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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Stapil(l, -yl(l, Staple, Staip(p)il(l, Ste(i)pill, n.1 Also: stapylle, -ell, -al, stappill, -le, stabill, staippell, -le, stepell, ste(a)ple, steiplle, steppil(l, -ell, -ul. [ME and e.m.E. stapple (1295), stapul (Cursor M.), stapel (1344-5), stable (Trevisa), staple (a1400-50), stapylle (Prompt. Parv.), OE stapol a post, pillar, MDu., MLG stapel pillar, etc., ON stǫpull steeple, etc.]Once in a place-name, sc. one of the parishes of Langholm, prob. a pillar, post, perhaps marking a particular spot or meeting-place; see English Place-name Society's Survey of English Place Names, Vol. XXVI. 1165–1214 Liber Calchou 16.
Ecclesiam de Stapylgorton
1409 Reg. Dunferm. 311.
Villelmo de Stapilgortoun
1661 Acts VII 237/1.
The paroche of Stablegordoun to 7000 merks

1. The fixed or supporting part of a fastening. a. A metal loop, fixed in a wall, etc., into which a hasp, bolt or bar is hooked or slotted; also, transf., the aperture into which a bolt slots. Freq. in collocation with hesp and slot. b. A similar device used to support or attach an object or part of an object, slotted into it or hanging from it. Freq. in collocation with ring.See Hesp n. 1 (1), Slot(t n.1 1 and Ring n.1 3 g for further examples. 1438 Exch. R. V 29.
Pro costagiis factis super tronam videlicet novis cordis et stapulis ferreis
a., b. (1) 1488 Lanark B. Rec. 2.
Mendyn of the stokis and a stapil, vj d.
1494–5 Treas. Acc. I 228.
1513 Treas. Acc. IV 524.
To the park yett iiij grete bandis, iiij crukis, a staple and grete nalis for the bandis weyand ij stane
1513 Doug. vii iii 78 (see Rest n.1 7 d). 1515 Edinb. Hammermen 87b.
Item for mending of the stapill of the trevis about the altar iiij d.
1516 Edinb. Hammermen 92a.
For iiij clekis & stapillis to the pilaris befor the altar
1523 Treas. Acc. V 231.
Out of auld Johnne Smithis forge … lx ȝokkis weill landit and ryngit with stapillis
1533 Wigtown B. Ct. 289b.
For the vrangus takyne fra hyre of the stappills of tua flovire barrellis tua trestis & the bowrdis of a bed
1537–8 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 226.
To tua chyris to the quenis grace ilk chyre vi paire bandis with seme and ruif … with cleikis stapillis nalis and all necessaris to thame
1538 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 226.
Ane grete stok lok to the vikat of the bak yet, and ane bois lok with stapillis thairto
1538 Treas. Acc. VI 396.
Ane pair of bandis with same ruffis, chekis, and stapillis to ane stule of eis
1548 Treas. Acc. IX 196.
Of xviij clekis, xviij eine, xj gret buklis, xj staplis of thair awyn irne to my lord governoures lytecampe bed
1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I 137.
Ane chenȝe of irne … with xj stapillis, to the overtrone, to fessin the weychts
1574–5 Haddington Treas. Acc. 24.
Fywe corbellis to be stapillis and plankis
1574–5 Glasgow B. Rec. I 35.
The wrangus breking of the staple of ane hyngand lok … being vpoun the multour kist in the towne mylne
1575–6 Lanark B. Rec. 71. 1590 Edinb. B. Rec. V 28.
The prayer bell, quhilk hes the stapill brokkin quhair the tongue hang
1630 Bamff Chart. 224. 1656–7 Dumbarton Common Gd. Acc. 214.
Staples and sweills for drawing of timber from Merckins Wood to the miln
1681 Fraser Lowland Lore 4.
He … was to maik vse of ane coulter to wring the staple out of the stone
fig. a1568 Bann. MS 218a/13.
Scho is … The verry stapill of steidfastnes
(b) 1559–60 Ayr B. Acc. 30.
Item to ane smyth for lokkis and staipillis to the Tolbuith dur
1624 Peebles Gleanings 46.
Ane staine of ierne to be bandis to the utter quheill and staippillis to the clous of ride milne
1625 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 171.
To Robert Richiesoune quarriour for tua hunder staippellis
1626 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 201.
For ane katband with ane staipple for the said yett
1626–7 Peebles B. Rec. I 415.
1630 Bamff Chart. 224.
Tuo doors … with cleiks, bands and staipils
(c) 1590 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 63.
For the lok bandis and cruikis thairto and steaple and bar
1597 Misc. Spald. C. V 69.
To Alexander Home, for macking of joggis, steppillis, and lockis to the witches
1619 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 123.
Ane stane for halding cattall meat with ane irne steipill therin
1622 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 149.
Twa steipillis to the colehous window
1623 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 154.
Ane rod, ane stepill, and ane ey to my lord of Binnyngis folding boorde xx s.
1643–4 Misc. Spald. C. V 161 (see Catband n.).
1644 Tulliallan Coal Wks. 32b.
For stepills to draew the stouling of the mill
1678 Fawside Coal Compt 31a.
To Alexander Bass for cruks & stepells
1680 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 7 Nov.
For a steple to the dore of the coallpitt
1685 Fawside Coal Compt 155a.
For cods [?] & stepells 10 s.
(2) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 458.
For stapillis, slottis, and boltis for the greit schip
1515–16 Rentale Dunkeld. MS 215b.
Et per correctione lie stapillis & lie sloittis hostii campanilis vj d.
1517 Treas. Acc. V 119.
For four stane and xij lib. irne wark maid in bandis, crukkis, staplis, lang slottis, ryngis, for the castell werk
1529–30 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 24.
Ane how stapill and sloittis to the chalmer
1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. II 298.
For mending the greit bands of the Kirk of Feyld Port with ane greit stapill to the sloit of the wikket thairof
1555–6 Edinb. B. Rec. II 367.
For aucht burdis to the … new windokis and new dur and crukis, iij slottis, with stapillis to the windois and dur
1623 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 154.
Ane pair of bandis ane slot and thrie stepilles … for ane hall dorr … in the castell
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 47.
Aucht doores with thair lockis and keyes, the eistmest lauch loft has ane vther doore with slot and steple
(3) 1589 Glasgow B. Rec. I 137.
Twa kistis ane lokkit the vther with heck and stapill
1622 Old Ross-shire I 122.
The hesp and steppul of the door of the house
1650 Misc. 3 Spald. C. II 204.
Bandes heftis and stappills
1689 Foulis Acc. Bk. 114.
A help and staple to ane ark
(4) 1513 Treas. Acc. IV 478.
vj ryngis and stapillis to bynd the hors with
1523 Treas. Acc. V 223.
Irne to be slyngis, ryngis and stapillis to ane part of the saidis ȝokkis
1584 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II 387.
For four ryngis and steppillis to the lecterouin in the librar, xij d.
1622 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 149.
For four ringis and four stepillis to the mengeris
1628 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 266.
xiii ringis with thair staippillis in the kingis curie
1658 Boyd Fam. P. No. 236 (27 Feb.).
Foure yokis with steiplle and ringe
1696 Peebles B. Rec. II 156.
To mak ready two stand of weights for weighting of the meall, … with broads accordingly of ane equall weight, one for carying the stone and a buist for weighting the meall, and to putt up staples and rings for carying of them
(5) 1555–6 Edinb. B. Rec. II 363.
For ane lok stapill

