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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.

Barmkin, Barnkin, n. Also: barmkyn, -kyne, -king; barnekin, -kine, -kyn. [ME. barmeken (14th c.), barnekyn. of obscure origin, perh. an alteration of barbican.] A battlement or battlemented wall; a wall of defence.(a) 1460 Fam. Rose 135.
To fund, big, ande vpmak a toure of fens, with barmkin ande bataling
c1475 Wall. viii. 782.
The Scottis … Thar barmkyn wan, and gret gerrettis kest doun
Ib. 1167.
Gret barmkynnys [thai] brak off stedis stark and strang
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 878.
The barmekin birst, thai enterit in at large
1508 Reg. Privy S. I. 247/2.
To big a towr and strenth, with barmkyn, in Inverlochy befor the fest of Martymes
1509 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 413.
Cum licentia edificandi … vnum castrum, turrim seu fortalicium … cum propugnaculis videlicet le barmkyn
1513 Doug. ii. iv. 61.
The barmkyn down we rent, And wallis of our cite we maid patent
Ib. xi. xvii. 23.
On the barmkyn abufe, and turettis hie
1535 Acts II. 346/1.
It is statut … that euery landit man … sall big ane sufficient barmkyn … of stane and lyme, contenand thre score futis of the square, ane eln thick and vj elnis heicht [etc.]
All the saidis strenthis, barmkynis and pelis
1537 Reg. Privy S. II. 376/2.
To big and have ane hous within the burgh of Banff of palice wys, with barmking, battelling, etc.
1567 Reg. Privy C. I. 593.
The hous and peill of Westhoussis … with the volt and barmkin thairof
1570 Leslie 92.
They wan the fowseis, keist doun the barmekine, and slewe sundre within the said castell
Ib. 125.
The utter barmkin wes won
1579 Reg. Privy C. III. 189.
That [he] … caus dimolische … the inner barmkin of the said hous, and the tour upoun the south nuke of the samin
1615 Highland P. III. 265.
As for the House of Dwnoveg, I … tooke there watter and the two barmkines from them
Ib. 267.
We ȝeid in at the vtter barmkin … , but they closed the ȝett of the inner barmkin
(b) 1501 Acta Conc. MS. X. 152 b.
The distruccioune & dovnecasting of the toune, housis, barnekyn, strenthis & fortalices
1600 Reg. Privy C. VI. 87.
[Charge had been given for] leddering the barnekin [by night]

b. In figurative uses. c1450-2 Howlat 384.
Baith barmekyn and bar to Scottis blud [thai] bene
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxvi. 30.
He brak the barmekyn of that bribour bla
1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 23.
The twynklyng stremowris of the orient … Persand the sabill barmkyn nocturnall
c1590 J. Stewart 201 § 4.
Aurora haid the heawens ourcled Vith celest air from blak Nocturna sched Throch percing purpur barmkin of the sky

c. Attrib. with dyke, hede, wall. 1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 97.
Ivé levys rank ourspred the barmkyn wall
Ib. x. 64.
Sum … schutis dartis … At thame quhilkis on the barmkyn hede remanys
c 1563 Reg. Panmure I. p. cxliii.
The Castelle hes beine fowr quarters, … withe ane gryt barmkine wale passand fra towre to towre
1585 Reg. Privy C. IV. 24.
Be thair frequent casting of stanes ouer the barnkin dyke of the said place, thay hurte … Marioun Maitland
1596 Dalr. II. 193/16; Ib. 288/24.
Our folkis … brashte it [the castle] sa sair, that the vtter barnkin wal tha wan in haist
1601 Crim. Trials II. 347.
[Thay] come to the Place of Boningtoune, and thair thifteouslie clam the barnekyn wall with ane ladder

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"Barmkin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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