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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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S(c)hule, S(c)huil(l, S(c)hovel(l, n. Also: schul, schwl, s(c)hull, schwll, s(c)huile, schuyll, schwill, s(c)hole, s(c)hol(l, schoil(l, schoile, s(c)houl(l, schoul(l)e, showll, s(c)howle, shool(l, shoole, school(l, schoole, schuell, scheul, scheull(e, sheill, sheild; scull, scoll(e; (show); s(c)howell, shoffell, -ill; schewill; shavill; schufull, shuf(f)le, shuffel(l, -ill; schiffull, shivell; skivell, skuffill. [ME and e.m.E. ssofle, schouele (both 1297), schole (a1300), schouyl (c1440), schoyll (1465), OE scofl, MLG schuffel, MDu. schofel, schoffel.]

1. A shovel; an implement consisting of a helve and a head of metal or (? more commonly) of wood freq. reinforced by a metal blade or edging, used for raising or moving quantities of loose material, as earth, grain, stones, etc.In pl., also without inflection.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xviii 1374.
Hou ma I now mak this grawe, Fore nothyre spad na schule I hafe?
1449 Ayr B. Ct. 12 Nov.
Thre lederis a gawillok & a schule & a stok
1449 Aberd. B. Rec. MS V ii p. 743.
That al that occupiit the comoun loch thai sal red it and be redy in tyme of yher with spadis and schulis … for the reparatioun of it
1488 Lanark B. Rec. 2.
For a schul and the irn, vj d.
1489 Treas. Acc. I 116.
To ga to Payslay to get werkmen with spaidis and schwllis
a1500 Colk. Sow i 280.
Borne wes his banair Vpoun a schule for to schaw
1494 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 55.
The wrangus haldin of ane graip a schul a cowp and ane sled
1495 Prot. Bk. J. Young 179.
A schule a corne fork a harow sevin sclynggis a sok a culter
1496 Treas. Acc. I 297.
Feit threscore xvj men with spaid, schule and pik mattok to pas with the artailȝery
1501 Ib. II 87.
For xij schules to the said werk, iij s. ij d.
1517 Ib. V 122.
To xxv werkmen berand the hail munitioun, viz. pikkis, halbartis, billis, matokkis, spaddis, schwlis, halcrikkis, with splenttis fra the Capitainis towr to the gowne hous
1534 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 144.
A schull
1534–5 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 124.
For ten schullis v s.
1545 Treas. Acc. VIII 417.
Tua hors laidnit witht extreis, lewderris, mattokkis, schullis, and spaiddis
1547 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXVIII 144.
[Edinburgh was to furnish] three hundred men with pick, mattock, schule, and spade
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. I 242.
For twa schulls with the irnis … iij s. vj d.
1567 Nugae Scoticae 14.
Ane flauchterspeid, ane schule, ane graip of irne
a1568 Jok & Jynny 26.
Ane schule ane scheit and ane lang flail
1575–6 Dumfries B. Ct. 20 Jan.
Ane schule price viij d.
1611 Crim. Trials III 131.
Ye … , taking ane spaid and schule, … caist hollis in the sand to have buried him
1619 Inverurie 205.
That all inhabitants of this bruch … be in the moss the morn … with spaids, fut spaids, and schullis and quhell barrows … to cast the fousis … in the moss
1625 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 163.
For tua schules and ane spaid … to the stankis castingis
1667 Strathblane Par. 317.
Ane chimnay, ane taings, ane shull
1650–79 Wemyss in Sc. Diaries 125.
The salters … gett … 2 li. for shulles
(b) 1499 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 98.
For mendyn of j schuyll
1545 Aberd. B. Rec. XIX (Jam., s.v. Leid).
Tua litfaltis, tua cruikis, & ane schuill
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 122.
The drwme past throw the toun for all workmen with speade, schuile, and mattocke that wold take wages
1583–4 Crail B. Ct. MS 10 March.
Ane schuill
1590 St. A. B. Ct. 8 April.
Ane schwill
1597 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 390.
A schuill, 1 s.
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1884) 63.
Unto quhilk chapell … they leave an spaid and ane shuil quhen any man dies
1618 Crim. Trials III 433.
The said Williame … with assistance of the parochin, sould cum with spaidis and schuiles to mak ane watter-gang
1656 Lanark B. Rec. 156.
The haill inhabitants … to come … with mattockis, shuiles and clates for helping of the calsay and redding the burne
1659 Irvine Mun. II 86.
Awand to me sex poundis money for speddis and schuiles
(c) 1512–13 Treas. Acc. IV 466.
ij dusan scholis and j dusan of spadis for the redding of the greit schippis dok
1542 Ayr Common Good Acc.
For spaddis scholis skippis with all thair heidis and schaftis
1544 Treas. Acc. VIII 328.
1558–9 Edinb. Old Acc. I 294.
For mending of the … crampettis to twa scholis
1567 Edinb. Test. I 81b.
Ane schole of irne … vj s. viij d.
1571 Treas. Acc. XII 274.
For ane dosane of scholis to the casting of the forth [= fort]
1595 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 10a.
For mandes and schollis
1643 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 148.
The complaint … for stryking him witht ane shole
1668 Gunn Lyne & Megget 55.
Given for a shole for making graves, 16 s.
