Drumlaw Sand

Drumlaw Sand # FPC LEU O NO5328 1 352 0m

    in Drumlay 1136 x 1153 David I Chrs. no. 216 [late 14th c. inspection charter of Robert II of a confirmation charter of David II (1352 RRS vi no. 122) of a charter of David I, which G. W. S. Barrow considers genuine, though not without problems (David I Chrs. p. 159). The burgh trading limits of Montrose (Sallork) go south ‘as far as the Dighty Water as it flows into Drumlaw’ (usque ad aqua de Deychty sicut currit in Drumlay)]
    Drumbelay 1317 RRS v no. 117 [‘no ship coming within Drumlaw’ (nulla nauis ueniens infra Drumbelay) with merchandise is to unload till it come to the bridge of the royal burgh of Perth (with certain exceptions)]
    infra Dromlay 1366 RRS vi no. 352 [o.c.; allegedly a confirmation of rights to burgesses of Perth made by William I and Robert I; Drumlay not in RRS ii]
    Drumlay 1440s Bower, Scotichron. Bk. 10, ch. 17 [see discussion]
    ad e tremum punctum de Drumlawsandis 1539 RMS iii no. 2028 [limit of Fetters and Shanwell fishings; see FPC Intro., Fishings]
    rupem de Drumlaw 1539 Dunf. Reg. no. 542 [see next entry]
    arena vocata lye Drumlaw 1539 Dunf. Reg. no. 542 [Shanwell and Fetters fishings: ‘as far as the sea and within the sea as far as the rock of Drumlaw and with the sand(s) called the Drumlaw’]
    Drumlay Sand 1636 x 1652 Gordon MS 47 [Robert Gordon; to south of estuary mouth]
    fishinges of Drumlaw 1652 Retours (Fife) no. 799
    Drum Law Sand 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
    Drumlaw Sand 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
    (fishings of) Drumlaws 1666 Retours (Fife) no. 989 [Stewart of Kirkhill]
    Drumly 1703 Adair/Sea-Coast (Tay) [shown on north side of estuary mouth, with Abertay on south (Fife) side]

? G druim + G liath or ? Sc drumley

If Gaelic, then perhaps ‘grey ridge’. If Scots, then the adjective drumley ‘turbid, cloudy, muddy’, with a generic such as sandis ‘sands’ understood. If its earliest occurrence does indeed date to the reign of David I, as seems likely, then it is probably of Gaelic origin. When first used it would appear to apply to the mouth of the Tay. See RRS i, p. 95 for a full discussion of this name, where it is equated with Abertay Sands, but note that the conclusions reached about the charter are superseded by David I Chrs. no. 216 and comment. It appears in the seventeenth century as Drumlaw (Retours (Fife) nos. 759, 799, 989), but it has since become obsolete (RRS i, 95).

    For a rather clumsy piece of place-name lore, see Scotichron. Bk. 10, ch. 17, in which Walter Bower claims that Drumlay was so named because there the Norsemen ‘drownit lay’ after their ships sank at the mouth of the Tay as they fled following their defeat at the hands of the Picts at Luncarty north of Perth. Bower also attributes the treacherous shallows at the mouth of the Tay here to the sand accumulating around the wrecks of these Norse ships. Boece, writing in the 1520s, transposes this story to the time of King Duncan II (1034–40) and interprets Drounlou as montes mergentes ‘sinking or drowning hills’, taking lou to be Sc law ‘hill’ (Stewart, Croniclis i, p. xxii).

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4