Knockbain Knockbain Place Names
Attribution: not recorded or unknown
G. An Cnoc-bàn, white-hill, is now the name of the joint parishes of Kilmuir Wester and Suddy (united 1756).
G. Cill Mhoire, Mary’s Church.
The old church stands near the seashore. The graveyard contains many stones of considerable antiquity, with late Celtic carving similar to that seen on the stones in Killianan at Abriachan and at Glenconvinth Chapel.
G Suidhe (bheag is Suidhe mhòr),
Seat; the absence of the article in Gaelic is noteworthy.
Kessock Ferry –
Land and ferry of Estir Kessok 1437.
G. Aiseig Cheiseig, generally connected with St. Kessock; the Gaelic use, however, shows no sign of Kessock being regarded here as a personal name.
Bellfield includes what is known in Gaelic as Ceiseig uachdarach, Upper Kessock; also partly covers the old Do’ach Cheiseig, Davach of Kessock. Near the firth is Tigh a’ mhuilinn, Mill-house.
G. an raon dearg. Broomhill, G. an cnoc bealaidh, is now part of it.
also Arpa-phìlich, an obscure name.
The first part may be ‘alp’, an eminence. In it is included Glaickmore. G. a’ ghlaic mhòr, the big hollow.
G. Achadh nan coitear.
G. an Réim, ‘the course’;
O. Ir. réim.
Near it is Quarryfield, G. Tigh an rothaid, Road-house.
G. Tigh a’ bhlàir. House of the moor. Near it is Teawig. G. Tigh a’ bhuic, Buck-house.
G. Tigh an todhair, Bleaching-house.
There is another near Drynie.
G. Alan (no article); a Pictish name for which v. Alness. Part of it is Bog Alain, the Bog of Allan.
G. Alan nan clach, Stony Allan.
G. Alan an fhraoich, Heathery Allan.
G. An geat bàn – modern name.
G. Baile mac Duibh,
Stead of Duff’s sons; cf. Pitmaduthy. This disposes of the idea that the old Church of Suddy was dedicated to St Duthac of Tain, if, as the Editor of the Orig. Paroch. States, “the sole ground for conjecturing this is the local name Belmaduthy, interchanged in old writs of Tain with BalleguithÝ or Baile-dhuich.”
ÝBallaguith stands rather for Balkeith, q.v.
G. Baile na coille, Wood-town.
G. Baile na gaoith, Windy town; cf. Ardgay, without the article – an older formation.
Muirends or Muirtown –
G. Mòrdun, Great Fort; the strong accent on mòr has shortened dùn to dun; cf. Findon, G. Fionndun. There is a stone circle in a wood in this place.
G. An Roisgeil.
G. not known.
G. An t-seann tulaich, Old-hillock.
G. Brèigh a’ bhaile, Upland of the stead.
G. Druim(a) diar.
Locally explained as “ridge of tears”. Its former name was Druim dubh, but it became the scene of a battle so sanguinary that of the beaten party only one survived. Hence it was said “Bu druim dubh an dé thu, ach ‘s druima diar an diugh”. Black ridge wert thou yesterday, but ridge of tears today.Ý The legend as to the change of name is significant in view of the double form in Gaelic and English. The probability is that we are dealing with a word of Pictish origin, of which the Gaelic speakers took the part that seemed to them intelligible, dropping the rest which appears in English as -fit, and in the records as -vate, etc.
ÝWith this may be compared the legend given in the Book of Deer as to the origin of the name Deer: “tángator déara drostán arscartháin fri collumcille; rolaboir columcille, bedéar ánim óhúnn imaic”; Drostan’s tears came on parting with Columcille; Columcille said: “Be Dear its name from hence forth.”
G. Droighnidh (no article), place of thorns.
Above it is Creagaidh thom, little rock of hillocks or humps. Drynie includes Ceann an achaidh, head of the cultivated field; Bail’ a’ bhlàir. Muirtown; Srath fhliuchaidh, strath of wetness; Tigh an t-sluic, house of the pit; An Lainnsear, Englished Lancer, a doubtful word perhaps, based on lainn, an enclosure.
