Girthon/Gatehouse Field Names

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  • #1445
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 24 July 2020

    Hi

    Margaret Wright has drawn my attention to these maps that are linked on the Gatehouse Folk website but I hadn’t noticed them.

    The Cally Mains and Park ones, dated 1858 (probably associated with Horatio Murray-Stewart’s marriage that year) seem on first sight to largely confirm what I’d inferred from the 1854 OS map and Rachel’s information, but there are a few useful details.

     

    The Rainton list and map is based on information given to Graham Wright by James Finlay, again it’s fairly similar to what Ian Fraser gleaned from JF back in the early 1980s, though I think I spot one or two unfamiliar names that may differ from that and from those given by David F.

    Low Creoch and Low Barlay are probably outwith the scope of the ‘Borgue’ project, but of interest to me. John Veitch has told me some of the names at Low Creoch, but I’ve not seen them mapped before.

    No shortage of stuff for me to work on. Time for another lockdown?

    Alan

    PS actually I’ve just started on a classified index, it won’t be a complete one by any means, but might be helpful for Nic in his projected article.

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    #1451
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 24 July 2020

    Nice!

    Interesting contrast between Low Creoch and Low Barlay field names with more Gaelic ones in the former. Maybe because it was a bit more into the hills?

    I love the field called Knock Teazer! That will take some cogitation.

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    #1452
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    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.

    #1453
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 24 July 2020

    Sounds reasonable Alan

    Interesting to see these boundary doublets in the two languages, similar situation at Shirmers where we have that place-name and Ken Ervie close together (ceann na h-airbhe, head of the boundary?)

    Also interesting to see the two Knocktinkles facing each other to some extent across the valley.

    I’m looking forward to your reasoning on Knock Teazer!

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    #1454
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 25 July 2020

    Taibhseir ‘of one with second sight’? Dwelly has an encyclopaedic entry on this word!

    #1455
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 25 July 2020

    Sounds plausible Alan, I’m not at any books just now but I think taibhse (pron roughly tà-she) is a ghost or apparition so could even be Cnoc Taibhse, ghaist knowe?

    The presumed ee sound in ‘teazer’ is a bit awkward though?

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    #1456
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 25 July 2020

    Thanks Alan, jolly interesting. Teasair would probably end up being pronounced like Teazer after anglicisation in my view, more so than taibhsear?. Maybe it’s the messenger knowe where they were stationed between the two Cnoc Timchill stations prior to the tainchel setting off for the Càrnas Mòr hunting country? (ie making sure everyone knew where they were going!) I wonder if this knowe is intervisible between the tainchel stations?

    On the map it looks like a distinct hill just across the Water of Fleet from Knocktinkle West and some kind of earthwork/castle and near Stroquhain’s Pool (interesting, presumably personal name?).

    Going back to your boundary point, maybe the crìoch from Pulcree is perpetuated in the farm name Low Creoch as well?

    Incidentally I see there’s a burn on Low Creoch called Tanniefad, presumably An Tamhnach Fad’, probably the origin of the Tannie Fauld field name.

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    #1457
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 25 July 2020

    It’s hard to find anything else, though I’m very cautious of such notions. Taibhse is from OIr taidbsiu, verbal noun from do-adbat ‘appears’, so essentialy an appearance, manifestation, but it comes to be used for dreams, visions etc., and for things seen in them, and so ghosts and suchlike. A taibhsear (Ir taidhbhsear) is someone who ‘sees things’. I don’t know much about local folklore, others may be able to say whether there are tales involving second sight in Galloway, I wouldn’t be suprised. They’re of course common in the Highlands and (especially) Islands, the combined powers of Covenanting Calvinism and Enlightened Rationalism may not have extinguished them in our region entirely. It strikes me as a gift of doubtful value, foreseeing that someone is going to die in a certain place and/or situation, but often not knowing exactly who, and not usually being able to do much about it anyway!

    The only other possibility that I can see in Dwelly is teasair ‘messenger’, from Armstrong’s (mainly Perths) Dictionary, but otherwise elusive.

