Translation


Michelle Wilson
 

Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


Irene Macleod
 

Hi Michelle
A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  
I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.
Irene


On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


orange.wasps
 

“Merks” or marks was a currency used only for accounting. A mark was worth 13s 8d Sterling. There was a difference in value between a pound Scots and a pound Sterling which hopefully someone else will elucidate. 

Ruth


On 21 Jul 2020, at 19:14, Irene Macleod via groups.io <lowlandscot@...> wrote:

 Hi Michelle
A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  
I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.
Irene


On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


Michelle Wilson
 

Thank You,, Ruth and Irene. Now things make sense.  I figured it was probably an archaic term because the person I was dealing with was in the early 1400’s.  I stopped going back any further than 1367 because I have other lines I have to pursue besides Griersons.  But it has been interesting.

Take care & stay well,    

 

Michelle

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io [mailto:dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io] On Behalf Of orange.wasps
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:19 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

“Merks” or marks was a currency used only for accounting. A mark was worth 13s 8d Sterling. There was a difference in value between a pound Scots and a pound Sterling which hopefully someone else will elucidate. 

 

Ruth



On 21 Jul 2020, at 19:14, Irene Macleod via groups.io <lowlandscot@...> wrote:

 Hi Michelle

A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  

I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.

Irene



On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


Michelle Wilson
 

Thank you… everyone on this website has been so helpful to an old American like me.  I do s love the British Isles.  I have family lines in Scotland (Dumfries-shire area), Ireland (Dublin Carlow and Drogheda )), England (Liverpool, Southampton ) and Wales.  They never arrived here until 1913 so most all of my research is over there.

 

Michelle

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io [mailto:dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io] On Behalf Of Irene Macleod via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:14 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Hi Michelle

A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  

I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.

Irene



On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


Hendersondonald
 

Merks weren’t solely used for accounting. Coinage was struck in that denomination in the 16th and 17th centuries. You can still buy them, carefully on eBay or from a reputable coin dealer. 


Donald. 


On 21 Jul 2020, at 20:11, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Thank You,, Ruth and Irene. Now things make sense.  I figured it was probably an archaic term because the person I was dealing with was in the early 1400’s.  I stopped going back any further than 1367 because I have other lines I have to pursue besides Griersons.  But it has been interesting.

Take care & stay well,    

 

Michelle

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io [mailto:dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io] On Behalf Of orange.wasps
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:19 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

“Merks” or marks was a currency used only for accounting. A mark was worth 13s 8d Sterling. There was a difference in value between a pound Scots and a pound Sterling which hopefully someone else will elucidate. 

 

Ruth



On 21 Jul 2020, at 19:14, Irene Macleod via groups.io <lowlandscot@...> wrote:

 Hi Michelle

A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  

I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.

Irene



On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


Bob Epperson
 

For most of its use (1500s and early 1600s) the Merk was valued at 2/3 of an English pound or 13 shillings 4 pence.  It was only rarely minted as an actual coin, but used primarily as a unit of value for accounting purposes.  Wills frequently list and inventory of stock and crops with the price per piece (each) in English pounds, shillings and pence.  However, the prices were also set up so they could be “easily” converted to merks.  Using prices in the will of Gotfrey McCulloch of Ardwell, Parish of Toskartoun, Wigtownshire who died in 1588 (will proved 4 Aug 1590) we see the following:

 

Draft Ox worth 8 pounds = 12 merks

Old Sheep worth 20 shillings = 1 ½ merk

Work Horse worth 6 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence = 10 merks

Boll (~164 lbs) of oats worth 33 shillings (one pound 13 shillings) 4 pence = 2 ½ merk

Boll of Barley worth 53 shilling (two pounds 13 shillings) 4 pence = 4 merks

 

So frequent prices involve 13 shillings 4 pence (1 merk) or 33 shillings 4 pence (1 ½ merk) or even 6 shillings 8 pence (1/2 merk).

 

Merks were also used as a measure of the rent or annual income a landlord could receive from an estate.  The terminology would refer to the 5 merkland, or 2 merkland, etc.  The  rent would be followed by the word “old extent.”  Exactly when the survey was done to determine the rent values is not exactly known.  However, The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, (“Transcript of an indenture between Robert I and the community of the kingdom regarding a taxation for life”) available online records a transcript dated 15 July 1326 and recorded 28 February 1327/28 which states that Robert I would collect taxes on the same basis as Alexander III at the rate of 1/10 th penny (10%) on the annual rents received by the landlords.  The are no existing records from the reign of Alexander III, however John Balliol collected a similar tax in the earldom of Carrick on 8 Aug 1293.

