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Denovan


Denovan is an ancient name: Brythonic in origin and thereby predating the Gaelic place-names of the district. It almost certainly would have been in use when the Romans were here. The locals still pronounce it correctly as Diniven, where Din- .has a short duration and the emphasis is placed upon -iven, as we should expect in a Celtic word where the noun usually precedes the adjective. The first element is din, 'a fort'; the second refers to the Avon Burn which runs on the western march of Denovan.

Near Denovan is the site of a great Battle fought between the Picts & the Romans, which after fierce fighting neither side was victorious. The place became known in Gaelic as 'Diun-na-Bais', Hill of Death', later into the Parish of Dunipace.

In the medieval period Denovan with the greater part lying to the north of the burn. The place-name may well have been applied to a vitrified fort which lies on a summit within the lands of Braes of Denovan.

Several ancient burials have emerged during the course of gravel quarrying.

The principal seat of the barony was Herbertshire Castle, now lost. Denovan was from at least the thirteenth century held by the Earls of Angus and then, after the Wars of Independence, by the Douglas family, descendants of Good Sir James Douglas, who died at the hands of the Saracens while carrying the heart of Bruce to the Holy Land.

The earliest record recovered so far is from 1462 when 'Thomas Gardner of Denovane' was one of several people named as witnesses in a land dispute concerning Cambuskenneth Abbey which possessed lands contiguous with Denovan on its eastern boundary.

A more specific reference comes in 1510 when we find 'Littil and Hekill Dunovane'.

A family associated with Denovan are the Forresters from 1604 to 1789.

Also of interest is a charter of 1610 which makes mention of 'Lytill Dynnoven with the mill and mill lands'. The site of the mill can still be seen.

The people of Denovan were staunch Royalists and supported Charles II and were 'out with the Prince' (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in the 1745 uprising.


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