Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Meaning of Many Local Place Names Around Crieff

Some Place Names of Strathearn

 School of Scottish Studies 
University of Edinburgh 

I recently came across a copy  of a letter  given to me some  time ago by Anthony Murray of  Dollerie by Crieff . It  was  sent  to him  away back in 1991  by Ian Fraser  of the School of Scottish Studies at  The University  of Edinburgh . Mr Fraser  had  looked at  various  place names in the Strathearn area  as a follow up to a talk  given  by him to an unnamed organisation in the town . I replicate  below  the details of  his research which  were contained in the communication .

Dollerie has fairly consistent spellings in Dol and Dul , so I assume that it contained dail (O.W. dul, dol ) ‘water meadow ‘ , ‘haugh ‘ as the main element .  The form Dowlarich however , which you quote as being in the 1500s may not be such a misleading form after all . This is clearly dubh-larich ‘ black foundation ‘, from larach ‘ foundation of a house ‘ , ‘footing ‘ .This would support WJ Watson’s  supposition that “ Dollerie “ near Crieff may be from doilleir ‘ dark ‘ , opposed to Soilzarie , near Blacklunans , from  soilleir  ‘bright’ .” Otherwise  dol and dul have an early Celtic  -ar extension , giving Dollar in various places , but I don’t think it applies in this case . Anyway , it’s certainly a fascinating name .

Of the others in your list , I explained most of them at the time  , but Altina  is allt an ath ‘ burn of the ford ‘ , Croftnappock is croit na poice  ‘croft of the bag(s) or sacks ‘ ; Croftweit  is simply ‘ wet croft ‘from baite ‘ drowned ‘ , and Leadenflower is leathed nan  fluir  ‘ hill slope of the flowers ‘ .

Currachran  contains the Gaelic currach –‘ flat plain ‘ as in the Curragh of Kildare , plus the diminutive – an . Quarrelhaugh is simply ‘ quarrel’ , the Scots form of ‘ quarry ‘ . Some commentators have suggested the meaning to be ‘ crossbow –bolt ‘ but unless there was definite evidence of archery practice here , I don’t go for that . “