AYRSHIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > AYRSHIRE > 2010-05 > 1273467170
From: John Humphrey <>
Subject: Re: [AYR] Definition of Walpynshawing
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 00:52:50 -0400
Hi Loretta -
The Dictionary of the Scots Language [www.dsl.ac.uk] gives several
spellings and examples of WAPPENSHAW which literally meant
"weapon-showing" It referred either to a "periodical muster or review
of the men under arms in a particular lordship or district" - which
seems to be your case - or to a festive tournament or contest of
**Gsw.* *1704* /Burgh Rec. Gsw./ (B.R.S.) 388:
They are ordinarily warned by the toun officers to weapon shawing.
**Sc.* *1720* R. Wodrow /Sufferings/ ii. iv. s.3:
By many former Laws Weapon-shewing, and the fencible Men in every
Shire, their being armed for their own Defence, is declared to be the
Privilege of Scotsmen.
**Sc.* *1828* Scott /F. M. Perth/ iii.:
The best wrestler, sword-and-buckler player --- the king of the
**Sc.* *1847* /Tait's Mag./ (July) 455:
The people were wont to be assembled down to a very late period, for
the weapon-schawings annually, in the months of June and October.
**Per.* *1905* G. Wilson /Glover Incorp./ 13:
On one of these occasions of wappen schawing a serious riot took place.
**Sc.* *1949* W. M. Mackenzie /Sc. Burghs/ 136:
Burgesses had to take their part in "weapon-showing" as liable to a
levy in time of war, but the custom was to do so of themselves, not as
part of the shire display.
**Sc.* *1816* Scott /O. Mortality/ ii.:
The sheriff of the county of Lanark was holding the wappenschaw of a
**Slk.* *1835* Hogg /Tales/ (1874) 681:
He was a principal man at weapon-shaws, excelling every competitor.
**Dmb.* *1868* J. Salmon /Gowodean/ ix.:
Of "wapen-schaw," and rustic game, Which twined with art the
**Abd.* *1873* P. Buchan /Inglismill/ 55:
Then cam' racin', playin' at the ba', An' arrow-shootin' at the
**Kcb.* *1900* Crockett /Black Douglas/ xiv.:
I also won the swording prize at the last wappenshaw.
**Sc.* *1957* /Early Rec. Abd./ (S.H.S.) cxlvii.:
The military measures enacted by the parliaments of James I
prescribed "wappin-schaws" within the burghs four times a year and
detailed the arms and armour to be worn by burghesses.
(2) /Fig/. A rally or turnout of supporters of a cause.
[O.Sc. /wapynschawing/, = *I*., 1424, /wapin-schaw/, = *II*. *1*.,
1503, 'a weapon-show', from Wappen
/v/.^1 , /n/.^1 ]
I've also found on-line a quote from a 26 May 1640 letter from Earl
Marischal to the Provost & Baillies of Aberdeen, asking them to rally
the citizenry to support his troops, then fighting on the Covenanter
side - which suggest that such "weapon-showings" could have a serious
"My very loveing freinds, these ar to show zow that I intend (God
willing) on Thursday nixt, in the eftirnoone, to be at Abirdeine, quhair
I will bring with me generall Maior monro and his regiment, for quhome I
pray zow cause prowyd victuallis for the payment... And with all ye sail
be in armes, and meitt ws at the brig of Dee, that we may joyne for
defense of your toune, and of so many honest men as sail be fund
thairin, and for the peace of the cuntrie about. But *I wish ze be
better conveened** nor ze were at last wappin showing."*
Loretta Layman wrote:
> I'm stumped. The Scots Dictionary doesn't have a word spelled even remotely like "walpynshawin". In the papers of the Montgomerys, Earls of Eglinton is a document with the heading "The WALPYNSHAWING of Conynghame, held on the Burgh Muir of Irvin, 15th October 1532". The only clue is that it was a meeting or gathering of lairds and their tenants held by the Earl, and I'd love to know its purpose.