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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).

Pleg(e, Pledg(e, n. Also: plegg(e; pleig(e, pleidge; plieg(e; pleag(e, pleadge; plaege; plaig(e, plaidg(e; plag(e, pladg(e. Plur. pleg(e)is, plegg(e)is, etc.; also plegies, -yis; pledgies; pladgies. [ME. and e.m.E. plegge (Wyclif), pledg(e (Caxton), AF. plege, plegge, OF. plege, pleige, plaige, plo(i)ge (mod. F. pleige), med. L. (Frankish) plevium, plibium, plebium (a 600), med. L. plivium (a 1200 in Du Cange), appar. f. med. L. plevire, plebire, plivire, OF. plevir, pleivir, to warrant, assure, undertake for, engage. (Cf. Pleven n.)Of unknown ulterior origin. OED. conjectures, of Gmc. derivation.]

A pledge, in various senses.In some texts, esp. the early records of Lanark, Peebles and Selkirk, there is an appar. arbitrary lack of distinction between pleg(e and plegis. This is perh. due to differing editorial interpretations of a scribal flourish sometimes made after the letter g, either ignored by editors or variously transcribed as -e or -is. See esp. 1 (2) and (3), and 5 b and c, below.

1. A person who becomes surety (for another, also for his performance of certain actions); a bail, a surety.Chiefly in legal contexts, usu. without article.Also, const. to do something.For some further instances, see Culrach n.Some of the instances quoted below may properly belong to Plege v. a. 12.. Liber Scon 62.
[Absens fuit et extra regnum invenerunt pro eo … hos plegios scilicet Symonem de Camera [etc.]
1264 Exch. R. I. 20.]
Hugo … et Reginaldus … fuerunt plegii de predictis xx libris
(1) 1458 Peebles B. Rec. I. 125.
Andro Melnnar tuk theme ln … plegis John Rocasstal and hym self
1464 Ib. 153, etc.
Plegis Rob of Brownsoun and his land
1488 Lanark B. Rec. i.
Plegis James Baulde and Nicol Baulde
1541 Exch. R. XVII. 617.
Doule McFee pleg pro solutione
c1575 Balfour Pract. 191.
Anent pledgis and cautioneris
1576 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 7.
And for suir payment of the samen the said Robert hes fund Androw McBrome plege and souirtie
(b) 1572–3 Bann. Memor. 309.
Pladgies hes bene requyred of thaim all, alsweill cautioneris as soverties, to be bound with thaim selfis for thair debtfull obedience
(2) 1461 Montrose Baillie Ct. 17 a (4 May).
John Michelson pleg for Dawy Falconer
1488 Lanark B. Rec. 4.
John Pethecrew is mayd burges: plegis for him to do at he hycht to do, Gorg Hehyswe
1497–8 Acta Conc. II. 97.
The persons … expremyt as plegyis and souerteis for … Wilyeam Allansone
Ib. 104.
That the … Erle of Huntly … as plege and souerte for the sade Robert … sall … pay … ane thousand merkis … for the brekin of the lawborowis be the sade Robert
1510 Crim. Trials I. i. 65.
That thai enter the persounis that thai ar plegis for [etc.]
1529 Linlithgow B. Ct. 5 Nov. 1571 Lanark B. Rec. 59.
Plege for him to do the deutie to the toun that he aucht to do, David Brentoun
c1575 Balfour Pract. 191.
All fre men may be pledge and borgh for thameselfis als weill within court as without for … debtis [etc.]
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 80.(3) 1456–7 Peebles B. Rec. I. 118.
Plegis Mechal Forest for al … borou mallis qwil the said Wyl get a land of his an
1490 Lanark B. Rec. 6.
Pleg for his bidin, John Watson and Will Pursell
1514 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 28.
In the pament of xxx s. of mony … for ane hors the quhilk he was plegis for to be entrit
1516 Ib. 39.
For the quhilk Jhone Jhoneson was plege for the entraye of the said Jhone Flecher
1530 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 477.
Fand the said James Gordoun and him self plegis for satisfactioun of party as the act of adiornale maid tharapoun proportis
1579 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I. 94.
Plege and souerty for keiping of scot and lot and paying of his burges siluer
(4) 1488–9 Acta Conc. I. 111/2.
The somme … for the quhilkis Dauid Blare … become plege & borghe [etc.]
1493 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 141. 1496–7 Acta Conc. II. 62, etc.
Wilȝeame Erle Merschale … is becummyn plege … for … his bruthir that Marchemond Herald salbe harmeles … of him
1498 Crim. Trials I. i. 24.
Walter Scot of Bukcleuiche is becummyn plege and souirte for the entre of Georg Ȝoung
1541 Exch. R. XVII. 621. 1541 Linlithgow B. Ct. 22 Oct.
As he that is becummyng plage and broycht ȝeirle for the said Mathew Hammylton for payment of the said teyndis
1618 Crim. Trials III. 445.
Alexander Gourlay … become plege, souertie and lauborris for Alexander Sowre [etc.]
1523 Wigtown B. Ct. 138 b.
He com pleg for Fergussone [etc.]
(5) 1597 Skene Verb. S. (ed. 2) s.v. Replegiare.
To replege … is quhen ony man … reducis to his awin court his awin man fra ony vther mannis court, & leauis ane plege or cautioner behinde him
Id. Reg. Maj. (Latin) ii. 105.
Plegius id est fide-jussor, ane cautioner, pledge or borgh

