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,y\L.OG> i COLLfjCriON 


3 1833 00858 3160 


Kfit Mimli %tcmi8 in atrcfjaologg 












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^HESE lectures are offered as a contribution to a 
budy conducted until lately on lines the reverse 
of scientific. What the late Dr Eeeves and Dr 
Joyce have done for the place-names of Ireland, 
Canon Isaac Taylor has done for those of England, 
and Mr A. W. Moore for those of the Isle of Man, 
has never been adequately performed for Scotland. 
It was my original intention to expand these 
lectures, condensed from material collected dur- 
ing many years, into a tolerably exhaustive trea- 
tise on the subject ; but I am advised to publish 
them at once, just as they were delivered; and 
I am encouraged by the numbers and attention 
of those who listened to them in the belief that 
there are plenty of students ready to apply sound 
principles and cautious analysis to a branch of 

vi Preface. 

arcliseology and philology at present in a very 
backward state, 

I have, it is needless to say, derived much 
assistance from the writings of the scholars above 
mentioned, as well as from those of Professors 
Rhys and W. W. Skeat, and the late Dr Skene, 
I have also availed myself largely of the volume 
on Scottish Place-Names lately published by the 
Rev. J. Johnston, of Falkirk, who has rendered 
good service to students by the extensive list 
which he has compiled. 

I regret that the pressure of other occupations 
has not allowed me to supply what undoubt- 
edly ought to have been given — viz., exact ref- 
erence to authorities quoted, and the different 
manuscripts from which old spellings have been 
collected. I can but offer an apology to my 
readers for this omission, with the assurance that 
they may rely on the care with which such ex- 
tracts have been made. 


MoNUElTH, January 1894. 




Difficulties to be encountered — Every place-name means something 
— Permanence of place-names — Their origin not usually poeti- 
cal, but matter-of-fact — Arbitrary orthography — Importance of 
early spelling — Changes in vowel sound — The significance of 
stress — Its movement with the qualitative in compounds — In- 
fluence of railways on pronunciation — Popular and map-makers' 
blunders — Exaggeration — Deceptive forms, 



Traces of pre-Celtic speech — The Iverian or Silurian race — The Fir- 
bolg of the Irish Annalists — The Ernai — The two main branches 
of Celtic speech— Obsolete words — The operation of umlaul — 
Linguistic change — Effects of aspiration and eclipse — Diflerence 
between Gaelic and Welsh — Q Celts and P Celts — Test words — 
Similarity of Gaelic and Welsh — Ghost-names, . 






Pictish speech— Conflict of authorities— Place-names in Pictland — 
Mythical descent of the Picts— Columba's mission to Pictland 
— Pictish vocables— Polyglot passage in Bede's Chronicle — The 
place-names of Galloway — Conclusions — Anglo-Saxon speech — 
The Frisian colonies— Order of generic and specific in Teutonic 
compounds — Corrupt forms, ..... 



Scandinavian or Old Norse and Danish — Obliteration of Celtic 
speech in the Northern Isles — Mixture of tongues in the 
Western Isles — Norse names disguised as Gaelic — Aspiration 
of Gaelic consonants — Confusion on the maps — Gaelic names 
disguised as Norse — Relative antiquity of certain place-names 
— Traces of Norse occupation in Scotland — Resemblance be- 
tween Norse and Saxon speech — Norse test-words — Their dis- 
tribution — Inferences therefrom — Mixture of languages in 
Strathclyde — The Gaelic dal and Norse dalr — Difterence in 
their meaning — Norse and Saxon loan-words in English, 



Succession of races not explained by place-names — These illustrate 
former appeai-ance of the country — The old forest — Its trees and 
undergrowth — Humbler vegetation — Crops — Animals locally or 
generally extinct — The chase — Deer and other animals — Names 
of animals borne by men, ..... 103 




The land — Its surface and divisions — Open land inseparable from 
the idea of fighting — Norse pennylands — Occupations and 
trades — Crime and punishment — Poverty — Disease — Rivers and 
streams — Ecclesiastical names — Early dedications of chapels 
and wells — Priests and monks — Land not usually named by 
the early Celts from ownership — But frequently so by Teutonic 
people — Land-names given to men — Men's names given to 
lands— Conclusion, . . . . . .130 

Index of place-names referred to in the text, 





NQUIRY into the origin and mean- Difficulties 
ing of Scottish place-names is a task countered, 
beset with difficulties of a peculiar 
kind. Most of these names were con- 
ferred by people speaking a language 
which has long ceased to be heard in the districts 
where the names remain — a language, moreover, 
which was practically unwritten, for, unlike Ireland, 
Scotland possesses but a few uncertain fragments of 

2 Scottish Land-Names. 

Gaelic or Erse literature. Scottish Gaelic, therefore, 
has never, until recently, been subject to that check 
which writing and printing set upon the tendency 
of speech to alter in meaning and pronunciation 
with every succeeding generation. Even when a 
language has become thoroughly literary, the pro- 
cess of change, though greatly retarded, still goes 
on. In English, for example, the changing shades 
of meaning in popular intensives, such as " awful," 
" blooming," " tremendous," &c., occurring in ephem- 
eral songs and other light literature, may prove a 
snare to the student who, in after-ages, shall at- 
tempt to interpret them according to their strict 
Every But there is one sure source of encouragement 

place-name . . ^ 

means towards the solution of place-names, in that every 
"' such name has a real meaning, however darkly it 
may have been obscured by linguistic change or 
phonetic expression in the lips of people speaking 
another language. No man ever attempted success- 
fully to invent an arbitrary combination of sound- 
' ' signs to designate a locality: every place-name, in 
whatever language, is a business-like definition de- 
rived from some peculiarity or leading feature, as 
we might say the Green Hill, the White House, 
the Oak-wood ; or from some incident, as the Battle- 
Eield, the Murder-Stone, the Forge-Hill ; or of pos- 
session, as John's town, William's field, the Priest's 

Once localities are thus distinguished, it is very 

General Principles. 3 

difficult to dispossess them of the names they have Peman- 

euce of 

acquired, even though Greenhill should lose all its place- 
verdure, though the Whitehouse (or Whithorn — 
Anglo-Saxon hwit cern) should be pulled down and 
a red one built in its place, and the oak-wood be 
levelled with the ground. In a.d. 43 the Eoman 
general Aulus Plautius, in the course of operations 
against the British King Cunobeliue, intrenched him- 
self on the marshy ground above the junction of the 
Lea with the Thames. There is no record of a town 
there previous to this, and the Celtic natives prob- 
ably called it Ion dijn ro dun — London — the marsh 
fort, to distinguish it, perhaps, from hen dun — Hen- 
don— the old fort, the stronghold of Cunobeline, a 
few miles to the north-west. The place where the 
Tower of London now stands was then marsh land, 
and this is a good example of an ancient name pre- 
serving a picture of a landscape which has under- 
gone complete change in the process of civilisation. 
The Eoman conquerors altered Ion dihi into Lon- 
dinium ; but in order to commemorate their conquest 
of Britain, they subsequently decreed that the town 
which grew up round the camp of Aulus Plautius 
should be known as Augusta, and that, or Londinium 
Augusta, was for a time its official title : yet the 
simple native name could not be got rid of, and by 
that name it will continue to be known as long as 
one of its stones remains upon another. 

Now, the lesson of this example is that poetical 
and metaphorical interpretations of place - names 

4 Scottish Land-Names. 

should generally be looked on with great suspicion : 
the true origin is commonly matter of fact. 

There is, indeed, a certain class of names of a 
somewhat figurative derivation, as when we speak 
of the brow, flank, or shoulder of a hill, from analogy 
with the human figure. Gullane, in East Lothian, 
so well known to golfers, is the Gaelic guallan, a 
shoulder, descriptive of the side of a headland ; and 
the Braid Hills, near Edinburgh, are named from 
hraghad (braad), the breast, in the sense of upland. 
The Norsemen, who have left a deep impression on 
Scottish topography, call a small island beside a big 
one a calf, as Manarhalfr, still known to us as the Calf 
of Man, and to the Highlanders as an Calhh Manan- 
nach ; but the motive in such cases is not poetical or 
sentimental, but an attempt by means of comparison 
with familiar objects to convey a definition. 

Place-names, then, are applied by the automatic 

operation of the mind, and not by a conscious effort, 

like that involved in choosing the name for a child 

or for a villa in the suburbs. The endeavour to 

trace their significance, though it must often prove 

unsuccessful, is the pursuit, not of a chimerical 

/ hypothesis, like the philosopher's stone, but of an 

I actual, though more or less obscure, entity. The 

meaning is always there, if we can arrive at it. 

Letters The place-names of this country have nearly all 

symbols, been transferred to writing : it must, therefore, be 

borne in mind that letters — alphabetical characters 

— are not visible speech ; that spelling is but the 

General Principles. 5 

mechanical means of representing vocal sounds by a 
series of symbols which have been agreed on, but 
have no more organic connection with sound than 
numerical characters have to number. These sym- 
bols, properly treated, are invaluable servants, but, 
unless kept in their proper place, they become 
tyrannical masters. 

Exactness in spelling is a modern refinement ; 
nothing is commoner than to find a single name 
spelt in half-a-dozen different ways in the same 
manuscript. The object of early writers was to 
give an idea of the sound of a name by employing 
written characters, and so long as the idea was con- 
veyed, neither writers nor readers troubled them- 
selves about the niceties of orthography. Here, for 
instance, are five-and-twenty variations in the spell- 
ing of the name of my native province, Galloway, 
collected from official records and other sources : — 

Galewalia. Galwychya. 

Galeweia. Gallna. 

Gallewathia. Galwodia. 

Galewia. Gahvallia. 

Galleweie. Galluway. 

Gahvethia Galway. 

Gahvayth. Gallowaie. 

Gallwadia. Galovidia, 
Galwadensis provincia. Gallovidia. 

Galwithia. Galwela. 

Galvidia. Galloway. " 

Galuveia. Wallowithia. 

6 Scottish Land-Names. 

All these renderings pretty well conceal the original 
name, whether that was, as the late Mr Skene taught 
us, Gallcjaedhel in Gaelic and Gahvyddd in Welsh, 
meaning the land of the stranger Gaels — i.e., the 
Gaels who served under the pirate kings of Norway 
and Denmark — or as Professor Ehys, with less pro- 
bability, suggests, that the Latin form Galweidia 
indicates the name of Fidach, in Welsh Goddeu, one 
of the seven sons of Cruithne, the legendary epony- 
mus of the Picts. 

Notwithstanding the uncertainty and confusion of 
primitive spelling, it is of the first importance to 
obtain the earliest combination of letters by which a 
name was represented. When the familiar name of 
Tweed is found to be spelt Tuid in Bede's History 
and Tede in the Pictish Chronicle and in a manu- 
script of the twelfth century, it becomes easy to 
recognise it as the same name as Tcith, a river in 
Perthshire, anciently written Teth, and now called 
ThaicJi by the Highlanders. It is true that we are 
still uncertain as to the true meaning, but we are so 
far on the road to it, inasmuch as the connection has 
been established between a group of river-names — 
Tweed, Teith, Tay, Taw, Teviot, Teifi. 

Names often lose the character of their original 
language by being written in another language. 
There are two places called Leadburn — one in 
Lanarkshire, among the Leadhills, the meaning of 
which is pretty obvious ; the other in Mid-Lothian, 
where there is no lead. Who would suspect that 

General Principles. 7 

the latter was a Gaelic name, unless he knew that 
it had been written Lecbernard in a charter by 
which William the Lion (1167-70) conveyed it to 
Galfrid de Malauilla (Melville) ? Here the early 
spelling shows that the original meaning was leac 
Bernard, Bernard's stone (or grave), or perhaps leac 
Birinn, the stone of St Birrin, from whom Kilbirnie 
parish, in Ayrshire, derives its name. 

From a charter of the same king it is evident 
that Granton, near Edinburgh, is not, as it ap- 
pears, Grant's town, like Grantown-on-Spey ; for 
it is written Grendun — the Anglo-Saxon gr^ne dun, 
green hill. The earliest mention of Grant as a 
Scottish surname does not occur till nearly one 
hundred years later than this charter, when, in A.D. 
1250, Gregory le Grant appears in history.^ 

Having ascertained the earliest written form of changes i 
any name, account must next be taken of the changes sound. 
in English vowel pronunciation which have taken 
place since this attempt at phonetic writing was 
made. Let us consider the form given to the well- 
known name Glenalmond. It is composed of two 
Gaelic, possibly Pictish, words, gleann amuin, mean- 
ing the glen of the river, but the a in amuin was 
not sounded as we sound it in " tan," still less like 
that in " tame," but rather like that in " tar." For 

^ It is true that an attempt was once made to establish the 
higher antiquity of this surname by reading the verse iu Genesis, 
" there were ^ianis iu those days" — " there were 6'j"a?2(s iu those 

8 Scottish Land-Names. 

several centuries the English a was pronounced broad, 
at least in Northern English, and "anion" repre- 
sented the Gaelic pronunciation closely enough ; but 
when, towards the fifteenth century, a (broad) began 
to be narrowed into d (narrow), it became necessary 
to insert a mute consonant to represent the broad 
sound. Thus the aiimin of Mid- Lothian was written 
Awmon, and the amuin of Perthshire was written 
Almond (a final d being added by false analogy with 
the name of the fruit). Both these rivers are now 
called Almond ; but it is an instance of caprice in 
spelling that Cramond on the Mid-Lothian stream — 
i.e., cathair amuin, the fort on the river — has not 
received the redundant /, so you shall hear English 
travellers pronounce the name, not broad, as the 
natives do, but narrow, as in "cram." 

Now there is an ethnological suggestion in the 
occurrence of the aspirate in this word amuin (it- 
self probably cognate with the Latin amnis). In 
modern Gaelic and Irish it is invariably aspirated, 
and written abhuinn or abhainn. B and m have 
exactly the same sound when aspirated — viz., that 
of V or w ; so the more correct form would be 
amhuinn. The Annals of Ulster describe how King 
Ecgfrid, after the battle of Dun Nechtaiu, where he 
routed the Picts, burnt Tida Aman, at the junction 
of the Almond with the Tay, in the year 686. In 
the ' Cronicon Elegiacum ' the same river is spelt 
differently in three different manuscripts, one of 
which is in the Bodleian Library, the other two in 

General Py^inciples. 9 

the British Museum — namely, Amon, Aven, and 
Awyne. The first of these is the archaic, un- 
aspirated form ; and occurring as it does within the 
territory of the Northern Picts, it suggests that the 
old word was preserved in Pictish speech after the 
Scots had adopted the softened form avon. This is 
confirmed by the occurrence of the old word within 
the limits of Manann Gotodin, the district between 
Edinburgh and Stirling, formerly the land of the 
Southern Picts. The county of Linlithgow is 
bounded on the east by the Almond, on the west 
by the Avon — names with exactly the same mean- 
ing, one representing the older, the other the newer 
form of amuin, a river. It is remarkable that the 
older form is preserved in Almond Castle, which 
stands on the Avon ; and that the river itself used 
to be called 7ndr amliuinn, the great stream, is shown 
by the name of the parish — Muiravonside. 

Amuin, having been softened to amhuinn, has 
given names to innumerable Avons and Evans in 
England, Scotland, and Ireland. But in the last- 
named country the aspirate had eaten away so much 
of the consonant before names came to be written 
down in English that the mh had to be represented 
by IV, and Awn or Owen are commoner river-names 
in Ireland than Avon. 

I am now going to submit to your attention a stress, 
point which seems to have altogether escaped the 
notice of most writers on topographical etymology, 
and to have been undervalued even by those whose 

10 Scottish Land-Names. 

attention has been drawn to it. Professor Mac- 
kinnon, in a series of admirable papers on Place- 
Names and Personal Names in Argjle, which ap- 
peared in the 'Scotsman' newspaper in 1887, did 
indeed lay it down as a cardinal rule that in com- 
pound names the stress always falls on the qualitative 
syllable, or on the first syllable of the qualitative 
word ; but subsequent writers, though they have 
referred to this rule, have almost totally disregarded 
it, and made guesses at derivations utterly irre- 
spective of this trustworthy finger-post. 

Now, among all the keys to the interpretation of 
place-names, I know of none so constant and so 
useful as this. I propose, therefore, to enter some- 
what fully into its examination. 

Place-names are either simple, as Blair (lldr, a 
plain), Avon {amhuin, a river), Drem, Drum, or 
Drymen [druim or dromdn, a ridge), or (which is 
far more usual) compound, formed of a substantive 
or generic term, preceded or followed by a quali- 
tative or specific word, the latter being either an 
adjective, as in Anglo-Saxon Greenlaw — gr(^ne hlcetu, 
and in Gaelic Barglass, with the same meaning ; or 
a substantive in the oblique case, as Allerbeck, near 
Ecclefechan — A.S. a/r hccc, or Norse olr hdch, the alder 
stream, and Pulf^rn, in the Stewartry of Kirkcud- 
bright, which is the Gaelic ^o^ fcarn with exactly 
the same meaning. 

This rule holds good in ordinary compounds as 
well as in place-names : thus, " husband," adopted 

General Princiioles. 1 1 

from the Scandinavian hi'is, a house, huandi, one in- 
habiting ; " ploughman," " pancake," where " hus," 
"plough," and "pan," being the descriptive, specific, 
or qualitative syllables, sustain the stress. Fashion 
has modified its effect in a few such words as " good- 
m^n," but the personal name Goodman or Godman 
retains the stress in the original place. 

It is exceedingly difficult to find exceptions to 
this rule in the local — that is, the correct — pro- 
nunciation of Scottish names. After patient in- 
vestigation, I have only succeeded in finding one. 
Professor Mackinnon says that Tiree [tir idhc, corn- 
land) has come to be pronounced by the natives of 
that island Tirie (tedry). There will, of course, come 
to your mind the name Buccleiich. Heraldry has 
lent its sanction to the popular etymology — buck 
cleuch — ^just as in the neighbourhood of Buccleuch 
are to be found the Doe-cleugh, the Wolf-cleuch 
and the Hare-cleuch ; but the position of the stress 
is enough to convince me that this well-known name 
has nothing to do with a buck, and I am strengthened 
in this by early spellings, which give Balcleuch. 

Again, the Rev, James B. Johnston, author of an 
interesting book on Scottish place-names, has re- 
minded me that Kinloch as a place-name sometimes 
bears the stress on the first syllable — cin7i locha, at 
the head of a lake — whereas, according to this rule, 
it should apparently fall on the last, locha being the 
qualitative. The explanation of that is simple : the 
real qualitative has dropped off, as Kinloch- Riin- 

12 Scottish Land-Names. 

noch, Kinloch-Moidart, Kinlocli-Laggan, and the 
stress being thereby disengaged falls on the most 
convenient syllable, irrespectively of the meaning. 
Scotsmen always pronounce the personal name 

The neglect of this rule has led astray more than 
one painstaking writer. There is a site of an ancient 
chapel in the parish of Dailly, in Ayrshire, called 
Macherakill. In the ' Old Statistical Account ' it is 
referred to as " probably dedicated to St Macarius," 
a suggestion adopted and confirmed by Chalmers, 
and reiterated by a recent writer. But to bear this 
interpretation the stress must have been on the 
syllables "Macher," and the name would certainly 
have been cast in the form Kilmachar. The fact 
is, that it has no reference whatever to the saint 
commemorated in the parishes of Old and New 
Machar in Aberdeen, which formed of old the 
Ecdcsia hcati Sti Macho7'ii ; the original dedication 
of this Ayrshire site has been forgotten ; the place 
has been named in pure Gaelic (which was spoken 
in the neighbourhood as late as the Eeformation) 
machaire cill, the field of the chapel — kirk-field. 

The certainty of this rule regulating the stress in 
compounds condemns the derivations suggested by 
Mr Johnston for Alloway, ]\Ienstrie, Mochrum, and 
many others. He proceeds on pure conjecture when 
he gives allt na hJicath, stream of the birches, for 
Alloway; onagh sratlia, plain of the strath (a ple- 
onasm), for M^nstrie; magh chrom, crooked plain, 

General Principles. 13 

for Mochrum. These names, had such been their 
etymology, would assuredly have been pronounced 
Alloway, Menstrie, and Mochrum. Xor can this 
writer's explanation of Callander as coill an tir, 
wood of the land, be judged more favourably ; for 
not only is the stress on the first syllable, but no 
man in his senses would so name a place. The ut- 
most that can be done with Callander is to identify 
it doubtfully with Calithros, latinised Calatria, where, 
in 638, Donald Brec, King of Dalriada, was defeated 
by the Britons ; and any suggestion as to its mean- 
ing must at present be pure conjecture. 

In Scotland, where the majority of names are in Celtic 
Celtic, the incidence of stress upon the qualitative precedes 
has had a marked effect upon the pronunciation of dfic!'^'^ 
Scottish as compared with English names. In 
Celtic speech the substantive generally, though not 
always, precedes the adjective or qualifying word. 
This tends to throw the stress in compounds upon 
the ultimate or penultimate. But in Teutonic 
languages, including Anglo-Saxon and Old ISTorse, 
the opposite order prevails, and the adjective or 
qualitative precedes the substantive, and carries the 
stress forward with it. 

No better example of this need be sought than in 
the name of the Scottish capital, which in Teutonic 
speech is Edinburgh — Agned's stronghold, but in 
Gaelic Dunedin. 

Englishmen, accustomed to place the stress on the 
first part of compound names, are prone to mispro- 

14 Scottish Land-Names. 

nounce the names of Scottish towns. There is a 
well-known anecdote of a certain official in the 
House of Commons, who, in reading out the names 
of a group of Scottish burghs, managed to misplace 
the stress on every one of them — Dumfries, Kirk- 
cudbright, Lochmaben, Annan, and Sanquhar. 

There is, however, some elasticity in the position 
of the Gaelic adjective, and sometimes the qualita- 
tive precedes the substantive. The name last men- 
tioned is a case in point. Sanquhar, for scan (shan), 
old, is almost invariably placed first, and so is its 
Welsh equivalent, hen. Sanquhar is scan cathair, 
the old fort, and Mr Skene has pointed out how its 
own name has descended to the stream on which it 
stands, the Crawick ; for it is to be identified with 
Kaer Rywc, Eawic's fort, mentioned in the Book of 
Taliessin, Crawick representing Caer Eywc, as Cra- 
mond does Caer Amain. This Eawic seems to have 
left his name attached to a better known place ; 
Eoxburgh, spelt of old Eokisburh, is Eawic's burgh. 

It is unfortunate for the owner of a beautiful 
demesne in Galloway that its name, scan haile (shan 
bally), old homestead, has become corrupted into the 
ridiculous form Shambelly. The same name appears 
less unhappily disguised with the aspirate as Shin- 
vallie and Shtinvolley in Wigtownshire, Shknavallie 
in Cumbrae, and Shanvallie, Shanavalley, and Sh^n- 
ballie in Ireland. Shenvalla also occurs in the Isle 
of Man, and all these names mean the old farm or 
homestead. " Shanty," a term used to denote a tern- 

General Principles. 1 5 

porary or dilapidated hut, seems to be borrowed from 
the Gaelic scan teach (shan tyah), old house. 

The movement of stress with the qualitative 
syllable is well shown in two Scottish hill-names — 
Benmore and Morven, the first being leinn mdr, the 
second, where the h is aspirated, mdr bheinn, and 
both meaning " great hill." So Ardmore in Aber- 
deen, Argyle, Dumbarton, and other counties — cird 
mdr, the great height — becomes when transposed 
Morar, mdr ard, in Arisaig. Glaister or Glaster is 
the name of various places in Arran, Ayrshire, Gal- 
loway, and Lanark : it means glas tir, green land ; 
but when the adjective takes its usual place after 
the substantive the stress follows it, as in Barglass, 
green top, in Wigtownshire. So Glasvein, in Loch- 
aber, is glas hheinn (ven), green hill, as Benglass in 
Dumbartonshire is heinn glas. 

This syllable glas has two meanings : as an adjec- 
tive it means green or grey, probably cognate with 
the Latin glaucus; as a substantive it means a 
stream. Thus, Dunglas is G, dun glas, green hill, 
but Douglas (locally pronounced Dooglas) is dubh 
glas, the dark stream, black water, or black burn. 

Not less important than the earliest forms of spell- import- 
ing, to the analysis of place-names, is the correct iTcTi pro- 
local pronunciation. But even this has to be °"^"'''^'°" 
accepted with caution, for it sometimes happens 
that, although the local pronunciation is slurred, the 
etymology has been preserved by orthography. In- 
stances are rare in Scotland, where early written 

auce of 1 1 

16 Scottish Land-Names. 

forms are rare, but English examples are Leicester, 
Worcester, CircDcester, &c. 
Influence Eailways and other causes have prevailed to alter 
on pouuii'^ both the stress and pronunciation of some place- 
ciation. i^f^j^es^ On arriving at Carstairs Junction the 
traveller hears the porters shouting the name with 
equal stress on both syllables, whereas locally it is 
pronounced with due significance Carstairs, being 
probably cacr Terras, Terras' camp. A still more 
famihar instance is just over the Scottish Border — 
namely, Carlisle, which is called in the Book of 
Taliessin Cacr Llnvclydd, Lliwelydd's stronghold, 
and the stress on the last syllable indicates the 
old qualitative. But southerners always speak of 
it as Carlisle, thus falsifying the true etymology. 

The change of stress is still more marked in those 
Scottish place-names which have been adopted as 
surnames. So long as those who bear them remain 
in Scotland, they retain the old pronunciation ; but 
as soon as they travel south, so soon is the stress 
thrown forward. Balfour and Cathcart are well- 
known family names in Scotland, but they have been 
anglicised into Balfour and Cathcart. But the Scot- 
tish pronunciation retains the original reference to 
the lands whence these names were derived, Balfour 
being in Fife — haik fuar, the cold farm ; and Cath- 
cart in Eenfrewshire, written in 1158 Kerkert, cath- 
air or cacr Cairt, the castle on the river Cart. Tlie 
Cart is G. caraid, a pair — the Black and White- 

Gene^'ol Principles. 17 

Headers of the 'Lay of the Last Mmstrel' may 
seek to identify D^lorain. They may do so on the 
map of Selkirkshire, but they will never hear it on 
the lips of a local speaker as Scott has taught us to 
pronounce it. It is always called Delurain, which 
clearly brings out its meaning — dal Orain, Oran's 

In districts whence Celtic speech has long since Popuia 
disappeared, it sometimes happens that the spelling ^^^°'"^" 
of a name is altered to correspond with some fanci- 
ful meaning attributed to it ; for people are ever 
impatient of a name which conveys no definite 
meaning, and are wont to twist it into some signi- 

The Cluden is a river in the Stewartry of Kirk- 
cudbright, and where it joins the Nith stands the 
beautiful ruins of Lincluden Priory. This stream 
has been identified by Mr Skene as the scene of 
kat glutvein gueith pen coet, the battle of Cludvein, 
the affair at the head of the wood, mentioned in the 
Book of Taliessiu. This wood has left its name to 
the parish, Holywood, for there was afterwards a 
monastery founded here, called Ahhatia Sacri Nemo- 
ris, the Abbey of the Holy Wood, and a group of 
eleven huge stones perhaps commemorate the battle. 
Before reaching the Nith, the Cluden receives the 
waters of the Cairn, and above the junction is 
named on the Ordnance map Old "Water. Now, a 
common Gaelic word for a stream is alU ; this coin- 
cides in sound with the Broad Scots " auld " ; appar- 


18 Scottish Land-Names. 

ently those who advised the English surveyor thought 
it more genteel to write "old," and the real signifi- 
cance is completely hidden by a forced interpretation.! 

In the adjacent county of Wigtown this word 
allt, a stream, has been dealt with in the same 
way. There is a hill in the parish of Inch marked 
on the map Auld Taggart, as if named from an 
aged person of the name of Taggart or Mactaggart, 
a° common surname in the district. But on the 
other side of the river Luce, distant only a few 
hundred yards, is a stream correctly marked Al- 
taggart Burn— that is, allt shagairt, the priests' 
stream— which has been transferred with modifi- 
cation to the hill opposite. The s in sagart, taking 
the aspirate in the genitive singular, becomes silent, 
according to the rule of Gaelic pronunciation. 

In the same county there is, in the parish of 
Kirkcolm, a rocky headland called on the map 
Droch Head. This is the Gaelic drochaid, a bridge, 
from a fanciful notion that the promontory is the 
beginning of a bridge to Ireland, which is plainly 
visible beyond the channel. A similar place, farther 
south in the same county, is called the Devil's 
Bridge, the legend being that the devil was em- 
ployed to build a bridge to the Isle of Man. 

This word drochaid appears in absurdly corrupt 

1 It is only fair to observe that the Ordnance surveyors are not 
mainly responsible for blunders of this kind. In every case the 
name has been received from the proprietor, and checked by con- 
sultation with other local authorities. 

General Principles. 19 

form in Ayrshire and Kirkcudbright, where there 
are farms written on the map Bardroch Wood and 
Bardrochwood (stress on the second syllable), both 
being named from bridges and not from woods. 

Less pardonable was the blunder of the surveyor 
who, in mapping out Lewis, transcribed the Norse 
name Eoropie, a corruption of eyrar hy, the beach 
village, into Europa Point. 

This is the same deceitful process which has pre- 
vailed to give a spurious form to certain English 
words in common use, such as " causeway," a term 
which has no affinity with " way," a road, but used 
to be spelt causey and cawsee. It is from the Old 
French caucie (modern French chmiss6e), which is 
the Low Latin caldata, for calciata via, a road made 
with lime. Therefore "causeway" is akin to our 
word "chalk." 

As chalk is not a substance commonly found in 
Scotland, I may be permitted to turn aside for a 
moment in order to show that one well-known 
Scottish town takes its name from that mineral. 
Kelso was formerly written Kelhou or Calchow, 
in Welsh Calchvynyd, the chalk hill, and the name 
remains attached to the calcareous hill near the 
town, still called the Chalk Heugh. 

The exasperating ingenuity of English Ordnance Expia 
surveyors in polishing up Scottish place-names to mjths 
suit English lips and ears, whereby such good Saxon 
names as Brigton and Langton appear figged out 
as Bridgeton and Longtown, has its parallel in the 

20 Scottish Land-Names. 

unprincipled invention of popular legends to explain 
names which convey no meaning to persons speak- 
ing a different language. Mr Tylor has shown how 
in all countries place-names are liable to fictitious 
interpretation. Among others he mentions the 
mythical derivation supplied for Exeter, which local 
pundits have explained by declaring that the 
Eomans, when they first came in sight of the land 
where the city now stands, exclaimed, " Ecce terra ! " 
— " Land ho ! " 

The place called Pennycomequick in Cornwall 
has been the subject of a very silly explanation, 
which is more acceptable to the general public than 
the pure Cornish ^ew y cum cuig, head of the cuckoo's 
glen. No etymology is too childish or far-fetched 
to find acceptance with people who have none better 
to offer. They would rather believe what is untrue 
than have nothing to believe. 
Origin of There is no certainty about the meaning of the 
"Scot." name Scot, designating the Dalriadic colony which 
left Ulster towards the close of the fifth century 
and occupied Cowal, Lorn, Kintyre, and Jura under 
Fergus Mor the son of Ere ; but at all events we 
may utterly discard the flattering legend which 
made them descendants of Scotta, a daughter of 
Pharaoh. In Cormac's glossary the word is given 
as " Scuit," and " scuite " is translated " a wanderer " 
in O'Eeilly's dictionary. Ammianus Marcellinus 
notices them a century before they finally settled 
in Argyle as " Scotti per diversa vagantes " — the 

General Principles. 21 

Scots wandering hither and thither, and attacking 
the Roman province in alliance with the Picts. 
Gildas, after describing this first incursion of Scots 
and their occupation of part of Alban (which we 
now call Scotland) for eight years, speaks of them 
as " impudentes grassatores Hiberni " — " shameless 
vagabonds from Ireland." They were a restless 
race of marauders, and may well have earned the 
name of scuite, vagabonds ; and this, rather than the 
romantic connection with Pharaoh's daughter, seems 
to be the origin of the name of Scot, of which we 
have now so much reason to be proud. 

The same process of coining derivations is at work 
to this day. Not long ago I read in a Wigtownshire 
newspaper a letter purporting to give the origin of 
BlMenoch, a river in that county. On its banks 
is a remarkable monumental circle of great stones, 
which local tradition affirms to be, not druidical, as 
is usually believed of such monuments, but the 
burial-place of a native king. It is called King 
Galdus's tomb. ]\tr Skene has shown cause for 
crediting the story, and for believing that Gwallawg 
ap Lleenag, whom Tacitus called Galdus, is buried 
here. The writer of the letter referred to gravely 
asserted that Galdus, having routed his enemy in 
a great battle, pursued them to the banks of the 
Bladenoch, where, weary of slaughter, he halted his 
troops, crying out, " Bluid eneugh, bluid eneugh ! " 
That King Galdus did not speak Broad Scots was 
nothing to this wiseacre, who had started a falsehood 

22 Scottish Land-Names. 

which, it is likely enough, will find currency in the 

Less deliberate, because unintentional, but not the 
less misleading, is the fancy which altered the name 
of the mountain next Helvellyn into Fairfield. The 
original name is ]N"orse— /ce?' fjcdl, sheep-hill. So 
Fairgirth on the Kirkcudbright coast is feci- gar^r, 
sheepfold, as Gadgirth in Ayrshire is geit gar^r, the 
goat-pen. This word fcer, sheep, enters into a 
number of names, and is generally misinterpreted 
by English geographers. Thus Fair Isle, half-way 
between Orkney and Shetland, is a semi-translation 
of fccr ey, sheep-island, a name which appears as 
Faray, one of the Orkney group, and in the plural 
as the Faroe Islands, from fcer eyjar, sheep-islands. 
Similarly the Norse geit, a goat, and the Anglo- 
Saxon gat, are liable to confusion with geat, an 
opening, door, way, and the Broad Scots gate, mean- 
ing a road. But Gatehope in Peeblesshire is geit liof, 
goat-shelter, either in Norse or Anglo-Saxon, for the 
two languages are almost identical in these words; 
and Gateheugh on the Tweed, opposite Old Melrose, 
is the goat's height, exactly corresponding in 
meaning to Ardgour in Argyle, arcl gobliar (gowr). 

A few miles lower down the Tweed, on the 
Merton Water, a grey crag rears itself over the 
stream. This is written in the map Craig Over, as 
if from its position towering over the stream. But 
it is a map-maker's blunder : he took the real name 
Craigower as being Broad Scots for "over," and 

General Principles. 23 

improved it accordingly. The real name is Gaelic, 
creag oclliar (owr), grey craig, or creag gohhar (gowr), 
goat's crag. There is another instance of this name 
not far from Edinburgh, at Liberton, where the 
map-maker has made it Craigo'er. Just so Glen- 
over and Drumover in Ayrshire are doubtless gleann 
odhar (owr), grey or dun glen, and druim odhar, 
grey ridge, as Corrour in Perthshire stands for coirc 
odhar, grey or dun corry, to distinguish it from green 

To select an example of forced meaning from the 
other extremity of Scotland — no doubt Cape Wrath 
is associated in the popular mind with the fury of 
the gales that rage round it, and its present spelling 
is owing to that idea. But the Norse name was 
hvarf, a turning-point. In Font's map it is written 
Faro Head, another attempt at phonetic spelling; 
and close by he gives Eow na farrif — that is, rudha 
na atliarrachaidh (aharrahy), point of the turning — 
which appears in our modern maps as Farout Head. 
In a book published in 1583, of which only two 
perfect copies are known to exist, ' La Navigation du 
Eoi d'Escosse, Jaques cinquieme du nom, autour de 
son royaume,' Caj)c Wrath is thus described, "Wraith 
Hotherwise, nommu Fairhead, c'est t\ dire Belle Pointe 
ou beau Cap ; " whereby the author, compiling his 
work from English notes, led his readers to believe 
that the headland was called Wraith Hotherwise. 

In studying place-names, in order to obtain a true Exaggera 
picture of the state of the land which they describe, 

24 Scottish Land- Names. 

one must take into account that tendency to magnify 
the importance of localities and individuals which 
is so common in all rural districts. All nomencla- 
ture is comparative, and when the field of compari- 
son is limited, undue value is bestowed upon degrees 
of excellence which would be scarcely perceptible 
in a wider field. 

The unconscious pride which, among Celtic tribes, 
exalted the chief into a righ, or king, may be traced 
in other terms of Celtic speech. This righ, for ex- 
ample, would naturally choose the best spot for 
his dwelling, and in our latitude the best spot is 
that which receives most sunshine. Hence griandn 
(greenan), a sunny place, from grian (green), the 
sun, is described by O'Brien as a royal seat or 
palace — " and this," says Dr Joyce, " is unquestionably 
its meaning when it occurs in topographical names." 
But, in truth, it often has a much humbler origin ; 
and Greenan in Ayrshire and Bute, Grennan, Argren- 
nan, and Bargrennan in Galloway and Dumfries- 
shire, though perhaps commemorative of a chiefs 
abode, may also bear the interpretation assigned to 
griandn in modern Gaelic dictionaries — a drying- 
place for anything, particularly peats. 
Ambiguous Furthermore, there is the difficulty arising from 
''" ambiguity. Many meanings are often attached to 
the same word either simultaneously or by successive 
generations. The syllable " ark " is a very frequent 
suffix in place-names, and no doubt it often re- 
presents the Gaelic word earc ; but even when that 

General Principles. 25 

origin has been arrived at, one is still left in doubt 
as to the real meaning, for in O'Eeilly's Irish diction- 
ary that word is interpreted — " water ; the sun ; any 
beast of the cow kind ; a salmon ; a bee ; honey ; 
a tax ; heaven ; a rainbow ; red ; speckled." 

More than this, even of those names which admit Names not 
of intelligible explanation, many must be rendered what they 
as if followed by a note of interrogation in brackets. ^^^^^' 
I can best illustrate this by an example from Irish 
topography. There is a townland near Ennis called 
Clonroad, and no objection could have been taken 
to explaining it as cliiain rod, the meadow by the 
roadside, for that is precisely the form which those 
words would assume in composition. But it so 
happens that, in the Annals, Ennis is usually called 
Inis duana-ramhfhoda — that is, the inch or pasture 
of the meadow of the long rowing. Here the original 
name has been divided between two places, Ennis 
representing inis, the pasture, and Clonroad the cluan 
ramhflioda, the meadow of the long rowing or boat- 
race. In this compound ramhflioda, the in and / 
are silenced by so-called aspiration, and the result 
is the sound " roada." 

There is no key provided to the analysis of Scot- 
tish place-names as there is in Ireland by a plentiful 
early literature, so it is well to bear in mind this 
example of the necessity for rejecting a simple and 
obvious explanation for a complicated and obscure 
one. But it would be unpardonable to take this 
course except upon clear documentary evidence. 

26 Scottish Land-Names. 

It may, perhaps, be thought that I have devoted 
too much time to pointing out errors and dwelling 
on difficulties ; but one of the first tasks to be under- 
taken by the student of place-names is the detection 
and demolition of fictitious etymologies : one of the 
last lessons he can hope to convey is that where no 
certain evidence — documentary, oral, or physical — 
can be had as to the origin of a name, the only right 
thing to do is to leave it unexplained. 





AVING dwelt in the first lecture on 
the general principles to be observed 
in the study of place-names, and 
pointed out some of the chief snares 
to be guarded against in the endeav- 
our to read their true meaning, attention may now 
be given to the different languages in which such 
names are found in Scotland. 

Leaving out of account those framed in modern 
English or that form of Old Northern English which 
survives in Broad Scots, which generally explain 
themselves, the rest may be assumed to have been 
conferred by people speaking one of the following 
languages or dialects : — 

28 Scottish Land-Names. 

1. Pre-Celtic . Iverian or Silurian. 

C Goidelic or Gaelic. 

2. Celtic, either -< Brythonic, Cymric, or "Welsh. 

( Pictish. 

3. Old ^""orse. 

4. Anglo-Saxon. 

Besides these there are a few, but very few, names 
altered from the Latin of the Eoman conquerors. 
Considering that the Eoman occupation of Southern 
Scotland lasted for more than three centuries, it 
may be matter for wonder that they failed to im- 
press their language upon the nomenclature of that 
country, especially when the extent to which the 
Norsemen have done so is taken into account. 
But the fact is that, although Latin was the official 
language of the Eomans, the legions were latterly 
recruited mainly from nations whose speech was not 
Latin. The Second and Sixth Legions, which re- 
mained longest in the northern province, were drawn 
principally' from Gaul and Spain ; hence almost the 
only names which commemorate them are military 
technical terms, such as castrum, a camp, which 
occurs as Chester and Chesters in the counties of 
Dumfries, Dumbarton, Eoxburgh, Berwick, Mid and 
East Lothian, and Fife. 

Christian missionaries, of course, introduced a 
number of Latin ecclesiastical terms, which became 
part of the Gaelic or Welsh languages, such as 
Gaelic eaglais, Welsh cghvys, from ecdesia, a church, 
which gives the name to Eccles, near Coldstream, 

Tlieir Languages. 29 

and again near Thornhill, in Dumfriesshire ; and to 
Ecclef^chan, in Dumfriesshire, the church of St 
Fechan or Vigean, who died in 664. Close to 
Ecclefechan the same word appears in Eiiglesfield, 
and again near Paisley, in Eaglesham. Lesmahagow 
is a corruption of caglais Machutc, St Machutus' 

Easbog, a bishop, the Gaelic rendering of episcoims, 
gives such names as Gillespie, a farm in Wigtown- 
shire — that is, cill easpuig, the bishop's cell or chapel, 
not to be confused, though identical in form, with 
the surname Gillespie, which means giola easpuig, 
the bishop's servant. Indeed cill itself (pronounced 
heel), so characteristic of Gaelic names in Scotland 
and Ireland in the prefix Kil, is a loan word from 
the Latin, being the locative case of cecdl, a cell or 
chapel, from the Latin cellci. 

Next to nothing is known of the language spoken Pre-Ceitic, 

. Iverian, or 

by the people — presumably non- Aryan — who m- Silurian, 
habited this country before the coming of the Celts ; 
and of the people themselves we have little certain 
information, though the ancient annals of Ireland 
teem with notices of them, and though they have 
been the subject of much speculation and scrutiny 
in modern times. But inasmuch as some of the 
place-names we pronounce at this day are probably 
remains of the speech of this race, an attempt must 
be made to review briefly what has been ascertained 
about them. 

