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

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

Tocher, Tochir, n. Also: tochyr, -ar(e, toucher(e, -ir, towcher, -ir, -yr, toocher, toichar, -er, -ir, -yr, toquhe(i)r, -ir, -yr, -ar, towquhair(e, tochquhair, touchquhare, tochter, -yr, touchter, togher, tougher, towgher, tocchir, thocher, -ir, -yr, thowquhar, thouquhhar, thocthyr, thowar, -or, thouor. [Ir. and OGael. tochar. Cf. north. e.m.E. and 17th c. Eng. towher (1568), towcher (1569), towgher (1674).]

1. Marriage portion, dowry paid by a bride's family, chiefly her father, to the groom or his family. Without article, chiefly following a preposition. Also, in tocher with (the bride) and in name of (= as payment of) tocher (with the bride). Also without const. See Dote n. 1 for further examples.(1) 1469 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 64.
The said William Preston sal give in tochir … the soume of sex hundrith markis
1479 Douglas Chart. 110.
Sex hundreth merkis, … payt till him by me in tochyr, for the mariag of my dochtir
1500 Montgomery Mem. 59.
Promittit to me in tochir for the mariage completing betuix ane nobil domicell … and … my sowne
1570 Leslie 152.
He … cheisit the said Lady Magdalane … contract of mariage wes maid, in the quhilk their wes promeist in tocher ane hundreth thousand crownis of the sone, thirtie thousands frankis of pensione duringe his lyftyme
1578–9 Reg. Privy C. III 78.
Your Bordouraris hes tane thair dochteris in a maner without tochir
1609 Inverurie B. Ct. 3 Aug.
Bestowit in mariage, with doitt & tochir sufficient according to hir wmquhill fatheris qualitie
1684 Decis. Lords F. 64.
His daughter … is married to one Simson and in her contract of marriage the father contracts 3000 merks of tocher, but the said contract bears not that it was in satisfaction of all she could crave
(b) c1515 Asl. MS I 226/17.
The samyn Androw spousit Margaret Cambell Schir Duncane Lord Cambellis douchter and tuke viijc merkis of touchere
1509 Buccleuch Mun. II 117.
1518 Prot. Bk. J. Foular II 20.
a1578 Pitsc. I 245/28.
James the fourt tuik to his wyfe Margarit the first [borne] douchter of the king of Ingland, and was marieit with hir and … witht great soumes of money gevin to him of toucher
1659 Lamont Diary 112.
The Laird of Pittewcher … married Issabell Alexander … Ther was betuixt 5 and 6 thousande markes of towcher promised him
(c) 1509 Douglas Chart. 190.
Thre hundretht merkis … in part off payment of ane mor soume, aucht to me for touchter
(d) 1531 Bell. Boece II 365.
The douchter of Charlis, Erle of Vallance and Angeos … sal be maryit on Edward the Balliollis son, and sal haif all the landis quhilkis the Balliol possedit in France … for quhilkis King Johne sall resave LX.M crounis of towquhair
(e) 1611-57 Mure Dido & Æneas ii 192.
Now Dido may be tyed to Trojane mate, And thow [sc. Venus] receave, in tougher, Carthage great
(2) 1487–8 Prestwick B. Rec. 32.
He acht him xv merkis … restand of a certane soume of mone he promitit him in tochir with Marioun his dochtir
1532–3 Treas. Acc. VI 95.
To Johne Pipar of Sanctjohnestoune, in toquher with Katherine Sinclair, jcxxxiij li. vj s. viiij d.
1546 Reg. Privy C. I 43.
The said Lord Governour sall gif in tocher with his said dochter to the said eirle and his airis the soume of twa thousand, thre hundreith, and thrette thre pundis vj s. viij d.
1552 Treas. Acc. X 77.
1560 St. A. Kirk S. 37.
I … suld be separated and divorced fra him … and als the said sowme of twa hundreth markes gevin with me in tocher refoundet, restored, and payed agane to me
1569–70 Lanark B. Rec. 47.
The soum of aucht li. of tocher quhilk wes restand of ane gritter soum quhilk the said Thomas promesset to haf peyit me in tocher with his sister Katrin Grub
a1578 Pitsc. I 64/26.
