and Tulliallan Chapter XXVII. An
Entymological and Concluding Chapter
AS a pendant to the history
of Culross and Tulliallan, it seems desirable to present an analysis of the
names of the various localities in the district. This branch of etymology
has in recent years attracted great and constantly increasing attention,
from the light which it throws on the nationality and origin of the races by
which, in the course of ages, a country has been settled or conquered. It is
a matter, indeed, regarding the details of which great diversity of opinion
necessarily exists, in consequence both of the corruptions which gradually
take place in popular nomenclature, and the possibility of forming in
individual cases so many different and equally specious conclusions. All
that can be done by the inquirer is to proceed with the utmost caution, to
discard as far as possible all fanciful or imaginary promptings, and to keep
steadily in view the principles of sound reasoning and common-sense.
As already indicated, the
inhabitants of the northern banks of the Forth, including those of the
Culross and Tulliallan districts, belonged to that division of the ancient
Caledonians known as the Northern Picts. It has been held that these tribes
spoke a mixed language—that is to say, their speech was partly Gaelic and
partly Cymric, according as these two great branches of the Celtic race were
more or less predominant in particular localities. According to this theory,
the older or Gaelic branch ultimately overshadowed in Scotland the younger
or Cymric; and this consummation has been attributed in great measure to the
immigration of the Gaelicspeaking Scots from Ireland in the beginning of the
sixth century, and their subsequent conquest and absorption of the Picts.
The name of the latter as a nationality thereupon disappeared altogether
from history, and the Scots became both the eponymic and governing
representatives of Caledonia or North Britain.
There can be little doubt,
however, that in the case both of the Northern and the Southern Piets the
language spoken by them was Gaelic, though Welsh or Cymric may have been the
tongue of the British kingdom of Strathclyde, which comprised a great part
of the Western Lowlands, extending from Dumbarton on the Firth of Clyde, to
the Solway and across that estuary to the southern border of Cumberland.
Even there the Cymric element cannot have taken any firm hold, and may only
have been an adventitious and transitory characteristic arising from the
circumstance of the district being settled by tribes of Welsh colonists.
This position is strongly supported by the fact, that through the whole of
the western counties which composed the kingdom of Strathclyde, with the
exception perhaps of Dumfriesshire, the names of places in the vast majority
of instances exhibit unmistakably a Gaelic origin. Indeed through the whole
of Scotland Gaelic seems to have been the aboriginal language; and the
Scottish immigrants from Ireland introduced -no foreign tongue into
Caledonia, whose inhabitants, the so-called Picts, belonged essentially in
all respects to the same Celtic family as the new settlers.
Up to at least the days of
Malcolm Canmore, the vernacular speech of Scotland in the districts north of
the Forth, and probably also in the Western Lowlands, was Gaelic, though it
is not unlikely that the last-named region, which coincided with the ancient
British kingdom of Strathclyde, retained still a strong infusion in its
dialect of Cymric or Welsh. In Berwickshire and the Lothians, on the other
hand, the original Celtic had in great measure been wholly superseded by the
Saxon and Scandinavian languages —the vernaculars of the colonists and
founders of the kingdom of Northumbria, which included within its bounds a
great part of the Eastern Lowlands of Scotland.
The effects of these
conquests and social convulsions, bringing along with them, as they did,
successive tides of population and language, are very conspicuous in local
Scottish nomenclature. Whilst through the greater part of the country the
characteristic impress in this respect is for the most part Gaelic, combined
in particular instances with an indistinguishable blending of the Welsh
element, the Eastern Lowlands, and more especially the districts bordering
on the German Ocean, exhibit clearly, as regards the appellations of places,
the influence of the Saxon and Scandinavian settlers. And the whole tone and
mode of thought among the Scottish Lowlands generally, whatever
intermingling of Celtic influence may have taken place in point both of
blood and language, has for ages been markedly and essentially Teutonic or
Considering that in the
English counties, with the exception of those bordering on Wales, the traces
of the ancient British language are but little perceptible in names of
places, it may reasonably excite surprise that in the Scottish Lowlands,
where assuredly it has for centuries exercised a very limited influence, the
Celtic element should still be so predominant in this respect. I can only
account for it by supposing that, in the case of South Britain, a savage and
uncultivated race was subdued and absorbed at a much earlier period than
took place with regard to the ancient inhabitants of the Lowland districts
of Scotland. When any race or nation has attained a certain degree of
culture, so as to have abandoned its old nomadic and unsettled habits for a
more definite and permanent tenure of the soil, the names which it bestows
on the various localities of its territory are more likely to be enduring
and less apt to give way before the influence of any new tribe of settlers.
