Dunimarle

Dunimarle CUS S NS977858 1 20m

Castle of Dunimarle 1753 Roy sheet 16, 1
Dunimarle Castle 1790s OSA (Perth) 104 [‘Castlehill, antiently called Dunimarle Castle’]
Dunnemarle Castle 1866 OS 6 inch 1st edn. [medieval castle marked ‘in ruins’; 18th–19th-century building also marked as Dunnemarle Castle]
Dunnemarle Mains 1866 OS 6 inch 1st edn [at NS977862, just north-west of Dunnemarle Castle]

G dùn + G an + ? G muir-ail or G mòr + G ail

Perhaps ‘fort of the sea-rock or -cliff’ (muir-aile) or ‘of the big rock or cliff’ (cf The Murrel ABO). But both these interpretations make topographical sense: it was certainly built on a big rock, and only about 100 m from the sea, probably much closer when it was built and the sea-level was higher. However, any analysis must remain highly tentative given the lack of early forms.

OSA (Perth, 104) states, without explanation, that Dumimarle means ‘castle by or near the sea’, presumably envisaging an original form Dún na Mara.

Millar (1895 ii, 260) states that the name Dunimarle was given to Castlehill in the 1830s by its new owner, Mrs Magdalene Shairp-Erskine, sister of Sir John Erskine of Torrie. This cannot be true, since the site is marked on Roy (1753) as Castle of Dunimarle, and is discussed in OSA (Perth, 104) as ‘Castlehill antiently called Dunimarle Castle’.

Both OSA and Douglas (Culross Chrs.) also claim that the earlier castle on the site was originally that of Macduff, thane of Fife. This may be a supposition based on the fact that the motte-like structure at Dunimarle (for more on which see Castle Hill # CUS above) shows it to have been an early power centre. It is clear from their foundation of Culross Abbey in the early thirteenth century that the earls of Fife had strong interests in this area, and were therefore likely to have had their local seat at Dunimarle. OS Pathf. 393 names the castle Dunimarle Castle.

/ˈdʌnɪ marl/

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1