[He] gat witht hir the lordschipe of Frendreich in toucher
1591 Waus Corr. 486.
The said Ser Patrik obleissis him … to … pay … ane thousand merkis money as tochir with the foirsaid Ewffame his lauchfull dochtir
1596 Dalr. II 236/27.
That the king of France in toucher with his douchter gyue til our king an hunder thousand goldne crounes
1621 Black Bk. Taymouth 56.
The said Sir Duncane Campbell … gave in tocher … with his secund dochter … the some of elevin thousand merkis
(3) 1501 Acta Conc. III 8.
[Action by Patrik Dunbar … against Uchtre Makdowell … ] for the wrangus … withhalding fra him of the soume of sevin hundreth merkis … aucht to him in name of dowry and tochir for the completing of matrimony betuex Patrik of Dunbar younger son … of the sade Patrik and Cristiane Makdowell sister to the said Uchtre
1533 Boece 397b.
To Rollo the dochter of Charlis was gevin in mariage … The emprioure syne to Rollo … gaif ane parte of Gallia … in name of drowry and tochir with his douchtir
1543 Douglas Chart. 233.
1587 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 28 April.
George Fordice … obleist hym self … to … keip skaythles [four persons named] … as cautionaris … for the payment of ane hunderit pundis to be payit to Johne Forsyth … in name of tochir with Margaret Fordice his syistir
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 48.
If the heretadge be sought in name of tocher, the action is to be decyded be the ecclesiasticall judge
1668 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 618.
(b) 1531 Bell. Boece II 194.
King Charlis douchter sal be gevin in mariage to Rolland; and Rolland … in the name of touchquhare, sall have al thay landis, quhilkis wer namit afore
1549 Treas. Acc. IX 336.
Gevin in name of tochquhair with his graces cousingnes Gene Lyle, mareit upoun Neyll Montgomerie … jm li.
1611 Reg. Panmure I xcix.
Quhilkis tua roumes … Walter Maule geawe in nem of towquhaire withe his daughter Margaret Maule to the first lard of Kellie
(c) 1536 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 115.
The landis … to cum to the sayd Wylȝem aeris … in name of thocthyr
1547 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 569.
[Arran is obliged to pay to Huntly 5000 merks] in naim of thochir
(d) 1546 Misc. Spald. C. II 274.
1581 Acts III 267/1.
Thair wes pait … the soume of twelf thowsand merkis in name of toicher with his said dochter
(4) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 214.
King Williamis twa dochteris … sall mary twa sonnys of King Johnez … for quhilkis King Williame sall geif sufficient tochtyr
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 25.
Maister Dauid, [Seytoun] … mariit all his eldest brotheris dochteris … on landit men and payit tocheris
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 43.
For resonable tocher and gratuiteis
c1575 Balfour Pract. 99.
Of tocher-gude. Tocher properlie is that quhilk is gevin with ane woman to a man, the quhilk utherwayis is callit … maritage. And it is leasum to ony havand landis to give a part thairof in name of tocher, with his sone, or his dochter, or with ony uther woman, albeit he have ane air or not, as we have said in ane uther place tuiching the alienatioun of heritage [marg. It is leasum to give landis in name of tocher]
1593 Maxwell Mem. II 175.
To be tocchir to ȝow and ȝour sistiris
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Maritagium Hæredis.
Gif the superiour requiris not ane aire to marie and the aire marie without his consent, the superiour suld obteine allanerlie for his mariage … sa meikle as may be ane competent summe or tocher to the said aire conforme to his ȝeirlie rente
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 29b.
That quhilk is giuen be the womans friends with her, to the husband, and commonlie is called maritagium (or tocher). … Ilk frie man, haueand land perteining to him, may giue ane parte thereof, with his dochter, or with anie other woman, as tocher, in name of maritage; quhither he haue ane heire or not
a1568 Jok & Jynny in Watson's Coll. iii 47.
My bairn has tocher of her awn … Twa kits, a cogue, a kirn there ben [etc.]

2. With article, or possessive denoting the person on whose behalf the dowry is paid. Also in fig. context.In some circumstances also paid on the marriage of a son, see Buccleuch Mun. quot. in (c) below. Cf. Balfour Pract. quot. in 1 (4) above. The Buccleuch Mun. quot. in (e) below carries the implication that the dowry could be paid by the bridegroom.(a) 1463 Wemyss Chart. 83.
For the restitucione off my touchyr
1491–2 Acta Aud. 166/1.
