Kilmuir Easter Place Names

Attribution: Photo courtesy of Tain Museum Trust (Balnagown castle)

Kilmuir Easter

Kilmor 1296,
Kilmure Madath 1541,
Kilmure Meddett 1575
G. Cill-Mhoir, Mary’s Church.

‘Myltoun of Methat with its two mills’ 1479;
G. Baile-mhuilin or Baile-mhuilin Anndra,
from Andrew Munro, who built Milntown Castle, c. 1500, or his son, Black Andrew Munro. Now officially known as Milntown of New Tarbat.

New Tarbat
So called by the Cromartie family, from Tarbat, where their former seat was (v. Castlehaven).

G. Caoldaraidh, based on caol, narrow, and analysed caol-d-ar-aidh, ” d ” being euphonic. The ‘ narrow place’ in question is doubtless the river gorge between Kildary Farm and the parish of Logie.

Apitauld (pron. Abijald) –
G. Ath-pit-allt;
‘ ath,’ ford, ‘ pet,’ baile, ‘ allt,’ burn.
The place is close to Balnagown Bridge. ‘ Pit ‘ has survived here owing to the prefixing of ‘ ath,’ ford, which caused the sense of ‘ pit ‘ to be obscured. Were it not for this, the name would no doubt have becorne Balnault.

Balnegovne 1375,
Smith’s town;
the modern Gaelic is as the English form. Near the castle is a steep old bridge over the river, still in good order, known as ‘ the King’s Bridge,’ and traditionally associated with James IV. It leads to the King’s Causeway-the old road to Tain.

Poll Neacail, Nicol’s pool.
Between the farms of Polnicol and Garty, on the north side of the road is a narrow strip called the Lint-pools.

Gorty 1368;
‘ gart,’ standing corn; ‘
goirtean,’ small field of corn, W. ‘ garth.’ Also Knockgarty.

G. Na Ruigheannan;
le Royis 1479,
le Ruvis 1487,
later Ruffis; ‘ ruigh,’ land sloping up to a hill in ridges.
The G. form is peculiar, and looks like the pl. of a diminutive ‘ruighean’ but the pronunciation does not countenance this. It is probably to be compared with such plurals as ainmeannan, leumannan, etc. Cf Kin-rive. The present farm of Rhives contains, in addition to the ancient le Royis, three other tracts whose names appear in record and are not yet wholly lost: Auchoyle, the northern part of the farm, partly a slope once heavily wooded, now rough pasture.

Achawyle 1351,
Achenwyl 1368,
Achagyle 1619;
‘achadh’ field, and ‘gall’ stranger.
Near it was

Badferne, now obsolete.

Knocknapark 1527 and passim in E.R. This was the hillocky part to the N.E. of Delny Station, where the P.O., ‘Parkhill,’ formerly stood. The P.O. and the name have now been shifted two miles east, just beyond Balnagown Bridge. Badebaa 1587, etc.; also Badebay. This is the part of Rhives lying south of the railway, still known locally as ‘ the Battybay.’ Before being reclaimed, it was dotted with birch clumps; hence ‘bad a’ bheith’ birch copse.

Dalgeny 1356;
G. Deilgnidh, based on dealg, prickle, whence deilgne, thorns; deilgneach, prickly; ‘place of prickles.’ Here stood a castle of the Earls of Ross.

Tornabrock-G. Tor1 na’ broc, Mound of the badgers.

Balvack -Bail a’ bhac, Moss-town; between Delny Station and the U.F.C. Manse.

Barbaraville -G. an cladach, the shore; its east end is Portlich, G. port fhlich (loc.), the wet port -there being no proper place for landing.

Pollo -G. Am Pollan; Estir Polga and Westir Polga 1479; diminutive of ‘ poll,’ pool, or hole.

Balintraid -Balandrade 1479, Balnatraid 1507; ‘ baile ‘ and ‘ traigh,’ sea-shore, genitive, traghad.

Priesthill -Cnoc an t-sagairt; the pre-Reformation manse and glebe were here. Somewhere to the west of it is said to have been a drowning pool. Poll a’ bhathaidh, but its site can hardly be identified. John the Baptist’s Well is, or was, west of Priesthill, near the burn.

Broomhill -Bromehill 1634 appears to represent Ardunagage 1479, Ardnagag 1487, Ardnagaag 1586; ‘gag,’ cleft, chink; hence, Height of the cleft. Cf. Gaick.

Inchfure 1463 Petfure 1479,
Inchfure alias Pitfure 1539,
G. I’s-fiur (i’s = innis); interesting as showing the unique, or at least very rare, change of ‘pit’ to ‘ inch ‘ (innis); cf. Pitfure in Black Isle and in Rogart, Porin in Strathconan. Dochfour, Balfour, etc. In the “Book of Deer ” here occurs ‘nice furene,” unto Furene, which appears to be an aspirated Porin; ‘-fure ‘ is from the root seen in Welsh ‘ pori,’ to pasture, and ‘ poriant,’ pasture, Thus ‘ Inchfuir ‘ means pasture meadow.

