Creich CRC P NO326213 1 351 125m
ecclesia de Creyh 1250 x 1259 St A. Lib. 34 [‘with chapel’ (cum capella)]
ecclesia de Creych 1250 x 1259 Dunf. Reg. no. 313 [‘cum capella’]
ad maresi<u>m e parte orientali de Creych 1268 Balm. Lib. no. 56 [‘to the marsh on the east side of Creich’; see BMO Intro., Medieval Marches]
(lands of) Creych 1292 Rot. Scot. i, 8 [claimed by Macduff, with Rires KCQ]
(lands of) Crey 1293 APS i, 445 <red> or 89 [earls of Fife, with Rires KCQ]
Creys 1293 CDS v no. 128 [see CRC Intro., Creich and the Earls of Fife]
(vacant church of) Creegh 1298 CDS ii no. 1017 [see CRC Intro., above]
Domino Bricio rectore ecclesie de Crech 1342 x 1353 NAS GD124/1/1116 [o.c.; w. ‘sir Brice, rector of the church of Creich’, then our chamberlain]
domino Bricio de Crehy c.1345 NAS GD20/1/779 [o.c.; w. ‘sir Brice of’]
Bric de Kreyc 1379 CPL Clement VII of Avignon, 36 [former rector]
(church of) Crech 1414 Lind. Cart. p. 294 (no. 39) [see CRC Intro.]
(half the lands of) Crech 1486 RMS ii no. 1856 [John Hay of Naughton BMO]
terras de Creich 1490 RMS ii no. 1950 [forfeited by James Liddale, now granted to the king’s squire (armigero) John Liddale, James’s son; renewed in 1498 (RMS ii no. 2401)]
terras de Creich 1502 RMS ii no. 2672 [sold by John Liddale to David Beaton]
(lands of) Creich 1517 Fife Ct. Bk. 61 [John Beaton, son of the late David B.]
Creigh 1519 Fife Ct. Bk. 141
ecclesie parochialis Sancti Servani de Creich 1538 RSS ii no. 2803 [to the altar ... on the south side ‘of the parish kirk of St Serf of Creich’; see CRC Intro.]
Creicht 1549 RMS iv no. 298 [John Seton vicar of Creich]
(Robert Beaton of) Creich 1553 RMS iv no. 832 [Robert Beaton, lands of Creich, with tower, fortalice and manor-place, also lands and mill of Dunbog DBG and lands of Countryhills FLK]
the Deracheland of Creiche c.1560 s Assumption, 30 [Durieland of Creich #]
the Deratland of Creycht c.1560 s Assumption, 35 [Durieland of Creich #]
Johnne Seytoun, vicar of Creycht c.1560 s Assumption, 78
K<irk> of Creech 1590 x 1599 Pont MS 54B [also Place for nearby castle]
in liberam baroniam de Creich 1603 RMS vi no. 1492 [‘into free barony of Creich’, in favour of James Beaton of Creich]
Creich 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Creich kirk 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Creich loch 1642 Gordon MS Fife [east of Creich kirk]
Creich moore 1642 Gordon MS Fife [omitted from Blaeu (Gordon) Fife]
Creech K<irk> 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Creich K<irk> 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Creich 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [for the castle]
L<och> Creich 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Creigh 1775 Ainslie/Fife [also ‘Creigh Kirk and castle: Dr Gillespie’]
Creigh 1828 SGF
While the early modern forms, and the modern pronunciation, suggest a derivation from G crìoch ‘boundary’, medieval forms all suggest that the vowel was /e/ or /E/ rather than /i/. This suggests a derivation from G creach, a word which W. J. Watson would connect with G creachann ‘bare, wind-swept top of a hill’ (1926, 405). A. MacBain has it as creachan and creachann, meaning ‘bare summit, mountain’, and connects it perhaps with creach (OG crech) ‘plunder’ i.e. bare, stripped (1911, s.v.). A meaning ‘bare hill’ for Creich could be especially apt given the position of the old parish kirk (as well as the nearby castle) immediately below a distinctive line of volcanic hills, from east to west Craigancroon, Black Craig, Green Craig and Craigsimmie, which probably never supported much vegetation.
Watson’s above-mentioned discussion of creach is in connection with the Aberdeenshire parish- and settlement-name Crimond (Crechmond c.1250 Aberdeen Registrum ii, 53; Creychmond c.1250 Aberdeen Registrum ii, 56), the second element of which is G monadh ‘hill, muir’. Another ABD name which seems to contain this word is Crichie, Old Deer (Crehyn 1246 Aberdeen-Banff Ill. iv, 3, Mekil Creche 1507 RMS ii no. 3127, Mekle Creechy 1590s Pont MS Creichie 1592 RMS v no. 2176).
Finally, there is the parish of the same name in south-east Sutherland, which led to the confusion in RCAHMS Fife regarding the patron saint of Creich FIF (see CRC Intro., Church Dedication, above). Creich SUT is not only spelled the same, it is also pronounced the same. W. J. Watson, in discussing Creich SUT in 1906, writes: ‘No satisfactory derivation has been offered of the parish name Creich, 1223 Crech, G Craoich. But for the old spelling, it might be explained as Crao(bh)aich ‘place of trees’, but this can hardly hold. Of the common explanation crìch, ‘boundary’, is out of the question [sic]’ (Watson 2002 , 64). In fact, in his later explanation of Crimond, he may have offered the satisfactory derivation for Creich which had eluded him in 1906.
The NGR given above is for the kirk. The castle of Creich is at NO328212, where the modern farm of Creich is also found. It is a sixteenth-century tower house, though an earlier castle is referred to in the thirteenth century (NMRS NO32SW 2).
Gordon MS Fife (1642) shows Creich moore (Creich Muir) written across an area north-east of the kirk, while east of the kirk, and south of Creich moore it shows Creich loch (L<och> Creich on Blaeu (Gordon) Fife), probably referring to the low-lying, boggy land, now partly drained, south-east of Creich Castle.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4