A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Fens, Fence, v. Also: fense. [ME. fense (1435), e.m.E. fence, f. the verb.]
1. tr. To protect (a court of law) from interruption or obstruction by the utterance of a formula forbidding these; to open the proceedings of (a court) in this way.
Freq. in formulae granting power to hold courts. Also exceptionally fence about.
(1) The maner of the Justice ayr. Fyrst call the soytour, syne rede the justice powere, syne fens the courtis; Acts I. 343/2.
The panther … Fensit the court, as of the law effeirit; Henr. Fab. 943.
I … hes ordanit … my sone and Thomas Grundiston … to fense ane schiref court at the burgh of Coupere; 1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 176.
The bowrow curt … callit, the curt lauchfullie fensit and effermit as wse is; 1556 Inverness B. Rec. I. i.
Eftir that the court ves fensit, Johnne Greig … iniurit Alexander Scharpe be wordis; 1596 St. A. Baxter Bks. 59.
The Courte being fensit … it wes objectit aganis William Torrie that [etc.]; 1618 Elgin Rec. I. 235.
Thay sat doun and fensit thair courtis daylie, albeit thair wes not ane full quorum convenit; Spalding II. 176.
The Court fensit and affermit; 1659 Forbes Baron Ct. 224.
(b) The Iustice bad the Court for to gar fence; 1570 Henr. Fab. 941.
The haill lordis … fenceit thair ane court of iustice in the quens name; Pitsc. II. 88/10.
The suittis callit, … and the court lawfullie fencit and affirmit; 1629 Misc. Spald. C. V. 219.
There was no court fenced here, not yet an assize sworn; Mackenzie Laws & C. ii. xxiv. § 3.
(2) Giffand … to my said bailye my full pouar curtis in the said land and tak to fens, begyne, and hald; 1508 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 333.
With ane power of balȝore, curtis to fens, offisharis to creat [etc.]; 1531 Fam. Rose 202.
To fense and hald … courtis of justiciarie of the boundis of the diocy of Caithnes; 1569 Reg. Privy S. II. 58.
To fens and hauld courtis of iusticiarie for administratioun of iustice; 1584 Digest Justiciary Proc. K. 45.
(3) Then the court fensyt about, ilke man … gaf thair lectioun to the sayd Schyr Iohn; 1462 Peebles B. Rec. 145.
The curt auysyt and fensyt abowt [etc.]; 1467 Ib. 156.
b. Similarly of the opening of parliament.
The King, Quene and lordis … wald nocht pas furth of the castell, bot fenset the parliament … in the same; Leslie 131.
Thair the parliament being fensit and soittis callit, thair wes ane supplicatioun givin in; Diurn. Occurr. 220.
That his Hienes Parliament … salbe thair fensit that day, and thairfra continewit to be haldin; 1578 Reg. Privy C. II. 705.
The erles … come to Edinburgh and … causit fense the parliament within the tolbuithe theirof; c 1600 Moysie 9.
Oure Parliament sat doun in Edinbrugh and wes fensit; Spalding II. 436.
Then were the rolles called & the Parlt fenced (as we call it heir); 1669 Lauderdale P. II. 142.
2. To strengthen; to make firm or secure.
All the wallis all our [were] fensit with platis of metall; Hay I. 37/28.
Commandis thow me to fens ane band with the fader patrat of Albane pepill? Bell. Livy I. 54/31.
Ane part of his army fensit statiouns affore the portis of his tentis; Ib. II. 89/15.
Thomas Hay … fensit ane broch that the said Andro myth and suld say aganis the bailyeis [etc.]; 1540 Elgin Rec. I. 53.
Those gallants that haue … gotten glore … for fensing a-before Their natiue soyle from ferce and faithles foes; Gardyne Garden 56.
To cast the laids, fens the damis, and bring watter to the milne; 1621 Urie Baron Ct. 38.
3. To put under an arrest.
The said officiar … corsit, fensit, & arrestit all the gudis being than on the said ground; 1543 Acts & Decreets I. 563.
To fens and arreist ane smale bark or crayar being in Prestoun havin; 1561 Treas. Acc. XI. 105.
Adame Myller accusyt Arche Campbell for ane wob of blew clayth … quhylk was fensyt in his hand; 1570 Prestwick B. Rec. 71.
To serche unfremenis guidis … that the same maybe fensit and arreistit within the towne; 1595 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 163.
Oure will is … that … ye … fens and arreist all and quhatsumevir lynnyng yairne whilk is to be caryed … furth of this oure realme; 1612 Glasgow Weavers 88.
4. To enclose or block.
To discharge ony mercat to be maid at the Brwmelaw, bot to fens the same fra doing thairof; 1596 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 180.
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"Fens v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Feb 2019 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/fens_v>
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