G. Cinn-deis, has been transferred from Nigg. William Robertson, of Inverness, acquired the estate of Kindeace, in Nigg, in 1629. The Nigg estate was subsequently disposed of, and the family acquired the estate now known as Kindeaee, in Kilmuir, of old Inchfure, retaining the style of Kindeace.” ‘Cinn,’ locative of ‘ceann;’ deis,’ perhaps loc. of ‘ dias,’ an ear of corn; corn-head ;’ suitable, but doubtful.

Lonevine -G. Lon a’ bhinn; ‘ lon,’ marsh, or low damp ground; ‘binn,’ gen. of ‘beann,’ hill.

Tullich -G. An Tulaich, locative of ‘tulach’, hillock.

Burrack~-G. Na bbraich; ‘ burach,’ digging; ‘the diggings ‘-for peat and turf: The place is a rough peat-moss.

Dorachan –Extension of ‘ doire,’ copse. Cf. for formation Giuthsachan, place of fir.

Driminault -Druim (n) an allt, ‘ ridge of the burns ‘ one of which flows into the Baloagown Water.

Ciaisdhu -‘ Clais,’ furrow, narrow and shallow valley; ‘dubh,’ black.

Torran -G. An Torran, diminutive of ‘torr,’ heap; of old ‘I’orran liath, grey hillock.

Baddiequbonchar 1571; · bad,’ copse; ‘ conachair, (1) uproar, (2) a sick person who neither gets worse nor better (Macbain’s G. Dict.); a large peat-moss in the upper part of the parish. In this case it may be from the proper name Cocachar. Cf. Coir’ a Chonachair (Kincardine).

‘Dail,’ dale, meadow; ‘
‘clerach, cleric; clerics’ dale.
It appears to have formed part of the church lands of Kilmuir, and is probably included in the grant made in 1541 by ” Master David Dunbar, chaplain of the chaplainry of the Virgin Mary in the parish of Kilmure Madath to Thomas Ross of Balintrait, etc., of the church-lands called Priestishill and Ulladule, reserving to himself and his successors one acre of the lands of Priestishill, lying near the manse on the south side for a manse and garden to be there constructed.” Ulladule (v. Logie Easter) was the old name of Scotsburn, which is adjacent to Daluaclerach.

G. Ceann-ruigh,
Kennachrowe 1362,
Candenrew 1547,
Canderwiff 1549,
Kenroy 1556; ‘ceann,’ head, ‘ruigh,’ ridgy slope.
Kenrive is the hill to which the land slopes up from the sea in a succession of terraces. The various spellings are suggestive of the way in which the G. ‘ ruigh ‘ became Anglicised-‘ rive ‘ (pron. riv). Rhives, in the low part of the parish, shows the plural form in Gaelic and in English.

Cnoc-still (west of Inchfure)-
Hill of the strip, i.e.. strip of grass. ‘ Still ‘ is genitive of ‘ steall,’ which in 0. Ir. is ‘ stiall,’ and means a belt, girdle, strip, piece of anything. Cf. Loch Still; Caisteal Still (now Castlehill), Inverness.

Carn Totaig (north of Cnoc-still)-Diminutive of ‘ tobhta,’ knoll. The cairn has disappeared, but the place is still counted uncanny.

G. Cal-fhraochaidh;
Kalroquhy 1479,
Calrechy 1586,
Calrichie 1616, from cala, a wet meadow (which exactly describes it), and fraoch, neather. Cf. Calatruim, hollow of the elder (Joyce); Freuchie now Castle-Grant.

G. Srath-uaraidh;
Strathury 1362,
Straithworie 1563,
Strathworie 1628, but
Strathrowrie 1571.
The modern English form is due to the false analogy of the personal name ‘Ruaraidh,’ Rory, which sometimes affects even the Gaelic. The Old Stat. Acc. of Logie states (referring to the Rory or Balnagown Water); ” The only river in the parish goes generally by the name of Abhor or river,” and in accordance with a custom so general as to be almost a rule, the Strath should take its name from the river. ‘Srath-abharaidh’ might yield Srath-uaraidh; cf. the dialectic change of famhair, giant, into fua’r, e.g. Tigh’n fhua’r, Novar. The New Stat. Acc. suggests uar, waterspout, which is worth considering. The river is liable to sudden spates.

Druim na gaoith
Windy ridge; a hill in the extreme north-west of the parish.

The name, now obsolete, of the burn issuing from Achnacloich loch, and running at the foot of Kinrive hill-the little cross (burn); cf. Allt Tarsuinn (Eincardine).

Allt Bapaidh
Noisy burn; north side of Strathrory; boundary between Balnagown and Kindeace.

Place Names of Kilmuir Easter 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 p63 onwards

Place Names of Ross and Cromarty

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