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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).

Cumerlach, n. Also: cumberlache, cumelag, cumlaw. [Of obscure origin, but presumably Gaelic.] A fugitive serf belonging to a monastery.The origin and meaning of cum(h)erb, associated with cum(er)lach in the quotations, is also obscure. 1126 Reg. Dunfermline 17.
De fugitivis qui vocantur Cumberlache … Praecipio quatenus cito Cumerlach reddantur ecclesie … de Dunfermelyn … et cumerlache sui a tempore Edgari regis usque nunc cum tota pecunia sua ubicunque inveniantur
1153–60 Carnegie Lett. & Chart. 533.
[Commanding that the church of Rostinoth may justly hold all] cumelagas et cumherbas, [and all their fugitives]
c 1170 Facs. Nat. MSS. I. 19.
Mando … ut in cuiuscunque uestrum terra aut potestate Abbas de Scon aut eius seruiens inuenire poterit Cumlawes et Cumherbes ad terras abbatie de Scon pertinentes, eos iuste absque dilatione habeat
a 1200 Reg. Dunfermline 37.
Praecipio firmiter ut ubicunque monachi de Dunfermelyn aut servientes eorum cumerbas et cumerlachos suos invenire poterint eos juste habeant

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"Cumerlach n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2022 <>



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