A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.
S(c)hiref, S(c)heref(f, Schirra, n. Also: schireff(e, -efe, -eve, -af(e, -aff, -awe, shireff, -eiff(e, -eive, -iff, -ive, -aff, schyreff(e, -efe; schirref(f, -effe, -eiff, -if(f, -af(f, -awe, -aif, -ayf, shirref(f, -effe, -eift, -ieff(e, -ieff, -iew, -iff, -if(f)e, -ive, -ave, schyrref(f, -yve, -aff, -ave, -aw(e; scheref(f)(e, -ewe, shereif, -eef, -if(f, -yfe, (scheravaff), scherreffe, -affe, sherref, -eff(e, -eif(f, -if(f)e; sheirif, sheirreif; seref(f, -eif, serref, siref(f, scyref, -aff; s(c)href(f, shref(f)e, shreve, shreiff(e, shreife, shrif, shriffe, shrive; s(c)hirray(e, schyrray, shira, shiray; schera, sherra, s(c)her(r)ay; (schira-, shirra-, serrefe-, scerref-). [ME and e.m.E. syrreue (c1200), schirreue (a1325), sserreue (1297), schereve (Wyclif), shirryf (c1400), shiref (1415), sherryf (c1400), shreue (Piers Plowman), shreyve (1538), shrive (1559), shrief (c1470), shreffe (1518), OE scírgeréfa, f. scír S(c)hire n. and geréfa Greve n.1, also Refe n.2]The schir- of schiref is freq., esp. in early sources, represented by the contraction which is variously transcribed, by editors and others, as schir-, scher- and ser-. When, as in Acts, the text is diplomatic, this contraction has been expanded to schir- for the purposes of the following articles.
1. An officer appointed by the king (orig., ? by David I) to maintain the king's peace in a designated area of the realm (a sheriffdom), to administer the law therein, and to implement any part of the royal policy when commanded to do so by the king.The earliest known reference to the officer is as vicecomes in a Latin charter of 1120 (Early Chart. 28).See further Dickinson Fife Sheriff Ct. Introduction.For numerous further references, see esp. Balfour Pract. (St. S.) Index, and the Index to Acts XII.
In general references to the office, conditions of appointment, responsibility, etc., of a sheriff as an officer of the crown.(1) 1397 Acts I 208/2.
Apon ther articles the justice in ilke iustice air sal tak knawlage als apon schirefis gif thai do deuly thair det to thair office in the execucion of this statut Ib.
It is ordanyt that the chanceller sal write preceptis of this statut til al schirefis 1405 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 172.
That the said Schir Dauid and his ayris sal hafe and ioyse … the office of the schiruedome of Roxburghe … the saide Erle [of Mar] sal gif to … Schir Dauid … al charteris … or instrumentis pertinentis to the saide lands … or office of schireue 1429–30 Acts Jas. I in Ayr B. Ct. 6 March.
A mar of fee … sall hafe power to present a sufficiande person … & habylle to the schirefe in court to be deput wnder hime the quylk salle be sworne … to the saide office and admittyt be the schirefe and gewyne the wande 1457 Acts II 47/1.
The complaynt … that pur commonys ar gretumly … opprest be the kingis schirrefis [etc.] … in tymis of faris takande distressis of thar gudis of litill quantite … The schirref sulde haif bot the best ox or kow or vnriddyne hors quhilkis ar … brocht to sell 1457 Ib. 47/2.
Quhen the party spoilȝeit complenȝeis befor the lordis of the sessione … the lordis sall call the schirref [etc.] c1460 Regim. Princ. 243 (Maitl.).
Seref [Marchm. serrefis, Fairf. sereffis, Ch. & M. sireff] 1503 Acts II Table 21/2.
Anent expens of the schireffis for the executioun of thair office in the distrenyeing of persons for dett and of the expens of thar processis of court 1551 Hamilton Cat. 81.
Schirriffis c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5761.
Thare [sc. at the last judgment] salbe sene the fraudfull failȝeis Off schireffis, prouestis and of bailȝeis c1575 Balfour Pract. 18.
All schireffis sould have ane clerk deput to thame be the king, the quhilk sall have na lig nor band … to the schiref bot to the king allanerlie 1587 Montrose Baillie Ct. fol. 14b.
He compeirit no wayis as procuratour nor hauing mandat nor curatour bot simpliciter as ane schireff 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
Schireffis in this realme hes their offices given to them be the king in heritage, contrair to the act of Parliamente, … quhilk is the cause of greate enormities and wranges, be reason the schireffes being infeft heretablie, thinkis themselues sure of their office, and regairdis nocht the execution theirof 1622-6 Bisset I 150/6.
Orknay and Ȝetland … beand governed be foudis in place of schireffis a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 32.
The shreiff hes no jurisdictione naither to summond, attach, nor poynd, outwith his owen shireffdoome Ib. 175.
The shireff, baith ordinar and messenger or shireiff in that part, should have 12 d. of every lib. for execution of his office in poynding or appryseing, to be taken of the debtor 1670 Moray Synod 149.
Shirriews of sheirs 1675 Sutherland Bk. III 210.
