Kettle KTT PS NO310084 1 40m
totam firmam meam de Cattell 1160 x 1162 RRS i no. 190 [17th c. copy; all my (i.e. the king’s) ferme from Kettle; see KTT Introduction, King’s Kettle, for more details]
(Kyneð thane of) Katel c.1160 x 1172 N. Berwick Cart. no. 3 [‘c.1170’ Barrow 1980, 194; w. to charter of Duncan II earl of Fife]
capellam de Chatel 1173 x 1178 NLS MS Adv. 15.1.18 no. 70 [o.c., endorsed ‘capella Chatel’; St A. Lib. 243 represents the same charter, but with Katel for Chatel; gift of said chapel with its land, teinds etc. to St Andrews Priory by Earl Duncan of Fife.]
capellam de Katel 1173 x 1178 NLS MS Adv. 15.1.18 no. 67 [o.c.; St A. Lib. 244 represents the same charter, with the same form; confirmation by Malcolm of the chapel of Katel (along with the churches of Markinch and Scoonie) granted to St Andrews Priory by his father Earl Duncan of Fife]
(chapel of) Katel 1173 x 1178 RRS ii no. 151 [= St A. Lib. 220; royal confirmation of Earl Duncan’s grants of church of Scoonie, church of Markinch and chapel of Kettle to St Andrews]
(chapel of) Catel 1173 x 1178 St A. Lib. 81
(chapel of) Cathel 1183 St A. Lib. 59
capella de Katel 1189 x 1195 RRS ii no. 333 [confirmation of gift of Earl Duncan of church of Markinch (Marchinche) ‘with the chapel of Kettle and with the land rightly belonging to the same chapel’ (cum capella de Katel et cum terra ad eandem capellam iuste pertinente)]
(chapel of) Chatel 1189 x 1198 St A. Lib. 152
iu ta capellam de Katil c.1245 St A. Lib. 283 [Roger de Merlay III granted a toft and croft containing one acre of land beside the chapel of Kettle on the west side to St Andrews Priory for an annual rent of one pound of cumin]
(chapel of) Katel 1248 St A. Lib. 173
(chapel of) Katel 1257 St A. Lib. 336
de dominico de Catil 1294 PRO E101/331/1 [Catel Stevenson, Documents i, 416; part of Cuparshire and Rathilletshire, paying annually to earl of Fife ?23 6 s. 8 d.]
Catyll 1320 SHS Misc. v, 7 [Duncan earl of Fife grants lands of Rameldry KTT to John Monypenny, ‘with common easements in our muirs and marshes of Drummy and Kettle’ (cum omnibus aysiamentis in nostris moris et marisiis de Drumy et de Catyll)]
capella del Katil 1323 NLS MS Adv. 15.1.18 no. 36 [o.c.]
dominus Simon capellanus de Katil 1323 NLS MS Adv. 15.1.18 no. 36 [o.c.; ‘sir Simon chaplain of Kettle’]
in cimiterio ecclesie parochialis de Katyl 1340 Dunf. Reg. no. 379 [‘in the cemetery of the parish church of Kettle’]
terr<a> de Cattil 1451 ER v, 469
terr<a> de Cathil 1453 ER v, 528
capella de Catell 1471 RRS ii no. 1039 [church of Lathrisk with chapel of Kettle]
le Newtoun de Kettill 1507 RMS ii no. 3117 [see Holekettle and Newton of Kettle # for more details]
le Hole-Kettill 1507 RMS ii no. 3117 [see Holekettle for more details]
in Catill 1519 Fife Ct. Bk. 148 [John and James Kilgour accused of slaughter of James Gourlay in Kettle]
villa de Kingis-Kettill 1541 RMS iii no. 2457 [see Kingskettle]
in quarteria terrarum de Kettill alias Kingiskettill 1605 Retours (Fife) no. 162 [‘in a quarter of the lands of Kettill alias Kingiskettill’]
(parish of) Kettill 1629 RMS viii no. 1445
Chapell of Ketyll 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Kettle 1665 Retours (Fife) no. 980 [also spelt Ketill, Kettell and (parish of) Ketle in the same entry]
Kettle 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1 [also Kettle hill, Mains of Kettle, Bridge of Kettle, Old Kettle]
Kettle 1775 Ainslie/Fife [also Kettle Manse and Kettle Mill]
parish of Kettle 1782 Sasines no. 375
parish of Kingskettle or Lathrisk 1782 Sasines no. 4979
Kettle 1828 SGF
Kettle 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn
G cat + G – el or Pictish * cat(t) + Pictish – *el
The most likely explanation is that it contains G cat (OIr catt) ‘cat’, or the related Pictish word *cat(t), with the common locational ending –el, so ‘cat-place’ or the like. If taken literally, it would refer to the indigenous wild cat, which is its usual referent in Scottish place-names (as in Craigencat DFL, PNF 1, and Cairngate # FAL, above, for example). However, as an animal-name incorporated into what was obviously an important local territorial name, the possibility cannot be ruled out that it is being used in a totemic sense (see Watson 1926, 16 and fn. 30).
Attempts have been made to link the first element to G cath (OIr cath) ‘battle’. This is impossible, given the medial dental stop which has been a persistent feature of the name Kettle from the earliest recorded forms to the present day. Contrast this with Balkaithly DNO (Balekathelin 1202 × 1207 Barrow 1974 no. 4), and Pitcaithly, Dunbarney PER (Pethkathilin c.1220 Lind. Cart. no. 71; Petcathelin c.1220 Lind. Cart. no. 72), both of which do contain this element, in the form of the personal name Cathal (see also Watson 1926, 409).
If it is the ‘battle’ word, then it would have to be through a Pictish form which shows no lenition in the final consonant. The lenition of a whole series of consonants including t in late British took place already in the second half of the fifth century (see Jackson 1953, 554 ff, 561), so a different development in Pictish has to be assumed. Such a different development is in fact suggested by the retention in Pictish of geminated voiceless stops (see Jackson 1955, 164). However, it is unlikely that the final stop would have remained voiceless.
The vowel of the first (stressed) syllable remains a up until the early sixteenth century, after which it is realised as e.
The association of part of the lands of Kettle with the crown, which has given rise to the name Kingskettle, goes back at least to the mid twelfth century, and probably much earlier. Another part of the lands of Kettle was in the hands of the earls of Fife, which is evident from a series of documents starting with the grant of the chapel of Kettle with its land, teind etc to St Andrews Priory by Duncan earl of Fife (1173 × 1178 NLS MS Adv. 15.1.18 no. 70). From the mention of a thane c.1170 (N. Berwick Cart. no. 3) we can assume the existence of a shire of Kettle, which by the end of the thirteenth century had become subsumed into the earl of Fife’s shire of Cupar (Stevenson, Documents i, 416; see also PNF 5, Appendix 2). Kingskettle has developed into the largest settlement in the parish, and is the site of the present parish kirk, built 1831–2.
The NGR is of the modern parish kirk of Kettle, in the village of Kingskettle.
/ˈkɛtəl/. When the glottal stop is used, which is standard throughout Fife, the stressed e is more closed, transcribable as /ˈkeʔəl/.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 2