So at least seems to have been the case in
Scotland, where the basis of
local nomenclature, from the Pentland Firth to the Cheviots, is undoubtedly
Celtic, though extensive modifications, of greater or less degree, have
affected particular localities, in so far as these have longer or from an
earlier period been subjected to the influence of the Gothic races. These
last, I may remind my readers, comprised two great and closely allied
families; the Scandinavian or Danish branch, which effected such extensive
settlements in the north of England, as well as on various parts of the
Scottish coasts—and the Teutonic or German, which again is subdivided into
High German and Low German. With the first of these last-named tongues our
present inquiries have nothing to do, as it has linguistically exercised
almost no influence whatever in Britain. But Low German, or the language
spoken by the low-lying countries bordering on the Baltic and German Ocean,
including Schleswig, Holstein, and the Netherlands, forms the skeleton or
groundwork both of the English language and of the dialect known as Lowland
In the following alphabetical
list of the various localities in Culross and Tulliallan, with which I shall
conclude this work, I have endeavoured to present every appellation which
might either be deemed in itself sufficiently interesting or sufficiently
peculiar. Where the origin was very obvious, as in “ Ashes,” “ New Row,”
&c., I have not thought it necessary to include the name in the category.
Ailie Bocks. The name of the
projecting reef of rocks which lies close to the shore, and nearly in a
parallel direction with it, opposite the town of Culross. It is doubtless
derived from the obsolete Gaelic word ail, which means a projecting rock,
and is still preserved in combination with beinn (a hill), in the term
ailbhinn, which denotes a projection, a projecting rock, or precipice. Ail
appears as a suffix in Dunimarle, an adjoining locality in Culross; and it
seems also to be the root-word in Alps, in Albion, and in the Latin
"Balgownie — the town of the
smith; from the Gaelic baile - goibhne, pronounced very nearly as “Balgownie.”
Baile denotes town, and goibhne is the genitive of gobha or gobhainn, a
blacksmith, whence the surnames Gow and Gowan.
”Barcrook. The name of a
field in the same neighbourhood, situated at the bend or crook where the
road diverges to the West Kirk.
"Bargatie. The name of a farm
which formerly stood on the road between Shiresmill and East Grange. The
ascent is still known as “ Bargatie Brae.” The probable derivation is the
Gaelic barr-ciatach—the beautiful point or summit. Ciatach, as denoting
handsome, seems to be the origin of the proper name “ Keith,” and also
occurs in Dalkeith, which may thus be explained as “ the beautiful dale or
field.” Inchkeith, on the other hand, I am disposed to interpret in the
ordinary manner, the Gaelic original being explained as Innis-ceathach or
Innis-ceo, “ the island of mist.”
"Barhill. The name of a small
property on the north border of the burgh of Culross. Barr in Gaelic denotes
the summit or extremity of anything, and the property in question comprised
the lands lying on the crest of the hill above the town.
"Bath. There is now only one
place of that name in Culross parish, and it is all incorporated in the
estate of West Grange. Formerly there was an Easter and Wester Bath, the
former receiving, moreover, the designation of “ Chapel Bath.” The term, has
nothing to do, as might at first sight be imagined, with mineral waters or
healing springs, the surrounding country having in former days presented
little more than a bleak and sterile expanse of moorish upland. It is simply
a form of the Gaelic bad, a tuft, grove, or thicket. A field on the
north-east border of the Tulliallan estate is known as the Baud Park, and
has doubtless also a similar origin.