2. A person given into custody as a security for the good behaviour of his fellows; a hostage.(1) 1448 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 17.
The appoyntment betuex … takaris of certane men plegis of Hertilpule … and John Stephinson … [who] is obliste … to keipe the said plegis for quhais costis and kepyng he sal haue … monee … of the eraste siluer and gold that cummys of the said plegis
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 108.
The Romanis … daylie exercing … importabill condicionis of seruitude on the plegis of subdewit realmis
1554 Corr. M. Lorraine 391.
To delyver thir p[leg]is to hir grace, quhilk will pecifie the haill Gleng[wne]
1562 Reg. Privy C. I. 221.
George Gordoun … to entir as plege and souerte for his said fadder … within the burch of Edinburch … thair to remane and foure mylis thairabout
1574 Ib. II. 422.
Promeist to entir sa mony plegis of his freindis … as past hame without leif
a1578 Pitsc. I. 215/27.
His brother wald incontienent haue hangit the pledgis
1587 Reg. Morton I. 155.
We … command ȝow that ȝe retene … the said plege in clois firmance
1587 Acts III. 463/1.
Vnder the pane of executioun of the saidis plegeis to the death incais of transgressioun and not redres maid be the personis offendouris for quhome the saidis plegeis lyis. And that the saidis pleges salbe relevit quarterlie with vtheris of the same clan [etc.]
1594 Ib. IV. 72/1.
The pleges to be deliuerit in keping to the noble men baronis and gentilmen that hes ressauit grytest … harmes of the saidis thevis
(b) 1546 Treas. Acc. IX. 43.
For the expensis of the pleagis gevin furthe of the castell
(c) 1558-66 Knox II. 50.
The plaiges presentlie named … to be exchanged upoun delyverance of new hostages
1614 Denmylne MSS. (ed.) 152.
Silwer for ransoum … of the saidis plaidges
(d) 1571–2 Reg. Privy C. II. 119.
Enterit thameselffis as plegies for thame selffis
(2) 1524 Acts II. 290/1.
That thai … deliuer plegis in Edinburgh … for gud reule
1526 Douglas Corr. 110.
Certane bordoraris that suld haif enterit plegis for making of dew redres
1531 Treas. Acc. VI. 53.
To Ros herald to pas … to the Inglis wardanis … for interchangeing off plegis for gude reule to be had in tymes cumming
1533 Bell. Livy I. 153/3.
Plege [v.r. plaig]
? 1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 26. c 1550 Balcarres P. V. MS. 75 a.
With the quenis charges for deliuering of plegis & the furnessing of burro to his expensis
1558 Treas. Acc. X. 367.
To Rob … Robsone pleg of the Glengun [= Clan Gun]
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 50.
Quhen thai sould haif gevin plegis to performe the said appointment … thay did bot seke delay and so the principallis of thame [were] committit to ward
1576 Buccleuch Mun. II. 339.
Ressaue the berar … as plege for the gang of Quhithauch
1581 Reg. Privy C. III. 376.
The personis quhom the said Wattie lay pledge for
1587 Carmichael Etym. 19.
Pledge or hostage
(b) 1516 Reg. Privy S. I. 440/2.
Thair kynnismen … for quham thai war bundin and hes deliverit plageis
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 47.
Johne Johnestoun … is enterit plage … for all that ar cum of the auld gang of Wamfray
1614 Denmylne MSS. (ed.) 150.
And … cravit pladges to be delyverit to thame
(c) 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 329.
Past … to Berwik as pleidges for the armie and artailȝerie that is to cum to Scotland
1594 Acts IV. 73/1.
(d) 1570 Leslie 105.
Sir James Hammiltoun and the Lord of Cawdar was lyand pleageis … for his guid rewll
a1651 Calderwood in Crim. Trials II. 434.
Sevine … came in … as pleadges for performance of certaine conditions
(3) 1518 Acta Conc. MS. in Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. 211.
Nochttheles I am laborand and traistis to gett thare plegis
1523–4 Treas. Acc. V. 234.
1542–3 Reg. Privy S. III. 13/2.
And licent be the King of Ingland under souirte tocum hame for releving of his pleggeis
1543 Bk. Carlaverock II. 24. 1555 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. ix. 21.
That ye wald fynd us sum … reddy gait that we maye have our plegeis to liberte
(b) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 138.
(c) 1551 Corr. M. Lorraine 355.
And there pledgies sent into Ireland
(4) 1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 186.
Swa I to remane as ane plege quhilk war to me ane myscheif and dishonour
1571 Warrender P. (S.H.S.) I. 108.
Ye sall offer … sex plegis being of the sonnis, brethir, nixt cousingis [etc.]
1578–9 Reg. Privy C. III. 63.
Williame Irvin … a Border pledge committed to his custody
1623 Melrose P. 537.
The vnlawghfull taking of a laughfull subiect and keeping him as a pledge for releif of a condamnit theif
1667 Highland P. II. 57 (see Overband n.).

