The estate maps digitised by the Dumfries Archival Mapping Project are the gift that keeps on giving. My first post on names found on these maps was getting pretty long, so I’ve started another. Like the names on the previous post, we wouldn’t know about most of these were it not for the maps.
Skirlnacket, Kirkmichael DMF
SKIRL-NAKED is Scots for ‘completely or stark-naked’. This was presumably a bare and perhaps unproductive piece of land. Derogatory names for fields are not uncommon but Skirlnacket is, so far, unique. The word itself is rare too; it only has one associated quotation in the DSL, where it is listed under SKIRL- adv.
Incidentally, the form nacket ‘naked’ isn’t recorded in the DSL, though almost every other imaginable spelling is: Nakit, Naikit, Nakkit. Also: nakitt, -yt(t, -yit, -eit, -et, -id, -yd(e, -ed; naikyt, -et, naykit, -yt, -et, naickit, -et, naikid, -ed, naicked; neakit; nacked.
Barturk, Keir DMF
Barturk Walls, Barturk Dyke and Barturk Holm all appear on this map. None make it onto the OS. There is, however, a Barturk in Ochiltree AYR. Barturk is Gaelic bàrr ‘summit’ + torc ‘boar’, meaning roughly ‘boar hill’. It’s always nice to find an otherwise unrecorded Gaelic name. This one is notable as Celtic ‘boar’ names are rare in southern Scotland. Aside from Barturk in Ayrshire, there are also Glenturk and Mindork in Wigtownshire.
Auchensleo, Keir DMF
Michael Ansell spotted this name which, like Barturk, hasn’t made it onto the OS. Auchen- is typically from Gaelic achadh + na ‘field of the…’. However, Michael suggests that in this case it may represent a reanalysis of àth ‘ford’. The OS has the farm of Ford just south of here. It may be that Auchensleo (or-fleo) was an earlier name for this farm.
Come-in-time Park, Kirkconnel DMF
I don’t know what this name refers to, but it’s a good example of the unusual syntax you find in field-names. It could perhaps be a reanalysis of some former name that has become opaque, but there’s no reason for it not to be come-in-time, whatever that meant in a field-name context.
Stellan Tree, Keir DMF
The name Stellan Tree could refer a particular tree in the field. However, Scots TREE can also be ‘a rod, stick; long wooden bar, post, pole’. Tree is used in this sense in axle-tree, which appears in Axle-Tree-Well, a farm in Hoddom. Stellan, which is also spelled Stelland in this 1825 map, looks like the -and (English -ing) form of STELL ‘to place in position; to set up, fix, plant. prop, mount’ and numerous other related senses. A stellan tree might be a ‘fixing beam’.
However, if Stellan Tree refers to a type of beam or pole analogous to an axle-tree it would be unusual to find it used as a name on its own. In Axle-Tree-Well, axle-tree is specifying the generic element well. It may be that in this case TREE is indeed ‘a tree’ and that stellan is describing it. If stellan is a form of STELL, I’m not sure what its precise sense is here. However, Older Scots has stelling place ‘a place of refuge or shelter’ and it may be that the tree was used for shelter.
Spreach Park, Kirkconnel DMF
Scots SPREATH, which has spreach as one of its many variants, has a range of meanings:
- Cattle, specif. a herd of cattle stolen and driven off in a raid, esp. by Highlanders from the Lowlands.
- A foray to steal cattle, a cattle-raid.
- Booty, plunder in gen., prey. Also fig. a source of profit.
- Driftwood, wreckage from ships, flotsam and jetsam.
- A great many, a crowd, collection, large number.
I’m not aware of this being used as a place-name element elsewhere and I’m not sure what the reference is. The park raided cattle were taken to? The park cattle were once raided from?
Shed Park, Penpont DMF & Nowt Shed Morton, DMF
Scots SHED is ‘to separate out, divide, sort, esp. lambs from ewes, or calves from cows’ and as a noun ‘the act of sorting out sheep, the dividing of a flock’. It can also mean, among other things, ‘a strip of land plainly marked off from its surroundings, a distinct or separate piece of ground’. (Shed in the sense ‘building’ is a separate word related to shade.)
Shed Park was presumably where animals were sorted out, perhaps in the tear-drop shaped enclosure shown on the map. NOWT is Scots for ‘cattle’ and it may be that Nowt Shed was a marked off portion of land for cattle. However, it could equally be the place where cattle were separated.
