super aqua de Ore 1546 RMS iii no. 3275 [lands of Balbeggie KDT and Walkertoun lying on the water of Ore]
Orr fl. 1642 Gordon MS Fife [fl. for flumen or fluvius]
Oar River 1654 Blaeu (Pont) West Fife [wrongly applied to the Lochfitty or Netherton Burn, now one of the western tributaries of the Ore]
Ore Water 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Orr Water 1828 SGF
ADD EARLY FORM the waitter of Oir 1512 Fraser, Wemyss no. 88 [see also Place-Names of Fife Vol. 1, 582]
The River Ore flows from Loch Ore on the south side of Benarty to join the River Leven near Windygates MAI. Its name appears consistently in the derived settlement-name Lochore as Or, Oar or Ore, from its earliest occurrence in the twelfth century (see Lochore [Settlement] BGY), showing that the name has changed remarkably little over the last 900 years. Given that monosyllabic river-names are amongst the oldest names in the landscape, it is possible that this derives from a Pictish, or even Pritenic (i.e. very early or proto-Pictish) *or. The basic meaning of this is ‘moving one, rising one’, since Celtic *or is an o-grade of the root *ar-, *ara-, *aro- ‘moving, rising, raised’, and ultimately cognate with English run and Greek óros ‘mountain’. In the Neo-Celtic languages (Irish, Gaelic, Welsh) or developed the meaning ‘border, limit, edge’ because of ‘the frequent appearance of mountains and ridges as political and ethnic boundaries’ (Isaac 2004, Celtic Elements). We cannot now know whether the earlier or later meaning was uppermost in the minds of those who named the Ore, but from the earliest historical period there is no indication that the Ore was ever a boundary.
The Ore rises in the Cleish Hills in the northern part of DFL, but it is not generally called the (River) Ore until after it has passed through Loch Ore. West of Loch Ore it is known as the Lochornie Burn (for which see Lochornie BEA), which, once joined with the Pieries Burn, becomes the Kelty Burn, and as such flows into Loch Ore. It joins the River Leven east of Balfour MAI, at the above NGR. It has two important tributaries. (1) The first flows from Loch Fitty DFL and joins the Ore c.1.5 km. after the Ore has left Loch Ore, at Contle # BGY (q.v.). This burn is marked on OS Pathf. as Lochfitty Burn, but is known locally as the Netherton Burn. The naming of this burn as Oar River on Blaeu (Pont) West Fife is an error, probably made by the printer. (2) The second important tributary is the Lochty, discussed above, which joins the Ore at *Inverlochty (now Spittall) MAI.
For another hydronym (water-name) containing this element (*Lochoresburn), see ATL Introduction ‘The lochs of Auchtertool’ below.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 1