3. Anything handed over as a security, as for a debt or the performance of some action.A person's hand might also be ‘given’ as a pledge.In some instances there may be overlapping, or ambiguity, with sense 1.(1) 1433 Ayr. B. Ct. 20 April.
His hand and his gudis pleg
1435 Ib. 3 Oct.
The court awardit & fand at the pleg that the said John fand was of walow
1513 Wigtown B. Ct. 14 b.
Has tan in hand to be pait at Carsounday next to cum pleg his hand & gudis
1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 52.
That scho has nocht … put away nane of hir gudis in defraud of the said plege
1581 St. A. Kirk S. 466.
Thaireftir to deliver ane sufficientt plege that thei sall satisfie this congregatioun
1598 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 12 b.
For my plege conesinget ine the dene of the geldis
Ib. 26 a.
Lent to Paterk Mortone wpone ane plege xx lib. Scotis
1636 (c 1700) Dundee B. Laws 58.
That … none [sc. books] be lent out without … a sufficient pledge
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i. xix. § vi. (1699). 99. 1693 Banff Ann. II. 63.
If the parties buked should stay at drink in cheange houses … they wer to loss their pledges
(b) 1570 Treas. Acc. XII. 204.
To Williame Murray … for certaine plaigeis furneisit to his grace and chalmer as his
1614 Crim. Trials III. 291.
Gif he wald let Patrik Halcro cum oute … vpoune that sam plaidge that was in for him
(c) 1581 Acts III. 216/1.
That euerie … clerk of cokquet … sall tak sic suirtie or plageis as he will anser for
(2) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV. 347.
Lettrez to destrenȝee the Lard of Symontonis plegis for unlawis of the Kirkpatrikis
1515 Wigtown B. Ct. 41 b.
Of ane iii ȝere ald qhij best … pleg for the vnlaw [etc.]
1533 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 100.
Ralefand his pleg and souerte for his enteres
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 222.
Providing alwys that … [they] deliuer nocht the said money without the ressait of pleggis thairfor
1593–4 Stirling B. Rec. II. 380.
To gif and leif ane pleg for redeliverance of the said balk
(3) 1527 Wigtown B. Ct. 187 b.
The sayd Cubbe Sprot convyt in the xviii d. plege fore Mechell McCredye his hand
(4) 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 77.
The judge sal take ane pledge fra the defender … to pay the debt
(5) 1655 Lindores A. 238.
That every partie to be married sall consigne 8 lib. of pledge in money
1659 Cramond Kirk S. I.
If any pairties to be maried faills heirin by not coming to be maried … they shall lose a shilling of thair pledge
1686 Ib. II. 4 Dec.
Isobell Anderson … laide 2 dollars of pledge and then … desireing her pledge of marriage to be given back to her; the Session … appointed to return one of the dollars to her only