For the towchir promittit be the said Schir James … to me … for the matrimone to be finaly trettit betuix my son … & Cristiain Crechtoun dochter to the said Schir James
c1563 Reg. Panmure I xxxi.
He payit the towchers of the lard of Panlathys tua dochters
1564 St. A. Kirk S. 224.
Wiliam refusis … to geve his dochter in mariaige to Wyliam Peblis, and becaus he hes nocht in geyr to paye hyr towcher, it is … aggret … that Wiliam Peblis sall resave the barn begottyn betuix him and Besse … , [and] accept upon hym the burding and charge of upbryingyn of the sam
1583 Cal. Sc. P. VI 340.
1679 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 2 April.
Be contract of mariage endit betwixt … George McMichaell and … Agnes McGawchein … he is bound … to provide the sowme of 400 merkis of his owin meanes quhilk with the tougher mentionat in the contract extendis to 600 merks
(b) 1498 Acta Conc. II 264.
Quhilkis landis and house war assignit and gevin to hir for the contentacione of hir tochir for al the dais of her life
1527 Treas. Acc. V 330.
To Katrine Ballantyne to help to pay hir tocher for the gude and thankfull service done be her moder Marioun Dowglas to the kingis hienes iijc li.
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 38.
Scho mareit hir said dochter … first on the maister of Borthuik syne on the erle of Eglintoun, and payit bayth the tocharis
1562 Prot. Bk. William Gray in Orig. Par. II ii 713.
[William Sutherland … married Margaret, the daughter of John Williamson … receiving as her] tocher thrie skoir of greit ky
1591 Edinb. Test. XXII 318b.
[John Strachan in Goisseslie, Kincardineshire] To my dochter Katrene viijc merkis for hir portioun naturall & tocher
1595 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 85.
Findlay McEwen persewis Andrew Dow for iij li. money for ane gift to help his dochters tocher
1595–6 Frasers of Philorth II 250.
To content and pay to the bairnis fameill, giff thair be bot ane, the sowm off threttein thousand markis, quhilk is equivalent with the said tocher; and giff thair be tua, the sowm off tuentie thousand markis: and giff thair be thre, the sowm off tuentie-four thousand markis; and giff thair be ma nor thre, than the tocher to be measourit at the discretioun of the bairnis maill
1596 Dalr. II 379/1.
Anent the mariage of the quene, of the tocher, of the giftes and quhat maner of gyftes the king suld present her with, worthie of that mariage
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 182.
He offerit his eldest sone … to have been mareit to any kynniswoman of Mortons, gratis without any tocher
1601 Black Bk. Taymouth 30.
The tochir gevin with his dochtir Jeane to the Laird of Calder was sevintene thowsand markis
1604 Paisley B. Rec. 260.
That gif onie man maries ane wife and dies within the space of yeir and day, having na bairnis procreat betwix them, that the wife receives na pairt of hir husbands lands, heritages nor giere bot onlie the tocher given with hir
1652 Lamont Diary 40.
She caused her husband giue a frie discharge to her brother, … of her whole tocher, being about 20 thous. marks Scots, before any of it was payed to him so that he is not to receiue a farthen token of it
1663 Decis. Lords G. 56.
The term of payment of the tocher comes not till the occasion of a marriage offer, and the sum returns back failȝieing of her by decease without heirs of her body
1683 Lauder Observes 114.
Tangier … the tocher and dowry of our Queen Catharen
1681 Stair Inst. iv xxxv § 5.
The Roman law gives privilege and preference to the tochers of women in competition with the creditors of their husbands: for by that law their tochers return to themselves at the dissolution of the marriage
(c) 1519 Buccleuch Mun. II 138.
The said Johanne Gledstanis … sal … mary … Jonet Scot, douchter to the said Waltyr Scot … and failȝeand of hir … Cristiane Scot, douchtyr alsua to the said Waltyr Scot … and failȝand of thaim tua … ony vthir gentyl woman quhom it sal ples the said Waltyr Scot … For the quhilkis … mariagis the said Waltyr Scot … sail … pay to the said James Gledstanis the soume of thre hundretht markis … and gyff it happynnis the said Johanne Gledstanis … to deces, and the said lardschip of Coklaw to cum to the airis famail … the said Walter Scot … to haiff the mariagis of the air famail to Johanne Scot, his son … the said Waltyr Scot … payand the toquhir to the said James in lykwis at the compleitting of the mariagis of the airis famail as he suld do of the airis mail
(d) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 214.
