A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Waith, Waif(f)(e, n.2 and adj. Also: waithe, waitht, wayth, waeth, wathe, we(a)th, veth, (waich(e, waycht, watche, wauche); wayf(f, wayfe, wayif, wafe, waff. [f. as Waith n.1 and ME and e.m.E. weyf (1228), wayf (1293), weif (1447), wayff (1546), AF waif, wayf, weif, weyf something lost, ON veif something flapping or waving.] See also Waithing and Waith in Shetland by Brian Smith (Shetland Folk Book IX, 1995).
A. noun.Lost or stranded goods or animals, strayed animals for which no claim of ownership is made, and which are, in consequence, after due notice, escheat to the overlord or the crown.
(a) Actionis that pertenis to be inquirit … be the justice clerkis … all thai that conselis the kingis wathe other hors nowt or schepe … and presentis thame nocht to the kingis officiaris; Acts I 342/1.
(b) The punctis to be inquirit at the inqueist. Scab, waitht, lippir, pikry; 1499 Exch. R. XI 393.
My lord gart put in to his heid court skap lypyr and waith; 1536 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 186.
(c) Wayf; Acts I 289/1.
Waif challange of thift … it is to witt that giff ony best hors ox kow or ony vthir catell to be fundin … it aw … to be brocht to the lord [etc.] … it may nocht … be mad eschete befoir the passing of xii monethis & a day [etc.] … gif he [sc. the rightful owner] dois nocht in that tyme [claim the animal] it aw to be iugit the lordis waif and eschet of law; Barounis Lawis 15a.
Na scab, waif, lypper, nor pykrye; 1539 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 9 Oct.
b. specif.In or with reference to the tenendas clause of a charter as a right of ownership, in collocation with Wra(i)k n.1 6 b.
(a) Venacionibus et piscacionibus curiis et curiarum exitibus bludewitis, merchetis, et waitht, et aliis eschaetis quibuscunque; 1413 Milne-Home MSS 18.
(b) Terras … cum wrak waeth waier cum molendis [etc.]; 1467 Reg. Dunferm. 354.
1478 Reg. Great S. 281/1 (see Hafe-waith n.).
In uptaking of the wrak and waithe [Cal. Sc. P. V 207, watche] of the haill country of Orkney and Zetland, but commission, not being contained in his infeftment whilk will extend sen his entres to better nor 10,000 merks; 1575 Orkney Oppress. 7.
Penalteis dew … be the inhabitantis of the saidis landis of Orknay and Ȝetlande for transgressioun of his hienes lawes … with the haill wraik and wayth that salhappin to be fund … within the boundis of the saidis landis or sie cost thairoff; 1581 Acts III 255/2.
To buird quhatsumever shipis boitis and utheris veschellis wrak or waith … and apprehend the samin; 1588 Wemyss of Bogie MSS.
33 merkland of Aith with … gers wair fischingis waithing … reservand [gap in text] the wraick and waith that sall fortoune cum in the said ile; 1592 (1610) Reg. Great S. 118/1.
[His tenants having according to his infeftment, which contains the privilege of] wrack and waith [taken 29 whales upon the sea coast of his said lands]; 1598–9 Reg. Privy C. V 535.
The … erldome of Dunbar … togidder with all privileges fredomes [etc.] … wrak wair waith and all vtheris liberteis; 1606 Acts IV 295/2.
Omnibus et singulis bonis, lie wrak, waith, wair, aliisque bonis et rebus quibuscunque, quae naufragio [etc.]; 1606 Retours I Inq. Spec. Kirkcudbright (70).
[In Orkney and Shetland] na persone … sall hyde … wrak or ony kynd of waith bot sall … delait the same to thar bailies; 1615 Misc. Maitl. C. II 178.
The gift of the schirrefschip of Orknay with all casualiteis and dewiteis belanging thairto … with wraik, waich and the eschetis of the schirrefschip thairof; 1565–6 Reg. Privy S. V ii 16/2.
(c) To have maid … James Weymes of Bogie our onlie general vice admerall of this realme haill vatteris iles [etc.] … With all fies casualities profeittis previlegis wrak wauche pyrrattis guidis and utheris dewties quhatsumeuir … escheitis and casualiteis … to … uptak … all and sindrie wrak wauche and pyrattis guides that … salhappin to fall heireftir be sey; 1591 Sc. Hist. Rev. XX 123.
(d) With … waters, strypes, wreak, weath [etc.]; 1587 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. I 210.
De Inverbervie [etc.] … cum parvis custumis, tholis, anchoragiis, lie syisbollis, wrak, wair, weth [etc.]; 1602 Reg. Great S. 476/1.