'Birkenhead—the head of the
birchwood. The name of a farm which has now disappeared from the estate of
Blair. Many places in Scotland, including a parish adjoining Dunfermline,
bear the name of Beath or Beith, which is the Gaelic term for a birch-tree.
"Blair. A very common name
throughout Scotland, from the Gaelic blar, a plain or field. Sometimes it is
combined with an affix. Thus in Culross, about a mile to the west of the
town, we have the mansion of Blair Castle, on the estate of Blair; the
hamlet of Blairbum in the immediate vicinity; and the ancient estate of
Blairhall, which in the town’s charter forms part of the northern boundary
of the burgh, and has now, after a long course of years, reverted to a
descendant of Edward Bruce, the first Baron of Blairhall, and ancestor of
the Elgin and Kincardine families.
"Blinkeerie. The name of a
farm in the northeast comer of the Tulliallan estate, adjoining the Burrowin.
It is clearly a corruption, the word appearing in old documents as
Blankierie and Balan-kierie, which enable us to trace its origin to the
Gaelic Baile-an-ciar-ach, the “ town of the dark field.”
"Bluther Burn. The name in
its lower course of the stream which separates the parish of Torrybum from
that of Culross, and joins the sea at Newmill Bridge. The name is probably
onomatopoetic, or formed from the gurgling sound of running water. Sir
Robert Sibbald in his ‘ History of Fife ’ calls it the Bloddyr.
"Bordie. The name of a farm
on the estate of Blair, on the plateau to the east of and above the town of
Kincardine. It is the modern form of the Gaelic Bord-ach, the “ table-land ”
or “table-field.” It may here be observed generally that the termination ie
in names of places frequently represents the Gaelic ach or achadh, a field.
"Braes, The. A name formerly
given to a small property in the burgh of Culross, and still commonly
applied to the range of sloping banks which go to form the curve of Culross
Bay. It is the same word, of course, as the ordinary Scottish brae, and
comes from the Gaelic braigh, which denotes a height or summit.
"Brankston, Brankie. Both
these names seem to be derived from the same source—that is to say, from the
Teutonic branken (Dutch pronken, and old English prink), signifying to
strut, flaunt one’s self, or look gay. In old Scotch the epithets brankie
and branken are applied to anything gay, lively, or gaudy. Hence the name of
the two places above-mentioned ; one of them having formerly been the title
of a separate property, but now restricted to the mansion of Brankston
Grange, on the estate of West Grange—and the other being the name of a farm
on the Blairhall estate, adjoining the bridge between Shiresmill and East
"Burro win or Burrowan. The
name of a farm near Bogside Station, belonging to the Sands estate. The term
is of Saxon origin, and is derived from the camp or barrow of Castlehill in
the vicinity. The second syllable denotes a dwelling, from the Anglo-Saxon
wunian (German wohnen, to dwell). “ There was an auld wife wonned in a
glen.”—Old Song. The whole word thus denotes “ the dwelling beside the
barrow, mound, or tumulus.”
"Byrefield. The name of a
property adjoining Barhill, and now merged in the estate of Culross Abbey.
Here we have a Saxon or Scandinavian term, byre denoting primarily a
building of any kind—from the Anglo-Saxon burh, a town (whence borough), or
the Norse by, a dwelling or habitation. Many English towns, such as Kirkby,
Whitby, Ac., thus show their Danish or Scandinavian origin. In Scotland we
have Stonebyres, near Lanark; and Netherbyres, near Eyemouth, in
"Canamans Hollow, A locality
mentioned in the guildry records of Culross, and which seems to have been
situated in the grounds which now form the enclosure and surround the
mansion of the Park. The term is perhaps a corruption of the Gaelic
cancush-moine, or the “cotton moss”—canach signifying the moss - cotton or
mountain - down, and moine, a moss or morass.
"Carney Buckle. A locality in
Culross moor not far from Bordie, and now covered with wood. The etymology
appears to be the Gaelic camach-boglach, the caimy, marshy place.
