SPNS Autumn Conference 2021 – 6th November 2021 – Online (via Zoom)

Scottish Place-Name Society
Comann Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba

AUTUMN CONFERENCE

Saturday, 6th November 2021
Online – via Zoom

Following the success of the Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021 online conferences, and the continuous uncertainty around the Coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Place-Name Society’s Autumn 2021 conference will once again take place online (via Zoom).

The conference is free to attend for registered members of the Scottish Place-Name Society. Becoming a member is easy and affordable – it costs £6 a year or £15 for 3 years. For more information on how to join, please CLICK HERE. Members can book tickets on Eventbrite through the link below.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

CONFERENCE PLAN

10:00 – 10:10Welcome
Alan Macniven

 SESSION 1
Chair – Eilidh Scammell

10:10 – 10:40Ceathramhan land holdings in the Cree and Minnoch Valleys
Michael Ansell

10:40 – 11:10Sundaywell. The field and feature names of an upland farm in Glenesslin, Dunscore parish, Dumfriesshire.
Henry Gough-Cooper

11:10 – 11:30Break
 SESSION 2
Chair – Sofia Evemalm

11:30 – 12:00Settlement-Names in the Glenkens Area of Kirkcudbrightshire
Thomas Clancy, University of Glasgow

12:00 – 12:30Iona, Place-Names and the Replication of Sacred Spaces
Gilbert Márkus, University of Glasgow

12:30 – 14:00Lunch

 SESSION 3
Chair – Carole Hough

14:00 – 14:30Early Medieval Kirkmadrine: Fènechas Influence in Placename Origination
Joanne W. Machin, Orkney Archaeological Institute UHI

14:30 – 15:00The Character of Borgue field-names
Nic Coombey

15:00 – 15:30Taking the high road: contextualising the place names of older agriculture and marker trees
Archie McConnel, Dumfries Archival Mapping Project

15:30 – 15:40Summing up & Fin
Alan Macniven

ABSTRACTS


Ceathramhan land holdings in the Cree and Minnoch Valleys
Michael Ansell

The Cree and Minnoch valleys preserve in their farm and other place-names a remarkable pattern of land holdings employing the ScG term ceathramh ‘a quarterland’. This implies that at a certain period the ceathramh was the standard unit of land-holding in the area. This is in marked contrast to the predominant peighinn ‘pennyland’ based system evident in farm-names a few miles further north in Carrick. The paper will attempt to establish the pattern of ceathramhan in the two valleys, consider their character and the possible circumstances of their creation.

***

Sundaywell. The field and feature names of an upland farm in Glenesslin, Dunscore parish, Dumfriesshire. – Henry Gough-Cooper

From a broad overview of the location, I will focus down onto the microtoponyms of the lands of Sundaywell as shown on General Roy’s map, a 19th-century estate map, and the 19th-century Ordnance Surveys. The estate map has been uploaded by DAMP onto NLS Maps website:
View map: Sketch Plan of Sundaywell – Estate Maps of Scotland’, 1750-1900 (nls.uk)

***

Settlement-Names in the Glenkens Area of Kirkcudbrightshire – Thomas Clancy, University of Glasgow

Our understanding of which languages were spoken where and when in medieval Scotland has drawn heavily on the evidence of settlement-names. Generic elements such as Gaelic achadh and baile, Northern Brittonic *trev, and Old English tūn / Scots toun have featured prominently since the work of Watson and Nicolaisen. 

While earlier accounts suggested that discrete place-name elements belonged to distinct time-periods across the whole country, the detailed regional surveys of Scottish place-names which have appeared in more recent years suggest a more complex picture. 

This paper will look at the evidence gathered in the Place-Names of the Galloway Glens project, carried out within the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership. It will examine settlement generics and their place in the onomastic history of south-west Scotland. 

***

Iona, Place-Names and the Replication of Sacred Spaces – Gilbert Márkus, University of Glasgow

In medieval Iona, the physical arrangement of space, together with the names given to objects in that space, could make places (virtually) present which were far away. A landscape of authority, of ‘spiritual weight’, could be replicated in other places, and place-names played a role in this process.

***

Early Medieval Kirkmadrine: Fènechas Influence in Placename Origination – Joanne W. Machin
Orkney Archaeological Institute UHI

Kirkmadrine lies in the centre of the Rhins peninsula, accessible over land and sea to those traversing the Irish sea corridor from the fifth century onwards. Its infamy garnered from its collection of early Chritsian stone sculpture and its contemporary connection as a sister house to Whithorn. It is through the interpretation of Brehon Laws, or to use their proper name Fénechas, (the native indigenous law system found in early medieval Ireland), that the Kirkmadrine placename and site can be freshly analysed.

This paper will be in three parts. The first will consider the cultural context of Kirkmadrine within an early medieval maritime and pilgrimage landscape. The second will establish Irish interaction and influence on the origination of the Kirkmadrine placename whilst the third part analyses the wider significance of this placename perspective in the understanding of the Christianisation of Rhins landscape and the Whithorn-Kirkmadrine connection.

***

The Character of Borgue field-names Nic Coombey

The named fields on the Borgue peninsula in Dumfries and Galloway, SW Scotland are part of our oral tradition that help us see how people in the past experienced the countryside. A small team of dedicated volunteers have gathered and analysed 1,000 field-names to determine the meaning and possible origin of every name and a database has been used to map the fields and make the information publicly available on-line.

This presentation will examine the character of the field-names that were collected by volunteers to show how they capture the essence of the agricultural landscape of SW Scotland. Examples will be used to reveal how the spoken word has often incorporated words borrowed from Gaelic and sometimes recycled ancient names for places that are otherwise unrecorded.

***

Taking the high road: contextualising the place names of older agriculture and marker trees –Archie McConnel, Dumfries Archival Mapping Project

When we look at maps, we often view them simply as snap shots of a particular time and place. Even on a modern OS map there are whispers of previous times that jump out and place names are the most obvious of these. Construct a context and a meaning for those whispers and you can either add clarity to them or perhaps construct a world of fantasy. I shall be looking at two aspects of this.

First, the significance of single trees on old estate maps and their potential as marker trees that perhaps show the routes of ancient highways. In addition, I shall be adding to their number by looking at placenames.

Second is agriculture and the relationship between hill land and arable and how it changes as time goes by. This should contextualise place names in different periods as agriculture metamorphosed into its current ossified state.


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