Pirniss KGH S NT223891 1 95m

Pirnie 1775 Ainslie/Fife [south-west of Balbairdie]
Pirniss 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.

? Pictish *pren + ? - in

‘Place of the tree’? The name appears too late for there to be any certainty about this etymology, but the development (known as metathesis) of p-Celtic *pren- to pirn- is found for example in Pirn by Innerleithen PEB, formerly Pren (Watson 1926, 351). Pirnie WMS (PNF 1) probably also contains this element, although no unmetathesised forms are extant. The second element is presumably a locational suffix meaning ‘place of’. If it was original –in, as probably in Pirnie WMS, then the –ss of the OS form presumably represents a Sc or SSE plural. Alternatively the –s(s) form might be much older, and represent the G (also Pictish?) locational ending –es found in Ceres, Leuchars and Wemyss.

The name persists today in OS Pathf. Pirniss Wood, to the west of the NGR given. OS Name Book states that Pirniss was then the unoccupied property of Mr Boswell (presumably Boswell of Balmuto). OS Pathf. names the place Balmuto Lodge, while OS Explorer 2001 names it Boswell, which may be some kind of error, where the owner’s name has been misunderstood as a place-name.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1