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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STENT, n.2, v.2 Also stint. [stɛnt]

I. n. 1. An assessment of the annual value of property, esp. land, as a basis for calculating liability for taxation; hence the amount so fixed, a tax or the money paid in taxes (Sc. 1808 Jam.), obs. in Eng. and now only hist. in Sc., in specif. usages: (1) the valuation and taxes imposed on land held direct of the king by barons and burghs and payable to the Crown (see Extent and Cess), by convention popularly restricted to the taxes paid by the burghs as units or the proportion of the same by the individual burgesses (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1808 Jam.). Cf. 1880 quot. Abolished in 1896.Sc. 1711 Records Conv. Burghs (1885) 18:
The pouer of the conventione of the royale burrows of Scotland concerning their stent is not a matter of judicature but of policy and order peculiarly competent to themselves.
Sc. 1732 Acts of Sederunt (18 Feb.):
The Offer [to pay a burghal tax] should noways prejudge the members as to their privilege of their being free from all Stents.
Sc. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 409:
According to the stint of the valued rent.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 143:
They raise provisions as the stents they raise.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 105:
Thou'rt worse than George for all his stents.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Kind Sir 27:
How cesses, stents, and fees were rax'd.
Inv. 1880 Trans. Inv. Scientif. Soc. I. 294:
“Stent” is the equivalent in burghs to land tax in counties.

(2) an assessment for ecclesiastical or parochial purposes, e.g. for the upkeep of churches or schools.Rxb. 1703 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1902) 53:
Ane annual and yeirlie stent of fyftie merks scotts money to be imposed and laid upon the haill inhabitants burgesses of the toune.
Lnk. 1704 J. Greenshields Lesmahagow (1864) 146:
A stent of 100 merks Scots uplifted out of the Paroch for repairing the pulpit.
Sc. 1743 Morison Decisions 5660:
The manse needing repair, the presbytery imposed a stent on the heritors.
Ayr. 1778 Burns Chronicle (1970) 21:
Mr Hamilton, late collector of the poors stint.
Bte. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 166:
In this parish there are 3 public schools; a parochial one, supported by a stent of valued land.
Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 188:
When the fund for the support of the poor is raised by way of stent, in terms of the Act of 1740.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 38:
He [the parish minister] cam' to gie us notice that niest year Our stent was to be raised.
e.Lth. 1893 P. H. Waddell Old Kirk Chron. 32:
Besides these larger expenses, which were met by ‘stents' on the heritors.

2. (1) A tax or impost for various purposes or in gen. Also 1700 Hist. Papers Jacobite Period (S.C.) I. 22:
Ane new Stent ffor Makeing up the ffyve hundreth Merks as our ffond ffor Apprehending the saids robbers.
Mry. 1716 W. Cramond Grant Ct. Bk. (1897) 22:
Under the failie of ane shilling stent for ilk dayes deficiencie.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 51–2:
Our Laird gets in his racked rents, His coals, his kane, an' a' his stents.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 199:
Her jo — the laird — roup'd aff his gear For a soom twice the stent ane.
Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray vi.:
We maun pey oor stent for entertainment o' the soldiers.

(2) In Glasgow University: a charge or levy on those students about to take their. degree, a graduation fee, for which the students in each Nation elected their own assessor. Obs. since 1858. See 3. (8) (iii) and II.Gsw. 1909 J. Coutts Hist. Univ. Gsw. 399:
The minimum assessment or stint was thirty shillings.