The early Irish historical legends were collected 

30 Scottish Land-Names. 

in the sixteenth century by Michael O'Clery, one of 
the compilers of the ' Annals of the Four Masters,' 
and put in the form of a consecutive narrative, called 
the ' Leabhar Gabhala,' or ' Book of Conquests.' All 
through this book mention is made of a small, dark- 
haired race of men, whose fate it was to be con- 
tinually getting out of the way of stronger people. 
These have been identified, more or less hypotheti- 
cally, with the long-skulled people whose remains 
are found in Great Britain and Western Europe in 
long barrows with galleries and chambers, doubt- 
fully distinguished by the shape of their skulls from 
the round-headed people, who buried in round cairns 
and grave-mounds. The facts that no metal, except 
gold, has ever been found in the long barrows, that 
pottery is extremely rare, and that weapons and 
implements of stone are of common occurrence, 
go some way to justify the conclusion arrived at 
by Canon Greenwell and Mr Boyd Dawkins, that 
the people who buried in this peculiar way were 
still in the neolithic or polished - stone grade of 

Yet if it may be supposed that this is the people 
described by the Greek writers who first make 
mention of Britain, some tribes of them, at all 
events, held together long enough to form an 
important mining community in Cornwall. A well- 
known passage in Diodorus Siculus, who wrote in 
the last century before Christ, thus refers to 
them : — 

TJieir Languages. 31 

Those who dwell near the promontory of Britain [the 
Land's End], which is called Belerion, are singularly fond 
of strangers, and, from their intercourse with foreign 
merchants, are singularly civilised in their habits. These 
people obtain the tin by skilfully working the soil which 
produces it ; this, being rocky, has earthy interstices, in 
which, working the ore, and then fusing, they reduce it to 
metal, and when they have formed it into cubical shapes, 
they convey it to a certain island lying off Britain, called 
Ictis ; for at the low tide the intervening space being laid 
dry, they carry thither the tin in great abundance. 

Now, if Diodorus was as careful in his statements 
regarding the ethnology of Belerion as he was in 
describing its topography and mineralogy, it would 
appear that he is here dealing with a tribe of the 
pre-Celtic population, already confined to the limits 
of the south-western promontory by the advance of 
the Celts, but raised by contact with civilised traders 
far above the level of their fellow-countrymen. The 
two names, Belerion and Ictis, may represent Diodo- 
rus' attempt to render phonetically the ]3re-Celtic 
names attached to the Land's End and St Michael's 

In the ' Leabhar Gabhala ' mention is made of a 
people called the Firbolg, who are said to have 
arrived in Ireland about a thousand years after the 
flood. They were the descendants of Simon Breac, 
and had been enslaved by the Greeks, who made 
them dig earth and carry it in leather bags. Now 
the Irish for "bag" is holj, and firhohj means the 
men with bags — bagmen. 

32 Scottish Land- Names, 

There were with them men called fir domhnan, 
because of the clomhin, or pits, which they dug, as 
well as others called fir gaillian, or spearmen, from 
the gai, or spears, with which they guarded the 
others while they worked. They had possession of 
Ireland, it is said, until they were driven out with 
great slaughter by the Tuatha de Danaan after the 
battle of Muigh Tuireadh. We seem to have here 
the dim record of a disappearing race, and these 
bagmen and pitmen, as Mr Skene pointed out, were 
probably Iverian or Silurian miners from Cornwall, 
driven thence by the stronger Celtic population to 
take refuge in Ireland, where they attempted to 
carry on their native industry — the only one known 
to them. 

Without putting too much stress upon these hazy 
traditions, it is clear that in various parts of Ireland 
and Scotland there are traces of a black-haired, 
black-eyed race, differing in a marked degree from 
the larger limbed and brown or fair haired people 
who form the bulk of the population, and generally 
held in low esteem by any other race which hap- 
pened to be dominant. 

Thus in the preface to MTirbis' ' Book of Genea- 
logies ' we read : — 

Every one who is white of skin, brown of hair, bold, 
honourable, daring, prosperous, bountiful in the bestoAval 
of prosperity, wealth, and rings, and is not afraid of 
battle, — they are the descendants of the sons of INIiledh 
(the Milesians) in Erin. Every one who is fair-haired. 

Their Languages. 33 

vengeful, large, and every plunderer; every musical 
person ; the professor of musical and entertaining per- 
formances, who are adepts in all Druidical and magical 
arts, — they are the descendants of the Tuatha de Danaan 
in Erin. Every one who is black-haired, who is a tattler, 
guileful, tale-telling, noisy, contemptible ; every wretched, 
mean, strolling, unsteady, harsh, and inhospitable person ; 
every slave, every low thief, every churl, every one who 
loves not to listen to music and entertainment, the dis- 
turbers of every council and assembly, and the promoters 
of discord among the people, — these are the descendants 
of the Firbolg. . . . This is taken from an old book. 

From this and many passages of similar import in 
the early chronicles, it may be gathered that the 
black-haired Iverians, known as Firbolg and Silures, 
were the earliest inhabitants of this country of which 
any trace remains ; that they were akin to the 
Basque population of our own day, and had the 
physical characteristics of the river-drift men. They 
must have distinguished one locality from another 
by means of place-names in their own language, and 
no doubt some of these names still remain in our 
maps, just as in Australasia many native names will 
remain, interspersed among those of English origin, 
ages after the aborigines shall have ceased to be 
known as a distinct people. 

But whereas the Australian aborigines have been 
dispossessed by a literary people, capable of writing 
down phonetically the native names of places, the 
Iverians were ousted by a people who could not even 
write their own language. The old names, or some 

34 Scottish Land- Names. 

of them, would be transmitted orally ; but what 
chance is there of our interpreting their meaning at 
this day, after centuries of detrition and linguistic 
corruption ? Even where, in a few cases, careful 
students have detected a probability that certain 
Scottish place-names are of Iverian origin, there 
exist no grounds for so much as a guess at their 
meaning, and one is fain to content one's self with 
the prudent observation of Cormac Mac Cuillenain, 
an etymologist of the ninth century, who, though not 
himself averse to hazarding the wildest shots at 
derivations, remarked : " It is not every syllable that 
receives interpretation. Therefore let no one wonder 
how parn comes to mean a whale, ct alia similia." 

The best chance of recovering the form of Iverian 
names occurs in those rare instances where a record 
has been preserved of the names successively borne 
by some prominent natural feature, like the great 
rock guarding the entrance to the Clyde, of which 
the earliest recorded name is Nemhtur or Nevtur.^ 
This may have been a phonetic rendering by the 
Gael or Pict of the Iverian name of a noted strong- 
hold."^ After the decisive victory of the Welsh prince 
and Christian champion, Eydderch Hael, at the battle 

^ Eosueath ^r-os Nemhcdh (nevey), the headland of Nemhedh, 
may be compared with Nevtur. The parish of Rosneath is called 
Neueth and Neyt in the Reg. de Passelet (pp. 114 and 308). About 
1225 the land is called Nemhedh in a charter of Earl Alwin in 
favour of Maldoven, dean of Lennox {Reg. de Levenad, p. 20), and 
in 1264 Nevyd {Compola Camcrarii, vol. i. p. 47). 

- If, however, Nevtur be a Celtic name, it would bear the inter- 
pretation naomh (nave) tor, holy tower or rock. 


Their Languages. 35 

of Ardderyd (now Arthuret) on the Dumfriesshire 
Esk in A.D. 573, this rock of Nevtur became the seat 
of government of the Britons of Strathclyde, and 
was called by them Alclut, the cliff on the Clyde ; 
but to the Gaelic tribes around it was known as dun 
Bretann, the Britons' fortress. When Gaelic speech 
once more overflowed the Welsh in Strathclyde, that 
name was confirmed, and now, and probably for 
evermore, it is called Dumbarton. 

But although in the present state of our knowledge 
it is not possible to assign meanings to the scraps 
of pre- Celtic speech which, like Belerion, Ictis, and 
Nevtur, seemed to have survived the lapse of time 
and ethnological change, it is reasonable to keep an 
eye on certain names as not improbably of Iverian 

The first syllable of the name Ireland is a con- 
tracted form of the name Iver, Emer, Eber, or Eire, 
which was very likely a pre-Celtic vocable. Adopted 
into Gaelic speech, it received the genitive case 
Eirinn, the favourite name for Ireland, just as Alban, 
the ancient name of Scotland, is the genitive case 
of Alba. 

This name Eire, as Professor PJiys has shown,^ 
seems to have been specially applied to the people 
of Munster, whose capital appears in early Irish 
MSS. as Temair Erand, or Tara of the Erna (or Iver- 
ians). In Welsh it appears as Iwerddon, and in 
some of the early MS. editions of Juvenal it is writ- 

1 Rhine! Lectures, 1889. 

36 ScottisJi Land-Names. 

ten luverna, IlDerna, and Juberua. The form luverna 
corresponds exactly with the luverna or Iwwerna 
of the earliest Ogam inscriptions in Ireland and 

It is impossible to deal with Scottish place-names 
without allusion to the changes which have taken 
place in those of Ireland, a country whence the eth- 
nology and language of Scotland were repeatedly 
recruited in early times. And what lends special 
importance to this name Iver or Emer, apparently 
the designation of a notable branch of the pre-Celtic 
race, is the fact that it occurs in the middle of Scot- 
land. Sraith Hirend, now Strathearn, can hardly be 
other than the vale of the Erann or Iverians, com- 
memorating, probably, a settlement of the same 
people from whom Lough Erne, in Ireland, is said 
to have taken its name. We are told in the 'Annals 
of the Four Masters' that in the year B.C. 1443 
Eiacha Labhrainne, King of Ireland, defeated " the 
Ernai, a sept of the Eirbolg, on the plain where 
Lough Erne now is. After the battle was gained 
from them, the lake flowed over them, so that it is 
from them that the lake is named — that is, a lake 
over the Ernai." 

All the names by which Ireland was known in 
ancient poetry — namely, Eire, Banba, Fodla, and 
Elga — seem to be reflected in the Scottish place- 
names Earn, Banff, Athole (Ath Fotla), Elgin, and 
Glenelg, and Professor Ehys inclines to regard these 
names as being in the Iverian language. 

Their Languages. 37 

Mr Skene has drawn attention to the frequent 
occurrence of the syllable II in the topography of 
the Basque province, and, recalling the legend of 
the occupation of Islay by the Firbolg, suggests that 
the name of that island, as well as that of the 
two rivers called Isla in Banff and Forfar, the 
Ulie in Sutherland (written Ila by Ptolemy), and 
other rivers called Ale, Elwan, and Allan, there 
may be recognised an Iverian word. There is 
perhaps more significance in the resemblance he 
traces between ur, the Basque word for water, and 
our river names Urr, Oure, Ourin, and Ore. He 
adds Ure and Urie ; but these are undoubtedly 
Gaelic, from the yew-tree — viz., amlminn iicbhar 
(a von yure), stream of the yews, and amliuinn iuhhar- 
aich (yureh), stream of the yew- wood. Compare with 
these Palnure in Kirkcudbrightshire — that is, 2^ol 
nci mhhar, stream of the yews — and Glenure, in 
Argyleshire, the glen of yews. 

But it avails not to dwell longer on a subject 
which involves such bare speculation. The most 
hopeful means of arriving at a recognition of pre- 
Celtic names would be to prepare a list for every 
parish in Scotland of names which cannot be ex- 
plained in any Celtic or Teutonic speech. This 
has never yet been done, though scholars have been 
eager enough to collect names capable of explana- 
tion: but it is in the irreducible residuum that 
careful comparison might produce something like 
an acquaintance with Iverian nomenclature. 

38 Scottish Land-Names. 

Celtic. I now turn to the consideration of that language 

in the various dialects of which the majority of 
Scottish place-names are cast. Here we are on 
much firmer ground, though it has indeed been 
grievously undermined by the wild guesswork of 
Celtic enthusiasts. 

The Celtic language, in whicli such a large pro- 
portion of Scottish names is formed, consists of 
two main branches — the Goidelic and the Brythonic, 
which, for convenience, may be referred to as Gaelic 
and "Welsh. But it must be understood that these 
terms are here used in a general sense, not as 
restricted by modern use. In Gaelic are included 
the various dialects still spoken in Ireland, Man, 
and the Highlands of Scotland, as ivell as their 
archaic forms ; and in Welsh is comprehended not 
only the living language of Wales, but that form of 
it which was once current over the whole of the 
west of England and part of Scotland, in a chain of 
territory, broken only by the Gaelic or Pictish prov- 
ince of Galloway, extending from the Land's End on 
the south to the Firth of Clyde on the north. 

In those districts where these languages are still 
spoken, the interpretation of names is generally 
as easy to a Celtic scholar as it is for an English- 
man to read the meanings of names formed in 
English. The only circumstances likely to baffle 
either of them is one of those following: — 

Obsolete First, The occurrence of obsolete words — words 

-^vhich have fallen out of use or have altered from 

Their Languages. 39 

the old form. Briach (bragli) is a disused name 
for a wolf, unknown in modern Gaelic, and closely 
resembling hreac (brack), spotted, brindled, or 
streaked, and hrcac, a trout; but it is not improb- 
ably the specific syllable in Bn\co, the name of 
a place in Perthshire and another in Aberdeen. 
It appears to be the same name as Breagho in 
Fermanagh, which the Irish annalists render Br(^agh 
mhagh (vah) — that is, wolf-field. Yet a modern 
Gaelic student would not recognise the word, be- 
cause it is not in the living language. 

Ar means ploughed land, but it also means Equi- 
slaughter; so the Gaelic names Knocknkr and 
Barn\er, which occur in Galloway, may signify 
either the slaughter - hill, the battle -hill, or the 
ploughed hill. 

Second, The operation of the law of umlaut, as Umlaut. 
German philologers call it, whereby the vowel 
sound in one syllable is altered by the vowel 
sound in a syllable following, as husband and 
nostril stand for house-band and nose-thrill. An 
instance of this in a Celtic place-name is Slam- 
tinnan, for sliahh (slieve or slew) Manann, the moor 
of the Picts of Manann. Among Saxon names an 
extreme example of the action of umlaut is the 
name of Paithwell, a parish in Dumfriesshire, locally 
pronounced Piivvell, but being really Kood Well, 
for so the holy well there was named from the 
rood or cross — the Piuthwell Cross, so well known 
to antiquaries. 

40 Scottish Land-Names. 

Linguistic Third, Linguistic change in the pronunciation of 
vocables. Cnoc is an ancient term denoting a hill, 
and it is so written in modern Gaelic dictionaries, 
but no Highlander would understand what it meant, 
for it has come to be pronounced croclid. There is 
evidence that this change has taken place within the 
last three centuries and a half. Gaelic was spoken 
in the mountainous parts of Galloway as late as the 
days of Queen Mary. In a list of Galloway place- 
names which I prepared some years ago, upwards of 
240 began with the syllable Knock, and only one 
with that of Crock. The single exception was 
Crockencally, near Kirkbean ; it was church-land of 
old, and the name Ladyland, occurring close by, 
confirmed the obvious meaning cnocdn cailleach, 
the nuns' hillock. This seems to show that the 
change of cnoc into crochd was just beginning to 
take place at the time Gaelic was dying out in 

But why should a change, apparently so arbitrary, 
take place, of changing n into r? For the same 
reason that we English-speaking folk sound " nock " 
\ instead of " knock." It requires a conscious effort 
to begin a word with hi, and the whole tendency of 
linguistic change is to get rid of exertion. The Gael, 
as we shall see presently, is very partial to k: he 
belongs to the Q group of Celts, and cannot be per- 
suaded to give up his beloved gutturals ; so instead 
of dropping the k, as we have done, he kept it, and 
altered the n into the easier sound of r. Thus 

Their Languages. 41 

Crochrioch, the name of several small hills iu 
Argyleshire, is the same as Knockreoch, which 
occurs in Galloway, and both were originally cnoc 
riahhach (reeagh), the grey hill. 

Lastly, One effect of aspiration and eclipse, pro- Aspiration, 
cesses to which certain consonants in Gaelic and 
Welsh are peculiarly liable, is to render certain 
words indistinguishable from each other in com- 
position, and Professor Mackinnon has supplied 
a good instance of how a Gaelic scholar may be 
misled thereby. The bold headland on the west of 
Tiree is called Kenvara, and the Ordnance surveyor, 
who evidently had some knowledge of Gaelic, has 
written it Ccann a hharra, meaning the hill-head, 
the promontory of the hill or of the crop, for harr 
means both hill-top and crop in Gaelic. But h and 
m when aspirated both represent the sound of v, 
and the real sense of Kenvara is ceann nihara, the 
headland of the sea. 

The same combination, without the aspirate, gives 
Kenm^re, in Ireland, and good Gaelic scholars might 
easily be misled into translating Connemara in the 
same way — ccann net mara ; but they would be 
wrong, for that name, as we know from the an- 
nalists, is Conmaicne mara, the seaside Conmaicne, 
the progeny of Conmac, the son of Fergus, king of 

So much for aspiration : now for an example of Eclipse, 
the perplexing effect of eclipse. There is in Gal- 
loway a ridge of land called Drummatier. It is 

42 Scottish Land-Names. 

on the verge of a wild mountainous tract, and 
would well bear the interpretation clruim mac tire, 
ridge of the wolves, for mac tire (teer), signifying 
" son of the soil," is an old and common name for 
a wolf. But the termination -teer usually has a 
different signification. The consonant s is liable in 
composition to be silenced by aspiration and replaced 
by t — to be eclipsed, in short ; Baltier, in the same 
district as Drummatier, must be interpreted haile 
t-shaoir (bally teer), the carpenter's house, just as 
Ballinteer, near Dublin and Londonderry, is haile cm 
t-shaoir (teer) with the article. Drummatier, there- 
fore, may have nothing to do with wolves, but may 
simply be clruim a' t-shaoir, the carpenter's ridge. 
Still more perplexing examples, for they are com- 
bined with the change of n into ?', are found in the 
names Colintraive and Ardentrive in Argyleshire. 
These are places where, long before the days of 
steamers, cattle were driven down from the hills 
and forced to swim across a narrow part of the 
loch. Colintraive is caol an t-shnaoimh, the strait 
of the swimming, the original sound " snave " having 
been altered by the so-called eclipse of s by t, and 
the alteration of n into r. So Ardentrive is arcl cm 
t-shnaoimh, the headland of the swimming. 

The process which Celtic philologists term eclipsis 
is explained by O'Donovan as "the suppression of 
the sounds of certain radical consonants by prefixing 
others of the same organ." The consonants said to 
be subject to eclipse are — 

Their Languages. 43 

B eclipsed by M 
C .. G 

D and G m Is" 

F - Bh = V 

P eclipsed by B 

T M D 

and S M T 

We should probably never have heard of eclipsis 
but for the pedantry of early Irish writers, who 
seem to have been ever anxious to cram as many 
letters as possible into a word ; and so, when a hard 
or surd consonant like t changed into the sound of 
a soft or sonant one like d, they insisted on writing 
both, though only the sound of d was heard. 

" All initial consonants," writes O'Donovan, " that 
admit of eclipsis are eclipsed in all nouns of the 
genitive case plural, when the article is expressed, 
and sometimes even in the absence of the article." 

Now, the qualitative syllable or syllables in com- 
pound Gaelic place-names often consist of a noun 
in the genitive plural. Thus Craigenveoch in Wig- 
townshire is crectfjdn fithcach (feeagh), crag of the 
ravens, and would be written in Irish creagdn hhfith- 
each. But in reality the change from / to -y is a 
natural and easy one, and is the ordinary outcome 
of the invariable tendency of speakers to avoid 
effort. The so-called eclipse of c, p, and t by g, h, 
and d, is capable of similar explanation. 

But the changes of h into m, d and g into n, and 
s into t, are to be accounted for differently. Lagnie- 
mawn, the name of a marshy field in Wigtownshire, 
probably represents lag nam ban, hollow of the 
women. Here h may with accuracy be described 

44 Scottish Land-Names. 

as having been eclipsed by the final m of the article. 
It becomes like the mute h (also organic) in our 
" lamb." But a converse process is more usual in 
English pronunciation, for we sound an excrescent 
h after m in such words as " number," " chamber," 
" humble," and " timber." 

The eclipse of d and g by n occurs when these 
consonants are silenced by aspiration, and the final 
n of the preceding article takes their place. In the 
eclipse of s by ^, s is silenced by aspiration, and a 
purely excrescent t takes its place. Bartaggart in 
Wigtownshire is harr t-sliagairt, hill - top of the 
priest; but Balsaggart in Ayrshire represents haile 
sagart, house of the priests. 

For the same reason, the personal name Mactag- 

gart, the priest's son, never appears as Macsaggart, 

seeing that a man cannot claim more than one 


Distinction Certain well-marked linguistic differences exist 

Gaelic and between Gaelic and "Welsh, and these must be 


shortly stated ; but it is no part of my object to 

attempt to decide the vexed question of their rela- 
tive antiquity. Suffice it to say that almost at the 
remotest point to which Celtic speech can be traced, 
there may be recognised a preference on the part of 
certain tribes for labial consonants, on the part of 
others for guttural. Eleven hundred years ago 
Cormac, the Irish scribe, noted the difference be- 
tween the Gaelic mac and the Welsh map, a son. 
Now, this divergence was not intentional : the 

Their Languages. 45 

original word for son was Maqvi in the genitive 
case ; the Gaelic race, owing to some organic pecu- 
liarity, preferred the guttural Q, and their word for 
" son " became Mac ; the Welsh, for the same reason, 
preferred the labial V, and their word became Map, 
becoming later Ap, and now often wasted away in 
simple P, as in the personal names Pritchard = Ap 
Pilchard, or Probert = Ap Eobert, as we should say 
Eichardson or Eobertson. 

Professor Ehys has made convenient use of this 
characteristic, and divided neo-Celtic dialects into 
the Q group, representing the Goidelic or Gaelic, 
and the P group, representing the Brythonic, Cymric, 
or Welsh. In Scotland, where there were, as we 
know, of old Gaelic-speaking and Welsh-speaking 
Celts, it is useful to have a few test-words in either 
language to apply to the analysis of place-names. 
One very commonly chosen for this purpose is 

Gaelic, ccann ; Welsh, pen ; English, head. 

Thus, to take two examples from the county of Ayr, 
which, being in the territory of the Welsh people of 
Strathclyde, exhibits Gaelic and Welsh names side 
by side, Kinchoil near Ayr means in Gaelic cinTi 
choill (hoyle), at the head of the wood, cinn being the 
locative case of ccann ; and Pencot near Dairy is the 
Welsh ^5e?i coed, wood-head. 

Pen is a word most characteristic of Welsh topo- 
graphy, nevertheless its occurrence among place- 

46 Scottish Land-Names. 

names is by no means sufficient to warrant the 
assumption of a former Welsh population. It is 
sometimes the corruption of another word. Thus 
the stream flowing past the ancient and picturesque 
parish church of Miuigaff in Galloway is called 
the Penkiln, but it is not a Welsh word. In Font's 
map it is spelt Poolkill, which represents the Gaelic 
Ijol cill (keel), water or stream of the church. That 
there were Welshmen — Strathclyde Britons — settled 
in Galloway is proved by the name Culbratten, 
occurring in the next parish to Minigaff — that is, 
cuil or dd Breatain, the corner or hill-back of the 
Welshman, and Drumbreddan in Old Luce parish 
is druwi Breatain, the Welshman's ridge ; but the 
occurrence of such names shows that their presence 
was exceptional, and could not prevail to give a 
Welsh cast to place-names. 

Another good test-word is supplied by the name 
of a common tree — 

Gaelic, fcarn ; Welsh, givern ; English, alder. 

Being a waterside tree, it gives its name to many 
rivers. The Nairn is amhuinn na' fhcarn (the / 
silenced by aspiration), alder-river ; but the / was 
not always silent in this name, for it is present in 
Strathnavern, the old spelling of Strathnairn. But 
in Ayrshire the Welsh name remains in G^rnock, 
a river near Dairy, afon givernach ; ^ which is further 

^ In Welsh / represents our v sound, ^tliat of our /in "far." 

Their Languages. 47 

disguised by the addition of the Scots " bum " in 
the name Garnaburn, near Colmon^ll. 

Gaelic, fionn, Jinn ; Welsh, gwynn ; English, white. 

These words often appear in combination with 
Gaelic ceann and Welsh ^:>m, a head. Thus the 
Welsh name Penwyn, the Pennowindos of early 
inscriptions, means " white head," and so does the 
Gaelic ceann Jinn, more often ceann fJiinn (cann 
hinn, the / being silenced by aspiration). There is 
a low hill called Knockcannon facing the ancient 
stronghold of the Douglas — the Threave, near Kirk- 
cudbright. Local tradition has it that it is so named 
Knockct\nnon because it is the place where Mons 
Meg, the great cannon, was planted to batter down 
the castle ; but this is suspiciously like the usual 
attempt to explain a name by reference to some 
familiar or notable incident. Comparison with the 
Irish place-names Carrigcannon, Drumcannon, and 
Lettercannon, which Dr Joyce interprets as the 
crag, the ridge, and the half townland {leth tir) of 
the white top, incline one to construe Knockcannon 
as the hill with the white top — i.e., a grassy hill 
amid moorland or woodland. But Foilnacannony 
in Tipperary and Glennac^nnon in Wicklow are 
connected in legend with certain cows called 
ceann fhionn (cann hinn), because they had white 

Time permits but a cursory consideration of the 

48 Scottish Land-Names. 

separation of the Celts into P and Q groups : it is 
enough for our present purpose to accept the fact 
that the Gaels used c in many words where the 
Welsh had p. But it may be remarked in passing 
that a similar division in labial and guttural groups 
prevails in other languages. Where the Tuscan 
Italian says plaga for the shore, the N"eapolitan says 
cliiaja; where Herodotus wrote /cw? and K6Tepo<i, 
other Greek writers used Trw? and irorepo';. 
Words The combination sr at the beginning of a word is 


with sr. avoided by the people of nearly every nation ; in- 
deed it is said that, except the Irish and Scottish 
Gael, the only European race that can brook it is 
the Lithuanian. When Gaelic names came to be 
written in English characters, this difficulty was 
eased by the insertion of a dental, and so it comes 
that many places called Strone or Stroan represent 
the Gaelic sron, a nose, equivalent to the Norse ncs 
and Anglo-Saxon nces (naze). Stronachlacher on Loch 
Katrine is a rock of offence to English tourists : it is 
the Gaelic sivoi a' chlachair, the mason's headland or 
point. The bold headland separating the Holy Loch 
from Loch Long is now called Strone Point, equiv- 
alent to " Point Point " ; but Strowan and Struan, 
in Perthshire and Inverness-shire, represent sndhan 
(sruhan), a diminutive or plural form of sruth, a 

The Welsh found the same difficulty as we do in 
beginning a word with S7\ but they got rid of the 
difficulty somewhat differently. Instead of turning 

Their Languages. 49 

the Gaelic sratli into strath, they made it ystracl, 
which is probably the origin of Yester in Hadding- 
tonshire ; and this word appears in the twelfth cen- 
tury in an obsolete name for Annandale, Estrahan- 
nent. In sroii they dropped the s altogether, sub- 
stituting t, and made it trvnjn, the regular Welsh 
word for " a nose." This is the origin of the Ayr- 
shire seaport Troon, the point, written in Font's map 
" The Truyn." 

If the Latin 'planum, level ground, has no affinity 
to the Gaelic lawn, ground, Welsh llan, an enclosure, 
and specially a church, and English laion (which 
Professor Skeat seems to imply by his silence on 
the subject), at all events they run very closely 
together. Carmichael, in Lanarkshire, is written 
Planmichael in an Inquisition of David I. In 
Celtic sj)eech the initial p soon dropped off: the 
special meaning of the Wesh llan, a church, was 
forgotten, and it has been altered in our maps to 
Long Newton, Long Niddrie, and Longformacus, 
because the map-makers thought they had in llaii 
the vulgar Scots "lang" for "long." Similarly, in 
Cumberland and Yorkshire we find such names as 
Long Newton and Longmarton. But in Pictish 
Forfarshire it was the I that dropped out and the 
29 that remained, leaving Fanmure and Fanbrlde, 
the great church and the church of St Bridget or 

The Welsh word llancrch, a forest glade, has 
suffered corruption by the officiousness of geogra- 


50 Scottish Land-Names, 

pliers in the same way as Ran. It remains un- 
changed in the county name Lanark, which is sup- 
posed to be referred to in the Book of Carmarthen : — 

" Awallen peren atif in llanerch" — 
Sweet apple-tree that grows in Lanark. 

Lanrick and Drumlanrig are little altered forms of 
llanerch (the latter being a hybrid of Gaelic and 
Welsh) ; but in Whitburn parish, Linlithgowshire, 
the village which used to be called Lanrig has been 
metamorphosed on our maps into Longridge. 
Similarity The attempt to distinguish between those of our 
and Welsh, place-names which originated with a Gaelic people 
on the one hand and a Welsh one on the other is 
interfered with by the identity of many vocables in 
the two languages. The Welsh did not always use 
]p where the Gaels preferred k. Three of the com- 
monest generic terms in Gaelic place - names are 
cathair (caher), a camp or fort ; earn, a cairn or heap 
— a hill ; and earraig, a crag, represented in Welsh 
spelling by caer, cam, and earcg. 

Names compounded of these and many other 
words — such as Gaelic mdr, Welsh maur, great ; 
Gaelic inis, Welsh ynys, an island ; Gaelic amlminn, 
Welsh afon, a river — may belong to either of the two 
languages. Carrick, for example, the ancient earl- 
dom of South Ayrshire, may be Welsh, for it is in 
Strathclyde, where Welsh was once the vernacular ; 
but it is just as likely to be Gaelic, for there are 
numberless Carricks in Ireland, where Welsh was 

Their Languages. 51 

never spoken. But there are certain words in each 
dialect which are not found in the other. There is 
no commoner generic word in Gaelic topography 
than druim, a ridge, which, so far as I know, hardly 
enters into Welsh place-names ; its place is supplied 
by ccfn, and this vocable is easily recognised in 
Giffen, the name of two places in Ayrshire, one 
near Dairy, the other near Beith. A still better 
known example is the suburb of Glasgow called 
Govan, which, although we write it with an o, was 
written Guven in 1147, and probably means " the 
ridge." ^ 

Cuff Hill, a prominent ridge, 675 feet high, in 
North Ayrshire, seems to be another corruption of 
the same word. 

The few minutes which remain to me are too Ghost- 
short to enter upon consideration of Pictish names, 
so I may devote them to bringing to your notice a 
strange effect that literature sometimes has upon 
place-names, bringing about a permanent alteration 
of form by means of a copyist's blunder. 

There exist in Scotland three well-known examples 
of this kind of accident, aptly classed by Canon Isaac 
Taylor as " ghost-names." Dr Eeeves first detected 
the blunder of a copyist in the name lona. This 

^ It has been pointed out to me that Govan is not on a ridge of 
land. To this I must answer that there are ridges all round it, 
and that names often slij^ped from high land to low, as edit has 
come to mean a glen, and the stream in the glen ; and many hills 
are known as the Lag or the Laggan, from the laxj or hollow at the 
foot of the hill. 

52 Scottish Land-Names. 

island was originally called I (pronounced ce), also 
written Hii, Hye, la, lou, Yi, and Y, meaning 
"island," a word no longer in modern Gaelic, but 
retained in medieval Gaelic, as i Coluim cille — the 
island of Columba of the Church. Adamnan, in 
his 'Life of St Columba,' makes a Latin adjective 
out of I, and writes loua insula : some copyist mis- 
taking u for n, wrote lona insula, and the error has 
been perpetuated in the romantic name by which 
the island is now known. 

In another instance u was mistaken for m. Taci- 
tus, in his ' Life of Agricola,' describes how the Cale- 
donians under Galgacus were drawn up on the Mons 
Graicpius. This was copied Grampius, and trans- 
ferred to the great ridge Drumalban, dorsum 
Albanice, or backbone of Scotland, which is there- 
from known now as the Grampian Mountains. The 
name Drumalban has itself disappeared, although 
Breadalbane represents its synonym — Iraglmd Alhan, 
the breast or upland of Alban. 

The third case is still more remarkable. Here a 
scribe mistook u for ri. This was the more pardon- 
able because, until the eleventh century, it was not 
customary to dot the i. The Western Islands of 
Scotland were written by Ptolemy Ebudce, and by 
Pliny Hcebudcc. The latter name appears as Hebri- 
des in a manuscript from which the early edition of 
Pliny's ' Natural History ' was printed. In that 
form it took root with us, and was carried by Cap- 
tain Cook to the southern hemisphere, where he 

Their Languages. 53 

applied it to another group of islands, the New 

In the name Ebudaj we seem to have an echo of 
pre-Celtic or Iverian speech, and the name Bute, 
or, more correctly. Boot, appears to be the same 

If these gross blunders have been suffered to 
corrupt three of the best-known names in Scotland, 
how many may be as yet undetected among names 
of lesser note. 





Pictisii. MUiVJ^N the first two lectures of this course 
we have considered the evidence of a 
pre - Celtic, presumably non - Aryan, 
speech, and examined the character- 
istics of Celtic, in its two branches 
of Gaelic and Welsh, and we have now to encounter 
the problem presented by the language of the Picts. 
When the Dalriadic colony of Irish-Scots settled 
in Cowal, Lorn, Kintyre, Isla, and Jura at the close 
of the fifth century, the greater part of Alban or 
Caledonia was in possession of a people known as 
Cruithni or Picts, and it need hardly be said how 
much difference of opinion prevails at this day as to 
the ethnographic affinity of the Picts. 

Their Languages. 55 

Mr Whitley Stokes has given the latest summary 
of the situation in regard to this people as follows : — 

As to the linguistic and ethnological affinities of the 
Picts, four irreconcilable hypotheses have been formed. 
The first, due to Pinkerton, is that the Picts were Teu- 
tons, and spoke a Gothic dialect. No one now believes 
in this. The second, started by Professor Ehys, is that 
the Picts were non-Aryans, whose language was overlaid 
by loans from Welsh and Irish ; the third, the property 
of Mr Skene, is that they were Celts, but Gaelic Celts 
rather than Cymric ; the fourth, and, in my judgment, 
the true hypothesis, favoured by Professor Windisch and 
INIr A. Macbain, is that they were Celts, but more nearly 
allied to the Cymry than to the Gael.-^ 

This problem concerns our present purpose in so 
far, that part of that purpose is to classify Scottish 
place-names under the languages of the various races 
which at one time or other dwelt in our land. We 
must start upon the inquiry into the Pictish nomen- 
clature without any preconceived idea — without any 
leaning to the theory of Mr Skene that the Picts 
were Gaelic Celts, or to that of Mr Whitley Stokes 
that they were Welsh Celts, or to that of Professor 
PJiys that they were not Celts at all, but Iverians 
or Firbolg, whose language became infused with 
Gaelic and Welsh vocables. 

We have neither living speech nor, practically, 
any Pictish literature to guide us. Of the Pictish 
Chronicle there are two editions, one in Latin, sup- 

^ Beitriige zur kunde der indogermanisclieu sprachen, 1892. 

56 Scottish Land-Names. 

posed to be a translation of the Gaelic or Pictish 
original ; the other in Gaelic of the Irish Nennius, 
which Mr Skene held to have been compiled by the 
monks of Brechin in the tenth century. 

The marginal entries in the ' Book of Deer ' are in 
the Aberdeenshire vernacular of the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries, and are the Gaelic of Alban, — the 
Latin text of the Gospels themselves being, prob- 
ably, a couple of hundred years older. 

These two are positively the only manuscripts 
which we can identify as having been produced in 
Pictland, or, for the matter of that, in the whole of 
Alban, and they are in ordinary Alban Gaelic. 
Place- There remains, therefore, to us as our only 

Pictland. resource the expedient of closely examining the 
place-names in those districts forming the ancient 
Cruithentuath, or land of the Picts, and noting 
such peculiarities as distinguish them from those in 
other parts of Scotland. 

It is well known that by Pictish law succession 
was reckoned, not through the father but through 
the mother. Hence in the ninth century Kenneth, 
the son of Alpin, king of the Dalriadic Scots by a 
Pictish mother, succeeded his father as king of the 
Scots, and through his mother inherited the throne 
of the Picts. The united kingdom became known 
as Scotia or Scotland, and henceforward the old 
name of the northern half of this island, Alba, was 
heard no more until the dukedom of Albany — that 

Their Languages. 57 

is, Albannach, the people of Alban — was conferred, 
in a solemn council held at Scone, on 28th April 
1398, upon Eobert, third son of Eobert II. It is 
strange to reflect that perhaps the best-known loc- 
ality which now bears this ancient place-name is a 
street running into Piccadilly, though the High- 
landers still talk of the natives of Scotland as Alban- 
nach, to distinguish them from Saisneach, or English- 
men, The name Alban is really the genitive case of 
Alba, the old name of Pictland, just as Erin is the 
genitive of Eire, the land of the Ernai. 

The Picts who were thus superseded by the Scots Mythical 
in the monarchy and the name of their land are the Picts. 
stated in the Pictish Chronicle to be descended, like 
the Scots, from the Scythians, who were called Al- 
bani, from their fair hair. Obviously this is only a 
strained attempt to account for the name, but I wish 
to draw your attention to the hint at ethnography 
here. If the Picts, as Professor Rhys would have us 
believe, were non- Aryan — that is, in no way akin 
to the Celts — it is not probable that the Pictish 
chronicler would claim for them a common origin 
with the Dalriadic Gael. 

It is necessary to allude here to a celebrated 
quatrain occurring in Nennius' edition of the Pictish 
Chronicle, because great, and, as it seems to me, un- 
due stress has been laid upon it by ethnologists and 

The Chronicle states that Cruidne, the son of 

58 Scottish Land-Names. 

Cinge, was the father of the Picts or Criiidne in this 
island. The lines then run : — 

" Seven sons there were to Cruidne, 
Seven parts they made of Alban ; 
Cait, Ce, Cerig, warlike men, 
Fib, Fidach, Fotla, Fortrenn." 

Now, five of these names are still attached to districts 
in old Pictland. 

Caithness is Cait, with the suffix of the Xorse ncs, 

a promontory. 
Cirig is pretty well hidden in Mearns, but easily 
traced in the original form Maghgirginn, or 
the plain of Cirig. 
Fib has become Fife. 
Fotla has become Athole, formerly Ath foitlc or 

Ath fotla. 
And Fortrenn is the district, including Strathearn, 
between Forth and Tay. 
Professor Ehys hazards the identity o Fidach with 
Glen Fiddich in Banff, and elsewhere he traces a re- 
semblance to it in Galweidia, Gallovidia, Galloway ; 
but in both instances, I submit, he has nothing to go 
on but pure conjecture, and in the latter sets aside 
the easy and pretty obvious explanation given by 
Mr Skene. 

This would leave Moray and Eoss to be placed 
under the second son, Ce. 

Now, I am bound to say I regard this explanation 
of these names with the utmost suspicion. It is 
so like an instance of the inveterate habit of Celtic 

Their Languages. 59 

beards of explaining place-names by the creation 
of imaginary heroes. One of these seven names, 
Foclla, has already served, it will be remembered, 
as one of the poetic names of Ireland, which, with 
Eire and Banba, are said in the ' Leabhar Gabhala ' 
to be derived from the wives of the three rulers 
at the time of the Milesian conquest. In that case 
there can be little doubt that the bards fitted ready- 
made princesses to the names which they found 
attached to the provinces, — just as Nennius, in his 
account of the Milesian invasion, accounts for the 
Scuithe or Scots as descendants of Scotta, daughter 
of the Pharaoh who perished in the Eed Sea. 

It is with great diffidence that I venture to 
hesitate in founding upon what has been accepted 
by very high authorities as the derivation of Caith- 
ness, Mearns, Fife, Athole, and Fortrenn. The pro- 
bability seems to me to be that these eponymous 
heroes were created to account for the names already 
in use, rather than that the names were conferred in 
commemoration of the sons of Cruidne. 

Those who hold that the Picts were of pre-Celtic Columba's 
race, distinct in origin and speech from the Gael, pictiand. 
have to admit that before the sixth century they 
had adopted the Gaelic language. Adamnan, de- 
scribing the mission of St Columba to the Pictish 
King Brude, suggests no difficulty in his intercourse 
with that ruler nor with the Druid Broichan, and he 
mentions only two occasions when the services of 
an interpreter were required. The first was when 

60 Scottish Land-Names. 

Artbrannan, the aged chief of the " Geonian cohort," 
came by sea to meet him in the isle of Skye. It 
is pretty clear that the men of Skye spoke Gaelic, 
for Adamnan goes on to say that they named the 
spring where Artbrannan was baptised Dohur Art- 
hrannan, — dobur being the old word in Gaelic for 
" water," the same as tiohar, a well, which occurs 
in place-names all over Scotland as Tibber, Chipper, 
and Kibbert. 

The second instance of the use of an interpreter 
was when Columba converted an old peasant and 
his family. These persons, probably from remote 
parts of the Pictish province, might be Iverians or 
Firbolg, speaking the old language, or if Picts, using 
a local dialect. 

The use of an interpreter does not necessarily 
imply conference between two persons speaking a 
different language. John of Trevisa, a Cornishman, 
writing English in 1357, says : " All the language 
of the Northumbrians, and especially at York, is 
so sharp, slitting, grating, and unshapen, that we 
Southerners can scarcely understand that language." 
Indeed it may be doubted if a Cornishman of the 
present day could dispense with an interpreter for 
occasional use, if he were set down in a northern 
English county. St Columba, speaking pure Gaelic 
of the north of Ireland, might easily be puzzled by 
the speech of some of the natives in Pictland. 

Last year I was chairman of a departmental Com- 
mittee appointed to inquire into the plague of voles 

Their Languages. 61 

in the Border counties. An interpreter became 
necessary to explain to an English member of the 
Committee the language of an Ettrick shepherd, 
who, speaking of the mischievous habits of the 
carrion-crow, said, "The corbies is vara guilty for 
pykin' the een oot o' a yow, an' her leevin' ; " ^ 
which also rather puzzled the shorthand writer. 

