Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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RELIEF, n. Sc. usages:

1. Sc. Law: (1) a payment made by an heir of a deceased vassal to the feudal superior for his recognition as lawful successor to the deceased vassal (Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 844). Abolished in 1914. Sc. 1722  W. Forbes Institutes I. ii. 124:
Relief is that Acknowledgement the Heir pays to the Superior, for entring him as lawful successor to the last Vassal.
Sc. 1773  Erskine Institute II. v. § 47:
Relief . . . gets that name, because by the heir's entry his fee is relieved or recovered from the superior.
Sc. 1814  J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. I. 190:
Relief, the other casualty, is a year's feu-duty or blanch-duty due by the heir, for relieving the land, and putting the heir in possession.
Sc. 1929  Glasgow Herald (27 Dec.) 3:
The superior, however, on renewing the grant to the heir of a deceased vassal being entitled to a fine or casualty called “relief”, generally a sum equal to one year's feu-duty over and above the feu-duty for that year.

(2) the right of anyone standing security for a debt to reclaim payment from his principal or from his fellow Cautioners, if he has paid more than his share. Bond of relief is the obligation entered into by a debtor to repay a guarantor (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 13). Sc. 1707  Morison Decisions 2093:
You expressly reserved and excepted your relief and recourse against him for your cautionary.
Sc. 1722  W. Forbes Institutes I. II. 195:
The inherent Obligation of mutual Relief, competent to several Persons liable in solidum for the same Debt or Deed, as Co-principals, is another improper Contract, whereby Payment, or Satisfaction made by one of more than his own Share, doth oblige all the rest pro rata, though there be no express Clause of Relief.
Sc. 1838  W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 131:
The cautioner's claim is for relief from the principal obligation.
Sc. 1896  W. K. Morton Manual 299:
Where a cautioner pays on behalf of his principal, a right arises ipso jure to recover what he had paid from the principal; and, conversely, where the creditor has done anything to impair this right of relief, the cautioner is no longer bound.
Sc. 1927  Gloag & Henderson Intro. Law Scot. 202:
Where more than one cautioner is engaged anyone who has paid more than his share may claim relief from the others.

2. Freedom from ecclesiastical oppression, esp. applied to the contoversy in the Church of Scotland led by Thomas Gillespie to assert the right of a congregation to elect its own minister. This led to a secession from the Establishment in 1761 and the formation of the Relief Church, an ecclesiastical body pledged to oppose patronage. In 1847, it amalgamated with the United Secession to form the United Presbyterian Church, Hence used absol. or attrib. in special combs.: Relief Church, Congregation, Kirk, Minister, Presbytery, Synod, (Theological) Hall, and phrs. Church, Kirk, Presbytery, Synod of Relief; a member of the Relief Church. Sc. 1761  J. McKerrow Hist. Secession Ch. (1839) I. 367:
The presbytery did, and hereby do, form themselves into a Presbytery of Relief, for the relief of christians oppressed in their christian privileges.
Sc. 1767  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 499:
Three more ministers have been settled in Relief Congregations.
Sc. 1784  Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 17:
We have had a party of Presbytry Relief as they call themselves, for some time in this country.
Rnf. 1827  W. Taylor Poems 106:
Sair ye fleech'd till I turn'd the leaf And cox'd me to the auld Relief.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch iv.:
My father . . . was an elder in the Relief Kirk.
Sc. 1845  G. Struthers Free Churchman Sifted 36:
The Synod rejoice to learn that the present generation of Relief ministers and members are acting upon the principles of the original founders of their body.
Dmf. 1875  P. Ponder Kirkcumdoon 4:
He was aye again the Auld Seceeders, an' the Reliefs, an' the U.P.
Lnk. 1897  J. Wright Scenes Sc. Life 37:
James was a faithful member of the “Relief body”.
Sc. 1952  Life and Work (May):
The Relief Church, which numbered 115 congregations when it joined with the Secession Church in 1847 to form the U.P. Church, was the first denomination in Scotland to open its pulpits to all true ministers of Christ, and its Communion Table to all believers.
Sc. 1962  G. S. Pryde Scotland 268:
In direct competition with the parish schools stood about 350 schools belonging to the Relief and Secession Churches.

3. A call in a children's game of tig where the children who have been touched by the catcher and made to stand immobile are released by one of the uncaught players with the call relief! (Abd.30 c.1935; ne.Sc.. Per., Ayr. 1968). Cf. n.Eng. dial. relievo, id. and Leave-o. Cf. Release.

[O.Sc. releif = 1., 1375, release from a legal obligation, 1473.]

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"Relief n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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