Dewties incumbent to shirreffe and baillie a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) App. 37.
Most of the sheriffs were anciently such by inheritance: and it being in this kingdom no matter of charge, but of profit, it gave the hereditary sheriffs so great a power in their shires, that our kings of late have thought fit to agree with many of those sheriffs for their rights, by which it comes to pass that divers of them are now in the king's gift. The sheriffs may either sit and give judgment themselves, or doe it by a deputy, which they most commonly doe, except in some greater cases 1682 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 188.
The act of indemnitie cannot be extended to crymes committed be shirriffes [etc.](b) c1420 Wynt. viii 2465 (C), etc.
Schirrays, bailȝeis and keparis Off castellis 14.. Acts I 375/2.
Gif the sherray sulde mak a proces again ony man of the slauchter of ony man [etc.] 14.. Reg. Maj. c. 44.
& apone that in schauand he makis the schera seker, than [etc.] Ib. c. 185.
Gif the criminal actione of the ta part be laid be ane excepcione til the querel of lyf & membris befor the iustice or the scheray [etc.] 1438 Acts II 32/1.
And geyff the offisaris of the regalyteys fulfillis not this act it sall be leyffull to the kyngis schirraye to fulfill it 1491 Acta Conc. I 203/2.
The avale & quantite therof tobe proffit befor the schirra(2) 1375 Barb. i 190.
Schyrreffys and bailȝheys … And alkyn other officeris That for to gowern land afferis He maid off Inglis nation c1420 Wynt. viii 4003.
The Inglis men … made balyheys, schyrrawys [C. schirraffis] and justyis And offycyaris on syndry wyis 1445 Aberd. B. Rec. I 14.
It is sene speidful to the counsaile to trete giue thai may get the fredome to be schirrefis within the toun 1456 Hay II 21/23.
Dois a king … wrang … quhen he makis othir sereffis, baillies or provostis of othir lawlyar men na knychtis? c1475 Wall. i 345.
Schyrreff he was, and wsyt thaim amang Ib. ii 82.
Schir Ranald Craufurd, schireff than was kend Ib. vi 791.
Schirrais he maid that cruell was to ken, … off wis trew Scottis men a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 459.
Will is thair law, inwy thai mak schireff [for schirray; rh. pray, sla] 1529 Reg. Morton I 2.
Considering ȝe ar schiref to ws … we merwell that ȝe thole sic manifest wrangis to be done a1578 Pitsc. II 184/5.
My lord Lyndesay … was maid schereff thairof at the marcat cros of Cowper 1596 Dalr. I 127/12.
In euerie prouince ar owrismen quhome of ane ald titil we cal schirreffis 1705 Annandale Corr. 229.
There are two of ther number chosen shireives, the one principall, the other deput
2. With specific reference to various duties, a. Judicial, b. Military, c. Administrative and executive, d. Financial, e. Pertaining in any way to the keeping of the king's peace, enjoined upon a sheriff in his capacity as ‘ane principall ruler or judge of ane certaine part of the realme’ (Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff).a. 1397 Acts I 208/1.
The schiref … sal lat thaim [sc. malefactors] to borch til apper at the next iustice air as day peremptor 1410–11 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 30.
Walter, … bischope of Brechine, fand ane borch in our hand as schref 14.. Acts I 53/2.
That nouthir bischopis na abbotis na ȝit erlis na barounis na ony fre haldaris sal hald thar courtis bot gif the kingis schireff or his seriand be thar or sommond to be thar for to se that the court be rychtuisly led Ib. 55/2.
At the hed of ilke xl dayis ilke schiref sal hald his mutis Ib. 347/2.
Sereff 14.. Reg. Maj. c. 1.
The crime of thyft & manslauchter the quhilk pertenis to the scheref 1503 Acts II 253/2.
It sal be lefule … to the schiref or ony othir officiar that is juge to the breve of inqueste to summond the said inqueste apon quhat dais he ples 1514 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 16.
That all scherefis [etc.] … have commissiouns generale to execut justice apon all maner of recent slauchteris, reiffis, stouthis and heirschipis committit sen the feild 1540 Acts II 358/2.
That all … schireffis hald all thare thre heid courtis be thame self in proper persoun c1575 Balfour Pract. 15.
That in everie schireffdom thair be ane sufficient schireff quha sall minister justice to the kingis liegis and hald courtis in lauchfull tyme Ib. 440.
The schiref or ony uther judge, chargit be the lordis letteris, is not judge competent to the divisioun of landis [etc.] 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
The schireffe in his courte sall keipe and obserue sik forme and ordour of proces as is vsed before the Lordes of Councell and Session Ib.
The schireff hes onlie jurisdiction within his awin schireffedome, within the quhilk he and his deputes suld cause the lawes & acts of Parliament to be published, red, and proclaimed in his courtes and to be keiped … be all our soveraine lordes lieges Ib.
Diverse … criminal actiones pertainis and belangis to the schireffe and his jurisdiction, quhairof some ar capitall, vthers ar pecuniall 1622-6 Bisset I 87/26.
Actionis Civile … Quhilkis actionis pertenis to the schireffis [etc.] 1681 Stirlings of Keir 518.
