Kinness Burn ~ SSL W NO516166 1 363 0m
iu ta aquam Kines 1147 x 1159 St A. Lib. 124 (1) [‘beside the Kinness Water’]
fluuius Kines 1160 x 1162 St A. Lib. 127 [for details, see discussion]
fluuius Kines 1165 x 1166 St A. Lib. 143
fluuius Kines 1165 x 1169 RRS ii no. 28 [= St A. Lib. 215; see discussion]
fluuius Kines 1183 St A. Lib. 58 [see discussion]
fluuius Kenes 1246 St A. Lib. 93
fluuius Kines 1248 St A. Lib. 100
Kenness Burn 1828 SGF
en Kinness + Sc burn
The burn-name itself would appear to consist of G ceann ‘head, end’ and G eas ‘waterfall’. The Nydie Plan (1776) shows Water fall on the Kinness Burn near its source, at about NO440160, though this is not marked on OS maps. This feature on the burn is significant enough to give its name to the southern boundary of the Nydie estate, where the Plan marks ‘The Water fall March with Clatto Estate’.
Nevertheless, ‘water-fall head’ or ‘water-fall end’ remains an unusual name for a water-course, and it is therefore possible that it has a quite different etymology.
The most important water-course in the immediate area of the burgh, it has also given its name to the extensive lands of Strathkinness to the west of the town. The name first occurs in a charter of Bishop Robert, by which he grants to St Andrews Priory ‘that toft on which is built the house of Archdeacon Matthew in Kilrymont, along with three crofts beside the Kinness Water of (or belonging to) the holding of Kinninmonth CER, SSL (‘illam toftam supra quam statuta est domus archidiaconi Mathei in Chilrimunid cum tribus croftis iuxta aquam Kines tenure de Kininemoneth’ 1147 × 1159 (NAS GD45/27/8 fo 54v, printed St A. Lib. 124 (1), which has Chilrimund).
Thereafter it occurs frequently in St A. Lib. as fluuius Kines, chiefly in confirmations of the grant to the Priory of St Andrews which Bishop Arnold (1160–2) made of land near the church, the boundaries of which are described as follows: ‘all the land which goes from the street which is between the burgh [of St Andrews] and the new hospital [of St Leonards] as far as the bridge of Stermoling [at the foot of Abbey Walk] and then as the Kinness Burn falls into the sea, and by the road by which you go from the burgh to the church, again into the sea’. In Pope Lucius III’s general confirmation charter to the Priory (1183) this same piece of land is described as being ‘between the town and the church, as the Kinness Burn falls into the sea’.
/kɪˈnɛs bʌrn/, which contrasts with the pronunciation of the derived name Strathkinness, with stress on the middle syllable.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3