A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Beltane, n. Also: Beltan, -ain(e, -ayne, -ene, -ein, -en, -yn, Beiltyne. See also Beltyme. [Gael. bealltainn, -tuinn, Ir. bealltaine, OIr. belltaine, beltene, -tine, of obscure origin.]
1. The first or third day of May.
Clearly identified with May 1 only in quot. 1511.
Quhar it beis tayntyt that … the birdis be flowin and the nestis be fundyn in the treis at beltane; 1424 Acts II. 6/1.
Vmfra sall deliuer & pay to the said Johne ix tidy ky … at beltan nixt tocum; 1484 Acta Aud. 134*/2.
The fest of Beltene, callit Philip and Iacob; 1511 Lennox Mun. 191.
About Beltane quhen grene leuis began To spring and spreid; Stewart 10426.
At beltane quhen ilk bodie bownis To Peblis to the play; Peblis to Play i.
The town & fredom to be red betuix and beltane next to com; 1559 Prestwick B. Rec. 10.
Betuex Beltan and Sant James day; 1571 Lanark B. Rec. 64.
Befoir Beltein las[t] wes … the said Hew pindit my kow; 1581 Ib. 81.
Ane yow scheip put to him … with uther scheip at Beltane wes ane yeir; 1594 Paisley B. Rec. 158.
Ye will get war bods or Belten; Ferg. Prov. 112.
Aucht dayis befoir beltane last; 1615 Highland P. III. 195.
For awaytakeing of ane foredoor frae the house … at beltane last; 1677 Corshill Baron-Ct. 140.
b. Identified with the church-festival of the Invention of the Cross, May 3.
Frequent in documents of the 16th century.
Gilbert the Haia … is nocht yheit of lauchfull age, bot he sall be … at the fest of the Inuencion of the Halicroice, callit Beltane; 1456 5th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 625/1.
The … arbitouris sall … deliuer on the samyn [matter] betuix this and the fest of the cors callit beltane nixt to cum; 1489 Acta Aud. 142/1.
The entre of the said David beginnand at the fest of S. Elene callit Beltane; 1509 Reg. Privy S. I. 285/1.
For … nynetene ȝeris, nixt and immediatlye following the termes of Beltane, the Inventioun of the Haly Croce, and Lames callit ad vincula Sancti Petri; 1539 Reg. Cupar A. II. 5.
Sanct Helyn daye callit belten or the inuentione of the hali cros; 1551 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet 16.
Quhilk entres in and to the vicarage … began at the Feist of Rudeday callit the Inventioun of the Cross alias Beltyn; 1588 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 349.
c. Mentioned as a term-day or quarter-day without exact specification of date.
Examples belonging to the previous section indicate May 3 as the usual date. When mentioned with other terms or quarterdays, Beltane takes the place of Whitsunday, but there is no evidence that it was actually identical with this.
Thom Fyldar … sal pay for his fredome x s. at thwa termis, that is to say Beltain the ta half and Bartylmes the tothir half; 1456 Peebles B. Rec. 113.
Willi Red … sal pay … at Beltan v s. and at Mechelmes other v s.; 1457 Ib. 125.
Removere se et sua inter hinc et proximum vsualem terminum, viz. le Beltan, de dictis terris; 1508 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II. 271.
Payand ȝerlie thre thovsand merkis, at Beltane and Lammes, be equal portionis; 1541 Crim. Trials I. i. 257.
The entrie of these [ministers, etc.] that ar presented, to be at Allhallowmes, Lambmes, Candlemes or Beltan; 1562 Bk. Univ. Kirk I. 27.
Att four termes in the ȝeir, viz. Alhalowmes, Candilmes, Beltan, and Lambmes; 1582 Conv. Burghs I. 160.
Payand … four bollis beir … at Candilmes and Beltane; 1604 Liber Dryburgh 320.
To be payit … at Candilmes, Beltan, Lambmes, and Allhallowday proportionalie; 1659 Irvine Mun. II. 83.
Item for quarter comptis at Beltane; 1670 Glasgow Weavers 80.
2. pl. (See quotation.)
You have Skill of Man and Beast, you was born between the Beltans [note. The first and eighth of May]; 1721 Kelly Proverbs 376.
3. Attrib. with buke, compt, court, day, fair(-day).
Beltane buke, a book of accounts in which the reckoning was made at Beltane in each year.
As to my movabill gudis & geir … I refer to my beltane buke; 1575 Edinb. Test. III. 257 b.
He referris the inventar of his guidis & geir to his beltane buikis; 1593 Ib. XXVI. 29.
My guidis & geir … according to my beltane & compt buik; 1605 Ib. XL. 278.
— Remanyng upone the clipping of the scheip, and making of the beltane compts thairof; 1542 Treas. Acc. VIII. 91.
— Pro expensis domini cancellarii ibidem [sc. apud Newuarche] existentis in curia que vocatur Beltanecourt; 1457 Exch. R. VI. 372.
Exitus unius curie dicte Beltanecourt; 1481 Ib. IX. 134.
— On Beltane Day, in the yeir nixt following, callit the Inventioun of the Haly Croce; Bell. Boece II. 499.
On beltane day last; 1616 Orkney & Zetl. Sheriff Ct. 73.
The thrid day of Maij callit Beltane day; 1641 Acts V. 500/2.
The fair day commonlie called Beltane day, falles this year upon the Satterday; 1656 Peebles B. Rec. II. 34.
— The said fair called Beltane fair-day shalbe kept … this year upon the first Weddensday of Maii; 1656 Ib. II. 34.
1696 Ib. 154.
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Beltane n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Dec 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/beltane>
Try an Advanced Search