 

Whether the rent extents were determined in Alexander III’s reign (1249 – 1286) or earlier is not certain, but the determination was remarkably consistent across at least the lowlands of Scotland.  The rent was determined by the crops and livestock produced by acres of cropland and pasture included in the estate.  It would be easy to multiply the cropland acres by 3 bolls of oats (the expected yield) times 2 ½ merk per acre and add that to the number of acres of pasture times the number of lambs or calves that were expected from the number of ewes or cows supported by the grazing land or pasture available and multiplying that by the value the animals.  The rent was normally 1/3 of the annual produce and would be the value of Old Extent.  The vagary of the of the process is that in addition to pasture and cropland an estate might also contain rocky, boggy, or wooded land.  These lands would not be considered profitable and therefore were not counted in determining the “Old Extent.”  As a result a 5 merkland containing only crop and pasture land could be considerably smaller that a 5 merkland that consisted primarily of rocky hills, woods and bogs.

 

There was little inflation from the 1200s through the late 1500s.  With the arrival of Spanish silver from their South and Central American colonies in Europe the abundance of money started driving prices up creating inflation at the beginning of the 1600s.  This inflation impoverished some less frugal Scottish landlords which incited an interest in the Ulster plantation from 1611 onward as a means of acquiring cheap land to replenish their rent income.  With this inflation came the need to redetermine the equitable rents and taxes.  The lands were then listed as of New Extent.  Some deeds would give the land value as A.E. and N.E.   “A.E.” was the abbreviation for the Latin term of Old Extent (Antiqua Extentus) and “N.E.” for New Extent.  To determine the New Extent from the Old Extent one merely multiplied the Old Extent by a constant factor because the underlying value crop and livestock production was assumed to remain constant.

 

This concept of land valuation was also utilized in the townlands of Ireland.  The total acreage of a townland was not its total land area, but rather the acres of cropland and pasture.  A townland was described as being of so many acres “plantation measure” which drops out the “unproductive” acres.  A small townland consisting of all “productive” cropland and pasture might be exactly 100 acres, while another townland covering 200 acres would consist of 100 acres of productive land and 100 acres of unproductive land.  In either case the two townlands would be described as consisting of “100 acres plantation measure.”

 

Well this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about merks and their relationship to land measure and prices, but it can be very helpful in identifying a parcel of land because the production didn’t change much between 1300 and 1700 when the Improvers and Levelers began implementing more efficient farming methods.

 

Bob Epperson

 

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io <dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io> On Behalf Of Michelle Wilson
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:28 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Thank you… everyone on this website has been so helpful to an old American like me.  I do s love the British Isles.  I have family lines in Scotland (Dumfries-shire area), Ireland (Dublin Carlow and Drogheda )), England (Liverpool, Southampton ) and Wales.  They never arrived here until 1913 so most all of my research is over there.

 

Michelle

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io [mailto:dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io] On Behalf Of Irene Macleod via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:14 PM
To:
dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Hi Michelle

A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  

I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.

Irene

 

On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


--
Bob Epperson
repperson47@...


Hendersondonald
 

It's probably far more information than most readers of this list will need, but Merk coins, and sometimes multiples and often fractions of them, were issued on many occasions over a period of around 150 years in 50 or a hundred year/design types.

Specifically Lions (valued as a merk) were issued in James IV's reign, as were half Lions, and in James V's reign were again as 3, 2 and 1 ducat pieces.  In James VI's reign two merk coins, merks, half merk and quarter merks were issued frequently, but in silver given inflation over the period.  His merk and fractional merks issued in the 1600s are among the most common Scots coins from the period pre union of the crowns so will have been in plentiful circulation for decades afterwards.  Charles I issued half merks in silver which are also pretty plentiful, as did Charles II, who also issued multiples and fractions throughout the first half of his reign.  I don't think they were issued by James VII (though open to correction on that) and am pretty certain that William/Mary, William and Anne didn't do so.    