G. a’ cheir-éud, on Munlochy bay;
the G. form, if it is not the English form taken over, is beyond me.
G. Slac a’ chàrn,
Hollow or Slack of the cairn. Near it is Muileann an t-sàil, Salt-water mill, once a tidal mill.
G. Druima-smiotail, probably by dissimilation for Druim-spiteil, ridge of the Spital, or hostelry.
The Spittal wood is well to the west. On the ridge are: An Carn Glas, the grey cairn; also Am Blàr Liath, the hoary moor, with many tumuli.
G. I’s-dian; ‘i’s’ is the reduced form of innis, haugh; ‘dian’ from the lie of the land cannot mean ‘steep’; it must, therefore, mean ‘sheltered’.
G. am Bealaidh, the broom.
G. baile Thearlaich, after Sir Charles Mackenzie of Kilcoy. The first house here was built 1812.
G. a’ chreag bhreac, the dappled rock.
G. a’glaic, the hollow; also Glaic ar dubhaig, hollow of the little black stream or place, ar being a corruption of an, the article. Cf. Glaic an dubhaig in Urray.
G. Creit nan Crioch, boundary croft.
G. Pit-lunndaidh, the stead of Lundy.
G. Lunndaidh, adjoins, and is very marshy. Also Loch Lundy, an ugly, dark loch, reputed of great depth, and the haunt of a ‘tairbh uisge’, water bull, whose herd may be heard in winter bellowing beneath the ice. For meaning v. Maoil Lunndaidh, Contin.
G. Sligeach, (the) shelly place.
It is on the south shore of Munlochy Bay.
formerly Creit Seocaidh, Jockey’s croft.
G. Creag a’ chobh, rock of the cave.
Cobh is doubtless to be compared with the Ir. diminutive cabhán, a hollow. Welsh cau, Lat. cavea. In this cave lie the Feinn, awaiting the blowing of the horn which is to rouse them from their sleep. It is, or was, believed to extend to Loch Lundy. A dropping well at the mouth of the cave was resorted to until quite recently to cure deafness. “Ged is mòr Creag a’ Chobh, is beag a feum”; though big is Craigiehow, small is its use.
G. an àirigh, the shieling, on the top of Craigiehow.
Tigh na h-irich, locally connected with ‘fireach’, a hill, or steep declivity, which suits the place, but this would require tigh an fhirich.
G. Tigh an todhair, Bleaching-house.
Near it is an Raoid’as, an obscure name. Also Creit a’ chlobha, Tongs-croft; but perhaps clobha (N. klofi) is here used in its primary meaning of ‘fork’.
G. am Bard, the meadow.
G. An Tulaich, the hillock.
Both the English and the Gaelic forms are corruptions of Bun-lochaidh, root or inner end of the loch, i.e. Munlochy Bay, which in Gaelic is Ob Poll-lochaidh.
G. Cnoc-gille-chùrdaidh, cf. Kincurdy. This hillock is famous for fairies, and possesses a holy well once in great vogue and still visited.
James Temple –
G. Cnoc-Seumas-Chaisteil, as if ‘Hill of James of the Castle’. There is on it what may be the remains of a prehistoric fort.
Ord Hill –
G. Cnoc an Uird,
with remains of a large fort, with extensive vitrification.
Blar na Còi –
G. Blàr na Cùinge, Field of the yoke, with tradition of a battle in which, as at Luncarty, the event was decided by a plough-yoke.
Place Names of Knockbain Parish
This extract was taken, with the permission of the Trustees, from Prof. W.J. Watson’s – ‘Place Names of Ross and Cromarty’. The most recent edition of this work was published by HIGHLAND HERITAGE BOOKS Tir nan Oran, 8 Culcairn Road, Evanton IV16 9YT
Place Names of Ross and Cromarty p136 onwards