It is expected that he as shirrieff should give you advertisment thairof 1682 Lauder Notices Affairs I 346.
The provest and bailȝies of Edinburgh as shireffs within themselves … doe judge … ther hangman … for murdering [etc.] 1683 Martine Reliq. Divi Andreae 64.
A lord of regalitie has a free jurisdiction within himselfe, and is not subject to the shreife(b) 1438 Acts II 32/1.
At the schirra … arest the spulȝheouris … and the gudis spulȝhetb. 1429 Acts II 18/2.
Ilk baron … sall … ordane his men to be bodyn … ande gif he na dois … the schirref sal rais of ilk ȝeman than nocht bodyn … a wedder [etc.] Ib. I 113/2.
The kyng wil that evir ilk schiref … sal mak wapynschawyn alson eftir the octavis of pasch 1483 Ib. II 164/2.
That the said schireffis proclame & hald wapinschewingis within the boundis of thar office to se that … liegis be bodin for wer … & to punys thaim that ar absent [etc.] 1497–8 Acta Conc. II 101.
That na tennantis … gaddir … in fere of were … without it be for gude and ressonable causes with the kingis schiref or [etc.] 1540 Acts II 362/1.
That wapinschawingis be maid tuis in the ȝeir … at sic … dayis and place as sall pleis the schirreff [etc.]c. 1424 Acts II 8/1.
Thai [sc. beggars] … sall haue a certane takyn to landwart of the schirreff & in burowis of the aldermen & the balȝeis 1429–30 Acts Jas. I in Ayr B. Ct. 6 March.
Schirafe 1457 Acts II 52/2 (see S(c)hire n. 1 b (1) pl. (a)). 1532 Instit. Ct. Sess. in Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 376.
That all sentence and decretis of the lordis be execute in tymys cummyne be the schereff of the schir or his deputis 1535 Acts II 347/2.
That all schireffis [etc.] … seik all … rebellis and … tak and bring thame to our souerane lordis justice 1540 Ib. 372/2.
And geiff the officiaris of the regalite beis fundin negligent … it sall be lefull to the kingis schireffis to putt the saidis actis to executioun within the said regalitie c1575 Balfour Pract. 110.
The secund lady tiercear may rais breivis of the Kingis chapell, to be servit and also kennit be the schiref to ane greit tierce [etc.] Ib. 433.
The breve of idiotrie may be direct furth of our soverane lord's chancellarie to the schiref and his deputis [etc.] 1592 Acts III 576/1.
All schirreffis stewartis [etc.] … to mak prisonis stokkis and irnis nocht onlie at the heid burgh bot also [etc.] 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
The schireffe suld advertise the Maister of the Girthe Id. Reg. Maj. ii 80b (Table).
Ane furious man should be keiped by his friends or imprisoned be the justitiar or schiref Ib. (Latin) 110a.
Ane retowre, or ane answer returned from the schireff to the briefe directed forth of the chancellarie 1617 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. in Misc. Maitl. C. II 193.
That nane … give thame [supra chapmen and pedderis] hospitalitie [etc.] … without the shereffis testificat 1618 Annandale Corr. 278.
Shereef 1630 Stirling's Royal Lett. 413.
To cause relax the said marqueis fra all horningis used aganis him as shirreiff or landslord for not apprehending of papistis a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 157.
Of old, when a manslayer wes fugitive … the shireiffe might … escheit his goods to the king 1681 Stair Inst. iv xxxviii §10.
The execution of summonses, and all diligences, was of old done by the sheriffs, while processes proceeded upon brieves out of the chancery, as they do yet execute these brieves which remain … the old style was so far retained that the summonses are still directed to sheriffs in that part specially constitute by the Lordis 1695 Acts IX 421/1.
That wherever lands of different heretors ly run-rig, it shall be leisum to either party to apply to the shirriffs [etc.] … to the effect that these lands may be divided [etc.]d. 1424 Acts II 4/2.
This is the maner that landis and gudis salbe taxit that ilk schirref within his schirrefdome sall gar call befor him all the baronys and frehaldaris of the king and with consale of thame [etc.] 1489 Ib. 218/2.
And for the taxt of the baronis and temporale personis that suld be rasit be [sic] & takin of the schirreffis, bailȝeis [etc.] 1540 Ib. 360/1.
That all schireffis bring with thame at thar chekker comptis anis in the ȝeir ane buk contenand all sesingis gevin be thame 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
The schireffe suld punish destroyers of planting of wooddes … and like waies suld in-bring … the paines of them quha plantis nocht wooddes Ib.
The schireffe suld vp-take and inbring al taxationes, and mak compt and payment thereof 1636 Maxwell Mem. II 261.
The collection of the anuities is now, … injoined on the shreffs 1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 95.
The schyreffes, baillies, … and uther intrometers with his majesty's rentes and the prince's rentese. 1398 Acts I 208/1.
Ilke schiref sal tak diligent enquerrez gif ony … has destruyt the kyngis legis with herischippis c1420 Wynt. viii 3154.
The schyrrawe [C. schirraif] off that land suld pay The prys off that brydill than … to that man 1424 Acts II 4/1.
