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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Cole, Coil(l, Coal, n.1 Also: kole, coile, coyll, coell, coall, kooll. [e.m.E. and ME. cole (also later coole, coale), from disyllabic cases (as pl. colu) of OE. col Coll n.]

1. A piece of coal (or charcoal), sometimes a burnt-out piece. Freq. in pl.See also smiddy cole, stane cole.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xlvii. 85.
Thane wes scho … one a rond quhele set on ane, Foul of colis red brynnand
c1420 Wynt. iii. 238.
Ane hat cole off brynand fyre
Ib. vii. 2988.
A fell fyre hym to colys brynt
Ib. viii. 5717.
Syne the colis and crelis wyth all Apon the turnepyk lete he fall
1441 (1450) Reg. Great S. 69/2.
Wyth al … petis and colis als wele under yerde as abone
1459 Liber Aberbr. 107.
Owr predicessoris … tholyt the smyth tyll byg ane smyde in the moss becaus of his colys and fuell
1490 Irland Mir. I. 58/18.
All kynd … of metall, stanys, colis and mony vthire thingis
1494 Treas. Acc. I. 250.
For xxxvj laid of colys … xv s.
1502 Ib. II. 144.
To the Franch leiches man for colis to him in Strivelin
1531 Reg. Morton II. 259.
To fynd and obtene the coles … lyand within the scheriffdome of Lowdiane
1551 Treas. Acc. X. 42.
To by colis and certane utheris necessaris to Lady Annis chalmer
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 12.
For colis, candil, napre, and veschel, xl pund yeirly
(b) 1549 Ann. Banff I. 26.
Quhilk tovnsmen sall geve hyme ȝeirlie ane laid with their howrs in symmer for the supple and helpe of his coillis
1558 Treas. Acc. X. 429.
Deliverit to the Comptrollar … xvj chalder of coilis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4269.
I had rather be brint intill ane coill Na … sic outrage for to thoill
1563 Acts II. 543/2.
That na maner of persoun … transport … ony coillis be … ony bait or vther veschell
1572 Sat. P. xxxii. 10.
Quhair we wer wont to gang With coillis and cokillis … & sicklyke wair
1590 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 25.
That … na merkatt [be] haldin of aill, coillis, or ony other stufe
1602 Conv. Burghs II. 134.
That nather salt nor coillis sall pay any avarice to the maister
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 134 b.
Ane peice yrne quhilk wes fund in ane kassie of koillis
1629 M. Works Acc. XXIV. 3 b.
For sex laid of coilles to assay the wirking of the Craig
(c) 1558-66 Knox I. 17.
In the myddest of some coallis, some tymmer and other mater appointed for the fyre
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 314.
Thomas Menȝes … hes withauldin fra the commoun weill of the said toun … the mettis of coalis, lyme, and salt
1633 M. Works Acc. XXVII. 15 b.
For twa laid of koolles and ane burdine of peates to the plumber and painter

2. Coal as a substance; coals collectively.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xlii. 253.
Thane bad he schellis and brynnand cole Straw in the floure, herd to thole
1428 Wemyss Chart. 56.
Suylk lyke profyte as hym selfe has in the … cole and quarale
1478 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 20.
Le turf, pete, hathir, cole and brume
1490 Irland Mir. fol. 182 b.
The fyre … distroyis amaist all thing that is iunyt to it as tre, cole, vly
1504 Wemyss Chart. 123.
Anent the profit of the thrid of al the cole and sault takin vp
1541 Reg. Privy S. II. 620/1.
The landis of Anstruthir, with the … cole, calk, salt-pannis … thairof
1596 Dalr. I. 28 marg.
Ȝerde stane or trie wod, that is peit or kole
(b) 1499 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 625.
The fore-namyt landis … wyth coyll, peit and turf
1504 Wemyss Chart. 123.
The profitis … of the thrid part of the coile and salt
1554 Treas. Acc. X. 232.
To the lard of Cokpen to … serch … the coilheuchis of Linlithqw for coill and mettales
1561 Reg. Dunferm. 457.
Being the haill coill as superplus with caines, xxxiv poultrie, carrages [etc.]
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 203.
Abreid, athort ȝour bankis and brais, Ȝe do abound in coill and calk
1614 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 113.
With … coill, coilhewchis, querrell, lyme and stane

