Forthar KFX PS NO298047 1 100m

Douenaldus de Forether 1165 x 1171 RRS ii no. 108 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 63; see MAI Introduction, Kirkforthar]
totam terram meam de Forther 1204 x 1266 NLS Adv. MS 34.6.24 [Malcolm earl of Fife to Ness de Ramsay son of Ness de Ramsay (Nesoni de Ramesay filio Nesonis de Ramesey) ‘all my land of Forthar’
ecclesia de Forthir c.1250 St A. Lib. 33 [4 merks]
ecclesia de Fortyr’ c.1250 Dunf. Reg. no. 313 p. 207
ecclesia de Forthir 1275 Bagimond’s Roll, p. 38 [wrongly identified by the editor as Forfar]
(lands of) Forthir 1315 SHR ii p. 173 [o.c.]
(lands of) Forthir 1335 x 1337 NLS Adv. MS 34.6.24 [18th c. copy; see discussion]
(rector of) Kyrkforthir 1440 CSSR iv no. 637
(parish church of) Kylforthir 1441 CSSR iv no. 736
(parish church of) Kirkforthir 1441 CSSR iv no. 824
(parish church of) Kyrforthir 1441 CSSR iv no. 838
(parish church of) Kyrkforthur 1442 CSSR iv no. 857
Ramsais-Forthir 1450 RMS ii no. 402 [to John Lumsden of Airdrie (Ardre) CRA various lands including a quarter and ‘a thirtieth part’ (tricesimam partem) of the lands of Ramsay’s Forthar]
(lands of) Kyrkforthir 1452 x 1480 RMS ii no. 1444 [belonging to Church of St Andrews]
manis of Kirkforther 1489 Pitscottie, Historie i, 225–6 [see Pyeston MAI]
(Patrick Lindsay of) Kirkforthir 1492 RMS ii no. 2303
Henrico Petcarne de Forthir 1509 RMS ii no. 3311 [Henry Pitcairn of Forthar w. to charter of David Ramsay of Colluthie MNZ ‘at Balgonie’ (apud Balgony)]
(three quarters of) Forthir-Ramsay 1511 RMS ii no. 3541 [to Henry Pitcairn (Pitcarne) of that ilk]
Ramsais-Forther 1511 RMS ii no. 3587 [as ibid. no. 402]
( 6 librates of lands of) Ramsay-Forthir 1512 RMS ii no. 3756 [to John Seton of Parbroath (Perbroith) CRC]
terris de Forthir Ramsay 1516 Fife Ct. Bk. 25 [George Weland sworn in for suit of court for the lands]
persone of Kirkforthir 1516 Fife Ct. Bk. 46 [Master James Simson (Symsone)]
Forthir-Ramsay 1529 RMS iii no. 766 [William Lumsden of Airdrie (Ardree) CRA sells to David Pitcairn of Forthir-Ramsay and Elizabeth Durie his wife, a twa-pairt (two-thirds) of the lands of Forthar-Ramsay alias Ramsay’s Forthar (Forthir-Ramsay alias Ramsayis-Forthir) in the barony of Airdrie (Ardree); see also entry for 1532 below]
Forthir-Ramsay 1532 RMS iii no. 1170 [William Lumsden of Airdrie CRA sells to David Pitcairn and Elizabeth Durie his wife a third of his lands of Forthar-Ramsay in the barony of Airdrie (Ardre) CRA – presumably the remaining third, having sold two thirds in 1529 (see entry above)]
(lands of) Forthir 1552 RMS iv no. 667 [David Pitcairn of Forthar (Forthir) sells to his son Robert the lands of Forthar, with its tower, fortalice etc. and the lands of Downfield (Dunfeild) KTT, with its tower, fortalice etc.]
apud Forthir 1552 RMS iv no. 667
Ramsays Forther c.1560 s Purves 155 [?4]
Kirkforthour c.1560 s Assumption 84 [rental pertaining to Sir David Donald during his lifetime]
Kirkforther c.1560 s Assumption 86 [rental of parsonage and vicarage is ?40]
Forthir Ramsay 1587 Assumption 15 [teind sheaves to St Andrews Priory; see MAI, KFX Introduction]
Forther Ramsay 1587 Assumption 21
baroniam de Forther 1611 RMS vii no. 448 [for definition see discussion]
Mayns de Forther 1611 RMS vii no. 448
terras templarias de Kirkforther 1614 RMS vii no. 1100 [held by Lindsays of Kirkforthar]
