Balharvie Moss

Balharvie Moss ~ FAL S NO2106 1 373 325m

Balharvie Moss 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

en Balharvie + Sc moss

The en Balharvie would appear to contain G baile + G airbhe/eirbhe, with the meaning ‘boundary farm’: for G airbhe or eirbhe (f.) ‘dividing wall, boundary’, Old Irish airbe ‘ribs, fence’, see Watson 1926, 480. It is found also in Incharvie KCQ.

    Despite the lack of early forms, Balharvie may indeed be a G name coined to refer to a settlement here on the roof of Fife, the high plateau of the Lomonds. While the site of the original baile is no longer ascertainable, there are traces of settlements and field-systems in the area. Lying as it does near where the former common grazing of SLO and FAL met, there are the remains of old divisions in the form of fail-dykes and drystane dykes, some of which certainly predate the enclosure of the commonty in the early nineteenth century, and any or all of which would be a suitable candidate for the eponymous airbhe.

    There is, however, an alternative explanation. Ballo FAL, an important land-holding in the Lomonds adjacent to Balharvie Moss, was in the hands of the Balfours of Burleigh from 1365 till at least 1678. They also held Balgarvie MML (1490 RMS ii no. 1960), and it may be that this name was transferred through the Balfours to their lands of Ballo, and that Balharvie is an altered form of this transferred name.

    OS Name Book is no help in elucidating this name, giving only a physical description of its extent beginning ‘A considerable portion of rough pasture ...’ (29, 6).

    The name survives in the OS Pathf. name Balharvie Moss, and no reference to the settlement itself, if it ever existed as such, has been found.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 2