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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.

TRON, n., v. Also trone, troan, troune. [tron]

I. n. 1. A steelyard or weighing-machine, esp. one for public use in a burgh set up in or near the market-place for the weighing of merchandise, particularly that locally produced, as butter, cheese, wool (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Hist. Also fig. Also in n.Eng. dial. in pl.Fif. 1707 E. Henderson Dunfermline (1879) 381:
The customes of the foure old fairsladdle of the meall tron, and small customes.
Gsw. 1736 J. McUre Hist. Gsw. 69:
At the Bottom of the Steeple there is a Trone, or a Place for weighing of Goods, to which there is a great Resort, of People, especially upon the Market Days, for Butter, Cheese and Tallow that comes here chiefly from the West.
Slg. 1782 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. (1920) 24:
No person shall weigh their tallow anywhere else that at the town's trone.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize III. xxv.:
To affix the declaration on the trones and kirk doors of the towns where the rage of the persecutors burnt the fiercest.
Ayr. 1880 A. McKay Hist. Kilmarnock 68:
Within the last seventy or eighty years the “troan” stood at the Cross.
Edb. 1894 J. Reid New Lights Old. Edb. 53:
The beam, known as the Salt Trone, to distinguish it from the Butter Trone in Lawnmarket.
Bwk. 1905 R. Gibson Old. Bk. Town 175:
The Market Cross — placed in the centre — and the Trone, to the west of the cross.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i. xvi.:
We dinna wee oor neebor i' the same tron wi' oorsels.
Gsw. 1965 J. House Heart of Glasgow 82:
In 1491 the Bishop of Glasgow negotiated a royal charter which gave him the right to have a free tron, or weighing machine, in the city. At this tron goods coming into Glasgow were weighed and customs were exacted. . . . The place for a tron was, naturally, at the mercat cross of Glasgow.

Combs. and derivs.: †(1) tronable, suitable for weighing, marketable, sold by tron weight; (2) tron beam, a weigh-beam, a steelyard. Also fig.; (3) tron feet, the base of a weighing machine; (4) tron-pole, the post or upright of a weigh-beam; (5) tron-weight, a weight used on a tron. See also 2.(1) Arg. 1701 Campbeltown T. C. Minutes MS.:
Cheise, tallow, and other tronable goods.
(2) Sc. 1822 Carlyle Letters (Norton 1886) II. 102:
If they weigh in thy immense Tron-beam of an understanding.
(3) Gsw. 1703 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 662:
Making and mending of trone feet.
(4) Lnk. 1880 W. Grossart Shotts 7:
She used to dance round the old Tron-pole.
(5) Sc. 1703 E. Henderson Dunfermline (1879) 374:
To send to holland for 12 stand of trone yetling weights.
Hdg. 1844 J. Miller Lamp Lth. (1900) 232:
Tron weights, stands of Crossgate, and meal, salt, and fish markets.

2. The standard of weight for home-produced commodities, statutorily abolished in 1618 but retained in practice until after 1824 when Imperial avoirdupois measures became standard. The measure varied by considerable amounts in different localities, the pound ranging between 21 and 28 ounces avoirdupois. Also used in apposition to a specified weight to indicate that tron measure is intended. Comb. tron-weight, id.Sc. 1736 Session Papers, Magistrates Edb. v. Moffat (5 July) 1:
The Difference between the Weight at which made Candles are sold, which is English Weight, and the Weight at which the Tallow is bought, which is Tron-weight.
Sc. 1764 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 54:
Tr. for Trone or Scots weight, by which Scots cheese, butter, etc. is sold.
Sc. 1779 J. Swinton Weights 18:
The Trone weight, which is used for commodities of home production, was abolished by act of parliament in 1618. There is no standard for it except the custom of Edinburgh. It is different almost in every shire.
Lnk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 V. 253:
Beef and mutton, butter and cheese, are sold by Tron weight, consisting of 16 lb. in the stone, and 22 ounce in the lb.
Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 585:
The weights in use in Ayrshire are, at the trone or county weight, which contains 24 oz.
Sc. 1829 G. Buchanan Tables 3:
Tron weight was rather restricted to some commodities, such as Scotch butter and Scotch cheese, tallow, wool, lint, hemp, hay, etc.; although there were exceptions to these rules, butcher-meat, for example, being sold in Glasgow by the Tron pound. Dutch weight was pretty uniform throughout the kingdom; but Tron weight varied in almost every different county from 21 to 28 ounces Avoirdupois to the pound.
Arg. 1841 Trans. High. Soc. VII. 139:
Four four-year old stots and one cow, averaging in weight thirty stones tron each. Note: — A stone tron contains 25 pounds.
Sc. 1874 G. Outram Lyrics 78:
A weight that is twenty stane tron.

