The estate maps digitised by the Dumfries Archival Mapping Project are a treasure trove of place-names, many of which aren’t recorded elsewhere. Here are a few that caught my eye.
Tumbling Cloddach Bay, Borgue KCB
This name isn’t on the OS. CLODDACH is a Scots word, borrowed from Gaelic (as in Claddiochdow below), and refers to ‘the gravelly bed or margin of a river; a shingly beach’.
In The Place-Names of Galloway (1930), in the entry for Claddiochdow, Maxwell notes:
‘The term cladach is still in colloquial use among the people of Galloway. One day I was playing a salmon in the river Luce, while standing on a gravelly beach. My gillie, ready with the gaff, exclaimed “Bring him in to the cladach till I get the cleik intil him.”’
Maxwell also sees this word in Clady House, Inch. It doesn’t appear in Riach’s A Galloway Glossary (1988).
The Warlds End, Borgue KCB
Not on the OS. (The) World’s End is a fairly common name for ‘a remote piece of land’. However, given the saying ‘Oot o the world an itae Brogue’ it’s worth considering which side of the shore this name refers to!
Pousance Island, Dumfries DMF
This island appears on the Roy Military Survey of Scotland (1747-1755) but is only named on this plan. The island was lost when the Nith was redirected and is now the site of Troqueer Water Works. The old and new course can be seen on Copy of Part of the Plan of the Nith by W Newall in 1811 & 1812 [titled in pencil]. Scots PUIS(S)ANCE means ‘power’ in various senses, including ‘physical strength or might’. I’m not sure why the island has this name; I don’t think ‘puisance’ appears as a place-name element elsewhere. It may have something to do with the strength of the river. The text of the plan notes that just above the island (a & c) are, “A stone wall and earthen bank created by the Town of Dumfries for the protection of the Kingholm, the water being strongly impelled towards the left bank of the River, by weirs judiciously place on the opposite side.”
Hurchin Hill, Hurchinhall & Hurchinhill Park, Twynholm KCB
Foot Ball Knows, Lochrutton KCB
Not on the OS. This is one of only two ‘football’ place-names in Scotland I’m aware of, and the earliest one on record. The other is Football Field, West Calder [NT019639] (thanks to John Wilkinson for bringing that one to my attention).
Chapple Yard & Eccles Park, Kirkgunzeon KCB
Not on the OS. Eccles, in Eccles Park, could be a surname. However, the fact that it is next to Chapple Yard is suggestive as Eccles is also an early ecclesiastic place-name element, representing either Brittonic eglẹ:s or this word borrowed into Old English as *eclēs. As Gilbert Markus notes, Kirkgunzeon was a chapel in 1296, only later becoming a parish church. For now these names are just hints towards some ecclesiastical connection but are nonetheless a good example of the kind of historical information that can be preserved in field-names.
Gar Pow, New Abbey KCB
This burn is unnamed on the OS. The estate map not only gives us a name, but adds to the number of Gaelic place-names in New Abbey. Gar Pow is surely *garbh poll ‘rough stream’. It also appears on Farm of Glen belonging to Charles Stewart of Shambelly Esq, 1759 & SHAMBELLIE ESTATE (PLAN No 4): Map of Shambellie Estate.
Half Darg Meadow, New Abbey KCB
Not on the OS. Scots DARG is ‘a day’s work’, ultimately from Old English dægweorc.
Clock-lee Stone, New Abbey KCB
This doesn’t appear on the OS. It is, however, mentioned in three 17th century records:
- 40 solidatas terrarium antiqui extentus de Kinhervie et Clokcloy 1612 RMS 7 728
- 40 solidat. terrarium antiqui extentus de Kynhervy et Clokloy, in baronia de Lochkendero 1617 RMS 7 1740
- 40 sol. terrarium de Clockloy et Kinhervie 1633 RMS 8 2225
The first element is presumably Gaelic clach, cloch ‘stone’ or potentially its Brittonic cognate clog. The second could be Gaelic liath ‘grey’ or laogh ‘calf’.
The Monks Loch, Crossmichael KCB
Not on the OS. The Place-Names of the Galloway Glens database has three ‘monk’ place-names in Crossmichael: Monks Muir Mill, Monks Muir Smithy and the inferred *Monks Muir. The Monks Loch is significant for adding another ‘monk’ name, and one not derived from *Monks Muir. Here’s what the Galloway Glens database says about these ‘monk’ names:
“The notion of there being land belonging to ‘monks’ here may arise from the (mistaken) idea that appeared in the eighteenth century of there having been on abbey at Abbey Yard (q.v.); or there may have been some genuine tenurial connection between this part of the parish and some monastery, before lands in this parish were granted to Lincluden Collegiate Church.” [link]
Sandy Foard, New Abbey KCB
There is nothing particularly revelatory about this name, though the spelling foard is not one of the variants listed in the DSL entry for FUIRD (they have foord, fourd; feuard; förd). It appears on the OS as Sandyford. What caught my attention was that this spelling of ‘ford’ makes sense of the rhyme in Tam o’ Shanter where Burns writes:
By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare, in the snaw, the chapman smoor’d;
I’d always read this assuming it was an eye-rhyme. Old news to fans of 18th century Scots phonology but new to me.
Incidentally, Scots SMUIR ‘to be choked, stifled, suffocated, to suffer or die from want of air, esp. to perish by being buried in a snowdrift’ appears in Smuring Syke, Westerkirk: “A small stream having its rise on the south side of “Ewe Hill” and running in a S.E. direction into Logan Water. A considerable number of sheep having been smothered in a snow drift hence the name.”
Aboue Brae / Aboon the Brae, Lochrutton KCB
Abune the Brae, Lochrutton appears in the Name Book as Upper Brae. I thought this was a recent (and rare) case of a name getting more Scots rather than less. However, as the maps below show, the name has been in flux for a long time.
Grandmother’s Knowe, Tynron
This name isn’t on the Ordnance Survey and is, as far as I’m aware, the only Scottish place-name to contain the word ‘grandmother’. Gutcher, Scots for ‘grandfather’, appears at Gutcher’s Isle, Colvend.
Trumpet Moss, Hoddom
Not on the OS. The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Trumpet Knowes, Hoddom says that, “The Knowes took their name from a small moss, in shape, like that of a trumpet and situated near the same spot. The moss is now drained”. Here we get to see the moss before it was drained. It doesn’t look particularly like a trumpet to me. If the knowes did take their name from the moss we might expect them to be called *Trumpet Moss Knowes. The fact that there are three names on the map with ‘Trumpet’ as their specific element – Trumpet Lands, Trumpet Moss, Trumpet Knolls – suggests that the name might not have come from the shape of the moss after all. What the reference is though, I’m not sure; ‘Trumpet’ names aren’t common. There’s a Trumpethill in Stirlingshire but apart from that I’m not aware of any others in Scotland.
Servitude Field, Middlebie
Not on the OS. This is the only occurrence of ‘servitude’ as a place-name element that I am aware of.