Keirs  LAR S NO432036 1 374 50m SOF

Keirs 1660 Lamont’s Diary 123 [‘lands of Straerly called Keirs and Dame-syde laying on the East syde of Straerly’]
Keiris 1660 Laing Chrs. no. 2544 [‘those portions of the lands of Stratherlie called Keiris and Damside, being the east part of the lands of Stratherlie’]
Keers 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Keirs 1789 Sasines no. 2304
Kiers 1828 SGF

Sc keir

For a full discussion of this word, which has been borrowed into Scots by way of place-names, see Elements Glossary (PNF 5). It refers to remains perceived to be an old fortification. The fact that the lands of Keirs lie adjacent to those of Chesterstone LAR (q.v.), which also contains a Sc word for an old fortification, is probably significant. Nearby Carmiles # NBN (q.v.) may also contain a Pictish or Gaelic word for a fort, *cair.

    The site of OS Pathf. Keirs is shown as Strathairly on OS 6 inch (1855), though the 1660 grant cited indicates that Keirs (Keiris), along with Damside # (Damside), represented only the eastern part of Strathairly (Stratherlie), when John Lundie of Strathairly granted that part to James Lundie, his ‘brother-german’. The marches of the lands of Keirs and Damside in 1660 are given thus:

Haveing the landis of Monturpie on the eist, north and eist, and Drumeldrie milne burne, also on the eist and south-eist, and the linkis of Stratherlie on the south, and ane fur[162] comeing doun from Monturpie throw the Mucklat to the meidow be eist the place of Stratherlie, and going eist to the meidow-head to ane know callit the Hippielaw, and doun be eist the Hippielaw be ane evin lyned fur to the aker callit the Smithis aker, and goeing from thence west the north side of the same Smithis aiker to the end of the Hawklaw, goeing doun by ane evin fur be the west side of the Hawklaw to the head of the Weitlandis,[163] and from thence west to the end of the Strangishaugh, and from thence southward as far as the longlandis of the Strangishaugh, and from thence westward to the shortlandis of the Strangishaugh, and from thence southward be the eist fur of the headrig of the shortlandis of the Strangishaugh to the aiker callit Crysties aiker,[164] and from thence westward be a fur betuix Crysties aiker and the Strangishaugh to the west end of Crysties aiker, and from thence southward to the linkis on the west pairtis (Laing Chrs. no. 2544).

Damside #, that is land or settlement beside a mill-dam, refers to a dam on the Strathairly Burn (called in the 1660 boundary description Drumeldrie milne burne, for more on which see *Aberdollo LAR) used to supply Drumeldrie Mill, which later became known as Johnston’s Mill NBN. The dam is first mentioned in 1597 when it was destroyed in a dispute between the Johnstons, millers at Johnston’s Mill, and John Lundy of Strathairly LAR (Laing Charters no. 1324). See Johnston’s Mill NBN for more details.

    The pronunciation is /kirz/ or kiərz/, rhyming with Sc lears ‘liers’, as in an ‘old rhyme’ (but not a very complimentary one) quoted by Cunningham (1907, 124):

Lundie Mill and Largo, the Kirkton and the Keirs,

Pittenweem and Anster are all big lears.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 2