Gif ony complaynt be maid on sic trespassouris to the schirref of the lande that he arest sic folkis and chalange thame as brekaris of the kyngis pece 1424 Acts Jas. I (Edinb. Univ. MS Borland No. 207) 82b.
Schirrawe 1424 Acts II 4/1.
In cas that na complaynt be maide to the schirref the schirref sall inquyre … gif ony sik faltouris be within his schirrefdome 1425 Ib. 11/2.
The schirref sal … ger kep thaim in festynance quhil it be knawin quhare one thai leif 1457 Ib. 51/1.
And gif ony man be fedyt … the schirref sall furthwithe of bath the parteis tak law borowis and forbide thame … to distruble the kingis pece a1500 Henr. Fab. 1265.
This volf I likkin to ane schiref stout Quhilk … hes with him ane cursit assyis about And dytis all the pure men vp on land 1476 Acta Aud. 49/1.
The taking oute of twa persouns furthe of the kingis irnis put in be the schiref 1491 Acts II 225/2.
And sa furth fra schirref to schirref quhill he be put to the schirref of the schire quhare the dede wes done 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 142.
Gif ane complains to the schiref, and desires lawborrows of ane other man; and the schiref doe not his office thereanent, he sall pay fourtie poundes
3. In references to a particular person, or persons, identified in terms of his or their office as sheriff. Also, once, as a nickname.(1) 1375 Barb. xvi 583 (C).
The erll with the schirreff met he Awayward with [thar] gret menȝe c1420 Wynt. viii 2114.
The schyrrave [C. schirrawe] be [the] throt he gat 1465 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 60.
The schiref or his mare of fe to … gif corporale sesine … of the said landis c1476 Lennox Mun. 108.
Yhour brevis of seissing war direct fra the kingis henes to the schiref 1479 Misc. Bann. C. III 431.
Schirefe, we charge ȝou straitly and commandis that [etc.] 1489 Treas. Acc. I 127.
To pas with letteris of the kingis to al the schirreffis in the sowtht partis and est, and to abotis, for the alde taxt and new 1489–90 Acta Aud. 138/1.
The said schirref has inordourly procedit in the seruing of the said breuez 1502 Acta Conc. III 183.
Our soverane lord the king … his liegis quhilkis ar now gretlye … skaithit be his schireffis bailyeis and utheris ministeris undir his grace 1507 Treas. Acc. III 411.
Passand with … lettrez of panis … on the schiref and his complicis 1512–13 Ib. IV 402.
Lettres till all schireffis and borowis on the northsyd of Forth for the halding of wappynschawingis 1515 Reg. Privy S. I 395/1.
That the said schireffis mak convocatioun of the kyngis liegis as neid beis 1539 Aberd. B. Rec. I 162.
Shiref 1558 Rec. Earld. Orkney 109.
Monsieur Bonald, shiref and commissioner to our grece masteres the quenis grace of the lordschip of Orknay 1574–5 Day-bk. J. Cokburn 10.
Persewit be James Wylkye … befor the schiref 1596 Misc. Spald. C. II 133.
Thow being giltie [sc. of theft] … the schiref causit thé be scurgit 1622-6 Bisset I 70/4.
Ordanit that all statutis … of that parliament … be registrate in his maiesties registeris and gevin to the schireffis 1626 Aberd. Council Lett. I 252. 1659 Glasgow B. Rec. II 430.
Schyrefe 1675 Inverness Presb. 50.
[He] was mett by Connedge the sireff in the mount betuixt the parioches of Moy and Duthell 1699 Lanark Presb. 132.
Shirrieff(b) 1681 Purves Revenue Crown 96.
Payed be the shirriff [of Perthshire] for book & blenches, … One leopard or gray hound £5 6 s. 8 d.(c) 1375 Barb. xvi 560.
Thai … Tuk land and fast begouth to ryve. The erle of Fyff and the schyrryve … gaderyt to defend thar land 1633 Maxwell Mem. II 247.
Shirriue(d) 1460 Ayr Chart. 89.
That the said shereff tak na dewiteis in time cumming bot sic as wes ordanit be the hale parliament … to be tane be the shereffis 1483 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 204.
Scherewe 1507 Edinb. Chart. 191.
To oure said burgh of Edinburgh, and to … oure schereffis within the saymn 1516 Treas. Acc. V 77.
xxij lettres to gif to samony shereffis and borrowis for the wappinschawingis 1532 Ib. VI 57.
To … seik the shereffis in the toune of Edinburgh to deliver thame lettres for the doun bringing of the price of wittallis 1561 Reg. Privy C. I 160.
That he intimye the said horning or deforcement and inventar to the scheref a1578 Pitsc. I 49/1.
Schereff 1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 12.
Scherefe 1612–13 Mar & Kellie MSS Suppl. 48.
Therfor, you sheirreifs, stand to your taikling 1652 Honours Scotl. 120.
Sereff(e) c1578 Reid Swire 18.
Sherriffe 1719 Old-lore Misc. II iii 172.
Sheirif(f) 1450 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 147.
Quhil the tyme the said cornis be lauchfully lowsit at the said schreff 1584 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I xliii.