"Cause. A name generally
applied to a tract of level alluvial land reclaimed from a river or estuary.
The derivation, I am inclined to think, is the Gaelic carach, an adjective
formed from car, a mossy plain or fen.
"Caverns. A farm on the
estate of Blair, beneath which coal in former days was extensively wrought,
so as to render the ground hollow and cavernous.
"Comrie. A property in the
north-east comer of Culross parish, where a confluence takes place of two
streams that form respectively the eastern and southern boundary of the
estate. The derivation is doubtless the obsolete Gaelic word comar,
signifying a confluence; and the also obsolete term abh (pronounced aw), an
old word for water. Comrie thus denotes the confluence or meeting of the
waters. It occurs in other places in Scotland, as in the well-known Comrie,
of earthquake celebrity, in the greater Perthshire, beyond the Ochils; and
the word comar takes sometimes the form of Cumber, as in Cumbernauld and
Cumbray. The root is the Gaelic particle comh (together), the same as the
Latin con. There is also the noun comhair, signifying a direction or
tendency, which is probably only another form of comar.
*Corsetoun or Couston—the
town of the cross; a designation which most commonly takes the latter form,
at least as a surname. The lands of Corsetoun are mentioned in the taxed
roll of Culross Abbey, given up in 1630; but the only remembrance preserved
of them is in “ Couston Wood,” situated at the north-west comer of the
Valleyfield estate, near the bank of the Bluther Bum opposite Shiresmill.
Corse is another form of “ Cross,” and a hamlet with a cross appears to have
existed here prior to the Reformation.
"Craigengar or Creagan-garbh—the
rough or ragged rocks. The name given to a reef of small craga or large
stones which forms a western continuation of the Craigmore rock. The Gaelic
adjective garbh (rough) appears in “ Garvock,” the ancient domain of the
Wellwoods, near Dunfermline; and in “ Inch Garvie,” an island in the Firth
of Forth, between North and South Queensferry.
"Craigmore—the great rock;
from the Gaelic creig, a rock, and mor, great. The reef at Preston Island is
"Culross. Generally explained
as “ the back of the peninsula ”—from cid, back, and rois, the genitive of
ross, a peninsula. I am strongly inclined to believe, however, that the
first syllable is not cul (back), but cuil, a nook or niche. Culross may
thus be defined as “ the nook of the peninsula,”—an epithet which every one
who has stood on Torrybum Ness and contemplated the town nestling in the
nook of the promontory at the western extremity of the bay, will, I think,
admit to be sufficiently appropriate.
"Dalquhamy. An ancient hamlet
on the road from Kincardine to Alloa, and about two miles to the north of
the former town. The most probable derivation of the name seems to be the
Gaelic dail-uaine (pronounced Dalwanny), the green field—from dail, a field,
and uaine, green.
"Darclatch. The name of a
ravine or gully in Tulliallan Wood, formerly intersecting the moor of
Culross. The derivation is evidently from the Gaelic dwrach-clais, the
"Dean Burn. The name of the
stream which bounds the burgh territory of Culross on the west, and is so
called from the dean, den, or valley through which it flows.
"Divelly. A farm on the
estate of West Grange, on the north border of Culross parish, in a very
remote and inaccessible district. The name is an ancient one, occurring in
the taxed roll of Culross Abbey in 1630. Its probable derivation is the
Gaelic diblidh, denoting something mean or abject.
"Dow Craig—the black craig or
rock; from dubh, the Gaelic adjective for black. A rocky eminence and
moorland in the north of Culross parish.
"Dunimarle. Long known as
Castlehill, but restored, since its acquisition by Mrs Sharpe Erskine, to
its original designation of Dunimarle. The two terms are indeed nearly
identical. Dunimarle signifies “ the castle on the projecting rock by the
sea,” or “ the sea-castle of the projecting rock.” The Gaelic form is Dun-na-mara-ail,—dun
being hill or fortress; na-mara, the genitive (with the definite article
prefixed) of muir, the sea; and ail, an obsolete term for a projecting rock.
