Pinkerton Bridge

Pinkerton Bridge IKG S NT1384 1 394

Pinkerton Bridge 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
Pinkerton Burn 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.

? en Pinkerton or ? pn Pinkerton + SSE bridge

In PNF 1 it was suggested that this may have derived from a lost settlement *Pinkerton, containing an otherwise unrecorded OSc borrowing from Old French pincerne or Latin pincernus ‘butler’. It is found in Pinkerton CRA (PNF 3); also in Pinkerton near Dunbar ELO.

There is, however, no record of a settlement called Pinkerton in this area, and the name exists only in OS names Pinkerton Burn DFL/IKG (NT134840) and Pinkerton Bridge. This burn forms the boundary between IKG and DFL for much of its length, so it is possible that the estate of Pinkerton, if it ever existed, lay in that latter parish. However, Ainslie/Fife (1775) shows Paltertown in IKG, north-west of Pitadro, and it is just possible this represents another development of ‘Pinkerton’. It appears on Ainslie/West Fife (1827) as Pottentown, almost certainly a misreading of Paltertown.

The OS Name Book describes Pinkerton Bridge as follows: ‘A small bridge or rather calsey [?] over which the Gt. North Road crosses the Pinkerton Burn. Some years ago there stood 2 trees on the E. side of this bridge known as the witch trees, on which it is said witches were executed. Is a county Bridge’ (OS1/13/74/1/12).

And for Pinkerton Burn: ‘A streamlet rising near Fordel Colliery & runs in a South direction; it joins the w. side of the Halbeath Railway near to Mid Duloch, it continues to follow the RW. as far as the Gr. North Road where it passes through Pinkerton Bridge and soon joins the Keithing Burn. It bears this name from where it joins the Railway to Keithing Burn’ (OS1/13/74/1/3).

The above NGR is supplied by Pinkerton Bridge.

A quite different origin is suggested by Thomas Hunter[156] (pers. comm. December 2013). He writes: ‘The name for the bridge, etc, almost certainly comes from James Pinkerton who was a factor of the Fordell Estate, including coal, from about 1770 to 1790. He lived at Otterston House, a Henderson property, and was also the Secretary of the Salt Society, a local price-setting group. His letters to the owners of Halbeath Colliery from the Salt Society are in a file on this Colliery held in Glasgow University.’ In a subsequent e-mail (January 2014) Mr Hunter adds that the main information on James Pinkerton be from the Henderson files (NRS G172). Letters to and from him seem to start about the mid-1770s and in 1791 there is a letter from him from Broughton Loan in Edinburgh, suggesting he has retired from Fordell by this date. Looking at the IGI it seems that he married in Dalgety (1778 to a Joanna Addison) and had children there from c.1780 to 1788. The Glasgow University source is referred to in an article by P. L. Payne in Slaven et al, "Business, Banking and Urban History", Edinburgh, 1982.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1