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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.

Irn(e)-hous(e, n. Also: yrne-, iron-, yrin-. One of the rooms in the Old Tolbooth of Edinburgh, later also known as the ‘iron room’, appar. so called as containing the ‘irons’ or shackles (Irne n. 3, Iron n. 2 b); applied also to a similar room in the Canongate Tolbooth. Also attrib.(a) 1552 Treas. Acc. X. 159.
To Thomas Hall, kepar of the irnehous of Edinburgh, for the expensis of twa fals witnes
1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 285.
For making of vij stane … of irne wark in bolts to the irne hous and theivis hoill and over tolbuith
1560 Ib. III. 78.
[The treasurer] to loft and flure the ovir irne hous
1597–8 Ib. V. 213.
To resave in thair wairdhous the aucht Inglis pledges … to be putt in the irnehous togidder … , and that na Scottisman be placeit in the irne house with thame
1618 Melrose P. 315.
We haif gevin directioun to the magistrats of Edinburgh … to committ him cloise prisonnair in thair irnehouse, and to lay him in the irnis
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 215.
The compleaner … is forced to beg his meat out at the yrnehous windowes
(b) 1662 Edinb. B. Rec. IX. 309.
The ironhous and womanhous in the Tolbuith is faultie in the flooring thereof
1683 Bk. O. Edinb. C. VIII. 142.
The magistrats … to receave & keip in suire firmance in the iron hous of the prison … the persones … now in the theifs holl

b. Also in Haddington: (?) 1574-5 Haddington Treas. Acc. 34.
To the customeris for the yrinhous dewtie

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"Irn-hous n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Apr 2024 <>



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