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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PEND, n.1, v. Also pen(n). [pɛn(d)]

I. n. 1. An arch, vault (w.Sc. 1741 A. M'Donald Galick Vocab. 83), the arch of a bridge, gateway or the like (Sc. 1808 Jam.); a vaulted gateway, e.g. to the Abbeys of St. Andrews and Arbroath, still existing; also fig. of the arch or vault of heaven, the sky. Freq. attrib. as in pend roof, a vaulted roof.Edb. 1700 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1962) 264:
The former pends of the meal mercat being too low which made the place veray dark.
Ayr. 1719 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (9 Dec.) 23:
A hewn pend is to be putt above the head of the door in the east gavell.
Gsw. 1724 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 181–2:
The said Joseph has . . . digged under the walk and come closs to the said John Armors pillars, quherby his penn is rent from the bottom of the pen to the window above, . . . that his tenement is in danger to fall in the pott.
Sc. 1752 J. Spottiswoode Stile of Writs 425:
To build a Bridge upon — consisting of two Bows, each Bow twenty four Foot of Wideness, the Cuinzies of the Pend of free Stone.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XX. 57:
A spacious room, with a pend roof, and a large chimney, containing a middle pillar.
Fif. 1819 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 43:
Throu' Aurora's gildet gate, . . . And up the pend, at furious rate.
Ags. 1886 Arbroath Guide (2 Jan.) 4:
I passed the abbot's ancient ha', An' through the Abbey Pen'.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona i.:
We took shelter under a pend at the head of a close or alley.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 11:
The bonnie Teviot, dooce an purposeleike . . . gleidin neth the pends.
Sc. 1964 Scottish Field (Sept.) 26:
The Pends, St. Andrews, originally a vaulted gatehouse forming the main entrance to the Priory precincts.

2. A stone shaped for building into an archway (Sc. 1946 Spon's Builders Pocket-Bk. 441). Also pend-stone, id. (Sc. 1825 Jam.); ring-pen, see Ring.m.Lth. 1728 Clerk of Penicuik MSS.:
They are working on Craigie hill for pend stons for the bridge.
Slk. 1738 T. Craig-Brown Hist. Slk. (1886) II. 106:
Rough pend-stone, . . . £2. 10. 0.

3. A small stone bridge, usu. consisting of one arch, a low bridge or culvert. Cf. 5.Dmf. 1797 A. Steel Records Annan (1933) 143:
It would be an additional improvement . . . to continue the Penn or Arch over the North Burn.
Sc. 1834 Campbell and Garnett Life J. C. Maxwell (1882) II. 27:
The way the water gets from the pond through the wall and a pend or small bridge and down a chain into Water Orr.

