Dunino

Dunino DNO PS NO541109 1 363 90m

? Indunnenochen c.1220 Terrier F [17/18th c. copy; held by bp and his men; the first two letters may be Latin preposition in ‘in’, since the lands immediately following are in DNO; for full text, see Appendix 2, below]
ecclesia de Duneynach c.1250 St A. Lib. 34 [15 merks]
ecclesia de Dunenauch' c.1250 Dunf. Reg. no. 313
rector ecclesie de Dunhenauch 1269 St A. Lib. 174 [William of Morton (Mortun’)]
de ecclesi<a> de Donethac 1275 Collectoriae fo 54r [‘from the churches of Dunino and Cults’ (de ecclesiis de Donethac et Quilt), valued together at 2 merks 4 s.; the printed edition p. 37 has Donethae]
ecclesia de Dunenath 1276 Bagimond’s Roll, p. 62 [for *Dunenach; ‘ecclesia de Dunenath et de Quilt (Cults CLT)’ valued at 24 s.; MS fo 61v has Dunenath’ (with extended bar on h) and either Quilt or Quilc, with extended bar on l]
rectoria ecclesie parrochialis de Dunenagh 1450 Cant 1950, 55 [see DNO Introduction]
Dunenoch 1452 x 1480 RMS ii no. 1444 [St Andrews Church land]
Dunnennio c.1560 s Assumption, 90
Dynnynno 1593 RMS v no. 2273 [St Andrews Church land]
Duninow 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Duninon M<ill> 1642 Gordon MS Fife
parochia de Dynnynnow 1644 Retours (Fife) no. 673
Dynninow 1648 Retours (Fife) no. 758 [James Binning (Bynning) of Dynninow]
Dinninnowe 1652 Lamont’s Diary 49
Duniow 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [in error for Duninow, for which see following entry]
Duninow M<ill> 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Dunninno 1663 Lamont’s Diary 159
Dinninnow 1663 Lamont’s Diary 165
Dinmow 1691 Retours (Fife) no. 1317 [James Binning of Dinmow, a copying error for Dininow]
Dennino 1697 NSA ix, 356 [here the NSA (1845) cites the Dunino parish register, noting that this is the first time in the record where the first element is spelt den, and refuting the OSA suggestion that the name contained Sc den]
(lands of) Dunninow 1699 Retours (Fife) no. 1453 [Patrick Thomson]
Deninno 1745 Dunino Kirk Session Records fo 401r
Dunniny 1753 Roy sheet 19, 5
Duniny Kirk 1753 Roy sheet 19, 5
Dunniny Bridge 1753 Roy sheet 19, 5
Dinnino 1775 Ainslie/Fife [the name of the parish]
Dinnino Kirk 1775 Ainslie/Fife [‘and manse’]
Dininno Place 1775 Ainslie/Fife [different spelling to that of previous entry]
Denino 1790s OSA x, 247 [see Dunino Law]
Denino 1828 SGF
Dunino 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

G dùn + G aonach

‘Fort of (the) assembly place’. G aonach (cf OIr oenach) ‘an assembly’ is used in the names of places of political importance, where the túath (‘kingdom, tribe’) gathered for the conduct of various kinds of public business, as well as racing, feasting and such-like celebrations. Other indications that Dunino may have been such an assembly-site include the presence on a rock platform above the den of what seems to be a large rock-cut basin and a carved footprint. This bears comparison with other early medieval (and Iron Age?) royal inauguration sites, such as Dunadd in mid-Argyll, and merits further investigation.

It should be noted that aonach places in Ireland, where they are common, are very often associated with ancient burial sites and other such pre-historic monuments. On the east side of Dunino Law, near Balkaithly, there is said to have been what is described as a ‘Druidical temple’. There is no surviving archaeology of this object, but it it may have been either a stone circle or a burial cairn, in either case very probably a bronze-age site.[137]

The parish church here, at the above NGR, was built in the nineteenth century, but during building work a much earlier, possibly pre-Reformation, east-west orientated foundation wall was found. The ground, which has been artificially raised, may conceal other early structures (NMRS NO51SW 8). The presence of a much earlier church on the site is also suggested by the find of a fragment of an early medieval cross-slab, with interlace design (illustrated in ECMS ii, 366, now in the St Andrews Museum). In the den below the kirk, according to NMRS, there is ‘an Early Christian cross, some 2 m high, cut into the rock face. The upper part of the cross has weathered off, but the remainder is in good condition. Locally the cross is thought to be recent, because it is not widely known. It is a simple incised cross, with hollows at the intersections of the arms and a nimbus connecting the arms.’ (NO51SW 39). Further indications that this carved cross may be a modern creation include the fact that it is, most unusually, carved into the living rock, rather than onto a free-standing stone, and is incised rather than carved in low-relief. In style it looks more like a modern imitation of an early medieval ‘Celtic’ cross than an authentic carving. Finally, such is the shallowness of the carving, and such is the softness of the rock, it seems unlikely that such a carving would have lasted where it is, exposed to the elements, for the many centuries that an ‘Early Christian cross’ would entail. Its antiquity must therefore be doubted.

OS Pathf. also shows Dunino Burn and Dunino Den Cottage, as well as Dunino Law (for which see following entry).

The modern pronunciation of the name /dəˈnino/ or /dʌˈnino/ is at variance with the pronunciation recorded in the nineteenth century by the parish minister (NSA ix, 356) who renders the pronunciation Dununie, presumably representing /dʌˈnunɪ/ or, less likely, /dÃ:nÃnI/.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 3