1679 Fawside Coal Compt 50.
To the smyth for mending a shole 2 s. 6 d.
1681 Ib. 71.
To bay a sholl for the panwood 16 s.
(d) 1488–9 Acta Conc. I 106/2.
A schoil price xviij d.
1583 Elgin Rec. I 172.
Ane spaid, ane schoill, ane mukfork
1612 Reg. Privy C. IX 484.
[They attacked them with drawn swords, and] cuttit the schoill or trie quhilk the said Johnne Weir had in his hand for the tyme
1612–13 Misc. Spald. C. V 92.
For ane schoil to serue the toun in clenging the calsy
1613–14 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 348.
For ane schoile xii s.
1645 Cranna Fraserburgh 39.(e) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 460.
1553–4 Edinb. Old Acc. II 23.
Ane schoule with ane irne to it
1557 Digest Justiciary Proc. B 140.
William Fischear … claife his neis with ane schovle
1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 125.
Ane schoulle on-schoid
1586 Ib. 258.
Ane gret schoull of iryne laid with steill in the egge thairof for patteling of the kirk flour
1598 Elgin Rec. II 65.
The merchandis servandis passand throche the toune with schoulis on thair schulderis to spred muk
1611 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 338.
For ane shoull xiii s. iiii d.
1611 Crim. Trials III 165.
And then, thinking to have buried him in the sandis, … thay preassed to mak vse of ane spead and schoule
1643 Acts VI i 16/1.
1667 Strathblane Par. 318.
A porring iron and a shoull
1702 Foulis Acc. Bk. 307.
For a stoif chimney without back tangs, show [? for shoul or showl] and poring iron
(f) c1575 Balfour Pract. 235.
Ane shool
1590 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 387.
For sex shoole to cast vp the lyme & sand with, viij s.
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Ligo, -onis, a spade or schoole
1597–8 Stirling Kirk S. in Misc. Maitl. C. I 130.
She confessis that … she mintit ane shooll to him
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 326.
Schooles vngarnished the hundreth
1625 Ritchie Ch. S. Baldred 211.
Ane shoole and spaide to maik the graifs
1645 S. Leith Rec. 63/1.
Robert Cuninghame to provyd barrowes grapes and shools for out carying of the mucke
1646 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 63.
Moneyes for making of spads, shooles, and vther instrumentis for the fortifieing of this toun
c1650 Spalding I 280.
The haill spaidis, schoollis, mattokis, mellis, barrowis, pikis, gavelokis, and suche like instrumentis within the toun, meit for wndermyning
1651–2 Peebles B. Rec. II 194.
Ane shoole with the yron for shoeing thairof
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 136 (4 June).
The said John … with his … familie … cam crewallie with longe rungs battons staffis stons spaids shoolls and wther offensive armes
1673 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 9 Oct.
The beddall at ilk buriall to bring the shooll and the spaid to William McClellans hous for to be preserved
1678 Fawside Coal Compt 25.
For a neu shooll 6 s.
1692 Misc. B. Rec. 64.(g) 1598 Conv. Burghs II 39.
(h) 1540 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS XIII 119b.
Spaid, graip, schewill
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 70.
1618 Ib. 123.
For thrie scheullis xxxvi s.
1624–5 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 135.
For ane spaid schauft and ane scheulle to work the morter
(i) 1670 Old Ross-shire I 308.
Jon Hossok … takes away my good name … striking me with a sheill on the head
1676 Cramond Ch. Speymouth 32.
Delated by some of the elders for casting the spade and sheild over the churchyeard
(j) 15.. Balcarres P. V 73b.
Shavillis wedgis gret hamers
(k) 1595 Reg. Privy C. V 252.
Tua peceis of brasin ordinance with the carreageis thairof, and ane skuffill
1610 Hist. Kinloss A. xi.
An pair tonges and 1 schufull
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 354.
A pair of taings with a shuffell with brase bosses
1689 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII 563.
1710 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 252.
(l) 1655 Boharm Kirk S. 21 Jan.
24 s. to buy ane spade and shovell for the use of the kirk
1657 Balfour Ann. IV 244.
Speds and shoffells
1661 Glasgow B. Rec. II 471.
1675 Cunningham Diary 49.
A pair thongs and shovell to my study
1675 Inverness Rec. II 261.
Showells, spades, and wther necessar instruments
1678 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt.
[For] showells mending
1681 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 19 Oct. 1698 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 680 (1 March).
Ane quantity of shoffells at five shillings sterling per disson
(m) 1600 Crail B. Ct. MS 16 Oct.
Thrie schiffullis, twa gudgettis, nyne planes
1732 Glasgow Test. LI 124.
Tongs & a porr & skivell
uninfl. pl. 1452 Ayr B. Ct. 16 Oct.
ii schul
1659 Craven Ch. in Orkney II 199.
Two shoole
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 981.
Liking is cryed doun, tak a shule and shoot in yow
Ib. No. 1033.
Mony brings the raik bot few the shuill
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1724.
Ye come with the raik and not with the schule