4. fig. A person or thing viewed as a guarantee of a promised or hoped for state.Cf. 1 and 3 above. 1513 Doug. xi. vii. 164.
Lavinia the schene … is the pand or plege … Of paix tobe kepit inviolate
1551 Hamilton Cat. 170.
He is … a sickir pleage of our vocatioun
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 143/17.
And ve … aucht to beleiffe theme to be the plaege of our resurreccione
1653 Binning Wks. 240.

5. The condition of being given or held as a pledge; the state of being pledged.Only in adv. phr., without article.

a. In plege (of the thing to be performed, the thing lent, etc.), by way of guarantee or security. 13.. Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 50.]
[Alexander … episcopus … temporalitatem nobis traxit in plegium
1493 Acta Aud. 173/2.
James … quhilk lyis in Ingland … in plege for a quarter of a bill of the … herschip of Werk
1513 Doug. x. Prol. 138.
Thy flesch and blude … Tobe our fuyd of grace in plege of glor
1517 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 89.
[The men of the Isles] that tha deliver a suffycient man in plage of the samyn [good service]
1529–30 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 105.
And the croft that Voll Ker hes in vod of xviii merkis effor in plege of vii lib. … mony of Scotland
a1538 Abell 66 a.
He come hame … with thre scoir of nobilis in plage of Yrland
1560 Admir. Ct. Bk. 185.
Ane hand bow … in plege of vj angell nobillis
1564 Perth B. Ct. 204 (4 Dec.).
And offerit to him his landis … in plage thairof
1590 St. A. Kirk S. 663.
And in plege of the samyn hes deliverit ten li. money to the box of the puir … if sche conperis nocht … the ten li. to be … gevin frele to the puir
1619 Perth Kirk S. MS. 24 May.
That Mr James Gawis ring giffin in pledge of his penalties for his sinnes … be apprysit and pennye maid of the samyn
c1650 Spalding I. 246.
And the king … gryte soumes laid doun in plege
a1578 Pitsc. II. 15/4.
The governour … delywerit him his eldest sone in pladge

b. With the pledge as subject; To ly (be, remane, also pass) in plege (plegis). 1531 Bell. Boece II. 169.
lx of thair noblis sonnis to remane in plage
1532 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 125.
And tak his fetteris agane quhilk lay in plegis
a1538 Abell 7* b.
Ludovyk … wes in plege for his fathir
1548 Douglas Corr. 171.
And lat George ly in plegge for him
1558 Admir. Ct. Bk. 88.
Quha lay in plege to … ane of the capitanis … for [350] crownis
1561–2 Inv. Q. Mary xxix.
Ane croce of gold … quhilk lay in plege to him be the quenis grace regent of 1000 pundis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 330/24.
[James V] layit great pledgis for the samin … caussit the lordis to pase in pledge for the said artaillȝe quhill it war deliuerit againe
1584 Edinb. Test. XIII. 152.
Ane ring … quhilk lay me in plege
1590 Reg. Privy C. IV. 794.
[They] lay in plegeis for observing of … ordour
1590 Nat. Lib. MS. 34.2.17 21.
And ane is in pledge to Mr. John Stairis for ane of his