In plege of the tocthir and obseruacion of all the promises, nyne of the nobillest men of Scotland salbe deliuerit to King Johnne
(e) 1534 Lamont P. 41.
Hes promisit … geyf the lard … paes nocht … the rest of the thochyr at Martymes cum ane yeyr that he [etc.]
(f) 1504 Buccleuch Mun. II 447.
George Ker … sall … compleit the band of matrimony … with Jonett Scott … but payment of ony tochter to be payit be him or vthir hir freindis with hir, and gif it sal happin the said George to deceis … his nixt bruther … sall marie the said Jonet, tochterfre
fig. 1630 Rutherford Christ & Doves 9.
The kirk has no toocher of her own … all the toocher is Christ's, and the inheritance is Christ's; the kirk has nothing
1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 30.

b. With possessive denoting the person to whom the dowry is paid or owing.The Maitland Ho. Seytoun quot. may refer to a previous marriage settlement. 1460 Hay Alex. 2112.
I sall at the feist be in that hall, To mak seruice to Cleopateras, And till hir eame, the Senescall Jonas, That better war thai haid nocht cumin thair I sall pay thame thair tochir or thai fare
1488 Acta Conc. I 93/2.
[They] sal … met … to mak compt raknyng & payment of ale sovmez of money batht for the toichir of James Campbell & for the malez of the landis of Dalruskane of all termes by gain pertenyng to the said Margaret be resone of ters
1496 Treas. Acc. I 276.
Giffin to Robert Lile in his toquhyr jc markis
1507–8 Treas. Acc. IV 101.
To the Erle of Mortoun in his toquhir of his sonis mariage vcxlvij li. ij s. viij d.
1511 Lennox Mun. 190.
The fyrst payment of my sonys toicher
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 39.
This lord gave to his thré sisteris that wes to marie ane thousand pundis to thair maryage of his tochar quhilk was mekle to him to forbeir, his guddame and his faderis secund wyf haveand the tua part of his leving
1566 Fam. Rose 247.
[800 merks] promittit … to me … for the mereage and tochir of my sone Robert for the completing of the mereage be the said Robert with Helene Ros
1586 Reg. Privy C. IV 73.
Matrimonie being lauchfulie contractit betuix his said dochtir … and Johnne Dunlop … to quhome alswa ane grite pairt of his tocher wes pait be the said Johnne Boyd; nochtwithstanding quhairof, … the said Johnne Dunlop … maryit ane uthir woman theireftir
?a1640 Copie of a Baron's Court 22.
You have a son … His tocher yet may make all matters good … Go match him with some wealthy merchant's child … Thus shall you have some twenty thousand pound
1663 Lamont Diary 167.
[He] bowght the lands of Randerston … from Mr. Sharpe, … and Alexander Ingells … , the two sonns in law of the deceassed laird of Randerston … There was as much gotten as payed the old mans debt, the sellers tochers and ten thowsande marks more, which was to be giuen to the young man … to helpe his portion
1675 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 6 Jan.
To William Huntar resting of his tougher 100 merks

c. specif. In reference to the dowry received by James VI on his marriage to Anne of Denmark. 1589–90 Wodrow's Life of Bruce 162.
I am holden, perplexed, and encumbered to conserve his majesty's tocher, which moved me chiefly to be so far opposite in opinion to his majesty and others here
1590–1 Exch. R. XXII 102.
The anualrent and profite cummand of the money deliverit in the handis of the provest and baillies of certane burrowis of this realm as ane pairt of the kingis majesteis toquher
1590–1 Exch. R. XXII 161.
To Daniel Boill … for collecting and inbringing of the anual of the kingis grace toquheir … £55
1591 James VI in Purves Revenue Crown xxxvii.
I sent for the advocat baith Fryday and Setterday—nather met nor answer. Siclyk efter the bailies of this toun for the matter of the tocher—the lyk answer
1593 Aberd. Council Lett. I 53.
[Seytoun of Parbrothe acknowledges 400 lib. Scots for the] annual of his majestie's toquher in thair hands
1594 Aberd. Council Lett. I 57.
We haue assignit to him that sowme of a thowsand pundis of our tocher extant in your handis

3. attrib. Tochter fre, without a dowry. Tocher geir, tocher gud(is), property or money given as a dowry, = 1, 2 and 3 above; tocher gud(is) is a common alternative for tocher. Tocher money, money given as a dowry.(1) 1504 Buccleuch Mun. II 447 (see 2 (f) above).