The gold coins from the turn of the 15th/16th century will have been rare and not in general circulation, but that certainly isnt true for the silver coinage issued in successive designs from the 1570s to the 1670s.

Of course the use of the term lasted longer still, as indeed did reference to the Scots pound, many decades after it had ceased to exist as a formal unit of currency.  


D


On Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 12:35:21 BST, Bob Epperson <repperson47@...> wrote:


For most of its use (1500s and early 1600s) the Merk was valued at 2/3 of an English pound or 13 shillings 4 pence.  It was only rarely minted as an actual coin, but used primarily as a unit of value for accounting purposes.  Wills frequently list and inventory of stock and crops with the price per piece (each) in English pounds, shillings and pence.  However, the prices were also set up so they could be “easily” converted to merks.  Using prices in the will of Gotfrey McCulloch of Ardwell, Parish of Toskartoun, Wigtownshire who died in 1588 (will proved 4 Aug 1590) we see the following:

 

Draft Ox worth 8 pounds = 12 merks

Old Sheep worth 20 shillings = 1 ½ merk

Work Horse worth 6 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence = 10 merks

Boll (~164 lbs) of oats worth 33 shillings (one pound 13 shillings) 4 pence = 2 ½ merk

Boll of Barley worth 53 shilling (two pounds 13 shillings) 4 pence = 4 merks

 

So frequent prices involve 13 shillings 4 pence (1 merk) or 33 shillings 4 pence (1 ½ merk) or even 6 shillings 8 pence (1/2 merk).

 

Merks were also used as a measure of the rent or annual income a landlord could receive from an estate.  The terminology would refer to the 5 merkland, or 2 merkland, etc.  The  rent would be followed by the word “old extent.”  Exactly when the survey was done to determine the rent values is not exactly known.  However, The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, (“Transcript of an indenture between Robert I and the community of the kingdom regarding a taxation for life”) available online records a transcript dated 15 July 1326 and recorded 28 February 1327/28 which states that Robert I would collect taxes on the same basis as Alexander III at the rate of 1/10 th penny (10%) on the annual rents received by the landlords.  The are no existing records from the reign of Alexander III, however John Balliol collected a similar tax in the earldom of Carrick on 8 Aug 1293.

 

Whether the rent extents were determined in Alexander III’s reign (1249 – 1286) or earlier is not certain, but the determination was remarkably consistent across at least the lowlands of Scotland.  The rent was determined by the crops and livestock produced by acres of cropland and pasture included in the estate.  It would be easy to multiply the cropland acres by 3 bolls of oats (the expected yield) times 2 ½ merk per acre and add that to the number of acres of pasture times the number of lambs or calves that were expected from the number of ewes or cows supported by the grazing land or pasture available and multiplying that by the value the animals.  The rent was normally 1/3 of the annual produce and would be the value of Old Extent.  The vagary of the of the process is that in addition to pasture and cropland an estate might also contain rocky, boggy, or wooded land.  These lands would not be considered profitable and therefore were not counted in determining the “Old Extent.”  As a result a 5 merkland containing only crop and pasture land could be considerably smaller that a 5 merkland that consisted primarily of rocky hills, woods and bogs.

 

There was little inflation from the 1200s through the late 1500s.  With the arrival of Spanish silver from their South and Central American colonies in Europe the abundance of money started driving prices up creating inflation at the beginning of the 1600s.  This inflation impoverished some less frugal Scottish landlords which incited an interest in the Ulster plantation from 1611 onward as a means of acquiring cheap land to replenish their rent income.  With this inflation came the need to redetermine the equitable rents and taxes.  The lands were then listed as of New Extent.  Some deeds would give the land value as A.E. and N.E.   “A.E.” was the abbreviation for the Latin term of Old Extent (Antiqua Extentus) and “N.E.” for New Extent.  To determine the New Extent from the Old Extent one merely multiplied the Old Extent by a constant factor because the underlying value crop and livestock production was assumed to remain constant.

 

This concept of land valuation was also utilized in the townlands of Ireland.  The total acreage of a townland was not its total land area, but rather the acres of cropland and pasture.  A townland was described as being of so many acres “plantation measure” which drops out the “unproductive” acres.  A small townland consisting of all “productive” cropland and pasture might be exactly 100 acres, while another townland covering 200 acres would consist of 100 acres of productive land and 100 acres of unproductive land.  In either case the two townlands would be described as consisting of “100 acres plantation measure.”

