Miefield, Twynholm

My thanks to Sandy Fergusson for sharing these names. Sandy was a shepherd at Miefield around 50 years ago.

  • 1 Bught Field
  • 2 New Field
  • 3 Shed Field
  • 4 Cow Field
  • 5 Meadow
  • 6 Back Field

Notes

Martyr’s Chair: In addition to the field-names above, Sandy passed on this note, “There is a chair shaped rock on the Daw Craig with a date carved on it called the Martyr’s Chair which was reputedly a look out spot for the martyrs”. There is no record of this on the current OS, but the 1st edition six-inch map has Watch House (Site of). It was still marked on sheet NX65NE-A, published in 1957.

Detail from Ordnance Survey Six-inch 1st edition, Kirkcudbrightshire, sheet 44 Survey date: 1848-50, Publication date: 1852 Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Name Book describes Watch House (Site of) as follows: “The site of a small house on [the] farm of Mayfield. The walls [are] scarcely traceable above the sur[face.] It is situated near the summit [of] Dowcraig Hill in a position commanding an extensive and di[…] view of the surrounding country It was erected about the years […] or 5 by the persecuted convenant[ers] as a place of shelter and watch[…] for one or more of their party […] stationed as sentinels to gua[rd] against any surprise from […] persecutors while assembled [in] the neighbouring vallies for [the pur]pose of prayer &c.” OS1/20/129/20

Sandy notes that the farm used to be occupied by Covenanters. The current OS marks Martyr’s Grave not far to the north-east at NX666599.

Bught Field (1): Sandy tells us that this field was a sheep pen. This matches the meaning of the name. Scots BUGHT is “a sheep-fold; more strictly a small pen, usually put up in the corner of the fold, into which it was customary to drive ewes, when they were to be milked”. The word was probably borrowed into Scots from Flemish.

New Field (2): Sandy tells us that this field was created from reclaimed hill ground.

Shed Field (3): This field backs onto Miefield’s farm buildings. It was two fields on the 1st edition six-inch OS.

Cow Field (4): The bounds of this field match those on the 1st edition six-inch OS.

Meadow (5): Sandy tells us that this field was used for hay. It covers two fields marked on the current OS, which roughly correspond to the fields on the 1st edition six-inch OS.

Back Field (6): The trees which border Back Field on three sides are relatively recent; they don’t appear on the 1st edition six-inch OS but are marked on sheet NX65NE-A, published in 1957.

Miefield itself is recorded as early as 1456 as Meythfelde. Alan James has proposed that its first element is Scots methe ‘boundary marker’ and that the Miefield is “probably a Scots name no earlier than the thirteenth century, meaning ‘common pasture by a boundary mark’.” See Alan James (2017) ‘Angles and Britons around Trusty’s Hill: Some Onomastic Considerations’, Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 91, pp. 21-48 [at 24-26].