St Margarets

St Margarets IKG DFL S NT123809 1 394 20m WEF

St Margarets 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.

This name is derived from St Margaret’s Hope, the name of the bay on whose eastern shore it stands. Tradition alleges that Queen Margaret first landed in this bay on her arrival in Scotland c.1074.

Fordun, Wyntoun and Boece all have the story of Margaret, in the company of her brother Edgar being forced by adverse winds to take shelter in this bay in the Firth of Forth. Wyntoun, writing c.1420, has:

And in Sancte Mergretis Hope belywe

Off propyr neide þan til arywe.[160]

Fordun v. 16, 17 calls their place of landing sinus S. Margarete (the bay of St Margaret).

The description of Scotland in the Chronicle of John Hardyng (Hardyng Chron., 18) contains the following lines:

At Ennerkethen [Inverkeithing] and Saynt Margarete, I hope

Your navy maye receave uytayle [victual] in that countre.

Alongest the Water of Foorth, as I can grope [grasp, understand],


This is clearly a scribal or editorial error for Saynt Margaretes Hope. The description is intended to help the English king in an invasion of Scotland. His spying trip was made in the early years of Henry V (1413-22), but written up in the 1460s and presented to Edward IV (1461-83). For full details, see Hume-Brown 1891, 16-17.

It appears on Blaeu (Lothian and Linlithgow) as Queen Margarets houp (1654).

OSA, 398 reiterates these earlier traditions of St Margaret’s Bay or Hope, stating that it is ‘so called from the Princess of that name, afterwards Queen of Malcolm III, having in her flight from England landed there’.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1