The majority of inventories in testaments written between 1500 and 1750 contain references to agricultural produce and livestock. Scotland was an agrarian country at this time and, therefore, many testaments from this time are for people connected to agriculture (for example tenant farmers, rural craftsmen, and labourers). In addition, agricultural produce and livestock appear in the testaments of the landowning classes (because rent was paid in agricultural produce in many cases), and because the better off also kept horses and other livestock. Even merchants and craftsmen in towns usually had a plot of land, where a small crop could be grown, or some livestock kept, such as a milk-cow or a few pigs, or a horse. A list of the most common crops and livestock appears below, with examples from testaments. Note the varying spellings - words were spelt phonetically at this time; there was no 'correct' spelling.
Some Commonly Occurring Agricultural Produce.
Oats - often spelt aitts or aittis
Corn - often spelt corne
Barley - usually spelt bere, bear or beir
Meal - usually spelt meil, or meill
Peas - sometimes spelt pease
Straw etc - often spelt fodder, and occasionally futter
ferd corne (literally fourth corn)- was an estimate of the value of grain for sowing
Extract from an inventory: thrie f[irlottis] beir estimat to the ferd corne pryce of the boll with the fodder V li. Inde xv li.v
Some Commonly Occurring Livestock
Cattle - sometimes ky, or the plural kyne, a quey (or coy, or quoy) was a heifer, stirks were heifers which had been weaned (2 or 3 years old), stots were bullocks, halket kyne were spotted cows, a tidy ky or tydie ky was a cow which was pregnant or lactating, a ky and followers was a cow with calves.
Many other terms relating to cattle may appear in testaments: this is where a good Scots dictionary is useful.
Sheep - often spelt scheip
Goats - often spelt gaits or gaitis, a minchak or minschok was a young female goat
Horses - lots of terms for horses appear, including mares or mairs, mairis, foals, foalis, fillys, and nags or naggis
Pigs - often spelt pigges, piggis, hogges or hoggis
Extract from an inventory: twa thrie yeir auld stottis pryce of the peice vj li. xiij