Sonsy Hole, Tundergarth DMF
Scots SONSY means ‘lucky’. (It’s use in Burns’ To a Haggis – “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face” – is in the extended sense of ‘good-looking’.) It’s a rare element in place-names. It joins Sonsy Neb in Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire: “A point of rocks covered at high water and is used at low water as a fishing seat by fishermen while angling, takes its name from being considered a lucky place in taking fish.” The only other example appears to be Sonsiquoy in Canisbay, Caithness. (See p. 309 of Doreen Waugh’s PhD thesis The Place-Names of Six Parishes in Caithnes, Scotland 1985.)
Mount Pisgah, Tundergarth DMF
Gean Brae, Tynron DMF
Scots GEAN is ‘the wild cherry tree, and its fruit’. This name isn’t on the OS and is so far the only Dumfries and Galloway gean place-name.
Mean Hill, Tinwald DMF
Scots MEAN is an adjective meaning ‘common to two or more persons or things, possessed jointly’. The DSL gives the examples mean-barn, -farm, -gavel, -rig, -yaird.
Marriage Stone, Dalry KCB
A ‘marriage stone’ is , according to Wikipedia, “usually a stone, rarely wood, lintel carved with the initials, coat of arms, etc. of a newly married couple, usually displaying the date of the marriage. They were very popular until Victorian times, but fell out of general use in the 20th century.” This doesn’t appear to be the case here, where the Marriage Stone looks to be a standing stone. Perhaps it was the place where ceremonies took place. There may be some connection with it and the name Chapple Rig.
Vocum’s Knowe & Vocum’s Cleugh, Closeburn DMF
Vocum appears to be a personal name but it’s not one I’ve come across before.
Mantua Rigg & Mantua Holm, Dryfesdale DMF
Mantua is a city in northern Italy. It appears in the DSL as the name of a type of bonnet or hose ‘made or as made in Mantua’. I can’t see how this would fit here. Names of foreign places were often given to distant fields, which may be the case here.
Angertown, Middlebie DMF
Scots ANGER is ‘a cause of grief or vexation; grief or vexation’. This might be a derogatory name for an unproductive field. Another possibility is Old English *anger ‘meadow’. This word is frequently used in the dative plural form angrum giving names like Angrim, Angram and Angron. However, it appears as Anger- in Anger Holme, Cumbria and Angerholme, Westmorland.
Ridge of clinking stones, Dalry KCB
A wonderfully evocative name. It would be worth a visit to see (and hear) why it was so called.
Doddies Crue, Kirkconnel DMF
Scots DODDIE is ‘a hornless bull or cow’. However, we would expect to find the form *Doddie Crue if the reference were to animals. Genitive -s tends to be used with personal names. Doddie, a form of the name George, seems to be a better fit for this place-name. CRUE is ‘an enclosure for sheep, pigs, hens or cows’. It is ultimately from Gaelic crò ‘sheep cot, pen’ via Old Norse.
Three Brothers, Closeburn DMF
This oak tree, more commonly known as the Three Brethren, was destroyed by the great storm of 7 June 1839. The tree was formed of three trunks assumed to be joined underground. You can read more about it here: Trees with Names in Dumfries and Galloway.
Toop Park and Heifer Park, Glencairn DMF
Scots TUIP is ‘a ram’. Tup Park is a fairly common field-name, particularly on older estate maps but this is the only occasion where I’ve seen the word spelled Toop. It sits above Heifer [‘a young cow’] Park, which is the only example of this name I have seen.
Swaugh Park, Hoddom DMF & Jock’s Swaugh Moss, Dryfesdale DMF
Swaughpark is recorded on the OS, where it is the only place-name in Scotland to contain the element swaugh. Jock’s Swaugh Moss adds another. It’s not immediately clear what this word is, but I think the best match is Scots SOUCH, SWOUCH ‘a rushing, rustling, whistling or murmuring sound, as if of wind, fire, etc.’. Swaugh isn’t recorded as a spelling of this word, but swoche and swogh are. Perhaps these were places where the wind whistled though or, in the case of Jock’s Swaugh Moss, where the ground murmured.
Dub-o-hass, Keir DMF
The Dub o’ Hass in Dalbeattie was the furthest point large craft could sail up the Urr. Scots DUB is ‘a pool’; HASS is ‘a neck’ but in place-names ‘a defile, a narrow passage between hills, the head of a pass’. There’s no obvious dub here and I suspect the name has been transferred from Dalbeattie.