(2) 1522 Fam. Rose 197.
Ane certane sovmez of monye, quhilk the said Huchon is oblisist to hef payet me as doit and tochir geyr
1568 Old Ross-shire I 325.
In pairt paiment of my tocchir geir
1581 Aberd. B. Rec. II 42.
That na nychtbour of this burght persew ane uther befoir the Commissar of Abirdene … for ony ciuill caus … except it be for deidis, geir, tochir geir, and sic as belangis to testamentis
1609 Inverurie B. Ct. 3 Aug.
Quhilk Isbell was … bestowit in mariage with sufficient dott & tochirgeir
1613 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 114.
The sowm of fyftie merks money promesed be thame to him in name of tocher gere
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 219.
His journey the next harvest to Chauroy to meet Fowles anent his tocher gear
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1511.
There are manie fair words in mariage making, bot few in the tochergeir paying
(3) 1502 Acta Conc. XII MS 129a.
Til pay the sade Jonet the sade soum in hir tochir gude
1505 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II 404.
Sex hundreth merks claimit … for the rest of the tocher gud of the said Schir Alexander with the forsaid Beatrix
1524 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXVIII 60.
The said Robert sall content and pay to the said Sir James in name of tocher gud the soum of twa thousand merkis
1526–7 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 83.
This inquiest ordines Jhone of Bellenden to preiff this day xv day with hyme that coft the grownd quhidder it is towcher gud or nocht
1538 Renfrew Arch. Coll. I 177.
xijc merkis for the tochir gud of the said mariage
1543–4 Treas. Acc. VIII 263.
To the lord Sympill, and Robert, maister of Sympill … in name of hale toucher gude with his gracis sister … the spous of Robert, … the soume of jm li.
1562 Edinb. B. Deeds 32b.
He gat na uther towcher gud with me bot the said land
a1568 Jok & Jynny 12.
My bairne hes tocher gud annwch to ge ȝow
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Dos, tocher gude
1581–2 Waus Corr. 238.
I am sa far inrwne in dettis … be the pament of my dochteris tochergudis [etc.]
1603 Moysie 84.
jc thovsand lib. of the kingis tocher guid wes givin to the burrowis in bank for ten of the hundrethe, quhilk extendit to ten thovsand pundis yeirly
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 103b (Table).
Tocher-gude, maritagium, is that quhilk is given with the woman in respect of marriage, in Latin, Dos
1614 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bks. 1. 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 516.
We are married, and our tocher-good is paid
a1649 Drummond Wks. (1711) 106.
That the tocher-goods of all the noblemen & gentlemen's daughters be determined upon, as an earl's, lord's, baron's, or according to their rents & revenues
1611-57 Mure Hist. Rowallane 252.
1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 48.
My tougher … geud is spent and gane
1692 Presb. Eloq. (1789) 131.
We have no tocher-good to give Christ
(b) 1550 Prot. Bk. J. Cristisone 100.
Thocher guidis
(c) 1552–3 Crail B. Ct. MS 9 Jan.
The xl merkis … vas and is thoworgud in band of maryage
1565–6 Notarial Instrument 17 Feb. in Yule Collection (Reg. H.).
Alevyne pound … mony … in complayt payment … of thowargud with his dowhtter Katyryne
1566 Crail B. Ct. MS 14 May.
In complyt payment … of thouor guid viht his douthour
(d) 1547 Anal. Scot. II 214.
1555 Prot. Bk. D. Gray 5.
The said Walter hes resauit in name of toichirgud & mareage ger the sowm of thre scoir … merkis
(e) 1569 Events Q. Mary & Jas. VI 27.
I man pay for ȝour L. sisteris thowquhar gud xijc lib.
1569 Events Q. Mary & Jas. VI 38.
Thouquhhar gud
1585 Wemyss Chart. 215.
The said Johne … sall … pay in name of toquhar gude with the said Margret, his doghtar … the sowme of [etc.]
1590 Edinb. B. Rec. V 21.
The kings grace hes requyret the toun to ressave ane part of his toquher guid … to mak him proffeitt
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 1308.
Thair ar many fair words in the meriag making but few in the tocher good paying
(4) 1664 Bk. Dunvegan 179.
400 merks for tocher money to Margaret Glas now wife to Norman McLeod

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