Eglesnamin

Eglesnamin # SSL S NO493156 2

Eglesnamin 1140 St A. Lib. 122 [Bp Robert to St Andrews Priory]
Eglesnamin 1156 St A. Lib. 51
Eglesnamin 1160 RRS i no. 174 [= St A. Lib. 206]
Egglesnamin 1160 x 1162 St A. Lib. 122 [Bp Arnold’s confirmation]
Eglesmanin 1165 x 1169 St A. Lib. 143 [Bp Richard’s confirmation; assume a transcription error]
Eglesnemin 1165 x 1169 RRS ii no. 28 [o.c.; corresponds to St A. Lib. 214, which has Eglesnamin]
Eglesmanin 1178 x 1184 St A. Lib. 145 [Bp Hugh’s confirmation; assume a transcription error]
Egglesnamin 1183 St A. Lib. 58 [Pope Lucius III’s confirmation]
Eglesnamin 1198 x 1199 St A. Lib. 150 [Bp Roger’s confirmation]
Egglesnamin c. 1220 Terrier C [17/18th c. copy; part of the Boar’s Raik]
Eglesnamin 1228 St A. Lib. 233 [Alexander II’s confirmation]

Pictish * egles + ?

The first element *egles indicates an ecclesiastical foundation dating back to the Pictish period (see Barrow 1983, Taylor 1998 and PNF 5 Elements Glossary). Barrow writes that the name “could stand for ‘church of St Náemhán’ or perhaps simply for ‘church of the saint(s)’ [G naomh ‘saint, holy’] – which, of course, would be closely equivalent to the name All Hallows [its later name, now Hallow Hill SSL, q.v.]. We might perhaps compare this name ... with the name Cill Mo-Naoi’in or Cill Mo-Naoimhín attached to the very holy island-shrine of Iona (Watson 1926, 307)” (Barrow 1983, 8).

On the pattern of most other names in *egles, it is more likely that the specific element was originally a personal name, but its later development suggests that it had been re-interpreted by Gaelic-speakers as containing G naomh (OG noíb) ‘saint, holy’, and in this sense was part-translated into Scots as Alhallawhill, later Hallow Hill.

Eglesnamin is one of the core lands granted to St Andrews Priory by Bishop Robert on its foundation in 1140, and consists of a piece of raised ground bounded on three sides by burns, the Kinness Burn on the north and the Cairnsmill Burn on the west and south-west. It lies inland just over 2 km south-west of the cathedral complex. Excavations have revealed an early Christian long cist cemetery on the site, which, along with the name itself, containing the early church-element *egles, indicates that this was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, focus for Christian worship in the area. The other very early site, as indicated by the presence of long-cist burials, is near the cathedral itself, around St Mary’s Collegiate Church on the cliffs above the harbour (at Kirkheugh). Full details of the excavations are to be found in Proudfoot et al. 1996. For the identification of Eglesnamin with Hallowhill, see ibid. 391–8.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 3