Prinlaws LSL S NO242013 1 373 125m

Prenlas 1441 RMS ii no. 268
Prenlas 1441 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 51 [in the barony of *Kirkbeath BEA]
Prenlaws 1441 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 51
Prinles 1574 Inchcolm Chrs. p. 218 [set in feu for ?12]
Prynlayis 1574 Inchcolm Chrs. p. 222 [set in feu for ?12]
Prynlawis 1605 Inchcolm Chrs. p. 225 [‘The Landis of Prynlawis and teindscheaves Includit lyand in the parochin of Baith (Beath) ... set in few to John Melvill of Baith extending yeirlie to xii lib.’]
Prinless 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [shown south of river]
Prynlawis 1615 Retours (Fife) no. 236 [to Andrew Melville (Melvill) of Garvock (Garvok) DFL, heir of Agnes Melville, daughter of the late William Melville, commendator of Tongland (Tungland)]
Prynlawis 1618 Retours (Fife) no. 275 [to James Melville (Melvill) of Lahill (Halhill) NBN, lands of Prinlaws with garbal teinds, in barony of Beath (Baith)]
Prinless 1753 Roy sheet 17, 5
Trinlies 1775 Ainslie/Fife [for *Prinlies]
Prinlaws 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn [also Prinlaws House, Prinlaws Works]
East Prinlaws 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

? Pictish * pren +

W. J. Watson writes: “Pren is probably seen also in Prinlaws ... for prenglas ‘green tree’; but here again the old spelling suggests that pren was feminine, in which case the name would be prenlas” (1926, 352). Watson’s point about the gender of pren assumes that Pictish morphology worked in exactly the same way as that of later Welsh, with loss of initial g in adjectives in following position qualifying feminine nouns. This is a bold assumption, and begs several questions which, in our present state of knowledge of Pictish, are best left until more data becomes available through detailed place-name surveys. It is probably the case, however, that the first element is Pictish *pren ‘tree’,[198] which would make it likely that the second element is also Pictish. Unfortunately the forms are too late to allow for anything more definite to be said about it, except that the early modern forms show its gradual assimilation to the plural of Sc law ‘hill’.

    The association of Prinlaws (along with Bingartree # and Bancliro # LSL) with BEA, as for example in the 1605 entry above (Inchcolm Chrs. p. 225), arises from the fact that they were lands belonging to the monastery of Inchcolm ABO. In 1441 (see early forms, above) all the lands of Inchcolm were erected into the barony of *Kirkbeath BEA (q.v. PNF 1).

    Sasines refer to ‘that part of the lands of Prinlaws called the Farting Bank’ (1803 no. 6629), and ‘piece of land lying to east of the House of Prinlaws commonly called the Farting Bank’ (1807 Sasines no. 7869). It is unclear what farting means in this context: it may relate to Sc farding ‘farthing’.

    In the mid-nineteenth century Prinlaws was described as including Prinlaws Works, a flax-spinning and bleaching works on the River Leven, with cottages for the workers there (OS Name Book 91, 13). OS Pathf. also shows East Prinlaws.


This place-name appeared in printed volume 2