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

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Witsonday, n. Also: wit-, wyt-, vit-, vyt-, wet-, weit-, wot-, vot-, whit-, whyte-, wheit-, whiet-, wys-, wos- and -sonday(e, -sonda(i, -sondy, -sonnday, -soneday, -sounday(e, -sounda(i, -sownday, -souneday, -sunday(e, -sundai, -sinday, -sanday, (witsomday), vitsonsdaye, uyssond day. [ME and e.m.E. wit-sunne-dei (c1175), wit suneday (c1275), wit-sonedai (c1290), witsonday (Trevisa), wissonday (c1400), wytsondaye (1451), whitson daye (c1557), whit sunday (1634), late OE (once) Hwíta Sunnandæᵹ, ON hvíta sunnudagr.]

1. a. Whitsunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter, the feast of Pentecost. Also the feist of Witsonday.b. In usages indicating merely the day or date on which the feast was celebrated or the period around that date. Also as adv. phr. with omission of prep. See also W abbrev. c. The actual occasion of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Jewish festival of weeks (see Nisbet Acts ii 1 marg. in a) commemorated in a. a., b. (1) Syne in a feste … That in oure led Witsonday hat; Leg. S. vii 294.
That sequence, wyth othir ma Wersys, men oysis for to say Ilke yhere on Wytsonday Befor the Wangell … At the hey mes; Wynt. vi 1066.
Or … in a grete feste, as Ȝule, Pasche, or Witsonday, or All Halowmesse; Hay II 41/21.
For punding of malis & annualis incasting and owt casting of tennandis quhilkis … causis oft tymmes gret gaderingis and discordis vpone the solempnit days of Witsonday and Martymes … that the said pundin [etc.] … be deferrit to the thrid day eftir Witsunday or Martymes; 1469 Acts II 95/2.
Again Witsonda, for leuerais [etc.]; 1489 Treas. Acc. I 165.
The xxij day of Maii that was Witsonday giffin to the kingis offerand xviij s.; 1496 Treas. Acc. I 275, etc.
I sal duelle at Ephesie till to Witsonnday [W., P. Witsuntide; L. Pentecosten]; Nisbet 1 Cor. xvi 8.
Quhan the dayis of Penthecost That is to say, quhen the ende of the fifty dayis that immediatlye followit Pasche day was cum thai war al to gyddir in ane place for than was the feast of owkis quhilk the law speikis of … Ande the samin now do we call Penthecost or Witsonday; Nisbet Acts ii 1 marg.
The seuin greit maisteris … Suld bring his sone to him at Witsonday; Rolland Seven S. 720.
As the lordis of counsell and sessioun hes bene in vse … to haue vacance at Ȝule Fastingis euin Pasche & Witsonday … thay sall … sit daylie except on the Sonday without ony vacance at Witsonday; 1567 Acts III 32/2.
The erle of Lenox [etc.] … about Witsounday shipped at Dumbartane; Leslie 186.
To abolische … the conuenementis of superstitious observation of festuall dais callit of Ȝule Pasche Witsonday and the pasche of Maj plaijs of Roben Hude [etc.]; 1588 Haddington Presb. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 253.
Vitsunday; c1590 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis.
The Inglis hoste … persewit thame at the feist of Witsonday [L. ad festam Pentecostes diem]; Dalr. II 282/25.
Quhilk … Jonet and the said Patrik, at Witsonday … convenit thame selffis vpone the cowmoun waist; 1605 Crim. Trials II 478.
(b) [For] makand the kingis clathis … agane Wetsunday; 1496 Treas. Acc. I 269.
(c) For the iniuring of the said Florens calland hir preistis huyr befoir Vitsonsdaye last; 1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I 19.
(d) Whyte-Sunday; Prognostication.
(e) Promiseing to marie him … 8 days before Wheitsunday; 1661 Rothesay Par. Rec. 51.
(2) Item, Witsonday … to the Blak Freris … xiiij s.; 1502 Treas. Acc. II 79.
To the v Italiane menstralis takand ȝeirlie ij leverayis, Ȝule and Witsonday; 1526 Treas. Acc. V 311.
c. Petir broucht to Cristis fay Thre thowsand men on Witsonday; Leg. S. i 40.
Quhen al the appostulys scalit var In syndry landis wyd-quhare Eftir the feste of Vitsonday; Leg. S. v 27.
That spyryt brycht, … that on Wytsownday Illumynyd the appostillys; Wynt. v 1937.
That the Apostolis ressavit the gift of the Haly Gaist the fyftiday (callit in our language Wytsounday); Q. Kennedy Tractive 123.