3. The place or building where the public weighing-machine stood, and the area surrounding it, the market-place, the town centre; hence by extension, a market in gen. Hist., but still surviving as a place-name in Edinburgh, and in Trongate, a street name in Glasgow.Fif. 1702 D. Beveridge Culross (1885) II. 45:
A futt-race in the efternoon within the toun, from Castlehill March to James Archibald's door, and from thence bak to the Troune.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. ii.:
I'll win the vogue at market, tron, or fair.
Ayr. 1732 Mun. Irvine (1891) II. 135:
All persons who have Butter and Cheese and others to sell to come to the Trone, and not to dispose of them privately.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xxxvii.:
Irville, which is an abundant trone for widows and other single women.
Sc. 1849 A. Bell Melodies 17:
Saip's risin' at the trone.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 65:
At the very trons in toons It's hoch deep-lyin'.

Combs.: (1) Tron kirk, -church, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the name of a church standing near the site of the tron (Sc. 1702 T. Morer Acct. Scotland 88); (2) tron-knowe, a low mound or knoll where a public tron once stood; (3) tron-man, a chimney-sweep in the 18th and early 19th cs. in Edinburgh, so called because their headquarters were at the Tron (Sc. 1808 Jam.), sometimes also applied to a licensed porter or odd-job man who stood for hire around the Tron.(1) Gsw. 1719 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 56:
The shorn windows to be conform to the shorn windows in the Trone church.
Edb. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 165:
The Appellation of the Trone-Church, by which it is at present called, it received from its Vicinity to the Trone, which then stood hard by.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 97:
To the Tron-Kirk Bell.
Per. 1930 P. Baxter Perth Trades 10:
Perth . . . never had a Tron Church.
(2) Lnk. 1880 W. Grossart Shotts 7:
The place where the goods were sold is still called the Tron-knowe.
(3) Sc. 1705 Dialogue between a Country-Man and a Landwart School-Master 15:
100 pound a piece yearly, which is Scarce the Money a Trone-man can Earn in a year.
Sc. 1738 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. (1753) 329:
They approved of the foresaid Report; and did, and hereby do disjoin the said Porters or Workmen from the said Company of Trone-men.
Sc. 1754 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 28:
The homage he received when riding in triumph on the shoulders of a brawny tron-man, helped on the pernicious humour.
Edb. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (24 June) 3:
Two sweeps (or Tron-men, as I find they are called in this city).
Edb. 1882 J. Grant Old and New Edb. I. 135:
At the east end was an apartment devoted to the use of the Tron-men, or city sweeps.
Sc. 1951 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 441:
As these quasi-official sweeps gathered daily at the Tron, a public beam for weighing, opposite the Tron Church, they soon became known as “Tron-Men,” which designation they continued to bear after they moved to a small wooden building at the east end of the Guard-House.

4. A pillory, the post of the public weigh-beam being freq. used as such (see quots.) (Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 81, 1808 Jam.).Edb. 1700 Edb. Gazette (5–8 Aug.):
Yesterday the four young Men concerned in the late Tumult, were put upon the Troan.
Sc. 1726 D. Hume Trial for Crimes (1800) II. 375:
George Melvil, notour thief; set on the trone, and his nose pinched.
Sc. 1730 W. Forbes Institutes II. 14:
Corporal Punishments not capital, are Imprisonment, cropping the Offender's Ear, or nailing it to the Trone.

II. v. To weigh on a tron. Also in Eng. dial.Ayr. 1825 A. Crawford Tales Grandmother I. 17:
Six chalders of barley-malt — each bushel to be duly troned!

[O.Sc. trone (Lat. document) = I. 1., 1317, trone, as a pillory, 1449, as a weight, 1565, = II., 1451, troneman, 1613, Late Lat. trona, O.Fr. trone, Lat. trutina, weigh-beam, scales.]

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



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