Glass Remembered … Meaning of Place Names

This is taken from “The Place Names of West Aberdeenshire” by  the late James Macdonald, F.S.A. Scot and printed for the New Spalding Club 1899.

If you have further information on the place names mentioned here – or any others in Glass – please  let us know. Either by entering a comment at the foot of the page – or by contacting us here.

Meaning of Place Names

ARDGALLIE – Height of the standing stone.  There is no standing stone now at this place, but on the summit of a knoll above it there is a circle formed of stones like the foundation of a dyke, within which the ground is formed into a low mount causeyed with small stones.  It is probable there was a standing stone in the centre at one time.

AULTNAPADDOCK – Burn of the old men, clowns

BACKTACK – Tack means a lease; also the farm or croft “taken” from the landlord

BELDORNEY – Perhaps Dorney represents doirionnach “stormy” very applicable to Craigdorney; but it may be a personal name.  There is a hill fort on Craigdorney, which may have been erected by some one of the name.

BELNABOTH – Baile nam both “town of the huts or bothies”

BODYLAIR – Bad na laire “clump of the mare” Probably a place to which mares were sent for summer grazing.

BUTTERWARDS – Commonly Bitterward, which is no doubt correct, the name indicating the sour character of the land

CAIRNARGAT – Carn airgid “silver cairn”

CAIRNBORROW – Carn brutha “cairn of the fairies’ dwelling”

CLOCH DHUS – Cloch dhubh “black stone” hill, so called from the great boulder stones on the summit

CORSEMAUL – Maul is probably Gaelic maol “the brow of a hill” and may have been the original name of the hill or part of the name.  Corsemaul, I think, means the “crossing of the Maul” that is the road from Glass to Dufftown, which crosses over the northern slope of the hill.

CORSHALLOCH – Coire seilich “corrie of the willow”

CRAIGOUR – Creag odhar “Dun or grey craig”

CRAIG ROY – Cereag ruadh “red craig”

CRAIGWATCH – Creag mhaide (vaitch) “craig of the stick”  Timberford is close to this place and in old times, there may have been a plank-bridge over the burn, or through the moss.

DALLOCHY – Dao; “a dale” and achadh “a field” a place of fields or Haugh-land

DRUMDUAN – Perhaps “duan” represents dubh-dhonn “dark brown” or druim dubh-an “black ridge” or “ridge of the black place” i.e. mossy ground

EDINGLASSIE – Eudan glasaich “hill-face of the pasture or ley-land”

GEARLAN BURN – garbh lann “rough enclosure”

GLASS – Glas “grey” or “green”

GLENSHEE – Gleann-sith may mean “the fairies’ glen” or “the glen of peace”  There are traditions of a great battle fought in the neighbourhood and “the black roads” or earthwork along the face of the hill and the cairns at Cairnmore confirm the tradition.  Peace may have been concluded at Glenshee.  It is a bare, cold glen, facing the north and altogether unlike a fairies’ glen

GOWANSTON – Gowan from Gobha “a smith”

LOWRIE – Name of field on Nether Dumeath, so called from a “Lowrie stripe” which runs through it.  A Lowrie stripe is thus the same as a “tode stripe” and tod in old English means a “bush” Lowrie seems to be derived from the Gaelic Iuachrach a “rushy” place

LYNEBAIN – Lian ban “white meadow or Haugh”

MALAK – Probably Miliuc “a marshy land”

MARKIE WATER – Glenmarkie means the “Glen of the horses” from marc “a horse”  The custom in old times was to turn out all the horses of a district on the common pasture during the summer.  It is not very long since this custom died out in Glass

PIKETILIUM – A Gaelic derivation is possible from pic “a pike or spur” and tuilm “a knoll” but both these words are borrowed and their use in such a sense is very doubtful.  It is more likely Piketillum is a humorous Scotch name, indicating that the place was poor and could only afford a bare living to the tenant – “a pike till him”  The expression is still in use when a sick animal was turned out in early spring – it is said of the grass just appearing “it’ll be a pike till ‘im”  It may appear an absurd explanation, but is in harmony with the dry humour of Aberdeenshire.

SLOGGAN – Slochdan, dim. Of slochd “a cavity or hollow in the hills”

SUCCOTH – Soc “a snout” socach “projecting points or snouts” which are features on the farms of Succoth and Succothbeg

TALNAMONTH – Tail-na-monaidhean “the lump or hillock of the moors”

TOM HARLEACH – Tom Thearlaich “Charles’s knoll” but as the name is pronounced Tam Harlick, it may mean “Charle’s grave” – tuam “a grave”

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