Balgothrie LSL S NO231044 1 373 245m NWF
(lands of) Ballothery 1329 x 1371 RMS i app.ii no. 1118 A [16th c. index; to David Chalmer (de Camera)]
Balgo<t>hrie 1329 x 1371 RMS i app.ii no. 1118 B [17th c. index; printed Balgochrie; to David Chalmer, in the barony of Fettykil (Fethill) in the sheriffdom of Fife ‘with the fishing of Taye called the Sandie water’]
(lands of) Balgothry 1329 x 1371 RMS i app.ii no. 1332 A [to William Sinclair]
Balgorthy 1329 x 1371 RMS i app.ii no. 1332 B
Henry Burt in Balgothrye 1522 Fife Ct. Bk. 271
Balgothrie 1642 Retours (Fife) no. 619 [part of the barony of Leslie]
Baalguthry 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Bal-Guthry 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [written one part above the other; not on Blaeu (Pont) East or West Fife]
Balgothrie 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Little Balgothrie 1828 SGF [= OS Pathf. Balgothrie]
Meikle Balgothrie 1828 SGF [= OS Pathf. Meikle Balgothrie]
Balgothrie Moss 1850 OS Name Book 29, 65 [‘a considerable portion of reclaimed moss between the Drone Road and Lothrie Burn’]
Little Balgothrie 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn [= OS Pathf. Balgothrie]
Meikle Balgothrie 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn [= OS Pathf. Meikle Balgothrie]
G baile + gaoth + ? – rach
‘Farm of (the) windy place, windy farm’. The –rie ending probably derives from a locational extension as is found in mucrach ‘place of pigs’ (G muc ‘pig’).
The lands are divided into two parts, Meikle and Little, both above 215 m, the highest of the Bal-farms not just in the parish but in the whole of Fife, and thus one of the windiest. Gaoth ‘wind’ is thus more likely as the root of the specific than its homonym meaning ‘marsh’, especially as both Meikle and Little Balgothrie seem to be on well-drained land.
One of the earliest forms of the name, Ballothery, appears in Index A of RMS i app. ii, and could simply be written off as one of its ‘multifarious blunders’ (RMS i p. ix), but for two things. Firstly the lands of Balgothrie lie on the head-waters of the Lothrie Burn. Secondly the Lothrie Burn appears in a document of 1390 as the Zothry burne (NAS GD150/263, fo 32v), where Z represents ӡ (palatal g, pronounced y). This is probably a result of mutual contamination by two originally separate and unconnected place-names: Balgothrie (as etymologised above) and Lothrie, which see below. This contamination, however, was not strong enough to affect the long-term development of the names, which have come down to us with their original initial consonants intact.
Balgothrie first appears in our sources as having two parts in 1828. It is clear that OS Pathf. Balgothrie is earlier Little Balgothrie, while Meikle Balgothrie (q.v.) probably represents earlier Balgothrie.
OS Pathf. also shows Balgothrie Well, which is described in the 1850s as ‘a very rapid spring from which the town of Leslie is supplied with water’ (OS Name Book 91, 14).
This place-name appeared in printed volume 2