    We’re all doomed …

    Alan

    #1458
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 25 July 2020

    Indeed, phonetically teasair looks closer, though the palatal initial is suspect, it would be likely to > ch-. But the trouble is, it’s a vanishingly obscure word, apparently only in Armstrong. I think it must be a Perthshire form of teachdair, OIr techtaire, MnIr teachtaire, Mx chaghter.

    #1459
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 25 July 2020

    Here are my notes on Creoch, Tanniefad and Stroqhain’s Pool:

    Creoch

    The spellings of High and Low Creoch are perplexing: High Creoch is High Croach on the 1st edition OS map (likewise High Croach Wood), but High Creoch in the 1851 Census, and on subsequent censuses and OS maps; Low Creoch is likewise Low Croach on the 1st edtion OS map, but Low Creach in the 1851 Census, Low Croech in 1881, Low Creoch on later OS maps. local pronunciation seems to be consistent with ‘Croach’. Whatever the origin, there is a significant possibility of a connection between this name and Culreoch a couple of miles up the valley, with a pronunciation that rhymes with ‘Croach’…

    The best explanation for Creoch name is probably Gaelic craobhach, craobh ‘tree’ plus an adjectival suffix, so ‘abounding in trees, wooded’. The 1st edition OS map shows the hillsides overlooking the Fleet between the Barlay Burn and Lag Burn as mainly open grassland or heath with a good many scattered trees, the kind of land characterised by landscape historians as ‘wood pasture’, former woodland that had been regularly grazed by livestock over many centuries: see also Cruffock and Culreoch below.

    In Scottish Gaelic, ‘ao’ is pronounced as a rounded vowel, rather similar to German ‘ö‘ or French ‘eu’, but in Irish it is ‘ee’ or ‘ey’: the alternation between between ‘Croach’ and ‘Creoch’ here might reflect some variation in the local pronunciation of craobhach between ‘crö(w)ach’ or ‘cre(w)ach’. However, see also Cruffock …

    An alternative consideration could be cruach, meaning literally ‘a heap, pile, stack’, but in place-names used of hills. There are several hills with ‘Cruach’ names in south-west Argyll, including at least four named simply A’Chruach; most are low, rounded, and stand somewhat apart from others, though Cruach Àrdrain is a Munro, and Cruach Innse a Corbett. In Ireland, cruach is commonly Anglicised as ‘Croagh’, as in Croaghgorm, the Blue Stack Mountains in Donegal. Much nearer home, Croach Hill between Boreland of Kelton and Gelston Lodge seems a good example of a cruach; High Croach in Inch in Wigtownshire is likewise on a rounded hill; Croachie Moss in Kells parish is overlooked by a small rounded hill; Maxwell lists a Croachan in Borgue parish which I cannot find on OS maps, but it would probably be a diminutive *Cruachán. If this is the origin of the two Creochs in Girthon parish, the Bar of Barlay would probably be the cruach.

    However, we should also notice Creoghs in Balmaghie, recorded as Meikle Creochis in 1511: Maxwell associates this with Crows (now Crouse) in Kirkinner, Crows (now Crews) in Old Luce and Cruise in New Luce, deriving all of them from Gaelic crua(dh)as ‘hardship’. The related word cruadhach ‘endurance’ is another possibility of Creoch. However, MacQueen (on the basis of early recorded forms) again sees Gaelic craobh, with an added Scots plural ‑is in the Luce Valley names, and that is perhaps preferable for Creoghs too.

    Tanniefad
    Tanniefad is marked on the 1st edition OS map as a small house uphill above Low Creoch; the name only survives now in the Tanniefad Burn that flows down into the Fleet at Stroquhain’s Pool. It is surely Gaelic *Tamhnach fada ‘distant cultivated spot’, very appropriate to the location.

    The Gaelic word tamhnach (in place-names often in the locative form tamhnaich, as was probably the case in Tanniefad) is an interesting example of a place-name element shared between Ulster and Galloway. It is used in Ulster for a small piece of arable land in an upland location that is otherwise unsuited for cultivation: examples include Tamnaghbane Co. Armagh, Tamney (otherwise Tawny), and Tawnalaghan Co. Donegal, Tonaghmore and Tonaghneeve (Saintfield) Co. Down, Tamnabrady and Tamnamore Co. Tyrone. It is less common in the rest of Ireland, and in Scotland is found most frequently in Galloway, but occurs in Ayrshire, in Argyll and Bute, in the north-east, and even in Caithness, although the word is not to be found in Scottish Gaelic dictionaries.

