Rosskeen Parish Place Names
Attribution: Karen Graham (Centre of Saltburn village)
Roscuyn 1640 ;
G. Rosscuithnidh ; headland, referring most probably to the promintory on which Invergordon stands, now called ‘ An Rudha. ‘ The latter part is rather difficult. Dr Joyce notes in Ireland such names as Quinhie and Feaghquinney, from Ir. cuinche, pronounced nearly queenha, the arbutus tree. This suits the phonetics of Roscuithnidh, which would thus mean arbutus head. In a field by the roadside, near the Parish Chuch, is Clach a’ Mheirlich, the thief’s stone.
G. Alltan an t-saluinn. Explained from the tradition that cargoes of salt were hid here in the times when there was a duty payable on that article.
‘Ord,’ hammer, inroot connected with ‘ ard, ‘ high ; secondary meaning, ‘ rounded hill ‘ ; but the eminence inthis case is very slight.
The name is now applied to the farm lying north of Invergordon, but formerly included the site of the town. The ‘ inver ‘ implies a stream, which must have been called the ‘ Breakie, ‘ from ‘ breac, ‘ dappled, and is probably that which enters the firth near Rosskeen church. The surface has been much changed by cultivation and draining Inchbreky is ‘ the meadow of the Breaky. ‘
Invergordon – appears in Pocok’s Tour in 1760. So called by a former proprietor, Sir Alexander Gordon.
The Cromlet – The slope behind Invergordon; ‘ crom-leathad, ‘ sloping hill-side.
Kincraig – Kynnagrege 1479 ; G. Ceann na creige. Roch-end.
Achintoul – G. Ach an t-sabhail, Barn field.
Achnagarron – Probaly ‘ ach, ‘ field, and ‘ carran. ‘ spurry ; Ir. ‘ carron, ‘ scurvy grass. Locally from ‘ garron ‘ a gelding, but the phonetics do not suit.
Rosebank – A modern name ; ancient Culquhnze 1477, Culkenzie 1586 ; ‘ cuil, ‘ nook, ‘ Coinneach, ‘ Kenneth?
Newmore – G. An ne’ mhor, the great glebe (v. Church names).
Stoneyfield probably represents Feauchlath 1479, Feachclathy 1487, Feauchelachy 1507; Faichnan clach, or, Feith nan clach.
Coillymore – Kellymoir 1571 ; G. A’ Choille mhor, Big wood.
Rhicullen – ‘Ruigh,’ land sloping up to a hill, and ‘ cuileann, ‘ holly. There is a remarkably fine holly bush, which must be of great age.
Riaskmore – ‘ Riasg, ‘ morass with sedge or dirk-grass ; ‘ mor, ‘ big.
Tomich – ‘Tom,’ conical hillock, with collective suffix ‘ ach,’ in locative__ Place of hillocks.
Inchindown – Inchedown 1571 ; G. I’s an duin, Meadow of the Dun, innis, as often, being reduced to i’s. There is no trace of a fort, but Kinrive hill in the part immediately behind the farm is precipitous, and covered with stones. Many large cairns were removed when the farm was extended about forty years ago.
Achnacloich and Dalnacloich –
Field and dale of stones ; from the large cairn on the hillside, north-east of the loch.
Dalnavie, Cnocnavie, Nonakiln, Inchnavie – (See Church-names).
Millcraig – Craigemylne 1479, Cragmyln 1507 ; also molendinum de Crag ; G. Muileann na creige; Rock-mill.
Badcall – Badkall 1571 and passim ; G. Bad-call, hazel-clump ; to the east of Millcraig, and fast becoming obsolete.
Mulnafua – ‘ Fuath, ‘ spectre__Goblin-mill.
Caplich – ‘ Capull, ‘ horse, mare__Place of horses. The name is fairly common.
Obsdale – Obstuill 1548 ; Norse hops-dalr, bay dale; fron the small bay near it.
Culcairn – G. Cul-chairn ; Culcarne 1571 ; ‘back of the cairn, ‘ i.e., Carn na Croiche, the hanging cairn, on the hill behind it.
Crosshills – Perhaps, in view of the nearness of Nonakiln, thename may be ecclesiastical.
Balnaguisich – Fir-wood stead.
Ardross – ‘ Ard-rois,’ height of Ross. Blaeu’s Ardross is the water-shed between Easter and Wester Ross, which may have been correct in his day. In any case, Fear Ard-rois was in use to denote Laird of Ardross (in Rosskeen) before Sir A, Matheson’s time.