 

Well this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about merks and their relationship to land measure and prices, but it can be very helpful in identifying a parcel of land because the production didn’t change much between 1300 and 1700 when the Improvers and Levelers began implementing more efficient farming methods.

 

Bob Epperson

 

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io <dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io> On Behalf Of Michelle Wilson
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:28 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Thank you… everyone on this website has been so helpful to an old American like me.  I do s love the British Isles.  I have family lines in Scotland (Dumfries-shire area), Ireland (Dublin Carlow and Drogheda )), England (Liverpool, Southampton ) and Wales.  They never arrived here until 1913 so most all of my research is over there.

 

Michelle

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io [mailto:dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io] On Behalf Of Irene Macleod via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:14 PM
To:
dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Hi Michelle

A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land.  

I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.

Irene

 

On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson <micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis”

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


--
Bob Epperson
repperson47@...


Charles Dobie
 

Not necessarily "needed" info, but very welcome to this former coin collector. I owned several Merks of various denominations and years. I seem to remember that one was about half-crown size and had a marvelous countermark on it. Regrettably, my complete collection was auctioned off at Torex (Toronto) around 1995.

Chas. Dobie.


At 10:30 AM 2020-07-22, you wrote:
It's probably far more information than most readers of this list will need, but Merk coins, and sometimes multiples and often fractions of them, were issued on many occasions over a period of around 150 years in 50 or a hundred year/design types.

Specifically Lions (valued as a merk) were issued in James IV's reign, as were half Lions, and in James V's reign were again as 3, 2 and 1 ducat pieces.  In James VI's reign two merk coins, merks, half merk and quarter merks were issued frequently, but in silver given inflation over the period.  His merk and fractional merks issued in the 1600s are among the most common Scots coins from the period pre union of the crowns so will have been in plentiful circulation for decades afterwards.  Charles I issued half merks in silver which are also pretty plentiful, as did Charles II, who also issued multiples and fractions throughout the first half of his reign.  I don't think they were issued by James VII (though open to correction on that) and am pretty certain that William/Mary, William and Anne didn't do so.   

The gold coins from the turn of the 15th/16th century will have been rare and not in general circulation, but that certainly isnt true for the silver coinage issued in successive designs from the 1570s to the 1670s.

Of course the use of the term lasted longer still, as indeed did reference to the Scots pound, many decades after it had ceased to exist as a formal unit of currency. 


D


On Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 12:35:21 BST, Bob Epperson <repperson47@...> wrote:


For most of its use (1500s and early 1600s) the Merk was valued at 2/3 of an English pound or 13 shillings 4 pence.  It was only rarely minted as an actual coin, but used primarily as a unit of value for accounting purposes.  Wills frequently list and inventory of stock and crops with the price per piece (each) in English pounds, shillings and pence.  However, the prices were also set up so they could be “easilyâ€� converted to merks.  Using prices in the will of Gotfrey McCulloch of Ardwell, Parish of Toskartoun, Wigtownshire who died in 1588 (will proved 4 Aug 1590) we see the following:

 

Draft Ox worth 8 pounds = 12 merks

Old Sheep worth 20 shillings = 1 ½ merk

Work Horse worth 6 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence = 10 merks

Boll (~164 lbs) of oats worth 33 shillings (one pound 13 shillings) 4 pence = 2 ½ merk

Boll of Barley worth 53 shilling (two pounds 13 shillings) 4 pence = 4 merks

 

So frequent prices involve 13 shillings 4 pence (1 merk) or 33 shillings 4 pence (1 ½ merk) or even 6 shillings 8 pence (1/2 merk).

 

Merks were also used as a measure of the rent or annual income a landlord could receive from an estate.  The terminology would refer to the 5 merkland, or 2 merkland, etc.  The  rent would be followed by the word “old extent.â€�  Exactly when the survey was done to determine the rent values is not exactly known.  However, The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, (“Transcript of an indenture between Robert I and the community of the kingdom regarding a taxation for lifeâ€�) available online records a transcript dated 15 July 1326 and recorded 28 February 1327/28 which states that Robert I would collect taxes on the same basis as Alexander III at the rate of 1/10 th penny (10%) on the annual rents received by the landlords.  The are no existing records from the reign of Alexander III, however John Balliol collected a similar tax in the earldom of Carrick on 8 Aug 1293.

