Monimail

Monimail MML PS NO299142 1 362 75m

    Munemel 1207 CPL i, 30 [one of places belonging to bishop of St Andrews, taken into papal protection]
    Munemel 1218 CPL i, 61 [as above]
    (church of) Monimel c.1250 St A. Lib. 34 [tax of 40 merks]
    (church of) Monymel’ c.1250 Dunf. Reg. 208
    Willelmo de Monimel c.1262 Lind. Cart. no. 91 [‘William of Monimail chaplain’ (capellano), w. charter anent church of Collessie]
    (church of) Monimel 1275 Bagimond’s Roll 37, 39
    (church of) Munimel 1276 Bagimond’s Roll 62 [twice]
    apud Munymel 1283 Arb. Lib. i no. 316 [charter of Bp William dated there][333]
    Henry de Monimel 1296 Inst. Pub. 145 [does homage to Edward I]
    Henry p<er>sone del Eglise de Munimel 1296 Inst. Pub. 167 [‘parson of the church of Monimail’ does homage to Edward I; cf Monimel CDS ii no. 823]
    (church of) Monymel 1298 CDS ii no. 1000
    Monymael 1298 CDS ii no. 1023 [Robert de Carteret presented to church of]
    (parish church of) Monimele 1329 CPL ii, 303 [see MML Intro.]
    grangia de Monymeil 1329 ER i, 137
    de constabulario de Monimel 1329 ER i, 139 [oats ‘from the constabulary of’]
    balliuo de Monimeil 1329 ER i, 145–6 [squirrels (scorellorum) from Monymel; see MML Intro., Episcopal Connections]
    balliuo de Monymel 1329 ER i, 146 [rye (siliginis) ‘from the bailiff of’]
    balliuo de Monimel 1329 ER i, 146 [barley malt (brasei ordei)]
    balliuo de Monymeil 1329 ER i, 147 [oats (auene)]
    ecclesi<a> de Monimeille 1329 ER i, 214 [teind to the dean of Gowrie]
    apud Monymele 1345 Morton Reg. ii no. 65 [charter dated there (Logan)]
    apud Monymele 1393 Morton Reg. ii no. 194 [charter dated there (Douglas)]
    Monimel 1401 Papal Letters to Scotland, 1394–1419, 392 [Gilbert de Ferl, to perpetual vicarage of parish church of Monimail, value not exceeding 25 merks, vacant by death of John of St Andrews]
    Hugone vicario de Monymele 1457 Lind. Lib. no. 2 [w.; appears in Laing’s translation as Monymeyl (1876, 482)]
    Monymeyll 1452 x 1480 RMS ii no. 1444 [belonging to bp of St Andrews]
    (parish of) Monymeill 1538 St A. Rent. 7
    half mill and mill land of Monymele 1540 St A. Rent. 106 [for which David Durie (Dury) and his son pay £12 for a 19 years’ tack]
    Little Monymele 1543 St A. Rent. 199 [3 pairs of fine linen sheets delivered when earl of Huntly was entertained there (not restored after his departure)]
    Little Monymele 1545 S A. Rent. 202 [hire of beds in St Andrews Castle and at Little Monimail for the Queen (Mary), et al.]
    apud Monymele 1546 RMS iv no. 36 [charter dated there; see Brighouse LOG]
    in dominio suo de Monymele 1552 x 1569 RMS iv no. 1869 [‘in his (Archbp John’s) lordship of Monimail’; see MML Intro., Minor Names]
    in palatio suo de Monymele 1552 x 1569 RMS iv no. 1869 [‘in his (Archbp John’s) palace of Monimail’; similarly 1587 RMS v no. 1394 (Monymele) and 1593 ibid. no. 2292 (Monymaill)]
    ecclesi<a> de Monymaill 1592 RMS v no. 2040 [confirmation of charter to Robert Melville (Melvile), of the toun and lands of Letham, with advowson of the church of Monimail, the rectory and vicarage of the same]
    dominium et baroniam de Monymaill 1593 RMS v no. 2273 [comprehending toun and lands of Letham, Cunnoquhie, Pathcondie, *Muirhall, and Brewland of Monimail (Brewland de Monymaill)]
    maneriem et locum de Monymale 1612 RMS vii no. 706 [see MML Intro., Episcopal Connections for full details]
    cum molendino de Monymaill 1613 RMS vii no. 909 [Robert Melville, the toun and lands of Letham, with the mill of Monimail]
    Monymaill 1616 x 1627 RMS viii no. 1134 [see Melville House MML]
    baroniam de Monymaill 1636 Retours (Fife) no. 534 [‘barony of Monimail’ created in favour of John lord Melville of Monimail (defined)]
    Mondnamel 1642 Gordon MS Fife
    Mondnumell 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
    parochi<a> de Monymaill 1665 Retours (Fife) no. 974
    Monymeill 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
    Dauid Orme m<inister> of Monymeale 1657 Lamont’s Diary 100
    parochi<a> de Monemaill 1679 Retours (Fife) no. 1596
    Monimaill 1723 Geog. Coll. i, 303
    Moneymeal 1775 Ainslie/Fife

