Craigdownie NBH R NO223159 1 362 225m
Craigdownie 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn
The lack of early forms makes any analysis of this name very tentative. It is not even certain in which language it was coined. While the word-order (generic followed by specific) is more typically Gaelic than Scots, Scots names formed in this way are not unknown (see for example Croft Outerly LSL, PNF 2). If of Sc origin, the first element would be Sc craig ‘crag, rock’, the second element being probably the Scottish personal name Downie, deriving from the place-name Downie, Monikie ANG (see Black s.n.), which occurs locally in the sixteenth century.
If Gaelic, the first element would be G creag ‘crag, rock’, the second element perhaps representing G dòmhnach, an early loan-word from Latin dominicum ‘church’, itself formed from the adjective dominic-us ‘pertaining to the Lord (God)’, and best known in modern Gaelic in Didòmhnaich ‘Sunday’. For more details, see PNF 5, Elements Glossary, s.v. domnach. The fact that Craigdownie lies close to the border of the parish of Abernethy, and perhaps also close to the boundary of the old core lands of the Pictish church of Abernethy described in the ninth-century foundation legend, may speak in favour of this analysis, since that early and important church could well have been referred to as a dòmhnach by Gaelic-speakers.
If Gaelic, another possibility is that the second element represents G dùnadh ‘fortress’, or G dùn + –in (the common locational suffix). Against this, however, is the fact that NMRS records no archaeological evidence of a fort of any sort in the vicinity.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4