Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

EYRISLAND, n. Also erseland, er(i)s-, erys-, ur(i)s-, uirs-.

1. A division of land in Ork., the 1/8 part of a markland, giving the rent of the eighth part of a mark = 18 pennylands (Ork. 1929 Marw., ur(i)sland, uirsland). Now obs. except hist.Ork. 1772 G. Gifford in G. Low Orkney (1879) 144:
Our Ure or Ursland (Eyre) contains 18 Pennylands.
Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 323:
Remains of Popish chapels are many, because every Erysland of 18 penny land had one for matins and vespers, but now all are in ruins.
Ork. 1805 G. Barry Hist. of Ork. 187:
The islands were divided into Euslands [sic] or Ounce-lands, every one of which made the eighth part of a Mark land, and was deemed sufficient for the support of a chief and his soldiers.
Ork. 1929 Marw. 202:
The term is constantly recurring in the early Rentals (from 1492 down), and in the form ersland is still remembered today, in Harray and one or two other parishes. Usually, the subdivision of a parish now remembered as an ersland corresponds exactly with what was an actual urisland of 18 pennylands, and there can be no doubt as to the original identity of the terms.

2. A part of a parish which went as a unit for burial arrangements (Ork. 1929 Marw., ersland), and other church purposes.Ork. 1801 in A. W. Johnston Church in Ork. (1940) 64:
The elders willingly did undertak to uplift and collect in their several urslands.
Ork. 1914 J. Firth in Old-Lore Misc. VII. iv. 154:
The districts of Redland and Settiscarth were always spoken of as erseland, and by virtue of this union it was the bounden duty of the men in one district to attend all funerals in the other.
Ork. 1927 J. S. Clouston (ed.) Ork. Par. Intro. xx.:
The existence within the parish of certain definite districts, in most parishes called Urslands, and evidently founded originally upon the eyrislands . . . since they are remembered today as districts whose inhabitants had all to attend the funeral of anyone who died within the district, and bear the coffin to the parish kirk.

[O.N. eyrir, gen. -is, pl. aurar, ounce of silver, the eighth part of a mark; eyrisland, land yielding the rent of an eyrir.]

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

"Eyrisland n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: