Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

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

Tapstar, -er, Topster, -air, n. [ME and e.m.E. tappestere (Chaucer), tapster (c1400), tapstare (Prompt. Parv.), OE tæppestre, fem. of tæppere Topper n.]

1. A (? chiefly female) person who taps or draws ale or wine for sale; a brewer and retailer of ale; a publican, innkeeper. Cf. Tapper n. 1.(a) 1505 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 108.
The browsteris and tapsteris to sell na darrer aill than for xij d. the gallowne
1558 Treas. Acc. X 343.
Chargeing all baxtaris, browstaris and tapstaris that thai baik breid and brew ale
1565 Linlithgow Sheriff Ct. 3 May.
Gif ony brouster … or tapstar sellis aill with ane vnmerkit or brynt stoup that sche pay xviij s. of vnlaw
a1568 Bann. MS 158a/55.
The tapstar & the fals knave haldis on ane mene
1568 Sempill in Sat. P. xlviii 100.
This sang of thre lassis was maid abone glassis, That tyme that thay wer tapstaris thair
1584 Sempill in Sat. P. xlv 673.
A inkeiper ane commone cuike, Ane tapster bayth of aill and wyne
1608 Irvine Mun. II 47.
That na wemen tapsteris be in ony burcht
1613 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 22b (8 Sept.).
That na tapster or servand suld be left in ony hous with key or cwir … in tyme of sermon
1655 Glasgow B. Rec. II 320.
Collectit … fourttie shilling Scottis aff ilk maske malt that was to be broune … be comoune tapsters
(b) 1546 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. II 124.
That na maner of regratouris, hukestares, caik baxteris, topsteris or browsteris be sufferit within this towne without thai be mareit folks, wedois
1589 Edinb. B. Rec. V 9.
Dischargeing all topsters, taverneris and browsteris to sell … ony wyne or aill, or yitt to hald oppin thair sellares, durres or tavernis fra ten houris at evin
1604 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 2.
That na topsteris of aill bye any aill cumand fra landwart
1653 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII 319.
The brewars and topsteris quho brew and vent grott aill and grott beir
1666 Edinb. B. Rec. X 10.
[The town council] dischairges all topsters … to vent or sell any … bunns rolls etc. as haveing nather laufull pryce nor pais
1693 Glasgow Chart. II 249.
Betwixt the collectors and taxmen and the saids brewers, vintners, and topsters and others

b. Dry topstair, one who sells, but does not brew, ale or beer (for further examples, see Dry tapstar(e n.). 1579–80 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 154.
The greit multitude of wemen tavernaris, dry topstairis, and ventaris of wyne, aill, and beir … intysis the youth

2. A (? female) seller or retailer (of some product). = Tapper n. 2. 1528 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 95.
All hukstaris and tapstaris of salt
1605 Glasgow Chart. I i dcxiv.
Tapsteris of lynyng cloth
1635 Glasgow B. Rec. II 32.
That na tapsteris of butter and cheis presum … to wey any butter and cheis within thair buithis … bot that whilk they sell in smallis within ane stone weght

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Tapstar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: