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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STATHEL, n., v. Also -le, -oll, -al; staithel, stethle, -ol; stuthil; staddle, -del, staidel (Cai.); and irreg. forms staffle, stassel (Jam.). Cf. Stale, n.1 [steθl, stɑθl; stedl, stɑdl]

I. n. 1. The foundation of a stack of grain, consisting of a circular platform of stones, stone or timber props or cast-iron, to deter vermin from climbing in and to keep the stack dry at the bottom (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., stathel, stassel; Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 395; Per., Fif. 1915–26 Wilson; Cai., Mry., em.Sc. (a), Dmf. 1971). Also attrib. Also in Eng. dial.Ags. 1768 F. Cruickshank Navar (1899) 13:
Two stone stathels, consisting of nine pillars and nine bonnets.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 516:
A better method is to build the stacks upon what is called Statholls.
Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 498:
Placing the ricks on staddles, or frames, with feet which cannot be scaled, would be an excellent and effectual defence [from rats and mice].
Knr. 1813 J. Bruce The Farmer 15:
Soon as your stuffs come to the yard, On stuthils fixt.
Sc. 1826 The Elfin Knight in Child Ballads No. 2. F. xii.:
And ye maun big it in the sea, And bring the stathle dry to me.
Fif. 1832 Fife Herald (27 Sept.):
Two stacks of oats, standing on stathels.
Ayr. 1866 Trans. Highl. Soc. 60:
Stacks on farms where stathels are not in use.
Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 180:
When a' the stuff was cut an' won, An' ilka stathel laden.
Cai. 1961 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. 5:
So wi' many a lark 'e corn wis threshed, An' 'e stadels came in view.
Abd. 1967 Abd. Press and Jnl. (15 March):
“Stethle” stones — stones that had once been used as a platform for building corn-stacks.

2. The main body of a corn-stack, the part below the eaves, a corn-stack in the process of building or dismantling (s.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai., Abd. 1971); a small temporary stack or rick (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 181, staidel). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ags. 1736 Arbroath T.C. Rec. MS. (22 Jan.):
A Stackhead of Pease . . . the Stathel of Bear under the said Pease.
Abd. 1903 Banffshire Jnl. (29 Sept.) 3:
Prodding around the staffle or stem of the rick.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (11 Sept.):
To carry the drip from the roof of the rick the better over its “stathel,” or body.
em.Sc. 1965 Scots Mag. (July) 314:
The stethles were next the stack-yard dyke, and they stood in a single row like beehives on stone stilts.

II. v. 1. To build a stathel. Vbl.n. stethlin, staddlin, the foundations of a stack, the materials used for such (Sc. 1887 Jam., staddlin; Per. 1971); the discoloured mark on the grass left by a hay-rick after standing in a field in bad weather (Id.).Per.4 1950:
Gaither up some odds and ends for the stethlin.
Ags. 1971 Dundee Courier (11 Jan.):
We set the bosses in a raw, And stethelled them wi' broom.

2. To build hay or corn, in small temporary stacks (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 181).

[O.Sc. stathill, = 2., 1621, O.E. staðol, a foundation, base. The form staffle is paralleled in the 18th c. Eng. forms staffold, stavel.]

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"Stathel n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/stathel>

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