2. As one of the term-days or quarter days. For further examples see Martinmes n. 1. This was the normal term for changes in tenancy (see Flitting vbl. n. 4). By the Act of 1469 evictions and removals were deferred to the third day after Whit Sunday, the Wednesday of Whit week, cf. Vytson Veddyinsday (Witson attrib. c), the first day after the religious festival (see 1 above), but the legal term remained linked to the religious festival, and was therefore moveable, until in 1690 and 1693 it was fixed at 15th May (see Quhitsonday n. 2 (1)). See, further, Beltane n. 1 c. (1) The tane half as for the Martymes terme last bipast and the tothir half at Witsonday nixt for to cum; 1389 Reg. Cambuskenneth 260.
The fader sal gyf herytabyl state and possessyoun of the fee, betvys this and Wytsunday, to … the sone; 1400 Maxwell Mem. I 140.
At twa vsuale termys … Witsonday & Martymes; 1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 74.
He payand tyl vs yherely [at] … Martymes and Wytsonday for ilky aker xxti d.; 1415 (a1443) Cop. St. A. 214.
The enteray of the said Johne to our forsaid landis [to be] at Wytsunday; 1446 Reg. Cupar A. I 126.
Vitsondai; 1470 Prestwick B. Rec. 7.
Chargit & bad Schir William the Hay cum & ressaue the castel of Morham on Friday forou Witsonday; 1474 Acta Aud. 35/1.
Tua vsuell termes of the ȝer, Whitsunday and Martymes; 1475 Lennox Mun. 104.
Vytsondaye; 1526 Selkirk B. Ct. MS 120a.
Vytsonday; 1527 Selkirk B. Ct. MS 126a.
Vitsounday; 1540–1 Aberd. B. Rec. I 174.
Roben Housoun to … mak gud seruice quhyl his terme ondir the payne of ylk dawork xij d. quhyl Wytsonday; 1542 Prestwick B. Rec. 58.
The victual to be delyuerit to hir … betuixe Ȝwill and Vitsundaye, and the monye at Mertemes and Vitsundaye; 1554 Grant Chart. 113.
Vytsunday; 1559 Inverness Rec. I 39.
Witsomday [sic in pr.]; 1560 St. A. Kirk S. 42.
Witsoundaye; Leslie 253.
Ane of the maisters of thair grammer schole in the place of Mr. Jhonn Balfour, [to have] ane assay to teache his clas quhill Witsonday nixtt; 1598–9 Edinb. B. Rec. V 241.
Witsondy; 1624 Hist. Carnegies 90.
Witsinday; 1643 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 4.
The said servant … to enter to me at Whitsanday … and become servant to me whyll Merteingmis nexttocome; 1679 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 304.
The money to be payed at Whitsunday next, with annualrent frae Candlemas last, and the tounes entrie to be at Mertimes last; 1694 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 112.
(b) [The] alderman [etc.] … has set … the smale custumis … of Are for … fyff ȝerris … fra the Wyssunday next; 1436 Ayr B. Ct. 26 Nov.
Uyssond day; 1470 Prestwick B. Rec. 15.
(c) [He] promised to pay his penalty betwixt this and Whietsunday nixt; 1682 Cullen Kirk S. 30 April.
(2) Sall pay … at the fest of Wytsonday next; 1438 Lennox Mun. 68.
That … thai sall brouk the saidis landis … for tva ȝeris next eftyr the fest of Wytsonday followand; 1462 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 371.
The quhilk mariagh salbe completit … betuix the dait of this writ and the fest of Witsunday nexit eftir; 1482 Bamff Chart. 31.
Witsouneday; 1525 Reg. Soltre 91.
The warning of all tennentis … to flit … salbe … maid ony tyme within the ȝeir xl dayis befoir the feist of Witsonday; 1555 Acts II 494/1.
Witsownday; 1562 Edinb. B. Deeds 25b.
(b) That the said Scir Jamys sal deliuir his said castel … at this neist fest of Wossonday [v.r. Wossondai] for terme of five yheir neist eftir folwand; 1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 32.
(c) All the dayes and termes of tuell ȝeris … folloand the fest of Wotsondaye nixt to cum; 1513 Selkirk B. Ct. MS 27a.
(d) Reseruing the tak and assedatioun … to the said William erll Marischeall quhais entrie thairto wes at the feist of Whitsounday; 1562 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 598.
Ane tenent being in possessioun … of ony landis, cloisit within termis, and not lauchfullie warnit befoir the feist of Whitsounday may not be removit fra his said mailling; Balfour Pract. 208.
(3) At the nest vsuale terme of Martynmes or Wytsunday; 1400 Maxwell Mem. I 138.
Till the terme off Witsonday next to cum; 1443 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 96.
The tennentis [etc.] … sall remane vnput furth or removit quhill the nixt terme of Witsonday folowand; 1491 Acts II 225/1.
For the malez & annuale of the landis of Monycabo of the terme of Witsonday; 1493 Acta Aud. 170/1.
Witsoneday; 1498–9 Acta Conc. II 318.
For the vj Italianis abilȝementis of this last term of Vitsonday; 1517 Treas. Acc. V 124.
Fyve yeris … following the feist and terme of Witsounda; 1574 Exch. R. XX 375.
The said persewar … fourtie dayis preceding the feast and terme of Witsonday last bypast cawsit laufullie wairne … the … tennent … to have flittit; 1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 41.
For the maill of his foirbuith … restand of the termes of Witsonday and Mertimes; 1622 Misc. Bann. C. II 245.
That gif my wnkle Sir Thomas will gif good swrtie for twalve thowsand merks at the term of Wotsonday then I am content that yow gif him a frie discharge of all; 1634 Maxwell Mem. II 251.
(4) Ande gif it be nere hande the Witsonday or Martynmes the seysing salbe gevin; 1429–30 Acts II 19/1.
The said Walter entirand at the Witsonday next eftyr the makyng of this endenture; 1434–5 Reg. St. A. 424.
Till the terme off Witsonday next to cum and thre yheris thareftir next folowand quhilk sall be the Witsonday of the yher [1447]; 1443 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 96.
The saide Robert enterande in the saide tak and malynge at the Witsonday next; 1474 Bk. Carlaverock II 436.
He sall nocht ta … na fruttis belangand to the said alter qwhyll the Witsonday cwm a yeir efter; 1478 Peebles B. Rec. I 183.
Witsoundai; 1498 Lennox Mun. 164.
The said Mertyn Myllaris entrais to the duellyng … salbe at the Wytsonday next eftir the dayt of this present wyrt; 1513–14 Prestwick B. Rec. 45.

