Reply To: Girthon/Gatehouse Field Names

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John Shields

From Alan James – 24 July 2020

That’s right Mike. As you know, I’m cautious of Daphne Brooke’s ‘scir’ as an ethno-linguistic boundary, but it’s interesting that the boundary between Barlay and Creoch lies across the Fleet from the Pulcree Burn, the east-flowing tributary that rises just across the watershed from the source of the Skyre Burn. That was the boundary of Anwoth parish, and DB reckoned it was a Norhumbrian ‘scir’ boundary. Pulcree is likely to be *poll-criche, i.e. a continuation of that boundary (I think it may well have been the medieval boundary of Anwoth on that side of the hill, though it was moved up the valley after the Reformaiton when Kirkdale parish was divided between Anwoth and Kirkmabreck). So the continuation of her ‘scir’ boundary east of the Fleet might well have run between those two farms. Rusko,  whose Mains farm is on the Pulcree Burn, was the central place and power-base in the Fleet Valley before Gatehouse developed, guarding the river-crossing and lying between the ‘lowland’ (and linguistically mixed toponymically) parts down to the estuary, and the more predominantly Gaelic ‘upland’ head of the valley.