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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Mers, n.1 Also: merse, merce, mars(e. [Var. of Mersk n. with loss of -k as in As n.1 and v., Bus n., and Mens(e.]

1. The Merse; properly the district of Berwickshire lying between the Lammermoors and the Tweed, but appar. also applied to the whole shire.In one instance with the plur. form of the article: cf. Mersk n. 1.(1) 1375 Barb. xvii. 183 (E).
The folk that war wonnand then In till the Mers and Tewidaill
1457 Exch. R. VI. 337.
Infra dominium de le Merse
1506 Treas. Acc. III. 189.
Passand in the Mers to Schir Johne Home with the portuous of Lawedir
1511 Ib. IV. 312. 1524 Acts II. 290/1. 1533 Treas. Acc. VI. 130. 1562 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 18.
To teach in the unplanted kirks of the Merce
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 9 (H).
Borne in the Mers
1589 Edinb. Test. XXI. 91.
Lyand in the Mers
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Scotia.
The landes of Coldinghame [etc.] … lyand in Lodoneio quhilk nowe lyis in the Mers and Schireffdome of Berwick
1663 Acts VII. App. 99/2.
The petition … against the heritors of the shirreffdomes of Eistlothiane & Merse
16.. Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. III. 170.
It is called Mers or March because it divides the one kingdom from the other
(b) 1549 Compl. 96/18.
As in til the Marse, in Gallouaye and in the northt of Scotlande
(2) 1457 Exch. R. VI. 335.
De castriwardis terrarum de lez Merse

2. Chiefly or only in Galloway: Appar., flat alluvial land by a river or estuary. = Mersk n. 2 b.In the mod. dial. of this region applied to the alluvial or partly reclaimed land bordering the Solway Firth. 1515 Wigtown B. Ct. 46 a.
The ox gane of the borow mars at was his faderis
1520 Ib. 103 a.
The borow mers vii merk land
1565 Reg. Privy S. V. i. 651/1.
Jacentibus in lie merse de Cre
1580 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. iii.
Betuix the said Thomas skair on the south the mers and watter syde on the vest
1631 Galloway P. 5 May.
Togither with foure dark of mers ȝeirlie in the mers of Carsingirshie
1644 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 705.
The rinland and lie mers on the west

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"Mers n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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