3. A coal-working, coal-pit. 1531 Reg. Dunferm. 362.
The … abbot of Newbotill and convent … sall caus drive thair coill of Preston Grange … in siclyk maner as thay have drevin thair awin coill to this tyme and with siclyke lavell, and sall caus the watter to have passage fra the bak of the coill callit the coill damys
1675 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. IV. 365.
The petitioner hath nothing for his lyvelihood … bot ane coall upon the lands of Bathgate, … which coall is now drowned with water

4. Attrib. and comb. with baig (bag), barrell, -bearer (carrier), bote, -caller (carter), dam, gait (road), hill, hors, hous, lantern, maister, merket, mett (measure), -metter, nook, peit (peat), pick, -sellar, sink, stabell, -steiller, wadge (wedge), wark. (Cf. Coll n. 4.)Most of these have the later spellings coill or coal. 1662 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 259.
Till the coall baiges bee sold
1592 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 57.
Tua irne girthis to ilk ane of the coil barrell mets
1642 Dysart Rec. 51.
That she shall continue in service with the said noble Lord, as a coalbearer, by and while she be married
1668 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. II. 431.
Agnas Dick, coallbearer
1582 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 42.
That the deacon of the coalmen … make ane buik and conteen thairin the number of all coalboates arryving to this brugh
1680 Wemyss Chart. 322.
Coalȝiars and coalcallers at Weymes
1531 Reg. Dunferm. 362.
The watter to have passage fra the bak of the coill callit the coill damys
1574 (1586) Reg. Great S. 367/2.
Cum competentibus lie coilgaittis a carbofodinis ad salinam
1656 Stirling B. Rec. I. 226.
The constant keiping of mettes and measures upoun the several coalhillis
1574 Edinb. Test. III. 197 b.
Twa coill hors that led coilis dalie
1644 Ib. LXI. 2.
Tua coilhors, quhairof one blind, givine to the coilman
1507 Treas. Acc. III. 382.
Ane key to his colehous dur
1583 Edinb. Test. XIII. 76.
In the coilhous twa boit full of coillis
1642 Ib. LX. 101 b.
Ane brander of irone with ane coill lanterne of irone
1639 Acts V. 602/2.
The supplicatioune presented by the coalemaisteris against the Conservatour
1656 Conv. Burghs III. 421.
Many of this comissionat being coalmaisteris and heretouris of coall heughes
1564 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 181.
The fut of the Kirk Yaird close quhair the auld cole merket stude of befoir
1595–6 Misc. Spald. C. V. 63.
For ane new coill mett … banditt within and without witht yrne
1598 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 52.
The negligence of the coal metters … in the faithfull discharging of ther offices
1695 S. Leith Rec. 179.
Wee searched the hous and found Isobell Wilson … in the coal nook behind the door
1580 (1587) Reg. Great S. 390/1.
Power to cast his coill peitis upoun the Waithe-hill of Stromnes, and his brokin peittis upon the brek outwith his merches
1625 Orkney Bp. Ct. 59.
To … delyver … to the said Marioun … ane fadome coall peattis
1645 Edinb. Test. LXI. 170 b.
Fyve coall pickes
1538 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 89.
That the cole sellares sitt thair with thair coillis alykwayes for selling thairof
a1578 Pitsc. II. 316/6.
Ane woman tuik hir twa bairnes and cuist hir selff in ane coill sink
(1684) Lauder Observes 120.
The storme … which had destroyed many bridges, milnes, and coall sinks
1663 Lamont Diary 151.
One of the plowmen … sneding tries on the north dyke, over against the coall stabell
1665 Bk. Old Edinb. Club V. 126.
Ane coillsteiller … is said to have beine killed
1645 Edinb. Test. LXI. 170 b.
Twa foir hammers and thrie coall wadges
1656 Stirling B. Rec. I. 226.
The maisteris of the coalles and coalwarkis within the saidis boundis

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"Cole n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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