But there is another passage in John of Trevisa's 
translation of Higden's ' Polycronicon ' which seems 
to have an important bearing on the relation of 
Pictish to Gaelic. In describing the various races 
and languages of Great Britain, he says : " Welshmen 
and Scots that be not mixed with other nations 
preserve wellnigh their first language and speech, 
except that the Scots, that were some time con- 
federate and dwelt with the Picts, draw somewhat 
after their speech." This is the reverse of the 
process which Professor Pthys imagines to have 
taken place, when, after stating in the PJiind lec- 
tures five years ago that " the Picts, whatever they 
were, were no Celts, . . . [but] a race which, 
however brave and hardy, cannot be called Aryan," 
he went on to explain the prevalence of Gaelic names 
in Pictland by assuming that the Pictish language 
had been largely altered and added to from Gaelic. 

Examination of the place-names in the territory of Pictish 
the Northern Picts, north of the Forth and Clyde, "^^^ 
reveals certain vocables used as generic terms which 
are not to be found elsewhere in Scotland. It is 

^ Picking out the eyes of a ewe while she is still alive. 

62 Scottish Land-Names. 

not unreasonable to look upon these as Pictisli. Mr 
Skene enumerated four of these occurring commonly 
as prefixes — namely, Pit, For, Pin, and Auchter. 
Fit is written Pctte in the ' Book of Deer,' where its 
meaning is perfectly clear as the equivalent of the 
Gaelic haile, a portion of land, a farm or townland. In 
fact, Dr John Stuart supplied instances of the syn- 
onymous and indiscriminate use of pit and hal at the 
present day in the following Forfarshire names : — 

Pitmachie . . . Balmachie. 

Pitskelly . . . Balskelly. 

Pitargus . . . Balargus. 

Pitruchie . . . Ealruchie. 

Pitkeerie . . . Balkeerie. 

Pitglasso . . . Balglasso. 

Pitfour and Balfour are different places bearing 
synonymous names — j^*^^^ ^i^cl haile fuar, the cold 
croft, or croft of the spring well. In Perthshire, 
Pitagowan, near Blair Atholl, is identical in mean- 
ing with Balgown in Wigtownshire — iddt a' gobhain, 
haile gohhain, the smith's croft. 

But there is another Gaelic word used instead of 
haile, which is even nearer to iJctt. Both, a dwelling, 
a booth, is a term occurring in many languages, 
from the Aryan root hhu, to be, to grow, to dwell, to 
build; whence the Sanskrit hhavana, a house, a 
place to be in, from hh^i, to be. The Anglo-Saxon 
hotl, a house, which gives us Newbattle in Mid- 
Lothian, Morebattle in Pioxburghshire, Buittle in 
Kirkcudbright, and Bootle in Lancashire, is a cog- 

Their Languages. 63 

nate word. So is the Norse ho, hy, forming the 
suffix in Lockerbie, Canonbie, &c. It is not unlikely 
that pit or ])ett was the Pictish form of the Gaelic 
hod or hoth. 

In the land-names of the Isle of Bute there has 
been preserved a form intermediate between Gaelic 
loth and Pictish pett, which appears as the prefix 
hutt, in names like Buttanloin — hidt an loin, the 
marsh croft ; Buttcurry — hutt euraich, the moor or 
marsh croft ; Buttdubh, the black croft ; Buttna- 
coille, the wood croft ; Buttnacreig, the crag croft ; 
Buttnamadda — huM nam madadh (madduh), croft of 
the wolves or dogs. 

The old name of Provanhall, near Shettleston, was 
Barlannar or Buthlornoc. In Prince David's In- 
quisition this is written Pathelenerke, showing that 
Pette or I'athe was interchangeable with Both or 
Buth. Again, Pitgownie, near Elgin, used to be 
Bothgouanan ; and Pitfoddles, near Aberdeen, was 
BadfoduUis. Then in Perthshire, while Pitcastle 
occurs near Pitlochrie and again near Ballinluig — 
2oett caiseail, castle-croft — near Callander it turns up 
as Bochastle — hoth chaistcail. 

Now we know that jj was an objectionable con- 
sonant to Gaelic pronunciation, and when ordinary 
Gaelic came to be spoken throughout the territory of 
the Picts, the Gael would have to encounter the 
difficulty of this consonant occurring in Pictish 
place-names. The easiest way to get over the diffi- 
culty would be to soften the p by aspiration into /. 

64 Scottish Land-Names. 

I have mentioned that Mr Skene referred to For and 
Fin as prefixes characteristic of Pictish place-names. 
There is some probability that in these syllables we 
have the Pictish pctt or pit retranslated into Gaelic. 

The full form of For is Fotlmir, as in Fothuir- 
tabhaicht, now Forteviot ; Pothurdun, now Fordun. 
Other examples are Pothringham, Portrose, Portin- 
gall, Fettercairn, Fetteresso, and Petternear. The 
full form of Fin is Fothen, as Pothenaven, now Fin- 
haven. Take one of the Pictish place-names in the 
'Book of Deer,' Pette an Muilenn, the mill-croft 
(now Pitmellan, near Newburgh), apply the aspirate, 
and it becomes Fethenmuilenn or Pinmullin. Sub- 
ject Pothenaven (Pinhaven) to the converse process, 
and it becomes Pett an amhuinn, the river -croft. 
Similarly Fettercairn in Forfarshire is the aspirated 
form of Pitcairn in Perthshire, the n changing easily 
into r, as we have seen cnoc changes into crochd ; and 
the name of Ninian is often altered into Ptingan in 

If this be so, then Fin and For, which Mr Skene 
relied on as Pictish prefixes, turn out to be no more 
than Fothen and Fothir — that is, Pit or Pett followed 
by the article ; and Pit itself to be a local or tribal 
pronunciation of the Gaelic both, Welsh iivtii. Three 
out of four of his test Pictish syllables prove to be 
different stages of the same word. It is the more 
remarkable that the kinship of pett to feth or fotJi 
did not occur to Mr Skene, because in analysing the 
to-names of the thirty Brudes, kings of the Picts, 

TJieir Languages. 65 

when he comes to Brude Feth he sajs, "feth seems 
the same as pet." 

Notwithstanding the partial change of the Pictish 
pit under Gaelic influence to fin and for, it still re- 
mains the commoner form of the prefix in ancient 
Pictland. The County Directory of Scotland con- 
tains 140 place-names in that district beginning 
with Pd or Pit. 

There remains Mr Skene's fourth Pictish prefix to 
be dealt with — Auchter ; but this is not, as he sup- 
posed, confined to the territory of the Northern 
Picts. It is, as he says, the Gaelic iiaclidar, upper 
land, and occurs in Ireland as Oughter^rd in Gal- 
way — uachdar arcl, the high upland — and Oughter- 
anny in Kildare — iiaclicLar raithneach, ferny upland. 
Moreover, it is not uncommon in Galloway, which, 
though an old Pictish district, exhibits few Pictish 
peculiarities in its Gaelic nomenclature. In Les- 
walt parish there is Ochteralinachan — uachdarach 
linachan, upland of the fiax-tield ; in Inch parish 
Ochtralure — uachdarach lobhair, the leper's upland ; 
in Kirkmabreck parish, Auchtrievane — uachdarach 
hhdn, white upland ; in Portpatrick parish, Och- 
trimak^in — M'Kean's upland. 

The most direct piece of information afforded us Polyglot 
about a Pictish place-name is supplied by Bede, who, Bede'^ "^ 
writing in the eighth century, says that the Wall of ™°^'' ^' 
Antonine began about two miles west of Abercorn, 
" at a place called in the language of the Picts 
Peanfahel, but in that of the Angles Penneltun," 

66 Scottish Land-Names. 

Nennius says that the wall was called in Welsh 
Guaiil, and reached from Penguaul, " which town 
is called Cenail in Gaelic (Scoticd), but in English 
Peneltun." This Peneltim is the Celtic Pen-guaul, 
wall-head or wall's end, with the characteristic 
Anglian suffix, tiin. The prefix pen has dropped off 
in use, and the name now remains as Walton, three 
miles west of Abercorn, while the name Cenail has 
moved some three miles further west to Kinneil. 

Thus we have the name of a single place in four 
different dialects : — 





Pictish . 


Old Iv"orthern Eno-lish . 


Prom this it would appear that the Pictish equiva- 
lent to the Welsh gu, before a vowel, tending to 
sound to or hw, was /. Further confirmation of this 
is contained in a statement of Eeginald of Durham, 
who, speaking of a Pictish scholar at Kirkcudbright 
(scolasticus Pidorum apucl CutJibridis chircJi), says 
that the clergy of that church were known in the 
language of the Picts as scollofthcs. Here again the 
Pictish substitute / for the guttural, for the Welsh 
word is ysgolhaig and the Gaelic sgolog. 

To the same influence may be traced the name 
Puterna appearing in some of the Irish writings for 
Whithorn — a phonetic rendering of the Pictish 
pronunciation of the Anglo-Saxon hwit ccrn, white 

Their Languages. 67 

"With regard to the people of Galloway, who were Place- 
recognised as Picts so late as the Battle of the Stan- Galloway. 
dard in the twelfth century, it must be observed that 
although exposed to Welsh influence along the fron- 
tier of Strathclyde, from Loch Eyan to the Nith, 
little if any Welsh element can be traced in their 
names. Their territory was marked off by a ram- 
part sixty miles long, which, known as the Deil's 
Dyke, may still be traced across the hills from 
Lefnol on Loch Eyan to the Nith opposite Carron- 
bridge. Settlements of Welsh families within that 
territory were exceptional, and, as has been already 
observed, are recorded as foreign in Gaelic place- 
names like Culbratten and Drumbreddan. As a 
whole, the Celtic place-names of Galloway are cast 
in the same mould as those of Ulster, and lead to 
the conclusion that, whatever dialect they spoke at 
first, these Niduarian Picts, or Picts beyond the 
Nith, used for many centuries a language not 
greatly differing from that of Ulster, Man, and 
Scottish Dalriada. 

Taking, then, the consonant/ as a favourite Pictish 
lip-sound, it affords a very uncertain test in the place- 
names of Pictish territory. It may represent one of 
four things — 

1st. A Pictish substitute for the sound gu or w in 
Welsh, as Peanfahel for Penguaul, or for hw in Anglo- 
Saxon, as Futerna for Whithorn. 

2d. The reduction of the Pictish p to an aspi- 
rated labial, when Gaelic overflowed the Pictish 

68 Scottish Land-Names. 

dialect, as Fothenaven or Finhaven for Pett-an- 

3d. The aspiration of iJ in a Gaelic vocable such 
as ijol, water, as in Falnure, which in old maps is 
sometimes written for Palnure, a stream in Kirk- 
cudbrightshire— 2?o/ na iuhhar, stream of the yews ; 
or Falbae, an alternative form for Polbae — ^ol heith, 
stream of the birches. 

4th. Lastly, it may be a Gaelic sound unaltered, 
as Fintray — -fionn traigh, white strand ; and even 
that is often rendered by g^v in Welsh, as givyn for 
fionn, the Gaelic Lumphanan or Kilfinnan becoming 
Kilwinning in Strathclyde, or Kirkgunzeon in East- 
ern Galloway. On the other hand, the / (with the 
value of v) is preserved in some Welsh names, like 
Llanfinan in Anglesea. 
In Scot- One thing alone seems tolerably certain, that in 

Gaelic Certain districts of Southern Scotland Pictish and 
Pictisii and Welsh alike died out before Gaelic, and Professor 
"^ ^ ^' Pthys attributes the general uniformity of the Low- 
land Scottish dialect to the fact that the Anglo- 
Saxon had in those districts only one language to 
encounter in the struggle for the vernacular. But 
he traces another influence in the peculiarities of 
Aberdeenshire Scottish. He points to the persist- 
ence with which the natives of that part of Scot- 
land substitute / for luh as evidence that in the 
north-east Anglo-Saxon came in contact with Pictish 
speech. So when an Aberdonian says, "Fa fuppit 
the fite f ulpie ! " where a Dumfries man would say. 

Their Languages. 69 

" Wha whuppit the white whelpie ! " he is acting 
under the same linguistic necessity which made the 
Pict of Manann talk of Peanfahel, instead of Penguaul 
or Cenail. And just as the Pict said ]jdt instead of 
loth or had, so the Aberdonian prefers narrow vowel 
sounds to broad, and says " dee " and " min " for "do" 
and " moon." 

After all, it seems to me, after a very careful Conciu- 
examination of place-names in Pictish districts, that ' 
there is nothing to carry us beyond the conclusion 
to which ]\Ir Skene, with extraordinary diligence 
and acumen, brought himself thirty years ago, 
and I cannot do better than repeat it in his own 
words : — 

I consider, therefore, that Pictish was a low Gaelic 
dialect ; and following out the analogy, the result I come 
to is this, that Cymric and Gaelic had each a high and 
low variety ; that Cornish and Breton Avere high Cymric 
dialects, Welsh low Cymric ; that old Scottish, spoken by 
the Scotti, now represented by Irish, Scotch Gaelic, and 
Manx, was the high Gaelic dialect. ... In the north of 
Ireland and the west of Scotland the Picts must, at an 
early period, have become blended with the Scots, and 
their form of Gaelic assimilated to the Scottish. 

It is, perhaps, disappointing not to come to a more 
definite explanation of that which Bede spoke of as 
one of the four languages of Britain ; but I submit 
that the evidence will support no other hypothesis, 
and though many students have not shrunk from 
bolder speculation as to the language of the Picts, 

70 Scottish Land-Names. 

it does not seem to be consistent with scientific 
Anglo- Next in order of antiquity to place-names in the 

speech. various dialects of Celtic must be reckoned those in 
the Teutonic group, which, for convenience, we may 
class as Anglo-Saxon. 
The Frisian It is usually assumed, on the authority of Bede, 
that the Saxon colonies in Great Britain began dur- 
ing the fifth century ; for that chronicler, writing in 
the beginning of the eighth century, fixes A.D. 449 
as the date of their first arrival : but it is certain that 
there were earlier settlements than that. Prosper, 
writing in 455, states in his Chronicle, under the year 
441, " Britain up to this time is brought ividely under 
dominion of the Saxons by various confiicts and 

It is true that the Angles first settled under Ida 
in Northumberland in 547, but Mr Skene collected 
evidence of descents and settlements made long be- 
fore that date by the Frisii or Frisones, a Teutonic 
people inhabiting the country between the Ehine 
and the Ems. He thinks they are the people known 
to the Gaels as Comgalls, just as the Norse became 
known as Fingalls, or fair-skinned foreigners, and 
the Danes as Dubhgalls, or dark foreigners ; and he 
identifies their settlement with a place on the 
northern shore of the Firth of Forth, between the 
Ochils and the sea, which Angus the Culdee, writ- 
ing in the ninth century, calls the Comgalls. This 
name is quoted in the Old Statistical Account of 

Their Languages. 71 

Inverkeillour, where the old name of the parish is 
given as Conghoilles. 

In Congalton, near Xorth Berwick, Mr Skene 
again recognised the name of these foreigners, for 
although the name has a very Anglian appearance, 
yet in an old charter of this barony one of the 
boundary marks is defined as Knockin gallstane — 
that is, cnoc Comgall, the Comgalls' hill, with the 
Anglian tiln or stan as suffix. Further, in the Irish 
Annals, under the years 711, 712, and 730, there are 
notices of slaughter of the race of Comgall, at a 
place called Tarbet Boitter. I^ow the isle of Fidra 
or Fetheray, about three miles west of North Ber- 
wick, contains an isthmus, above which there is a 
rocky height called the Castle of Tarbet. Tarbet is 
the common Gaelic term for an isthmus, from tar- 
ruin hdd, draw-boat, a place where boats are drawn 
overland, to avoid rough seas at the cape. The 
modern name Fetheray or Fidra is probably the 
same as Boitter of the annalist, the initial h taking 
the aspirate, and the Norse ey, an island, added. 

In a royal charter of 1509, conveying this island 
to Henry Congalton, it is described as insulam et 
terras de Fetheray unacum monte Castri earundcm 
vocat. Tarlet ; but in the chartulary of Dryburgh 
Abbey as insida de Elboitcl. Elboitel is written 
in Font's map Old Battel, which simply means old 
house, A.S. eld hot!. 

To a third locality identified with these settlers 
they have left attached, not the name of Comgall, 

72 Scottish Land- Names. 

by which they were known to the Gaels, but their 
own name of Frisii. Of the twenty- eight cities 
named by Nennius in Britain, one is Caer Bretain, 
the fortress of the Britons — Dumbarton ; another 
Caer Pheris, which is probably the fortress of the 
Frisians — Dumfries. 

William of Malmesbury, describing the discovery 
of the sepulchre of Walwin, nephew of King Arthur, 
in 1087, says, " He reigned a most renowned knight 
in that part of Britain which is still named Wal- 
weithia, but was driven from his kingdom by the 
brother and nephew of Hengist." Now we know 
better than to follow this writer in his suggestion 
that Galloway, which he writes Walweithia, was 
named after Walwin ; but this brother and nephew 
of Hengist were no other than Octa and Ebissa, 
who, as Nennius informs us, came with forty cyuls, 
sailed round the land of the Picts, devastated 
Orkney, and occupied several districts beyond the 
Frisian sea {ultra mare Fresicum). Walweithia is 
another form of Galwyddel, the Welsh name for 
Galloway, whence the inference is clear that the 
Frisians made a settlement in that province, and 
ruled it from Dumfries. 

This may have originated the name Galwyddel, 
Galgaidhel, or Galloway, meaning the foreign Gael, 
or Gaels under foreign rule ; and the subsequent 
subjection of Galloway to the Anglian kingdom of 
Northumberland, of which it formed a part for 
many centuries, difficult to account for on geo- 

Their Languages. 73 

graphical grounds, and the establishment of an 
Anglian bishopric at Candida Casa or Whithorn, 
may both have arisen from the early subjection of 
the province to Frisian rovers. 

I do not forget that, in expressing the opinion 
that Frisians were among the earliest Teutonic 
colonists of North Britain, I find myself at vari- 
ance with so high an authority on Anglian dialects 
as Professor Skeat, who holds, in his volumes on 
the 'Principles of English Etymology,' that this 
people were spread over the middle and southern 
districts of England, rather than the northern parts 
of the island ; but it would be difficult to account 
for Nennius speaking of the Firth of Forth as Mare 
Frcsicum, except by the fact that Frisians had 
settled on the shores of it. Josceline also, in his 
' Life of Iventigern,' refers to Culross as litus Fresi- 
cum, the Frisian coast. 

Howbeit, the question as to which of the Ger- 
manic tribes first settled in Scotland can receive 
little light from the form of place-names ; for the old 
Frisian language was very nearly allied to Anglo- 
Saxon, and it would be impossible at this time to 
distinguish between names conferred by Frisians, 
and those by Angles, Saxons, or Jutes. What does 
concern the present inquiry is that some of the 
Teutonic place-names in Scotland, originating in 
early Frisian settlements, may be of higher anti- 
quity than those dating from the later invasions 
of Angles and Saxons. 

74 Scottish Land-Names. 

Onier of One broacl distinction separates Germanic com- 

fpecitic'^*^ pound names from Celtic. In the latter, as has 
syajes. \^qq^ shown, the generic term generally precedes 
the specific ; in Germanic or Anglian compounds, 
the specific term invariaUy precedes the generic. 
The stress faithfully follows the specific syllable, 
hence in Anglian place-names the stress most often 
lies on the first syllable, in Celtic most often on 
the ultimate or penultimate. 
Corrupt Frisians, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, however little 

lettered their colonists may have been, si^oke dialects 
of a literary language, and their vocables are easily 
interpreted by comparison with Anglo-Saxon and 
Old Northern English. Nevertheless, one has to 
be on his guard against the tricks which modern 
topographers are so prone to play with names of 
which the meaning is not at once apparent. 

We have seen how the Welsh llancrch became 
Lanrig and then Longridge ; Stoneykirk, a parish in 
Wigtownshire, has been made absurd by a similar 
process. This name is written phonetically in the 
Eegister of the Great Seal in 1535, Steneker ; in 
1546, Stenakere ; and in 1559, Stennaker. Thus far 
early spellings mislead rather than assist us ; but as 
late as 1725 it appears in the papers of the Court of 
Session as Stevenskirk. It is a dedication to St 
Stephen ; the popular contraction " Steenie " sounded 
like "stany," and would-be-genteel scribes wrote it 
" stonev," thouQ-h the name has no more to do with 

Their Languages. 75 

stones than it has with gooseberry-bushes. The local 
pronunciation is Staneykirk. 

Not seldom the Anglo-Saxon circ was borrowed in A.s. drc 


Gaelic districts for use m a Gaelic compound name, Gaelic loan - 
as Kirkcudbright — circ Citdbricht, Cuthbert's church ; 
Kirkgunzeon — circ Gitinnin, St Finan's church, 
which you find with full Gaelic expression at Kil- 
winning in Ayrshire. 

These bilingual names are but a reflection of the 
social state of the country, when different races and 
languages were contesting for the mastery. In a 
charter printed in Anderson's 'Diplomata Scotias,' 
it is set forth how Eichard de ]\Iorville, Constable 
of Scotland in 1166, sells Edmund, the son of 
Bonda, and Gillemichel his brother, to Henry St 
Clair. Here Edmund and Bonda are Saxon names, 
but Gillemichel is Gaelic, " Michael's servant," 

Kirk as a suffix may sometimes be confused with 
the Gaelic coiixe or coirc (kyorky or kyork), oats. 
Thus Barnkirk in Wigtownshire is the contracted 
form of Barnkirky in Kirkcudbright ; both signify 
harr an coirce, oats-hill. But the local application of 
the stress is a sure indication of the specific syllable. 





N the eighth and ninth centuries an 
important addition was made to the 
ethnology of Alban by the incursion 
and settlement of predatory bands of 
Norwegians and Danes, resulting in 
the establishment of many Scandinavian place-names 
in our islands. The wealth which some of the mon- 
asteries had by this time accumulated from the offer- 
ings of the pious was the lure for these marauders, 
and the first of a long series of depredations is thus 

Their Languages. 77 

described by Simeon of Durham as taking place on 
the monastic house of Lindisfarne in 793 : — 

The Pagans from the northern region came with armed 
ships to Britain hke stmging hornets, and overran the 
country in all directions like fierce wolves, plundering, 
tearing, and killing not only sheep and oxen, but priests 
and levites, and choirs of monks and nu.ns. They came 
to the church of Lindisfarne and laid all waste with 
dreadful havoc, trod with unhallowed feet the holy altars, 
and carried off all the treasures of the holy church. Some 
of the brethren they killed, some they carried off in 
chains, many they cast out naked and loaded with in- 
sults, some they drowned in the sea. 

Next year, 794, they attacked the Hebrides. 
These islands they called the Sudreyar or Southern 
Isles, to distinguish them from the Nodreyar or 
Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland; and it is 
a curious instance of the conservative element in 
place-names that, although of course the Sudreyar 
or Hebrides are not now within the diocese of Man, 
the official title of that see is still " Sodor and Man." 

The people of Orkney and Shetland once, it may Native 
be assumed, spoke Iverian, Gaelic, or Pictish, for obliterated 
the early Ogham inscriptions in Shetland have been Northern 
interpreted in a Goidhelic dialect ; but little trace ^^^^'^' 
of these tongues can now be detected in their place- 
names, which are almost exclusively Norse or later 
English. To this the first syllable of the name 
Orkney affords an important exception. Diodorus 
Siculus, writing in a.d. 57, mentions Orcas as one 
of the extremities of Britain. Ore, in Gaelic, means 

78 Scottish Land-Names. 

a large beast, especially a whale : when the Norse- 
men took possession they may have found them 
called Whale Islands, and adding their own cy, 
island, to the native name, called them Orkney, 
just as we saw in the last lecture that Boitter or 
Fether in the Forth became Fetheray or Fidra. Of 
course, when we speak of the Orkney Islands we 
are guilty of a pleonasm. It is as if we said " Whale 
Isle Islands." ^ 

St Ninian visited them in the fifth century, and 
left his name attached to North Konaldshay, so 
spelt from false analogy with South Eonaldshay. 
This is an instance of the paramount necessity of 
obtaining the earliest written form of a name, for 
North Eonaldshay is written in the Sagas Einansey 
— that is, Eingan's Isle — Eingan being a common 
alternative form of Ninian ; whereas South Eon- 
aldshay is Eognvals-ey — Eonald's Isle. 

Sir Eobert Sibbald, in 1711, stated that the in- 
habitants of Orkney and Shetland still spoke the 
" Gothick or Norwegian language, which they call 
Norn, now much worn out," among themselves, 
though able to speak English to strangers. Hence 
we see that not only has all trace of the original 
native speech been obliterated by the long occupa- 
tion of the Norsemen, but there has not been in 
Orkney and Shetland a regurgitation of the Gaelic 

^ The hamlet of Aith, near Conningsburgli, seems to be men- 
tioned in the Ogham inscription found at the latter place ; which 
has been interpreted ehte con mor — that is, the ait, or house-site, of 
great Conn. 

Their Languages. 79 

language, such as took place in the Hebrides and 
in Strathclyde. These islands form, I believe, a 
unique instance of the suppression within historic 
time by a conquering race, not only of the spoken 
language of the conquered people — that is common 
enough — but of the names attached to places in that 
language. Hence it follows that almost every place- 
name in Orkney and Shetland may be pronounced 
with confidence to be not more than 1000, or at 
most 1100, years old. 

All the names in Orkney and Shetland which are 
not English are in Old Norse, a dialect which has 
been preserved to our days in the native literature 
of Iceland, of which country it also remains, with 
very little change, the siDoken language. It is, 
therefore, as easy for an Icelandic scholar to read 
the meaning of place-names in Orkney and Shet- 
land, as for an Englishman to interpret those in 
AVarwickshire. Much more so, indeed, for there 
are Celtic names in the Midlands, such as Avon and 
Leam, and Norse names, like Rugby and Heythrop ; 
and besides, modern Icelandic is much nearer Old 
Norse than literary English is to Old JMercian or 

But the task is not so simple when we come to Mixture of 
deal with the Western Isles. The Norse rule did in the 
not endure so long there as in Orkney, and when it i.sies.*^'^^ 
was withdrawn, Gaelic, which probably had never 
entirely died out, reasserted itself. There are plenty 
of Norse names in the Hebrides, but some of these 


80 Scottish Land-Names. 

have undergone strange metamorphoses in the process 
of transcription under the rules of Gaelic orthography. 
Effect of In order to explain the form which some Norse 

names have assumed under Gaelic influence, it is 
necessary to enter somewhat minutely into an 
examination of the so-called aspiration of conso- 
nants in Gaelic. The consonants h, c, d, f, g, m, p, s, t 
are all liable to it. In the Irish alphabet aspiration 
is indicated by a dot over the character ; thus h as- 
pirated is written d. But the Scottish Gael never had 
an alphabet, and when his language came to be 
written, he borrowed the character h and wrote hh} 
The term " aspiration " is strained by Irish and 
Gaelic grammarians far beyond what English linguists 
understand it to mean. Aspiration properly means 
the introduction of the aspirate, so as to alter the 
sound of a consonant into another sound made by 
the same organ. Thus ]p aspirated becomes ^j/t or /, 
both being labial sounds. But in Gaelic the mere 
slurring or dropping of a consonant is dignified by 
the name of aspiration. Falkirk is locally pro- 
nounced Fahkirk, but we do not consider that in this 
Anglian name the / has been aspirated ; it is simply 
not sounded, because the meaning of the speaker is 

^ " Haliclay," says O'Donovan, " classes I among the aspirable 
consonants, and marks it, when aspirated, with two dots, thus V. 
And it is true that, when coming after all those particles which 
cause other consonants to be aspirated, it has, in some parts of 
Ireland, a different sound from the primitive one." — (' Irish Gram- 
mar,' p. 32.) No doubt the Welsh aspirate the consonant I, which 
is then wi'itten II, as in llan, pronounced Man. 

Their Languages. 81 

perfectly clear without the effort of sounding the /. 
So an Englishman does not now trill the r in 
" church," " part," " master," or " servant " ; he slurs 
it to save himself trouble : but Gaelic grammarians 
are pedantic sticklers for orthography, and insist 
that consonants are silenced, not for the convenience 
or from the laziness of the speaker, but because they 
are aspirated. 

Now of the Gaelic consonants h, c, g, on, and j? may 
be properly considered as subject to aspiration. 

B and m with the aspirate become v or w, and in 
the latter state are liable to cease to sound alto- 
gether. C becomes a strong guttural, as in the 
word locJi ; g a weak one, like our h ; and p be- 
comes / as in English. But the remaining conso- 
nants classed as being subject to the aspirate — d,f, s, 
and t — are in reality only subject to slur, though in 
this condition they are elaborately written : — 
Irish . . . d f s t 
Scottish Gaelic . dh fh sh th 
They retain, at most, but a faint sound of h, and 
would be more correctly represented in writing by 
an apostrophe. 

Nevertheless, not content with insisting on writing 
organic consonants which had become silent, Irish 
scribes loved to load their manuscripts with voice- 
less consonants forming no part of the original word. 
Norsemen called Olaf have left their name attached 
to both places and persons in Ireland and Scotland. 
In order to represent the sound of this name, Irish 


Scottish Land-Names. 

names in 

writers took the roundabout way of spelling it 
Amhcdghadh or Amhlaijjh, to represent the sound 
Owlhay. ]Macherally and Terally, in the parish of 
Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire, might have baffled the 
etymologist, but for the means of comparing them 
with Magherally and Tirawley in Ireland, the latter 
of which is written tir Amhalghaidh or AmhaUjh- 
adha in the Irish Annals. The old pronunciation 
is preserved in Wigtownshire — ]?Jacherowlay. As a 
personal name Olaf is familiar to us in the Gaelic 
patronymic, Macaulay ; but it is very fully disguised 
in Ullapool, which is the Norse Olabol, Olafr hoUta^r 
or homestead, and in the Gaelic Baile-Uilph, in Islay, 
meaning the same thing. 

This highly artificial system of orthography has 
had a curious and puzzling effect upon Xorse names 
in Gaelic districts. The Norse gjd, a chasm, written 
phonetically in English "goe," becomes geodha in 
Gaelic with the same sound, and enters commonly 
into place-names on the coasts of lands formerly 
held by the Norse. The Gaelic equivalent is slochd, as 
in Slouchnagarie, on the Wigtownshire coast — slochd 
ncC caora, sheep's gulley ; but the word geodha exists 
in Gaelic as a loan-word, and forms a common prefix 
in the Isle of Man, as Giau-ny-kirree, sheep's gulley. 

But a still more perplexing effect of the Gaelic 
aspirate upon Norse names remains to be described. 
No word can be rightly written in Gaelic beginning 
with the letter h, although nothing is commoner than 
the aspiration of the initial consonant in the geni- 

Their Languages. 83 

tive case, as an coilcach, the cock, a' cJwilich, of the 
cock; am fear (fer), the man, gen, an fJiir (heer), of 
the man. Thus Gaelic scribes concluded that all 
place-names beginning with h were in the genitive, 
and proceeded to construct an imaginary nominative. 
Habost, in Lewis, is the Norse hallr bdlsta^r, sloping 
farm, from hallr, a word that gives names to places 
in Orkney called Holland, and in Shetland, Houl- 
land,i equivalent to the name Cl^nerie or Clendrie, 
occurring frequently as a land-name, and represent- 
ing the Gaelic daenrach, sloping. Or the name may 
be derived from hallr, a big stone, in which case the 
Gaelic equivalent of Habost would be Balnacloich. 
But the meaning of Habost was unknown to the 
Gael ; so, believing it to be a genitive Thaboist 
(which to him would have the same sound as Habost), 
he actually invented a nominative Tabost to account 
for the initial aspirate, and that is the name of the 
place at this day. So Tormisdale in Islay has been 
made the imaginary nominative of Ormisdale, because 
the Highlanders thought the t had been lost by aspir- 
ation in the genitive ; and Pladda, the island at the 
south point of Arran, has for the same reason been 
substituted for Flad-ey — Flat Island. The name 
remains unaltered near Oban as Fladda. On the 
other hand, the Gaelic phonetic law requires the 
aspiration of certain consonants in composition, and 
under its influence the Norse fjor^r generally loses 

^ This seems sometimes to meau hawjr land, island of the h(j\ve 
or hillock. 

84 Scottish Land-Names. 

the initial / sound on Gaelic lips : so SneisfjorSr be- 
came Sneisfhord (pronounced Sneezord), now written 
Snizort ; Cnuts-fjorSr became Knoydart, now pro- 
nounced, by change of n to r, Crojarst ; but Broad- 
ford in Skye retains the full sound of the Norse 
hrei^r fjor^r, broad firth, and there has been as little 
alteration in Seaforth. 
Confusion All this has led to endless confusion of tongues 
maps, among the Ordnance surveyors, to whose maps one 
naturally resorts in studying place-names. In places 
where Gaelic is still spoken, they have attempted to 
give some of the Norse names in Gaelic orthography, 
thereby completely obscuring their etymology. There 
is, for instance, no v in the Gaelic alphabet ; in Welsh 
a single / represents v, as it does in English " of," 
ff having the value of English / in " for." But 
in Gaelic the sound of v must be represented by 
hh or mh, so the common Norse word vik, a bay, 
appears on our maps as hhig, unless it is Anglicised 
out of existence, like Brodick in Arran — hrei^r vik, 
broad bay ; or, still further disguised in Gaelic, as 
Sanaigmore in Islay — sand vik mor, great sandy bay. 
Helsvagr is written Loch Thealasbhaidh (Hellasvah) ; 
Hamnavoe — hofn vagr, haven bay, in the northern 
islands, appears in the southern islands, where 
Gaelic is spoken, masquerading as Thamnabhaidh. 
Sometimes, by an equally misleading process, 
Norse names receive an English complexion, as 
Windhouse in Shetland, which is really vind dss, 
the windy ridge, equivalent to Barnagfee, in Gallo- 

Their Languages. 85 

way and elsewhere — the Gaelic harr na gaoithe 
(geuha, gwee). 

Yet again, some Gaelic names have lost their Gaelic 

° . names 

Celtic appearance during the long iN orse occupation, Norse 
and have never regained it. Of such is the island ^^^ 
of Eum, which is probably all that remains of 
I-dhruim, ridge island, the d being silenced by 
aspiration, just as it has been in Lorum, in Carlow, 
all that remains of Icamh-dhruim, elm ridge, as the 
name is written in the ' Annals of the Four Masters.' 

Lewis, again, is a combination of letters far from 
Gaelic in appearance, nor does the rendering of it, 
I-Liodhus, in the Sagas, indicate its true origin — in 
fact, it has suggested the absurd interpretation of 
the " loud or sounding house," from the noise of the 
waves. The real meaning is probably that given by 
Martin in his ' Western Isles ' — namely, leoghas, 
marshy land, from hog, a marsh. 

Many derivations have been given for the name 
of Uist ; but Captain Thomas may be credited with 
having traced it to its source. Fcarsad is an old 
Gaelic word meaning a sand-bar forming a ford ; 
the genitive is fheirste (fh silent). Such a sand-bar 
is a well-known feature in the Isle of Uist: the 
name is I-fheirstc (eehirst), ford-island, and the r 
dropped out in Scandinavian and English speech, just 
as it has done in Belfast — heul-feirste, ford-mouth. 
Harris, on the contrary, in spite of its cockney dis- 
guise, is a genuine Norse name. It is hdr eg, high 
island, correctly describing it as compared with 


Scottish Land-Names. 

of place- 

Traces of 

leoghas, the marshy northern part of the island, 
Koderick Macleod signed his name in 1596 as "of 
the Herrie." The word occurs again in Harray, one 
of the Orkneys. 

It must occur to you, after penetrating thus far 
into the mystery of names in the "Western and 
Northern Islands, that there is evidence to be 
gathered of the relative antiquity of some of the 
place-names. Lev^^is and Eum existed as names 
before the arrival of the Norse at the end of the 
ninth century, Harris and all Norse names, on the 
other hand, have been conferred subsequently to that 

Evidence of Norse occupation may be gathered as 
we travel southwards from the great Scandinavian 
centre of the Northern and Southern Isles ; generally 
on the sea-coast, as in Ayr — eyrr, the beach, Lendal, 
near Ballantrae, may be explained as len dalr, fief or 
fee dale ; Sinniness in "Wigtownshire as sunnr ncs, 
south point ; Senwick in Kirkcudbright, and Sannox 
in Arran, as sand vik, sandy bay. 

But in advancing up the Solway Firth we begin 
to encounter Scandinavian names far inland, as in 
the river M in Dumfriesshire, and Eye in Berwick- 
shire, both representing the Norse d, a river — Lock- 
erbie, Canonbie, &c. These are probably relics of 
the Norse dominion over Cumberland and Yorkshire, 
which spread overland from the east coast. 

As I have mentioned the characteristic Norse word 
cyrr, a beach, allusion may be made to some peculiar 

Their Languages. 87 

forms it takes. Besides Ayr, the beach, which has 
given the name to the river, the town, and the 
county, superseding the old names of Carrick, Kyle, 
and Cunninghame, there is Air in the Orkneys and 
Eyri in Iceland ; the Point of Ayr in Man, and 
again at Wirral in Chesliire. The word corresponds 
to the Gaelic daddach, the beach, as Clady House 
and Claddiochdow in Wigtownshire. The Norsemen 
called a small island Iiolmr, a middle-sized one e]/, 
and a large one land. Eyrr land, beach island, has 
become Irland in Orkney and Ireland in Shetland. 

This, however, has to be remembered, that even Similarity 
with the aid of comparison with modern Icelandic, it aud Saxou 
must not be assumed too readily that place-names of ^'^^^^ ' 
Scandinavian appearance all originated with Norse 
occupation. The Angles, though classed as Saxons, 
came from the district of Angeln in the south of 
Jutland, and there was probably not a very wide 
difference between their speech and the Old Danish 
or Norse ; besides which, many Norse vocables found 
their way into the current speech of the country, 
where tliey still remain. 

In Norse compound names the specific word pre- 
cedes the generic, as in other Teutonic languages. 
Captain Thomas has, however, recorded one excep- 
tion to this rule in the word hvi, a fold or pen, 
which appears in the Orkneys as Quoyschorsetter, 
Quoysmiddie, Quoybanks, Quoy Eonald, as if Gaelic 
influence had been at work in allotting these names. 
This, however, can scarcely have been the case, and 

88 Scottish Land- Names. 

the exceptional arrangement probably arises from one 
of two causes, — either the use of Quoy as a quali- 
tative in English names, as Quoysmiddie, the smithy 
or forge by the quoy ; or some obscure phonetic law, 
such as that which, in Gaelic, always places sean, 
old, before the word it qualifies. Quirang, in Skye, 
written Cuidhrang in Gaelic, is kvi rand, round 
pen or paddock. 
Norse test The surest test - syllables for Norse or Danish 
names are certain generic terms used as suffixes. 

Fjall becomes in English " fell," as Goat Fell in 
Arran. Criffel in Kirkcudbright is probably hraka 
fjall, crow-hill ; the first vowel has been shortened by 
umlaut, but it is written Crafel in Font's map. Fjall 
becomes hhal in Gaelic writing ; so Copeval in Harris 
is kupu fjall, cup-shaped hill. 

Gnipa, a peak, remains as the Ivnipe, a hill near 
New Cumnock in Ayrshire ; and perhaps as the 
Nappers, near Newton-Stewart in Galloway. 

Klettr, a cliff. The final r is the sign of the mas- 
culine nominative singular, and disappears in com- 
position. Breaklet, near Campbeltown, is hrei^a 
klettr, broad cliff. Clattranshaws, on the Kirkcud- 
bright Dee, seems to be the same word, with M.E. 
shaws, woods, added. 

Gil, a ravine, so common in our topography, is 
equivalent to the Scottish " clench " ; and dalr, a dale, 
may easily be distinguished from the Gaelic dal, 
because while the latter invariably begins the name, 
as Dalrymple, the former always ends it, as Swor- 

Their Languages. 89 

dale, in Lewis — svar^ar dalr, the valley of the green 

Nes, a headland, often becomes nish in Gaelic, 
as Trotternish in Skye and Truddernish in Islay — 
trylldir nes, enchanted cape. Caithness, Cata nes, 
and Sinniness in the Bay of Luce, are examples of 
this word from opposite ends of Scotland. Stennis 
means stein nes, cape of the standing stones ; but 
Gartness in Islay is Gaelic, gart nan eas, paddock at 
the waterfalls, and Auchness in Wigtownshire, spelt 
Achinness in 1468, is also Gaelic — each inis, horse- 
pasture. Inverness is, of course, the inlher, or 
mouth, of Adamnan's Nesa. 

nop means primarily a sheltered bay, but by 
analogy it is used inland to signify any sheltered 
place, as Stanhope, the name of farms near Annan 
and Biggar — stein hdp, the stone shelter or glen ; 
Kirkhope in Selkirkshire and Dumfriesshire, the 
church glen ; and Hobkirk, formerly Hopekirk, near 
Hawick, the church in the hope or shelter. 

Vollr, a field, generally becomes "wall" in com- 
position, as Dingwall in Eoss-shire, and Tingwall in 
Shetland — ])inga vollr, the field of assembly ; but it 
takes a slightly different form in Dumfriesshire and 
the Isle of Man — Tinwald. Mouswald in Dumfries- 
shire is mosi vollr, moss-field. 

Vik is a word peculiarly Scandinavian, meaning a 
creek or small bay. The northern pirates took their 
name of Vikingr, or Vikings as we call them, from 
their habit of frequenting such inlets in the coast. 

90 Scottish Land-Names. 

It can generally be distinguished in place-names 
from the common A.S. wic, a dwelling-place or town, 
from the position of the place. Prestwick, indeed, 
near Ayr, might be either a bay or a dwelling ; but 
we know it to be the latter, and that it signified 
2orcost wic, the priest's dwelling ; for in Norse it 
would have been Papa-vic, to signify " priest's bay." 
Ascog in Bute, Ascock in Lorn, Portaskaig in Islay, 
have this word vik pretty well disguised : these 
names are from askr vik, ship's creek. The town of 
Wick was written Vik in 1140 ; but Hawick has 
nothing to do with the sea, and means in old 
Northern English haugli wide, the town on the low 

Bekkr, a rivulet, is not very common in Scotland, 
but it comes out as Ellerbeck and Waterbeck in 
Dumfriesshire ; and Greenbeck in the same county 
is probably gritnnr hckkr, shallow brook. 

