Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary (1867)

This is my, rather battered, copy of Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary. When I first obtained it I thought to find out more about the publication. I uncovered this quote:-

“I began my career in dictionary making about the age of thirteen, by making marginal additions on a copy of Jamieson’s Scottish dictionary. The remarkable thing is not that I made these entries, but that I had a copy of Jamieson to make them in.” – Sir William A Craigie (1867-1957).

It would seem as if they were scarce, even to someone born in the year of this edition’s publication. It’s proved useful on many occasions and inspired a short run of word-a-day memes on Facebook. There are obviously definitions of words, related to holidays and festivals, contained within which will come in useful for the ‘Daily Occurrences’ section, based on Chambers’ ‘Book of Days’ (1886) next year.

As it’s Christmas today I thought to see if I’d found any related words. For the 21st of December is:-

MIDWINTERDAY, s. The name anciently given to the brumal solstice. Annand [suggests it’s terminology found in the Annandale region].

For Christmas day I found only the one term:-

BANE, King of Bane, The same with King of the Bean, a character in the Christmas gambols. This designation is given to the person who is so fortunate as to receive that part of a divided cake which has a bean in it; Rex fabae. Knox.
” Now, now, the mirth comes, 
With the cake full of plums, 
Where bean’s the king of the feast here.” 
– Herrick.

This is allusion to a party game played at dinner. Chambers informs us more in his ‘Book of Days’:-

In its character as a popular festival, Twelfth-Day stands only inferior to Christmas. The leading object held in view is to do honour to the three wise men, or, as they are more generally denominated, the three kings. It is a Christian custom, ancient past memory, and probably suggested by a pagan custom, to indulge in a pleasantry called the Election of Kings by Beans...1
On Twelfth-Day, 1563, Mary Queen of Scots celebrated the French pastime of the King of the Bean at Holyrood, but with a queen instead of a king, as more appropriate, in consideration of herself being a female sovereign. The lot fell to the real queen’s attendant, Mary Fleming, and the mistress good-naturedly arrayed the servant in her own robes and jewels, that she might duly sustain the mimic dignity in the festivities of the night. The English resident, Randolph, who was in love with Mary Beton, another of the queen’s maids of honour, wrote in excited terms about this festival to the Earl of Leicester. ‘Happy was it,’ says he, ‘unto this realm, that her reign endured no longer. Two such sights, in one state, in so good accord, I believe was never seen, as to behold two worthy queens possess, without envy, one kingdom, both upon a day. I leave the rest to your lordship to be judged of. My pen staggereth, my hand faileth, further to write… The queen of the bean was that day in a gown of cloth of silver; her head, her neck, her shoulders, the rest of her whole body, so beset with stones, that more in our whole jewel-house were not to be found… The cheer was great. I never found myself so happy, nor so well treated, until that it came to the point that the old queen [Mary] herself, to show her mighty power, contrary unto the assurance granted me by the younger queen [Mary Fleming], drew me into the dance, which part of the play I could with good will have spared unto your lordship, as much fitter for the purpose.’2

 

JamiesonsDictionary1a

Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Spine.

JamiesonsDictionary2

Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Front Cover.

JamiesonsDictionary4

Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Handwritten List of Topics, Flyleaf.

JamiesonsDictionary5

Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Handwritten Notes, Flyleaf Reverse.

JamiesonsDictionary6

Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Publisher’s Page.

JamiesonsDictionary7

Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Publisher’s Page Reverse.

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Rev. Dr. J. Jamieson (1867), ‘Scottish Dictionary’, Ed: J. Longmuir, Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, Dedication.

 

1  ‘Some maintain it to have been derived from the custom observed by the Roman children, who, at the end of their Saturnalia, drew lots with beans, to see who would be king.’ – Brady 
2  Strickland’s Lives of the Queens of Scotland, iv. 20. 

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