3. Combs., now obs.: (1) cattle stent, see quot.; (2) custom-stent, a tax or duty paid, gen. in kind, to a landlord, customary rent: (3) kirk-stent, manse-stent, a parochial tax for the upkeep of the church or manse: (4) road stent, a levy laid on the heritors of a county for the making and repair of highways, road-money (see Road, I. 1. (5)); (5) stent-book, the book or ledger containing the assessment roll for stent; (6) stent-box, ? a box for holding stent or tax-money; (7) stent-chamber, the office of the collector of stent in a burgh; (8) stent-master, stint-, (i) a person appointed by the magistrates and town-council of a burgh to act on the panel of assessors for stent (see 1. (1) (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (ii) one of a body with certain municipal status in Falkirk (see quot.); (iii) one of a committee of students in their final year at Glasgow University appointed to assess the graduation fee for their co-graduands (see 2. (2)). Obs. since 1858; (9) stent-roll, a valuation roll prepared for the assessment of a tax or levy; (10) trade('s)-stent, earlier stent for trade, an assessment on the trade. done by each burgess in a town, a kind of turnover tax, see 1793 quot.(1) Rxb. 1836 Report Munic. Corp. (Local) 85:
“Cattle stent” . . . the “grass-mail” (rent) paid by burgesses when their cattle depasture on the burgh muir [of Hawick].
(2) Rs. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Evidence IV. 2656:
We had a lease for the first twenty-two years at 15s. a year, with two hens as custom stent.
(3) Dmf. 1794 R. Ramsay On Leases 3 in B. Johnston General View of the Agriculture of the County of Dumfries App. No. II. v:
Many Landlords impose the payment of all public burdens; such as, kirk and manse-stents.
(4) Arg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 663:
Imposing 1s in the pound valuation as road stent.
(5) Gsw. 1760 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1912) 42:
Seven-and-a-half per cent. on each £100 of real rent and 9s Scots on each boll of. victual rent payable out of the burrow, according to a rentall insert in the stent books.
(6) e.Lth. 1811 Foord Acct. Bk. MS. 111:
To a new Stent box and Shive and brass.
(7) Gsw. 1705 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 665:
Putting up a partition in the stent chamber.
Gsw. 1709 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 438:
The said land, which is now taken to be the stent chamber.
(8) (i) Mry. 1705 R. Young Annals Elgin (1879) 159:
Fifteen persons so chosen . . . shall be Stent masters for the ensuing year, for proportioning, in presence of a Bailie, all the stents to be imposed within the burgh that year.
Sc. 1718 Rec. Conv. Burghs (1885) 196:
Stentmasters who may equally and impartially proportion the cess amongst the inhabitants.
Gsw. 1760 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1912) 43:
The slow progress of the stentmasters in casting on of the stent and compleating of their rolls.
Sc. 1774 Weekly Mag. (17 Feb.) 256:
The stent-masters, accompanied by some of the elders of the respective parishes of this city, began to collect, from house to house, a voluntary contribution for the support of the Charity Work-house of this place.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
A town-clerk's, six deacons', besides stent-masters.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 703:
In 1822, 36,268,530 yards [of linen] were manufactured, valued in the books of the stentmasters at £1,396,295 Sterling.
Inv. 1880 Trans. Inv. Scientif. Soc. I. 299:
Fifteen stentmasters were annually appointed by the Town Council, composed of three heritors, nine merchants, being Guild Brethren, and three craftsmen taken from the various trades exercising their crafts in the burgh. This system of stenting and fixing the valuation of heritable property in the town existed from time immemorial until 1854, when the Lands Valuation Act was passed.
(ii) Slg. 1853 J. Love Antiq. Notes (1910) II. 235:
The Stentmasters are a very ancient body, and their records go back more than 150 years. They are elected annually, and are 24 in number, four being chosen by the merchants, two by each of the trades of hammermen, wrights, weavers, shoemakers, masons, tailors, bakers, and brewers, and four from the suburbs of the town. Every person who carries on business in any of these trades is qualified to vote for and be elected a Stentmaster of his craft. After election the Stentmasters name out of their body a preses and treasurer, and they have also a clerk. The Stentmasters are the governing body in the town, and their powers are founded on immemorial usage. They have no jurisdiction, however, and apply to the Sheriff by ordinary action, in name of their preses and treasurer, to have their decreets enforced.
(iii) Gsw. 1708 Munim. Univ. Glas. (M.C.) II. 393:
The meeting of the stent-masters for stenting in any place without the college.
Gsw. 1830 Gsw. Univ. Calendar 38:
The Stint-Masters are those Students, who by the University statutes, have the power of fixing the Fee to be paid on taking the Degree of Master of Arts. Each nation elects its own Stint-Master.
Gsw. c.1857 D. Murray Old. Coll Gsw. (1927) 311:
The name “stent-masters,” which is correct, had for some unrecorded reason been altered to “stint-masters.” . . . They were elected yearly by the students who had that year completed their course in the classes required for the degree of M.A.
(9) Rxb. 1703 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1902) 53:
Ane yeirlie stentroll to be made.
Fif. 1722 L. Macbean Kirkcaldy Burgh Rec. (1908) 243:
James Lockhart, ane of the stent masters, produced two stent rolls, ane for trade amounting to one hundred and two pounds, Scots, and another for houses and land stent of the house rents.
Ayr. 1766 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (26 Nov.):
The Stent Roll of the Parish of Monktown laid on by the Presbytery for repairing the Manse and Office-houses of Monktown.
Sc. 1723 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) III. 44:
Circular letters were written by the town of Edinburgh to all the burghs, and that some are threatened to have their stent-roll heightened in August next.
Sc. 1924 R. S. Rait Parliaments Scot. 251:
The burghs distributed among themselves the total amount of the taxation payable by their Estate, and the proportion payable by each burgh was fixed by the burgh commissioners assembled in Parliament or, later, by the Convention of Royal Burghs. We possess, from the last quarter of the fifteenth century, a series of these assessments or stent-rolls.
(10) Gsw. 1712 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 485:
James Govane, merchant, shall be free of stent for trade during his lyftime.
Sc. 1793 Session Papers, Faculty Physicians v. Magistrates Gsw. (10 Dec.) 16:
The first tax from which the pursuers crave to have their immunity declared, is the trade's stent. The pursuers must observe, that a distinction is here to be made between two branches of the cess, or direct tax on property, as paid in burghs. The former, comprehending what is imposed upon account of the landed property possessed in the burgh, the latter what is paid in proportion to the trade of each inhabitant. Both of them are parts of the land-tax; but the former is paid indiscriminately by all proprietors of land, the latter is due only upon account of residence.
Gsw. 1800 Act for Establishing Police 6:
Their claims for any exemption from land and trade's stent, laddle dues, and other existing public or city burdens.
Per. 1836 G. Penny Traditions 199:
The assessment is so proportioned that three-fourths are laid upon the houses and lands within the royalty, and the remaining fourth upon trade. The latter portion is termed trade stent.

