Keil Burn

Keil Burn ~ LAR W NO416025 1 374 0m

the water Keil 1790s OSA, 570 [sic; mouth forms the harbour of Lower Largo]
Keil Burn 1829 RHP320 [flows through Keil’s Den]
Keil Burn 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

? Sc keel + Sc burn

It possibly contains Sc keel, also keill, kele, etc. ‘ruddle’ i.e. red ochre used for marking sheep and for colouring (CSD and DOST). There are notable ochre deposits in the Largo area, including some at Drummochy LAR just west of the mouth of the Keil Burn (Geikie 1900, 203-4).[158] While the east Fife ochre is mainly of the yellow variety, this is easily converted to red by heating, a process known as calcining or calcination (Hendry 2003, 24). There is a farm called Keilburn north-east of Laurencekirk KCD, at NO73 72, which may contain the same element, sitting as it does on Old Red Sandstone and mudstone, which latter can also be used as a red marker.[159]

    The name applies to the lower reaches of the Boghall Burn, which flows through the impressive Keil’s Den (called thus on OS Pathf.). It joins with the Hatton Burn (aka the Carlhurlie Burn) at NO410029 to meet the sea at the harbour of Lower Largo. This burn, in its lower reaches at least, was formerly known as the Largo Burn (torrens de Largo 1540 RMS iii no. 2147, for details of which see Drummochy LAR), and the settlement at its mouth (now Lower Largo) is called Largou burne-mouth in 1654 (Blaeu (Gordon) Fife). Today (OS Pathf.) Largo Burn is the burn which flows from Upper Largo into the sea at Temple, and which seems formerly to have been called Temple Burn (see below). Certainly by the later eighteenth century the name Keil Burn applied to the lower reaches, and this is the situation recorded by the OS Name Book, which states that the Keil Burn passes ‘in its course the village of Lower Largo where it falls into the Firth of Forth’ (97, 5). And at the turn of last century Cunningham writes ‘Johnston’s Mill burn[160] and the Temple stream[161] both fall into the sea considerably east of the mouth of the Kiel (sic)’ (1907, 2).


This place-name appeared in printed volume 2