[In Orkney] the confiscatioun of goodis and geir of suche personis who happenis to mell with wrake and weath cassin up be the sea; 1611 Reg. Privy C. IX 297.
Cum furca, fossa … vert, veth, wrak, wair, vennysoun [etc.]; 1621 Peebles Chart. 99.
(e) Tenendas et habendas … cum wrak waire et waif; 1482 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 214.
[In Orkney and Shetland] wrak, wair et waif; 1589 Reg. Great S. 565/2.
With the intromissioun and keiping of the wraik and waif within the Lordship of Coldnighame taking to themselves tuell pennies of ilk pund of the said wraik and waif; 1632 Milne-Home MSS 199.
B. adj.a. Of animals or goods: Lost, strayed or stranded. b. transf.Applied to other possessions or privileges. c. Of stallions: Not owned or in the control of an owner, wild. d. Stray, inconsequential, of little value.
a. attrib. Thair is ane waith meir … gangand in Perkley; 1565 Linlithgow Sheriff Ct. 4 Oct.
The steilling of ane waith naig; 1610 Crim. Trials III 98.
My lordis tennentis … repairing to … Broxmouth for getting of wair … Oftymes foirgadder with wrak & waith guidds pertening to dyvers personnes; 1626 Broxmouth & Pincarton Baron Ct. 14 Feb.
The baillies of ilk isle … that they take exact tryall … of all … wrack and waith goods; 1644 Barry Hist. Orkney (1808) App. 483.
That none … keep or conceal any waith beasts longer than 24 hours; 1671 Holmains Baron Ct. 16 Oct.
Things lost … In these our custom agrees with the Roman law … except in the matter of waith and wrack goods; Stair Inst. i vii § 3.
Things strayed, or waith, whose owners cannot appear, are public; Stair Inst. ii i § 5.
Shipwreck and waith-goods or treasures in the ground; Stair Inst. iii iii § 27.
(b) That quhat sumevir gudis be fundin upoun utheris mennis cornis & geir, it salbe lesum to him to poynd thaim, and gif na man will releve thaim [etc.] … the poynder to use thaim as waiff gudis; 1569 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 26 Jan.
Gif ony waif beast be fund in the forest [etc.]; Balfour Pract. 141.
Gif ony man findis ony wayfe geir and knawis not the awner … that he … proclame it in the paroche kirk; 1576 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 18b.
Wayif; 1576 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 19.
Waife beast pecus vel animal aberrans quhilk wanders and wavers without ane knawen maister quhilk being fund be onie man [etc.]; Skene Verb. S. s.v. Waife.
De animali invento wayff [marg. Errans pecus ane wayfbeast]; Skene Reg. Maj. (Latin) i 117b.
A waiffe yew and lamb; 1662 Melrose Reg. Rec. II 22.
To seize upon all the supernumerary and waiff cattle as escheat; 1697 Fountainhall Decis. I 768.
(c) Ane wafe beast after ȝeare and day is escheit to the King; Skene Reg. Maj. ii 154 b.
(d) These horses … were given up by them to the sheriff as waff goods, being found in loss graison; 1674 Justiciary Ct. Rec. II 271.
predic. Twa waith scheip quhilk has beyne waith within thar baroynye; 1515 Alloway Baron Ct. 28 June.
The persewar … may challenge his gudis and geir as past away waith fra him; Balfour Pract. 525.
That thair was tua grey quhyte faceit wedder scheipe going wathe near his scheipe; 1644 Falkirk Baron Ct. 29 Oct.
(b) Ane beist beand gangand waif or vyld salbe gevin to the awnare, … quha withhaldis it thrie dais salbe accused of thift; Bisset I 43/33.
Ane mare found going wafe; 1655 Cockburnspath Baron Ct. 20 Dec.
The said sheep being proclaimed waife at the kirk door; 1668 Melrose Reg. Rec. II 215.
That goods should have been delivered to the sherriff as waff; 1674 Justiciary Ct. Rec. II 272.
b. Some thought the rights of all parties so obscure, that it might be reputed a waiff patronage, and as caduce devolve to the king, none of the pretenders having a clear title thereto; 1677 M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. III 198.
For his wrongfully detaining & keeping up of waiffe moor for the which he cannot give burgh and household; 1698 Black Bk. Kincardineshire 69.
c. On the ta syde off that flwde The stede hors gayis … On the tothir half … The merys ar … Swa waycht [C. waiche, W. wild] and wod than ar thai hors [etc.]; Wynt. i 1035.
(b) He wold be amongst ws lyk a weath horse amongst mears; 1662 Crim. Trials III 610.
d. Virgil sawis ar worth to put in stor Thay aucht not be hald vagabund nor waith, Ful riche tresour thai bene and precius graith; Doug. vi Prol. 68.
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"Waith n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/waith_n_2>
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