b. Preceded by a defining word indicating place of manufacture, the material of which the shovel (or its head) was manufactured, or its function.(1) 1524–5 Wigtownshire Chart. 63.
ix Franche schod schulis, price of the pece xvj d.
1529–30 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 20.
Flandris schwlis
1537–8 Ib. 207.
For … Flanderis schulis with the irnis
1617 Ib. II 33.
For sex Inglische scheullis and spaidis
1627 Glasg. Univ. Mun. III 530.
Ane Flanders schoole
(2) 1558 Crim. Trials I i 402.
[Wounding of Robert Johnnestoune with] ane irne schule [on his head]
1562 Edinb. B. Deeds 63.
Ane irne patill and schule
1586 Treas. Acc. MS 120.
Ane irne schuile to his maiesties chalmer, iiij li.
1597 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 28 Feb.
Ane irne schoole ane reisting irne ane paire of tayngis [etc.] … to his majesties kitching
a1600 Dunferm. Hammermen 11.
Ane iron schule and horseshoe [were required of the worker in iron]
1601 Conv. Burghs II 98.
Guidis cummand … to Scotland to pay … sex pundis of ilk twn except the gross wairis following viz. iyrne pottis, stray wade, treyne schuillis [etc.]
Ib. 105.
1609 Hilderstoun Silver Mines I 165.
Mending of ane irne shoole
1639–40 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 241.
Frome Gottenberrie with tar, irne scolles [etc.]
1681 Fawside Coal Compt 88.
Tuo still [= steel] sholls, £1 16 s.
1681 Foulis Acc. Bk. 84.
Ane iron shooll
(3) 1567 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. App. 315.
Ane malt schul
1609 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 63.
Be stryking him on the schoulder with ane malt schoole
1635 Edinb. Test. LVII 177b.
Ane hyd and sum sholing schoollis
1641-8 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 23.
For balest sholles 3 li.
1666 Edinb. Test. LXXII 110b.
Fyfteine malt shoolles in a buinsh
1685 Fawside Coal Compt 146.
A panwood shool 18 s.
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 362.
In the milkhouse … an iron calve shivell
(4) 1585 Treas. Acc. MS 54b.
To ane smyth for mending of his hienes fyir scull
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 304. 1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 26 Sept.
Ane moyer a fyre schull a frying pan and 4 spitts
1651 Buccleuch Mun. II 291.
Ane fyr schull with ane pair of tangis
1690 Lanark B. Rec. 237.
Ane fire shovell
1695 Edinb. Test. LXXX 136b.
Ane pair of tongs and fyre shuffell
1703 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 173.
A larg fire shuffill
1691 Brechin Test. VIII 41.
Ane chimney shufle and tongs

c. Schod schule, see S(c)hod ppl. adj. 1.

d. Blunt shooll, a shovel lacking a metal rim. Cf. sense 1 c above.  1680 Brechin Test. VII 36b.
Blunt shooll

2. attrib. and comb.(1) 1449 Ayr B. Ct. 12 Nov.
Twa schul stod & twa spad schaftis
1563 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 236b.
Ane schule heid the price vj d.
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 304.
Fire shoole plates
1640 Aberd. Council Lett. II 163.
To the smithes for making shool heades
1658 Boyd Fam. P. No. 236 (27 Feb.).
Three shollheidis
(2) 1512–13 Treas. Acc. IV 466.
For j½ dusan of spaid irnnys, the dusan viij s. viij d.; ij dusan scholl irnnys, the dusan v s.
1513 Ib. 514.
iijc schulis, price of the pece iiij d.; iijc schule irnis, price of the pece vj d.
1534–5 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 127.
For xviii schullis irnis ix s.
1548–9 Treas. Acc. IX 284.
To Williame Scot, smyth, for viij dosoun of schule irnis, the irne his awyn
1555–6 Edinb. Old Acc. I 185.
Schole irnis
1559–60 Ib. 316.
Scholirnis [ed. -ornis]
1560–1 Ib. 349.
Sex schowle ironis, vij s.
1569 Prot. Bk. Gilbert Grote (SRS) 74.
[That no member of the locksmith craft should make, buy, sell or mend] spaid or schule irnis [etc.]
1571–2 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. VII 61.
For ane schoule and ane schoule irn … to the warkmen to wirk with at the kirk windois
1576 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 302.
Schoill iyron
1586 Edinb. Hammermen III 40b.
Thomas Baxteris assay … ane schule irne [etc.]
1602 Ib. in Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 162.
Ane schuill iron
1673 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 15 Feb.
For two schowell irones
1674 Ib. 6 June, etc.
A new schovel irone
1679 Fawside Coal Compt 45.
A panwood shooll irone, 13 s. 4 d.
1683 Ib. 104.
A sholl irone, 8 s.

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"Shule n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Mar 2024 <>



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