The situation of the old castle, of which merely the foundations can now be
traced, corresponds thoroughly to this designation. The same word ail occurs
in the Ailie Rocks, a reef opposite Culross.
"Fordel. A small pendicle on
the Tulliallan estate, on the sea-Bhore, near Longannet Point. The name is
evidently a form of foredeal—the fore or first deal—as denoting an allotment
of land. Keavil, as also denoting a lot or allotment of territory, is
another term of the same class—from camel or kevil, a lot—and gives name to
a well-known property in the parish of Dunfermline. There is a large and
ancient estate named Fordel about three miles to the south-east of
Dunfermline; and there is also a property bearing this designation in the
parish of Amgask, Kinross-shire.
"Gagie or Geiger—from the
Gaelic geugach, signifying the branchy place, or place of saplings. The name
of a field in the burgh territory of Culross, on the crest and slope of the
hill to the west of the Gallows Loan.
"Garterry. The name of
certain lands on the northern border of Tulliallan parish belonging to Lord
Abercromby. It is derived from the Gaelic gart or gort, an enclosure, and
tir, land, the same as the Latin terra.
"Goat, The. A ravine which
forms now the western boundary of the Valleyfield estate, separating it from
that of the Abbey. The name is a common one throughout Scotland for any deep
ravine or fissure through which water is conveyed. The word is of
Anglo-Saxon origin, and derived from gota, a pourer; geotend, an artery or
vein; and the verb geotan, to pour or shed. It is probably also allied to
gaw, an old Scottish word for a furrow or drain —from the Icelandic gd, a
rent or fissure. The German giessen, to pour, is doubtless also a cognate
term. There can be little question of the Icelandic or old Norse language,
spoken by the ancient Scandinavians, having exercised a great influence both
on the dialect and local nomenclature of the Scottish Lowlands. This holds
more especially in the case of Berwickshire and East Lothian, formerly
incorporated in Northumbria, which, though one of the kingdoms of the Saxon
Heptarchy, was largely colonised by the Danes, as evidenced by many names of
"Grange. The home farm
attached to a monastery, where the grain crop was raised and stored. In
Culross there had been at least three of these granges, all contiguous, and
bearing respectively the names of East, Middle, and West Grange. These seem
to have been made over, with the other spoils of the monastery, to Alexander
Colville, the Commenda-tor of Culross, from whose hands they passed into
those of lay proprietors. They have since repeatedly changed hands, and are
still held by different owners.
"Gutterflat. The field on the
south side of the road leading from the Chapel Bum to the West Kirk of
Culross. Flat is an old Scottish term for a field, and occurs in the names
of many places. The name in question thus denotes the “ trench field,”
through which the water found its way from the higher grounds.
"Inch. The name given of late
years to a farm on the Tn11ia.11a.Ti estate, reclaimed in great measure
within the last half-century from the Forth. Innis (pronounced innish or
inch) is the Gaelic term for an island, a plain by a river-side, and also a
pasture. It sometimes denotes, too, a headland.
"Keir. The name of an ancient
property, now incorporated with the Tulliallan estate, and lying close to
the outskirts of Culross moor. It seems to be the same as the Gaelic cathair
(pronounced ka-ir), a town or seat, and occurs in many places in Scotland,
as in the well-known Keir in Stirlingshire, the seat of the late Sir William
Stirling-MaxwelL Sometimes, however, and doubtless in the proper name Keir,
the derivation is from ciar (pronounced keir), dark or sable.
"Kbluewood. The name of a
property now incorporated with Sands estate, and extending along the shore
of the Forth upwards from Blair quarry. It is simply a reduplication, coille
being the Gaelic for wood, and converted in local and personal nomenclature
into Kelly or KeUie.
"Kincardine—the head or point
of the sheltered bend or turn: from the Gaelic ceann, head; car, a bend or
turn; and dion, shelter. This seems to be the derivation of the name of
Kincardine in Tulliallan parish, as it thoroughly corresponds with the
situation of the town, in a sheltered place at the point where the Forth
makes a considerable bend in passing from the condition of a river to that
of an estuary. In the case of other places of the same name, however,
throughout Scotland, I am inclined to think that the etymology may be
different. Thus, in the case of Kincardine in Menteith, where there is a
well-known moss of great extent, the derivation may be ceann cair-dhuinn,
the head or extremity of the brown moss; and again, with other Kincardines,
it may be ceann ceam (pronounced kincaim), the head of the region or
"Kirkton, or “Church Town.”
