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PENDICLE n. an adjunct or appendage

Ultimately derived from Latin pendere, to hang, a pendicle is something that is a dependent or subsidiary part of something else.  Its most common use is in relation to land or property, when it means property subsidiary to a main estate. In this context it often occurs in the phrase ‘pendicles and pertinents’, as illustrated by this 1588 quote from the Burnisland Burgh Court book: “In … his tenement off land with yeard pairtis pendiclis and pertinentis”.

Other examples from the Dictionary of the Scots Language (www.dsl.ac.uk) show pendicles as not only subsidiary but separate from the main property, as shown by this from the Statistical Account of Scotland from the late 18th century: “It was a parsonage, having four churches belonging to it which were called the pendicles of Stobo”.  Small areas of land forming part of a larger holding might be sub-let to tenants, which led to the term pendicler - a smallholder or tenant of a pendicle.  This is shown in the following extract from a 1965 edition of the Scots Magazine: “Fowlis Wester was a community of ‘pendiclers’, each with a small piece of land for which rent was paid in labour to the farmer to whose farm the piece of land was appended”.

In Trades incorporations, a pendicle was a trade or tradesman not fully incorporated, and having limited rights.  We can see this usage in the following quote from William M Morison’s The Decisions of the Courts of Session (1805): “The wrights [of Dundee] along with two other crafts, are denominated ‘The Pendicle Trades’, to distinguish them from those that are regularly incorporated”. 

In older times pendicle could refer to a cloth hanging used as a valance, as shown in this from  Memorials of the Montgomeries (1596): “About my bed … sex pair of courtingis with thair pendicles”.

 

Scots Word of the Week is written by Ann Ferguson of Scottish Language Dictionaries www.scotsdictionaries.org.uk, 9 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7AL,  mail@scotsdictionaries.org.uk. For £20 you can sponsor a Scots word.