Scottish Terms

This is another one for my notebook and compost heap. This is the rough outline of a historical fiction novel I started, but have decided not to proceed with. I love historical fiction, and the ones that I respect and admire typically are written by an author who has spent many many years researching the history. Traveling this path for awhile (I’ve poured many many hours into this project) I’ve learned something about myself, I’m not really an aspiring historical fiction writer. The thing that speaks the to me are moral and ethical issues. This is one reason I am so drawn to historical fiction, but developing my skills as a historical fiction writer is not the direction I want to go.

So with that in mind, I’ve decided to make public all my notes and story outline that I’ve created so far about this story I wanted to write. You can find them all under the category “James MacAvoy.” I hope that someone will write an inspiring historical fiction novel about the Highland Clearance. There’s some out there, I haven’t read any of them yet.


Crofting is a traditional social system in Scotland defined by small-scale food production. Crofting is characterized by its common working communities, or “townships”. Individual crofts are typically established on 2–5 hectares (5–12 12 acres) of in-bye for better quality forage, arable and vegetable production. Link to definition


Noun: a small rented farm, especially one in Scotland, comprising a plot of arable land attached to a house and with a right of pasturage held in common with other such farms.

Verb: farm (land) as a croft or crofts.”the land was crofted at one time”



a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.


In Scotland a factor (or property manager) is a person or firm charged with superintending or managing properties and estates—sometimes where the owner or landlord is unable to or uninterested in attending to such details personally, or in tenements in which several owners of individual flats contribute to the factoring of communal areas.


The Term and Quarter Days:

  • 28 February
  • 28 May
  • 28 August
  • 28 November

The Term and Quarter Days (Scotland) Act 1990 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which defined the dates of the Scottish Term and Quarter Days. These are customary divisions of the legal year when contracts traditionally begin and end and payments are due.

Quarter days as Candlemas on 28 February, Whitsunday on 28 May, Lammas on 28 August and Martinmas on 28 November, with Whitsunday and Martinmas being the two term days.


food, especially dried hay or feed, for cattle and other livestock.


noun (in Scotland) a person who owns a large estate.

Wild potherbs and other food

mug-wart and nettle (broth made of nettles, mixed with a little oatmeal, bleeding his cattle, and making the blood into a sort of pudding.) They ate shell-fish and seaweed


tacksman (Scottish Gaelic: Fear-Taic, meaning “supporting man”) was a landholder of intermediate legal and social status in Scottish Highland society.


noun SCOTTISH: a broad mountain valley


a narrow valley

Cock a Snook

(Britain, idiomatic, derogatory, as a gesture) To perform a snook, a gesture of disrespect.