Culyeoth Mekle and Culyeoch Manach (Mid) 1479,
Chwleauchmeanach and Chwyulaichmor 1571,
Cunlich (Retours and Reg. Mag. Sig. passim), ‘
Cumhang-lach, ‘ the place of the ‘ cumhang ‘ or narrow passage, with reference to the gorge of the river on which it is situated. Cf. Coy-lum, Badenoch ; Cuag, in KIlmuir ; ‘cunglach’ still means a narrow defile in modern Gaelic.
Dalneich – Horse-dale, Cf. Caplich.
Glaick – Locative of ‘ glec, ‘ grip ; it is, as it were, in the grip of the hills. Very common.
Loanreoch – ‘ Lon, ‘ low meadow ; ‘ riabhach, ‘ brindled__ from copse alternating with grass and heather.
Balanrishallaich – Fraser’s town.
Stittenham – seems modern, as it does not occur on record. Gaelic accents the last syllable.
Strathy – G. an t-srathaidh__with -aidh ending.
Crannich – Locative of Crannach, place of trees, or abounding in trees ; G. a’ Chrannaich.
Strath-na-Frangach – Tansy Strath, from Frangalus or lus na frang. It was the abode of the noted cattle-thief. “Seileachan,” the site of whose house is said to be still distinguishable. Near it is Allt na fuaralaich, burn of the cold place ; ldnaquhorolache 1571.
Coire-ghoibhnidh – Corryzewynie 1571, ? corry of the smithy ; at the west end of Kinrive Hill ‘ cf Ard na goibne in Tanera. But possibly, Corry of the wintry stream, O. Ir. gam, winter ; cf. the Goineag, Badenoch.
Tolly – G. Tollaidh, probably here from ‘ toll, ‘ hole ; ‘ place of holes. ‘ Tollie-mylne, alias mylne-chaggane appears on record. The lands of Tolly were part of the patrimony of the Chapel of Kildermorie. Above Tolly are Coire Thollaidh and Braigh Thollaidh.
Baldoon – G. Bail’ an duin, town of the dun. there is a hill fort in the wood near.
Inchlumpie – G. I’s-lombaidh ; ‘ innis, ‘ meadow, ‘ lom, ‘ bare, with -aidh ending. The ‘ b is euphonic. The place is a narrow level strip by the river-side. Above it is am Breac’radh, the spotted place; cf. am bog’radh. The ground rises up to Cnoc an t-seilich, Willow-hill.
Strathrusdale – Strathrustell 1691 ; G. Strathrusdail ; Norse ‘bruts-dair, ‘ ram’s dale, with G. srath prefixed. This name is interesting, and suggestive as to the extent and the character of the Norse occupation of Easter Ross.
Aultanfearn – Alder-brooklet. This and the four following are in Strathrusdale.
Balnacraig – Rock-town.
Dalreoich – Spooted dale ‘ cf. Dalbreak.
Balanlochan – Loch-tow
Braeantra – Braighe an t-sraith, Head of the strath.
Cnoc an t-sithean beag and Cnoc an t-sithean mor are hills north of Strathrusdale, ‘ Sith, ‘ ‘ sithean, ‘ hill, usually grassy ; especially a green fairy hill ; but often (as here) applied to high hills with rounded tops. Cf. Schiehallion.
Sithean a’ choin bhain – Hill of the white dog.
Doire leathan – Broad copse.
Beinn Tarsuinn – Cross hill. Very common.
Garraran – G. an gar(bh) aran, the rough place; from garbh, with double suffix ; cf. Cloch-ar-an, Giuths-ar-an,
Càrn Cuinneag – ‘Cuinneag,’ a milking pail. The Cairn (3000 ft.) is double peaked, and I am informed that the ‘Cuinneag ‘ proper is the western and higher peak, the other being called Carn Mairi, from the name of a girl who perished ther while crossing from Strathcarron to Kildermorie. In a rock on the Cuinneag there are several clean-cut holows, one or more of ehich is tub or pail-shaped. They are really pot-holes caused by wind action. From these the hilis said to hve got its name ; but it may be from the fact that, when viewed from a distance, the peaks may be considered, with the help of a little goodwill, to represent a gigantic cuinneag with its ‘lug’. This is the explanation of the Sutherland Cuinneag.
The following names, belonging either to Kilmuir or to the border of Rosskeen, are obsolete:-
Rawsnye of Risaurie,
Ardachath (a cultivated field on Newmore),
Glascarne (a cairn),
Abianemoir (a wood),
Kirkchaistull or Pllograyscheak (a hill),
Tobirinteir (well in Kinrive),
All these are taken from marches of Newnore as given in the ” Origines Parochiales ‘ for 1571.
Place Names of Rosskeen 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 p69 onwards