The Borgue Field Names exhibition is on display at the Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright until January 2024. There will also be a talk about the Borgue Field names by Michael Ansell in Kirkcudbright Parish Church Hall on Wednesday 25 October, from 7 to 9p.m.
A set of panorama panels, featuring paintings by Ann Butler, has been installed at the Knockbrex Hill viewpoint overlooking Ardwall Island. These panels were created as part of the Borgue PLACE project, sponsored by the Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project collected and analysed place names and field names from around the Borgue area.
The panels illustrate the views in four directions and during the four seasons. Places of interest and field names are labelled and examples of local wildlife are also included. Images of the panels are from Richard Ryall.
The panels were unveiled at a small gathering on Knockbrex Hill on 12th January 2022.
Many thanks to David and Dora Austin, who farm the surrounding land from Boreland of Girthon, for their help with the field names project and for installing the panels.
During the summer of 2021, there were two exhibitions featuring the Borgue area at Mill on the Fleet. The first exhibition was about a project that collected and analysed the names of farm fields around Borgue. The second exhibition was about the life and times of James Brown of Knockbrex. A booklet has been created for each of these exhibitions and can be obtained from the Kirkandrews Kirk online shop. Click on the image below to go to the online shop.
If you are in the Borgue area, you can contact a member of the Kirkandrews Kirk Trust to obtain copies of these booklets for £5 each and save the postage costs.
The Borgue Field Names project was featured on BBC Scotland’s Landward programme this week. Rachel Lucas, who was involved in collecting the field names, and local farmer Neil Picken were interviewed by Dougie Vipond on the programme.
Click the image above or here to view the episode on BBC iPlayer. The field name segment starts just after the 13 minute mark.
The August 2021 edition of Dumfries & Galloway Life magazine has an article about the Borgue Field Names project.
There will be an exhibition of the Borgue Field Names project at the Mill on the Fleet in Gatehouse from mid-June until the end of July. Many thanks to Ken Smyth from Mill on the Fleet for providing the space and preparing the excellent presentation materials. Click on the image below for more information.
New web pages have been added to the site with photographs and descriptions of some of the more interesting field names in the Borgue area. Fields such as Cuddle Cosy, Hac Noose and Doon Yeard are described. You can see them by navigation to PLACE->Borgue Field Names then selecting the menu items for each field.
An interactive map showing Borgue field names and other local information is now online. Click on the image above to see the map. The map displays all of the fields in the Borgue area along with an analysis of the origins of the field names. Other information can also be viewed on the map, including points of interest and data from other historical maps and sources.
A unique map of old place and field names around Borgue is nearing completion. But the Borgue Field Name Project is still missing a few pieces of the jigsaw. Hundreds of descriptions have been logged so far by a team of local volunteers. Now they are keen to fill in the gaps before age-old descriptions are lost forever. The project, part of the Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere’s PLACE initiative, depends on tapping into local knowledge. And according to Borgue Community Council chairman John Shields, the public response has been excellent. He said: “A big part of this project is to ensure this stuff survives and is catalogued. Otherwise, it will all be lost as this generation disappears. It has simply been a matter of knocking on farmers’ doors. And not just farmers but ex-farmworkers as well. Adam Gray who has sadly passed away was a keen historian. A lot of information came from the Gray estate.”
Borgue and its parish lands boast a rich Gaelic, Scots and Viking heritage dating back centuries. The village name itself derives from the Old Norse ‘borg’ signifying a stronghold. It only had the ‘ue’ added in recent years for the sake of appearance.
Mr Shields said: “There’s a lot of secondary information in many of the names. For example, they can tell us how the land was used and about the people involved in working it. Many names are of Celtic, Gaelic or Norse origin while some are named after local farmers of old.”
Among the local names researched is Hac Noose, a big field next to the shore-side road between Brighouse Bay and Rockvale. Its meaning could derive from the Old English for a hook-shaped headland. Another theory contends that it is based on the Old Norse ‘hack’ – a fish-trap. Mr Shields said: “We have not got a final solution to that one yet.”
Imaging of Borgue from the sea and map-making have formed part of the project. The Lottery-funded scheme is being supported by Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and the Southern Uplands Partnership. Biosphere communities in the Wigtownshire Moors and the Stinchar Valley are also taking part.