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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

REPENTANCE, n. Also repentence. Sc. Church usages, now only hist., in combs. and phrs.: (1) place of repentance, the area of a church where penitents stood to be rebuked; (2) repentance-gown, a garment of coarse linen or sack-cloth worn by penitents during their public rebuke in church; (3) repentance-seat, = (4); (4) repentance-stool, stool of repentance, a seat or bench placed in a prominent position in church, usu. before the pulpit, on which offenders, esp. against chastity, sat to be rebuked. See also Stuil; fig. a position of humiliation.(1) Ayr. 1745 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (3 April) 346:
The big window in the East gavil the Window at the foot of the place of repentance.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 106:
It was the custom . . . to rebuke offenders . . . from the pulpit, in presence of the congregation, especially breakers of the seventh commandment, some of whom had to stand open to rebuke on several Sabbaths. . . . There was a part of the Church known as the “the place of repentance”, where these delinquents stood, clad in sack cloth.
Sc. 1885 A. Edgar Old Church Life I. 287:
When the scandal was great he had to mount an elevated stand, technically designated the public place of repentance, and commonly called the repentance stool.
(2) Sc. 1899 W. Andrews Bygone Ch. Life 112:
The repentance-gown of Kinross parish is also preserved in the same museum [National Museum, Edinburgh].
(3) Ags. 1771 Sc. Hist. Review IV. 65:
To fill the vacant space where the Repentance Seat formerly was, with Pews.
(4) Sc. 1701 Fountainhall Decisions (1761) II. 132:
Craves that he may stand in sackcloth at the Kirk-door, and sit on the repentance-stool.
Rxb. 1711–25 J. J. Vernon Hawick (1900) 79:
For mending the Stule of Repentence.
Inv. 1776 Inv. Session Rec. (Mitchell 1902) 106:
The seats which is now in the place where the Stool of Repentance was.
Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 53:
The black-o'-vis'd repentance stool Keeps kintra chields frae muckle dool.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxxvii.:
That's the stool of repentance, for light life and conversation, and for breaking the seventh command.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb iv.:
I daursay ye thocht ye hed me o' the steel o' repentance on Sunday.
Sc. 1899 W. Andrews Bygone Ch. Life 110:
The “repentance stool” . . . was a wooden structure formed in two tiers or steps, the lower of which, used for less heinous offences, was named the “cockstool” . . . Just before the sermon the penitent was led in by the sexton and placed, . . . either upon “the highest degree of the penitent stuill”, or upon the “cockstool”, where he stood barefoot and bare-headed during the discourse, in which his sins and offences were not forgotten.
Sc. 1910 D. H. Fleming Reform. in Scot. 270:
The stool of repentance was not confined to Scotland.

[O.Sc. repentance stule, id., 1591.]

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"Repentance n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Apr 2024 <>



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