It has already been explained how fjor^r, a firth, 
appears in different forms in such names as Broad- 
ford, Seaforth, Snizort, and Moydart ; an equally 
puzzling name to follow is vdgr, a creek, for it comes 
out as " voe " and then " way." Stornoway is Stjarna 
vdgr, Stjarna's bay, and appears again as Loch 
Stornua in Kintyre. M^avig, in Lewis and Harris, 
is mjo-vdgr, narrow bay. 

Vatn, a lake, becomes " vat," as Langavat, the 
name of many a sheet of water in the Outer Heb- 
rides, long lake. 

Ey, an island, is generally easy to be recognised. 

Their Languages. 91 

The name Pabay or Papa is attached to four islands 
in the Hebrides, one in Skye, two in Orkney, and 
three in Shetland : it is ;pap ey, priest's island, in- 
dicating early religious settlement. But St Kilda 
must be a corruption of the Gaelic : there never 
was a saint of that name, which probably represents 
oilcan cell De, isle of the servants of God, or holy 
Culdees. But though the Norsemen have left no 
trace on St Kilda, there seems to be a distinct record 
of the pre-Celtic race in the name Dunfirbolg, the 
fort of the Firbolg or Iverians. Staffa is Norse 
stafa cy, staff-island, from the columnar formation of 
the rocks ; and Ulva, idfa ey — wolf-island ; Bernera, 
Bjiirnar cy — Bjorni island, and so on. 

Beer or hj, a village, farm, or dwelling, the origin 
of our Scots lyre, is one of the Scandinavian terms 
least likely to be overlooked. It is not common in 
the northern isles, where the equivalent lolstcC6r 
takes its place ; hence ly is supposed to mark occu- 
pation by the Dubh Gall or Danes, rather than by 
the Fingall or Norwegians. Soroby in Tiree, Soroba 
near Oban, Sorby in Wigtownshire, Sourby in Dum- 
friesshire and Cumberland ; Busby near Glasgow, and 
in Perthshire, Wigtownshire, and three times in Ayr- 
shire, are instances of this suffix. Kirkby or Kirby — 
kirkj'ic by, which occurs so commonly in England, 
is replaced in the Scottish Lowlands by A.S. Kirkton, 
which is given upwards of fifty times in the Post 
Office Directory. Near Cursbie in Wigtownshire is 
a farm called Barlauchlane — hctrr Lochlinn, the 

92 Scottish Land-Names. 

Norseman's hill ; for the Vikings were also known 
as Lochlinn in Gaelic. Kirklauchlane, in the same 
county, used to be written Kerelauchline, cathair 
(caher) or ccathramhadh (carrow) Lochlinn, the 
Norseman's fort or land quarter. 

BdlstctSr, a farmhouse or dwelling, is equivalent to 
the Gaelic haile, the Welsh trev, the Saxon Mn or 
ham. I have not identified this suffix in the southern 
counties, except in Wolfstar in East Lothian, nor 
does it occur in the Isle of Man ; hence it may be 
supposed to be Norse rather than Danish, for it is 
exceedingly common in the northern isles, where it 
takes most perplexing forms. In Shetland it appears 
singly as Busta, in Lewis as Bosta, in Coll as Boust, 
and in Islay as Bollsa. Calbost in Lewis is kald hdl- 
sta^r, cold croft, like the Gaelic Balfour — haile fuar; 
G^rrabost, Geir's farm; Nisabost in Harris and Skye, 
and Nesbustar in Orkney, are nes hdlsta^r, cape farm. 
Further south this word is more disguised in Cross- 
apool in Tiree — krosa hdlsta^r, croft of the cross, 
Kirkapoll in Mull, kirk farm, &c. ; and in Islay it 
degenerates into -his, as Cornabus, corn-farm ; Eora- 
bus, beach farm, equivalent to Killantrae, in Wig- 
townshire, from the Gaelic ceathramhaclh (carrow) 
an traigh, land -quarter of the beach; Kinnabus, 
kinnar hdlsta^r, " cheek " farm, at the cheek or 
side of the hill. 

Setr, a shieling or mountain pasture, equivalent to 
Gaelic airidh, I have not found in the south of Scot- 
land, though it enters into names in the Isle of Man. 

Tlieir Languages. 93 

In Lewis it gives Linshader, flax croft, and Sheshader 
— see setr, shieling by the sea. In that island setr is 
written in Gaelic seadair (shadder) ; but in Orkney, 
where there is no Gaelic, it is always written setter. 

])weit, a parcel of land cleared of wood, a paddock, 
which Canon Isaac Taylor enumerates forty-three 
times in Cumberland, is hardly to be found in Scot- 
land, though it is very common both in Norway 
and Denmark as a suffix in place-names. Murray- 
thwaite and Crawthwaite in Dumfriesshire are the 
only Scottish examples I have noticed, though Pro- 
fessor Veitch says that Moorfoot was written Mure- 
thwate in the old Border laws. It corresponds 
to the Welsh Uanercli. 

Y^orpe, a hamlet, is common at this day in Danish 
place-names, but is rare in Norway ; hence it might 
be inferred that the Danes mustered strong and long 
in East Anglia and Westmoreland, where there are 
many thorpes. It is not found in Scotland ; but we 
must be slow in deduction, for both " thwaite " and 
" thorpe " would soon pass out of use in Gaelic- 
speaking districts, because the Gael used not to 
pronounce th. 

There is one test-word which may be looked for 
in vain in the topography of southern Scotland — 
namely, fors, modern foss, a waterfall. Even in the 
north, "land of the mountain and the flood," it is 
found but sparingly — as Forss near Thurso, Forse 
near Wick, perhaps Forres in Moray, and Foss near 
Pitlochry exhaust the list, so far as known to me. 

94 Scottish Land-Names. 

This is the more strange, because in northern Eng- 
land " force " is the common name for a waterfall. 

Time will not permit me to enter upon a minute 
examination of Norse prefixes ; but there is one 
wliich I must mention, because it corresponds in 
form to two very different words, one in Anglo- 
Saxon, the other in modern English. 

Bygg is the Norse for barley. Bigholm, near 
Beith, was named with no reference to its size ; 
had it been so, it would have been Meikleholm, just 
as we find Meikledale near Langholm, O.K mihill 
dalr — for " big," signifying large, has no place in 
Scandinavian speech. Bigholm, therefore, can only be 
the Norse hygg holmr, barley-land ; for liolmr, mean- 
ing primarily an island, means also low fertile land 
near water, just as do the A.S. holm and the Gaelic 
inis. The latter word becomes Inks (the name of 
meadov7S beside the river Cree), and Inch ; and 
even the English " isle " is so applied sometimes, as 
Millisle, near Garlieston, where there is no island, 
only meadows. Biggar, in Lanarkshire, was written 
Begart as late as 1524, and this name, as well as 
Biggart near Beith and Biggarts near Moffat, sig- 
nifies lygg gar<Sr, barley-field. The Anglo-Saxon 
for barley is here, whence Bearholm, a village in 
Lanarkshire, and probably Bearyards near Glasgow. 
It is not possible to decide whether Li\ngholm be 
A.S. or Norse, as the words are identical in both 
languages to denote the " long holm " or long pasture 
beside the river Esk. 

Their Languages. 95 

The other word for which the Xorse hygg, barley, 
is very apt to be mistaken is the A.S. hyggan, to 
build, still in use in Lowland Scots. The corre- 
sponding Norse word, lyggja, though used in the 
same sense in the modern language, did not acquire 
it till the fourteenth or fifteenth century, previously 
to which it meant to settle or to live. Therefore the 
name Biggins may be safely assumed to be Anglo- 
Saxon or Lowland Scots, and so may the forty and 
odd Newbiggings which are given in the Post Office 
Directory, In the old Norse of the Sagas they 
always spoke of rcisa hus or gora hus, never of 
hyggja hus. 

In this word gora, to make or build, there is some 
reason to trace the origin of a very old name which 
has puzzled many people. There is a district in 
Glasgow, as in many other towns, called the Gorbals. 
Now in Orkney, so Jamieson affirms, gorhach is a 
local word for a kind of rampart, which seems to be 
the same word, both being a contraction of gorr 
halkr, built walls, a breastwork. It is to be re- 
gretted that the authorities of Newton - Stewart, 
when lately they put up names to their streets, 
seem to have thought this a vulgar name, for they 
have re-christened the Gorbals Queen Street. 

There is perhaps no district in Scotland where the inter- 
intermixture of languages is so perplexing as in the languages 
southern part of Strathclyde, round the watershed ciyde^.^ ^" 
where the Clyde, Tweed, and Annan take their 
source. Names appear here on the map like fossils. 

96 Scottish Land-Names. 

with this important difference, however, that whereas 
geological remains are found lying in successive 
strata, showing their relative antiquity, here we have 
Celtic, Saxon, and Scandinavian names deposited on 
a uniform plane, and we are obliged to rely on the 
uncertain light of early history whereby to estimate 
their age. 

It is tantalising to examine Ptolemy's list of 
names in southern Scotland, and realise how very 
few of the scanty list can be identified with existing 
names. Of these Novios flumen may certainly be 
taken as the Nith, beyond which to the west dwelt 
the Picts known as Niduarian. Nith, then, is the 
survival of a name conferred on the river before a.d. 
120, but we know not in what language it is. Per- 
haps it is one of those pre-Celtic Iverian names 
which baffle our curiosity. Some of Ptolemy's river 
names are clearly Celtic. Thus Abravannus, a name 
he gives to a river corresponding in position to the 
Luce, in Wigtownshire, is obviously no more than 
ciber amhuinn (avon), river mouth, with a Greek 

We may assume that the oldest speech we have 
to deal with in southern Strathclyde is Gaelic or 
Pictish, that next in antiquity is the Welsh dialect, 
after which came Anglo-Saxon, and, last of all foreign 
tongues, the Norse. But it would not be safe to 
assume that Beny^llary — heinn iolaire, the eagle's 
hill, and Petillery, both in Galloway, are older names 
than Earn Craig in Strathclyde, with the same 

Their Languages. 97 

meaning, for Gaelic was spoken in Galloway cen- 
turies after Anglo-Saxon was the settled speech of 
Dumfriesshire and Lanark. Nor again would it be 
a certain inference that, because Anglo-Saxon settle- 
ments preceded those of the Norsemen on the Scot- 
tish Border, therefore it follows that the Anglo- 
Saxon Earn Craig is older than the Norse Yearn 
Gill, dm gil, which is the name of a hill in the 
same range; for this reason, that A.S. cam, an eagle, 
became, and still remains, part of the vernacular, 
just as did the Norse gil, a ravine; so the name 
Earn Craig may have been bestowed at any time 
during the last 1300 years. It is, in fact, exactly 
the name that would be given by a Clydesdale or 
Ettrick shepherd of to-day to denote an eagle's crag. 

A whole chapter might be written on the use of Difference 
the Celtic prefix dal and the Teutonic suffix dale. Norse 
The former is peculiar to Scottish topography, and GaeUc dal. 
is quite distinct in meaning from, though of cognate 
origin with, the latter. 

The Gaelic dal means a portion of land, the 
separate possession of a tribe, family, or individual. , 

The Saxon dml means a portion or share, but not 
of land more than anything else, and was not used 
in the early topography of that people. 

The Norse dalr is a dale or valley, a piece of land 
separated from the rest of the country, not by human 
arrangement, but by hills forming the valley. From 
a common root come a number of words, all contain- 
ing the same idea of "cleft" or separation. In 

98 Scottish Land-Names. 

English we have received through Anglo-Saxon 
" deal " (to share out), " dole " (what is dealt), "deal " 
(as in the phrase "a great deal"), "deal" (a thin 
board of timber from the division of a tree). 
Through the Norse we have received " dale " and 
" dell." 

In Ireland of old the word dal bore the special 
meaning of a " tribe " — either a community separated 
from the rest of the people, or occupying land set 
apart for their use. But it is not now to be found 
on Irish maps ; it has completely disappeared with 
the tribal system, which is all the more remarkable 
seeing that nine dais are mentioned in the 'Annals 
of the Four Masters,' one of which was transplanted 
to Scotland in the fifth century by Fergus Mor, the 
son of Ere, when he led his followers to settle in 
Alban or Caledonia, By the natives this colony was 
called after the invaders Airer Gacdhil, in modern 
Gaelic Earra Gaidhecd, the boundary or territory of 
the Gael, which is now shortly pronounced Argyle ; 
but the colonists themselves named it Dalriada, 
after their native Dalriada in Antrim — that is, dcd 
righe fliada, land of (Cairbre with) the long arm, or, 
as some prefer, dcd righ fliada, land of the tall king 

In that part of Scotland which lies nearest to 
Ireland, dal is of common occurrence : twenty -seven 
names having this prefix have been catalogued in 
Galloway alone, and nearly every other Scottish 
county affords instances of it. 

Tlieir Languages. 99 

The historic family of Dalrymple take their name 
from a piece of land in Ayrshire. A visit to this 
place shows how accurately the locality was described 
— dal chruim puill, land of the curved pool, for there 
the river Doon wellnigh encircles a level piece of 
fertile land. Dairy, in Ayrshire, Mid-Lothian, Kirk- 
cudbright, Argyleshire, and Perthshire, is probably 
rightly interpreted dal righ, king's land : in the 
county last mentioned this name is alternatively 
written Dalrigh and Dalree, for, being in a High- 
land district, the correct pronunciation of the last 
syllable has been preserved, instead of adopting the 
modern value of y (eye). Dalnacardoch in Inver- 
ness-shire is clcd net ceardaicJi, land of the forge, 
equivalent to Smithycroft near Millerston in the 
suburbs of Glasgow ; Dalintobar in Argyleshire — dal 
an tiohair, land of the well, just as we have Well- 
croft near Sorby in Wigtownshire ; Dalnaspidal in 
Perthshire — dal na spidail, land of the hospital, like 
Spital Farm near Lochgelly in Fife. 

That is the invariable meaning of dal as a prefix 
in Gaelic names, though, to be sure, it must not be 
forgotten that Dalmeny was spelt Dunmanyn in 
1250, and was probably a fort of the Picts of 
Manann, who have left their name in Slam^nnan, 

Now, let us see the difference of dale as a suffix. 
In the northern islands of course it is the Norse 
dalr, a valley — directly named by the Norsemen. 
L^xdale in Lewis and L^casdle in Harris are the 
same as Laxadalr in Iceland, salmon -river dale. 

100 Scottish Land-Names. 

Laxdale also occurs in Orkney, where there are no 
sahnon, but plenty of big sea-trout, which the Norse- 
men called by the same name. 

So in Cumberland and "Westmoreland, Borrodail 
— hoTfjh dalr, castle dale, and Kendal — dale of the 
Kent ; such names being probably pure Norse, with- 
out Anglo-Saxon intervention. And again in Gallo- 
way the names as Kilquhockadale and Glenstocka- 
dale show that the Norsemen gave names to these 
farms, and then the Gael came back and prefixed 
gleann and coill, the glen and the wood. 
Norse and But many of our Lowland names ending in dale 
words. originated after the Norse dalr had passed into the 
Saxon speech, and it was applied to places long 
after the Norsemen had been sent to the right- 
about. Nithsdale, for instance, is written Stranid 
in 1350 — srath Nid. Annandale has the Welsh form 
Estrahannent in the twelfth century, and also the 
Gaelic Stratanant, and it is not till 1295 that it 
appears as Anandresdale. So although dale is a 
Norse word, it is not safe to predicate of all names 
ending in dale that they are of Norse origin. 

But it is otherwise when one language has passed 
away without lending words to its successor. Thus 
in the Lowlands stream-names like — 

Douglas = duhh glas, 

Dipple = duhh r)ol, \ ^^ ^ 

-r. ■, 7 7 7 • !- l^l^ck water, 

Jjoon = dubli amlminn 

Dusk = duhh uisc, 
must be of higher antiquity than the synonymous 

Their Languages. 101 

Black Burns and Blackwaters which are in almost 
every parish. 

So Priestgill on Douglas Water must be of later 
date than Glentaggart on the opposite side of the 
stream ; and though Priesthope on the Tweed and 
Priestgill on the Clyde have Norse suffixes, we 
know that these names are no more than medieval, 
for if they had been pure Norse the name would 
have been Papahope and Papgill. 

Some names in Strathclyde may be accurately 
dated. In 1156 Henry II. of England expelled a 
number of Flemings who had settled in his realm. 
They found refuge in Scotland, and it is to Thancard 
and Lambin that Thankerton and Lamiugton owe 
their names. Symington, in Ayrshire and Lanark- 
shire, both took their name from Simon Lockhart 
or Loccard about the same time. 

Among Saxon and jSTorse words which form part 
of the living dialect, of which, when they occur in 
place-names, the age cannot be even approximately 
fixed, are the following : — 


Grain, the branch of a river, grein, a branch, as Tr6wgrain, 

the trough branch, in Eoxburghshire. Countrymen 

still speak of the " grains " of a fork. 
Fell, a hill, fjall, as Fell of Earhiillion in Wigtownshire, 

where this word is prefixed to the older Gaelic — 

tarr chuilean, hill of the whelps. 
Hope, a shelter, hoj), as Tudhope, in Dumfriesshire, the 

fox's shelter. 

102 Scottish Land-Names. 

Shiel, a hut, slidli, as in Selkirk, the shiel kirk. 
Haugh, a low-lying pasture, liaiji, as the Haughs of Urr. 


Syke, a runnel. 

Law, a hill, as Greenlaw. 

Dod, a hill. 

Coomb, a valley, common on Eskdalemuir. 

Swire, a neck, as INIanor Swire on Tweed ; The Swire, 
near Dumfries ; Swarehead, Kirkcudbright. 

Lane, a sluggish stream, as Lanebreddan, in the Stewartry 
of Kirkcudbright, a name which shows that the 
Gaelic-speaking population had adopted the word 
lane, for Lanebreddan means A.S. or ]^. lane, Gaelic 
hradan, a salmon — i.e., the salmon-burn, a place 
where salmon still run up to spawn in from the Dee. 





HE conclusions to which, by a study Succession 

of place-names, we are brought as to not e'x-^ 
the ancient ethnography of Scotland, I'y ^piace- 
and the successive prevalence of one '^''^™®^- 
or other of its inhabitant races, are, 
it must be admitted, somewhat precarious. After 
all, although it is easy to recognise the various 
layers of language deposited by successive occupa- 
tion, the most that they afford is evidence con- 
firming the narrative of history. I, at least, must 
confess myself unable to extract from the place- 
names of Scotland any further knowledge of early 
history than has been prepared for us by the 


Scottish Land-Names. 

tion as to 
the land 
and its 

monumental works of the late Mr Skene. So cau- 
tious was he in speculation, so diligent in com- 
parison of authorities, so luminous in his conclusions, 
that he has made it a very difficult task for any one 
to add to the store of historical knowledge which he 
amassed and imparted to the public. In carrying 
out research into the meaning of place-names, when 
one comes upon the footprint of Mr Skene, so far 
from being discouraged, one feels confident of being 
on the right ti'ack. 

But if the light retiected from place-names upon 
the page of history is uncertain, it is otherwise with 
that thrown by them upon the appearance of the 
country in ancient times and the occupation of its 
inhabitants. The forest has been swept from our 
hillsides and plains, and were it not for the record 
contained in place-names, memory of the greenwood 
would be preserved only by the blackened trunks 
and roots in the peat-mosses. When Dr Johnson 
visited Scotland, he vowed that during the whole of 
his northern tour he saw but three trees big enough 
to hang a man on ; and although since that day large 
breadths of land have been planted up, the general 
character of our scenery is the reverse of sylvan. It 
is interesting, therefore, to trace, even in the districts 
now most treeless, the record not only of the de- 
parted woodland, but of the very species of trees 
which composed it. 
Woods and The commouest word for a wood in old Gaelic is 
coin (Manx kcci/ll), but in modern Gaelic this is 

Their Lesson. 105 

coille (killy). It is fair, therefore, to assume that of 
two forms of the same compound, Culmore and Killie- 
more, two places in Wigtownshire, the first is older 
by some centuries, representing coill mdr, great wood : 
the second being medieval, coille mdr. Coill usually 
gives the prefix Cul- or Kil- in Anglicised names, 
but is not always to be distinguished from cill, a 
church, cidl, a corner, cul, a hill-back, and cccol, a 
strait or narrow place. The following instances from 
a single county, Wigtownshire, illustrate the con- 
fusion arising between these words in rendering 
Gaelic pronunciation into English letters : — 

Culmore . . . coill mur, great wood. 

Killiemore . . coille mor, great wood. 

Kilm^rie . . . cill Muire, Mary's church 

(locative case of cecdl). 

■.Io^'t- . ) r ceathramhaclh an iraigJi, 

1582 Iverantra, r ■ ■{ i -, ^ ^ 4.1, i, 

^^ . , I ( land-quarter 01 the snore. 

Kerintraye J 

-,. ^^ ■,',-,-, f r ceathramhaclh an drochid, 

earlier Iverodrocned > > \ , . ^ s- ^^ ^ • ^ 

, ^^ IT, I I land-quarter ot the bridge. 

and Kernadrochat J 

The last name, Kildrochat, is peculiarly instruc- 
tive, because it might so easily be assumed that it 
was the same as Kindrochit in Aberdeen and Perth- 
shire — cinn drochid, at the bridge head, Ute-du-pont 
— and Kindrought in Banff', and it is only the old 
spellings which reveal the true etymology. 

As a suffix, coill generally takes the aspirate, as 
in Barwhill, larr chuill, and Auchenhill, achadli na 
chuill, both in Galloway, the hill-top and field of the 

106 Scottish Land-Names. 

wood. But it must be admitted that in this position 
coill cannot be distinguished from coll, genitive chuill, 
a hazel, so Barwhill and Auchenhill might mean the 
hill-top and field of the hazel-bush. The modern 
Gaelic for hazel is calltunn, which accounts for many 
places in Galloway called Caldons. Calton occurs 
in Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, and Argyleshire, as well 
as attached to a well-known hill in Edinburgh and 
a district in Glasgow ; but it is necessary to examine 
old spellings to determine where this represents the 
Gaelic calltun, hazels, or the Anglian cmdcl tun. 

Hazel-nuts were an important article of food in 
primitive times. When a small loch at Dirvaird 
(dohhur or doire hhaird (vaird), the bard's water or 
wood), near Glenluce, was drained some ten years 
ago, there was found a large crannog or lacustrine 
dwelling, which, by reason of the collapse of the 
woodwork, had sunk below the water-level. The 
north-east shore of the lake, which, according to 
the prevailing south-west wind, was the usual lee- 
shore, was covered with many cart-loads of broken 
hazel-nut shells, which had drifted thither from the 
island, the remains of the repast of these lake-dwellers- 

Coillte, the plural of coill, a wood, comes out as 
the name Cults in Aberdeenshire, Fife, and Wigtown- 
shire, as K^lty in Perthshire and Kinross, as Cult 
in Perth and Linlithgow, and Quils in Perthshire, 
Cultmick in Wigtownshire is coillte inuic, the swine- 
woods ; but Cultullicli in Perthshire must be read 
ctd tidaich, back of the hill. 

Their Lesson. 107 

The derivative coillin, woodland, produces Culleu 
in Banff and Lanarkshire; and another form, coill- 
eachan, gives Quillichan on the Findhorn. 

The usual Anglo-Saxon for wood was wudu (be- 
coming wode in Middle English), which probably 
gives the suffix in names like Aiket near Annan and 
Aitket in North Ayrshire — dc wudu, Birket near 
Dairy — hcorc wudu, birch wood, and Blaiket near 
Dumfries — Uoec wudu, black wood. A small wood 
was scaga, whence our " shaw," as Birkshaw near 
Dumfries and Birkenshaw in Lanarkshire. 

The usual Gaelic name for a tree is cracbli (craev 
or crew), which appears most often as a suffix, as 
Auchencrow in Berwickshire, Auchencruive near 
Ayr — acliadh na cracbh, field of trees. Sometimes 
the prefix drops off, as Cruivie, a ruinous castle in 
the parish of Logie, Fife, which was once caisccd 
craebhc (creuvie), castle of the tree, which appel- 
lation remains entire in Castle Creavie, a place in 
Kirkcudbrightshire. Knockcravie and Corucravie, 
in the same county, are cnoc and cordii craolhach or 
craohlie, wooded hill or hill of the tree. 

There cannot, of course, be any trace in ancient 
topography of the hundreds of exotic species with 
which the diligence of collectors has enabled us to 
adorn our scenery. We shall look in vain for allu- 
sion in place-names to the cliestnut, beech, walnut, 
plane, sycamore, larch, lime, or laurel, for none of 
these are indigenous to North Britain ; indeed the 
list of native trees is a very limited one. 

108 Scottish Land-Names. 

The oak. The oak was in early times, as it is now, the most 

important timber-tree. It entered largely into the 
construction of artificial islands, called crannogs, 
from crann, a tree, and may still be dug thence and 
from our mosses, hard and serviceable after centuries 
of submersion, while other native species, though 
preserving their shape, have become as soft as cheese. 
Canoes are often found from 20 to 40 feet in length, 
invariably hollowed out of solid oak-trunks. 

The old Irish word for oak was daur, in the geni- 
tive clara or darach, which has been taken as the 
modern Gaelic name, while in Manx and Welsh it 
remains dar. In Aberdeenshire and Dumfriesshire 
the old word remains in the name Deer, while Darra 
and Darroch, in Aberdeenshire, Stirlingshire, and 
elsewhere, show the modern form. 

There is a notable instance in the ' Book of Deer ' 
of an attempt to explain a place-name artistically. 
When Columba parted with Drostan, the latter, it is 
recorded, shed tears, whereupon Columba exclaimed, 
" Let Dear be the name of the place hereafter," a 
pun on the Gaelic deur, a tear. Aikiehill and Aikey- 
brae, in the parish of Deer, are much more faithful 
tokens of the true meaning of the name. Kildarroch 
in Ayrshire and Wigtownshire \Qcoilldarach,od^-\y oo(\., 
equivalent to A.S. Aiket ; but Culderry in Wigtown- 
shire must be regarded as cAl doire, back of the wood. 

The word doirc gives the name to many places all 
over Scotland, from Sutherland to Galloway, usually 
with the definite article prefixed — the D^rry or the 

Their Lesson. 109 

Denies. It is a derivative of dmir, meaning strictly 
an oak-wood, but more generally any wood or thicket. 
Dirriemore, a high mountain-pass in Eoss-shire, is 
doire mdr, great wood, though the trees have long 
since passed away. Londonderry in Ireland is 
written Daire-Calgaich in the ' Annals,' and Adam- 
nan, writing in the seventh century, translated the 
name rohoretum Calgachi, Calgach's oak-wood. It 
received the prefix of " London " to distinguish it 
from other places called Derry, on account of the 
property acquired there by London merchants. 

Time will not permit me to dwell upon thousands The birch, 
of place-names formed from other trees : I may men- 
tion, however, that heith (bey), the birch, which is 
easily recognised with its unaspirated initial in Drum- 
b^e, the birch-ridge, becomes "vey" under aspiration, 
as in Auchenvey and Largvey in Galloway — acluidh 
net hheith, birch-field, and learg hlieith, birch-hillside. 
Beith and Barbeth in Ayrshire preserve the final 
aspirated dental, which came easily to the Welsh- 
speaking people of Strathclyde, but was a sound 
which the Gael was incapable of uttering. Beoch 
in Ayrshire, Galloway, and Dumfriesshire is beitheach 
(beyagh), birch-land, equivalent to A.S. Birket, heorc 
wudii. Uinnsc (inshy), the ash, becomes Inshaw Hill The ash. 
in Wigtownshire, and the plural, umnsean (inshan), 
takes the peculiar form of Inshanks, the name of two 
places in that county, and Inshewan, near Kirrie- 
muir ; while the common alternative form, uinnseog 
(inshog), remains as Inshock in Forfarshire, Inshaig 

110 Scottish Land- Names. 

in Argyleshire, lushog near jSTairn ; and Drumua- 
minshog and Knockninshock in Kirkcudbrightshire 
are respectively the ridge and the hill of the ash- 
trees. Killyminshaw in Dumfriesshire is no doubt 
coille nam uinnsc, or ash-wood. 

The aspen. The aspen, or " quakin' ash " of Lowland Scots, is 
criothach (creeagh) in Gaelic, and gives the name to 
Creich in Sutherland, Koss, Argyle, and Wigtown, 
and perhaps to Crieff in Perthshire ; and the plural, 
criothacJiean, appears as Creechan in Dumfriesshire 
and Wigtownshire. Crianlarich, a well-known station 
on the Callander and Oban line, may be either crich 
or criothach na laraich, the boundary or the aspen- 
tree at the house-site. 

The elm. I must ask you to enter more closely into exami- 
nation of the elm — not the well-known species 
known as the English elm ( Ulmus campestris), which 
is not indigenous, having been introduced by the 
Romans, but the wych-elm ( Ulmus montana), a tree 
which has given the name to many well-known 
places. The old Gaelic name for it was leam (lam), 
plural, Icamcm. Ptolemy's Leamanonius Lacus is now 
Loch Lomond, the lake of the elms, out of which 
flows the Leven, which is the aspirated form leamhan 
(lavan) ; and it is interesting to find these two forms 
again side by side in Fife, where are the Lomond 
Hills overlooking the town of Leven. ^ The Lennox, 

^ The two forms come together again in Warwickshire, where 
not far from Leamington is Levenhull — leamhan choill, elm-wood, 
and, in the same neighbourhood, a place called Elmdon. 

Their Lesson. Ill 

a district formerly written Levenax, is the adjectival 
form leamhnach (lavnah), an elm-wood ; and in Eng- 
land the river Leam, giving its name to Leamington, 
the Leven in Cumberland, the Lune in Lancashire 
(Alauna of Ptolemy), and in Ireland the Laune at 
Killarney, must all have once been named amhuinn 
leamhan, elm-river. Leamh chuill (lav whill), elm- 
wood, appears as Barluel in Galloway, the hill-top of 
the elm-wood ; the derivative leamhraidhcan (lavran 
or lowran), elm-wood, becomes Lowran and Lowring, 
also in Galloway ; and in the same province I have 
picked up an alternative form to leamhan, common 
in Ireland — namely, sleamh (slav) and sleamhan 
(slavvan), whence the names Craigslave and Craig- 
slouan. Yet another derivative, leamhreach (lavrah), 
seems to be the origin of Caerlaverock, cathair 
(caher) leamhreaich, fortress in the elm-wood. 

Another fertile source of Scottish place-names is The alder. 
the alder, Gaelic fearn, Welsh gwern, of which men- 
tion has already been made as the origin of Nairn, 
amhuinn ncC fhearn (ern). The plural, fearnan, gives 
Fernan in Perthshire and Aberdeenshire ; fearnach, 
abounding in alders, yields Farnoch and Fe^rnoch in 
Argyleshire, Fernie in Fife, and Fernaig in Eoss- 
shire ; while fearnachan, an alder-wood,^ survives in 
Drumfarnachan in Galloway, where also is found the 
aspirated form, Drumfarnachan. 

The Anglo-Saxon air and the Norse blr produce the 

^ Fearnachan in modern Gaelic means sloes, and this may be the 
reference in these names. 

112 Scottish Land-Names. 

names of Allarstocks and Allarton, near Glasgow ; 
Allarshaw, in Lanarkshire ; Ellerslie, near Dum- 
fries ; Ellerbeck, near Ecclefechan ; and Elderslie, in 

The elder. The elder was trom of old, whence the Truim, a 
tributary of the Spey, formerly amhuinn truim, river 
of the elder-bush ; but the modern word is troman, 
Manx trainman, which gives the name to Trammond 
Ford, on the estuary of the Cree in Galloway, at one 
end of which ford is Castramont, which, despite its 
Eoman complexion, is merely cas tromain, foot of the 
elder (ford). Several places are also named from the 
Anglo-Saxon and Old Northern English name of the 
elder — bourtree. 

The wil- Sailcach, a willow, gives names to many places, as 

Salachan in Argyleshire, sailcachcan, the willows ; 
Salachry in the same county, saileachreach, a place 
of willows, which appears as Sauchrie in Ayrshire ; 
Barsalloch and Barnst\llie in Wigtownshire, harr na 
saileacJi, willow -hill. But Barnshalloch in Kirk- 
cudbright is harr an sealghe (shallughy), hill of the 
hunting. Drimnasallie, near Fort William, is ridge 
of the willows. 

A.S. scalh produces M.E, salwc, our " sallow," 
whence the Scots word "sauch" and the place- 
name Sauchie. 

The rowan. Caorunn (keerun), the mountain -ash or rowan- 
tree, is generally aspirated in compound names, as 
Attachoirrin in Islay, the rowan-tree house ; Leachd 
a' chaoruinu on the shore of Loch Ossian in Corrour 

Their Lesson. 113 

Forest, and Barwliirran in Wigtownshire, rowan-tree 

Gnis or gmthas (gyuse), the Scots fir, is pretty The fir. 
well disguised in Loch Goosie in Kirkcudbright — 
loch giuthasach, lake of the firs ; but is easily recog- 
nised in Guisachan in Inverness-shire, and Kin- 
gussie — cinn gmtJiasaich, at the head of the fir- 

Erom iubhar (yure), the yew, comes Urie in Aber- The yew. 
deenshire ; iubharach, a yew-wood, Palnure in Kirk- 
cudbright; pol 7ia' iubhar, yew-stream, Glenure in 
Argyleshire and Coire-iubhair in Inverness-shire. 

Innumerable names take their rise from black and 
white thorns. 

Skeoch in Stirlingshire, Ayrshire, and Dumfries- The haw- 
shire, Skeog, Scaith, and Skate in Wigtownshire, 
represent sceach, sgitheach, or sgithcog, as the haw- 
thorn is variously written in Gaelic ; and the Anglo- 
Saxon Thornhill in Dumfriesshire and Stirlingshire 
has its exact counterpart in Drumskeog and Bar- 
skeoch in Galloway. 

The blackthorn is draieghean (dreean), Manx The black- 
clrine, Welsh draen, but the older form in Cormac's 
Glossary is droigen, which we find unimpaired in 
Mildriggan, an estate in Wigtownshire. This is a 
hybrid of Saxon and Gaelic, for in a charter of 1674 
it stands as Dreggan Mylne — the Mill of Dreggan, 
i.e., droigen. It is still a great place for black- 
thorns : the archaic form of the name shows it to 
be one of the oldest in the country, and testifies to 


114 Scottish Land- Names. 

the length of time that this bush has clung to the 
spot. Dranniemanner in Kirkcudbrightshire is 
draighcan na mcdnir, the blackthorns of the goat- 
pen, which has its parallel in the next county, 
Wigtownshire, as Drangower (written by Pont Dron- 
gangower) — draigheanan gobhar (drannan gowr), 
blackthorns of the goats. 

Other names of the same origin are — 

Drainie, a parish in Elgin. 

Drynie, in Eoss-sliire. 

Dr^nach, on the Perthshire Almond. 

Drynachan, on the Pindhorn. 

Drynoch, in Skye. 

Dron, a parish in Perthshire. 

Drongan and 1 . . . . 
. - ° , . - m Ayrshn-e. 

Aucnendram, J 

Dronnan, and 


in Kirkcudbright. 

Bardrain, near Paisley, has its exact translation in 
Slaethorn-rig in Barr, Ayrshire. 
The Drcas (drass), a bramble, genitive dris, produces 

the adjective drisach, whence Drisaig, Ardrishaig, 
Drumdrisaig, and Bardrishach, all in Argyleshire, 
and Glendrissock in Ayrshire ; while from the fruit 
of the bramble, smeur (smerr), come Sron-smeur, 
blackberry - hill, in Eannoch Forest, Smoorage in 
Lamlash Bay, Slewsmirroch — sliahh smeurach, black- 
berry moor — in Wigtownshire, and Smirle in the 

Tlieir Lesson. 115 

same county, representing two adjectival forms, 
smeurach and smeurlach. 

From decdg (dallig), a thorn, we get the pkiral Thorns. 
decdglic (dalhy), whence Dailly in Ayrshire and Kirk- 
cudbright, and Dally in Wigtownshire. Drum- 
dally and Clamdcilly, both in Galloway, are druim 
decdg and daon dccdg, thorny ridge and slope. 

The great Highland district of Kannoch takes its Ferns, 
name from a lowly herb. The old Gaelic raitli (ray), 
raithan (rahan), bracken fern, becomes raithncacli in 
the modern language; thus Drumrae in Wigtown- 
shire, druim raitli, represents an older nomenclature 
than Drumrany in Ayrshire, druim raithneacli, both 
signifying " fern-hill." The use of the character z to 
represent the old Scots consonantal y, which confuses 
English people in the pronunciation of such names 
as Cadzow (cadyo), Menzies (mingis), and Dalziel 
(dee-ell), has prevailed to alter the pronunciation of 
Glen Eanza in Arran from the original gleann raith- 
ncacli, ferny glen ; and Blawrainy in Kirkcudbright 
has a meteorological complexion concealing the mean- 
ing of hlar raithncacli, ferny field. Eanna in Aber- 
deenshire, and Eannas and Eannochan in Moray, 
also derive their names from the bracken fern. 

Aspiration greatly alters the forms assumed in Heather, 
composition by fraoch (freugh, frew), heather, and 
fcur, grass. The Ford of Frew is on the Forth, about 
six miles above Stirling, well known of old as the 
place where the Highland caterans used to cross 
the sluggish channel ; Freugh in Wigtownshire and 

116 Scottish Land-Names. 

Argyleshire is another spelling, and Freiichie in 
Perthshire and Fife is fraochach, a heathery place. 
But in the genitive, fhraeich (hree), the / is usually 
aspirated, as Auchenr^e, near Blair Atholl,^ and 
again near Portpatrick, which has nothing to do 
with righ, a king, but is perhaps acliadh an fhraeich, 
heather field. Cretanree in Banff is croit an fhraeich, 
heather croft. Seeing that heather was the common- 
est natural growth on Scottish hill and dale before 
cultivation became general, it may seem strange why 
certain localities should be distinguished by allusion 
to that plant. The explanation is found in the high 
antiquity of such names, pointing to a time when the 
greater part of the land was under forest, and heather 
only grew in the open glades. Feur, grass, also loses 
the sound of the initial consonant in the genitive, 
and gives Strathyre, srath flieoir, the grassy valley. 
Clover. Saimir or seamrog is the wdiite clover, whence 

Glenchamber in Wigtownshire, as the map-makers 
write it, mistaking the local pronunciation for the 
Scottish word " chalmer," a chamber. The alterna- 
tive for seamrog gives Glenshimerock in Kirkcud- 
bright and Glenshamrock in Ayrshire. 

^ This explanation is very doubtful. Auchenree in Blair AthoU 
is locally pronounced rhace, and is understood to mean achadh an 
rhuidk or rulth, field of the shieling. This name is, therefore, an 
example of the danger of interpreting Gaelic names imperfectly 
rendered i^honetically in English characters, without listening to 
the local pronunciation. If this explanation be correct, then the 
suffix of Auchenree and Airdrie would represent the same word — 
one name meaning field of the shieling, the other the high shieling 
or pasture. 

Tlieir Lesson. 117 

Aittin (atten), gorse or juniper, may be recognised Furze or 
in Duneaton in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, 
— dun aittcn, fort or hill of the whins or juniper ; 
while a stream running near this place preserves 
the Welsh form eithin, the Nethan, joining the 
Clyde at Cambusnethan, being afon eithin, the river 
of the whins or juniper. 

Giolc (gilk), in modern Gaelic cuilc (kuleg), pro- Broom. 
perly means a reed or cane ; but the nomenclature of 
the humbler vegetation is somewhat slippery, and 
this word is commonly applied to the broom. Knock- 
gilsie and Knockgulsha in Galloway are cnoc giolcach, 
the exact equivalent of Broomieknowe or Broom- 
knowe, a name which is given twelve times in the 
Post Office Directory, or Broomhills, which appears 
there forty times. Auchengilshie, in Wigtownshire 
and Ayrshire, is the Gaelic for Broomfield, which 
appears eighteen times. 

The usual name for a rush is luachair, which Rushes. 
survives unchanged in the Lochar Moss, that great 
expanse of peat between Dumfries and Annan, and 
in Glenlochar, the rushy glen, near Castle Douglas. 
It may also enter into names like Barlockhart and 
Drumlockhart in Galloway ; but here it is possible 
that lucart, a big house, may have something to do 
with it. Pitlochrie is probably pett luacharach, rushy 

Before leaving the vegetable kingdom we may Crops, 
glance at some traces of early cultivation. Coirce 
(kurkya), oats, has already been shown to be the 

118 Scottish Land-Names. 

origin of Barnkirk and Barnkirky in Galloway ; in 
the same district the word is found in another form, 
Culquhirk, the corner of oats, and Awhirk, the oat- 
field. Similarly eorna (yorna), barley, comes out as 
Culhorn, and may be compared with Coolnahorna 
in Waterforcl and Wexford. 

Another important crop in early times was flax, 
in Gaelic lin. Port Leen, in Loch Eyan, marks a 
place where it was shipped, and Lochenaling, in 
Wigtownshire, a place where it was steeped ; Drum- 
lean, in Stirlingshire, and Glenling, in Wigtown- 
shire, places where it was grown. Ochteralinachan, 
near Stranraer, is uachdarach linachan, the upper 
flax -field, ISTo flax is grown in these districts 

Seagal (shaggul), rye, gives names like Auchen- 
shugle, near Glasgow, and Knockshoggle in Ayr- 
shire ; while root-crops, like carrots or turnips, were 
called mcacan (maakan), yielding Blairmakin, near 

It would be impossible within reasonable limits 
of time to go over the list of animals which have 
left their names attached to places in our country ; 
but there is some interest in examining names 
commemorating beasts and birds which are either 
wholly extinct or are confined to limited spaces 
within the realm. 

Hunting took precedence of farming as the occu- 
pation of the early inhabitants ; hence sealg (shallug). 

Their Lesson. 119 

the chase, and terms connected with it, enter largely 
into Scottish place-names. 