(lands of) Kirkforther 1621 RMS viii no. 1502 [St Andrews church lands, to John lord Lindsay]
(lands and barony of) Forther 1634 RMS ix no. 199
Forther 1642 Retours (Fife) no. 617 [Charles Pitcairn, the lands and barony of Forthar, and the lands of Pitcairn (Pitcairne)]
Kirk forthar 1642 Gordon MS Fife
terras et baroniam de Forthare 1644 RMS ix no. 1562 [‘the lands and barony of Forthar’, defined as the lands and mains lands of Forthar (Forthare) with tower, manor place and mill, the land(s) of Downfield (Dounefeild) KTT with manor place, tenants (tenentibus) etc., the mill of Freuchie Mill (Freuchie-mylne) with its lands, etc.; this is Ramsay-Forthar KTT]
(barony of) Forthar 1645 RMS ix no. 1600 [for definition see discussion]
terras templarias de Kirkforther 1645 Retours (Fife) no. 690
Kirkforther 1648 RMS ix no. 1939 [lands and tenandry of Struthers (Auchterutherstruther) CER, comprehending the lands of Auchterutherstruther, Kirkforther and Letham (Lathem) MML]
Kirk Forther 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Forthar K<irk> 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Hill Forthar 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [north-east of Forthar K<irk>; possibly = Hilton of Kirkforthar MAI, KFX]
Forther 1655 Retours (Fife) no. 854 [John Wilson (Wilsone) alias Myrrie, the parts of the lands of Forthar called Hodghill and Greigslands, within the barony of Forthar (Forther)]
Young Kirkefoorther 1660 Lamont’s Diary 123 [anent a member of the Lindsay (Lyndsy) family]
(lands of) Kirkforther 1664 Retours (Fife) no. 968 [part of the lands of Struthers (Auchterutherstruther) CER]
(lands and barony of) Forther 1666 x 1667 RMS xi no. 1072 [to Archibald Stirling the lands and barony of Forthar, with the manor-place and mains (maynes) thereof; the mill and mill-lands of Freuchie (Finchie) FAL; the mill, town and lands of Hilton of Forthar (Hiltoun of Forther); town and lands of Nottingham (Notinghame) KTT, KFX; lands and barony of Dogton (Docktoun) KGL, formerly belonging to William Pitcairn of that ilk]
Hiltoun of Forther 1666 x 1667 RMS xi no. 1072 [see preceding entry; ? = Hilton of Forthar KTT, KFX]
Forthar 1684 Adair/East Fife
Kirkforthar 1684 Adair/East Fife
Forther 1694 Retours (Fife) no. 1362 [Alexander Clark of Pitteuchar KGL, that part of the lands and barony of Forthar called Freuchie Mill (Freuchymylne)]
Forthar 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Fotharhill 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Overhilton 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1 [? = Hilton of Forthar KTT]
Forther 1775 Ainslie/Fife [= OS Pathf. East Forthar KTT]
Kirkforther Mill 1775 Ainslie/Fife [near OS Pathf. Milltail FAL]
Forther Kirk 1775 Ainslie/Fife [‘in ruins’]
Forthar 1827 Ainslie/East Fife [= OS Pathf. East Forthar KTT]
Kirkforthar Mill 1827 Ainslie/East Fife [near OS Pathf. Milltail FAL]
E. Forther 1828 SGF [= OS Pathf. East Forthar KTT]
W. Forther 1828 SGF [= OS Pathf. West Forthar KTT]
Kirkforthar 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn
Hilton of Kirkforthar 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn [= OS Pathf. Hilton of Forthar KTT; OS Pathf. Hilton of Kirkforthar is marked as a settlement but not named on OS 6 inch (1856)]
Nether Hilton 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn [now gone; it lay at NO310048]
West Forthar 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

