Drumeldrie NBN S NO442032 1 374 50m SOF
? (lands of) Merolrj 1306 Dunf. Reg. no. 590 [NBN Introduction, Med. Marches no. 2]
in Drummeldre 1532 Dunf. Reg. Ct. Bk. 130 [John Forret (Forrete) in]
Drummeldre 1536 Dunf. Reg. Ct. Bk. 130 [names of four tenants given]
Drummeldre c.1560 s Assumption 24 [rental of Dunfermline Abbey]
Drumneldrie c.1560 s Assumption 25
Drummeldrie 1561 Dunf. Reg. p. 428 [in Newburnshire (Newburneschire)]
Drummelerie 1561 Dunf. Reg. p. 432
Drummeldrie 1561 Dunf. Reg. p. 441
Drummelerie 1561 Dunf. Reg. p. 442
Drumeldrie 1630 Retours (Fife) no. 446 [see LAR Introduction]
Drumeldrie 1631 Retours (Fife) no. 455 [Thomas Alexander, ‘in six sixteenth parts’ (in 6 decimis sextis partibus) of the vill and lands of Drumeldrie]
Drumeldrie 1632 Retours (Fife) no. 475 [Thomas Mitchell, ‘in a sixteenth part with half of a sixteenth part’ (in decima sexta parte cum dimidio decimae sextae partis) of the toun and lands of Drumeldrie]
Drumalrick 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Thomas Ale ander of Dreameldrie 1649 Lamont’s Diary 8
Drameldrie 1654 Lamont’s Diary 76
Drumalrik 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Drumeldrie Milne Burne 1660 Laing Chrs. no. 2544 [eastern boundary of lands of Keirs and Damside # LAR]
Dremeldrie 1664 Lamont’s Diary 172 [a marriage feast there]
Drumeldrie 1681 Retours (Fife) no. 1194 [in the parish of Newburn (Newbirne), regality of Dunfermline]
Drumeldrie 1683 Retours (Fife) no. 1220 [Daniel Auchmutie, portioner of Drumeldrie, ‘in the shire of Newburn’ (in schyra de Newburne) and the regality of Dunfermline]
Drumelri 1684 Adair/East Fife
Drumelrie 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Drumelrie Muir 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1 [settlement]
Drumeldrie 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Drumelry 1790s OSA, 689 [‘the parish of Drumelry alias Newburn’]
Drumeldry Bridge 1799 RHP22853 [between Drumeldrie and Monturpie, crossing the burn which on the south side of the road forms the LAR/NBN boundary]
G druim + ?
The first element, druim ‘ridge’, is unproblematic. The second element, in contrast, poses a number of unanswerable questions, not helped by the fact that, apart from the questionable Merolrj, the forms appear relatively late in the record. It may even contain a metathesised form (with intrusive d following l) of the element which occurs in Strathairly LAR, the name attached to the lands immediately west of Drumeldrie. If this is the case, then we are dealing with a territorial name something like *Er(e)lin or *Er(o)lin applied to lands running along much of Largo Bay, and straddling LAR and NBN. For more on this name, see Strathairly LAR, above.
However, in the absence of corroborative evidence, it is perhaps safer to treat the two names separately. In this case, much depends on the status of the 1306 form Merolrj (for which see also NBN Introduction, Med. Marches no. 2, Dunf. Reg. no. 590). Putting this aside as highly unreliable evidence for anything, and bearing in mind the lateness of the secure forms (starting in 1532), various possibilities suggest themselves. The closest Fife name is Rameldry KTT (see this volume, above), which almost certainly contains a personal name beginning with Mael (later Maol), probably Maolrioc. It should be noted, however, that the d in Rameldry, which is certainly intrusive, does not start to appear until the eighteenth century, whereas the d in Drumeldrie is there from the earliest secure forms in the early sixteenth century.
There is a modern G word meilearach ‘long, seaside grass’, which would be very appropriate in this landscape, since a large part of Drumeldrie lands consists of links covered in just such grass. However, meilearach is a Norse loan-word (melr ‘bent grass’), so it is unlikely to have formed part of Fife Gaelic.
In short, until secure and much earlier forms of this name can be identified, there can be no satisfactory explanation for the second element.
In the early twentieth century it was described as the only hamlet in the parish (Cunningham 1907, 104). This probably explains why OSA gives Drumeldrie (Drumelry) as an alias for the parish of Newburn (p. 689).
Cropmarks in the area indicate the presence of hut circles and a possible souterrain at NO440027 (NMRS NO40SW 213).
Wet ground between Drumeldrie and the sea, at approximately NO443026, is known locally as Pishie Miggie or Pishie Maggie.
/drʌmˈɛldrɪ/ or /drəmˈɛldrɪ/
This place-name appeared in printed volume 2