4. A vaulted or arched passageway or entry, esp. one leading from the street into the back-court of a block of houses, orig. one which ran through the building but later applied to a passage between houses whether built over or not. Gen.Sc. Also attrib. as in pend-close, pend-ha', id., and in special combs. (1) Pen' Folk, prop. n., a small religious sect of Baptist principles taking its name from its meeting-house in a pen(d) in the High Street of Paisley (see quots.); (2) pend-gate, a gate closing the entrance to a pend (Ags., Per. 1965); (3) pen-mouth, the entrance to a pend (Cld. 1880 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., wm.Sc. 1965).Sc. 1699 Edb. Gazette (23–27 Nov.):
The Vault being so strong that it [explosion] could not make way upwards it forc'd it's passage through both the ends thereof, and Rent the Penn from the one end unto the other, yet did not overturn the Lodgings immediately above.
Sc. 1720 Caled. Mercury (2 Aug.):
Half of the Lodging . . . in the Close call'd Gosford's Close, betwixt Liberton's Wynd and the Bank Close, below the second Pend.
Slg. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (17 July) 4:
A Dwelling-House of three stories, in the Pend Close, adjoining to the above, presently possessed by Widow Lamb and others.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. xii.:
The two elders retired together to the arched stone passage, or “pend ha'”, as it was called.
Bnff. 1887 G. G. Green Gordonhaven 50:
There wis a great heich yett't open't up intil a pen.
Edb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 191:
Polissman's Yard . . . could only be entered by a low “pend” or vaulted passage.
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie xxiii.:
Twenty yairds to the richt o' a pend-close wi' a barrow in't.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xix.:
Clean through the inn went running from the street an entry, close, or pend, high-arched and broad enough to pass a cart.
Lnk. 1960 Stat. Acc.3 597:
From the High Street a number of “pends” or “closes” open into unexpected yards and back roads.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 40:
The iron handrail leading down to the cobblestones and the cart-shed pends.
Sc. 2001 Herald 22 Oct 11:
The instruction to look for the sign to Church Lane is appropriate, since I'm going to meet an American pastor. Church Lane, however, turns out to be a graffiti-daubed pend in a part of Clydebank that the white paint and new brickwork of regeneration has yet to reach.
(1) Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 4:
Nothing was more natural than that the congregation whose Meeting-house was in the Pen' Close, should come to be known as the “Pen' Folk”.
Rnf. 1892 Scottish Standard (30 Jan.):
The Pen Folk of Paisley . . . A small body of men and women who, in the year 1796, consitituted themselves into a Church “on the independent plan of government,” as their minutes state. Assimilating themselves to the Baptists as regards Church discipline, the Pen Folk yet remained separate as a body. . . . William Dickie, whose name has been mentioned as the last of the Pen Folk, was the 120th member enrolled. Their numbers were never great.
(2) Edb. 1898 J. Baillie W. Crighton xii.:
He's aye blazing about what he can dae on the bar at the pend gate.
(3) Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies 89:
When the games were over the bowlers could bowl easily into the back door of the Bowling Green Tavern, which was conveniently located at the pend mouth, which gave access to the green.
Lnk. 1951 G. Rae Howe o' Braefit 39:
Davie, staun at the pen-mooth, like a man, till I mak' shair.

5. A covered drain or sewer, a conduit (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 378, penn; Dmf. 1825 Jam.), the entrance to or grating over a drain or sewer (s. and w.Sc. 1880 Jam.; Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 50; Uls. 1903 E.D.D.; Ayr., Kcb., s.Sc. 1965). Comb. pen-cover, one of the flat slabs forming the roof of a pend (Kcb. 1965).Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 114:
Let them wha likes mak road or pen.
s.Sc. 1930 Border Mag. (Aug.) 117:
Doon a drain, up a pend, on the chance of a rat.
Ayr. 1945 B. Fergusson Lowland Soldier 56:
And the Scots firs stick and pithy, And the water in the blocked pens.

6. In Mining: a narrow, enclosed airway used in longwall working (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 50).

II. v. To form into an arch(way), to vault, freq. as ppl.adj. pended, -it, penned, arched, vaulted (Sc. 1825 Jam.); to tunnel.Fif. 1719 G. Gourlay Anstruther (1888) 32:
As much money of his own as will sufficiently pend the Cunzie Burn, and make the same passable either by carts or wains.
Sc. 1726 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) 143:
St. Magnus Church . . . is a very stately edifice, having beside a multitude of doors all pended.
Sc. 1741 Atholl MSS. 13:
I entred two Massons to Quarry and hew Stons and to pend Nine ffathoms at the Entry of the Levell.
Abd. 1768 Abd. Journal (5 Dec.):
The two large pended cellars, situate upon the north and south sides of the said bridge.
Lnk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 242:
The vestiges of these large penned vaults, which were certainly erected as asylums for cattle.
Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 113:
A gousty lump o' black pended stanework.
Slk. 1823 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1847) i.:
The gulf was crammed sae fu', that ane could hae gane ower it like a pendit brig.
Sc. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. I. 100, II. 179:
No door to the street, but a pended entry giving access to a court-yard behind. . . . A massive fabric, which, being arched or pended beneath, crosses over a street.

[O.Sc. pend, to vault, 1443, an arch, 1454. Immed. orig. uncertain but ultimately from O.Fr. pendre, Lat. pendere, to hang. The n. usages may have arisen from the v.]

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"Pend n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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