It has been surmised that the name Selgovas, by 
which the Picts of Galloway were known, may be 
derived from sealg, and that they were thus dis- 
tinguished as the " hunters." Barnshalloch, Drum- 
shiilloch, Glenshalloch, and Kittyshalloch, all in Gal- 
loway, and Cuttyshi\llow in Ayrshire, are the larr or 
hill, the druim or ridge, the glen and the ceide (keddy) 
or hill-face of the hunting, just as Benshalag in 
Nairn, Glenshellach near Oban, Knockshellie in Ayr- 
shire ; but Auchnashalloch in Eoss-shire and Argyle- 
shire means the field of the willows. There are also 
farms called Shalloch in Ayrshire and Banff ; but this 
must not be confused with Challoch, a common name 
in Galloway, which is a corruption of tealacli, a forge, 
just as in the same province tiohar, a well, becomes 
"chipper." Castle Shell in Wigtownshire is by 
local tradition affirmed to be an old hunting-seat ; 
and the old name for the Moor of Edinburgh, where 
the king's hunt was held, was Drumselch, Hence 
the reddendo or rent for the barony of Penicuik 
was the blowing of six blasts in cormc fiatili, on a 
hunting-horn. The old name Drumselch is now 
written Drumsheugh. 

The hunting-horn itself was known as adhaircc 
(aharky) ; one may almost hear the echoes of it still 
round Mulwharker, a hill in the Forest of Buchan, 
in Galloway — maol adhairce, hill of the hunting- 
horn — close to which is Hunt Ha', where the Earls 

120 Scottish Land-Names. 

of Cassilis used to lodge in pursuit of the red-deer. 
Slewnark, near Portpatrick, is probably sliabh nad- 
haiixc, moor of the hunting-horn. 
Deer. The favourite beast of the chase was the red-deer, 

for which the usual word was fiaclh (feeah) ; but it is 
not easily to be distinguished in composition from 
fithach (feeah), a raven. It is difficult to say at this 
day whether Craigenveoch in Wigtownshire, Craigen- 
feoch near Paisley, and Craignafeoch near Greenock 
mean the deer's or, as is more probable, the raven's 
crag. Names ending in -nee generally represent the 
aspirated genitive fhiaidh (ee), of a deer, with the 
article, and these may be found in districts where 
the red-deer have long ceased to exist. Thus in 
Galloway we have Palnee — pol an fhiaidh, the deer's 
stream — Craiginee, and Drumanee, the last occurring 
also as a place-name in Derry, Ireland. 

From cilid, a hind, genitive cilte, come the names 

Kilhilt, in Wigtownshire, written Kylnahilt in the 

Rotuli Scot, 1455 — coill na heiltc, wood of the hind ; 

Craignelder and Carneltoch are in the mountains of 

Galloway — the craig and the cairn or hill of the 


Names of Of course, in considering these names, it must be 

borne by kept in mind that it was the practice among the 

men. Celts, as in most other semi-civilised communities, to 

distinguish men by the names of animals. Eeginald 

of Durham narrates how one of the four monks who 

bore the body of St Cuthbert to the tomb had been 

detected in hiding a cheese from his brethren, and 

Their Lesson. 121 

therefore he and his descendants were known by 
the name of Tod, quod vitlpeculam sonat, " which 
means a fox-cub." Similarly in Ireland the family 
of Mac-Shinnagh — mac sionaich, son of the fox — 
took the name of Fox, in conformity with the law 
prohibiting the use of the Irish language within the 

In the names last quoted, Kylnahilt and Craig- 
nelder, the presence of the article, shown by the n 
before the suffix, proves that it was an animal, and not 
an individual, after which these places were named. 

The article does not occur in Strath Ossian in 
Perthshire, yet it most likely means in old Gaelic 
the strath of the red-deer calves or fawns, srath 
oisin — though that was a name sometimes borne by 
men. Scotsmen claim Ossian as a native bard, but he 
was really an Irish soldier-poet of the third century, 
named oisin, the fawn. 

The alternative form os (osh), genitive ois (ish), 
gives Craignish in Ayrshire, which may be compared 
with Glenish in County Monaghau, written by the 
Annalists Glen ois ; but Craignish in Argyleshire is 
written Craggiuche in 1434 and Creginis in 1609, 
which looks like creag innse, rock in the meadow. 
The genitive plural, os, gives Glenose in Skye and 
Glenhoise (pronounced Glenhosh) in Kirkcudbright, 
the glen of the fawns ; but this, again, is liable to 
confusion with shuas (hosh), upper, for Barhoise 
(pronounced Barhosh) in Wigtownshire may be 
barr shuas, upper or north hill. 

122 Scottish Land- Names. 

The modern Gaelic for roe is ea^-ha, but the old 
word was earh, and earhoc was the roe-buck, preserved 
in Glenarbuck near Bowling and Drumnarbuck in 
Wigtownshire. The Norse rd and A.S. ra, especially 
the latter, enter into many names of places, in some 
of which the roe is never seen now. Ec\eden, near 
Aberdeen, is A.S. ra denn, the roe's lair or sleeping- 
place ; other examples are Eaehills in Dumfriesshire, 
Eaelees near Selkirk, &c,, the latter being of similar 
origin to the English surname Ealeigh or Eayleigh. 
But unless the stress is carefully noted, this prefix 
is sure to be confused with the Gaelic reidh (ray), a 
fiat space of land, as Eaecloch near Turriff — reidh 
cloich, stone flat ; Eaemoir in Moray and Aberdeen- 
shire — reidh m6r, great flat. 

Gaelic toe is now usually restricted in meaning to 
a he-goat, but its radical signification seems to be a 
male animal, in the same sense as we say a " buck " 
rabbit, and it often stands for the roebuck, which 
is probably the true meaning in Glenbuck, Lanark- 
shire. But in Teutonic names it means the male 
fallow-deer, as Buckhurst in Lanarkshire — O.KE. 
hucce hurst, buck-wood ; Buxburn in Aberdeenshire 
being the buck's burn. Buccleuch is usually inter- 
preted buck's cleugh or ravine, and in the neigh- 
bourhood " cleugh " enters freely into place-names, 
such as Harecleuch, Gilbertscleugh, Windycleuch, 
&c. ; but I cannot indorse this interpretation, to bear 
which the name iiuist be sounded Buccleuch. It is 
probably a corruption of some Gaelic name, with the 

Their Lesson. 123 

stress on the last syllable, which has been altered in 
spelling to suit the supposed meaning. 

Besides the domestic pig, which was in early use Swine, 
among the people, the wild swine was a favourite 
beast of chase all over Scotland. No animal has 
left its name so commonly impressed on the topo- 
graphy, and it is seldom easy to distinguish between 
the wild and domestic beasts. Tore, a boar, was the 
origin of Drumturk in Perthshire and Glenturk in 
Wigtownshire, from the genitive singular tuirc; and 
Miudork in the latter county is moine tore, the moor 
of the boars, from the genitive plural tore. 

The Anglo - Saxon for " boar " was Mr, whence 
Bearsden, near Glasgow ; but Borland or Boreland, 
a name given forty-one times in the Postal Directory, 
means a home farm — land kept for the " board " of 
the laird's house. Borestone, again, in many places, 
means a stone which has been pierced, a name which 
must yield in antiquity to Thirlestane in Selkirkshire 
and Berwickshire, from A.S. ])irlian, to pierce. 

Countless are the names from iimc, a sow, which 
has also become the generic name for swine. Clach- 
anamuck in Wigtownshire is clacJian nam muc, 
stones of the swine. Drummuck, near Girvan, is 
the swine-ridge, a name which by umlaut becomes 
Swindridge, near Dairy, in the same county, and 
Swinhill in Lanarkshire. Even so, Balmiiick, near 
Crieff, haile muic, swine - farm, appears in Anglo- 
Saxon as Swinton in Berwickshire and near Glas- 
gow. There is a place near Greenock curiously 


124 Scottish Land-Names. 

named Lemnamiiick, which signifies Icum na muic, 
the sow's leap. 

Ben Macdhiii, as we choose to write the mountain 
of that name, is usually interpreted hcinn muic duibhe, 
hill of the black sow ; but Highlanders call it Beinn- 
a'-hoch-dtoihh, hill of the black goat. The Muck, a 
tributary of the Ayrshire Stinchar, was originally 
amliuinn muc, sow's river. 

A swine-pasture or haunt of swine is mudach or 
mucrcacJi, producing Glenamuckloch in Argyleshire, 
Drummuckloch in Galloway, and so in many other 
counties, and Muckrach, near Grantown-on-Spey. 
Wild Places named after cattle lie under the same un- 

certainty as those named after swine ; we do not 
know whether the wild or the domesticated animal 
is referred to. The Caledonian bull was a formid- 
able animal, as may be realised by contemplating, at 
a safe distance, his lineal descendants in Cadzow 
Forest and at Chillingham in Northumberland. The 
Gaelic word for bull is tarbh (tarriv), doubtless akin 
to Latin taurus, and becoming in Welsh taru, in 
Cornish tarow, and in Manx tarroo. Knockentarry 
in Wigtownshire is doubtless cnoc an tairhhe, the 
bull's hill ; but Knockenharry, a name occurring in 
many places, is cnoc clii fhaire (harry), hill of the 

The Tarf is the name of different streams in Perth- 
shire, Inverness-shire, Forfarshire, Kirkcudbright, and 
Wigtownshire, and the Tarth in Peeblesshire is the 
same name, all named from bulls ; not, as has been 

Their Lesson. 125 

elaborately propounded, because of their roaring 
noise, — it never would suggest itself to the natural 
man to put such a strain on the imagination. Be- 
sides, the Peeblesshire Tarth happens to be a 
peculiarly sluggish stream. The name arose from 
some forgotten circumstance of hunting or pastoral 
life ; the original name in each case would be am- 
huinn tarbh, bull's stream. 

Damh (dav), an ox, is preserved in Dalnad^mph, 
land of the oxen ; in Blairdaff in Aberdeenshire — Uctr 
damh, ox-field ; and Inchnadamph in Sutherlandshire 
— inis na' damh, ox-pasture. 

Bo, a cow, cognate with Latin hos, may easily be re- 
cognised in Drumbow in Lanarkshire, the cow's ridge, 
and in Achnaba, twice in Argyleshire, the cow-field. 
In Galloway strips of seaside pasture sometimes bear 
the name of Scrabba or Scrabble. This name must 
be added to Tiree as an unusual instance of the 
movement of stress from the specific to the generic 
syllable. It is the same name as Scrabo, near iSTew- 
tonards in Ireland — that is, scrath ho, cow's grass, 
from scrath (scraw), sward. Bowling on the Clyde 
takes its name from a stream — ho linn, cow's pool. 

Laogh (leuh), a calf, is usually contracted into 
the termination -lay or -lee, and is thus liable to 
be confused with liath (lee), grey. Barlae occurs 
six or seven times in Galloway, and has the same 
meaning as Cawvis Hill, just outside the burgh of 
Wigtown, Other forms are Barlaiigh in Ayrshire, 
Auchleach in Wigtownshire, Auchlay in Suther- 

126 Scottish Land-Names. 

land, Auchl^e in Aberdeenshire, and Drumley in 
Galloway and Ayrshire. Craigley in Urr parish, 
Kirkcudbright, is probably creag laogli, the calves' 
crag ; but Craiglee, overlooking Loch Trool in the 
same county, is more likely to be crcag liatli, grey 
crag. Ballochal^e, a ford on the Wigtownshire 
Tarf, may be interpreted hcalach ncC laogli, pass of 
the calves. All are to be distinguished by the 
position of the stress from the Anglo-Saxon Im, a 
field, in such common names as Whitelee, Brownlee, 
Yellowlee, wherein the terminal -lee is the generic 

The most formidable beast of prey in the old 
forest was, of course, the wolf, and we might expect 
to find frequent reference to it among place-names ; 
but it is not easy to identify it with certainty. 

It was called by various names — madadh, allaidh, 
h'reach,faol, and mactirc or son of the soil. Now there 
is no more familiar termination of place-names than 
-maddie or -moddie — such as Drummoddie, druim 
madadh (madduh), wolf -ridge ; Blairmoddie, hlctr 
madadh, wolf - field ; Claymoddie, formerly Glen- 
maddie, gleann madadh, wolf-glen — all in Wigtown- 
shire ; and Culmtiddie, cicil madadh, wolf's corner, 
in Sutherlandshire. These represent the two ex- 
tremities of Scotland, and the word occurs frequently 
between those limits ; but the strict meaning of 
madadh is a dog, and madadh ruadh means a fox. 
But the commoner words for dog and fox are en, 
gen. con, and sionach (shinnagh), and it is almost 

Their Lessoyi. 127 

certain that madadli in place-names generally means 
a wolf. 

Breach is an obsolete word for wolf, which cannot 
be distinguished now from hreac, piebald, brindled, 
a term often applied to land ; but probably it sur- 
vives in Tarbreoch in Kirkcudbrightshire — tir hrdach, 
wolf-ground ; and Killibn\kes, Wigtownshire, is per- 
haps coille Irdach, wolf -wood. Braco in Perthshire 
and Aberdeenshire may be compared with Breagho 
in Fermanagh, which the Irish xinnalists used to 
write Br^agh mhagh (vah), wolf-lield. 

Wolflee, near Hawick, is the Anglo-Saxon equiv- 
alent of Blairmoddie ; "VVolfhill, near Perth, of 
Drummoddie ; and Wolf-cleuch, near St Mary's 
Loch, of Glenmaddy. Ulbster in Caithness, Ulsta 
in Shetland, and Wolfstar in East Lothian are prob- 
ably named from men called Ulf — Ulfr holsta^r, 
XJlfs farm. 

Cu, a dog, gen. con, enters freely into place-names. The dog. 
but it was also a favourite name among men. Thus 
Loch Conn in Perthshire, reflecting the name of 
Lough Conn in Mayo, may either be Conn's lake 
or dog's lake ; but Achnacone in Appin is clearly 
achadh 7ia' con, field of dogs, because of the article. 
Aspirated as clion, this is probably the origin of 
many names ending in -quhan — as Boqohan in 
Stirlingshire, hoth Clion, Conn's hut ; Blairqohan in 
Ayrshire, Conn's or the dog's field ; Killiewhan in 
Kirkcudbrightshire — coille clion, wood of the dogs. 
Gadhar or gaothar (gaiur), a greyhound, from gaeth 


Scottish Land-Names. 

The wild 

The otter. 


(geu), the wind, in allusion to its swiftness, yields 
Glengyre in Wigtownshire. 

The wild cat, now wellnigh extinct, is commonly 
mentioned in the place-names of all three languages. 
Thus in Gaelic there is Craigencat in many counties, 
the wild cat's crag ; Lingt\t in Wigtownshire, linn 
cat, the wild cat's linn ; Auchnag^tt, a station on the 
Great North of vScotland Eailway in Aberdeenshire, 
field of the wild cats. So in Saxon speech we find 
Catscleugh, near Denny ; Catshaw in Roxburghshire, 
the wild cat's wood; C^tslack in Selkirkshire, the 
wild cat's gap ; and in Norse such names as Catta- 
dale, near Campbeltown, the wild cat's dale, and 
Catgill, near Ci\nonbie, in Dumfriesshire, the wild 
cat's ravine. 

JDorctn, the otter — i.e., dohhuran, the water-beast — 
produces Glendowran in Lanarkshire ; Aldouran in 
Wigtownshire — edit elorcin, otter-stream, like Otter- 
bourne in Northumberland ; Puldouran in Kirkcud- 
bright, with the same meaning; and Craigendoran 
in Dumbartonshire, creag an dorecin, the otter's rock, 
or creeigcetn dor em, rocks of the otters. 

Broc, a badger, derived, like hreeec, a trout, from 
hreeic, parti-coloured, was borrowed from the Gaelic 
by the Anglo-Saxon, and forms many land-names in 
both languages. These remain in many places where 
badgers are no longer found. Thus Brockloch, the 
name of several places in Ayrshire, is simply the 
Gaelic hrodeich, a badger-warren, while Brocklees in 
the same county is the Saxon for badger-field ; 

Their Lesson. 129 

Brocket in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire is hrocc 
badger- wood. Brockwoodlees in Dumfriesshire shows 
fields named from a badger-wood, and Broxburn in 
Linlithgowshire is the badger's stream. The Gaelic 
equivalent of Brocket comes out as Kilbrocks, near 
Stranraer — coill hroc, badger-wood; and from the 
genitive singular, Iruic, come Kilbrook, near Moffat 
— coill hruic, badger-wood ; and Auchabrick in Wig- 
townshire — achadh hruic, badger-field. 

I have only identified one Gaelic place-name com- The pole- 


memorating another of our fauna now wellnigh ex- 
tinct, the polecat or foumart — viz., Corrief^cklach in 
the Galloway hills, coire feocalach, foumart's corrie. 





The land. 

T will tax all my ingenuity to compress 
within the limits of a single hour all 
the subjects set forth in the syllabus 
to be dealt with in this, the last lec- 
ture of the course. In order to do so 
with any prospect of usefulness, I propose to take 
the Gaelic, as the characteristic language of North 
Britain, noticing a few synonyms in the other lan- 
guages which we have already considered. 

The Gaelic word most nearly corresponding to 
English "laud" or "ground" is tir. It is allied to 

Their Lesson. 131 

Latin terra, and comes from a root signifying " dry." 
It is the same in Irish and Welsh, but forms no part 
of Manx place-names. The island of Tiree is called 
by Adamnan Terra Ethica, as if named from Ith, 
the legendary uncle of the Irish hero Miledh. But 
it is more probably tir idlie, corn-land, from an old 
Gaelic word iodh, corn; for it is a fertile island, 
" callit in all tymes M'Connells [Macdonald's] girnel." 
Tirfergus, near Campbeltown, Fergus's land, corre- 
sponds to Tirargus in Donegal, where the / is aspi- 
rated to silence — tir Fhearguis. Tardow in Wig- 
townshire is probably tir diibh, black ground; but 
Tarwilkie or Tirwilkie in Kirkcudbright is trcahh 
giolcach, rushy farm, for in 1604 it is spelt Tra- 
gilhey; and Terregles in Dumfriesshire, commonly 
interpreted tir eglais, is really treamhar eglais, being 
spelt Travereglis in a charter of David II. 

Tinluskie in Wigtownshire is tir loisgthc (luskie), 
burnt land, by the common interchange of r and n, 
corresponding to the frequent Anglo-Saxon napies 
Bruntland, Brunthill, and Bruntisfield. 

As a suffix tir is found in Cantyre or Kintyre, the 
head or end of the land, just as Kintail is cinii t-shacl 
(tale), head of the tide, and Kinv^rra — cinn mhara, 
head of the sea. Glaister and Glkisters in Ayrshire, 
Arran, Kirkcudbright, Lanark, and Glaster Law near 
Arbroath, are glas tir, green land ; and in Glasserton 
Fell in Wigtownshire there is a curious example of the 
A.S. tiin and the Norse fjal added to the Gaelic glas 
thir (glassir) or glasghart (glass art), green paddock. 

132 Scottish Land-Names. 

Magh, a plain, rendered by Latin writers campus 
and planitics, has fallen out of use in modern Gaelic ; 
but its derivative, macJiair or macJiaire, with a strong 
instead of a weak guttural, is still used to denote 
flat land near the sea. Magh appears as Moy, near 
Inverness, Fort-William, Forres, Beauly, and Camp- 
beltown ; as Mye in "Wigtownshire and Stirlingshire. 
A still older form of the word — mag — is preserved 
in Mugdock, in Dumbartonshire, where in 750 there 
was a battle between the Britons and the Picts of 
Manann, and Talorgan, the Pictish leader, was slain. 
It is written Magedauc and Mogetauc in the Cam- 
brian Annals. 

As a suffix, magh is liable to aspiration, and the 
111 disappears, as in Morrach twice in Wigtownshire 
— mur m^hagh, land overlooking the sea. This also 
may be regarded as the origin of the name Moray, 
anciently spelt Muref, and latinised Moravia. The 
change of gh into /is shown in Muff, corrupted from 
magh, the name of several places in the north of 
Ireland. In that country mur-mhagh, so written by 
the Four Masters, but which Cormac disguised as 
murhhach, has become Murvagh in Donegal, Murrow 
in Wicklow (very like our Moray), and Murvey, 
Murragh, Murroo, and Miirreagh in other counties. 
The same compound, mooragh, means a sandbank in 
the Isle of Man. 

Machair, supposed to be magh thir, plain land, is 
so common in our place-names as to require little 
notice, except to observe that the parishes of Old 

Their Lesson. 133 

and New Machar, in Aberdeen, commemorate a 
dedication to St Machorius. But there are two 
farms near Stranraer in whicli the stress serves to 
distinguish the meanings of two very similar names. 
One is M^cher, which is simply ^nachair, a plain. 
It is part of the great plain lying between the two 
divisions of Wigtownshire, the Machers on the east 
and the Ehinns on the west. The other is Mallear, 
signifying either magh air, east field, or the field of 
the ploughing or of the slaughter — for in old as in 
modern Gaelic, dr bears either meaning. 

Machrie, near Ardrossan, represents the third 
form, macliaire (maghery). 

Of all Celtic names descriptive of occupied land, 
none are so common in Scotland as achadh (aha) 
and haile (bally). Pont explains achadh as " ane 
Irich vord signifying a folde or a crofte of land 
gained out of a vylde ground of before vnmanured." 
Adamnan translates it "campulus," and it corre- 
sponds most nearly to our word "field." 

As a prefix it appears as Acha, Achy, Auch, and, 
with the article, Auchen and Achna. Achnacarry, the 
seat of Lochiel on the Arkaig, takes its name from a 
disused fishery — achadh na coraidh, field of the weir. 

The surname Affleck, taken from places of that 
name in Aberdeenshire, is a shortened form of 
Auchinlfeck in Ayrshire, Lanark, and Forfar — 
achadh na leac, field of the flagstones. 

Gc\rioch, a district in Aberdeenshire, represents 
garhh achadh or garhh mhach, as may be seen in 

134 Scottish Land-Names. 

old writings, in which it appears as Garuiauche, c. 
1170; Garvyach, c. 1180; and Garviagha, c. 1297. 
Garwachy in Wigtownshire and Garvock in Kin- 
cardineshire are the same compound. 

Ardoch, in Perthshire and many other counties, 
is plainly ard nihagh, or ard achadh, high field ; but 
Ardachy, in Wigtownshire, is shown by the stress 
to be ard achaidh, hill of the cultivated field — a very 
natural name in a district where cultivation was rare. 

Baile, a farm, homestead, or village, so exactly 
corresponds to A.S. tiin and Norse hy, hccr, or bolstaxSr, 
and is so easily recognised in composition, that I 
need not dwell on it further than to say it is glossed 
locus in the 'Book of Armagh' and other ancient MSS. 
Dr Eeeves says that in Ireland 6400 townlands 
begin with Bal or Bally, upwards of one-tenth of 
the whole. As a suffix, baile borrows the disguise of 
the aspirate, as Shan valley and Shinvollie in Gallo- 
way — scan bJiaile (vally), old place ; but Loch Valley 
in Galloway, like Meal-na-bhealaich in Perthshire, 
is loch bhealaich (vallah), loch of the pass. 

Mdr in modern Gaelic means a battle, but its 
primary meaning is a plain. It is unknown in the 
topography of Ireland, Wales, Man, Cornwall, and 
Brittany, and its distribution in Scotland is some- 
what peculiar. It is pretty common, both singly and 
in composition, from Galloway on the south-west, 
through Strathclyde, Stirling, Perth, Forfar, Fife, 
and Aberdeen. It is found in Arran, Dumbarton, 
as Blairhosh — Mdr sJmas (hosh), upper field, Blair- 

Their Lesson. 135 

nairn — hldr n' fhearn, alder-field, but not in Argyle- 
shire or the Isles, nor in the Border counties from 
Dumfries eastward. The solitary occurrence in the 
Lothians of Blaircochrane sounds suspiciously like 
a modern importation. It only occurs once in Inver- 
ness, and once in the east of Eoss-shire. Furthest 
north, in Sutherland, there is Blairninich — hldr nan 
each, field of the horses. 

Its use, therefore, is confined to a strip of country 
running from south-west to north-east ; but it is not 
easy to found any ethnological conclusion thereon, 
because this strip includes the territories of the 
Niduarian Picts, the Britons of Strathclyde, the 
Picts of Manann, and the Northern Picts. That the 
usual meaning is a field and not a battle seems clear 
from the occurrence of Blairshinnoch — hldr sionach 
(shinnagh), fox-field, in counties so far apart as Wig- 
townshire and Banff". The Old Northern English 
equivalent to Blairshinnoch is Todley, near Whit- 
horn, and Todholm, near Paisley. 

That excellent Celtic scholar. Professor Mackinnon, 
in discussing this word, falls into the snare which 
seems to beset every one who takes up Gaelic lore, 
as if the Celtic race were unlike the rest of mankind. 
" Is there any country in the world," he asks, " except 
the Highlands of Scotland, where the common word 
for a flat piece of ground, hldr, has come to mean a 
battle-field?" Undoubtedly there is. The Latin 
camjpus, a field, assumed in Low Latin the special 
meaning of " a duel, battle, war." Thence, through 

136 Scottish Land-Names. 

the French, comes our " camp," which in Middle Eng- 
lish never bore the modern restricted meaning of a 
" tented field," but meant a battle. In Anglo-Saxon 
camp was a battle, campstccl a battle-field, the latter 
of which is the origin of our place-name, Campsie, 
near Glasgow, Perth, and Kirriemuir. Champain, 
open country, and campaign are twin words. A.S. 
cempa, IST. hempa, a champion, one who holds the 
field, and field exercise, fidd-vaoxAidl, a 'parh of 
artillery, are other examples of the intimate as- 
sociation, in Teutonic as well as in Celtic minds, 
of open space with fighting. 

So let us dismiss for ever, if we want to arrive at 
the real significance of Celtic place-names, all idea 
that the Gael was more valiant, more pugnacious, or 
more poetic than other people. 

Fearann, a derivative of fear, a man, described 
land in the occupation of a man, as Ferintosh in 
Moray — fearann toisich, thane's land; but it very 
often took the aspirate, and becoming fhearann, was 
written earrann. We find some curious groups of 
holdings thus designated. In Stirlingshire there are 
Arnprior, Arngibbon, Arnfinlay, and others adjacent. 
In Kirkcudbright there are Ernambrie ; Ern^nity — 
earrann annuid, church - land ; Ernespie, earrann 
espuig, bishop's land ; Ernfillan, Fillan's land ; Ern- 
minzie — all in Crossmichael parish. Now aim is 
Broad Scots for " iron," hence in the same county 
the names occur of Ironhash, Ironlosh (1456, Arn- 
glosh) — earrann loise, burnt land ; Ironmacannie 

Their Lesson. 137 

(1512, Erne Macanny), Ironmannoch — earrann man- 
ach, monk's land ; Irongray (1466, Yrngray), earrann 
graicli, land of the horse -drove, for this was the 
province where the Galloway nags were bred. 

Gort or gart, an enclosure or paddock, is a Gaelic 
word of very wide affinity. It is closely cognate 
with Norse gar'Qr and English "yard," "garth," 
"garden," which own a common descent with the 
Latin hortiis. 

Garth, near Lerwick, is certainly Norse, like almost 
all place-names in Shetland ; but Garth in Perth- 
shire and Eorfar is either Old Northern English or, 
like the Gart in the former county, Gaelic. Bal- 
nowlart, in South Ayrshire, is a curious contraction 
of haile n' ubhal ghart (owlhart), apple-yard farm; 
and Airiequhillart in Wigtownshire is airidh uhJial 
ghart (airy owlhart), shieling of the apple -yard, 
having its Norse equivalents in Appleby in the 
same county — cjola hj, and Applegarth, a parish 
in Annandale, a district rich in Norse names — 
epla gar^r. But Applecross in Eoss-shire, where St 
Maelrubha founded a church in 673, is known to 
have been Aber Crossain, mouth of the Crossan water. 

Duart in Argyleshire and Perthshire is dubh ghart 
(doo hart), black paddock ; and the Glkssert near 
Aberfoyle, and Glkzert in Ayrshire, are glas ghart 
(hart), green paddock. Among other examples may 
be cited Gartnanich in Stirlingshire — gart nan each 
(aigh), horse-paddock ; Gartcloss in Stirlingshire and 
Gartclush in Lanarkshire — gart clois, paddock of the 

138 Scottish Land-Names. 

trench ; Gartwhinnie in Stirlingshire — gart fhean- 
ncigh, enclosure of the lazy-beds; Garturk in Lan- 
arkshire — gart hdrc, boar's paddock; Gartsherrie 
in Lanarkshire — gart searrach, paddock of the 
colts ; and Gortinanane in Cantyre — gortin nan 6n, 
enclosure of the birds. • 

Garadh is a garden, and takes the same form as 
garhli (garriv), rough, in composition. Thus the 
river Garry is amhuinn garhli, a word which in other 
streams has become Yarrow in Selkirkshire and 
Gryfe in Eenfrewshire. But in an old estate-map 
of Cuil, Kirkcudbright, I found a number of plots 
near a village marked with such names as Garrie- 
fad, Garrieslae, and Garrienae, alongside of others 
designated M'Kie's Garden, Peggy Murray's Gar- 
den, &c. 
Mountains Gaelic names for hill and dale form a long list, of 
which time will permit no more than a very brief 

Bcinn (ben) is the commonest term for a mountain 
in the Highlands, forming the prefix of innumerable 
names ; but as a suffix it is generally altered by the 
aspirate, as in Gulvain in Inverness-shire — gahhal 
hhcinn (gowl ven), fork of the hill. 

Some Gaelic philologists draw a distinction in 
spelling between heinn, a hill, and heann, a corner or 
point, but they represent the same root. 

Bcannach means horned, and the English " horn" 
and " corner " are both closely connected with the 
Latin cornu, a horn, showing the same mental process 

Their Lesson. 139 

at work in producing similar groups of words in 
widely different languages. 

In the sense of a horn, hcinn naturally became 
descriptive of a steep hill. In Ireland it is more 
generally applied to small hills. It does not occur 
among the mountains of Man, though some high land 
near the coast is called Binnbuie, corresponding to 
Benbowie Craigs on the coast of Glasserton in Wig- 
townshire — hcinn htidJie, yellow horn or headland. 
In the former case the epithet buidhe is earned 
by the flower of gorse, in the latter by the yellow 
lichen which still stains the sea-cliff, as it did when 
the name was conferred centuries ago. 

In the mountain-ranges of Galloway heinn occurs 
rather sparingly in the names of high hills : e.g., Ben- 
yellary (2359 feet) — beinn iolaire (yillary), eagle's 
hill; and Bengray (1175 feet) — hehm grSaich, hill of 
the high flat, or graicli, of the horse-drove. But it 
is not confined to hills, for an isolated pointed rock 
in the tideway of the coast of Kirkmaiden, Wig- 
townshire, is known as Bennuskie — heinn uisce, the 
" ben " or horn in the water. 

More common in Galloway is the derivative hei7i- 
ndn, either singly, as the B^nnan, or in composition, 
as Bennanbr^ck — hcinndn hreac, dappled hill. 

The adjectival form heinnach, which in Ireland 
gives such names as Bannaghbane and Bannaghroe, 
the white and the red hilly ground, appears in Scot- 
land as Craigbennoch in Wigtownshire, horned crag, 
and as Benny, near Braco, in Perthshire. The most 

140 Scottish Land- Names. 

ancient examples of this word heinnach occurring in 
literature, with the proper indication of the quantity 
of the Celtic termination — acus {aco-s) — are, as M. de 
Joubainville has pointed out, contained in two lines 
of Virgil : — 

" Fhictibus et fremitu assurgens, Benace, marino." 
—Georg., ii. 160. 

" Quos patre Benaco, velatus arundine longa." 

—^n., X. 205. 

Benacus is here the name given to the Lac de Garde, 
in Cisalpine Gaul, and occurs twice in the poetry of 
Claudian : — 

" Quas Benacus alit, quas excipit amne quieto Mincius." 

—Epith. Pall, et Gel, 107. 

" Benacumque putat littora rubra lacum." 

— Garmina, xiii. 18. 

This suffix — ach (originally aco-s) — is reduced to a 
single consonant in the name York — Eboracus, the 
place of Eburus. 

C710C, commonest of all Gaelic names for a hill, 
has already been dealt with, and it has been shown 
how, in districts where Gaelic is still spoken, the 
pronunciation has been altered to crocJid. In Angli- 
cised counties it is easily recognised, though its mean- 
ing has been entirely forgotten, as is shown by the 
common pleonasm Knock Hill. Knockhilly, how- 
ever, the name of a place near Southwick in Kirk- 
cudbright, is not such an absurd name as it looks, 
for it is cnoc chuillc (h willy), wood hill. Cumnock, 
in Ayrshire, represents cam cnoc, bent hill. 

Their Lesson. 141 

Though cnoG occurs several tunes on the map of 
Dumfriesshire, it has almost disappeared in the 
eastern lowlands under the influence of English 
nomenclature; but the Knock, a farm name near 
Duns, in Berwickshire, shows that it was once 
well established there. 

Slidbli (slieve or slew) is glossed mons in the 
Zeuss MSS., but in Scotland it bears the significance 
of a moorland rather than a mountain. It may be 
traced in Berwickshire in the name Sligh, near 
Edrom, which is nearly the same in form as Sliagh 
in the parish of DrumblMe, Aberdeenshire, where 
Bruce had an encampment in 1307, and successfully 
resisted the forces of Comyn. 

Slamannan in Stirlingshire is slicibh Manann, the 
moor of the Manann Picts ; Slayhorrie is a village 
near Nairn — slicibh choire, moor of the caldron or 
corrie ; and in Wigtownshire this word forms the 
prefix of about thirty names, as Slewsmirroch — sliahh 
smeuracli, blackberry moor ; Slewc^irn — sliahh cam, 
moor of the cairns, like Slieve Carna in Ireland ; 
Slaeharbrie — sliahh Chairhre, Cairbre's moor, which 
is the same as Slieve Carbury, in County Longford. 

The plural sleihhte (slatey) gives its name to Sleat, 
in Skye, where the word seems to bear its original 
meaning of "hills," for that parish is bisected by 
a range rising to a height of 2400 feet. But the 
Slate Islands, off the coast of Lorn, have received 
an English name from the roofing-slate which they 

142 Scottish Land-Names. 

Druim, a back, a ridge, is supposed to be cognate 
with the Latin dorsum. 

Early as Anglian speech was established, and long 
as it has been spoken to the exclusion of all other, 
in the Lothians, it has not prevailed to extirpate 
this word, most characteristic of Gaelic topography. 
Drum may be found singly upwards of thirty times 
in the Postal Directory of Scotland. Within easy 
reach of Edinburgh there is Drum at Liberton, 
Drem in East Lothian, and Drummore at Mussel- 
burgh. The last-mentioned name, sometimes written 
Dromore, is very common in Scotland and Ireland, 
and appears near Lochgilphead with the aspirate — 

From Koxburgh and Berwick shires it has dis- 
appeared, but all over the west, north, and central 
parts of Scotland it is universal and easily recognised. 

The plural nominative dromdn comes out as Dry- 
men, in Stirlingshire ; and the genitive singular 
droma gives Kildrummie, a high-lying parish in 
Aberdeen, which means either cil, coill, or cul d^roma, 
the church, the wood, or the back of the ridge. 
Loch Droma in Eoss-shire, the lake of the ridge, 
is so named from its position on the central ridge 
or backbone of Scotland. 

This word druim seems to have suggested Ptol- 
emy's ^L(xX7]hovio<i 8pvfi6<;. It is as characteristic 
of Irish and Manx as of Scottish topography, but 
the Welsh equivalent trum is much more sparingly 

Tlieir Lesson. 143 

Meall (myall), a lump or nob, 0. Erse viell, per- 
haps akin to Latin moles, is a very common hill- 
name in Gaelic districts. A special favourite in 
Sutherland, it is spread all over the Highlands, and 
reappears in the mountainous region of Galloway, 
where it generally assumes the form Mill in com- 
position. Thus Millharry — mccdl fhairc (harry), the 
watch-hill — and Millmore, in Kirkcudbright, have 
the same prefix as Mealgarve in Sutherland — mcall 
garhh, rough hill, and Mealmore in Inverness — ineall 
mdr, great hill. Sometimes it appears in Anglian 
disguise even in the Highlands, and Millificich, near 
Beauly, is not to be recognised at first sight as meall 
a' fithiaich, hill of the raven. Milnab, near Crieff, 
is the abbot's hill ; Milm^nnoch, near Ayr, the 
monk's hill ; and Miljoan, near Girvan, meall don, 
brown hill. 

Mad (moyle), bald, bare, is a different word from 
the last, though not easily to be distinguished from 
it in place-names, especially as it is used to denote 
hills and headlands on account of their baldness or 
bareness. It is found in all Celtic dialects, in Welsh 
moel, in Breton moal, and, entering into personal 
names, implied service, from shaving the head being 
a sign of slavery.^ Malcolm is mael Goluim, Col- 

^ The obligation to shave, which, even in our own day, rests upon 
soldiers and domestic servants, may be traced to the primitive cus- 
tom of mutilating prisoners of war, who were made slaves. The 
tonsure of priests is part of the same tradition : they are ccli De — 
servants of God. The Mosaic law tempered the severity of mutila- 
tion by the instructions for re-engaging a servant set forth in 

144 Scottish Land-Names. 

umba's bald (servant), Milroy mael Ruarich, Eory's 
servant. Besides confusion with meall, mael is prac- 
tically often indistinguishable from the Norse mtUi, 
a snout, which also expresses a peak or promontory. 
Thus the Mull of Cantyre in Gaelic is Mael Cintire, 
but Satiris muli in the Sagas. The natives always 
talk of the Mull of Galloway as the Moyle, which 
points to a Gaelic origin, corresponding to the many 
places called Moyle in various parts of Ireland. 

Mullach, mulldn, and mollachan are derivatives of 
mael, as heinnach and heinndn are of hemn. The first 
forms the name of Mullach in Aberdeenshire, Ejrk- 
cudbright, and Wigtownshire, and Mullochard, near 
Aviemore, in Inverness - shire, mullach arcl, high 
bare place. The second gives Mollance in Kirkcud- 
bright, Mollands near Callander, Molland in Stir- 
lingshire, Mullion near Perth, Mollin near Lockerby, 
and Mollandhu near Dumbarton — mulldn dubh, black 
hill ; while to mollachan may be traced Millegan, in 

Barr, the end, top, or tip of anything, hence, in 
topography, a hill-top.^ The basal meaning of the 
word is probably connected with A.S. leer, bare, 

Exodus xxi. 6 : " Then his master shall bring him unto the judges ; 
he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post ; and his 
master shall bore his ear through with an awl ; and he shall serve 
him for ever." As civilisation advanced, the code became milder, 
and was fulfilled, even in the case of convicts, by shaving the 

^ In modern Gaelic harr means crop, the crop on the ground, 
— probably from corn growing best, in the absence of draining, on 
the dry hill-tops. 

Tlieir Lesson. 145 

so its application to a hill - top is equivalent to 
mael. It is of sparing occurrence in Ireland, and 
in Scotland it is confined to the western and south- 
western counties. Out of about 500 Celtic names 
beginning with Bar in the Postal Directory, only- 
two or three are in the east, such as Barhill near 
Fochabers, and Barflat near Ehynie in Aberdeen- 
shire, and it is not certain that these are Celtic. 
But all through the west, Bar is nearly as fre- 
quent as Knock and Drum, with much the same 

When the prefix har is followed by the article 
in the feminine genitive singular or genitive plural, 
it gives a form indistinguishable from hcarna (barna), 
a cleft or passage between two hills. Thus Barne- 
callagh in Wigtownshire and Barncalzie in Kirk- 
cudbright are probably harr net cailleaich, hill-top of 
the woman, witch, or nun ; Barnamon in Wigtown- 
shire, harr nam han, hill-top of the women (like Cor- 
namon in Cavan and Leitrim) ; but Barneywater in 
the mountain district of Kirkcudbright is a corrup- 
tion of hearna uachdar, upper pass. 

As a suflQx in the genitive, harr takes the aspirate, 
as in the well-known name of Lochinvar, in Kirk- 
cudbright — loch an hharra, lake of the hill. 

Monadh (munny), a moor, is the same as the 
Welsh mynydd, a mountain, Bret, and Cornish 
monedh. Dr Joyce interprets the Irish muine 
(munny), a shrubbery or brake, but says it is 
sometimes applied to hills. It is no doubt the 


146 Scottish Land-Names. 

same word used in the sense of a "waste." The 
modern Gaelic moine (mony), peat or morass, is 
another form of it; and in place-names beginning 
Mon-, Mony-, Munny-, or Minnie-, the precise 
meaning can only be ascertained by examining 
the locality. Monadh gives their name to the 
Munnock hills in Ayrshire. Moncrieff is spelt 
Monidcroib and Monagh craebe — monadh craebh, 
moor of the trees — in the Annals of Tighernac, 
who, writing in the eleventh century, records a 
battle at that place in the year 728 between two 
forces of Picts, in which Angus obtained a victory 
over Alpin.^ 

Menteith, anciently spelt Meneted and Menetethe, 
is the moor of the river Teith.^ The word is also 
perpetuated in the well-known range formerly called 
The Mounth, which, traversing Scotland from Ben 
Nevis on the west to the Monadhliath on the east, 
was also known as Drumalban, or the backbone 
of Scotland. The pass which leads across this range 
from the Mearns is still called Cairn o' Mount, and 
appears as Monitcarno in the Annals of Ulster 
and Mynyd Carno in the Welsh Bruts. 

Other instances are Moniemore in Arran, the 
great moor; Monybuie in Kirkcudbright, yellow 
moor ; Monyguile in Arran — monadh goill, the 
stranger's moor. 

Ard or aird, a height, from the same root as 

1 Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 74. 

- De situ Albanie, Colbertiue MS., tweKth century. 