The actioun and caus of bastardrie movit and persewit be my lord shreff be vertew of his office 1601–2 Montrose Treas. Acc. 3b.
The shreffe James Bonar 1656 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 56.
For the shreffe's behooff 1665 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. II 24.
All who assisted the shreff in suppressing the said tumultuous insurrection 1674 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 162.
[Forgers] to be transported from shreff to shreff till they be brought to the tolbuith of Edinburgh 1674 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 419.
[John Sharpe] shreiffe [and commissar clerk](g) c1475 Wall. xi 1391.
A schyrray gart this clerk son fra him pas 1492 Treas. Acc. I 201.
The schirra payt the remanent ?1512 Wigtown B. Ct. fol. 25a.
Quhil the said schirra pay the malis of xii ȝeris bygane 1532 Linlithgow B. Ct. 6 May.
The balȝeis consale and commite wil cal the said Willyam Johnston be for the schirray 1589–91 Mar & Kellie MSS 37.
The caus quhy ye sall doe this the shiray, bearar heirof, will shaw you 1619 Tayler Hist. Fam. Urquhart 32. 1657 Misc. Hist. Soc. VII 27.
My prosses was ca'd before the shirrayuninfl. possess. 1507 Lanark B. Rec. 18.
To Bessie Bertram, at the sherra command, xl s.(2) 1520 Stirling B. Rec. I 7.
Johen the schirra
b. (The) schiref (of (once, within the boundis of) the place designated).Chiefly, following a personal name, or pronoun, in an appositional phrase.Also with omission of of.(a) 1417 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 215.
Robert duyc of Albany … to the schirefs of Aberden and of Banf … our will is [etc.] 1447 (1449–50) Reg. Great S. 71/1.
Me … schyreff of Berwic 1465 Wemyss Chart. 86.
In the wytnes of the quhilk thing I haue set to myne emys signet Alexander Kennedy, schirref of Fyfe 1469 Acts II 96/1.
Ilka schiref of the schire quhare the said fugitoure is socht c1475 Wall. i 23.
Schir Ranald Crawfurd, rycht schirreff of Ayr Ib. vii 1027.
Rwan he left thair capteyn for to be; In heretage gaiff him office to fee Off all Straithern, and schirreiff off the toun Ib. xi 891. 1493 Acta Aud. 171/2. 1502 Treas. Acc. II 343.
Lettrez to the schireffis of Fiff, Perth, Forfair, and Kincardin, to forbeid the slaying of pertrikis 1520 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 59.
Lord Haye, schireff of Tueddel 1522 Thanes of Cawdor 144.
Colin erll of Ergyle … shiref and lutenand of Ergile 1545 Douglas Corr. 159.
Siref 1567 Grey Friars II 54.
That ye pas to oure schiref of oure schire c1575 Balfour Pract. 84.
Bot the provest, as schiref of the burgh of Edinburgh … sould have the custume 1596 Dalr. I 37/12.
Quhair juges he quha is juge, and schireffe of the cuntrey to his stile hes c1644 Wemyss Corr. 93.
Wpon Fryday … I received … prisoners from the Shirreift of Murray — 1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 17.
James, bischop of Orknay, his majesteis commissioner, schiref and justice within the bowndis of Orknay and Yetland(b) 1388–9 Charter (Reg. H.) (Suppl.).
Robert Erle of Fyf … wardane of Scotland to the shirrave & his bayllyfe of Lanark greting 1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
William of Conynghame, shirrave of Are c1420 Wynt. viii 2085.
The schyrrawe [C. schirawe] that tyme off the land The Kyng off Inglandis lutenand Come to Lanark Ib. 4110 (C).
Schir Alane … made he haile Schirrayf [R. Schyrrawe, W. Schirref] of Bute and of Cowalle 1438 Lennox Mun. 69.
Schyrraff 1454 7th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 720/2.
Schirafe 1460 Ayr Chart. 34.
Shiraff 1463 Wemyss Chart. 82.
Schiraff 1469 Buccleuch Mun. II 28.
Schiraf(c) a1691 Kingston Contin. Ho. Seytoun 58.
Shirrife Ib. 88.
The duke of Lauderdaill, shirrife of East Lothian(d) 1517 Treas. Acc. V 124.
Lettrez of my lord governouris for the last taxt to the shereffis of Peblis, Selkirk [etc.] 1528 Douglas Corr. 131.
Sir James Hammiltoune shereif of Aire 1531 Bell. Boece II 426.
Schir Allane Lyle, sereif of Bute Ib. 486.
Seref of Angus 1552–3 Lochwinnoch Par. 42.
I, James Stewart, shereff of But and Arran, with my hand at the pen, and led with the hand of Maister Thomas Briden, notar 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 18.
Scherreffe 1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 233. 1611-57 Mure Hist. Rowallane 255.
Isobell Campbell daughter to the schereff of Aire Ib. 249.
Schereffe 1682 Cramond Kirk S. II 16 Sept.
A decreitt befor the sherreiffes of Edinburgh against the Laird of Cramond 1693 Irvine Deeds (Dispn. Francis & Baillie to Gray).
Sherreffe — 1680 Kingarth Par. Rec. 124.