The name of a farm in Culross parish, so called from the West Kirk, in its
"Longannet Point. A
promontory or projection on the shore of the Forth about a mile below the
town of Kincardine. I have had a good deal of difficulty with the etymology
of the name of this place, but am now disposed to regard it simply as
Longan-aite, the place of ships, there being a fine roadstead for vessels in
the immediate vicinity.
"Lurg. A small property in
the parish of Tulliallan, long an independent lairdahip, but now
incorporated with the Sands estate. It lies on the slope immediately to the
north-west of the house of Sands; and its situation corresponds well with
its etymology, learg signifying in Gaelic the sloping face of a hill, or a
sloping place exposed to the sun and sea. The well-known Largs in Ayrshire,
and Largo in Fife, have the same derivation.
"Mains, The. A term commonly
applied to a home farm, or to lands occupied and fanned by the proprietor.
Manas in Gaelic denotes a farm of this description. Sometimes it is styled
par excellence “the Mains”; at other times it is combined with the name of
the estate, as in Blair Mains, Balgownie Mains, Blairhall Mains, See. It
should be mentioned, however, that of these three examples from the parish
of Culross, the third at least is but of recent introduction, the farm in
question having, within my own recollection, been known by the more homely
appellation of “ Duckdub.” And as I am on this subject, I may also refer to
the grand dominating principle of “gentility” which in the same parish has
rejected the familiar and expressive epithet of “Glourowrum,” applied to a
well-known locality above Shiresmill, and transformed it, not for the
better, into “New Farm.”
"Monte Claret. A farm with a
singular name, belonging to the proprietor of Sands, and occupying the
moorland plateau to the north of the Dow Craig. As I have already mentioned,
the name, along with that of the adjoining farm of Divelly, has been
supposed to be of Italian origin, and conferred by some travelled proprietor
of bygone days. But this is, to say the least of it, a wholly unsupported
conjecture. Mont^ Claret seems really to be a corruption of the Gaelic
Mointeach Cleireach—the clerk’s moss or moorland—a derivation which is
supported by the fact of the neighbouring farm of Bath being also known by
the designation of “ Chapel Bath ” or “ The Chapel.” It may reasonably be
inferred that in Roman Catholic times this remote district was provided with
a chapel, at which clergymen from Culross or Dollar might occasionally
officiate, seeing that Montd Claret is nearly equidistant from these two
places; and the most direct route to or from either lies across the Dow
Craig. And the adjoining moorland, either from being frequently traversed by
the ministering priests, or from a portion of it being assigned for their
use, might, it is likely enough, acquire the designation of the “ clerk’s
"Parlyhill. The plateau or
summit of the hill immediately outside the Abbey churchyard of Culross, and
so called from its having been from time immemorial the favourite meeting -
place for “ a crack ” or “ parly ” while the bells are ringing for service.
The kirk-session in former times issued several edicts for putting an end to
these Sunday gossipings, but apparently without effect. The Parlyhill is
still a favourite trysting - place on Sundays, more especially for the
"Peffer Mill Dam. The name of
a sheet of water on the Tulliallan estate, on the north border of the old
moor of Culross. The etymology of Peffer is rather a crux, as it is
difficult to connect it with any known or likely term either in the Celtic
or Teutonic language. Most assuredly it cannot be referred either to paper
or pepper. It is by no means, however, of rare occurrence in local
nomenclature, as there is a Peffer Mill at Liberton, near Edinburgh; a
rivulet Peffer in East Lothian, falling into the sea at Aberlady; a
tributary of the Earn called the Peffry, in Perthshire; and the famous vale
of Strathpeffer, of mineral-water celebrity, in Ross-shire. But I have no
doubt that its real origin is the Gaelic poll-bhir (pronounced power or
pevver)—poll signifying a pool, and bhir being the aspirated genitive of bir,
an obsolete word for water, the same that enters into the composition of
“aber” and “inver.” Peffer, therefore, denotes the “pool-water,” or “the
pool of water.” In the case of “Peffry,” I believe the adjective reidh
(smooth) is added, making the word poll-bhir-reidh (pronounced powery or
pewery), or “the pool of smooth water.” At the very west extremity of Fife,
in the parish of Saline, and not far distant from the Peffer Mill Dam, is a
farm called Piper Pool, which is probably a reduplication and another form
of “ Peffer Pool.”