c. In legal use, coupled with hesp as a symbol of possession in the process of giving sasine (see Hope Minor Pract. quot. below), chiefly be hesp and stapill. See Hesp n. 1 (2) for further examples. 1487 Reg. Episc. Glasg. II 457.
Magister Johannes vendidit et per le hesp et stapyll in manibus dicti ballivi resignavit annuum redditum duorum solidorum de terris quondam Ricardi Falconar
1490 Prot. Bk. J. Young III 80.
Hesp and stapill
1498–9 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I 343.
1509 Reg. Paisley 398.
Per deliberationem hesp, stapyl et argenti
1536 Linlithgow B. Ct. 13 Nov.
The assis fyndis Gilbart Speddye nerrast and lauchfull air to wmquhill Thomas Speddye … and ordanis the bailȝes of the forsaid burgh to entir him be hasp and stapill
1564 Perth B. Ct. 25 Sept.
Him tobe enterit be heft & stapill in all landis & annuallis quhairintill he deit last vestit & sesit
1573 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming 8.
I charge ȝe … gyf sesing state and possession … of the said landis … be hesp and stapell
1576 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 17.
To preif quhair he ves enterit be hesp and stabill to the tenement occupeit be Mariorie Fyn
1581–2 Glasgow Chart. II 563.
The said Hectour [etc.] … dimittit the said fourtene schillingis of annuelrent … in the handes of Robert Stewart … be delyverance of hesp and staple, as use is
1585 Perth B. Ct. 16 April.
And enterit him be hesp & stapill as ane burges air
1587 Prot. Bk. J. Muschet 7.
The said Willeam … be helsp and staple … ouirgaiff … the bak land and tenement … in fauoris of James Robesoun
c1630 Hope Minor Practicks (1734) 323.
They [sc. the royal burghs] may … enter heirs to tenements of land … and give them seisin by hasp and staple [note An infeftment by hasp and staple is given in this manner: The bailie of the burgh … causes the apparent heir take hold of the hasp and staple of the door, and make him enter the house, and bolt the door upon himself … A staple of a door is the cavity into which the bolt or hasp is thrust.]
1696 Dysart Gleanings 81.
[In giving an infeftment to an heiress the] hasps and staples of the doors [were put into her hands]
1696 Fountainhall Decis. I 708.
1699 Rothesay B. Rec. 531.

2. A fastening for armour. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 981.
He … Hakkit throw the hard weid … Throw the stuf with the straik, stapalis and stanis … He hewit
1535 Stewart 11980.
Quhill ruvis raif and steill stapillis out lap Helme and hewmont wer hewin in schunder

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"Stapil n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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