? G monadh + ? G maol

‘Bare hill (or muir, rough grazing)’? Whatever the interpretation of the first element, it shares it with such important eastern Scottish place-names as Monifieth ANG and Monymusk ABD. That it derives from G monadh (‘hill, muir, rough grazing) rather than G mòine (‘moss, (peat-)bog’) is suggested by the persistent survival of the following unstressed syllable: names which more certainly contain mòine as their first element develop, at least in east central Scotland, the monosyllabic Mon- (see e.g. Ballantagar MML, with its early forms Montagart, Montager etc; and *Moncoutie Mire KTT, PNF 2).[334] However, problems remain. All three of the Moni-/Mony-names mentioned above are well attested from a relatively early period, and none shows any trace of the final dental consonant of monadh, found in such examples as Montquey ABO (PNF 1) and Mo(u)ntboy PER and ANG (see Watson 1926, 403). It may therefore be that we are dealing with a quite different first element, as yet unexplained.

    Watson seems to accept that Monimail contains monadh. Of the second element he writes that it “is pronounced in English ‘meal’, and is for G mìol, a wild animal such as a hare, or possibly for maol, bare” (1926, 402). He would appear to base his interpretation of the second element on the ‘meal’ pronunciation (probably taken from the local minister’s remarks in OSA, for which see next paragraph). However, the many early forms with –mel make it much more likely that the second element derives from G maol ‘bare’.

    In the 1790s the local minister, Rev. Samuel Martin, writes of the name: ‘Between Lindore’s loch, in the parish of Abdie, and the village of Monimail, where the church stands, and from which the parish is named, is a hill, or rising ground, over which lies the road between Perth and Cupar. The length of this hill is supposed to have given rise to the name, Monimail. “At the foot of a hill one mile over.” It is often written and pronounced, Money Meal, and strangers suppose, that it denotes, a “parish of plenty,” abounding in meal and money’, adding judiciously ‘but the number of Gaelic names in the neighbourhood, discountenances this etymology’ (OSA, 651). If not throwing much light on the origins of the name, it does reveal something of the pronunciation at the time.

    The site of Monimail tower (NO298140) was from at least the fourteenth century an episcopal residence. The existing tower, now handsomely restored by the Monimail Tower Preservation Trust, is sometimes called Cardinal Beaton’s tower, but much of the building dates from 1578, after the death of Beaton in 1546. Some of the lower levels of the building may have been his work, however (NMRS NO21SE 13).

    Monimail was supported as an episcopal residence from dues paid by the ‘territory of Monimail’ though in 1329 these dues were not being paid sufficiently regularly, and the place was suffering in consequence (see MML Intro.). By 1612 it was in the hands of Sir Robert Melville and Lady Jean Hamilton, Lady Ross, his spouse (RMS vii no. 706; see MML Intro., Episcopal Connections), the family thereafter assuming the title of Monimail. The tower ceased to be the main family residence when the Melvilles built Melville House at the end of the seventeenth century.

/ˈmɔnɪmel/ or /ˌmɔnɪˈmel/

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4