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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

REGALITY, n. Also †-ie. A jurisdiction much wider than that of a baron and nearly co-extensive in civil and criminal matters with that of the Crown granted by the king to a powerful subject, lay or ecelesiastic; the territory subject to such jurisdiction. Abolished by the Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act of 1747, with important exceptions (see 1936 quot.). The grantee was called a Lord of Regality, and each regality had its court with a clerk and Officer presided over by a Bailie or Stewart, as the Lord's Deputy. Hence bailie, bailierie, clerk, etc. of (the) regality; Burgh of regality, a Burgh under the jurisdiction of a Lord of regality. Also attrib.Sc. 1706 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 428:
Being clerk to my regality court and barronrie.
Sc. 1708 J. Chamberlayne Pres. State Scot. (1711) 180:
There are many Regalities in the Kingdom, wherein the Lord of the Regality is Judge in Crimes that deserve Death, and may proceed upon Theft, Murder, or any other Crimes upon Citation; he generally appoints a Deputy, who is call'd Bailiff of the Regality.
Lnk. 1710 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 91:
Burghs of royality, regalitys and baronys within the said shyre.
Sc. 1729 S.C. Misc. (1940) II. 123:
[Moffat] is a regality and he [the Marquis of Annandale] has a gallows here.
Sc. 1734 J. Spotiswood Hope's Practicks 312:
The Lord and Bailie of Regality had the Priviledge of repleadging, even from the Justice General.
Sc. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 204:
At the Foot of the Westbow Street in this Parish, was a foreign Jurisdiction belonging to the Baron of Drem, who had a Regality of certain Temple Lands erected in his Favour.
Sc. 1797 Folio Dict. Decisions III. 363:
Bailieries of regality granted by the lord of regality.
Sc. 1800 A. Carlyle Autobiog. (1860) 216:
Musselburgh was only a burgh of regality, dependent on the Duke of Buccleuch.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery xiii.:
All the world knows that the cultivators of each barony or regality, temporal or spiritual, in Scotland, are obliged to bring their corn to be grinded at the mill of the territory.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 262:
The monks of Dunfermline enjoyed a baronial jurisdiction over the parish; and their powers afterwards extended to those of a regality.
Sc. 1849 Fishing Boats (Scotland) Report in Parliamentary Papers LI. xiv.:
Fraserburgh has the fortune, be it good or bad, to be what is termed a burgh of regality; whence, it appears, the inhabitants have no voice in the election of the Town councillors, who are nominated by the bailie.
Sc. 1904 Sc. Hist. Review I. 124:
The baronial superiors, lay and ecclesiastical, of the burghal communities established on their territory, seem to have followed the royal example, but the burghs of Regaliy and Barony which were formed under their authority, were subordinate, in rank, position and privilege, to those burghs which held directly of the Crown.
Sc. 1914 Melrose Regality Rec. (S.H.S.) xii.:
The bailies of regality, like the baron courts, were not accountable to any one for their ingatherings, because though they held royal courts the Crown had specially gifted the profits of the court to the vassal by the charter of erection of the regality. . . . The civil jurisdiction of the lord of regality was thus often equal to that of the sheriff, his criminal jurisdiction to that of the justiciary, as it included the four points or pleas of the Crown and every crime except treason.
Sc. 1936 Sources Sc. Law (Stair Soc.) 112–4:
The Lords of Regalities, who were vested with almost royal powers in their territories (which were as the Seigneuries of mediaeval France), likewise held their rights of jurisdiction along with their lands and transmitted both to their successors. Besides the greater temporal barons, these lords of regality numbered Abbots and bishops, who, after 1560, were succeeded by favoured barons. . . . The Regality Court of Holyroodhouse is still active. The Hereditary Keeper of the Palace, the Duke of Hamilton, as Lord of Regality, appoints a bailie and other officials to the Court.
Sc. 1963 North-East of Scotland 203:
Originally burghs were established by Royal Charter and were classed either as Royal Burghs or as Burghs of Barony or Regality according as the burgh lands were held directly under the Crown or under one of the great feudal lords. Burghs of this class were established subsequent to the year 1707, but no such burgh has come into existence since 1833.

[O.Sc. regality, territorial jurisdiction granted by a king, a territory subject to a lord of regality, 1420, lord of regality, 1436, court of regality, c.1680.]

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"Regality n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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