II. v. 1. To assess for the purpose of taxation or levy (persons or their lands or goods). Phr. to stent in, to assess for (a certain sum). See In, prep., B. 1.Gsw. 1708 Munim. Univ. Glas. (M.C.) II. 393:
On the occasion of their stenting one another in order to graduation.
Per. 1715 T. L. K. Oliphant Jacobite Lairds (1870) 35:
Im willing if all the K:s friends be stinted conform to what dargs of hay they have to give my proportione.
Ayr. 1734 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (3 July):
The heretors then present did stent the several heretors within the said paroch at ffour pound One shilling Eight pennies scots upon each hundred pound of valued rent.
Sc. 1751 Rec. Old Aberdeen (S.C.) II. 185:
To make up a stent upon the valued rent of said houses in the same manner as the houses within the Freedom Lands of Aberdeen as stented for taxation.
Sc. 1835 Report Municip. Corp. Scot. 45:
The duty of stenting the inhabitants who were liable to such taxes, that is, of fixing the precise amount for which each individual was liable, whether according to his property or to an estimate of his trade and merchandize, was intrusted to the magistrates who discharged this duty either directly or by the intervention of officers called stenters or stent-masters, appointed by them.
Edb. 1928 Robertson and Wood Castle and Town 189:
In early times the Bailies assumed the right to stent the Burgesses for any purpose and to an indefinite amount.

Hence stenter, -or, an assessor. Cf. stent -master in I. 3. and 1835 quot. above.Mry. 1712 W. Cramond Ch. Lhanbryd (1900) 17:
The church is still unbuilt. The presbytery appoint stenters for the purpose.
Ayr. 1726 Burgh Rec. Prestwick (M.C.) 89:
Stenters and lyners for the insewing year.
Sh. 1751 J. Willcock Sh. Minister (1897) 141:
A Committee of the Kirk-Session and a quorum of the Heritors, Stentors of the town of Lerwick.

2. To impose (a levy or tax) on, to allocate or apportion (a tax) by assessing each individual's liability.Abd. 1716 Hist. Papers Jacobite Period (S.C.) I. 50:
Four thousand pund Scots money, which should be proportioned and stented upon the inhabitants, conforme to their respective stocks.
Arg. 1719 Stent Bk. Islay (1890) 2–3:
The Baillie and other Gentlemen of Islay haveing conveened have stented and hereby Stent the Cess payable out of the saids lands for June and September termes.
Bnff. 1736 Banffshire Jnl. (15 Sept. 1885) 2:
Mr. Anderson had a legal salary, stented and payd by the heritors.
Abd. 1898 J. M. Cobban Angel xxxv.:
A complete rupture with our party, and the stenting of my gear and estates.

[O.Sc. stent, to assess, 1533, assessment, 1502, stenter, assessor, 1519, stent master, 1618, stent-rolt, 1562, Mid.Eng. stent, id., O. Fr. estente, Late Lat. extenta, valuation. See Extent.]

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"Stent n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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