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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.

SUPERIOR, n. Sc. Law: a person who has made a grant of land in Feu to another (thereupon called the Vassal) and receives an annual payment or feu-duty for it; that person in relation to his vassal or to the lands feued. For (im)mediate superior see 1722 quot. Combs. subject-superior, a superior who holds his land in feu direct from the Crown, such a person being eligible according to the valued rent of his land if £400 Scots or over, for the county franchise before the Reform Act of 1832 (Sc. 1722 W. Forbes Institutes i. 111, 1825 J. Mitchell Scotsman's Library 490), superior duty, feu-duty, the annual payment made to a superior; in Ork. another name for Skatt, q.v.Sc. 1704 Morison Decisions 9325:
Lord Lauderdale as superior of Easter and Wester Hailes.
Sh. 1716 P.S.A.S. XIX 238:
Superior duity payable to the Right honourable the Earl of Morton.
Sc. 1722 W. Forbes Institute ii. 97:
When the Vassal makes over his Right to the Fee to another, to be held of himself; that other is called a Sub-vassal, to whom the first Vassal is immediate Superior, and the Vassal's Superior is call'd the Subvassal's mediate Superior.
Sc. 1772 Edb. Ev. Courant (7 March):
These Lands are holden of a subject superior for payment of two merks Scots of feu-duty.
Sc. 1774 Erskine Institute ii. iii. § 10:
The granter of the feudal right is called the superior, because he stands in an higher rank than the grantee, who is styled the vassal.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot., App. I. 192:
An original charter is generally therefore granted by a subject-superior in the form of a feu-charter.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 708:
The magistrates are superiors of the suburbs of the Canongate and Easter and Western Portsburgh .
Sc. 1891 J. Craigie Conveyancing 3:
The holder of land may be a vassal and a superior — a vassal as regards the granter of his right, a superior as regardst he grantee to whom he has subfeud.
Sc. 1910 W. L. Mathieson Awakening Scot. 19:
It became usual to transfer parcels of land valued at not less than £400 Scots from the Crown to subject-superiors, and thus to create votes by a mere manipulation of tenure.
Sc. 1966 Scotsman (21 Dec.) 9:
The committee agree that some of the terminology of the feudal system is archaic but they cannot suggest any more acceptable terms than “superior” and “feu duty” , which also have unpopular connotations.

[O.Sc. superior, id., 1472.]

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"Superior n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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