of Edinburgh
1520 Stirling B. Rec. I. 6.
Johen Blair gave his complant to the provest and baillies
1537 Reg. Privy S. II. 340/1.
Ane of the baillies of Abirdene
For … deforcing of the provest and baillies tharof
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 273.
Gevin maister Johnne Spens, baille, for ane horshous
1574 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 104.
Superflowis bankatting … as the bailleis and eldaris … declarit
1588 Wemyss Chart. MS.
To charge all provests and baillies of burrowis to mak thair tolbuithis opin
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 128.
The Election of Baillies … At the first head court after Michaelmes, the Baillies sould be chosen of faithfull men, and of gude fame, be the common consent of the honest men of the burgh
1647 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 127.
The saids proveist, baillees and counsell
1657 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 170.
Such money as the said baillie hes in his hands
(b) 1473 Peebles B. Rec. 21.
The ballies, burges, and haile communite of the burgh of Peblis
1475 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 30.
The prouest, ballies, counsall, dene of gild [etc.]
a1500 Bk. Chess 1085.
The pepill suld haue werraye power plane Ballies to cheis and to depryue agane
c1500 Crying of Play 21.
Prowest, ballies, officeris, And honorable induellaris
1519 Dunferm. B. Rec. 206.
The ballie Villiem Spittaill
Dene James … askit at the said ballie to seil the samyn
1527 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 377.
To all and sindry … aldermen, provestis, and ballies of burrowis … greting
1542 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 184.
Ane taxt to be set be the provest and the four ballies
1571 Lanark B. Rec. 56.
The balleis accuset David Blakie for mispersoning of Thome Gray, ballie
1583 Ib. 89.
Gef sik can be provin of me, I am nocht wirdie … to be ballie
1624 Elgin Rec. II. 183.
It is appoynted that James Layng be payit weiklie of viij s. be the balleis
c1650 Spalding II. 401.
Ane of oure Oldtoun balleis
This govkit gys wes begvn be oure bally
1653 Irvine Mun. II. 254.
Johne Ride baley
1681 Ib. 298.
Balie Fwlartownes order
Ib. 299.
Lait ballie in Irving
(c) 1653 Irvine Mun. II. 253.
To Johne Guttre bely
Ib. 255.
When Iohne Ride and I was tuo byeles cherged for the ecksyes
For tuo years fiell being byelle
1655 Peebles B. Rec. II. 197.
Quhen the bealyies and ... counsell met with Iohn Scots ... and set the merches
1668 Bk. Old Edinb. C. V. 143.
Your very humbill servants the byillies of Leith

2. An administrative officer of a barony or regality; a bailiff.(a) 1456 Hay II. 21/23.
Forthy dois a king … grete wrang … quhen he makis othir schereffis, baillies, or provostis of othir lawlyar men na knychtis
1541 Reg. Privy S. II. 658/2.
Makand the said Gawyne baillie of all and sindry our soverane lordis landis and lordschip of Avendale
1576–7 Orkney Oppress. 58.
The Underfowde (quhilk is the baillie of the parochin or yle)
1578 Conv. Burghs I. 59.
Without ony knawledge or askyng at the baillie of scout [= Du. schout]
1581 Acts III. 222/1.
The schiref, stewart, or baillie of regalite, baille of barony; … or vthir temporall judges
1682 Corshill Baron Ct. 158.
Sir Alexander Cunninghame of Corshil, … and David Stewart of Kirkwood, his Baily
(b) 1474 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 442.
The lordis of counsale … deliueris that the said ballies has procedit ordourly in the seruing of the said brevis
1488 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. 704/2.
His landis … the quhilkis the said Duncane is ballie of vnder me
1494 Reg. Episc. Morav. 219.
That the Bischopis men be nocht distrenyt for wappinschawyn nor hostyng bot to pas with his balie
1508 Reg. Privy S. I. 251/2.
Makand the sade Robert and his ayris ballies of all and sindry the landis and lordschip of Apnadull
1536–7 Breadalbane Doc. (Reg. H.) No. 47.
Johnne Campble … allegeand him to be ballie of the said hale lordschip
1540 Edinb. Chart. 211.
The abbot and convent of the said abbay … and thair ballies
c1650 Spalding I. 59.
The Marques … sendis word to his balleis to deliuer … the keyis of Strathbogie
1682 New Mills Manuf. 37.
That the hous … be devided with a ston wall … and by the baly erected a prison

3. With adjs., as baillie deput, principall. 1544 Grant Chart. 90.
Halding … ferme and stable all … thingis my said baillie depute ledis to be done in the premissis
1557 Reg. Cupar A. II. 129.
James, Lord Ogiluy, baillie principall of the said abbay

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"Baillie n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2022 <>



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