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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Hesp, n. Also: hespe, heisp(e, helspe. [Northern ME. hesp, hespe, OE. (*hæspe,) hæpse.]

1. A hasp for securing a door or lid. Freq. coupled with stapil (also cruke), esp. in legal use as a symbol employed in giving sasine.(1) c1475 Wall. vii. 416.
Than festnyt thai with wetheis duris fast, To stapill and hesp
1513 Doug. vii. x. 21.
A hundreth brasyn hespis thame claspit queym
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 277.
For four gespis and stappillis to the closin of the liddes of the well
1600 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 768.
Ane hesse [sic] and tua stapillis to the north kirk dur
1650 Peebles B. Rec. 389.
Two hinging lockis, the hespe quhairof of ane is brokin
1666 Thanes of Cawdor 321.
Hesps and staples to your birlin
1684 Ellon Presb. 230.
Cheicks and sentries, crooks, hesp and steple [for doors]
(2) 1482 Reg. Paisley 393.
Thomas Card tradidit … statum, saisinam hereditoriam … per le hesp et stapil
1509 Ib. 397.
Per fustem et baculum quantum ad feodum, et per hesp et stapyl quantum ad liberum tenementum
1530 Glasgow Prot. IV. 27.
Jhon Wan … gaif stait and saesing, be hesp and stapyll, of x schilling of anwell
1552 Chart. Holyrood 159.
Per deliberacionem lie crwk & hesp … in manibus suis
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 555.
Landis quhilk pertenit to thair predicessouris be hesp and staipell
1626 Ib. VII. 17.
For discharging of infeftments to be givin by hesp and staiple
1662 Decis. Lords G. 36.
The bailies might have entered an appearand heir by hesp and staple
(b) 1506 Thanes of Cawdor 119.
Be the deliuerance of erd and stane, heisp and stapill, as the maner of burrowis is
1530 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 2.
Incontinent … be heispe & stapill the said bailȝe hais gewin stait & saising of the foirsaid anwellis

2. A hank or skein of yarn. Also fig. 1565 Inverness B. Rec. I. 125.
To refound … vii hespis of yarne
1582 Edinb. Test. X. 302.
Ane stane of woll & tua helspis [sic] of ȝarne
1598 Misc. Spald. C. I. 120.
Thou pat him nyne tymes fordwart throch ane hesp of vnvatterit yarne
1616 Conv. Burghs III. 28.
Making The haill hesp to be fyue quarter long of doubell yairne
1623 Perth Kirk S. in Strathbogie Presb. xii.
She confessed that sundry times before she had … put him through a hesp of green yarn
1629 Conv. Burghs III. 284.
That the magistrattis trye the lenth of the hesp and caus nomber the threids thairof
1644 Lanark Presb. 36.
That she put a woman … thrice throw a greene helspe for helping a grinding of the bellie
1671 Rec. Old Aberd. I. 121.
Ane hank of fingring yarne containing 13 hespes
1701 Dundee B. Laws 537.
That small and round yearne be not mixed in one hespe

fig. a1661 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 386.
Many ill-ravelled hesps hath Christ mended

b. Attrib. with threde, twyne. 1588 Edinb. Test. XIX. 119.
Tua pund … of lang hesp threid
Ib. 304 b.
Of hesp and cat [? cut] threid tuelf pund
1606 Ib. XLII. 220.
Sevin pund of hesp tuyne
1610 Ib. XLVI. 98 b.
Tuentie thrie bownes of hesp threid

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"Hesp n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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