Nevethy-endereth * SSL S
Neuethin endoreth 1172 x 1178 St A. Lib. 140 [Bp Richard’s charter granting to the canons of St Andrews Priory Dunhorc ferdeis . Garried . Neuethin endoreth; no other lands mentioned]
Neuethin . Endoreth 1179 x 1183 St A. Lib. 146 [Dunhorh ferdis . Garriech . Neuethin . Endoreth]
Neuedhin . Endered 1183 NAS GD45/27/8 fo 25v [Dunorchferdis . Garried . Neuedhin . Endered]
Neuedin . Endereð 1189 x 1198 NAS GD45/27/8 fo 66r [Dunorc ferdis Garriath . Neuedin . Endereð]
Neuethi 1212 x 1215 NAS GD45/27/8 fo 141v [= St A. Lib. 317, which has Neuechi; ‘from a certain land which is called *Nevethy’ (de quadam terra que uocatur Neuethi)]
Neuethi 1212 x 1215 NAS GD45/27/8 fo 141v [= St A. Lib. 317, which has Neuechi; ‘the land which is called *Nevethy’ (terra que uocatur Neuethi)]
Neuethi 1212 x 1215 NAS GD45/27/8 fo 142r [= St A. Lib. 317, which has Neuechi; ‘from the land which is called *Nevethy’ (de terra que uocatur Neuethi); see SSL Introduction, St Andrews and Learning]
Neueteindorech c.1220 Terrier C [17/18th c. copy; one of the lands of the Boar’s Raik which St Andrews Priory holds of the king]
<N>y<u>edthin Infirmorum c.1220 Terrier F [17/18th c. copy; transcribed as Hynedthin Infirmorum; amongst the lands held by bp and his men]
en Nevethy + G an + G deòradh
This complex and important name is best approached in stages. To take the first part first (Neuethin etc), it is clear from the early forms that it was a stand-alone name, and in *Nevethy-endereth is therefore almost certainly functioning as an existing name. It clearly ends in the common loc. suffix –in ‘place of’ or ‘place at’, which is almost invariably reduced to –ie/–y by about 1300, hence the reconstructed form *Nevethy. It derives from a word related to modern G neimheadh (or neimhidh) ‘church-land, glebe’. At its root is OIr nemed ‘sacred, noble; noble or sacred place; sanctuary’. It was W. J. Watson who in a Scottish context first suggested pre-Christian roots for names containing this element (1926, 244–50), Gaulish nemeton ‘sacred place’, a place of tribal judgement and worship, stating that in Scotland ‘its history appears to be the same as in Gaul and in Ireland – an institution originally pagan, taken over by the Church’ (ibid. 246). Watson’s idea has gained further currency from the fact that G. W. S. Barrow has written about it in these same terms, most extensively in his article tellingly entitled ‘Religion in Scotland on the eve of Christianity’ (1998a; see also Barrow 1998, 56, 58–9).
While it might be rash to deny (though impossible to prove) the pagan roots of some of the twenty or so places containing this element, almost exclusively found in eastern Scotland north of the Forth, it must always be borne in mind that, since the word survived in the Christian period, with a meaning related to Christian institutions, it could also have been applied in an entirely Christian context. Given its limited geographical distribution, and the fact that it is practically unknown as a place-name element in Ireland (see Watson 1926, 245–6), it may well be that we are dealing here with a term which was chiefly applied within a Pictish-speaking milieu. It is its Pictishness, however, rather than its pagan-ness, which is probably its defining feature.
The most plausible explanation of the second part of this name, -*endereth is that it contains the G definite article an ‘the’ and G deòradh ‘dewar, relic-keeper’, discussed in connection with Pitbauchlie DFL and Kinglassie in PNF 1 (348, 431–2). As mentioned in those discussions, not only was the dewar charged with the safe-keeping of the relics of a saint, he would by virtue of his office have been involved in various legal roles (for which see also Dickinson 1941). These probably included securing the observances of oaths and the truthfulness of witnesses. Also, in the case of the dewar of St Fillan’s staff in Glendochart PER, he was involved in the pursuit and recovery of stolen goods (see Taylor 2001, 186). For more discussion of the socio-legal position of the dewar, see Elements Glossary under deòradh, PNF 5.
By the second half of the twelfth century at the very latest, G deòradh (MIr deorad) referred to some kind of official to whose office lands were attached. The evidence for this is supplied by RRS ii no. 358 (o.c.), in which King William I confirms Hugh Giffard’s grant to St Andrews Priory of the church of Tealing ANG ‘with the toft of the priest and the toft of the dewar’ (cum tofto sacerdotis et tofto dereti). It is therefore likely that *Nevethy-endereth refers to that part of the lands of *Nevethy which were, or had at one time been, assigned to the person who held the office of dewar.
There remains the question of where the lands of *Nevethy were located. Professor Barrow has suggested it might be Arnydie # CER, SSL (pers. comm.). When Arnydie first appears in the mid-fifteenth century, it would seem to belong to the bishop rather than to the priory, but since part of the lands of *Nevethy are already listed amongst the bishop’s lands in the Terrier of c.1220 (*Nevethy Infirmorum), this is not an obstacle to this identification. As to the phonological development of Neuethin to -nydie, this is unusual but not entirely unparalleled: Craignity, Glenisla ANG (Cragneuethin 1233 C. A. Chrs. i no. 41, Cragniety 1584 C. A. Chrs. ii no. 275) has also developed a long vowel /i:/, which has later become diphthongised to /ai/. That it became Arnydie rather than Arnytie could be explained by assimilation to the important local place-name Nydie SSL.