Their Lesson. 147 

the Latin mrhms, is the substantival adjective ard — 
steep^ high — and forms a very familiar syllable in 
Scottish place-names. Some of the best known 
are Ardrishaig — ard driseag, thorny height; Ard- 
entinny — ard an teine, beacon height ; Ardrossan — 
ard rosain, height of the little headland. Not 
unfrequently it stands alone, when it generally 
receives the English plural^ and becomes Airds, a 
name found repeatedly in Perthshire, Argyleshire, 
Galloway, and Ayrshire. But in the north it often 
becomes Ord, as the Ord of Caithness ; and, in the 
south, Ornockenoch in Kirkcudbright is ard cnoc- 
nach, height of the knolls. 

Braigh, a top or summit, forms part of many 
names, as Braemore in Eoss-shire and Caithness, 
but it is not always to be distinguished from Broad 
Scots " brae," which probably comes from the same 
root. Braigh remains, with little change, as Breich, 
a station on the Caledonian Railway between Edin- 
burgh and Glasgow. In Ireland it is written hri 
or hri, and gives a name to various places called 
Bray, thus proving it to have been used in Gaelic 
independently of Anglian influence; but the in- 

1 It is not always clear whether s at the end of Anglicised Celtic 
names (generally monosyllables) is the English plural or possessive 
singular. It is the joractice in Scotland to call a landowner or 
tenant after the name of his land. Thus the tenant of Aird is 
known as Aird, and his dwelling-place becomes known as Aird's 
(house). Sometimes the s is added from analogy or euphemism. 
Thus Lord Stair is commonly spoken of by the peasantry as Lord 

148 Scottish Land-Names. 

numerable Braeheads and Braesides in our land 
have no direct connection with Celtic speech. 

The old Erse was hinge, from the genitive case of 
which, hragat, springs the word braghad (braad), the 
neck, which has a double significance. It may either 
mean the throat, and be applied in topography to a 
gorge ^ or narrow glen, or the breast when it denotes 
a swelling upland.^ In the latter sense it gives 
their name to the Braid Hills, near Edinburgh ; and 
Bread^lban means the breast or upland of Alban or 
Scotland. But in Galloway there are gullies on the 
sea-coast bearing the name Bradock and Breddock, 
which have the meaning of hraghadacli, a throat-like 

Another Gaelic word, hrit or hruach, a bank, 
mound, acclivity, is the equivalent to our expression 
the "brow" of a hill, and the terms are probably 
cognate. It will be observed that in Broad Scots 
the same distinction is preserved between "brae" 
and " brow " as there is in Gaelic between hraigli 
and hniach, although both signify rising land. A 
Scotsman speaks of a " brae-face " and the " broo o' 
the hill." It is, however, impossible to distinguish 
hruach in place-names from hrugh, a house, one of 
the forms assumed by the old Irish horg, hrog. 
Brough and Brough Hill, in Galloway, may repre- 
sent either word. The latter was written Bur^h 

1 The words "gorge" and "gully," both synonyms of "throat," 
bear a similar figurative application to a narrow glen or channel. 

2 So we speak of "breasting " a hill, and of a " bi-eastwork." 

Their Lesson. 149 

Jerg and Brugh jarg in Inquisitions of the seven- 
teenth century, corresponding to Brougderg in Cavan, 
Fermanagh, and Tyrone. 

Learg (larg), a slope or hillside, is the name of 
many places in Scotland, Ireland, and Man. Lairg 
in Sutherlandshire, Larg in Galloway (generally 
the Larg), Largue in Aberdeenshire, and Lurg near 
Crieff and again near Fintry, are instances of it ; 
and Largs on the Clyde has the English plural added. 
Larbr^x in Wigtownshire is given in Font's map 
as Lairgbrecks and Lairgbrecks Gressy — learg hreac 
greusaich, the cobbler's dappled hillside. 

A commoner form of the word is leargaidli (largie), 
becoming L^rgo in Fife, Largie in Ayrshire and 
Aberdeenshire, Largiemore and Largieb^g in Arran, 
the great and the little hillside; Largiebr^ak, the 
deer forest in Jura — leargaidli hreac, brindled hill- 
side ; and Largiewee in Wigtownshire — leargaidli 
bhuidh (wee), yellow hillside. 

Another derivative of learg is leargdn (largan), 
which produces Lurgan near Aberfeldy, a name 
which, in Ireland, gives his title to Lord Lurgan, 
literally lord of the hillside. 

Another name for a hillside, generally a wet one, 
is leitir (letter), which Cormac (whose etymology, 
however, is not to be relied on) derives from letli 
tirim agus letli fiiucli, half dry and half wet. It is 
more likely letli tir, half land, from the side being, 
as it were, half the hill. It is the source of many 
names, as Letter, farms in the counties of Aberdeen, 

150 Scottish Land-Names. 

Dumbarton, Stirling, and Perth. In composition it 
appears in Lettermore, great hillside, in Argyleshire ; 
Letterbeg, little hillside, in Aberdeenshire; and Let- 
terdhu, dark hillside, in Perthshire. 

The plural latraclm gives Lettrick near Glasgow, 
and Lathro near Wick. 

In the southern counties the only instance of this 
word known to me is Letterpin, near Girvan. 

Cruach, a stack of corn or peats, is sometimes used 
to denote a hill, and is the origin of Croach and 
Craichmore in Wigtownshire, and Crochmore near 
Dumfries. It assimilates in form with cnoc, which, 
as has been pointed out, is always now pronounced 
crochd. Croachy in Inverness-shire, and Cruchie in 
Aberdeenshire and Kirkcudbright, are from the ad- 
jectival form cruacliach, full of stacks — i.e., hilly — 
and the derivative cruaclidn gives rise to such names 
as Crochan and Crachan in Galloway ; but Creechan 
is most likely named from criothachean (creeghan), 
the aspens. 

The names Aden in Aberdeenshire and Eden in 
many other counties are from aodann, the face or 
forehead, used to express the face or brow of a hill. 
There are streams of this name in Fife and Eox- 
burgh, as well as the well-known river which flows 
past Carlisle. They have probably been named from 
the hill-brows overlmnging them, just as the Gaelic 
allt, originally meaning a height (L. alius), came to 
mean a gorge between two heights, and ultimately 
the stream in the goro-e. 

Their Lesso7i. 151 

Edendarroch, in Dumbartonshire, is aoclann darach, 
hill-brow of the oaks ; Edinbeg, in Bute, the little 
brow ; Edinb^Uy, in Dumbartonshire, hill - brow of 
the iaile or farm ; Edinkillie, in Moray, hill-brow of 
the wood. 

Tulach, a hillock, a knoll, corresponds to the Broad 
Scots "knowe," but, although generally distributed 
over Ireland, it does not occur in Galloway or the 
Lowlands. Sir Walter Scott, by taking Craignethan 
Castle as his model of Tillietudlem, must be held 
responsible for the introduction of this prefix into 
Lanarkshire. It is owing to the renown of ' Old 
Mortality ' that there is a station on the Caledonian 
Eailway called Tillietudlem. 

Tulloch, TulKch, Tullo, Tollo, and Tolly are forms 
assumed by this word in names of places in the 
counties of Eoss, Perth, Forfar, and Aberdeen ; but 
when it occurs as a prefix, it generally assumes in 
the north-east the form of Tilly-, owing to the 
narrowing of the vowel-sounds peculiar to the peas- 
antry of that district. 

Sgorr or sgurr, a peak, is in all likelihood a loan 
from the Norse sJcer, a skerry, a sharp isolated rock 
in the sea, which gives also the Gaelic sgeir in the 
same sense, as well as the English "scaur" and 
" skerry." For this reason sgorr has no place in 
Irish topography, and in Scotland is found only in 
the counties of Inverness, Boss, and the north of 
Perthshire. There it is often found distinguishing 
peaked hills, as Sgurr na choinich (honigh), hill of 

152 Scottish Land-Names. 

the gathering (3260 feet); Sgurr a' bhealaich dheirg 
(a vallich harrig) (3376 feet), hill of the red pass ; 
Sgurr a' choire ghlas (a horry hlass), hill of the 
green corrie, &c., all in Eoss-shire. 

Stob, though not found in Gaelic dictionaries, is of 
the same meaning as sgurr. There are Stob ban (3274 
feet), the white " stob " ; Stob choire an easain mhor 
(horrie an assan vore), " stob" of the corrie of the great 
waterfall (3658 feet), both in Inverness-shire ; while 
in Wigtownshire we find the Stab Hill (725 feet). 

Of similar meaning to sgurr and stoh are stac and 
stuc, closely allied to English " stake," terms applied 
in the Highlands to conical hills, as Stac-meall-na- 
cuaich (3000 feet) in Inverness-shire — the hill-peak 
of the cuckoo ; and Stuc-a-chroin (3184 feet), a con- 
spicuous hill near Loch Earn. Stuckent^ggart, near 
Drymen, is stuc an t-shagcdrt, the priest's peak ; 
Stuckievi^wlich, near Tarbet, on Loch Lomond — stuc 
a' hliualaich (vewaligh), peak of the cattle-fold ; and 
there is a farm called Stuck in the Isle of Bute. 
Knockstocks, a farm near Newton-Stewart, is ap- 
propriately named, for it is a hill studded with 
pointed knolls. This word has found its way into 
colloquial Scots in the term " stocks " for sheaves in 
a harvest-field. 

Mam has the same meaning as slidbh and monadh, 
sometimes a moor, at others a mountain, but it is 
not of such common occurrence. Mamore, in Perth- 
shire, the great waste or mountain, has its converse 
in Mambeg, in Argyleshire, the little moor. 

Their Lesson. 153 

Leacdn (lacken), a derivative of leac, a flagstone, is 
occasionally used to denote a sloping hillside, and 
may be recognised in Leakin and L^kin in Wigtown- 
shire, and Lauchentilly near Kintore — leacdn tulaieh, 
slope of the hill. From another variant, leacach 
(lackagh), comes L^ckie, in Stirlingshire, most ap- 
propriately named from its position on the north 
flank of the Lennox range. 

Airidh (airy), a shieling or hill-pasture, is better 
known among Galloway hills than elsewhere. In 
Man it is known as cary or aeree. It has no repre- 
sentation on the map of Ireland; but that it was 
once well established there appears from the ' Mar- 
tyrology of Donegal,' in which at least half-a-dozen 
names are given beginning with that prefix. The 
annual summer migration of crofters driving their 
cattle to the airidh or hill-pastures was a leading 
feature in primitive pastoral life. 

In Galloway this word has given names to such 
places as Airie, Airieolland (twice) — airidh olhdn, 
shieling of the wool ; Airieglassan — airidh glasain, 
shieling of the streamlet, &c. But Airies in Wig- 
townshire, and Arcs in Mull and again near Camp- 
beltown, come from aros, a house. 

Claen, sloping ground, gives its name to Clean near 
Perth, Clene in Kirkcudbright, Clyne in Aberdeen 
and Sutherland, &c. ; the derivative claenrcach form- 
ing Clenarie and Clendrie near Inverary, and more 
than once in Wigtownshire, and Cl^nries near Dum- 
fries. From another adjectival form come Cliinnoch 

154 Scottish Land-Names. 

and Clennoch in Kirkcudbright ; Cltinyard in Wig- 
townshire — clacn ard, sloping height, the stress 
showing that claen is here the qualitative word ; 
Clamdish in Kirkcudbright is claen dess, southern 
slope ; and Clenter in Aberdeenshire, claen tir, slop- 
ing land. 

Cam, though specifically applied to an artificial 
heap, notably that over a grave, is often used to 
express a mountain. This may have arisen, in some 
instances, from the practice of burying distinguished 
personages on the tops of high hills, whence the hill 
would get the name of the grave on the top of it. 
Of the seven mountains in North Britain which rise 
above 4000 feet, two are distinguished with this 
prefix, — viz., Cairntoul — car-n tuathal, north cairn ; 
and Cairngorm — cam gorm, blue cairn, both in Aber- 
deenshire. In Kirkcudbright there are, according to 
a local rhyme, — 

" Cairnsmore of Fleet, and Cairnsmore of Dee, 
And Cairnsmore of Carsphairn the biggest of the three." 

(2600 feet.) 

Cam is the same in all dialects of Celtic speech, 
and from the same root car, a rock, comes creag and 
carraig ("Welsh craig and careg). Originally limited 
in meaning to a rock, or at most a cliff, creag has 
been extended in its application to denote high 
mountains, as Creag Mhor (vore) (3305 feet), great 
crag, and Creag Leacach in Inverness-shire (3238), 
crag of the flagstones or sloping crag, both in Perth- 

Tlieir Lesson. 155 

The derivatives creagach and creagdn give such 
names all over Scotland as Craigie and Craggan. 

The earldom of Carrick takes its name from some 
crag, but which particular one in that very craggy- 
province there is now no means of knowing. Perhaps 
it was named from the big boulder on the march of 
Ayrshire and Galloway, known as the " Taxing Stone," 
from the duties which used to be levied there upon 
goods passing from one province to the other. 

lomaire (emery) is an obsolete word signifying 
a ridge or hill -back, surviving in the name Immer- 
voulin, in Perthshire — iomair mhuileain, mill-ridge, 
a name which is familiar in the Anglo-Saxon form 

I have not recognised fail (foil), a cliff, which gives 
names to places in the south of Ireland, in our topo- 
graphy. In the north of Ireland it passes into ail 
(oil), and, though not now a living word in Scottish 
Gaelic, has at least been in use at some former time 
in Galloway, as is shown by the names of some hills 
in that district : Alhang (21,200 feet), Alwhat (1937 
feet) — ail chat (haat), cliff of the wild cat ; and 
Alwhillan — ail chuilean, cliff of the whelps, or 
chuilhain, of the holly. 

Cnap, a knob, perhaps has been borrowed from the 
Norse hnappr, which has the same meaning. It ex- 
presses a knoll, but, as in cnoc, n following h has 
proved a stumbling-block to the Celts, and it is now 
pronounced "crap." There are places called Knap 
in Argyleshire and Perthshire, the Knaps in Aber- 

156 Scottish Land-Names. 

deenshire, and Kneep near Stornoway. The Nappers, 
on the flank of the L^marken Hills near Newton- 
Stewart, is very like the Norse form ; while from the 
adjectival form cnapacli, a place of knolls, come Knap- 
poch in Aberdeenshire and Knipoch near Oban. 
Knaperna in Aberdeenshire seems to be cnap fliearna 
(erna), knoll of the alder; and Knapdale has the 
Norse suffix, and, as Professor Mackinnon mentions, 
is called " The Crap " by the natives. 

Torr, a round steep hill, generally of small eleva- 
tion, is akin to the Latin turris. In fact, Irish torr 
and Welsh tiui' mean a tower, showing the same 
primitive suggestion that caused dun, primarily an 
enclosure or fort, to acquire the meaning of a hill, a 
down, because forts were ordinarily constructed on 
rising ground. The word enters into place-names 
all over the mainland of Scotland, even in the south- 
east, where there is Torwoodlee near Galashiels. 
This shows the old Gaelic embedded in an Anglian 
name. Torwood, near Larbert, was formerly Keltor 
— coill torr, wood hill ; in the Selkirkshire example, 
A.S. lea, a field, has been superadded, so that Tor- 
woodlee means " field of the hill wood." 

The sandhills at the head of Luce Bay are called 
" The Torrs." 

From the nominative plural torran, or the deriva- 
tive torrdn, come the names Torran in Caithness and 
Argyleshire, Torrance near Dumfries and Glasgow, 
and Torrans near Oban. 

Ceicle (keddy), " a compact kind of hill, smooth 

Tlieir Lesson. 157 

and plain at the top " (O'Brien), generally appears 
in composition as Kitty : for example, Kittyslic\lloch 
in Kirkcudbright is ceide secdghe (keddy shalluh), hUl- 
brow of the hunting; and Kittiebrewster in Aber- 
deenshire, Kittythristle in Selkirkshire, and Kitty- 
muir in Lanarkshire, probably own a similar origin. 

Dr Joyce mentions cor as an Irish word meaning 
a round hill, and although not now used in Scottish 
Gaelic, it may be recognised as the prefix of many 
names, though apt to be confused with cathair (caher), 
a fort, and coirc (corry), a corrie. Core Hill is often 
met with between Aberdeen and the Mull of Gallo- 
way, but sometimes the reference seems to be to 
cathair (caher), a camp. Curleywee, a summit of 
the Galloway hills, 2405 feet high, is probably cor 
le gacith (gwee), hill in the wind ; and CurnfeUoch in 
the same range — cor n'eilidh (elly), hill of the hinds. 

The derivative cordn is more common : the Coran 
of Portmark is a hill in Kirkcudbright ; Cornlee is 
another — co7'dn Hath (lee), grey hill ; and Corran 
Lighthouse is in Loch Linnhe. 

The commonest word expressing a stone is clach, 
Irish cloch, and it enters into a multitude of our 
place-names. Generally it is but little disguised as 
a prefix, but sometimes the aspirate disappears, as in 
Clayshant/ formerly a parish in Wigtownshire, which 
Pont's spelling, Klacksant, shows to represent clach 
seant, the holy stone. At other times the older form 
cloch is preserved, as in Cloriddrick, a boulder on the 

^ The prefix cla- or clay- sometimes represents cladh, a mound. 

158 Scottish Land-Names. 

north side of Lochwinnoch in Eenfrewshire, sup- 
posed to perpetuate the name of Eyderch Hael, the 
celebrated ruler of Strathclyde in the sixth century. 

The plural dachan is the recognised name for a 
hamlet, owing probably to the use of stones in form- 
ing foundations for the circular booths or wigwams 
in which the primitive inhabitants lived. It has 
been rendered familiar to Southerners in the im- 
mortal Clachan of Aberfoyle. 

The derivative forms clacJieacli, dacherin, and 
dadireach, stony, a place of stones, produce a number 
of names : Clachaig in Argyleshire and Clkchog in 
Arran, Clachrum and Cl^chrie in Wigtownshire, 
Clauchrie near Girvan and again near Thornhill, 
Clackrie near Auldgirth in Dumfriesshire. 

A solitary stone on a sky-line, resembling a human 
figure, is sometimes called huachaill, a boy or herd, 
and thence becomes transferred to the hill itself. 
Dr Joyce notes this use of the word in Ireland, 
where it gives such hill-names as Bohilbreaga — 
buadiaill hregach, mock or deceptive boy — to hills 
in Antrim, Down, and Limerick. 

Some of the places called Bowhill in Scotland 
may be a corruption of this word, and certainly 
Buachaill-Etive, a conspicuous summit in the Black 
Mount forest, is an instance of it, though strangers 
usually call it Bugle ]fctive. 

Bidean is a point or pinnacle, as Bidean-a'-ghlas- 
thuill (3485 feet) in Pioss-shire = point of the green 

Their Lesson. 159 

Di!in is too well known among hill-names to be 
omitted from the list, though it is more commonly- 
applied in its original and restricted sense of an 
enclosure or fortress, being closely related to A.S. 
Hn, Eng. "town." Indeed it is so rare to find a 
hill that does not show traces of fortification that 
d'An might apply equally to the hill and to what 
is on it. Probably Duncrub in Dumbartonshire 
(3313 feet) may be correctly interpreted dun craeh, 
hill of the trees, like Moncreiff. 

The diminutive or nominative plural dunan 
yields innumerable names, like Dinnans and Din- 
nance in Ayrshire and Galloway, Dhming and 
Dinnings in Dumfriesshire, and Downan near Bal- 

Bcarna (barny) is a gap between two hills. Bar- Passes. 
nagee in Wigtownshire is evidently the same as 
Barnageeha in Mayo, which is written in the 'Annals 
of the Four Masters' Bearna gaoithe (geuha, gwee), 
windy-gap. Barnbauchle, also in Galloway, appears 
to be the same as hearna hocghail of the Irish Annal- 
ists, meaning the gap of danger. In Wigtownshire 
also occurs Craigb^rnoch — creag hearnach; and not 
far distant is found the exact translation in Cloven 
Craig. In the same county Glenvernoch shows the 
sound of the aspirated h, though Pont writes it in 
the original form — Glenbarranach. 

Another, and commoner, word for a pass between 
hills is hcalacli (ballagh), appearing in Welsh as 
hwlch. It has received the secondary meanings of a 

160 Scottish Land-Names. 

crossing-place, ford, or road ; hence in Manx hoallagh 
is the usual word for a road. The ancient battle- 
cry of the 88th Eegiment, or Connaught Eangers, is 
" Fag a' healach ! " — " Clear the road ! " In many 
counties there are places simply named Balloch, 
which in Fife and Perth is softened into Ballo. 
Ballochalee and Ballochab^astie in Wigtownshire 
are lealach na' laogh (leuh) and healach na' hiasta 
(beastie), the passes of the calves and of the cattle. 
The latter is the name of a gateway on Culroy farm. 

The converse of a hill is lag or lagdn, a hollow 
or low place, and, nearly as this resembles E. " low," 
especially in the Broad Scots " laigh," the meaning 
of the Gaelic has been completely forgotten in the 
Lowlands, and it is a common thing to find eleva- 
tions called Lag Hill and Laggan Hill, from the 
hollows at their feet. 

The vowel-sound is variable, and the word forms 
prefixes in Lig, Lug, Liggan, Luggan, and Logan. 
Logan is the name of places in Galloway, Dum- 
fries, Ayrshire, Lanark, and Mid -Lothian, while 
Logie occurs in Perthshire and the north-eastern 

Glac is the old word for the palm of the hand, 
and is figuratively given as the name of depressions 
in the land, causing such names as Glack in Perth- 
shire and Aberdeenshire, and Glaik in Bute and 

Cahlum (cavan, cowan), a hollow, probably ought 
to be written camhan, as being from the prolific 

Their Lesson. 161 

root cam, curved, bent. In Welsh it takes the 
form ciiin, a combe or dingle.^ There are several 
places in Dumfriesshire and Galloway called Cowan, 
Caven, and Cavens. 

Cul, the back, and evil, a corner or nook, assume 
the same forms, Cool-, Cul-, and Kil-, in composition, 
and are liable to confusion not only with, each 
other but also with colli, a wood, and cil, the locative 
case of ceall, a cell or chapel. There are several 
places called Cuil in Galloway and Argyleshire, 
which evidently mean a corner; but Cuildrynach 
on Loch Fyne may be either the corner, the hill- 
back, or the wood of the thorns {clraighncach). 

Culrain in Eoss-shire is the same word as Cole- 
raine in Ireland, which is explained in the Tripar- 
tite Life of St Patrick to mean cuil rathain, corner 
of the ferns, translated by Colgan secessus filicis. 

Culsctidden is a farm named from a creek on 
Wigtown Bay — cuil scadan, corner of the herrings 
— i.e., a place where herrings were landed — and 
has its exact parallel in Culsciidden in Dublin 
county ; but Culmore in Wigtownshire is coill mdr, 
great wood, as the large roots still embedded in the 
soil of that farm testify, a name which in another 
part of the same county has become Killiemore, 
just as in Cork county it appears as Kilmore 
(written by the Annalists coill mohr), and in Conne- 
mara Kylemore and Cuilmore. 

^ The original stem is ku, to contain, whence Latin cavea, Eng. 

162 Scottish Land-Names. 

Gleann (glen), a glen, Welsh glyn, has been so 
completely adopted into English speech that it is not 
necessary to dwell on its importance as a component 
of place-names. 

Coire (curry) also, in its application to an elevated 
basin or " corrie" in the hill, is almost equally well 
understood. The literal meaning of the word is a 
caldron, and its figurative use to describe surface 
contour is precisely similar in idea to that of the 
Greek KpaTrjp, a cup, which we continue to apply to 
the crater of a volcano. But besides its hollow 
form, a caldron is associated with seething, and coire 
is used to express a troubled pool in a river. Thus 
Corra Linn, one of the Falls of Clyde, is the caldron 
pool. But Corra Pool on the Dee, near Kirkcud- 
bright, must be explained as from coradh, a fish- 
weir. Corvisel (pron. Corveazle), near Newton- 
Stewart, is written by Pont Kerivishel, and probably 
means coire iscal (eeshal), the low pool, being situ- 
ated on the bank of the first pool above the tide, or 
the lowest in the river Cree. 

Bun, the bottom or lower end, enters into many 
names, such as Bonessan near Oban — hun casain, 
foot of the waterfall ; and Bunawe, the foot of Loch 
Awe. Boneen, at Lamlash, is the diminutive hunin. 

Ton, the rump, is used topographically in a pecu- 
liar way. It sometimes means low-lying bottom- 
land, but in the curious name Tandragee or Tonder- 
ghie, occurring in Galloway and Arran, as well as 
very frequently in Ireland under these forms or as 

Their Lesson. 163 

Tonlegee and Tonregee, the meaning is ton le gacith 
(geuh, gwee), backside to the wind, graphically de- 
scriptive of a place where cattle stand in storm 
with their tails to the wind. 

Earhall, the tail, used in modern Gaelic in a con- 
temptuous sense, was applied to express the end of 
a ridge or a long strip of land. There are places in 
Eoss-shire called ArboU and Arble, corresponding to 
Urbal, Erribul, and Bubble in Ireland. In Wig- 
townshire, Darnarbel — dobliar (dour) an earhuill — 
seems to mean the water of the tail, as the Grey 
Mare's Tail is often given as a name for a waterfall. 

Currach, a marsh, not known in modern Gaelic, Marshes. 
gives names to many places in Ireland, but runs 
into the same forms as coire, a caldron. Currie in 
Mid-Lothian and Currah near Girvan are probably 
derived from this word, 

A commoner term for bog-land is riasg, to which, 
with its derivative riasgach, boggy, may be traced 
Eisk in Eenfrewshire, Eiskend near Kilsyth, Eisk- 
house in Aberdeenshire, Euskich near Aberfeldy, 
Euskie near Stirling, and Eiisco in Kirkcudbright, 
corresponding to many places called Eisk, Eiesk, and 
Eoosky in Ireland. 

Caedh (kay), a bog, or, as it is called in Lowland 
Scots, " quaw," suggests a connection with the Eng- 
lish " quagmire," but it is not clearly made out, for 
the latter word is in reality " quakemire." Culkae, 
a farm in Wigtownshire, is cill caeclha, back or corner 
of the bog. 

164 Scottish Land-Names. 

Crithlacli (creelagh), a shaking bog, from crith, 
to tremble, gives Crailloch, the name of two farms 
in Wigtownshire and another near Girvau, and 
Cr^la in Aberdeenshire. 

Tol, a hole or hollow, remains in names like Tol- 
dow, in Aberdeenshire — tol duhli, black hole ; Tol- 
ronald near Oban — tol Raonuill, Eonald's hole ; and 
Bidean a' ghlas thuill, a hill in Ross-shire (3485 feet), 
means peak of the green hollow. 

Lod or loddn is a wet place, a swamp or pool : 
hence Cumloden in Kirkcudbright and Cumlodden 
in Argyleshire — cam lodain, the bend of the swamp ; 
and Culloden — ml lodain, back of the swamp. Lod- 
nigapple — lod nan cafpul, swamp of the horses; 
Loddanmore — lodAn mdr, great swamp ; Loddanree 
— loddn fliraeich (hree), heather-bog, are other ex- 
amples ; and " The Ludens " is the name given to 
swampy pools in Polbae Burn, all in Wigtownshire. 

Xow I will pass over a number of names descrip- 
tive of natural land-surface, such as chian, a meadow, 
giving Clune in Banff and Clone in Galloway, Clon- 
fin near Kilmarnock — cluan fionn, the white meadow, 
and Clonskea near Blairgowrie — cluan sgitlieach, haw- 
thorn-meadow; with its plural, cluainte, giving Cloin- 
tie near Maybole and Clantibuies in Wigtownshire 
— cluainte huidhe, yellow meadows ; leana (lenna), also 
meaning a meadow, giving Lennie Mains near Cra- 
mond, Leny near Callander, Lenziebeg near Garnkirk, 
and Lenagboyach near Greenock — Iccma hathaich (ba- 
ach), meadow of the cow-house ; tainhnach (tawnah). 

Their Lesson. 165 

an obsolete name for meadow, which remains in Tan- 
noch near Glasgow and in Kirkcudbright, Tannach 
near Wick, Tannock in Ayrshire and Kirkcudbright, 
and Tannyflux — tamlmacli fiiuch, wet meadow, Tan- 
nyroach — tamhnach ruadh, red meadow, in Wigtown- 
shire ; reidh (ray), flat land, yielding Reay in Suther- 
landshire, Eephad near Stranraer — rcidh fada, long 
flat, Eebeg near Beauly, Eaemore in Kincardine, 
and Eemore in Fife ; scrath, sward, producing Scrap- 
hi\rd near Fochabers, scrath ard, corrupted strangely 
into Scrapehard in Aberdeenshire. 

All these I just mention and pass on, leaving 
many more unmentioned, in order to notice names 
which have more to do with human occupation. 

Dcd)hach (davach), a measure of land, is origin- Land 
ally, as Professor Mackinnon has shown, a meas- 
ure of capacity, and was applied to denote the 
extent of land which required a davoch of corn to 
sow it. In Ireland dahhach means a vat, and is 
applied figuratively, as Scottish Highlanders do coirc 
(corry, kirry), a kettle, to describe deep hollows in 
the land. It has been supposed to have been the 
regular unit of land-measure among the Picts, but 
there is no trace of it among the place-names of 
Galloway. In Dtivo in Kincardineshire the word 
remains alone. Davochbeg and Davochfin in Suther- 
land are dahhach hcag and dalhach fionn, the little 
and the white davach ; Dochfour and Dochgarroch 
in Inverness-shire — dalhach fuar, the cold davach, 
and dcd)hach garhh (garriv), rough davacli. 

166 Scottish Land-Names. 

The Broad Scots " doach," a fish-weir or cruive, is 
probably the same word, from the receptacle in which 
salmon were taken ; and Culdoch on the Dee, near 
Kirkcudbright, means " back of the fish-weir," cM 

Boinn, older rinn, rind, a point of land, is com- 
monly used to denote a division of ground. The 
term " run - rig," applied to a primitive mode of 
agrarian tenure still surviving in the Western High- 
lands and Islands, is a corruption of roinn-ruitli (rinn 
ruee), or division-running. Buith, a running or course, 
has taken the form of the English " rig " ; and by a 
strange perversity roinn, which means a rig, has 
become " run." Airdrie, in Lanark, Fife, Moray, and 
Kirkcudbright, is ard ruith, high pasture-run. Ein- 
guinea in Wigtownshire is roinn Cinaeidh, Kenneth's 
portion ; but Eingdoo in Luce Bay is roinn duhJi, 
black point, and Eingielawn at the head of Loch 
Trool is 7-oinn ncC Icamhan, point of the elms. This 
is also called the Soldiers' Holm, for here it is said 
that Lord Essex's men, slaughtered in combat with 
Eobert the Bruce, were buried. 
Pemiy- Professor Mackinnon has shown how the Norse 


nnga or ounce, composed or eighteen or twenty 
pennies, was adopted in Gaelic land-tenure in the 
west ; and he quotes Pennyghkel, the Gael's penny- 
land ; Pennygown, the smith's penny-land ; Penmol- 
ach — ^^:)e*^7mi?i molach, rough or grassy penny-land, as 
instances in the place-names of Mull. It is easy to 
see how the Gaelic peighinn, a penny, in Manx ping, 

Their Lesson. 167 

complicates the use of ijcn as a test for Welsh place- 

Leffindonald near Ballantrae — Icth j^hcighin Don- 
uil, Donald's halfpenny-land ; and Lefnol on Loch 
Eyan, written Leffynollock in 1456 and Lefnollo 
two years later, is, strange as it may seem, all that 
remains of leth 'phdgliin Amhalghaidh, Olaf's or 
Aulay's halfpenny - land. After all, the spelling 
leth pheighinn (ley fein) for the sound of " leffin " is 
not more out of the way than halfpenny for Scot- 
tish "ha'p'ny." 

Garwoling in Argyleshire used to be written 
Garforling — garadh fcoiiin, farthing-land; and clitag, 
the eighth part of a penny, seems to account for 
Clutag, a farm in Wigtownshire. 

The whole system of ancient land-measurement, 
far too intricate to enter upon in a discussion of 
place-names, has been ably treated by the late Mr 
Skene, who traced the overlapping of the Saxon 
and Scandinavian systems. The sentence with 
which he concluded his examination of the question 
gives the position as he left it, and it is scarcely 
possible to carry it further: — 

The two systems of land measurement appear to meet 
in Galloway, as in Carrick we find measure by penny- 
lands, which gradually become less frequent as we 
advance eastward, Avhere we encounter the extent by 
merks and pounds, with an occasional appearance of a 
pennyland, and of the bovate or oxgang in church-lands. 

But there is one word I must allude to, because 

168 Scottish Land-Names. 

it is so common and often so deeply disguised — 
that is ccathramh (carrow), or, as Irish writers love 
to express the same sound, ccathramliadh, a fourth 
part or quarter. In English-speaking districts of 
Scotland it has been worn down to the prefix car, 
cur, kir, kirrie, and recourse must be had to early 
spellings to distinguish it from catJiair, a fort; car7% 
a rock ; or coux, a corrie. 

Carmmnow in Kirkcudbright was written Kirre- 
monnow as late as 1615 — ceathramh monaidh 
(carrow munney), moorland quarter ; Kirminnoch 
in Wigtownshire, between the abbeys of Glenluce 
and Saulseat, appears in 1505 as Kerowmanach — 
ccathramh rncmach, monk's quarter-land ; Leucarrow 
in Wigtownshire is Icth cccdhramh, half-quarter land, 
like Leakarroo, a farm in the Isle of Man. 
Occupa- In the primitive Celtic community there were in 

trades?"' cach clcichcm or village two persons of whom it would 
be hard to say which was the more important. One 
was hard, the rhymer, whose title in the singular 
number appears in names like Drumavaird in South 
Ayrshire — druim a' hhaird (vaird), and Knocken- 
baird in Aberdeenshire, cnoc an laird; and in the 
plural, Barnboard in Kirkcudbright, written in 1599 
Barnebard — harr na' hard, hill-top of the poets. 

The other was gohha (gow), the smith, whose name 
in the genitive, gohhan, has been preserved in almost 
every parish. The only word with which it is likely 
to be confused is gamhan (gowan), a calf, which 
probably gives Blairgowan near Stirling, and Blairiu- 

Their Lesson. 169 

gone near Dollar, the calves' field. Both (johlia and 
gamhan have become personal names, Gow and 

Shades of meaning are often accurately preserved 
in spite of the wear and tear of ages, for Auchen- 
gownie, near Bridge of Earn, is formed from another 
word, ganilinacli (gownah), a milch-cow. 

Tcalach, the smith's forge, yields the name Chal- 
loch, so common in Galloway ; ccard, a tinker, gives 
Glencaird in Kirkcudbright ; saor, a carpenter, is 
difficult to recognise, because when the s is aspirated 
into silence in the genitive, it is customary to re- 
place it by t, a process which Irish grammarians 
distinguish as eclipse. Thus Macintyre is mac an 
t-shaoir, the carpenter's son. Balshere, Balsier, and 
Baltier, in Wigtownshire, may be either the car- 
penter's house, or haile siar or tiar, the west house. 
But Drummatier, in the same county, is probably 
druim a' t-shaoir, the carpenter's ridge. 

The old name for a tanner, sudaire, is subject to 
the same process : hence Bentudor and Lagtutor in 
AVigtownshire are hcinn t-shudaire (tudory) and lag 
t-shudaire (tudory), the tanner's hill and hollow. 

Greusach originally meant an embroiderer, but 
came to mean a shoemaker, and Balgracie in Wig- 
townshire (Pont, Balgresy) is haile greusaich, the 
shoemaker's house. With masons we approach 
medieval times ; but Stronachlacher on Loch Katrine 
is a name of respectable antiquity, sron a' chlachair, 
the mason's point; and we find Beinn a' chlachair 

170 Scottish Land- Names. 

in Arclverikie Forest. Buachail, a shepherd, is trans- 
mogrified into Knoclvbogle in Galloway ; and Bugle 
Etive, a hill in the Black Mount Forest, is the same 
word, not seldom applied metaphorically to a peaked 
hill. The hangman, crochadhair, had a busy time 
in old days, and Auchenrocher near Stranraer and 
Knockroger in Kirkcudbright — achadh and cnoc 
cJirochadhair (hroghair) — commemorate his office : 
while Knockcrosh, Auchencrosh, and Barncrosh are 
the gallows-hill, from crois, the gallows. It is not 
a long step thence to mearlach, a thief, a word pre- 
served in Knockamairly and Knockmarloch, two 
places in Wigtownshire. 

Nor is there wanting record of the misfortunes of 
humanity. Bellybocht Hill, near Thornhill, is the 
same as Bally bought, a suburb of Dublin — haile 
hochd, poor man's house. 

From lobhar (lure), a leper or scrofulous person, 
many names are derived, such as Drumlour near 
Thornhill, Barlure and Ochtralure in Wigtownshire, 
the leper's hill and upland, Craiglure in Ayrshire, 
leper's crag, &c. Liberton, the Anglo-Saxon equi- 
valent to leper's house, occurs in Mid-Lothian and 
Lanarkshire. The Mid -Lothian Liberton was so 
named as far back as the reign of Malcolm Can- 
more, for it is mentioned as having been resorted 
to by sick persons on account of St Catherine's 
" Oyliewell " or Balm Well. On a wild piece of 
moorland on the border of Wigtownshire and Ayr- 
shire is a place called Liberland, leper's land ; and 

Their Lesson. 171 

close by is Carlure, ccathramh lohhar (carrow lure), 
the leper's quarter-land, 

I pass over names of rivers and lakes rapidly Rivers and 
but reluctantly, for river-names are among the oldest 
we have. Eunning water is very often described 
from its roughness garhh, and this gives a host of 
names whence the generic amhuinn has dropped — 
as Garry in Perth and Inverness, Gryfe in Eenfrew, 
and Yarrow in Selkirk, already alluded to. G^rrel, a 
parish in Dumfriesshire, formerly Garvald, Garvald 
in East Lothian, Garrel in Argyle, Garrald in 
Dumbartonshire, Garvel in Stirlingshire, are all 
garhh edit, rough stream; Garpol in Dumfries is 
(jarlh jjol, rough water ; Garland in Kirkcudbright 
— garhh linn, rough pool. 

The windings of a stream earned it the epithet 
cam, twisted — as Camelon, a parish in Stirlingshire 
— cam linn, curved pool, the same as Lincom, a 
salmon-pool on the Luce in Wigtownshire. Camisk 
in Ayrshire and Camiskie on the Lochy are cam 
uiscc, winding water. Cample Burn in Dumfries- 
shire is cam pol, with the same meaning. 

Finglas in Perthshire, and Finlas, a stream in 
Dumbarton, stand for fionn glas, white water, just as 
Douglas, in many places, is diihh glas, black water. 
Dipple or Dippol is a common stream-name — that is, 
(hihh 2Jol, black water ; the Duisk in Ayrshire is chihh 
uiscc; and the Doon in that county is not named, as 
has been supposed, from Doon Castle in Loch Doon, 
but the castle takes its name from the river — duhh 

172 Scottish Land-Names. 

amJminn, black water. Where the river Doon leaves 
its parent loch it pours a cataract through a wooded 
glen, now called the Ness Glen, from an eas, the 
cascade. Another form of duhh amhuinn is Devon, 
a tributary to the Forth, and a river of that name 
in Fife is actually known as the Black Devon, so 
completely has the meaning of the old title been lost. 
Ecclesiasti- All ecclesiastical names must, of course, have 
been introduced subsequently to the fourth century, 
when Christianity can first be certainly affirmed to 
have been preached in Scotland. 

It is true that missionaries had been at work 
within the Eoman province of Valentia before the 
advent of Ninian in 397, but he is the earliest evan- 
gelist of whom we have definite information. His 
name occurs very frequently on our maps, but often, 
by the common tendency to change n to r, it be- 
comes Eingan; for, strangely enough, Kilnmian in 
Mull, near Tobermory (tiohar Muire, Mary's Well), is 
probably a dedication to St Nennidius, a friend of St 
Bride's, in the fifth century. Killantringan in Wig- 
townshire and South Ayrshire are cill shaint (keel 
ant) Bingain ; Chipperdingan in Wigtownshire is 
tiohar Dingain, another form of his name, as in 
Geoffery Gaimars's 'Estorie des Engles' (twelfth 
century) : — 

" A Witernen gist Saint Dinan 
Long tens vint devant Columban." 

It is strange to find his name adopted by the 
Norsemen after the lapse of at least four centuries. 

Their Lesson. 173 

North Eonaldshay, which Ninian is supposed to 
have visited, is Einansey, Einan's Isle. It is still 
stranger to find that his name is not attached to 
Whithorn, where he began his great work. He 
dedicated his church there to St Martin ; but three 
miles distant, on the coast of Glasserton, is a cave 
long known as St Ninian's Cave, which yielded to 
exploration some ten years ago abundant confir- 
mation of the tradition. Under many tons of cUhris 
were found the remains of a chapel and no fewer 
than eighteen crosses, either carved in the living 
rock or hewn out of separate stones. Here is a 
notable instance of the adhesion of a place-name, for 
it must be remembered that Galloway lapsed into 
paganism after the death of Ninian, 

It must not be supposed that all the land-names 
formed of the personal names of Mnian and other 
saints are as old as the era of the persons they 
commemorate. Many of them are subsequent dedi- 
cations, in accordance with the practice continued 
to this day. 

The long list of Scottish saints would soon be- cimrclies. 
come wearisome : it is only necessary to mention 
some of those names which are most obscure. 
When the name is Celtic, the saint's name forms 
the suffix, as Kilmory in Argyleshire, Eenfrewshire, 
Bute, and Arran — cill Muire ; when it is Saxon it 
forms the prefix, as Mc\rykirk, a parish in Kin- 
cardine. But the Gael borrowed the A.S. circ or 
the Norse hirhja, and so we get Ivirkchrist in Kirk- 

174 Scottish Land- Names. 

cudbright, circ Crioisd, Christ Church, Kirkbride 
in many places, Kirkcolm in Wigtownshire, as well 
as Kilchrist near Campbelton, Kirkmichael and Kil- 
michael, Kilbride in twenty-one places in Scotland, 
and Kilmalcolm in Eenfrewshire. Kirkdominie near 
Colmonell is circ Domini, Church of the Lord ; and 
Kirkpa'dy Fair is still held in the Mearns, com- 
memorating St Palladius. I will ask you to pause 
for a moment on Kilmalcolm, for railway influence, 
I am sorry to say, is prevailing to corrupt it into 
Kilmalcolm. The second I is no part of the name ; 
in the twelfth century it was rightly written Kil- 
makolme. Ma or mo is an endearing prefix to a 
saint's name, very commonly used, and may be rec- 
ognised in Kirkmabreck — circ ma Brice (breekie), 
the church of our Brecan, or St Bricius, of whom 
many interesting, but scarcely edifying, stories are 
told in the Breviary of Aberdeen, 

This prefix ma or mo is often confused with the 
prefix 7nacl, the shaven one, and Malcolm, the per- 
sonal name, is riiael Coluim, Columba's servant. 

