Duniface MAI S NO354010 1 35m
Donyface 1511 RMS ii no. 3636
Donyface 1530 RMS iii no. 953
in aula apud Doneface 1556 NAS NP1/19 no. 30 [‘in the hall at Duniface’]
Donyface c.1560 s Purves 154 [?3]
Dunyface 1562 RMS iv no. 1917 col. 1
Donyface 1610 Retours (Fife) no. 210
Donyface 1618 RMS vii no. 1910 [in the parish of Markinch (Markinche)]
Donyface 1644 Retours (Fife) no. 680 [see Balcurvie MAI]
Donyface 1662 Retours (Fife) no. 920 [John Gibson (Gibsone) of Durie (Durie) SCO, lands of Duniface with salmon fishings in the water of Leven (Levin), in the parish of Markinch (Markinsche)]
Dunifeiss 1684 Adair/East Fife
Duniface 1686 Retours (Fife) no. 1267 [Grisella Ramsey, the lands of Duniface with teinds and fishing in the water of Leven (Levin)]
Duniface 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Dinnyface 1775 Ainslie/Fife [shows loch to east, but not named]
Duniface 1790s OSA, 647 [‘mortified to the United College of St. Andrew’s, by a gentleman of the name of Ramsay’]
Dumyface Loch 1827 Ainslie/East Fife
Dunnyface 1828 SGF [shows small loch to east, but not named]
? Pictish * dun + article + ? Pictish * mais or ? G dùnadh + ? G fàs
This difficult name can be analysed in several ways, none of which inspires much confidence. It may contain a Pictish cognate of G dùn ‘(fortified) hill, fortification’, followed by the Pictish definite article (cf Welsh y) and Pictish *mais, related to Welsh maes, ‘open field, plain, meadow’, and cognate with G magh (see Watson 1926, 377–8). It would thus mean ‘hill-fort of the plain or level ground’. This is predicated on the assumption that lenited or mutated m in Pictish became not /v/, as in Welsh, but /f/, or at least became realised as such in later sources. There may in fact be one example, from south of the Forth, where the mutated m of *mais or *maes has become /f/: this is in Ogilface (Okelfas, Ogelfas etc.) WLO ‘high plain or field’ (Watson, loc. cit.). However, this must remain doubtful, especially as other, more certain, instances of British and Pictish *mais or *maes in second position show no sign of mutation: examples quoted by Watson (loc. cit.) are Polmaise STL and Rothmaise ABD.
A second possible interpretation is that the first element of Duniface may be the disyllabic G dùnadh, ‘fortress’, literally ‘closing, barricading’, possibly found in Donibristle DGY (PNF 1; Watson 1926, 237 and Thurneysen 1946, 89). This would then leave only the final syllable to be explained. The fortification or fortified hill which underlies these interpretations is perhaps more likely to have been Duniface Hill, rather than the large artificial mound known as Maiden Castle MAI (q.v.), which is classified as a motte by Stell (1985, 17, where ‘Duniface’ wrongly appears as ‘Dunipace’).
A third possibility is that the first element has nothing to do with any fortification- or hill-word, be it Pictish or Gaelic. This is prompted by the fact that the vowel in the first syllable in both Donibristle DGY and Duniface is consistently o in the earliest forms: while Duniface does not appear until relatively late in the record, Donibristle is first recorded in the twelfth century, forms with u, however, not appearing until the sixteenth century (and not surviving in the modern form of the name).
The final element may the same as that found in Kilface # MML, the name of woodland north of Lindifferon, PNF 4, where it is suggested that it contains G fàs ‘empty, waste’ (the first element of which is probably G coille ‘woodland’).
OS Pathf. shows Duniface Farm and Duniface Farm Cottages.
/ˈdʌnɪ fes/ or /ˈdʌnɪˌfes/
This place-name appeared in printed volume 2