Coalpit Burn

New Abbey, KCB, NX928653

  • Solas Syke 1793 Plan of the Lands of Kinharvie lying in the parish of Newabbey and County of Galloway belonging to Robert Riddel – Joseph Udney [Acc 7932/03]
  • Coalpit Burn 1854 [1850-51] OS 6 inch 1st edn KCB 41

Elements: SSE coalpit; SSE burn; SSE ?solace; ?G solus ‘light; bright’; SSE syke ‘small stream, rill or water-course, esp. one that meanders through a hollow or across flat or boggy ground and is freq. dry in summer’

The Old and New Statistical Accounts for New Abbey report frustrated efforts to find coal in the parish. The name Coalpit Burn shows that this venture was finally successful. The alternative name Solas Syke is notable for being a westerly occurrence of the element syke which is concentrated in eastern Dumfriesshire and the Borders. Another outlier is Pullosh Sikes in Dalry. I take it that Solas is ‘solace’, though I’m not aware of it as an element in any other place-name. It may be that some other element was reanalysed as this word if it wasn’t originally ‘solace’. Solas could represent Gaelic solus which occurs in names like Barsolis Hill, Crossmichael. However, I don’t think there’s much evidence for it being used as a simplex name. Sollas in North Uist is, as far as I’m aware, obscure (see Iain Mac an Tàilleir 2003).

Name Book entry: “A small stream or burn having its rise on the N. East side of Kinhervy Hill, and running in a N. Westerly direction to is confluence with ‘Kenhervy Burn’.” OS1/20/95/17

Detail from Plan of the Lands of Kinharvie lying in the parish of Newabbey and County of Galloway belonging to Robert Riddel
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

This entry is still in draft and has yet to be proofed. There are links to the sources of historical forms of the name, where spellings can be checked.