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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.

Lettroun, n. Also: let(t)ro(u)n(e, -run(e, -rane, -ren, -rin; lettero(u)n(e, -in(g, -ene, lettirin; let(t)ern(e, litterne. [ME. lettorne (c 1325), leyterne (15th c.), letrune (c 1425), letteroun (1401), leterone, e.m.E. letaring, OF. lettrun, leitrun, late L. lectrum. Senses 2, 3 and 4 are chiefly or only Sc. Cf. Lectroun and Lattroun.]

1. A lectern or book-rest for reading or singing in a church.(a) c 1450 Coll. St. Salvator 158.
Ane buk epistlar for the lettroun of the pistill
Ib. 163.
Ane lettron for the wangel of brace with ane egill
1496 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II. 339.
Our … familiar sangstar … to … vphalde … ale … hours and divine seruice to be sangin within our paroche kirk of Abirdene at the letronez
1536–7 Ayr B. Acc. 20.
To Jame Nychole for the making of ane lettroun to the organe loft
1541 Treas. Acc. VIII. 43.
Gevin to Johne Ȝoung … for making of the cuveringis of the lettronis [in the chapel] witht fassis of silk
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 338.
For clengeing of the kirke about the lettrin
1558 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 313.
Choristar in our queir of our paroche kirk of Abirdene, and maister of the myd lettroun thairof, and of our sang scuill
1560 Ib. 329.
vj irne chandlaris, with the fuitt of bras of the myd lettrane
(b) 1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 41.
For clenging of the kirk without and in, and skowering of the freir and letteroun, v s.

2. After the Reformation, the reader and precentor ‘s desk in a church. Also attrib.(a) 1621 Misc. Maitl. C. I. 458.
That the pulpet and reederis letrun salbe taine doune and reedifeit againe
c1680 W. Row Blair 159.
Mr Blair … went to the lettren and took the Bible from the reader, and read [etc.]
1699 Stirling B. Rec. II. 90.
Thir presents to be intimat by the precentor from the letron … imediatlie after divine service
attrib. 1646 Alloa Kirk S. in Sc. Ant. III. 18.
For the letron service at Comunione, 48 sh.
(b) 1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 121.
For sawing of tua cuttis of aikin tymmer to be standartis to the letteroun in the new kirk
(c) 1647 Kinghorn Kirk S. 65.
The minister and session … thought meet that a new pulpit should be made … and a new litterne for the exercise

3. A reading-stand or desk in a private house; a writing desk or escritoire, often furnished with a lock and used for storing writings, writing material, cash, etc.(a) 1497 Halyb. 125.
Paid for his lettron 4 li. 2 s.
1505 Treas. Acc. III. 139.
For tursing of ane letroun and ane buke, xviij d.
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 143.
Seand Virgill on a lettron [R. letteron, Sm. lettrune] stand, To write onone I hynt a pen in hand
1527 Caldwell P. 58.
Togidder with the gold rings, precius stanes, uther jewell, and obligationis being in ane lettron
1540 Acta Conc. & Sess. MS. XIII. 119 b.
Ane Flanderis lettrovne price x s.
1580 Crim. Trials I. ii. 88.
Ane lettrun … quhairin ar contenit certane writtis
1592 Edinb. Test. XXIV. 213 b.
Ane lockit lettrone
1597 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 362.
Buirdis and lettrones to the said schollis
1606 Edinb. Test. XLI. 303.
Ane meikel letroun, pryce thairof xj s.
1643 Ib. LX. 279 b.
Ane old lettrone for writting pryce thairof xx s.
1643–4 Misc. Spald. C. V. 161. 1684 Brechin Test. VII. 121.(b) 1544 Lee Hist. Ch. II. 352.
Ane furm of fir, and ane little letterin of aik on the side of the bed, with an image of St. Jerome
1549–50 Ayr Common Good Acc.
Foure ellis of lyning to couer the lettirins x s.
1561–2 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 156.
For makinge of … letteronis
1563–4 Ib. I. 448.
iiij daillis … to be skelffis and ane lange letteroun unto the lordis librarie
1588 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 328.
For makin of ane letern to stand vpone Mr Robert Bruces ower burd v s.
1654 Edinb. Test. LXVIII. 40.
Ane writting letterne estimat to ane pund ten s.
1693 Foulis Acc. Bk. 158.
For carieing up my letterene and partitions and saits from the chamber to our house

b. ? A stand or desk for needle-work and the like. 1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 297.
Desks or lettrones … for wemen to work on covered with veluott the peice iii li.

4. A Writer to the Signet's or law-agent's desk.To go to, be put to, be (educat) at the (also a) lettron, to attend a writer's chambers, to pursue legal studies. 1691 Haigs of Bemersyde 326.
At that time I desired to be put to a lettering, and you refused; so I saw no hopes of education suitable to my birth
1697 Dallas Stiles 773.
This contract was drawn by a person no doubt educat at the lettron and not without advice of lawyers
1697-1707 D. Hume Accompt of Estate 12.
I went to the lettren with Alexr. Leslie, writter to the signet
1705 Misc. Maitl. C. III. 427.
Donald who, for the present, is att the letterin at Edr.

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"Lettroun n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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