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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.

Cottar, Cotter, n. Also: cottare, -or. [Variant of Cotar, after Cot n.3] A tenant occupying a cottage and the land attached to it.(a) c 1400 Newbattle Chart. MS. (Reg. H.).
The said Ranald sall haif ane cottar duelland on the said land
1450 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 135.
Landis … to be haldin and had to the said Iohnne … with powar to mak tennendis or cottaris under hym at his lykeing
1527 Ib. 248.
Gewand … full … power … cottaris, fischaris, and ferrearis to inbryng and out put, quhow oft it sal be thocht … expedient
1542 Reg. Cupar A. II. 203.
That all the huisband men of the saidis landis ar oblist to commoun careage … , and all the cottaris ilkane to ane lang draucht … anis in the ȝeire
c 1567 Liber Calchou 489.
The greit maillis of the said towne … the small maillis of the cottaris therof
1576 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 18.
All tennentis and cottaris within the baillierie
1595 Bamff Chart. 140.
His vast [= west] pairt of the landis of Ardormie occupeit be David Cuming [etc.] … and thair cottares
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 53.
The heritor shall pey twentie punds; and the yeoman or cottar shall pey foure merks, for ilk failzie
1685 Corshill Baron Ct. 170.
The shearing … of the corne of ane peice of ane headrig of land, pertaineing to … his cottar
1697 Peebles B. Rec. II. 157.
The Dodhouse and Westerhouse sall not be sett … bot only to two cottars
(b) 1543 Fam. Innes 108.
To have sett … to the said Iames Innes … his subtennentis … and cottorris all and haill my landis
1683 Wodrow MSS. 4to. XXXVII. No. 6.
Have yee reset ore conversed with any of the rebells, ore is any of thaim your servants, cottors, ore children?
(c) 1596 Brechin Test. I. 144 b.
Iohne Paterson, cotter in Windiaige
1604 Urie Baron Ct. 4.
Euerie husbandman to be answerable for his cotteris
1621 Brechin Test. IV. 25.
They beinge simple cotteris haid no guidis nor geir
1659 Forbes Baron Ct. 225.
The haill cotteris, croftmen, and girsmen ar ordanit to help … for carying and transporting of stane
1675 Red Bk. Grandtully II. 229.
The fellow is ane cotter of Margaret Campbell's

2. Attrib. with hous, land, man, multir, toun, woman, ȝaird. 1599 Reg. Great S. 284/2 (see cottarȝaird below).
1684 Glamis Bk. of Rec. 35.
The offices att the barns no better then a company of small … cottar houses
1594 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. (Reg. H.) 76 b.
v markis money of male of hir cottarland
1617 Reg. Great S. 605/2.
Partem terrarum suarum … olim the Cotterlandis of Nether Balmakewin vocatam
1620 Ib. 8/1.
Cum 6 lie buttis terrarum … ad fines terre lie Cottarland dicte
1596 Brechin Test. I. 145.
Iohne Scot, cottar man in Auchquhanelaie
1601 Elgin Rec. II. 92.
Everie husband man absent fra the kirk to pay 6 s. 8 d., and the cottar man 12 d.
1649 Strathbogie Presb. 101.
Ther vas a bairne brought be a voman to his boundis, and giuen by hir to a cotter mannis vyf, to be fostered
1552 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 227.
Molendinum de Fyntra … cum lie cottir multir villarum de Ester et Vester Fyntra
1565 Ib. 424.
The actioun … persewit be Willeame Wod … anent the clame of the … cotter mvltyr and knaivschip of Cragorthie
1600 Reg. Great S. 337/1.
Cum lie cotter multer ville … de Eister et Wester Fintray
1601 Brechin Test. I. 203.
Alexander Neichtie, induellar in the cottertovne of Drumnagar
1598 Elgin Rec. II. 68.
The cottar man and woman … [sall pay] xl d.
1599 Reg. Great S. 284/2.
Quhill it cum to the north pairt of the cottaryairdis and cotterhousis of C.
1602 Reg. Great S. 475/2.
West thairfra … till it cum to the cotter-yaird-dykis of Haltoun

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"Cottar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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