However, Nydie SSL is a part of the problem as well as of the solution. If, as tentatively suggested under that name, Nydie (twelfth-century forms Nidin etc) contains the tribal name *Nith also found in the parish-name Newburn (twelfth-century forms Nithbren and Nidbren, for which see Newburn, PNF 2), then it would be the way of least resistance to suggest that Arnydie means ‘height of the people or territory of the *Nith’. It lies in fact in the hills only three km north of the NBN boundary, and seven km due south of Nydie SSL.
I have an alternative, very tentative, answer to the question as to where the lands of *Nevethy lay. It is predicated on the assumption that the lands of Garried # and *Nevethy are closely connected not only in the documentation (where they are always mentioned together) but also on the ground. In fact, they might have been so closely connected that they were sometimes treated as one unit of land. It is the dewar-connection which provides two of the clues. The only reliquary we know about in St Andrews is the Morbrac, the great reliquary, which must have contained the bones of Andrew (for which see Scoonie SSL, below). It is mentioned in an agreement reached between the Priory and one Gellin son of Gilchrist mac Cussegerri 1199 × 1209, by which Gellin gave up all rights he had in the lands of Garried and Scoonie SSL in exchange for the right to carry the great shrine of St Andrew (Morbrac), as well as to have food and clothing, just as Gilmur had done, and for a chalder of oatmeal a year for as long as he lived (St A. Lib. 329). We also know that before this date Gellin had exchanged the land of Garried (or at least part of that land) for (part of) the land of Scoonie. It is likely that what is being negotiated here are the rights of access to and control of the relics, in other words dewar’s rights. Gellin’s exchange of Garried for Scoonie might have taken place at the same time as Bishop Richard gave the Priory the rest of Garried along with *Nevethy-endoreth (‘of the dewar’) in the 1170s (St A. Lib. 140), the exchange being made with the purpose of consolidating the Priory’s interests in Garried. While it is far from certain that Gellin’s rights in Garried were connected with those of a dewar, it is perhaps more than a co-incidence that he emerges as the dewar of the great Andrew shrine around 1200, and that land closely associated with Gellin’s Garried should bear the affix ‘of the dewar’.
One way in which to locate lost place-names within the Boar’s Raik, one of the best-documented territories in Scotland before 1200, is to concentrate on those lands which emerge in the later medieval period with Scots names. There are not many of them, the most conspicuous in the core territory of St Andrews Priory being Grange and Denbrae. It has already been tentatively suggested that Garried (s.n.) may have been the older name for the lands of Grange, which lay to the south of St Andrews between Scoonie and the edge of the burgh lands. Here I am going to make a different, and equally tentative, suggestion that both Garried and *Nevethy were attached to the lands which later became known as Denbrae (including Denhead). These lay about 4 km west-south-west of the Priory, surrounded by the lands Strathkinness, Balone, Craigtoun (Cragin) and Claremont, in other words in the heart of the Priory’s lands in the Boar’s Raik. Apart from the circumstantial evidence for this identification, there is one late (and therefore slim) piece of evidence to connect Denbrae with these two lost lands. When Denbrae is first mentioned (as late as 1584) the Priory’s tenant in half the lands there is named as having been one Alexander Dewar (RMS v no. 804; see Denbrae SSL for more details). Again, this may be pure coincidence. However, it might just point to a very old connection, such as is hinted at in the early thirteenth-century sources, between these lands and the office of dewar. That the Dewar family had been well ensconced in the lands of Denbrae, and were not just short-term tenants, is indicated by the fact that the mill of Denbrae was being referred to as Dewars Mill by 1581 (RMS v no. 702), and has kept that name to this day (see s.n., above).
A final note on the close links between Garried # and *Nevethy: as discussed above in SSL Introduction, St Andrews and Learning, and under Garried # SSL, both these lands had been used for the support of (poor) scholars in the schools of St Andrews, with *Nevethy contributing 6 bolls (melae) of dry barley (presumably annually). It may even be that the name Garried derives from a Gaelic word which refers to the young scholars themselves. The support which Garried # and *Nevethy had afforded to the scholars had clearly been disrupted when in the 1170s Bishop Richard granted these lands, along with part of Denork, to the Priory (St A. Lib. 140–1). In the agreement of 1212 × 1215, translated in full in SSL, St Andrews and Learning, support for the scholars is put on a secure footing (St A. Lib. 316–18). The Priory keeps hold of Garried and *Nevethy but agrees to pay large amounts in kind to the scholars from the cains of a list of named lands, not including Garried but including, it would seem, the continuation of the payment of the 6 bolls of dry barley from *Nevethy. This may explain the Terrier’s peculiar <N>y<u>edthin Infirmorum ‘*Nevethy of the Infirm’, where the Latin infirmus ‘infirm, weak’, could refer not to the sick but to the weak and vulnerable young scholars, whose support was so carefully negotiated in the above-mentioned document. *Nevethy of the Infirm may thus be that part of *Nevethy which continued to be responsible for this support. If so, then it would seem that the bishop had taken over this responsibility, since *Nevethy of the Infirm is listed amonst his lands, while *Nevethy of the Dewar is listed amongst the Priory’s lands.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3