Kilmaron in Fife and Kilmaronock in Dumbarton 
are named from St Eonan — Eonog being an alter- 
native form of Eonan ; and Eonay off Eaasay, and 
Eoua sixty miles north-east of Lewes, are both N. 
Hogn ey, Eonan's isle ; but Kilmarnock, which might 
be supposed identical with Kilmaronock, is cill ma 
Ernainuig, church of our Ernanog (diminutive of 
Ernan), uncle of St Columba. 

Hillmabr^edia in Wigtownshire is an unusual 

Their Lesson. 175 

form, chill ma Brighdc, cell of our Bridget: it is 
situated on the Breedie Burn, St Bride's stream. 

There seems to be no Celtic dedication in Scotland 
to St John except Kildalton in Islay, cill daltain, 
the church of the foster-brother, and Killean in 
Cantyre, which is a contracted form of cill Sheatli- 
ainn (hane), a form of Ian or I!oi7i, English John. 

St Kentigern, evangelist of Strathclyde in the 
seventh century, has left his familiar name, IMungo 
(the gracious), impressed firmly on the scene of his 
labours, awkwardly metamorphosed in Strathbungo 
— srath Mungo. His mother, St Thennat or Thenew, 
was commemorated in a church in Glasgow known 
at the Eeformation as San Theneuke's Kirk — now 
St Enoch's. 

The Celtic eaglais, a church, has been sorely 
mutilated in Lesmahagow — eaglais Machuti, but re- 
mains unimpaired in Ecclefechan — eaglais Fechain 
or fitheachain (little raven). 

I have alluded in a former lecture to some of the 
forms taken by the prefix lann, W. Ran, a church ; I 
need therefore do no more than mention one or two 
more. Laml^sh in Arran is lann mo Lais, church of 
St Molio or Molassi. The cave there is known as 
St Molio's cave. Lumphanan, a parish in Aberdeen- 
shire where Macbeth is said to have been killed, and 
Luniphmnans in Fife, are probably churches of St 
Finan, who was called Winnin in Welsh, and has 
been commemorated in that form at Kilwinning in 
Ayrshire and Kirkgunzeon (pronounced Kirkgun- 

176 Scottish Land-Names. 

nion), written in the twelfth century Kirkwynnin, 
in Kirkcudbright. Close to Kirkmaiden in the 
Machars of Wigtownshire is a field called Long 
Maidens — that is, lann Medainn, St Medana's church. 
Langbedholm, near Moffat, is lann Bedleim, church 
of Bethlehem. 
Wells. Wells of old were dedicated and blessed as regu- 

larly as churches ; hence we often find tiohar, a well, 
prefixed to the names of saints. In the south-west 
this word becomes Chipper, often changed into 
Chapel. Instances of this are — Chipperfinian in 
Wigtownshire, St Finan's well; Chipperdandy near 
Glenluce — tiobcir shaint Antoin, St Anthony's well ; 
and in the same parish is a stream called Piltanton 
—pol shaint Antoin (sh silent); Chipperheron or 
Chapelheron near Whithorn — tiohar Chiarain, St 
Kieran's well. Sometimes it becomes Kibbert, as 
in Kibberty Kite Well near the Mull of Galloway, 
which, seeing that it is on a piece of land called 
Katrine's Croft, it is not difficult to recognise as 
tiohar tigli Cait, the well of Catherine's house. Tib- 
bers, near Drumlanrig, is locally supposed to have 
been named after the Emperor Tiberius ! but it re- 
quires but a slight acquaintance with the place to 
recognise tiohar in this form, for there is a cele- 
brated well of great size within the ruined tower. 
Monas- The old name for a monastery was manaisdir, 

cieigy!'"'^ which remains in Knockmanister in South Ayrshire, 
and Auchenmanister, close to Glenluce Abbey ; and 
manach, a monk, sometimes assuming the same form 

Their Lesson. 177 

as mcadhonach (mennoch), middle, occurs very fre- 
quently. Thus Auclimannoch near Kilmarnock is 
the same as ]\I6nkscroft near Auchterarder, but 
Ballymenach and Balminnoch in many places is the 
same as Midton or Middleton. 

A friar was hrathair (brair), whence Altibrair and 
Portbriar in Wigtownshire, the friar's glen and port. 

Sagart, a priest, is generally altered in the geni- 
tive singular to haggard by aspiration, or taggart by 
eclipse, as Bartaggart in Wigtownshire ; but it re- 
mains unchanged as the genitive plural in Bal- 
saggart near Maybole. Balnab near Whithorn 
Priory, and again near Glenluce Abbey, is haiU 
an ail), the abbot's land ; and of course the surname 
MacjSTab is mac an aib, abbot's son, just as Mac- 
Taggart is mac an t-shagairt, priest's son. Honi soit 
qui mal y pense : the rule of celibacy was not strictly 
enforced upon the clergy of the primitive Church. 
]\I'Chlery, again, is wac clercich, the clerk's or 
clergyman's son, a word which yields the place- 
names Barneycleary, harr na' clcrech, hill of the 
clergy. Clary, and Portaclearys in Wigtownshire, 
Leffincleary in South Ayrshire — leth pheighinn (ley 
flinn) clereich, parson's halfpenny-land, and Auchen- 
cl^ary, the parson's field. 

I have already explained the derivation of Gillespie 
in Wigtownshire from cill espuig, the bishop's cell : 
I have little doubt that in the other extremity of 
Scotland, Golspie, or as it is locally pronounced 
Gheispie, in Sutherland, is the same name, for in 

178 Scottish Land-Names. 

1330 it is written Goldespy and in 1550 Golspie- 

The Gael intended no disrespect when he called 
a recluse or holy person naomh (nave). Oilean-na- 
Naomh in the Western Isles is the Isle of Saints, 
and Kilnave near Greenock, the saint's cell. 
Land not The Psalmist has said that the inward thought 
named by of men is " that their houses shall continue for ever, 
froni ^ ^ and their dwelling-places to all generations : they 
o\vueis ip. ^^^ their lands after their own names." This was 
perhaps less the case with the Celts than with other 
races, owing to the peculiarity of their land tenure. 
Land was possessed by the tribe, not by the individ- 
ual ; such cultivation as was carried on was worked 
on the wasteful run-rig system, and pasture was held 
in common. The land, therefore, of the tribe or 
sept was often called after the chief himself, as Lorn, 
after Loarn, first king of the Scots in Dalriada, or 
Kyle, after Coel Hen — old King Cole; or after the 
tribe, as Slamannan, the moor of the Picts of Manann. 
But when the subdivisions of land bear the name 
of an individual, it is more likely, if the name be 
an ancient one, that it commemorates some act or 
incident than that it indicates possession. 

For instance, there were two kings Alpin: the 
first, Alpin, son of Eochadh, king of a section of 
Picts, who invaded the Picts of Galloway, and after 
conquering that province was slain by a man hid 
in a wood as he rode across a ford in the year 741. 
The stream is now the App, the glen Glenapp, a 

Their Lesson. 179 

contraction of Alpin ; and the farm on the south 
of the glen is named after a large stone upon it, 
Laichtulpin — Iccht Alpin, Alpin's grave. The other 
Alpin, king of the Scots, had some bloody en- 
counters with the Picts in 834, and Pitelpie near 
Dundee — pett Alpin, Alpin's farm, not because he 
owned it, but because he died there, is traditionally 
pointed out as the place where he was killed and 
beheaded by them. Ptathelpie near St Andrews is 
supposed to have been his centre of operations — rath 
Alinn, Alpin's fort. 

The establishment of the feudal system in the 
Lowlands brought individuals into closer connection 
with the land as proprietors and tenants, and then, 
doubtless, such ground as had not yet been named 
would often receive the name of the cultivator. On 
the whole, however, you will find that Celtic land- 
names, as a rule, are formed to denote some peculi- 
arity of surface, position, product, or some incident 
occurring or occupation carried on there. 

It is otherwise with Teutonic names. Personal 
names are exceedingly frequent in their formation. 
A large proportion of names ending in A.S. ton or 
ham, and in the Norse hy or hdlsta^r, indicating 
settled dwelling, have a personal name as a prefix. 
Surnames may be said to have been unknown until 
the thirteenth century. A very good instance of 
their origin is given by Camden, who says : — 

In late times, in the time of Henry VIII., an ancient 
worshipful gentleman of Wales, being called at the pannel 

180 Scottish Land-Names. 

of a jurie by the name of Thomas Ap William Ap Thomas 
Ap Kichard Ap Hoel Ap Evan Vaghan, &c., was advised 
by the judge to leave that old manner ; whereupon he 
afterwards called himself Moston, according to the name 
of his principal house, and left that surname to his 

Land- ]\Ien ill possession or occupation of lands generally 

owners i , • . , . t ., 

named took their surname m this way, and then arose a 

from their . , , n i 

lands. curious process when such names were conierred 
afresh upon other lands. I cannot give you a better 
instance of this than is afforded by my own sur- 
name — a tolerably common one in Scotland. In the 
eleventh century, Maccus the son of Unwin became 
possessed of certain lands on the Tweed. Here there 
was an excellent salmon - pool, just below Kelso 
bridge, which became known as Maccus' wicl, the 
A.S. for a pool, now Maxwheel. This name got 
attached to the surrounding lands, hence members 
of the family became known as Aymer, John, or 
Herbert de Maccuswell, for apparently they thought 
more highly of their salmon-pool than of the house 
near St Boswells, Maxton — Maccus tun. As time 
went on, the preposition was dropped and the family 
became simple Maxwells. But they prospered and 
obtained other lands, and so we find the name, 
which was originally a place-name, having become 
a surname, becoming a place-name once more, as 
Maxwellton, Maxwellfield, and Maxwellheugh. 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, having led you 

Their Lesson. 181 

thus far, you may turn to me and say, "What does Condu- 
it all mean ? to what conclusion have you brought 
us ? AVell, so far as any new light upon history or 
any novel theory or confirmation of former theory is 
concerned, the conclusion is a lame and impotent 
one. We may listen in land-names to the voices of 
successive races that have peopled our country ; we 
may understand from them much concerning the 
landscape of a bygone age and the creatures that 
lived in it ; we may obtain from them evidence con- 
firming what we have learnt from history ; they may 
even, in a few instances, help to set right mistaken 
readings of history, as in the notable example of the 
Arthurian topography so luminously and cautiously 
elaborated by the late Mr Skene. But beyond that 
they are vox et jgrmterea nihil. 

But one lesson we have learnt, that much con- 
fusion is thrown into history by clumsy or corrupt 
spellings of place-names, and in the present advanced 
state of science it will be discreditable to this genera- 
tion if it passes away without something having been 
done to prevent further corruption of names. And 
in attempting to do this, let me add a few words as 
to the right method of investigation. I am only 
repeating what I have already said ; but this is a 
matter indispensable to progress in this branch of 
archaeology — a branch, I believe, far behind any other 
in scientific method. 

Let students avoid construing names merely on 
the ground of similarity of syllables to words. 

182 Scottish Land-Names. 

Letters are very deceptive things, and guessing 
etymology is of all pursuits the most deceptive. If 
there could be found some one in every county of 
Scotland to prepare lists of all the land-names there- 
in, giving the earliest spellings, and the exact local 
pronunciation, and carefully marhing the stressed 
syllahles, we should soon arrive at a degree of know- 
ledge in the matter which it is beyond the power 
of any single man to accomplish. This has been 
done already for some of the islands by the late 
Captain Thomas, a valued Fellow of this Society. 
His MS. lists are in our possession, and form a per- 
fect model of the way that kind of thing should be 

I will only say, in conclusion, that I am gratified 
by the degree of attention which this subject has 
already received ; and I beg to thank you warmly 
for the patience with which you have followed me 
in an intricate and perhaps tedious inquiry. 



G., Gaelic. 

O.G., Old Gaelic. 

W., Welsh. P., Pictish. 

N., Old Norse or Danish. 

A.S., Anglo-Saxon. 
M.E., Middle English. 
O.N.E., Old Northern English. 
L., Latin. 

The stress syllable in each name is indicated by the accent, as Kilm^ry. 

Aclinaba — G. acliadh na ha, the cow's field . . ,125 

Achnacarry — G. achadh na coraidli (corry), field of the 
fish-weu' ...... 

Achnac6ne — G. achadh no! con, field of dogs 
Aden — G. aodann, the forehead, brow of a hill 
M (river) — N. a, a river .... 

Affleck — G. achadh na leac (leek), field of the flagstones 

.,^, ^ !■ A.S. «c ?6-Mr?zi, oak wood 
Aitket j ' 

Air — N. eyrr, the beach .... 

Airdrie — G. ard ruith (rew), high pasture-run 

Airds — G. ard, the height .... 

Airie — G. airidh (airy), a shieling, or mountain jDasture 

Airieglassan — G. airidh glasain, shieling of the streamlet 153 

Airie611and — G. airidh (airy) olluin, shieling of the wool 153 





184 Index of Place- Names. 

Airiequhillart — G. airidh uhhal ghart (owlhart), apple 

yard shieling ..... 

Airies — G. a7'os, a house .... 

Aith — G. ait, a house-site .... 

Ald6uran — G. allt doran, otter-stream 
AUarshaw — A.S. air scaga, alder-wood 
Allerbeck — A.S. ah becc, 'N. olr Ijekk, alder-stream 
Almond (rivers) — O.G. amuin, a river 
Altaggart Burn — G. allt shagairt (taggart), priest's glen 

or burn ...... 

Altibrair — G. allt a' hratliair (brair), friar's stream 
Alwhat — G. ail chat (hwat), cliff of the wild cat . 
Alwhillan — G. ail cliuilean (hwillan), cliff of the whelps 

or chuilleain (hwillan), of the holly . 
Appleby — N. epla hy, apple-house 
Applecr6ss — G. aher Orossain, mouth of the Crossan 
Applegarth — jST. epla gar^r, apple-yard 
Arble ] G. earball, the tail, the end of a ridge, or a strip 
Arboll j of land ..... 

Ardachy — G. ard achaidh, hill of the cultivated field 
Ardentinny — G. ard an teine (tinny), beacon height 
Ardentrive — G. ard an t-sJinaoimh (trave), headland of 

the swimming ..... 
Ardg^ur — G. ard gobhar (gowr), goat's height 
Ardm6re — G. ard mor, great height . 
Ardoch — G. ard achadh or mhagh (vah), high field 
Ardrishaig — G. ard driseag (drissagh), thorny height 

Ardr6ssan — G. ard rosain, height of the little headland 
Argyle — G. earra Gaidheal (gael), the Gael's boundary 
Arnfmlay — G. earran, Finlay's land . 
Aros — G. aros, a house ..... 

s f ^- tt^kr vi1i, ship's creek . 

Ascog ) ^ 

Index of Place-Names. 185 

Athole— ? P. aih Foila, Fotla's ford ... 36, 58 

Attach6irrin — G. atta chaoruinn (hearrun), rowan-tree 

house . . . . . . .112 

Auchabrick — G. achadh hruic, badger's field . .129 

Auchencleary — G. achadh an clereich, parson's field . 177 

Auchfencrosh — G. achadh an crois, gallows field . .170 

Auchencr6w 1 G. achadh na craehh (aba na creuve), 
Auchencriiive j field of trees . . . .107 

Auchendrain — G. achadh 7ia' draighean (drane), field of 

blackthorns . . . . . .114 

Auchengilshie — Ct. achadh giolchach,\)Voo\\\fiQ\(\. . .117 

Auchengbwnie — G. achadh na gamhnakh (gownah), 

milch-cow's field . . . . , .169 

Auchenhill — G. achadh na chuill (hwill), field of the wood 

or of the hazel-bush .... 105, 106 

Auchenmanister — G. achadh na manaisdir, field of the 

monastery . . . . . . .176 

Auchenr^e — ■? G. achadh an fhraeich (ree), heather field . 116 
Auchenr^cher — G. achadh an chrochadhair (hrogher), 

hangman's hill . . . . . .170 

Auchenshugle — G, achadh an seagail (shaggul), rye field . 118 
Auchenvey — G. achadh na hheith (aha na vey), birch 

field 109 

Auchinleck — G. achadh na leac (leek), field of flagstones, 133 

Auchlc\y ^ 

Auchleach v G. achadh laogh (leuh), calves' field 125, 126 

Auchlee J 

Auchmannoch — G. achadh manach, monk's field . .177 

Auchnagatt — G. achadh noH cat, field of the wild cats . 128 

Auchnashalloch — G. achadh no! saileach, willow field . 119 

Aiichness — G. each inis, horse-pasture . . .89 

Auchtral^re — G. uachdarach lohhair (lure), leper's upland 65 

Auchtrievane — G. uachdarach bhdn, white upland . 65 

Auld Taggart — G. allt shagairt (taggart), priest's glen . 18 


Index of Place- Names. 

Avon — G. amhuinn (avon), a river , 
Awhirk — G. achadh cliuirc (alia hwirk), oat-field 
Awn — G. amhuinn (avon), a river 
Ayr — IS", eyrr, the beach 


on the 

1, I'd 





•'s house 
pass, a ford, a road 

Baile-Uilph— G., Olaf s farm 

Balargus — G. haile Fliearguis (argus), Fergus's croft 

Balfour — G. haile ficar, cold place 

Balglasso — G. haile glasaich, croft of green land 

Balg6wn — G. haile gohhain (gowan), smith's croft 

Balgracie — G. haile greusaich, cobbler's house 

Balkeerie — G. haile caora, sheep-croft 

BaUantrae — G. haile an traigh, farm or village 

shore ..... 

Ballinteer — G, haile an t-sliaoir (teer), the carpenter 

-r-, ,, , ;- G. healach (ballaj 
Balloch J ^ 

Ballochabeastie — G. healach na^ hiasta, pass of the cattle . 

Ballochalee, G. healach na' laogh, pass of the calves 126, 

Ballymenach "| G. haile meadhonach (mennoch), middle 

Balmmnoch j" house, Middleton .... 

Balmtiick — G. haile viuic, swine-farm 

Balnab — G. haile an aih, abbot's house 

Baln6wlart — G. haile rC uhhal gliart (owUiart), apple-yard 

farm ........ 

Balsaggart — G. haile sagart, house of the priests . 44, 177 

Balshere 1 G. haile saoir (seer), carpenter's house ; or haile 
Balsier j siar (shere), west house . . .169 

Baltier — G. haile t-shaoir (teer), the carj^enter's house ; or 

haile t-iar (teer), west house . . . 42, 169 

Barbeth — G. harr hetliacli (beyagh), birch wood-hill . 109 

Bardrain — G. harr draigheayi, blackthorn-hill . .114 

Bardrlshach — G. harr drisach (drissagh), bramble-hill . 114 
Bardr6ch Wood — G. harr drochid, bridge hill . .19 






Index of Place- Names. 187 

Barglass — G. harr glas, gvQdw io\i . . . 10,15 

Barlioise (pron. Barli6sh) — G. larr os (osh), hill of the 

fawns ; or harr sJmas (hosh), upper or north hill . 121 
Barhiillion — G. hari' cliuilean, hill of the whelps . .101 

Barlae — G. harr laogh (leuh), calves' hill . . .125 

Barlauchlane — G. Jxirr LocJiUnn, the Norsemen's hill . 91 
Barlaiigh — G. barr laogh (leuh), calves' hill . . .125 

Barl5ckhart — G. barr luachair, rushy liiU ; or barr lucairt, 

hill of the big house . . . . .117 

Barluel — G. barr llamli chuill (lav whill), hill-top of the 

elm- wood . . . . . . .111 

Barlure — G. barr lobhar (lure), leper's hill . . .170 

Barnagee — G. bearna gaoitlie (geuha, gwee), windy pass ; 

ox barr na gaoithe, yvmdiy \\\\\ . . . 84,159 

Barnamon — G. barr nam ban (h eclipsed), hill-top of the 

Avomen ....... 145 

Barnbauchle — G. bearna bocghail, gap of danger, or 

buacliail, shepherd's gap . . . .159 

Barnb6ard — G. barr no! bard, hill-top of the poets . 168 

Barncalzie {z = y) — G. barr na cailleaich, hill-top of the 

woman, witch, or nun . . . . .145 

Barncr5sh — G. barr an crois, gallows-hill . . .170 

Barnecallagh — G. barr na cailleaich, hill-top of the woman, 

witch, or nun . . . . . .145 

Barney cleary — G. barr na clerech, hill of the clergy . 177 

Barney water — G. bearna uachdar, upper pass . .145 

Barnkirk ) G. barr an coirce (curk, curkia), hill of the 
Barnkirky j oats . . . . . 75, 118 

Barnsallie — G. barr na saileach, willow-hill . . .112 

Barushalloch — G. barr an sealghe (shallogh), hill of the 

hunting 112, 119 

Barr — G. barr, a hill-top . . . . .144 

Barrker — G. barr air, hill of the slaughter, or of the 

ploughing . . . . . . .39 

188 Index of Place -Names. 

Barsalloch — G. harr saileach, willow-hill . . .112 

Barskeoch — G. barr sgitheog (skeog), hawthovn-hill . 113 

Bartaggart — G. harr t-shagairt (taggart), hill-top of the 

priest . ..... 44, 177 

Barwhill — G. harr chiiill (hwill), hill-top of the avoocI, or 

of the hazel bush 105, 106 

Barwhirran — G. harr chaoruinn (hearrun), rowan-tree hill 112 
Bearholm — A.S. here liolm, barley-field . . .94 

Bearsden — A.S. heir denn, wild boar's lair . . .123 

Bearyards — A.S. here garth, barley-yard . . .94 

Beith— ? G. heWi, birch-tree 109 

Bellybocht — G. haile hocM, poor man's house . .170 

Ben Macdhiii — G. heinn muic duihhe (dooey), hill of the 

black sow ....... 124 

Benbowie — G. heinn huidhe (buie), yellow horn or headland 139 
Bengray — G. heinn greaich, hill of the high flat, or graicli, 

of the horse-drove . . . . .139 

Benmore — G. heinn mur, great hill . . . .15 

Bennan — G. heinndn, a hill . . . . .139 

Bennanbrack — G. heinndn hreac, dappled hill . ,139 

Bennuskie — G. heinn uisce, horn or rock in the water . 139 
Benny — G. heimiach, horned, a hilly place . . .139 

Benshalag — G. hein7i sealghe (shallogh), hill-face of the 

hunting . . . . . . .119 

Bentiidor — G. heinn t-shudaire (tudory), tanner's hill . 169 
Benyellary — G. heinn iolaire (yillary), eagle's hill . 96, 139 
Beoch — G. heitlieach (beyagh), birch-land . . .109 

B^rnera — N. Bjurnar ey, Bjorn's island . . .91 

Bidean-a'-ghlas-thuill (a-hlass-hule) — G. pinnacle of the 

green hollow . . . . . 158, 164 

Biggar ^ 

Biggart > IN", hggg gar^r, barley-field . . .94 

Biggarts J 
Biggins — A.S. hijggan, building . . . .95 

Index of Place-Names. 189 

Bigholm — iST. hygg holmr, barlej'-land . . .94 

Birket — A.S. beorc ivudu, birch-Avood . . 107, 109 

Birkshaw — A.S. leorc scaga, birch-wood . . . 107 

Blaiket — A.S. Ucec loudu, black wood . . .107 

Blair— G. hldr, a plain, a field . . . . 10, 134 

Blairdaff—G. War cZamZi (dav), ox-field . . .125 

BIairg5wan ) G. lildr gohlian (gowan), smith's field; or 
Blairing6iie j gamhan (gowan), calves' field . 168, 169 
Blairhosh — G. Udr slmas (hosh), upper field . .134 

Blairmakin — G. hldr meacan (maakan), field of the roots 

(carrots, &c.) . . . . . .118 

Blairm6ddie — G. Udr madadh (madduh), wolfs field . 126 
Blairnairn — G. War w' //iearw (nern), alder-field . .135 

Blairninich — G. hldr nan each, horse-field . . .135 

Blairqulian — G. Udr Choii, Conn's field, or the dog's field 127 
Blairshmnoch — G. hldr sionach (shinnagh), fox-field . 135 

Blawrainy — G. hldr raithneach (rahnah), ferny plain . 115 
Bochastle — G. hotli cliaisteail, hnt or croft of the castle . 63 
B^llsa \ 

-^ ' > N". hulsta^r, a farmhouse or dwellmg . .92 

Boust ( 

Busta ) 

Boneen — G. hunin, a little rump ... 

Bonessan — G. hun easain (assan), foot of the waterfall 

Bootle — A.S. hotl, a house or dwelling 

Boquhan — G. hoth Clion, Conn's hut, or the dog's hut 

Boreland — O.KE. hord land, ground kept for the main 

tenance of the chief house 

Borestone, a pierced stone (cf. Thirlestane) . 

Bowhill — 1 G. huacliaill, a boy or herd, fig. a solitary stone 158 

Bowling — G. ho linn, cow-pool . . . .125 

Braco — 1 G. hreagh mJiagh (bra vah), wolf-field . 39, 127 

Bradock — G. hraghadach (braadagh), the throat, a gulley 148 

Braemore — G. hraigli mor, great brae . . .147 






190 Index of Place- Names. 

Braid Hills, The — G. hraghad (braad), the breast , .148 

Breadalban — G. biwjhad Alhainn, the breast or upland 

of Scotland 148 

Breaklet — iN". hreiSa Mettr, broad cliff . . .88 

Breddock — G. braghadach (braadagh), the throat, a gulley 148 
Breedie Burn — G. (edit) BHglide, St Bride's stream . 175 

Breich — G. lyraigh, a top or summit . . . .147 

Br5adford— IT. brei^r/jdm-, broad firth . . 83, 90 

Bracket — A.S. brocc wudu, badger-wood . . .128 

Brocklees — A.S. brocc leah, badger-field . . .128 

Br6ckloch — G. hroclacli, a badger-warren . . .128 

Br6ckwoodlees — O.ISr.E. brocc u-ode lea, field of the 

badger- wood . . . . . .129 

Brodick — N". brei^r vile, broad bay . . . .84 

Brough — G. bruach, a brae, or horg, brag, brugJi, a house. 148 
Broxburn — O.I^.E, brocces burn, badger-stream . .129 

Biickhurst — O.K'.E. bucce hurst, wood of the falloAv buck 122 
Bugle Etive — G. buacliaill, a boy or herd — i.e., a solitary 

hill 158 

Buittle — A.S. botl, a house, a dwelling-place . . 62 

Bunawe— G. bun Amh (aw), foot of Loch Awe . .162 

Buttanloin — G. or P. butt an loin, marsh croft . . 63 

Buttcurry — G. or P. butt curaich, moor or marsh croft . 63 
Buttdiibh— G. or P. butt dubJi, black croft . . .63 

Buttnacoille — G. or P. butt na coille, wood croft . .63 

Buttnacreig — G. or P. butt na! creag, croft of the crags . 63 
Buttnamadda — G. or P. butt nam viadadJi (maddah), croft 

of the wolves or dogs . . . . .63 

Buxbiu-n — O.N".E. bucces bourne, stream of the fallow buck 122 

Caerl^verock — G. cathair (caher) leamlireaich (lavrah), 

fortress in the elm- wood . . . .111 

Cairngorm — G, earn gorm, blue cairn or hill . .154 

Cairnt6ul — G. cam tuathal (tual), north cairn or hill . 154 

Index of Place- Names. 191 

Caitliness — P. Cata, N. nes, the promontory of Cait 58, 89 

Calbost — IST. kald huMatSr, cold croft . . . .92 

Caldons — G. calltunn, hazels . . . . .106 

Calf of Man, the— G, an Calhli Manannach, jST, Manarkalfr 4 
Cambusnethan — G. camus Netlian, bend of the river 

Nethan 117 

Camelon — G. ca?« ?wm, winding pool . . . .171 

Camisk — G. cam uisce, winding water . . .171 

Camisky — G, cam uisce, winding water . . .171 

Cample Burn — G. cam jpoZ, winding water . . .171 

C^mpsie — ? A.S. campsted, a battle-field . . .136 

Cantyre — G. ceann Ur, head of the land, land's end , 131 

Carlisle — W. caer Llkcelydd, Lliwelydd's stronghold . 1 6 
Carlure — G. ceathramh loliliar (carrow lure), leper's land- 
quarter . . . . , . .171 

Carmmnow — G. ceathramh monaidh (carrow munney), 

moorland quarter . . . . . .168 

Carneltoch — G. cam eilte (elty), hind's cairn or hill . 120 

Carrick — G. caraig, W. careg, a crag . . .50, 155 

Carstkirs — W. caer Terras, Terras's fortress . . .16 

Cart (river) — G. caraid, a pair . . . . .16 

Castle Creavie — G. caiseal craehhe, castle of the tree . 107 
Castle Shell — G. caiseal sealghe (shalluh), hunting-tower . 119 
Castramont — G. cas tromain, foot of the elder-bush . 112 

Catgill — iST. l-aififr r/27, wild cat's ravine . . .128 

Cathcart — G. cathair (caher) Cairt, fortress on the river 

Cart 16 

Cattadale — IST. kattr dalr, Avild cat's dale . . .128 

CclVGll 1 

p, !- G. cahhan (cavvan), a hollow . . .161 

Challoch— G. tealach (tyallagh), forge . . 119, 169 
Chester, Chesters — L. castrum, a camp . . .28 
Chipperdandy — G. tiohar shaint (hant) Antoin, St An- 
thony's well . . . . . .176 

192 Index of Place -Names. 

Chipperdingan — G. tiohar Dingain, St Mnian's well 

Chipperf iBian — G. tiohar Finain, St Finan's well 

Cliipperheroii — G, tiohar Chiarain, St Kieran's well 

Clachaig — G. dacheach, a stony place 

Claclian — G. clachean, stones, hence a hamlet 

Clachanamiick — G. claclian nam inuc, stones of the swine 

Clachog — G. clacJwg, a small stone . 

Clachrie — G. clachreach, a stony place 

Clachrum — G. clacherin, a stony place 

Clackrie — G. clacJireacli, a stony place 

Claddiochd6w — G. claddacli duhh (doo), black shore 

Clady House — G. claddach, the shore or beach 

Clamdally — G. clao7i (clan) dealrjhe (dallig), thorn-slope 

Clamdish — G. claen dess, southern slope 

Clanerie — G. claenrach, sloping land . 

Clannoch— G. claenacli, sloping ground 

Clantibiiies — G. cluainie huidhe (buie), yellow meadows 

Clanyard — G. claen ard, sloping height 

Clary — G. clerech, the clergy .... 

Clattranshaws — IST. Jdettr, a cliff; M.E. shatv, a wood 

Clauchrie — G. clachreach, a stony place 

Claym6ddie, formerly Glenmaddie, — G. gleann madadh 

(madduh), wolf's glen .... 
Clayshant — G. clach seant (shant), holy stone 
Clean— G. claen, a slope .... 

p., ^, . > G. claenrach, sloping land . . 83, 

Clene — G. claen, a slope .... 

Clennoch — G. claenacli, sloping ground 

Clenries — G. claenreach, sloping ground 

Clenter — G. claeii tir, sloping ground 

C16intie — G. cluainte, the meadows . 

Clone — G. chian, a meadow .... 

Clonfin — G. cluan fionn, white meadow 

Index of Place-Names. 193 

Clonroacl — G. cluan ramhflioda (rah-oda), meadow of the 

boat-race ....... 25 

Clonskea — G. cluan sgitheach (skeagh), hawthorn-meadow 164 
Cloriddrick — G. dock Riddeirch, stone of Eyderch (Hael) 157 
Clune — G. cluan, a meadow . . . . .164 

Cliitag — G. clitag, eighth part of a penny-laud . .167 

Clyne — G. claen, a slope . . . . .153 

Colintraive — G. caol an t-slmaoimh (trave), strait of the 

swimming . . . . . . ,42 

C6ngalton, formerly Cnoccomgall — G. cnoc Comgall, hill 

of the Comgall or Frisians ; A.S. tii7i, added . 70 

Connemara — G. Oonmaicne mar a, the sea-side progeny of 

Conmac ....... 41 

Cc)peval— IS", liupu fjall, cup-shaped hill . . .88 

_,, J- G. cordn, a round hiU . . . .157 

Corran ) 

Core Hill — G. co7; a round hill, or catliair (caher), a camp 157 

C6rnabus — X. korn holsta^r, corn-farm . . .92 

Corncravie — G. co7'd7i craohliach or craove, wooded hill . 107 

Cornice — G. cordn liath (lee), grey hill . . .157 

Corra Linn — G. coire, a caldron or kettle . . .162 

Corra Pool (Kirkcudbright Dee) — G. coradh (corra), a 

fish- weir . . . . . . .162 

Corriefecklach — G. coire feocalacli, polecat's corrie . 129 

Corr6ur — G. coire odliar (corry our), grey or dun corrie . 23 

C6rsbie — N". Itrosa hij, cross-house . . . .91 

Corvisel (pron. Corv^ezle) — G. coire iseal (eeshal), low pool 162 

C6wan — G. cahhan (cavvan), a holloAv . . .161 

Crtichan — G. ci'uachdn, a hill . . . . .150 

Cruggan — G. creageaii, the crags, or creagdn, a little crag 155 

Craichm6re — G. cruach mor, great hill . . .150 

Craigbtinnoch — G. C7'eag hei7inach, horned crag . .139 

Craigbernoch — G. creag heaniacli, cloven crag . .159 

Craigencat — G. C7'eaga7i cat, wild cat's crag . . .128 


194 Index of Place- Names. 

Craigendbran — G. creag an dor ain, oiiQX^^Yock. . .128 

Craigenfeoch ) G. creagdn fiadli (feeah), deer-crags, or 
Craigenveoch J fitheach (feeah), raven-crags . 43, 120 

Craigie — G. creagacli, craggy, rocky . . . .155 

Craiginee — G. creaf/ are //wa«(i7i (ee), the deer's crag . 120 

Craiglee — G. creag Hath (lee), grey crag . . .126 

Craigley — G. creag laogli (leuh), calves' ridge . .126 

Craigliire — G. creag lohhair (lure), leper's crag . .170 

Craignafeoch — G. creag na fithach (feeah), raven-crags . 120 
CraignMder — G. creag rHeilte (elty), hind's crag . .120 

Craignish — O.G. creag an ois (ish), the faAvn's crag . 121 

Craig6'er ") G. creag odhar (owr), grey crag ; or c7-eag 
Craig6ver j gohhar (gowr), goat's crag . . .22 

Craigslave — G. creag sleamh (slav), elm -crag . .111 

Craigslotian — G. crea^; sZawi/iam (slav van), elm-crag . Ill 

Crailloch — G. crithlach (creelagh), a shaking bog . .164 

Cramond — G. cathair (caher) amuin, fortress on the river 8 
Crawick — W. caer Bywc, Eawic's fortress . . .14 

Creag Leacach — G. crag of the flagstones, or sloping crag 154 
Creechan — 1 G. criotJiachean (creeghan), aspens . 110, 150 
Creich — G. criothach (creeagh), the aspen . . .110 

Cretanree — G. croit an fliraeich (ree), heather-croft . 116 

Crianlarich — G. crich or criotliacli (creeagh) na laraich, 

boundary or aspen-tree at the house-site . .110 

Crieff — 1 G. criotliacli (creeagh), aspen . . .110 

Criffel—K A;m^'aj2''«^^, crow-hill .... 88 
Croach — G. cruacli, a stack, a hill . . . .150 

Cr5achy — G. cruachach, a hilly place . . .150 

Crochan — G. cruachdn, a hill . . . . .150 

Crochm6re — G. cruach mor, great hUl . . .150 

Crochrloch — G. cnoc riahhach (reeagh), streaked hill . 41 
Crockencally— G. crochan cailleach, nun's hillock . . 40 

Crossapool — N". krosa holstaSr, croft of the cross . .92 

Cruchie — G. cruachach, a hilly place . . . .150 

Criiivie — G. craohhach (creuvagh), wooded . . .107 

Index of Place- Names. 


Cryla — G. rrWilach (creelagh), a shaking bog . . 164 

Cuff HiU— ? W. cefn (kevn), a ridge . . . .51 

Cuil— G. cuil, a corner . . . . . .161 

Cnildrynacli — G. ciil, cuil, or coill draighneach (dreinagli), 

the hill-back, corner, or wood of the blackthorns . 161 

Culbratten — G. ciil Breatain, hill-back of the Welshmen 46, 67 

Culderry — G. ciil doire (dirry), back of the wood . .108 
Culdoch — G. cmI daWiaich (dawgh), back of the salmon-weir 166 

Culhorn — G. cuil eorn (yorn), corner of the barley . 118 

Culkae — G. ciil caedlia (kay), back of the bog . .163 

Ciillen — G. coillin, woodland . . . . .106 

CuU6den — G. cul lodain, back of the swamp . .164 

Cnlmaddie — G. cuil madadli (madduh), wolf's corner . 126 
Culni5re — G. coill mor, great wood . . . 105, 161 

Culquhu"k — G. cuil cliuirc (hwirk), corner of the oats . 118 

Culrain — G. cuil ratliain (rahen), corner of the ferns . 161 

Culroy — G. cul ruadli (rooa), red-hill back . . .160 

Culscadden — G. cuil seadan, corner of the herrings . 161 

Cult — G. coillte, the woods . . . . .106 

Cultmick — G. coillte viuic, swine-woods . . .106 

Cults — G. coillte, the woods . . . . .106 

Cultiillich — G. cul tulaicJi, back of the hiU . . .106 

p ,, , , |- G. cmn lodain, bend of the swamp . .164 

Cumnock — cam cnoc, bent hill . . . .140 

Curleyw^e — G. cor le gaeith (geuh, gwee), hill in the wind 157 
Curnelloch — 1 G. cor n'eilidh (elly), hill of the hinds . 157 

.., '. y O.G. currach, a maxsh. . . . .163 

Currie J 

Cuttyshallow — G. ceide sealghe (keddy shalluh), hill-brow 

of the hunting . . . . . .119 

Dailly — G. decdghe (dalhy), the thorns 
Dalint5bar — G. dal an tiohair, land of the well 
Dally — G. dealglie (dalhy), the thorns 




196 Index of Place-Names . 

Dalnacardocli — G. dal na ceardaich, land of the smithy . 99 
Dalnadamph — G. dal na^ damh (dav), ox-land . .125 

Dalnaspidal — G. dal na spidail, land of the hospital . 99 
Dalriada — G. dal righe fhada (ree ahda), land of (Cairbre 

with) the long arm ; or dal righ fliada, land of the 

tall king (Cairbre) 98 

Dairy — G. dal righ, king's land . . . .99 

Dalrymple — G. dal cliruim puill, land of the curving 

pool 88, 99 

Darnarbel — G. dobhar (dour) a7i earhuill, water of the tail 

(cf. Grey Mare's TaU) 163 

Darra — G. darach, an oak . . . . .108 

Darroch — G. daracli, an oak . . . . .108 

Davo — G. dahhach, a davach (a measure of land) . .165 

Davochbfeg — G. dahhach heag, little davach . . .165 

Davochfin — G. dahhach fionn, white davach . .165 

Deer — O.G. daur, an oak . . . . .108 

Delt)rain {not Delorain) — G. dal Grain, Oran's land . 17 

Derry — G. doire, an oak wood, a wood . . 108, 109 

Devon (river) — G. duhh amhuinn (doo avon), black water 172 
Dmgwall — N. '\)inga vollr, the assembly field . . 89 

Dmnance \ 

-r^, \ \ G. dilnan, the hills or forts, the do-\\Tis . 159 


Dinnings J 

Dipple — G. diihh (doo) pol, black water . . 100, 171 

Dirriem6re — G. doire (dirry) mor, great wood . .109 

Dirvaird — G. dohhur (dour) or doire (dirry) hhaird (vaird), 

the bard's water or wood . . . .106 

Dochf 6ur — G. dahhach fuar, cold davach (a measure of land) 165 
Dochgarroch — G. dahhach garhh (davach garriv), rough 

davach . . . . . . .165 

Doon — G. duhh amhuinn (doo awn), black river . 100, 171 
D6uglas — G. duhh (doo) glas, black water . 15, 100, 171 

Index of Place- Names. 197 

D6wnan — G. dunan, a hill or fort . . . .159 

Drainie — G. draiglineach (dranah), place of blackthorns . 114 
Drang6wer — G. draiglieanan gohhar (drannan gowr), black- 
thorns of the goats . . . . .114 

Drannand6w — G. draiglmean dubh (doo), dark blackthorns 114 
Dranniemanner — G. draigliean na mainir, blackthorns at 

the goat-pen . . . . . .114 

Drem — G. druini, a ridge . . . . 10, 142 

DrimnasaHie — G. druim 7ia saileacTi, ^Ylllo^Y-ndge . .112 

Drisaig — G. drisacJi (drissah), a place of brambles . .114 

Dr6ch Head — G. drochaid, a bridge . . . .18 

Drom6re — G. druim mor, great ridge . . . .142 

Dron — G, draigliean, blackthorns . . . .114 

Dr6nach — G. draighneach (dranah), place of blackthorns . 114 
Dronnan — G. draighnean, blackthorns . . .114 

Drum — G. druim, a ridge . . . . 10, 142 

Druman^e — G. druim anfhiaidh (ee), the deer's ridge . 120 
Drumavaird — G. druim a' bhaird (vaird), rhymer's hill . 168 
Drumbke — G. druim beith (bey), birch-hill . . .109 

Drumb6w — G. druim bo, cow-ridge . . . .125 

Drumbreddan — G. druim Breatain, Welshman's hill 46, 67 
Drumdally — G. (irwm cZeaZ^ (dallig), thorn-ridge . .115 

Drumdrisaig — G. druim drisach (drissagh), bramble-ridge 114 
Drum^arnachan — G. druim fhearnadiain, ridge of the 

alder- wood or of the sloes . . . .111 

Drumf^rnachan — G. druim fearnadian, ridge of the alder- 
wood or of the sloes . . . . .111 

Drumlanrig — G. druim, a ridge, W. llanercli, a clearing 

in a forest ....... 50 

Druml^an — G. cZrMm Zm (leen), flax-ridge . . .118 

Drumley — G. druim laogli (leuh), calves' ridge . .126 

Druml6ckhart — G. druim luachair, rushy ridge ; or druim 

lucairt, ridge of the big house . . . .117 

Drumlour — G. dndm lobliar (lure), leper's ridge . .170 

198 Index of Place- Names. 

Driunmatier — G. druim a' t-sJiaoir (teer), the carpenter's 

ridge 41,169 

Drumm6ddie — G. druim madadli (madduh), wolf's ridge . 126 
Drumm^re — G. druim mar, great ridge . . .142 

Drummtick — G. druim muc, swine-ridge . . .123 

Drummtickloch — G. druim muclaich, ridge of tlie SAvine 

pasture . . . . . . .124 

Drumnaminshog — G. druim nam uinnseog (inshog), ash- 
tree ridge . . . . . . .110 

Drumnarbuck — G. druim an earbuic, roebuck's ridge . 122 
Drum6ver — G. druim odhar (our), grey ridge . .23 

Drumrae — O.G. druim raitJi (my), fem-ndgQ . .115 

Drunirany — G. druim raitlineach (rahnah), fern-ridge . 115 
Drumshalloch- — G. druim sealghe (shalluh), hunting ridge 119 
Drumsheiigh — G. druim sealghe (shalluh), hunting ridge . 119 
Drumske6g — G. druim sgitheog (skeog), hawthorn-hiU . 113 
Drumtiirk — G. druim tuirc, wild boar's ridge . .123 

Drumv5re — G. druim mhor (vore), great ridge . .142 

Drimgan — G. draighnean, blackthorns . . .114 

Drymen (Drimmen) — G. dromdn, a ridge . . 10, 142 

^ V . [ same as Drc)nach, q.v. . . . .114 

Drj^nie ) 

Drynachan — G. draiglmeachdn, place of blackthorns . 114 

Diiart — G. dubh ghart (doo hart), black paddock . .137 

Duisk — G. dubh (doo) uisce, black water . . .171 

Dumbarton — G. dun Bretann, the "Welshmen's fortress . 35 

Dumfries — G. dun Fris, the Frisians' fortress . .72 

Duncriib — O.G. dun craeh, hiU of the trees . . .159 

Dundrennan — G. diin draighnean, blackthorn hill or fort 114 

Dun^aton — O. dim aitten, ]\\m'^QX-\\\\\ . . .117 

Dunedin (Edinburgh) — G. diin Aidain, Aidan's or Edwin's 

fortress ....... 13 

Dunglas — G. dun glas, green hill . . . .15 

Dusk — G. dubh (doo) uif^c, black water . . .100 

Index of Place-Names. 