"Petty Common. The name given
to the tract of land at the foot of the Abbey orchard, and immediately
adjoining the north side of the public road between St Mungo’s and Culross.
It was formerly covered by a row of houses, which were undermined and partly
sunk by the machinations of Lord Dundonald in the end of the last century.
The name is not uncommon throughout Scotland, and appears simply to denote
the “ petty” or little common. It is, however, an ancient designation, and
must have existed before any houses were erected on this spot.
"Praoulie. The name of a
little pendicle on the north border of the Valleyfield estate. Its etymology
seems to be pit, a hollow; mil, an opening or orifice; and ach or achadh, a
field. The first two syllables may be regarded as a reduplication, and the
whole term explained as “ the field of the hollow.”
"Pow. The name given to the
little creek or harbour, and secondarily to the adjoining grass plot on the
sea-shore, at the east end of the burgh of Culross. It is the same as the
Gaelic poll, a pool, the two IF& having a liquid sound. The Powbum, near
Edinburgh, has a similar derivation, denoting a stream running in pools.
"Prebry or Prebrae. A knoll
giving name to a farm on the Tulliallan estate, in the north-east quarter of
the old moor of Culross. The orthography that I have given above is the old
spelling of the word as it appears in the burgh records. In modern times it
has been corrupted into Prayer Brae, and the notion came to be entertained
that it was so called from the circumstance of conventicles having been held
here in the persecuting times. These meetings may really have taken place,
though there is no actual evidence that they were ever held at the Prebrae.
But as regards the word itself, there can, I think, be little question that
its derivation is from a different source. It is, indeed, only the Gaelic
Preas-braigh, or the “thicket height”— preas signifying a bush or thicket,
and braigh, a height or bras. A knoll on the moor covered with scrub would
very naturally receive this designation.
"Psaltebcroft. A field or
croft above the town of Culross, included probably now within the precincts
of the Park. It is mentioned in the taxed roll of the Abbey for 1630, and
was evidently so called from its having been appropriated to the maintenance
of the church choir in Roman Catholic times. In Dunfermline, previous to the
erection of the New Abbey Church on the site of the old choir, the latter
space was known as the “ Psalter Churchyard.”
"Shiresmill. A mill and
hamlet in Culross parish at the shear (Anglo-Saxon sceran, to divide), or
place of division between the counties of Fife and Perth. Dandie Dinmont, in
‘ Guy Mannering,’ speaks of the summit of the hill “ where the wind and
water shears." The term denotes, accordingly, “ the mill at the boundary.”
It has nothing to do with the word “shire” in the sense of being the “county
"Strynd, The. A rivulet
descending from the high ground at the “Lockit Well” above Culross, and
falling into the sea after crossing the Laigh Causeway as a covered drain.
Formerly it was an open rill throughout. The term is of Saxon origin, having
the same derivation as strain. Streingr in Icelandic signifies a waterfall.
"Tulliallan—the fair or
beautiful knoll; from the Gaelic tulach, a knoll, and aluinn, handsome.
"Walls. The name of certain
lands in the parish of Culross which constitute part of the western boundary
of the burgh territory. They are now included in the Tulliallan estate; but
the name is still retained in the Walls or Wa's Cottages, known also as the
Half-way House on the road between Newmills and Kincardine. There has
evidently, in former days, been the ruin here of some old castle or mansion
which has given name to the property.
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