Thaneslands

Thaneslands * LEU S NO450240 2

    Ale ander Thane de Thanisland 1457 Dunf. Reg. no. 452
    Thanisland 1491 x 1492 RMS ii no. 2082 [3rd of lands of Strathburn, Fordel and Fetters all LEU <together> called *Thaneslands; for details see discussion]
    (the lands of) Thanislandis 1512 RMS ii no. 3715 [consisting of 3rd of Strathburn, Fordel and Fetters, also mill of Strathburn, part of barony of Kinnear]
    Thainislandis 1543 Retours Fife no. 2 [to John Kinnear of that ilk, *Thaneslands viz 3rd of Strathburn, Fordel and Fetters, with mill of Strathburn]
    Thaynslands c.1560 s Purves 152 [in ‘Quarter of Edyn’]

pn Thane + Sc land

‘Lands belonging to a family called Thane’. See Grant 1993, 81. This is much more likely than ‘lands held by a thane’.[302] The family appears in the persons of John Thane of Fordel LEU and his son Alexander Thane, who are mentioned in a series of charters of Dunfermline Abbey all dated 1451 and all relating to the lands of Ferry Hills (Ferihill) by Inverkeithing, whereby John and Alexander sell their annual rent of five merks from the lands of Ferry Hills to the abbey (Dunf. Reg. nos. 435–9). In 1452 John’s son Alexander Thane, described as ‘Alyschender Thayn of that ilk’, is present in the sheriff court of Cupar with other Fife lairds (Fraser, Wemyss iii, xxii); and this same Alexander Thane is described as ‘of Thanisland’ in a charter of 1457 (Dunf. Reg. no. 452). Dunfermline Abbey, although lying at the opposite end of Fife, was an important land-holder in these parts, having been granted the lands of Fetters LEU by David I (see s.n., above).

    These lands are described at various times from 1491 as consisting of one third of Strathburn, Fordel and Fetters, as well as the mill of Strathburn, all in Leuchars parish. Grant suggests that the family called Thane may be descended from a John Thyanus (i.e. Thaynus or Thane) who was chamberlain to the abbot of Dunfermline in 1316 (Dunf. Reg. no. 348). Grant was unsure as to whether Thaneslands contained a personal name or the name of the official, but all the evidence points to the former, and his reluctance to see this place-name as evidence of a thanage was well justified.

    Since it would appear that the three units making up Thaneslands (parts of Strathburn, Fordel and Fetters) have never been contiguous, this name is a rare example of what can be termed a discontinuous territorial name. The above NGR is of near Fordel, which lies roughly mid way between Strathburn to the south-west and Fetters to the north-east.

    In 1491 Alexander Sibbald of Cayr sold to David Kinnear of that ilk and to his spouse Marjorie Moncur ‘the third part of the lands of Strathburn, Fordel and Fetters, (together) called Thaneslands, in the parish of Leuchars’ (tertiam partem terrarum de Strowbirn, Fordale et Fotheris, nuncupatam Thanisland in parochia de Luchris) (confirmed by royal charter in 1492 RMS ii no. 2082).

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4