b. transf.in pl.Agreements to become effective from Whitsunday. See 3 d below. Full powar … my malis … to raise and to ressave, my Witsondais to set and to halde; 1450 Reg. Great S. 84/1.

3. attrib. and possess.Chiefly in sense 2. a. With evyn(en, Monunday, etc., wolk. attrib. Quhill Wednysday into Witsonday woke; 1428 Liber Melros 520.
That all Scotland mak ȝeirly ther wapinschawis apone Thurisday in Witsonday wolk; 1503–4 Acts II 243/2.
Gife the said Alexander Myretoune was nocht enterit to the landis of Ballas quhil Vitsonday evyn last bypast that he mycht nocht lachfully warne the said Alexander Wemys to remoive tharfra; 1517 Fife Sheriff Ct. 82.
The sowm of v s. … and viii d. for restmentis and payit one Wytsondaye Thursday; 1525 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 76.
To rasaef hyr monye … apon Wytsunday en nixt to cum; 1536 Glasgow Prot. IV 90.
possess. The xij day of Maij, Witsondayis Monunday, to the kingis offerand, xiiij s.; 1505 Treas. Acc. III 59.
To compeir … Vitsondayis ewin last, … within the parroche kirk … to resaue … sax scoir pundis … for redemptioun of the saidis landis; 1597 Misc. Spald. C. II 141.

