Aberdollo

Aberdollo * LAR S NO4302 3

lie sched vocat. Abirdolo 1580 RMS vii no. 539 [the shed or division of land called *Aberdollo extending to 5 acres; in the barony of Largo]
Aberdolloche 1630 Retours (Fife) i, no. 446 [Thomas Alexander, portionar of Drumeldrie NBN; part of the mains lands of Largo]

Pictish * aber + ?

The name is discussed by Watson 1926, 417, 462. He suggests that it means ‘mouth of the haugh’, the second element being a form of G dail, gen. sing. dalach, itself a loan-word from Pictish *dol ‘water-meadow, haugh’. However, it is more likely that the second element is a burn-name *Dolloch or the like, probably a burn characterised by water-meadows (*dol) along at least part of its course. In any case, the specific element is unlikely to be Gaelic, given the Pictish generic aber. Were the name coined in the Gaelic-speaking period, one would expect *Inverdolo, containing inbhir, the G equivalent of Pictish *aber.

    Aber-names are frequently at or near where water-courses flow into the sea, although they can also be inland, where one stream flows into another. As discussed in LAR Introduction, *Aberdollo may have lain in the south-east corner of the parish, since in 1630 it was held by a tenant of Drumeldrie NBN. Thus possible coastal locations for the burn-mouth might be where OS Pathf. Largo Burn (formerly Temple Burn) flows into the sea at NO423025, or where the burn which runs past Strathairly House LAR and Broomhall NBN flows into the sea at NO437023. This burn forms the LAR/NBN boundary. Unnamed on OS 1:10,000 and other modern maps, three different names are recorded for it: it is known locally as the Strathairly Burn;[146] Cunningham calls it Johnston’s Mill burn, after the mill of that name which stood near its mouth, on the Newburn side (1907, 2 ); and in a seventeenth-century boundary description of the lands of Keirs and Damside (part of Strathairly LAR), it is referred to as the Drumeldrie Mill Burn (Drumeldrie milne burne) (1660 Laing Chrs. no. 2544). There is another small water course between this burn and Largo Burn, also unnamed on OS maps, which flows into the sea at NO427025.

    It is too much of a coincidence that c.1 km east of where the main road crosses the Strathairly or Johnston’s Mill Burn, there is a place called Dollybridge # NBN (Dolla brig 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1, Dollybridge 1775 Ainslie/Fife), at or near OS Pathf. Dumbarnie NBN. The specific element is exactly what would be the expected local development of the burn-name contained in *Aberdollo. The fact that there is no obvious watercourse where Dollybridge is marked suggests that there may have been some kind of re-location or re-assignment of a name which originally carried the road over the Strathairly (Dolly?) Burn. The re-location of such a functional name as that of a bridge could really only be explained if there was an actual bridge or causeway at Dollybridge NBN. As stated above, there is no water-course there as such, but the ground is very boggy and liable to flooding,[147] so there could well have been a bridge or causeway over that. Furthermore, Roy shows a burn draining this area flowing eastwards past Balchrystie NBN and into Largo Bay.

    The proposal is, therefore, that the *Dollo or *Dolly of *Aberdollo is the burn now known as the Strathairly Burn (for other names of which, see above, this discussion). If this is the case, then the eponymous haugh or water-meadow (*dol) may well be the well-defined flat-bottomed valley through which this burn flows just south of Lahill House NBN.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 2