Pitcairn LSL S NO270027 1 125m
(John of) Petcarn 1250 RRS Handlist/Alexander III no. 2 [from NAS Yule Collection, sec. i no. 18; see discussion]
Peres de Petcarne 1296 Inst. Pub. 145 [‘Peter (Piers) of Pitcairn’ does homage to Edward I along with others from the county of Fife]
(Henry of) Petcarne 1427 RMS ii no. 80 [Henry of Pitcairn granted the lands of Pitcairn, as his father Henry had held them]
terras de Petcarne 1427 RMS ii no. 80
Petcarne 1466 Dunf. Reg. no. 458 [George Pitcairn of that ilk]
Pitcairne 1642 Retours (Fife) no. 619 [in the barony of Leslie]
Pittcarne 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Pittcairn 1684 Adair/East Fife
Pitcairn 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn [also Pitcairn Quarry, Old House of Pitcairn and Pitcairn Cover (woodland)]
G pett + G càrn
‘Farm of (the) cairn’. The cairn or burial mound which gave rise to the name was opened in 1770, when human bones and a ‘stone chest’ were found in it. It was excavated in 1977, when pottery, stone artefacts and possible cremation deposits were found (Barclay 1978, who gives the NGR of the cairn as NO2732 0266). Pitcairn ADN (PNF 1) also has a cairn nearby.
The earliest recorded holder of Pitcairn is John of Pitcairn, a cousin (consanguineus) of Hugh of Abernethy, himself a member of the Macduff clan, to which the earls of Fife also belonged. In 1250 Alexander III confirmed a grant of land near Abernethy (including Innernethy ANY PER) made by Hugh of Abernethy to John of Pitcairn ‘his cousin’ (see early forms for full reference).
The above NGR is supplied by the seventeenth-century laird’s house, Old House of Pitcairn, shown as an Antiquity on OS Pathf. 373 (NMRS NO20SE 1). This same map has Pitcairn Backfield, Pitcairn Bank, Pitcairn Covert and Pitcairn Strip.
Most of the lands of Pitcairn are now part of Glenrothes New Town forming a district called Pitcairn, where many of the streets are named after modern Scottish artists: (Anne) Redpath Loan, (Samuel) Peploe Drive, (Joan) Eardley Court, (James) Guthrie Court, (Elizabeth) Blackadder Court, (William) MacTaggart Way, (John) Houston Avenue, (Robert) Colquhoun Avenue, (Stuart) Park Lane and (Richard) Demarco Drive. Access to this area is by John Knox Gardens, presumably named after the Scottish surrealist artist born in Kilmarnock rather than the reformer and iconoclast of the sixteenth century.
There are several places called Pitcairn in Scotland, two in Fife alone (the other being in ADN, PNF 1), but the well-known family takes its name from Pitcairn LSL (see Pitcairn 1905 for full details). Major John Pitcairn (1722–75) of the Royal Marines, son of Rev. David Pitcairn, minister of Dysart, and his wife Katherine Hamilton, is credited with firing the first shot in the American War of Independence in April 1775, and was killed later that year at the Battle of Bunker Hill. John Pitcairn’s second son, Robert, was a midshipman in the British navy. While on watch on a voyage in the South Pacific led by Captain Philip Carteret he was, in July 1767, the first to sight an island hitherto unknown to Europeans. Cartaret records in his Log: ‘It is so high that we saw it at a distance of more than fifteen leagues, and it having been discovered by a young gentleman, son to Major Pitcairn of the marines, we called it Pitcairn’s Island’, now the British Overseas Territory known as the Pitcairn Islands.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 2