b. Of rents, fees, etc.: Due at the Whitsun term-day. attrib. Gevin to Stobo for his Witsonday fee last bipast; 1473–4 Treas. Acc. I 66.
Ressauit of the land of the Castelhill of this Witsovnday annuell xv s.; 1506 Edinb. Hammermen MS 55a.
To haif ressauit … the sowm of ten markis off my Witsonday mall; 1511 Wemyss Chart. 129.
To Lyon herald in … payment of his Witsounday pensioun; 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 417.
Gottin fra Thom Malisoun his Witsvnday annuell to cum becaus he wald gif na thing this Mertimes terme; 1519 Edinb. Hammermen MS 99b.
All and haile the Witsonday males and proffittis of all and haile the barony and landis of Slanis; 1541 Reg. Privy S. II 609/2.
Wytsounday; 1552 Treas. Acc. X 89.
To the doctor for his Wotsonday fie, x s. … to Thomas Home for his Wotsonday fie for keipping of the kirk, xx s.; 1555 Edinb. Old Acc. II 41.
Wotsondais; 1563 Edinb. Hammermen MS 218a.
x lib. to James Gordoun for the Vitsounday maill; 1606 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II 2.
(b) For the Weitsounday and Mertemais maill; 1570 Boyd Fam. P. No. 58 (22 Feb.).
possess. For his Witsondayis pentioun; 1555 Edinb. Old Acc. II 44.
Item resauit fra James … for his Votsondais maill; 1563 Edinb. Hammermen MS 218a.
Quhilk Witsondayis maill the said lord … sall caus be deliuerit to the said Marie; 1584 Lochwinnoch Par. 144.

c. The Witsonday term, the Whitsun term-day; the period from the previous term-day to the Whitsun term-day. (Term(e n. 1 and 2.) Cf. 2 (3) above. Also attrib. and possess.Also transf., the sum due on this day or for this period. Cf. b above. The malis of Witsonday terme; 1449 Charter (Reg. H.) 29 May.
For the malis of ther landis in Athole of the Witsounda terme last bipast; 1483–4 Acta Aud. 130*/2.
Giffin to Schir Thomas Marschael in his fee of the Witsonday term lastbipast; 1496 Treas. Acc. I 277.
For ane half ȝeris maill, viz., for the Witsounday terme in anno xlvjto; 1546–7 Treas. Acc. IX 50.
For the clerkkis buith maill of the Witsonday terme; 1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II 285.
To Johnne, Maister of Maxwell, wardane of the West Marchis … quhilk wes restand awin to him precedand the Witsounday terme in anno lviij; 1558 Treas. Acc. X 387.
To mak payment … sa far as thay ar detbound of the said Witsounday terme; 1584 Exch. R. XXI 600.
For his fee and bountaz of the Witsounday term; 1593 St. A. Test. II 325.
Addebted to … thair agent at court of the Mertinmes term last amd Witsondayes terme 1623; 1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I 216.
The haill tennentis sick as are mailleris within the barrony … to content … the haill rest maillis, Witsounday and Mertimes termes; 1636 Urie Baron Ct. 80.
attrib. The sade Patrik remanand with the Witsonday terme maile that last was takin up be him; 1496 Acta Conc. II 33.
possess. The Witsounday termes male; 1553 Edinb. B. Rec. II 181.
transf. Deliverit in complete paiment of his Witsounday terme in anno decimo quinto; 1515 Treas. Acc. V 41.
Andro Barry to pay at Witsonday next to cum xj s. annuall of termys bygain awand to the said Andro togidder with that Witsonday terme; 1521–2 Dundee B. Ct. I 68b (13 Jan.).
I payit the Witsonday terme preceiding to the gudman … in a v merk pece; 1597 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 96.

d. Of business or agreements: Conducted or settled so as to be effective from the Whitsun term-day. Witsundais set (making), see Quhitsonday n. 3 for a further example. Witsondays bargaine. (1) That the king charge all his frehaldaris … that in the makyng of thair Witsundais set thaj statute [etc.]; 1456–7 Acts II 51/1.
And alsua that all the actis and ordinancis abone writtyn the quhilkis ar necessary till his baronis and frehaldaris to be schawin at ther Witsundais making or in ther baronne courtis … be … schawin to his tenandis; 1456–7 Acts II 52/2.
The … small custumes, according to the Witsounday sett; 1609–10 Ayr B. Acc. 242.
(2) In respect of Witsonday adois he could do nothing till Witsonday war past; 1615 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 2 May.
(3) Sir Alex. Durhame … bought the lands of Largo … it was a Witsondays bargaine and he medled with the [corne] of crope 1662; 1662 Lamont Diary 154.
Itt was a Witsundays bargaine and he was to enter and to have crope 1666; 1666 Lamont Diary 189.

e. Witsonday court. My lordis Vitsonday court; 1523 Carnwath Baron Ct. (SHS) 2.

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"Witsonday n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jan 2022 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/witsonday>



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