 

Whether the rent extents were determined in Alexander III’s reign (1249 – 1286) or earlier is not certain, but the determination was remarkably consistent across at least the lowlands of Scotland.  The rent was determined by the crops and livestock produced by acres of cropland and pasture included in the estate.  It would be easy to multiply the cropland acres by 3 bolls of oats (the expected yield) times 2 ½ merk per acre and add that to the number of acres of pasture times the number of lambs or calves that were expected from the number of ewes or cows supported by the grazing land or pasture available and multiplying that by the value the animals.  The rent was normally 1/3 of the annual produce and would be the value of Old Extent.  The vagary of the of the process is that in addition to pasture and cropland an estate might also contain rocky, boggy, or wooded land.  These lands would not be considered profitable and therefore were not counted in determining the “Old Extent.â€�  As a result a 5 merkland containing only crop and pasture land could be considerably smaller that a 5 merkland that consisted primarily of rocky hills, woods and bogs.

 

There was little inflation from the 1200s through the late 1500s.  With the arrival of Spanish silver from their South and Central American colonies in Europe the abundance of money started driving prices up creating inflation at the beginning of the 1600s.  This inflation impoverished some less frugal Scottish landlords which incited an interest in the Ulster plantation from 1611 onward as a means of acquiring cheap land to replenish their rent income.  With this inflation came the need to redetermine the equitable rents and taxes.  The lands were then listed as of New Extent.  Some deeds would give the land value as A.E. and N.E.   “A.E.â€� was the abbreviation for the Latin term of Old Extent (Antiqua Extentus) and “N.E.â€� for New Extent.  To determine the New Extent from the Old Extent one merely multiplied the Old Extent by a constant factor because the underlying value crop and livestock production was assumed to remain constant.

 

This concept of land valuation was also utilized in the townlands of Ireland.  The total acreage of a townland was not its total land area, but rather the acres of cropland and pasture.  A townland was described as being of so many acres “plantation measureâ€� which drops out the “unproductiveâ€� acres.  A small townland consisting of all “productiveâ€� cropland and pasture might be exactly 100 acres, while another townland covering 200 acres would consist of 100 acres of productive land and 100 acres of unproductive land.  In either case the two townlands would be described as consisting of “100 acres plantation measure.â€�

 

Well this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about merks and their relationship to land measure and prices, but it can be very helpful in identifying a parcel of land because the production didn’t change much between 1300 and 1700 when the Improvers and Levelers began implementing more efficient farming methods.

 

Bob Epperson

 

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io <dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io> On Behalf Of Michelle Wilson
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:28 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Thank you… everyone on this webssite has been so helpful to an old American like me.  I do s love the British Isles.  I have family lines in Scotland (Dumfries-shire area), Ireland (Dublin Carlow and Drogheda )), England (Liverpool, Southampton ) and Wales.  They never arrived here until 1913 so most all of my research is over there.

 

Michelle

 

From: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io [ mailto:dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io] On Behalf Of Irene Macleod via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:14 PM
To: dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy@groups.io
Subject: Re: [dumfriesandgallowaygenealogy] Translation

 

Hi Michelle

A merk was a unit of Scottish currency....a coin equivalent to 13 shillings of English money. So ten merkis land was land that had a rental value of 10 merks. But I don’t know how much land that would mean.....or whether it meant a parcel of land that was worth 10 merks in the past. The phrase is quite often used to described a quantity of land. 

I’ve got Griersons is my tree too but no link to the Laird of Lag.

Irene

 

On 21 Jul 2020, at 18:47, Michelle Wilson < micpaint.wilson@...> wrote:



Hello All,

I am recording some  information that I received from  records about my Grierson family line and I do not understand some of it.  I typed in red the part I would love someone to explain what they are talking about.

 

“Rodger Grierson, 8th Lord of Lag, died August 1593 Niniane Greirsoun (sic) of Dunscoir, Drumfries, Scotland “ leaves to the Laird of Lag ten m{er}kis�

 

Thank you,

 

Michelle

 


--
Bob Epperson
repperson47@...