Reply To: Bagbie & Daffin

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#1713
John Shields
Keymaster

From Alan James – 9 October 2020

Yes, Daffin is a farm, now (as I understand) combined with Bagbie. It doesn’t seem to be documented early, but pretty likely to have been a tuppenceworth.

Derek Ratcliffe ‘Galloway and the Borders’ 2007, 26, after giving quite good detail of the early palynological evidence up to c5080 bp (at Clatteringshaws), says frustratingly ‘Pine was present but infrequent throughout the succeeding period up to recent times’, but gives no evidence. Other naturalists (e.g. Olga Stewart for Kcb, Stace for Britain in general) all insist that any pines in our region only go back to planted stock – and as I say I doubt whether any was planted much before c1700, nor that Gaelic was spoken here later than c1500. It’s not a location where there’d be bog fossils, if the name refers to pines, they’d have been living ones. So, although there evidently are pines at Canniegeesie, I remain unsure about -ghiu(th)saich.

Looking at the evidence from Ireland, it pretty well mirrors Scotland, native P. sylvestris generally disappearing into the bogs by 2000 bp, but clinging on in the far west (coast of Co. Clare), planting from late 17th ct on. Giuthas and related words are well-attested, including ones for bog-pine -so it was recognised as such. And the early Irish Laws have typically elaborate regulations and punishments for cutting it, which aren’t easy to square with extinction 2000 years ago – even if we accept Kenneth Jackson’s ambitious claims for those laws as a ‘Window on the Iron Age’. But I don’t find any sign of them in the place-name sources I’ve got or can access.

 

As to juniper, it still grows mainly on cliff-tops at various locations along the Solway coast, especially near the Mull, and very sporadically inland – generally prostrate on the coast and scrubby inland. Canniegeesie is no more than 1 km from the high-water mark now, and close to the head of a cleft in the raised beach cliff where the Kirkbride Burn flows down to the sea, so quite a possible habitat for juniper in the past. But also one where pine might just possibly have hung on.

Alan