A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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Merchet, n. Also: -ett, -ete, -eit, -eat, -iett, -i(e)te, -iatte, mershet(e, marchet, -eit, market. [North. ME. (? or AF.) merchet (12th c.) (see Acts I. Pref. 34/1), med. L. (Sc. and Eng.) marcheta, marketa, merchet-, marchetum, of obscure origin. ? Derived f. Welsh merch, plur. merched, -et, woman, young woman, daughter: early and medieval Welsh law had a corresponding due known as gobr merch or amobr or (in the Latin versions) merces filiarum ‘the fee paid to a lord by the person subject to that payment on the marriage of a female’.]

A feudal casualty payable to the lord on the occasion of the marriage of the daughter of a tenant or vassal. For many additional examples, see Bludewite and Hereȝeld. Commonly specified as one of the rights or privileges accompanying a grant of land. Said, appar. first by Boece (Scotorum Historiæ, ed. 1527, fols. 36 and 259 b), to have originated as a substitute for the jus primæ noctis: [Malcolm and Margaret] solistit the nobillis to revoik the said law, takand thairfore ane goldin penny, callit the marchetis; quhilk is yit payit to the lord of the ground, quhen virginis ar to be maryit, in redemption of thair honour and chaistite; Bell. Boece I. 84.
And ȝit this price is payit, vulgarlie callit the marcheit of wemen; Boece xii. xiii. 478 b.
(a) Quod intra burgum non debet exaudiri blodewit nec styngis-dynt nec merchet nec herieth; Burgh Laws in
Acts I. 24/1.
[De merchetis mulierum; Reg. Maj. iv. 31 (St. S. 11).]
Et quod tenementum libere de blvdewyte merchet et heryelde; 1374–5 Yester Writs 26.
1440 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. 10.
With bludwytis herȝeldis mershetis of wemen aueragis & caryagis; 1461 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 362.
Rasing of … wnlawis and merchetis with al wther profictis … that pertenis to the office of balyery; 1488 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 429.
1496–7 Acta Conc. II. 54.
Merchiete; c 1520–50 St. A. Formulare I. 397.
With … mercheitis of wemen, vnlawis [etc.]; 1522 Stirlings of Keir 318.
Merchiattes of women; 1537 Liber Dryburgh 283.
Merchite of wemen; 1548 Crosraguel Chart. I. 106.
Ȝe lordis … That ȝour pure tennantis dois oppres … With merchetis of thare mariage; Lynd. Mon. 5711.
Mercheit; 1561 Reg. Privy S. MS. XXX. 84 b;
1592 Banff Ann. II. 397.
Merchett, -ete; 1599 Reg. Privy S. MS. 26 b, 31.
Mercheittis of wemen; Bisset I. 65/15.
Mercheat; 1630 Skene Mem. 214.
To be haldin in … bloodwittis, merchietts of marrage [etc.]; 1669 Burnett Fam. P. MS.
(b) Homagijs curijs … bludewitis heryheldis et marchetis; 1450 Reg. Episc. Glasg. 376.
1509–10 Breadalbane Doc. No. 37.
The marchet of ane woman … is ane ȝoung kow, or thrie schillings; Skene Reg. Maj. i. 72 b.

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"Merchet n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Nov 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/merchet>

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