    In the Stewartry, besides the three examples of tamhnach in our corner (see Tannymaas and Tenniewee below), there are three former small farms named Tannoch, one above New Abbey (with Tannoch Hill and Gill), one in Colvend (spelt Tannock on the 1st edition OS map and by Maxwell), and the third (with Tannoch Flow) in Kells overlooking the Black Water of Dee, the north-eastern boundary of Girthon; each of these has a Tannoch Burn flowing past the site; another Tannoch appears on OS maps as a location in Kells parish on a hill overlooking Glenlee Mains and Old Glenlee. Tannochbrae at Culdoach, across the Dee from Tongland, appears on modern OS maps, but one suspects it may be named from the fictitious town of that name in A. J. Cronin’s novel ‘Country Doctor’, adapted for television as the well-loved series ‘Dr. Finlay’s Casebook’. In Wigtownshire, Tannoch in Penninghame is now lost; Tannylaggie (Tynalagach on Blaeu’s map) and Tannyflux are in Kirkcowan; Tannieraggie in New Luce and Tannieroach in Old Luce, are both listed by Maxwell but now lost. In Ayrshire, Tunnocks (Tannock on Blaeu’s map) is in Kilbirnie parish, on Bute there is Tawnich in North Bute, in Wesl Lothian, Tannock in Torphichen.

    Stroquhain’s Pool
    Stroquhain’s Pool (on the 1st edition OS map, Stroquhan’s) is in a bend in the Fleet at the confluence with the Tanniefad Burn just downstream of Rusko. The possessive ‘s implies that this is a form of a surname corresponding to the Irish Ó Srutháin, or else the Scottish Strachan, Northumberland Straughan. However these names in turn probably derive from place-names, such as Strachan in Kincardineshire. Stroquhan occurs as a place-name elsewhere in our region as a location on the Buchan Burn north of Glentrool, and as a country house in Dunscore parish in Dumfriesshire. Early records for the latter include Straquhan 1582 and Stronwhonn 1660: that latter form suggests *sròn chòinn ‘dog’s snout’ (cf. Stramoddie), but our pool on the Fleet – and maybe the location on the Buchan Burn in Minnigaff parish – might have been *sruthan, either ‘little rapids’ or ‘little stream’ (perhaps referring to the Tanniefad Burn), reinterpreted as a surname.

    #1460
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 25 July 2020

    Thanks Alan

    As an aside it is odd how the anglicised spelling -reoch is sometimes pronounced as you describe below in Galloway. Certainly Kirriereoch in the Cree valley is today pronounced Kirrie-òach. I guess this is just ongoing simplification at work.

    Michael

    #1462
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 25 July 2020

    I think the puzzle may be the other way about – why were those names spelt that way? As I say in my note, if Creoch was craobhach, ‘eo’ seems to be an attempt to represent the sound spelt ‘ao’ in modern Sc G, i.e. a secondary vowel (not a diphthong) fairly close to French ‘eu’ or German ‘ö’, plus the weak medial vowel of the second syllable. That combination could go either way in Scots to  [iəx] or [oəx] (the schwa should be superscript, just a weak glide vowel on to the [x])

    Further to what’s in my note: the place in Old Luce that Maxwell spelt Crows, MacQueen (and current OS maps) Crews, when Luce Abbey was dissolved, 1574, was Creauchchis; MacQueen derives it from craobhach, Maxwell from cruadhach, and both reckon Cruise in New Luce has the same origin either way. But MacQueen agrees with Maxwell that Crouse in Kirkinner is cruadhas, Maxwell spells that as Crows, but on Pont/Blaeu it’s Kreochs! And there’s also Croys in Kirkpatrick D, which Maxwell brackets with Crows, along with Croase in Co. Wexford.

