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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BAR(R)ON-BAIL(L)IE, -BAYLZIE, n. A Baron Baillie was the deputy appointed by a Baron to exercise the jurisdiction of the Baron both civil and criminal in the Barony Courts. He might also act as an assessor in such Courts (A.C.M.). [′bɑrən ′beli]Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 393–394:
Within the barony of Dodineston, the abbots appointed baron-bailies to execute their jurisdiction within their proper limits.
Sc. 1899 H. G. Graham Social Life 18th Cent. I. 209:
Barons and chiefs . . . held courts of regality, in which they or their baron bailies, who served as assessors, acted as judges with, and sometimes without, a jury of their own vassals or tenants.
Bnff. 1702 quoted by W. Cramond in Bnffsh. Field Club (1903) 48:
Mr Robert Sharp, present dean of gild of the Burgh of Cullen, barron baylzie of the lands and barrony of Rannes for the tyme.
em.Sc. (a) 1891 “H. Haliburton” Ochil Idylls 60:
Ye proveses o' rank, an ye That are but baron-bailies.
Lnl.1 1933:
Every year at the Riding of the Marches at Linlithgow a baron-bailie is elected to take charge of the affairs of the village of Blackness, which is still under the jurisdiction of Linlithgow. . . . His duties are now merely nominal.
Hdg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 II. 13:
The council annually elect a baron bailie over the adjoining village of Nungate.
Dmf. 1794 B. Johnston Gen. View Agric. County of Dmf. 91:
When those who occupy thirled land sell any of their corns unground, . . . the baron-baillie, at the petition of the multurer, holds a multure court.

Hence Baron-Bail(l)ie Court and Bar(r)on Court, the court of justice held by a baron or his baron-bailie, in his barony, given by N.E.D. as Sc. and with exclusively Sc. examples.Sc. 1743 Simon Lord Lovat in Earls of Cromartie (ed. Fraser 1876) II. 294:
He went to Inverness, Culloden, and McIntosh about the head Barron Court which is to hold at Inverness this day.
Sc. 1813 N. Carlisle Harris in Topogr. Dict. Scot. II.:
The Baron-Baillie Court of Macleod, the Chief, is the only Court of Justice in the Parish.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxvii.:
There was a Baron Court to be held at Loan-head that day.

[O.Sc. baron, baroun, barown, from time of Barbour (1375). O.Fr. barun, orig. acc. of ber(s), man, hero. Etym. disputed.]

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"Baron-bailie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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