DSL - SND1   STEELBOW, n. Also steil-. A condition of land-tenancy whereby a landlord provided the tenant with stock, growing grain, straw and implements under contract that the equivalent in quality and quantity should be returned at the end of the lease (Sc. 1808 Jam.), freq. attrib. and in phr. in steelbow; also the stock belonging to the landlord under this arrangement (Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VII. 472), specif. in Bwk. the dung and straw of the season before the lease terminates (Bwk. 1802 Farmer's Mag. (May) 193). Now only hist. ['stilbVu]
    *Sc. 1709 Compend of Securities 278:
    The Tenant having received Ten Bolls of Steel-bow seed, and two Bolls sown, and harrowed Red-Land, he obliges him to give as many Bolls sown, Red-Land, and tilled, and harrowed the Year of his removing.
    *Sc. 1726 Session Papers, Earl of Bute v. Stewart (26 July):
    They had so much Steelbow Corn from their Master at their Entry which they were obliged to leave to their Master at the Ish of their Tack.
    *Ork. 1734 P. Ork. A.S. (1923) I. 65:
    Inventar of the Steilbow goods, seed, and Servants bolls upon the room and lands of Northstrynzie.
    *Slg. 1748 Caled. Mercury (5 Jan.):
    The Lands and Barony of Charterhall. . . . All the Tacks, except one, are in Steelbow Straw.
    *Rxb. 1778 Session Papers, Memorial W. Dickson (26 Feb.) 20:
    He is bound to leave the straw of waygoing crop in steelbow.
    *Heb. 1795 R. Heron Agric. Hebr. 76:
    Tenants by steel-bow, the same as the metayers under the late aristocracy of France, still possess lands on many Hebudian estates.
    *Sc. 1846 Sc. Farmer (2 Oct.) 301:
    The Dung and Straw are Steelbow, on the whole of the above lands.
    *Sc. 1872 Trans. Highl. Soc. 279:
    Steelbow tenure was very prevalent in Scotland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and continued down to recent times in some places.
    *Sh. 1939 A. C. O'Dell Hist. Geog. 55:
    In 1874 the injurious law of Steelbow was still practised in Shetland.

    [The second element is Bow, n.2, the first steel, the metal, as a symbol of something rigidly fixed and not liable to deteriorate or diminish. Equivalent terms with meanings corresponding to STEELBOW are Ger. stählin or eisern vieh, Fr. cheptel de fer, Late Lat. pecora ferrea, conjecturally from an early Germanic custom. The comb. with bow suggests that the practice came to Scotland from Scandinavia.]