    So I think the ‘eo’ spelling began with late medieval/ reformation scribal attempts to transcribe a sound which wasn’t close to anything in their phonetic repertoire; it may have stood for various fairly similar sounds in different names, a vowel followed by a weak glide, and this had varied outcomes, though at least in the Glenkens and the Fleet Valley it seems to have emerged as [oə], further west maybe [uə].

    Presumably Kirriereoch is riabhach? That makes it a bit of an outsider – it should have been [riəx], perhaps it was retracted to [roəx] under the influence of the other -reoch names in the vicinity.

     

    #1463
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 25 July 2020

    Thanks Alan

    I am struggling with the phonetic terminology so please forgive me but to me the Scots/English sound combination that would come closest to the sound of G craobhach would be something like cròovoch or crùvoch, kind of like cruffock I guess. It’s not clear to me why the ‘ao’ sound should have been represented by ‘eo’ in Scots. Having said that I don’t think it is common to see ‘oo’ combinations in old Scots charters, perhaps this wasn’t done and they had to use something else like ‘eo’. Maybe that is what you are saying below.

    With respect to Kirriereoch (yes I would say an ceathramh riabhach but for pronunciation) there is a form from RMS 1592 in Carreoch (carre +och?) which is approximating to the modern pronunciation of Kirrie-òach. James Dorret’s map 1750 has Kireroh. However Blaeu has Kererioch very much pointing to the brindled quarterland. It’s interesting there is the Kirerroch near Loch Dee and the Kirreoch on the shoulder of Corserine, both of which are closer to how Kirriereoch is pronounced today.

    There’s also Croy near Cumbernauld.

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    #1464
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Alan James – 25 July 2020

    According to Ronald Black, ‘ao’ is pronounced with the back of the tongue raised, as for [o], the lips spread as for [e]. I agree that modern Sottish Gaelic speakers do pronounce it as a rather higher vowel, so more like tongue [u], lips [i], so it can sound a bit like ‘oo’ to English ears. But the medieval scribes had good ears and were right to hear it as a combination of [e] and [o]. German ‘ö’ conversely is pronounced with the front of the tongue raised as for [e], but the lips rounded as for [o], but the resultant sound is pretty similar. In Irish, it’s become a purely front vowel, [i:], and that seems to be reflected in some parts of Scotland (e.g. Crieff), but in Galloway it seems to have kept its [o]/[u] character.

    You’re right that ‘oo’ is not commonly used in Older/ Middle Scots orthography. In Middle English if would represent long [o:], but Scots (somewhat confusingly) sometimes used ‘oi’ for long [o:]. But I think you’re thinking of long [u:] (‘oo’ in Modern English spelling), if they were marking the length, that was ‘ui’.

    I think Cruffock has a short first vowel, like fuffock or Suffolk? That must have been shortened in Scots, it was probably adopted early.

    Pretty well all the forms we’re discussing show that in Galloway ‘bh’ between vowels had become [ṷ] (i.e. approaching [w]) which would have been absorbed by the preceding vowel in words like craobhach, riabhach etc. It wouldn’t have been [v] as in modern Sc G, but more like Irish in that respect.

    Croy in the Central Belt is recorded in that form from 1369. Nearer home, Croy Brae near Culzean is nowadays more often called Electric Brae, it’s where the road looks to be going uphill when it’s actually going down, so cyclists can play at freewheeling uphill! I think these are cruadh.

     

    #1465
    John Shields
    Keymaster

    From Michael Ansell – 26 July 2020

    Yes I see what you mean Alan. I certainly hear ‘oo’ as the main element in native Gaels pronouncing craobh today and they understand me (without quizzical looks) when I pronounce craobh as something like crooeve. But they might (probably are!) be being indulgent!

    Another interesting point was a G teacher I had, Màiread NicLeoid was from Lewis and always pronounced the terminal ‘a’ in words like sionnach as ‘o’, ie shinnoch. I remember discussing the word glasach, a green field or fallow field, with her and she pronounced that exactly like a local would pronounce the place-name Glassoch in the middle of the Wigtownshire moors.

    I had thought the ‘o’ vowel sound in place-names here was a product of Scotticisation but it might have reflected the GG accent?

    Kind Regards

    Michael

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