c. With the pledge as obj.: To put or give (draw, enter, lay, leve, also hald, have, get, put) in (to, in to, under) plege (plegis).(1) 1456 Peebles B. Rec. I. 113 (see Draw v. 8). 1464 Ib. 151.
Drawyn in plegis the land of Georg Dawysounis
1531 Bell. Boece II. 367.
Levand his son in plege
1535 Stewart 55312.
His tua sonis … in pledgis baith war laid
1558 Inverness Rec. I. 21.
Ane meyr of myne quhilk I gef hyme in plege of xxx s.
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8492.
Under the pane to put my heid in pledge
1564 Inverness Rec. I. 118.
Ane yopyndall quhilk he pot of his in plege to hym for x s.
1558-66 Knox I. 259. 1567 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 33.
That he lay in pledg … xx s.
1590 Reg. Privy C. IV. 537.
A jewell … quhilk … he laid in pledge of a soume of money to Jacob Barroun
(2) 1514 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 28.
Simon sall have in plegis the guidis and skennes of the said Jhone quhill he … be pait
a1538 Abell 95 a.
Eftirwert he … held his sone in plege
1547 Stirling B. Rec. I. 49.
Ane drawand chenyie … quhilk scho had in plege of the quenis grace
1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 7.
Ane Franche testane … quhilk the said Johnne hes in plege
(3) 1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 210.
Quhow I his sone had gottin in to plege
(4) 1567 G. Ball. 23.
Christ … Thow … gaif thy self to plaige
1622-6 Bisset II. 241/28.
The maister may lay to pledge sum of the saifed guidis
(5) 1574 Reg. Privy C. II. 422 (see Plege v. c).
To entir under plegis
c1575 Balfour Pract. 273.
Gif ony manis beist or uther … geir be put under pledge and sovertie [etc.]

d. Vpo(u)n (on) plegis, in return for, or after receipt of, pledges. 1549 Edinb. Hammermen 179.
Resauit of lent money fra Johne Gilbert quhilk was lent to the quenis grace vpon plageis [etc.]
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 222.
The said money to be deliuerit on pleggis
1596 Dalr. I. 177/23.
He tuke trues … with Fulgentius … vpon pladges
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 54 b.
That they … sould not be … lettin lowse vpon pledges quha are taken for [etc.]

6. attrib. and comb. in senses 1–3.Plege-chalmer, plege-hous, in Dumfries, a room or house for the confinement of hostages, sureties or (later) debtors.(1) 1577 Treas. Acc. XIII. 172.
David Maxwell javelour of the pledge chalmer of Drumfreis
1578 Reg. Privy C. III. 24. 1581 Ib. 416.
[Certain thieves] presentlie in handes within the plege chalmer of Drumfreis … [The Wardenn] can tak na order with thame in respect thay ar Englischemen [etc.]
1624 Dumfries Treas. Acc. in Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. 3 Ser. XXXII. 185.
The twa pledg chalmers ar weill locket; in the one ar thrie locket chartour kistis
1629 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 12.
They derned thameselffes in commodious parts ewest to the pledge chamber
1640 Dumfries Treas. Acc. ii.
Irne & leid to the laich pledge chalmer
(2) 1634 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. 3 Ser. III. 306.
For makyng ane new key to the laich pledghous and mending of the lok of the high pledghous
1640 Maister George Blacke His Masterlesse Men 6.
He … was cast into prison or committed to the pledge-house as the inhabitants call it
1654 Dumfries Council Min. 1 May.
The counsall hes fynit the said Jon in ten pund and to remayne in the pledghouse during the baillies pleaser
1690 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 398 (11 Dec.).
[Threatened with incarceration in the pledgehouse of Drumfreis]
1641 Dumfries Treas. Acc. 7 b.
The high pledghous stair
Ib. 9 b.
The tolbuyth and pledgehouse windowes
(3) 1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 61.
The proclamatioun and actis … proporting that all plege men sould be fre to pas and repas to thair lesum bissines under oure soverane lordis protectioun
(4) ? c 1690 Beale Fife Schools 221.
The two forfaulted penalties … that were in the pledge purse

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"Pleg n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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