Pitsporgy * SSL S NO5315 3
Pethsprochyn 1172 x 1178 Barrow 1971 no. 2
Pethsprochyn 1172 x 1178 Barrow 1971 no. 3
Petsprochyn 1189 x 1195 RRS ii no. 347 [confirmation of a grant by Gilchrist, abbot of the Culdees, to Adam son of Odo the steward, of Kinkell, Petsprochyn and *Pitkenny (Petkynninn) SSL]
Petsporgin 1198 x 1199 St A. Lib. 318 [held by the Culdees; ‘Kinkell with *Pitsporgy and *Pitkenny’ (Kinnakelle cum Petsporgin et Petkennin)]
? Baleocherthyn c.1220 Terrier E [17/18th c. copy; held by Culdees]
Pictish or G pett + ? + – in
The first element is clearly Pictish or Gaelic pett ‘farm, land-holding’, and the ending is almost certainly the common locational ending –in meaning ‘place of or at’, which by about 1300 had been regularly reduced to –ie or –y. However, no obvious etymology for the specific (second) element suggests itself. A word connected with Old Irish sproc ‘sorrow, dejection’ (DIL), modern G sprochd ‘sadness, dejection, bitterness, lament’ (Dwelly), is an unlikely place-name element, as is one connected with the Perthshire G sproch ‘robbery’ (Dwelly). It may equally well be P-Celtic. If this name had survived, it would have become something like *Pitsporgy or *Pitsprochy.
All the occurrences of *Pitsporgy are listed above, and each one mentions it as belonging to the Culdees of St Mary’s, St Andrews. It was closely associated with the lands of Kinkell SSL, along with another lost Pit-name, *Pitkenny SSL. It is on this basis that I have tentatively identified the Terrier’s Baleocherthyn as a garbled version of *Pitsporgy or *Pitsprochy, perhaps with the initial element G baile rather than pett. Not only is Baleocherthyn listed amongst the lands held by Culdees (Terrier E), it immediately precedes two names which were definitely in the Kinkell area, *Pitkenny and Kingask SSL. However, the possibility also exists that the Terrier’s Baleocherthyn represents Ballachton # CER (q.v., PNF 2; see also Appendix 2, below).
The following is highly speculative, but is worth consideration. There was a division of the lands of Kinkell which was called Spinkstown (q.v.), which first appears (Spinkiston) in 1591 (St A. Kirk Sess. 711). This is a Sc name, apparently containing the Sc pn Spink, and it is just possible that the first (specific) element derives from the second (also specific) element of *Pitsporgy or *Pitsprochy, with Sc toun an acceptable equivalent of pett. Spinkstown would thus represent a part translation of the older, Celtic name.
The above NGR is based on the assumption that it lay near Kinkell.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3