(Henry Pyot of) Pyotstoun’ 1466 Dunf. Reg. no. 458
(David Pyot of) Pyotstoun 1491 NAS GD26/3/796 [17th c. copy (1649); juror]
Piotstoun 1508 RMS ii no. 3526 [Lindsay]
(Walter Hird in) Pyotstoune 1515 Fife Ct. Bk. 15
Pyetstoun c.1560 s Purves 154 [?1]
Poyetstoun 1588 RMSv no. 1431
(lands of) Pyotstoun 1602 Retours (Fife) no. 112 [John Lindsay of Byres (Byris) ELO]
(lands of) Pyetstoun 1610 Retours (Fife) no. 208 [Robert Lindsay]
Pyetstown 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Pystoune 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Pyetstoun 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Pyotstone 1664 Retours (Fife) no. 968 [James Arnot of Fernie (Fairney) MML]
Paystoun 1684 Adair/East Fife
Paystown 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Pikestone 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Pyestoun 1781 RHP23508
Pyeston 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn
pn Pyot or Piot + Sc toun
The surname comes from the Sc piot ‘magpie’, and probably was a nickname meaning ‘chattering’. It appears to be a late medieval division of the lands of Mains of Kirkforthar, although we cannot be sure that the Henry Pyot (1466 Dunf. Reg. no. 458) was the first Pyot of that name to establish himself there. Members of the Pyot family are to be found in several documents relating to this part of Fife in the fifteenth and sixteenth century (see e.g. RMS ii nos. 908, 1263, 2158; and Fife Ct. Bk. 121, 127, 211).
There is a colourful story dated c.1488 recorded by Pitscottie, which tells how Patrick Lindsay helped get his brother David Lord Lindsay of Byres off a charge of treason by clever argument in court, and in gratitude for his ‘fine magpie words’ David gave him the Mains of Kirkforthar. Mackay, Pitscottie’s editor, is no doubt correct as seeing in this a pun on the already extant place-name Pyeston, which formed part of this gift (see Pitscottie, Historie iii, 371).
An early plan of the lands of Pyeston, dated 1781, shows Pyestoun Cottoun at the west march of Pyeston lands, by the ‘Road to Carristone’ and north-west of the ‘Houses’ which lie at the centre of the lands. Also Calfs Park north of ‘Houses’; Calfs Ward south of ‘Houses’; North Bank occupies the northern part of the lands, with North Cottoun [houses] in north-east corner. There is ‘an ancient cairn’ marked south-west of North Cottoun, north-north-east of ‘Houses’ c.NO318048. Nothing is marked here on OS 6 inch 1st edn, nor is anything recorded in NMRS (although there is an urnfield in the vicinity); and the moss on the lands of Pyeston adjacent to Star Moss is called Burnt Moss.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 2