The sherreff Bute(e) 1565 Reg. Morton I 14.
You beinge sheryfe of thes partes 1656 Annandale Corr. 39.
James Chrichtoune, sheryfe of Drumfreis(f) 1431 Buccleuch Mun. II 28.
Archbald off Dowglas, … scherraffe off Teuidaylle(g) 1420 Reg. Episc. Morav. App. 475.
Scheravaff(h) 1570-3 Bann. Trans. 11.
Shrefe 1673 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. IV 80.
The Earle of Queensberry, who was shreffe of the said shyre of Dumfreice(i) c1600 Pont Cunningham 13.
Gothred de Ross … enioyed ample possesions abrode in the countrey, and ves for the tyme shriffe of Aire a1605 Birrel Diary 15.
Shriffe 1604–8 Dunlop P. II 4.
He was at the shriffe of Aire 1659 House Gordon II 130.
Jane Gordon maried the shrif of Murray a1686 Turner Mem. 86.
Moneys were furnishd … by one Master Key, who that yeare was shrive of the toune — 1658 Rothesay Par. Rec. 1.
Sir James Stewart, shreffe Bute(j) 14.. Acts I 330/2.
At ye ger deliuer to the sheray and the balȝies of P. … all the names of the furth duelland forstallaris of the forsaid burgh 1444 Melville Chart. 28.
The tailȝeing of the schirray of Angus landis 1458 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 325.
Alexander of Douglas depute to the shira of Abirdene 1475 Acta Aud. 38/2.
Schir George Cambell schirray of Are 1499 Fam. Rose 170.
George Erll off Huntly, … sherra of Endernes for the tyme 1689 Stirling B. Rec. II 334.
The shirray of Galloway — 1619 Sutherland Bk. II 137.
I ressauit also ane long letter from the schirray Cromartie
c. With following adjective indicating the nature or limits of the powers granted to the sheriff concerned.As schiref principall, an expanded title given to a sheriff (orig., ? a heritable sheriff) to distinguish him from his deputies. See also Schiref-deput(e n. Schiref wardatour (wardour), a person appointed to carry out the official duties of a minor to whom the office of sheriff had descended by heritage.(1) 1501 Treas. Acc. II 115.
The Erle of Craufurd, schiref principale of Abirdene 1543 Elgin Rec. I 77.
Sereff princepall of Elgine and Forres 1555 Acts II 494/2.
The schiref principall 1557 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 131.
Ane writin of the shref principallis subscrivit witht his awin hand 1576–7 in Exch. R. XX 502.
Lord Hay of Yester, schireff princepall of the schireffdome of Peblis a1578 Pitsc. I 48/24.
Schereff principall of Perth 1584 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 315.
My lord shref principall 1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 137.
Patrik erle of Orknay lord Yeitland and scherefe principall thairof 1614 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bks. 1.
Be the said reverend father, schiref principall c1650 Spalding I 84.
Schir Johne McKengzie of Tarbet maid schiref principall of Innerniss Ib. 231.
The laird Drum … contynewit schireff principall of Abirdein for ane yeir — 1584 Acts III 371/1.
The office of the schirrefschip schirreff clarkschip and schirreff principall of the said schirrefdome of Perth(2) 1531 Acta Conc. MS XLIII 91b.
Schereff wardour of Drumfreis 1589 Reg. Privy C. IV 384.
Schireff wardatair 1590 Grant Chart. 176.
Patrick Dumbare … tutour of Cumnok, and schereff wardatour of Murray
d. Schiref in that (also, once, this) part, a person temporarily granted the powers of a sheriff to carry out a particular assignment. See Part n. 15 b. 1464 Liber Aberbr. II 138.
James … tyl our masar Hector of Meldrum owr scyref in that part gretyng Ib. 139.
I Hector of Meldrum massar and scyraff in that part sommond thir personis within vriting 1473 Treas. Acc. I 45.
Adam Bachillur, passande with the kingis lettres … as schiref in that part for the inbringing of Schire William of Rendis gudis 1478 Acta Aud. 61/2.
Dingvale pursewant … schiref in that parte Ib. 64/1.
The said Walter schiref in this parte has inordinately procedit in the seruing of the said breue 1483 Acta Conc. II cxxxi.
David Ogilvy … Alexander Luvel … James of Crechtone … and James of Rind … schirefis in that part conjunctly 1527 Bk. Dunvegan I 68. 1529 Red Bk. Grandtully I 67.
Olipher Maxtoun, maceir, schyrray of Pertht in that part c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus I 817.
Nemesis … Our shiref in that part expres 1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 228.
Sereffis 1565 Facs. Nat. MSS III xlviii.
Marie … to our louittis [space in MS] messingeris our shereffis in that part … greting 1569 Cal. Sc. P. III 22.
Shreves 1571 Reg. Privy C. II 91.
Letters … to officiaris of armes, shereffis in that part, charging thame [etc.] 1583 Conv. Burghs I 164.
Schreffis 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. (Latin) ii 58a (marg.).
Hujusmodi personæ vulgo, dicuntur; Schirefs in that part c1630 Hope Minor Pract. (1734) 6.
