Birse Bits 'n ' Pieces

 Odd bits of information to do with the name Birse.

The following information comes from many sources such as the Scottish National Dictionary, Books of poems and songs and local usage of the word. Perhaps you can add

to this, I'd like to hear from you if so.

 Birsable (adjective) unruly, intractable, headstrong, fiery tempered.

 Birse, Biss, Birsie.... A bristle or hair. 1721, "The Sawter gave the Saw a kiss,

         Humph quoth she, it’s for a Birse. (J. Kelly).


 Use of the name refers regularly to a brush or bristle, ie from a Boar.

 The tousie-tailed Collie lap richt on tap o' me, cockit his birse, showed his white teeth, an barkit like fury. (A.  Wardrop - Poems & Songs 1887.)

 " Licken the birse "  A sheaf of bristles from a wild Boar used by Souters in making their noted soled shoon. The dipping of the birse in wine and drawing it through the lips, was the symbol of initiation as a Souter.

            Lord John Russell, on his arrival with his bride at Selkirk the other day, was invested with           the burghship of that ancient town. In this ceremony, "licking the birse," that is, dipping a           bunch of shoemaker's bristles in a glass of wine and drawing them across the mouth, was           performed with all due solemnity by his lordship.

  A beard.....Watt wasna bonnie be it said, Willie's birse ne'er bluntit a blade.

  Anger or temper ... To set up the biss, to get angry or show signs of ill temper.

  Birse/ Brize ...Often used to denote the pressure of a crowd. ie. We had an awfu birse.

  Birz(e) To bruise.

  Birse cup/Tea ....Last cup of tea, with whisky or other spirit added, usually a third cup.

           Expression said to have originated in the Parish of Birse. Spirit was put in instead of cream.


 Buchan Cotter Stories .... Instead of putting cream into a cup of tea, they put in a small

 supply of whisky and that cup was known as Birse Tea.

  Birse... De birse , (the bristly one.)    (Sea name for swine.)   (da birse shetland for swine (Fishing grounds with an uneven bottom).

  de Birse is a fishing ground off the west coast of Unst.


 If you come across other meanings or uses of the word Birse please let us know.


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