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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAIRISH, n. Also pairrish, perish  (Abd. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 426; wm.Sc. 1888 Anon. Archie MacNab 35; Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 62), perrish (Sh. 1898 J. Burgess Tang xi.); †paroch(e) (Bnff. 1700 Rec. Bnff. (S.C.) 207; Sc. 1743 Rec. Conv. Burghs (1915) 127), †parioch (Wgt. 1712 Session Rec. Whithorn MS. (30 March), Sc. 1748 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 19); pairis (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 75; Abd. 1932 Abd. Press & Jnl. (6 April) 2), per(r)is (Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Malcolm lxxix.; Bnff. 1887 G. G. Green Gordonhaven xiii.), paeriss (Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Present 33). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. parish. Also in combs. as pairish cooncil, -kirk(yard), -minister, etc. See also Parochin. [′perɪʃ, n.Sc. ‡′perɪs]

1. As in Eng. In Scot. those medieval parishes which have remained intact to the present day and function as secular as well as ecclesiastical parishes are called parishes quoad omnia, but at various periods large or populous original parishes have been broken up for convenience of religious worship and administration though not for civil government purposes and are called parishes quoad civilia. The newly-created parishes, which have ecclesiastical status only, are called parishes quoad sacra or †quoad curam animarum. See quots.Sc. 1705 W. Forbes Church-lands 416:
Sometimes a larger Parish is dismembered of some Lands, to make up another. And these are often annex'd quoad curam animarum only: As the Lands of Newhaven are united to the Parish of North-Leith, and yet pay Stipend to the West-church at Edinburgh.
Sc. 1754 Erskine Principles i. v. § 19:
It sometimes happens, that lands lying at a distance from the kirk to which they originally belonged, are annexed to another nearer kirk, quoad sacra, or in so far as concerns the pastoral charge. Such lands continue, in all civil respects, part of the old parish.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 310:
The Court of Session, as commissioners for the plantation of kirks and the valuation of teinds, have the power of disjoining or dividing large parishes, or annexing portions of one parish to another, not only quoad sacra, but quoad omnia.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIV. 323:
The northern portion of the east one [division] is called Vaternish or Waternish, and forms a separate parish quoad sacra, being one of the recent Parliamentary erections.
Sc. 1890 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 765:
Besides proper civil parishes of which there are 887 in Scotland, there are 437 parishes quoad sacra erected under the provisions of 7 and 8 Vict. c. 44.
Sc. 1896 W. K. Morton Manual 22:
Quoad Sacra Parish — 1. Annexed. By old law, lands lying at a distance from the parish church might be annexed by the Court of Teinds to another parish quoad sacra, that is, so far as regarded sacred things. The lands remained part of the old parish quoad civilia, that is, as regarded all secular matters, including payment of stipend, except that they contributed to the maintenance of the new, and not the old church. In certain circumstances the annexation might be made for all purposes, quoad omnia. 2. Erected. By Statute of 1844 power is given, when a church has been built voluntarily, and an endowment provided to meet a competent stipend, to erect the adjacent lands into an entirely new parish quoad sacra.
Sc. 1905 T. Burns Benefice Lectures 71:
There is this peculiarity about the stipends of the typical country parish that they do not depend on the financial prosperity or liberality of the congregation, as is the case in quoad sacra parishes.
Sc. 1927 Gloag & Henderson Intro. Law Scot. 517:
In the case of a parish quoad sacra the banns must be proclaimed in the church of that parish and not in that of the parish quoad civilia.
Sc. 1945 J. T. Cox Practice Ch. Scot. 250:
The stipends of parishes quoad omnia are payable out of teinds, supplemented in some cases by Exchequer Grants.
 Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 51:
"The doctor. My mercy a'm been runnin' all ower the pairish lukkin' for him. ... "
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 5:
Some o' Elmire's cronies, they areny real!
Their sairvants are gallus, their gled-rags are garish -
She micht mean nae herm, but she's the talk o' the pairrish.

Special comb.: parish school, one of the schools set up in its parishes by the Church of Scotland in furtherance of the aim of Knox in the First Book of Discipline (1560) of a school in every parish in Scotland and following the act of 1696, to provide instruction in the rudiments of education and in Latin, and to equip promising pupils for University entrance. The Act of 1872 transferred responsibility for these schools to burgh and parish school boards, and that of 1918 to county and city Education Authorities, which again had their powers transferred to County, and, in the cities, to Town Councils in 1929. Hence parish-schoolmaster.Kcb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 81:
A parish school is now a momentary, or at least a temporary employment, for some necessitous person of ability; or a perpetual employment for some languid insignificant mortal, hardly deserving the shelter of a charity work-house.
Fif. 1814 W. Tennant Anster Fair (1871) 27:
That day the doors of parish-school were shut.
Sc. 1850 Brechin Presb. Rec. MS  (30 April):
The attempts which are at present being made to withdraw the Parish Schools from the superintendence of the Church.
Sc. 1872 C. Innes Legal Antiq. 130:
In 1633 . . . a Parliament of Scotch barons and burgesses — ratified an Act of the Privy Council, dated 1616, declaring that every “plough or husband-land, according to the worth,” should be taxed for the maintenance and establishment of parish schools.
Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm vii.:
A cottage rather larger than the rest, which stood close by the churchyard gate. It was the parish school.
Sc. 1910 J. Kerr Sc. Education 196:
The name, parish schools, conveys no definite idea of the very varied character of the work done in them, depending, as it did, on local and other conditions. In many cases the instruction was far short of John Knox's conception, and little more than elementary. In others it was sufficiently advanced to entitle them to be classed among secondary schools, as being fitted to prepare students for entering the junior classes in the university. This though imperfectly realised was the original aim of the Scottish parish school.
Sc. 1921 J. Mackinnon Social & Indust. Hist. 175:
The Act of 1872 . . . contemplated the continuation of the higher instruction given in many of the parish schools which had prepared pupils for the Universities, and it was applicable to the Burgh or Secondary Schools, which were managed by Town Councils and were now placed under the jurisdiction of the School Boards.
Ags. 1929 J. B. Philip Weelum 11:
More than a hundred years ago, the Parish Schoolmaster, who was also a poet, often wandered here.

2. In Curling: the circular area surrounding the tee at each end of the rink, the House. q.v. (Sc. 1911 B. Smith “ShillingCurler 38: Rnf., Ayr. 1965). See also Pulpit.Sc. 1872 Royal Caled. Curling Club Annual 286:
Others putting on too much “pouther,” and sending their stones out of the “parish,” or, on the other hand, making a “hogg,” threw down their brooms in anger or disgust.
Sc. 1883 St. Andrews Cit. (17 Feb.):
A gude useful stane; it'll dae; we'll nae tak' it back, it's in the parish.
Sc. 1884 Channel-Stane (Ser. 3) 16:
It will again be often noticed that the rink, and especially the “house,” or parish, are not kept clear as they should be of snow and icy refuse.

[The forms pairis(h) are from O. Fr. paroisse, the form paroch, which fell out of use in the middle 18th c., is O.Fr. paroche, both ultimately from Late Lat. parochia. O.Sc. parice, 1387, paroch, a.1400.]

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



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