The said summons may be execute by a boy sheriff in that part, and need not a messenger of arms, except in some cases Id. Major Pract. II 238.
And … the king's letters ar direct to ‘our shireiffes in that part’ be virtue of the quhilk directione the execuitor of the summonds is constitut shireiffe, and receaves warrand and pouer to execuit within the shireiffdome 1678 Acts Sederunt ii 138.
The Lords discharges the Director of the Chancellary to direct … any precepts to shirriffs in that part for granting infeftment upon retours unless [etc.] 1681 Stair Inst. IV xxxviii §10 (see 2 c above).
4. attrib. and possess. In one or other of the above senses.In quots. Acta Conc., see (1) below, and also ? perhaps elsewhere, appar. possessive with inflection.Schiref(is fe, an amount deducted from his official receipts by a sheriff and kept by him by way of remuneration, also an amount paid for the services of the sheriff or his officers. Shirref fiars, ‘the average prices of the various types of grain fixed annually in early spring for the current year by the Sheriff in the Fiars Court’ (SND, s.v. Fiar n.2 2). See Fiar n.2 Schiref(is gluffis, a payment levied by the sheriff or his officers for maintaining law and order during a fair. Schireff(s mair, see the note to Mair n. Schiref(s officiar, Schiref-serjand(e, a subordinate officer of a sheriffdom, sometimes appar. synonymous with schireff(s mair.(1) attrib. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 3 (A).
Gif the scheray mut or fayr be haldyn in the burgh 1497–8 Acta Conc. II 97.
xxv skore of bollis of victale and iijc li. of malis of the sade schireff landis 1498 Ib. 183.
That the sade schiref send the sammyn cloise under the sade schiref selepossess. 1557–8 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII 53.
The quenis letters dischargeand all burgessis to pass upoun ony schireffis brevis 16.. R. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 398.
The bishops as the kings barons wer first cited in the roles of the sherifs head courts(2) attrib. 1574 Reg. Privy C. II 418.
He … being standand at the barras port of the said burgh to await as ane appointit for uptaking of the sheref feis as use is in tyme of fairis 1603 Reg. Great S. 515/1.
With all uther custumes, schireff feis, dewteis and exactiones in and about the said burgh 1622-6 Bisset I 243/14.
The messinger executour … may … appryse the samin for payment … of the said dett … and for his awin schiref fie 1640 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 186.
Shirreffie of the twa new faires 1641 Acts V 500/2 (see (4) possess. below). 1641 Peebles Chart. 104.
The sheref fie, shereffis glowes, tolles, customes, impositiounes, exactiounes, and all vther fies [etc.] 1644 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II 707.
She become debtour to him … for the shereffie of certane cornes poyndit be Johne Carsanes aith 1662 Burnett Fam. P.
And for the soume of four hundreth four scoir ten merkis of schireffie corresponding herto 1679 Fountainhall Decis. I 39.
The Lords … lopt off the sheriff-fees and penalties 1680 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 24 Dec.
And sherif fie … restand awand to the defunctpossess. c1575 Balfour Pract. 18.
The schireffis fee sould be payit to him of the extractis and escheittis of the court, and not utherwayis(3) 1689 Acts XII 55/2.
That the pryce of victwall payable furth of the shyre of Fyfe to the Exchequer for cropt 1688 be payed conforme to the present shirref fiars of the said shyre(4) attrib. 1528 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 3.
That na schereff gluiffes be tayne … fra na maner of persoun fra this present fair 1581 Lanark B. Rec. 85.
The shereff gluffes set to Hew Brentoun for ane yeir for threttie ane merkis 1603 Comm. Univ. I (Edinb.) App. 17.
Ac cum vicecomitum feodis, et lie schireff gluiffis, theloniis, custumis ac omnibus aliis feodis, privilegiis, libertatibus et devoriis 1583 Edinb. B. Rec. III 309 (see possess. below). 1665 Law MS (Breadalbane Coll., Reg. H. fol. 15r) in Fife Sheriff Ct. liii n.
[The Lords of Session found] that all the shirreffs in Scotland who wer in use to uplift ane exactione called the shirreff gloves hade right therto by prescriptione albeit ther was no mentione of it in ther gift [while ‘sheriff-gloves’ are stated to be] ane fie which the shirreff hath for keeping of the fair quyet 1672 Lauder Notices Affairs I 49.
The Earle of Calendar as heritable shireff of Stirlingshire pershues the toune of Stirling for making payment to him of thesse customes, commonly called the shiref-gloves as also of a stag every day of the fair 1686 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 187.
Shereff gloves 1689 Foulis Acc. Bk. 116.
To give the men at the newport for shirreff gloves and leting our horse and goods pass 1691 Ib. 142.possess. 1557 Edinb. B. Rec. III 12.
Schereffis gluffis 1578 Ib. IV 90.
The sereffis gluffis and dewetie of the fairis of this burgh … dois appertene … to the provest outwith the poirt 1583 Ib. 309.