.S. air leali, alder-field 

Eaglesfield — G. eaglais, W. eghvfjs, church (field) . 
Eaglesham — G. eaglais, "W. eglicys, church {liam, house) . 
Ecclefechan — G. eaglais Fecliain, St Vigean's church 29. 
Eccles — G. eaglais, W. eglwys, a church 
Eden — G. aodann, the forehead, brow of a hill 
Edendkrroch — G. aodann daracli, hill-hrow of the oaks . 
Edinbeg — G. aodann heag, little hill-brow . 
Edinb^ly — G. aodann bails, hill-broAV of the farm 
Ediukillie — G. aodann coille (kulyie), hill-brow of the 
wood ....... 

Mderslie ") . 

Ellerslie j 

Ellerbeck — IST. olr bekkr, or A.S. air hecc, alder-brook 90, 

Ennis — G. inis, waterside pasture 

Eorabus — N". eyrar bolsta^r, shore farm 

Ernanity — G. earrann annuid, church-land . 

Ern^spie — G. earrann espuig, bishop's land . 

Ernfillan — G. earrann Fillain, Fillan's land . 

Europa Point — N. eyrar by, beach village . 

Evan — G. amliuinn (avon), a river 

Eye (river) — I^. a, a river 

Fairfield— K/tPr^'aZZ, sheep-fell 
Ft\irgirth — N. fcer gar^r, sheep-fold . 

^' > IST. fwr ey, sheep-island . 

Faray j -^ •^' ^ 

Falbae — G. pTiol beith (bey), birch-stream 

Farnoch — G. fearnacli, place of alders 

Faroe — IST. fmr eyjar, sheep-islands 

Fearnoch ^ 

Fernaig > G. fearnach, place of alders 

Feruie J 

Ferintosli — G. fearann toisich, thane's land 

Fornan — G. fearnan, alders 




















200 Index of Place- Names. 

Fettercairn — P. pett an cairn, cairn-croft . . .64 

Fidra — N. Boitter ey, island of Boitter . . 71, 78 

Fife — P. Fih, said to be one of the seven sons of Cruidne 58 
Pinglas — G. j'iO??re ^ZaSj "white water . . . .171 

Pinhaven — P. pett an amhuinn, river-croft . . 64, 68 

Pinlas — G. fionn glas, ^vhite ^Yatev . . . .171 

Fintray — G. Jionji traigli, white strand . . .68 

Fladda— N. flatr ey, flat-isle 83 

F5rres \ 

Forse ( ^_ j, ^ waterfall . . . . .93 

Forss C '' 

Foss ; 

Freuchie — G. /raoc7iac7i (freughah), a heathery place . 116 

^ !■ G. /moc7i (freugh), heather . . . .115 

Gadgirth — K geit gaviSr, goat-pen . . . .22 

Galloway — G. gall Gaidheal (gale), W. Galwyddel (Gal- 

withel), the stranger Gaels 
Garioch — G. garhh (garriv) achadh, rough field 
Garland Burn — G. garhh (garriv) U7i7i, rough pool 
Garnahurn — W. afo7i gwernacli, alder-stream 
Gkrnock (river) — W. afon givernach, alder-stream 

p , , |- G. garlh pol, rough water . 

Garrabost — !N". Geirra hoUta^r, Geir's farm . 

Garrald ^ 

Garrel f 
, > G. garhh (garriv) allt, rough glen or stream . 171 

Garvel ) 

Garriefad — G. (ya^-acZ/i (garra) /acZa, long garden . .138 

Garry (river) — G. (amhuinn) garhh (garriv), rough river 138, 171 
Gartcl6ss ] G. gart clois (closhe), paddock of the trench 
Gartcliish f or ditch . . . . . .137 

. 5, 72 

. 133 

. 171 

. 47 

. 46 

. 171 

. 92 



Index of Place- Names. 201 

Garth — G. gaii, or N. gaM; an enclosure, a yard . .137 

Gartnanich — G. gart nan each, \xoxse-\>d>.(XdiOQk . .137 

Gartness — G. gart nan eas, paddock at the waterfalls . 89 
Gartsherrie — G. gart searracli (sharragh), colt's paddock . 138 
Garturk — G. gart tuirc, hoar's paddock . . .138 

Gartwhkmie — G. gart fheannagh, enclosure of the lazy heds 138 
Garvock — G. garhli (garriv) acliadh, rough field 
Gkrwachy — G. garhh (garriv) acJiadh, rough iield . 
Garw61ing — G. garadh (gavTa) feorlhi, farthing-garden 
Gateheugh — N. geit hou, goat-height . 
Gatehope — !N". geit Jwf, goat-shelter . 
Giffen — W. cefn (kevn), a ridge . . . .51 

Gillespie — G. cill easjjuig, bishop's chapel , . 29, 177 

^, ., >- G. qlac, the palm of the hand, a hollow , .160 

Glaik j '' ' i 

Glaister — G. glas tir, green land . . , 15, 131 

Glassert — G. <7Za5 ^/Zmr^ (hart), green paddock . .137 

Glasserton — G. glas gliart (hart), green paddock, with A.S. 

tiln . . . . . . . .131 

Glaster Law — G. glas tir, green land ; M.E. law^ a hill, 

added 15, 131 

Glksvein — G. glas hheinn (ven), green hill . . .15 

Glazert — G. glas gliart (hart), green paddock . .137 

Glenalniond — O.G. gleann amuin, glen of the river . 7 

Glenamiickloch — G. gleann na muclaich, glen of the swine 

pasture ....... 124 

Glenapp — G. gleann Alpin, Alpin's glen . . .178 

Glenarbuck — G. gleann earhoc, glen of the roebucks . 122 

Glenbiick — G. gleann huic, glen of the he-goat or roebuck 122 
Glencaird — G. gleann ceaird, tinker's glen . . .169 

Glenchamber — G. gleann saimir (shammer), clover-glen . 116 
Glend^wran — G. gleann doran, otter-glen 

Glendrissock — G. gleann drisach (drissah), bramble-glen . 114 
Glen Fiddich — ? P. gleann Fidaicli, Fidach's glen . .58 

202 Index of Place- Names. 

Glengyre — G. gleann gaothair (gaiur), greyhound's glen . 128 
Glenh6ise — O.G. gleann os (osh), glen of the fawns ; or 

G. gleann shuas (hosh), upper or north glen . .121 

Glenling — G. gleann Un (leen), flax-glen . . .118 

Glenlochar — G. gleann luachair, rv;shy glen . .117 

Glen5se — O.G. gleann os (osh), glen of the fawns ; or G. 

gleanii shuas (hosh), upper or northern glen . .121 

Glen^ver — G. gleanii odliar (owr), grey glen . .23 

Glenshalloch — G. gleann sealghe (shalluh), hunting-glen . 119 
Glenshamrock ) G. gleann seamrog (shamrog), clover- 
Glenshimerock j glen . . . .116 

Glenshellach — G. gleann sealghe (shalluh), hunting-glen . 119 
Glenstockadale — G. gleann, N, sfokJcr dalr, glen of the 

dale of the stakes or stumps . . . .100 

Glentaggart — G. gleann t-shagairt (taggart), priest's glen . 100 
Glentiirk — G. gleann tuirc, wild-boar's glen . . .123 

Glenure — G. gleann iubhar (yure), glen of the yews 37, 113 
Glenvernoch — G. gleann bhearnach (vernagh), cloven glen 159 
GMspie — G. cill espuig, bishop's chapel . . .177 

G6rbals — 1 1ST. gorr balkr, built walls . . . .95 

Gortinanane — G. gortin nan en (ane), birds' paddock . 138 
Govan — ^W. cefn (kevn), a ridge . . . .51 

Granton (near Edinburgh) — A.S. grene diin, green hill . 7 
Grantown-on-Spey — M.E. Grant's town ... 7 
Greenan — G. griandn (greenan), a sunny place, a palace . 24 
Greenbeck — ^N". grilnnr hekkr, shallow brook . . 90 

Gr6nnan — G. griandn, a sunny place, a palace . . 24 

Gryfe (river) — G. {amlminn) garbh (garriv), rough stream 

138, 171 
Guisachan — G. giuthasachan (geusahan), fir-wood . .113 

Gidlane — G. guallan, a shoulder .... 4 

Gill vain — G. gahlial hheinn (gowl ven), fork of the hiU . 138 

Hiibost — N. hallr LolstdSr, sloping farm . . .83 

Index of Place- Names. 203 

Hamnavoe — IST, hufn vagr, haven bay . . .84 

Harray — N. hdr ey, high island . . . .86 

Harris (formerly Herrie) — IST. Mr ey, high island . . 85 

Hawick — O.JS'.E. liaugh wick, town on the low pasture . 90 
Hendon — W. Tien dun, old fort .... 3 

Hillmabreedia — G. chill ma Brighde (hill ma breedie), 

cell of our Bridget . . . . .174 

H6bkirk — F. Mp kirliju, church in the shelter . . 89 

Holland ~| N. hallr land, sloping island; or liawjr land, 
Houlland j island of the howe or hillock . . .83 

Immerv6ulin — G. iomair mhuileain (voolin), mill-ridge — 

Milrig 155 

Inch '^ G. iiiis, gen. innse (inshy), meadow near water, an 
Inks j island . . . . . . .94 

Inchnadamph — G. inis no! damli (dav), ox-pasture . 125 

T 1 '^- ( ^* '^'^'^'^^^^^'J (iiishog), the ash-tree . 109, 110 

Inshanks — G. uinnsean (inshan), ash-trees . . .109 

inshaw — G. uinnse (inshy), the ash-tree . . .109 

Inshewan — G. uinnsean (inshan), ash-trees . . .109 

Inverness — G. inbher (inver) Ness, mouth of the K'ess . 89 
Irland (in Orkney), Ireland (in Shetland) — IST. eyn- land, 

beach island ...... 87 

Irongray — G. earrann graich, land of the horse-drove . 137 
Ironl^sh — G. earrann loise (loshe), burnt land . .136 

Ironmannoch — G. earrann manach, monk's land . .137 

Kelso — A.S. chalc how, chalk-hill 
Kelty — G. coillte, the woods .... 
Ivenmare — G. ceann mara, sea-headland 
Kenvara — G. ceann mhara (vara) sea-headland 
Kibberty Kite Well — G. tiohar Ugh Cait, well of Gather 
ine's house ...... 





204 Index of Place- Names. 

Kilbirnie — G. cill Birinn, St Birrin's church . . 7 

Kilbride — G. cill Brighde, St Bride's or Bridget's church 174 
Kilbr6cks — G. coill hroc, badger wood . . .129 

Kilbr5ok — G. coill In'uic, badger wood . . .129 

Kilehrist— G. cill Crioisd, Christ church . . .174 

Kilda, St — G. (oilean) celi De (naomh) (kelly day nave), 

island of the holy servants of God, the Culdees . 91 
Kildalton — cill daltain, church of the foster-brother (St 

John) 175 

KildkTOch — G. coill darach, oak-wood . . .108 

Kildr6chat (older Kerodroched) — G. ceathramliadli (car- 
row) an drocMd, land quarter of the bridge . .105 
Kildrtimmie — O.G. cill, coil, or ciU droma, church, wood, 

or back of the ridge . . . . .142 

Ivilhilt — G. coill na lieilte, hind-wood . . .120 

Killantrae (older Kerantra) — G. ceathramTiadh (carrow) 

an iraigh, land-quarter of the shore . . 92, 105 

Killantringan — G. cill shaint (ant) Ringain, St Ninian's 

church ....... 172 

Killc^an — G. cill Sheatliainn (hane), John's church . 175 

Killibrakes — 1 O.G. coille breach, wolf-wood; or G. eoille 

hreac (brek), parti-coloured wood . . .127 

Killiem6re — G. coille mor, great wood . . 105, 161 

Killiewhan — G. coille clion, the wood of the dogs . .127 

Killymmshaw — G, coille nam uinnse (inchy), ash-wood . 110 
Kilmalcolm — G. cill ma Coluim, church of our Columba . 174 
Kilmarnock — G. cill ma Ernainuig, church of our Ernanog 

(diminutive of Ernan) . . . . .174 

-r^., . , !- G. c/ZZ «?a J?o/zMi7, church of our Eonan . 174 
Kilmaronock J 

Kilmichael — G. cill Michail, Michael's church . .174 

-p., , [ G. cill Muire, Mary's church . . 105, 173 

Kilninian — G. cill Nennidhai^i, church of IS'ennidius . 172 

Index of Place-Names. 205 

Kilwinning — G. cill Guinain, St Finan's cliurcli . 68, 74, 175 

IviachbU — G. cinn choill (hoyle), at the head of the wood 45 

Kindr6chit )^ , , ^,, , ,., 

Y- A ' , , > G. cmn droclnd, at the bridge-head . 105 

Kingussie — G. dim giutliasaicli (geusah), at the head of 

the fir-wood . . . . . .113 

Kinl6ch — G. cinn locha, at the lake-head . , 11, 12 

Kinnabus — N. kinnar hulsa^r, cheek-farm, at the cheek or 

side of the hill 92 

Kinneil — G. cinn fliaill (ale), at the wall-head . . 66 

Kintail — G. cinn t-sliael (tale), at the head or end of the 

tide 131 

Kintyre — G. cinn tir, at the head of the land, land's end 131 
Kinvarra — G. cinn mhara (varra), at the head of the sea . 131 
Kirkapoll — N". hirltju holsta^r, kirk house or farm . .92 

Kirkbride — A.S. circ, G. Briglide, Bride's or Bridget's 

church ....... 174 

Kirkby or Kirby — ^N". kirJcju by, kirk town . . .91 

Kirkchrist — A.S. circ, G. Crioisd, Christ church . .174 

Kirkc61m — A.S. circ, G. Coluim, Columba's church . 174 

Kirkcudbright (pron. Kirkoobry) — G. circ Cudbrichf, 

Cuthbert's kirk . . . . . .75 

Kirkd6minie — A.S. circ, L. domini, the Lord's church . 174 
Kirkgimzeon (pron. Kirkgunnion) — G. circ Guinnin, St 

Finan's church . . . . ,68, 75, 175 

Kirkhope — ISJ". kirkju hup, kirk glen . . . .89 

Kirklauchlane — G. catliair (caher) LocliUnn, Norsemen's 

fort 92 

Kirkmabreck — A.S. circ, G. ma Brice (breekie), church 

of our Brecan . . . . . .174 

Kirkmaiden — A.S. circ Medainn, Medana's church . 176 

Kirkmichael — A.S. circ, G. Michail, Michael's church . 174 
Kirminnoch — G. ceathrmnh manach or meadJionach (cavTOv/ 

mennogh), monk's quarterland or middle quarterland 168 

206 Index of Place- Names . 

Kittyshalloch — G. ceide sealghe (kecldy shalluli), hill- 
brow of the hunting . . . . 119, 157 


Knap — G. C7iaj), a knob, hillock — ]N". knappr 
Knaperna— G. cnap fhearna (erna), alder-knoll 
Knappoch — G. cnajjach, a hilly place 

[■ N. gnipa, a peak 


Knipe, The 

Knipoch — G. cnapach, a hilly place . . . .156 

Knockaniairly — G. cnoc a' mearlaicli, thief's hill . . 170 

Knockb6gle — G. cnoc huachail, shepherd's hill . .170 

Knockcannon — G. cnoc ceann fliionn (can hin), hill of the 

white top ....... 47 

Knockcravie — G. cnoc craoWiach (creuvah) or craobhe, 

wooded hill 107 

Knockcr6sh — G. cnoc crois, gallow's hill . . .170 

Knockenbaird — G. cnoc an baird, rhymer's hill . .168 

Ivnockenharry — G. cnoc an fhaire (harry), hill of the 

watching . . . . . . 124 

Knock entarry — G. cnoc an tairhhe (tarry), bull's hill . 124 

T- 1 °M T r Gr- cnoc qiolcach, broom-hill . .117 

Ivnockgulsha ) 

Knockhilly — G. cnoc chuille (hwilly), hill of the 

wood ....... 140 

Knockmanister — G. c7ioc manaisdir, monastery hill . 176 

Knockmkrloch — G. c7ioc mearlach, thieves' hill . .170 

Knocknar — G. c7ioc n^air, hill of the slaughter, or of the 

ploughing ....... 39 

Knocknmshock — G. cnoc no! uinnseog (inshog), ash-tree 

hill ..-..'... 110 
Knockr^och — G. cnoc riabhacli (reeagh), grey hill . .41 

Knockr^ger — G. cnoc clirochadhair (hroghair), hangman's 

hill 170 

KnockshMlie — G. cnoc sealghe (shalluh), hunting-hill . 119 
cnoc seagail (shaggul), rye-hill . .118 

Index of Place-Names, 207 

Knockst^cks — G. cnoc stuc, hill of the peaks 
Kn5ydart — N". Cnuts fjur^r, Cnut's firth 

Lacasdle — ^N". laxar dalr, salmon- river dale . 
Lag — G. lag, a hollow ..... 
Laggan — G. lagdji, a hollow .... 
Lagniemawn — G. lag nam ban, the women's hollow 
Lagtutor — G. lag t-sliudaire (tudory), tanner's hollow 
Laichtalpine — G. lecht Alpin, Alpin's tomb . 
Lairg- — G. learg (larg), a slope or hillside . 
Lakin — G. leacdn, a hillside .... 
Lamington — O.N.E. Lavihin tihi, Lambin's house . 
Lamlash — G. la^m mo Lais, church of St Molio 
Lanark — W. llanerch, a clearing in a forest . 
Langavat — N". langa vatn, long lake . 
Langbedholm — O.G. laim Bedleim, church of Bethlehem 
Lanrick — W. llanerch, a clearing in a forest 
Larg — G. learg (larg), a slope or hillside 
Largie — G. leargaidh (largie), a hillside 
Largieb^g — G. leargaidh heag, little hillside 
Largiebreak — G. leargaidh hreac, dappled hillside . 
Largiem^re — G. leargaidh mor, great hillside 
Largiewfee — G. leargaidh hhuidh (largie wee), yelloAv hill 

side ....... 

Largo — G. leargaidh (largie), a hillside 

Largs — G. learg (larg), a slope or hillside 

Largue — G. learg (larg), a slope or hillside . 

Largvey — G. learg hheith (vey), hill-side of the birch 

trees ....... 

Lathro — G. latracha (plural of leth tir), the slopes 
Lauchentilly — G. leacdn tulaich, slope of the hill . 
Laune (river) — G. {amhninn) leamhan (lavan, laun), elm 

river ....... 

Laxdale — N. laxar dalr, salmon-river dale . 


Index of Place-Names. 

Leadburn (Mid-Lothian) — G. lee Bernard, Bernard's or 

Birrin's stone ..... 
Leakin — G. leacdn, a hillside .... 
Leckie — G. leacach, a hillside .... 
Leffincleary — G. letJi pheighinn (leyffin) clereich, parson's 

halfpenny-land ..... 
Leffindonald — G, leih pheighinn (leyffin) DonuiJ, Donald's 

halfpenny-land ..... 
Lefn61 — G. leth pheigliinn Amhahjhaidh (leyffin Owlhay). 

Olaf's or Aulay's halfpenny-land 
Lemnamtiick — G. leum na muie, the sow's leap 
Lenagboyach — G. leana hathaich (ba-ach), meadow of the 

cow-house .... 
Lendal — IST. len dair, fief or fee dale . 

!- G. leana (lenna), a meadow 
Leny j ^ ^' 

Lennox — G. leamhnach (lavnah), elm-wood 

Lenziebeg — G. lea^ia heag, little meadow 

Lesmahagow — W. eglioys Machuti, St Machutiis's church 

Letter — G. letli (ley) tir, a hillside 

Letterbeg — G. leth (ley) tir heag, little hillside 

Letterdhii — G. leth (ley) tir duhh, dark hillside 

Lettermore — G. leth (ley), tir mor, great hillside . 

Lettrick — G. latracha (plural of leth tir), the slopes 

Leiicarrow — G. leth ceathramh (ley carrow), half-quarter 

land ..... 

Leven — G. leamhan (lavan), the elms 
Lewis — G. leoghas, marshy (land) 
Liberland — A.S. lihher land, leper's land 
Liberton — A.S. lihhe)' tiin, leper's house 
Lincltiden — W. llyn glutvein, pool of the Cluden 
Linc6m — G. linn cam, winding pool . 
Lingat — G. linn cat, wild cat's linn . 
Linshader — !N". lln setr, flax croft 


Index of Place-Names. 209 

Loch Conn — G. loch Con, Conn's lake or the dog's lake . 127 
Loch Dr6ma — O.G. loch drama, lake of the ridge . ,142 

Loch Goosie — G. loch giuthasach (geusagh), lake of the 

pine-wood . . . . . . .113 

Loch Stornua — X. Sfjarna vdgr, Stjarna's bay ; G. loch 

prefixed ....... 90 

Loch Thealasbhaidh (pron. Hellasvah) — N". Hellas vdgr, 

Hella's bay ; G. loch prefixed . . . .84 

Loch Valley — G. loch hhealaich (valleh), loch of the pass 134 
L6char (river) — G. luachair, rushes . . . .117 

Lochenalhig — G. lochdn na lin (leen), flax lakelet . .118 

Lochinvar — G. loch an hharra, lake of the hill . .145 

Loddanm6re — G. loddn mor, great swamp . . .164 

Loddanr^e — G. loddn fliraeich (hree), heather-swamp . 164 
L^dens, The — G. lodan, the swamps . . . .164 

Lodnigapple — G. lod nan capul, swamp of the horses . 164 
L6gan — G. lagan, a hollow . . . . .160 

L6gie — G. lagach, a low-lying place . . . .160 

Lt)mond — G. leaman, the elms. . . . .110 

London — W. Ion dijn or diin, marsh fort, Londinium . 3 
Long Maidens — O.G. lann Medainn, St Medana's church 176 
Long jSTewton — W. llan, a church, with M.E. suffix . 49 

L6ngridge (formerly Lanrig) — W. llamrch, a clearing in 

a forest ...... 50, 74 

T , ' !- G. ?ec«n7irai(i7iecm (lavran, lowran), elm- wood 111 
Lowring J \ i i 

' ' >- G. Zaw7i i^wiam, Linfin's church , 68,175 

Lumphmnans ) 

Lune (river) — G. (amhuinn) Icamhan (lavan, laun), elm-river 110 

Lurg — G. learg (larg), a slope or hillside . . .149 

Liirgan — G. leargdn, a hillside . . . .149 

IMkchar (parishes in Aberdeen) — G. (eaglais) Machori, 

St Machorius's church . . . . 12, 132 


Index of Place-Names. 

Macher — G. maclialr, a plain or field . 

Macherakill — G. machaire cill (maharry keel), kirk-field 

Macherally — G. machair Amhalghaidh (Owlliay), Olaf; 

or Aulay's field ..... 
Machrie — G. machaire (magliery), flat land near the sea 
Maliaar — O.G. magh air, field of the ploughing, or the 

slaughter ..... 
Mamheg — G. mam heag, little waste . 
Mani6re — G. mam mor, great "waste . 
Maxton — A.S. Maccus' tiin, house of Maccus 
Maxwheel — A.S. Maccus^ iciel, pool of Maccus 
Mealgarve — G. meall garhh (garriv), rough hill 
Mealm6re — G. meall mor, great hill . 
Mearns, The — P. magh Girginn, plain of Cirig 
M^avig — N. mjo-vdgr, narrow bay 
Menteith — G. monadh Teid, moor of the river Teith 
Mildriggan — A.S. myln, O.G. droigen (dreggen), mill of 

Dreggan — i.e., the blackthorns . 
Milj5an — G. meall don, brown hill 
Millegan — G. mollachan, a hillock 
Millharry — G. meall fliaire (harry), watch-hill 
Millifiach — G. meall a' fithiaich (feeagh), raven's hill 
Millm6re — G. meall mor, great hill . 
Milmannoch — G. meall manach, the monk's hill . 
Milnab — ^G. meall an aih, the abbot's hill 
Mind6rk — G. moine (munny) tore, moor of the wild boars 

Hollands > G. mullein, a hill 

Mollandhii — G. mulldn duhh (doo), black hill 
Moncrieff'— G. monadh craehh (munny creav), moor of 

the trees ....... 








Index of Place-Names. 211 

Monybuie — G. monadh huidli (niunny buie), yellow moor 146 

Moniem6re — G. monadh mor, great moor 

Monyguile — G. monadh goill, the stranger's moor . 

M6rar — G. mor ard, great height 

M6ray — O.G. mur mliagh (vah, wah), sea-field. 

M6rebattle — A.S. mor boti, moor-house 

Morrach — O.G. mur mhagli (vah, wah), sea-field . 

M6rven — G. mor bJieinn (ven), great hill 

Moimth, The — monadh (munny), a moorland 

Mouswald — N. mosi vollr, moss-field . 

Moy — O.G. magh, a plain or field 

Muck (river) — G. {amhuinn) muc, sow's river 

Miickrach — G. mucreach, a swine pasture . 

Muiravonside — G. mor amhuinn, great stream (M.E. s 

added) ...... 

Miillach — G. midlach, a hill .... 

Mullochard — G. mullach ard, high hill 

Mulwharker — G. maol adhairce (aharky), hill of the hunt 

ing-horn ...... 

Munnock — G. monadh (munny), a moor 

Mye — O.G. magh, a plain or field ... 








Nairn (river) — G. (amhuinn) no! fhearn (ern), alder-river 46, 111 

tappers. The — ]Sr. knappr, hillocks . . . .156 

rS PS nimf^piT" ^ 

^, , /- N. nes holsta'Sr, house or farm at the cape 

Ness — G. an eas (ass), a cataract 

Nethan (river) — "W. a/on eithin, juniper or gorse river 

N^wbattle — A.S. niive hotl, new house 

Newbigging — A.S. niwe hyggan, new building 






Ochteralinachan — G. uachdarach linachan, upland of the 

flax-field 65, 118 

Ochtralure — G. uachdarach lolhair (lure), leper's upland 65, 170 

212 Index of Place- Names. 

Ochtrimakain — G. uachdaracli mic Cain, M'Kean's up- 
land ........ 65 

Old Water — G. allt, a glen, a stream . . . 17, 18 

Ord, The, of Caithness— G. ard, a height . . .147 

Orkney — G. ore, JST. ey, whale island . . . .77 

Orn6ckenoch — G. a?'(i c?zo<;Hac7<, height of the knolls . 147 
Owen — G. amhuinn (avon, awn), a river ... 9 

Pabay — iN". pap ey, priest's isle . . . .91 
Palnee — G. pol an fhiaidli (ee), the deer's stream . .120 
Palniu'e — G. pol n'iuhhar (nure), water of the yews 37, 68, 113 
Panbride — P. lann Brighde, St Bride's church . . 49 
Panmure — P. lann mor, great enclosure or church . . 49 
Papa — ]^. pap ey, priest's isle . . . . .91 
Penc6t — W. pen coed, wood-head . . . .45 
Penkiln — G. pol cill, the church stream . . .46 
Penm61ach — G. peighinn molach, rough or grassy penny- 
land 166 

Pennyghael — O. peighinn Ghaeil, the Gael's penny -land . 166 
Pennygown — G. peigMnn gohlian (gowan), the smith's 

penny-land . . . . . . .166 

Petillery — P. p)&tt iolaire (yillary), eagle's croft . .96 

Piltanton — G. p)ol shaint (hant) Antoin, St Anthony's 

stream ....... 176 

Pitag6wan — P. j^ett a' gobhain (gowan), smith's croft . 62 
Pitargus — P. pett Flieay^guis (argus), Fergus's croft . 62 

Pitcairn — P. pett cam, mill-croft . . . .64 

Pitcastle — P. p)ett caiseail, castle croft . . .63 

Pitelpie — P. ^e^^ .^/^^m, Alpin's croft . . . .179 

Pitfour — P. ^e^^ /wa?', cold croft . . . .62 

Pitglasso — P. pett glasaich, croft of green land . .62 

Pitg6wnie — P. pett gamhnach (gownah), milch-cows' croft 63 
Pitk^erie — P. pett caora, sheep-croft . . . .62 

Pitl6chrie— P. 2^e^^ Zwac^a?"ac7ij rushy croft . . .117 

Index of Place-Names. 


Pitmellan — P. peti muilcain (meullan), mill-croft 

Pladda — N'./Zaifr ey, flat isle . 

Port Leen — G. puirt lin (leen), flax port 

Portaclearys — G. puirt a' dereich, parson's port 

Portaskaig — G. puirt, N. askr vik, landing-place of the 

ship's creek .... 

Portbriar — G. puirt I/rathair (brair), friar's port 
Prestwick — A.S. preost ivic, priest's house . 
Puldouran — G. p)ol doran, otter burn . 
Pidf ern — G. piol fearn, alder- water 

Quillichan — G. coilleachan, woodland 
Quils — G. coiU, a wood .... 
Quirang — N". kvi rand, round paddock 
Quoysch6rsetter — K kvi schor setr, paddock of the shore 
farm ...... 

Eaeden — A.S. ra denn, lair of the roe 
Eaehills — M.E, rae Mils, roedeer hills 
Eaelees — M.E. rae leas, roedeer fields 

G. reidli (ray) mar, great flat 











G. raitlmeacJi (rahnah), place of ferns 

122, 165 


-G. raithneachan (rahnahan), place of ferns 
Eathelpie — G. rath Alp)in, Alpin's fort 
Eeay — G. reidh (ray), flat land 
Eeb^g — G. reidh heag, little flat 
Eem6re — G. reidh (ray) mur, great flat 
Eephad — G. reidh (ray) fada, long flat 
Eingd6o — G. roinn duhh (rinn doo), black point 


214 Index of Place- Names. 

Eingielawn — G. roinn naJ leamhan (rinn na lawn), elm-tree 

point. . . . . . . .166 

Einguinea — G. roinn Cinaeidh (rinn kinna), Kenneth's 

portion . . . . . . .166 

Eisk ^ 

Eiskend > G. riasg, a marsh . . . .163 

Eiskhouse J 

Et)naldshay, N"orth — 'M.Mman'sey, Eingan's — i.e., ISTinian's 

isle 78, 173 

E6naldshay, South — IST. RogjivaVs eij, Eonald's isle . 78 

N. Rogn ey, Eonan's isle . . . .174 


Eosneath — G. ros Nemhedh (nevey), headland of K"eved 

34, note 
E6xburgh — A.S. Rauic's hurh, Eawic's town . . 14 

Eum — O.G. (^) dhruim (hruim), ridge-island . . 85 

Eiisco ^ 

Etiskich y G. v'z'asf/ac/i!, marshy land . . . .163 

Eiiskie J 
Euthwell (pron. Eivvel) — A.S. rode toell, rood or cross 

weU 39 

St Enoch's — M.E. St Tlienew^s or TlieneuMs, mother of 
St Kentigern ..... 

Salachan — G. saileachean, the willows 
Salachry — G. saileaclireacli, a place of willows 
Sanaigm6re — IS". sa7id vik, G. mor, great sandy hay 
Sannox — In", sand vik, sandy bay ... 
Sanquhar (pron. Sanker) — G. sea7i catJiair (shan caher), 
old fort ...... 

Sauchie — A.S. sealh, the willow 

Sauchrie — G. saileachreacfi, a place of willows 

„ ' . . !- G. scrath (scraw) ho, cow sward or pasture 
Scrabble j \ / ' r 






Index of Place-Names. 215 

Scrapeliard ) ^ , , , , , . ■, 

^ It" r1 r ^cratli (scraw) ard, high sward . .165 

Seaforth — K sob ^orSr, sea firth . . . .84 

Selkirk — IST, sTcdli Jcirltju, the shieling ku'k . . .102 

S^nwick — ]Sr. sand vik, sandy bay . . . .86 

Sgurr a' bhealaich dheirg (a vallich harrig) — G. hill of the 

red pass ....... 152 

Sgurr a' choire ghlas (a horry hlass) — G. hill of the green 

corry . . . . . . . .152 

Sgurr na choinich (honigh) — G. hill of the gathering, as- 
sembly hill . . . . . . .151 

Shalloch — G. sealg (shallug), the chase . . .119 



Shanavalley ' 



Shanvolley ) G. sean hliaile (shan valley), old place 14, 134 




Sheshader — N. see. setr, sea shieling . . . .93 

Sinniness — IST. sunnr nes, south point . . . 86, 89 

Skaith ) 

> G. sean haile (shan bally), old place . .14 

^, V G. sgitheach (skeaghe), hawthorn 


^^. , [- G. sgitheog (skeog), hawthorn . . .113 

Slaeharbrie — G. sliahh Chairhre (slew harbrie), Cairbre's 

moor. . . . . . . .141 

Slamannan — G. sliahh (slieve or slew) Manann, moor of 

the Picts of Manann . . . . 39, 141 

Slate Islands — E. producing roofing-slate . . .141 

Slayh6rrie — G. sliahh choire (slew horry), moor of the 

corry. ....... 141 

216 Index of Place- Names. 

Sleat — G. sleibhte (slatey), the hills . . . .141 

Slewcairn — G. sliahh cam, moor of the cairns . . 141 

Slewnark — G. sUabh 7i' adhairce (slew naharky), moor of 

the hunting-horn . . . . . .120 

Slewsmirroch — G, sUabh (slieve, slew) smeurach, black- 
berry moor . . . . . . 114, 141 

Sliagh — G. sUabJi (slew), a moor . . . .141 

Sligh — 1 G. sUabh (slew), a moor 

Slouchnagarie — G. sloclid no! caora, sheep's guUey 

Smirle — G. smemiach (smerrlah), a place of blackberries 

Smiorage — G. smeuracli, a place of blackberries 

Snizort (pron. Sneezort) — IS!". Sneis fjofSr, Sney's firth 

Stab Hill— O.G. stob, a peak .... 

Stac-meall-na-cuaich — G. hill-peak of the cuckoo . 

Staffa — 1^. stafa ey, staff-island ... 

Stanhope — IS", stein hop, stone shelter or glen 

Stennis — N". stein nes, cape of the (standing) stones 

Stob ban — G. white peak .... 

Stob choire an easain mhor (horrie an assanvore) — G. peak 
of the corry of the great waterfall 

St5neykirk — A.S. Steeny circ, Stephen's kirk 

St6rnoway — N'. Stjarna vdgr, Stjarna's bay . 

Strath Ossian — O.G. sratli oisin (oshin), strath of the red 
deer calves ...... 

Strathbungo — G. sratli Mungo, strath of the gracious one 
— i.e., St Kentigern .... 

Strathearn — ? G. srath Erann, the vale of the Ernai 

Strathyre — G. srath fheoir (ire), grassy strath 


> G. sron, the nose, a point 





84, 90 














Stronachlacher — G. sron a' cldachair, the mason's point 48, 169 



Stuck — G. stuc, a peak . . . . . .152 

y G. STuthan (sruhan), the streams 


Index of Place-Names. 


Stuckentaggart — G. stuc an t-shagairt (taggart), the priest's 
peak ........ 

Stuckieviewlich — G. stuc cH hhualaich (vewaligli), peak of 
the cattle-fold .... 

Swarehead — A.S. stveora, the neck 

Swmdridge — M.E. swine ridge 

Swinhill — M.E. swine hill 

Swinton — M.E. swine iiln, enclosure of the swine 

Swire — A. S. sweora, the neck ; L. jugum 

Sw6rdale — IST. svw'tSar dalr, dale of the greensward 

Symington — O.N.E. Simon tihi, Simon's town 

Tabost — N". hallr bulstaSr, sloping farm 

Tandragee — G. to7i le gaeith (geuh, gwee), backside to the 

wind ...... 

Tannach ^ 

Tannoch \- G. tamhnach (tawnah), a meadow 

Tannock J 

Tannyfliix — G. tamhnach jiiuch, wet meadow 

Tannyr6ach — G. tamhnach ruadh (tawnah rooah), red 

meadow ..... 
Tarbet — G, tarruin had, draw-boat 
Tarbr^och — 1 O.G. tir breach, wolf-land 
Tardow — G. tir dubh (doo), black land 
Tarf "I (rivers) — G. (amhuimi) tarhh (tarriv), river of the 

Tarth j bulls 

Tarwilkie — G. treahh (trav) giolcach, broom-farm 
Terally — G. tir Amhalghaidh (Owlhay), Olaf's or Aulay' 

land ....... 

Terregles — G. treamhar (traver) eglais, church land 
Thamnabhaidh (Hamnavoe) — N. hofn vcigr, haven bay 
Thankerton — O.N.E. Thancard tiln, Thancard's house 
Thirlestane — A.S. ]>irle stwn, bored stone 
Tibbers — G. tiobar, a well .... 



Index of Place- Names. 

G. tulach, a hill 

Tingwall — IST. \>infja vbllr, the assembly field 

Tinluskie — G. tir loisgthe (luskie), burnt land . .131 

Tmwald — IST. \>inga vbllr, the assembly field . . 89 

Tirargus— G. tir FJiearguis (ergus), Fergus's land . .131 

Tiree — G. fir idhe (ee), corn-land . . . 11, 131 

Tirf ergus — G. tir Fearguis, Fergus's land . . .131 

Toberm6ry — G. tiohar Muire, Mary's well . . .172 

T6dhope — IST. tod hop, fox-shelter . . . .101 

Todley— O.X.E. tod lea, fox-field . . . .135 

Told6w— G. tol dubh (doo), black hole . . .164 

T6II0 ) 

mij J 

Tolr5nald — G. tol Raonuill, Eonald's hole 

Tonderghie (pron. Tondergee) — G. ton le gaeitli (geuh, 

gwee), backside to the wind 
T6rmisdale — IST. Orm^s dalr, Orm's dale 
T6rran ^ 

Torrance > G. torran, the hillocks, or iorrdn, a hillock 
T6rrans J 

Torrs, The — G. torr, a round steep hill 
T6rwoodlee — G. torr, a round steep hill, M.E. wode lea. 

the field of the hill wood 
Trammond Ford — G. troman, elder-bush 
Troon — W. trwyn, the nose, a point . 

, ^ . !- N, trylldir nes, enchanted cape 

Trowgrain — IST. trog grain, trough branch (of a stream) 
Truim (river) — G. {amhuinn) truim, elder-bush river 
Tiillich ^ 

Tidlo I G. tulach, a hill 151 

Tulloch j 

Uist — G. i-fheirste (eehurst), ford-island 
IJlbster— I^. Ulfr bolsta^r, Ulf's farm 


Index of Place- Names. 


tJUapool— N. Olafr holstmr, Olaf's farm 

tllsta— N". UJfr hoUtaSr, Ulf's farm . 

IJlva — N. ulfa ey, wolf-island . 

Ure (river) — G. (amhuimi) iubliar (yure), rive 

yews ...... 

iJrie (river) — G. (amhuhm) iubheraich (yiireli), 

the yew-woocl .... 

"Whithorn — A.S. hioit cern, white house 
Wick — T^. vik, the bay or creek 
Windhouse — N". vind ass, windy ridge 
W^lfstar— :N'. Ulfr holstdtSr, Ulf's farm 
Wrath, Cape — N". hvarf, a turning-point 

Yarrow — G. {amlminn) garbh (garriv), rough stream 

Yearn Gill — I^. dm gil, eagle's ravine 

Yester — 1 W. ystrad, the strath or vale 

York — G. Ehurach, the place of Ebor or Eburus 




of the 


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