Strathburn

Strathburn LEU S NO430235 1 352 25m

    Straubren 1372 RMS i no. 447 [third of Cowbakie (Kulbaky) LEU, Fordel (Fordale) LEU and Strathburn to Robert Stewart of Shanbothy CLA]
    (a third of) Strabbrin 1428 RMS ii no. 115 [see Cowbackie LEU]
    (a third of) Strowbirn 1491 RMS ii no. 2082 [see *Thaneslands LEU]
    (a third of) Strobirne 1511 RMS ii no. 3715 [see *Thaneslands LEU]
    (mill of) Strobirne 1511 RMS ii no. 3715 [see *Thaneslands LEU]
    (one third of) Straubirn 1513 RMS ii no. 3840 [Stewarts of Rosyth]
    Strobyrne 1521 Fife Ct. Bk. 212–13 [the late David Kinnear ‘lord portionar’ (dominus porcionarius) of Strathburn died vested with feu of a third of Strathburn in barony of Rosyth, and his brother Alexander given service of these lands which are held ‘in capite’ from the lord of Leuchat (Luchquhald) DGY]
    (Ale ander Kinnear of) Straburn 1535 Dunf. Reg. no. 523
    (one third of) Straburne 1543 Retours Fife no. 2 [see *Thaneslands LEU]
    (mill of) Straburne 1543 Retours Fife no. 2 [see *Thaneslands LEU]
    Straburne c.1560 s Assumption, 13
    Straburne 1622 Retours (Fife) no. 323 [David Kinnear of that ilk, a third of the lands of Strathburn, Fetters and Fordel]
    Strathburne 1622 RMS viii no. 370 [Andrew Bruce]
    tertiam partem terrarum de Strathburne 1627 RMS viii no. 1127 [to William Bruce of Earlshall (Erlishall) LEU a third part of the lands of Strathburn and ‘that butt of land adjacent to the said third part at Carrick’ (illam le butt terre dicte tertie parti adjacen<tem> apud Currok); which lands Robert Durie (SCO) of that ilk and David lord Carnegie of Kinnaird (Kynnaird) have resigned]
    Strathburne 1643 Retours (Fife) no. 648 [‘the butt of land lying beside the said third of the lands of Strathburn at Carrick’ (lie butt terrae adjacente dictae tertiae partis de Strathburne apud Currok), to Andrew Bruce of Earlshall]
    Straburne 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
    Straeburne 1658 Retours (Fife) no. 882 [James earl of Southesk, ‘ane third pairt of the lands of Fordell and Straeburne’]
    Strathburnes 1665 Retours (Fife) no. 975 [with mill of Strathburne]
    Strabarn (vel Straburn) 1700 Retours (Fife) no. 1440 [James earl of Southesk]
    Strathburn 1775 Ainslie/Fife
    Strathburn 1828 SGF
    Strathburn 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

? G srath or ? Pictish * strath + ? G braon + ? Pictish * bren

‘Strath of dampness’? or ‘strath of (the) hill’? The first element is probably G srath or Pictish *strath ‘(broad) valley’: the farm-steading of Strathburn stands on the eastern edge of the relatively broad valley of the Motray Water. If this is the case, it is perhaps noteworthy that there is no trace of the final -th until the seventeenth century, all earlier forms (starting relatively late, in 1372) having Stra(u)-, Stro(w)-. This is not an insurmountable problem, however: if the early forms of Strathmiglo (certainly containing s(t)rath) are examined, it will be seen that, while the final dental consonant is indicated in the earliest forms, it disappears by about 1300, not to re-appear again until c.1500 (see below, s.n.).

    The second element is more difficult: braon (m.), as in Balbirnie MAI (PNF 2), Birnie MOR (Watson 1926, 142–3, 189), and Birnam PER, means in modern G ‘drop of water, shower, drizzle’. The strath would certainly have been prone to flooding at this point before the Motray was straightened. And the marshy nature of at least part of Strathburn is underlined by the occurrence of the local name Carrick from G currach ‘bog’ (see s.n.; and under 1627 and 1643, above).

    However, the farm itself lies relatively high about the strath (at 25 m), beside Crawley Hill, which rises to 40 m, dropping straight down into the strath on its western flank. The second element of the name might therefore be Pictish *bren ‘hill’, with reference to this topography. This would mean that the whole name could be Pictish.

    A third of Strathburn made up the lands of Thaneslands (q.v.).

/straˈbʌrn/ JMH.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4