Ravenshall

Ravenshall FAL S NO253098 1 373 40m

Rundhall 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Renshaws 1788 Sasines no. 1856 [‘Renshaws and pendicle, with the Divilla’ (Devillie # FAL) ]
lands of Ravenshall 1806 Sasines no. 7504 [parish of Falkland]
Raven’s Hall 1828 Falkland Wood Plan/1828 [part of Darnoe FAL]
Ravenshall 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

? + ? Sc hall

The variation in forms makes it impossible to offer a secure etymology for either element. If our earliest form (1775) is not an error, then it means ‘round hall’, perhaps referring to the large earthwork, which NMRS records as a ‘homestead, ring ditches, pits and cultivation remains’, less than 100 m from the farmstead (NO20NE 22). However, slightly later forms indicate that the first element is a bird-name, perhaps originally ‘wren’, but certainly ending up as ‘raven’.

    The second element is probably Sc hall ‘hall, high-status residence’, often used ironically to refer to humble dwellings, with the combination ‘bird-name + hall’ forming an identifiable sub-category (see Hough 2003, 2004; and Elements Glossary PNF 5, s.v.). The 1788-form Renshaws probably reflects the local pronunciation of hall as haw /hù/, although formally it might also represent Sc shaw ‘wood, thicket’ (very rare in Fife), or Sc haugh ‘water-meadow, riverside meadow’, apt enough given its position on the flood-plain of the Eden, which runs a short distance to the north.

    The OS Name Book (bk. 13, p. 14) has no variant forms of the name, but only Ravenshall. It says that it is the name of ‘two small crofts with a proportionate piece of land attached to each’, owned by O. T. Bruce (the laird of Falkland).

    Though Ravenshall is shown on OS Pathf., it does not appear on OS Explorer.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 2