Anent the dewteis and customes of the Alhallow and Trinitie fairs callit the schereffis gluiffis, perteining to the provests of this burgh as schereffis principall within the sam, quhilk awcht to pay the pryce of the provests oxe at the Alhallow fair … it is … ordanet that in all tyme cuming thair be tayne for the said schereff gluiffes of custome, for the ky, oxin, horsis, … of ilk heid foure penneis [etc.] … and my lord provest for the tyme, for the payment of his oxe, to caus collect and inbring the sam to him selff be sic as he plesis 1641 Acts V 500/2.
Togidder with the shereffie and shereffes gloves tolles customes … and all other fies dewties [etc.] … quhilkis are knowne to perteene to the saidis faires and mercattes 1641 Peebles Chart. 104 (see (2) above). 1693 Foulis Acc. Bk. 160.
For shirreffs gloves at the port severall times, 2 s.(5) attrib. a1578 Pitsc. I 45 h. of ch.
Conflict betwix the sherrife of Perth and Johne Gormak the shireff maiorpossess. 1699 Black Bk. Kincardineshire 86.
Donald Hutcheon, one of the sheriff's-mares and officer to the Laird of Leys(6) attrib. 1568–9 Reg. Privy S. VI 114/1.
Grantis and disponis to him the foirsaidis offices of justice and schirref officiare 1590 Reg. Privy C. IV 486.
Mr. George Bissett allegeit mair of fe and sheref officiar of Abirdene 1682 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 3 Jan.
John Fliming shereff officer in Dumfreis 1690 Cramond Kirk S. III 18 Sept.
Cammo … and two sherref officers had gone in to Cramond Isle for apprehending the person of the gentlewoman stranger 1695 R. Brown Paisley I 341.
Francis Sleman, sheriff-officerpossess. 1656 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 65.
Receave the bearer to be ane off the schireffs officers and give him ane warrant to act(7) 1545 Reg. Privy S. III 173/1.
Thare deforceing of [blank] schiref-serjand and officiar of the schirefdom of Fyffe 1547 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I App. lxxxv.
To Jhonne Dalmahoy, schireff serjande, for his lauboures … sekand oxin for the artalyere
b. Schirefis buke, register, roll, the book, etc., into which the proceedings of the sheriff court, and the issues of his court in fines, etc., were entered by the sheriff-clerk.(1) attrib. 1579 Acts III 142/2.
The quhilkis lettrez … sua registrat and subscriuit on the bak be the said schirref clerk or the copy thairof autentiklie extractit furth of the saidis schirref buikis subscriuit be the said schirref clerk salbe estemit as autentik 1646 Grant Chart. 241.
That thir presenttis be insert and registrat in the … schirreffe or commissar buikis of Inwernes 1651 Burnett of Leys App. 263.
In the commissaries or shirrefbooks of Aberdene 1668 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. II 478.
In the … shreff, comissar or borrow books of Innernes 1683 Cramond Kirk S. II 5 Aug.
She was enacted in the sherreif books upon the very next complaint made by her neighbours, to remove out of the parochpossess. 1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 182.
This decret … is interitit [sic in pr.] in the schirefis buke 1568 Waus Corr. 43.
Boyth the saidis parteis ar contentit the samin be inscherit in the commiseris, or serefis, buikis of Wygtoun(2) 1695 Cullen Kirk S. II 13 Jan.
To cause search the registers of Aberdeen, either shiriff or commissars registers, or the towns register, or if thar be any old bishops register(3) 1534 in Exch. R. XVI 584.
Quhilk charter is registrat on the bak of the schiref roll of this instant yer
c. As a place-name element. 12.. Reg. Dunferm. 146.
Molendinum quod vocatur le scerrefis mill 1374 Rot. Sc. 962/2.
Quandam placeam nostram … vocatam Shirrefbyggyng 1452 Liber Scon 181.
Schirastoun 1458 Exch. R. VI 465.
Molendini de Serrefemill 1483 Reg. Dunferm. 372.
Scherefhaul 1603 Crim. Trials II 422.
Be bringing of south-rynand-watter fra the Schyreff-brayis-wall 1666 Wodrow Hist. (1721) I 235.
Shirraland in Plimnick Parish
5. Applied to an officer fulfilling a function similar or analogous to that of sheriff in another age or country. 1492 Myll Spect. 290/25.
In Rome … quhen ony man ware justifyet the schiref behuffit allan to walk [etc.] 1533 Boece 171b.
Argade … put ordoure to schireffis capitanis and vthir officiaris decreting thai suld haue power to correct onelie small crymez and remytt correctioun of grete crimez to the iustice Ib. 628b.
Of Frenchmen war slane … the sereif of Narbone with many othir wageouris a1538 Abell 19b.
Cassius the schirra of Surre … spulȝet the tempill of Jerusalem 1558-66 Knox II 133.
The schereff of Orleance … was tackin
b. A sheriff in England. a1400 Leg. S. xl 965.
Syne come the schirefe [ed. serefe] to the ton … & gert the mysdoaris bryng To curt 1677 Stirlings of Keir 514.
Ther is tuo faunatike felloues maed choise of for to serve for shirives for London 1682 Lauder Observes 70.
The wholle liveraymen of the 29 free incorporations of London met to chuse ther shireffs
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"Shiref n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/schiref>