? Pictish * uorthir or ? OG * fortír

As it stands, this name appears to derive from a compound noun consisting of OG for (G far) ‘over, above’ and OG tír ‘land’, giving *fortír ‘overland’, hence ‘upper or higher land’.[223] G. W. S. Barrow has shown (2003, 242) that this word has quite a specific meaning in terms of agrarian economy, referring to ‘terrain which was either never or at least not regularly under the plough’ as distinct from the lower-lying parts of estates which were arable land. The landscape around Forthar suits this definition, since it rises relatively suddenly from the most southerly corner of the flat Howe of Fife (around 40 m above sea-level) to a height of 157 m in MAI but very close to OS Pathf. Hilton of Forthar KTT, with OS Explorer Forthar KTT (OS Pathf. East Forthar) at an altitude of c.77 m.

    It is significant that DIL has no entry with anything like this meaning for *fortír,[224] nor does Hogan (1910) list any place-name containing fortír in initial (usually generic) position. If this word was not used in the Irish Gàidhealtachd, and given that its distribution in Scotland is largely in areas which were once Pictish-speaking, it may actually represent a loan-word from the Pictish equivalent of Welsh gorthir ‘uplands, highlands, hill country’, *uorthír or similar, which has then undergone Gaelicisation.

    The above derivation from *uorthír is more likely than the one tentatively put forward by W. J. Watson 1926, 69, where he suggests comparison with Welsh gwerthyr ‘fortress’. The other examples he quotes as having a similar derivation (viz Forter in Glenisla ANG and Ferter, Barr parish AYR) are also more likely to derive from *fortír (without lenition after for). OS Pathf. Forthear Burn SLO, which descends steeply from the northern slopes of the West Lomond, probably also derives from *fortír.

    The affix kirk (the form with Kyl- in 1441 is best seen as a scribal slip, since so many parish-names in Scotland begin with this element, from G cill ‘church’) was probably added to distinguish the kirk and kirklands of Forthar, which belonged to the church of St Andrews, from the lay holding which came to be referred to as Ramsay-Forthar, after the Ramsay family, whose links with Forthar go back to the first half of the thirteenth century, when Malcolm earl of Fife (either I or II) gave all his land of Forthar to Ness of Ramsay son of Ness of Ramsay (NLS Adv. MS 34.6.24; see under early forms). In the second quarter of the fourteenth century the Ramsay interest in Forthar was either renewed or expanded as follows. In 1315 William of Kinloch (Kindelouch) CLS granted to John of Ogilvie the lands of Parbroath and Kinsleith CRC and others, also the lands of Forthar (Forthir) and Lindifferon (Lediferine) MML which pertained to Christina, William’s wife (SHR ii, p. 173). In c.1336 Christina de Hay (Haya), daughter of John de Hay, lady of Parbroath, and presumably the same Christina wife of William of Kinloch, granted to John de Ramsay (Ramsey) son of Ness de Ramsay, her relative, all her lands of Forthar (Forthir) (NLS Adv. MS 34.6.24).

    The lands of Ramsay-Forthar are first mentioned as such in 1450, by which time they had been subject to division (see early forms, above). By 1511 the Pitcairn family (probably named from nearby Pitcairn LSL) held three-quarters of Ramsay-Forthar (RMS ii no. 3541). In 1611 the king created the free barony of Forthar in favour of Henry Pitcairn, his son David Pitcairn and his heirs, which is described as consisting of a sixteenth part ‘of the toun and lands of Kingskettle’ (ville et terrarum de Kingiskettill), once belonging to John Honyman; two twelfths of the lands and toun of Kilmaron (Kilmarone) CUP, with superiority, tenants etc.; the lands and the Mains of Forthar (terras ac lie Mayns de Forther), with fortalice, manor-place, mill, mill-lands etc.; the lands of Downfield (Dounfeild) KTT with fortalice and manor-place, superiority, tenants etc.; a sixteenth part of Kingskettle that was once occupied by the late James Robertson (Robertsoun) rentallarius;[225] the mill called Freuchie Mill (Freuquhy-mylne), its lands etc. ... which the king incorporated into the free barony of Forthar (Forther), commanding that the fortalice of Forthar (Forther) be the principal messuage (RMS vii no. 448). The centre of these lands known formerly as Ramsay-Forthar was probably at OS Pathf. East Forthar KTT (NO300064).

    A royal confirmation charter of 1645 sets out in detail what constitutes a third part of the barony of (Ramsay-)Forthar and its tenants, and mentions such features as the street of Forthar, presumably the main thoroughfare of the settlement, with details of several buildings there, including an old hall and a tower (RMS ix no. 1600). It is a confirmation of a charter of 1638 by which David Pitcairn and his son William grant to Anne Crichton (Creichtoun), daughter of David Crichton of Lugton, wife of the said William, ‘in life-rent, in full satisfaction of her third of the lands and barony of Forthar, the mains lands of Forthar once held by John Beveridge, parts of the lands of Forthar held by John Burrell and Andrew Balfour, the lands of Muirhead (of Forthar) KTT with the Overmill, mill-lands etc. held by ... Kilgour, parts of the said lands occupied by John Hutton, houses on the north side of the street of Forthar called the old hall, with the north garden and the west stable, and in special warrant of the said houses (until they might be prepared as the said Anne’s dwelling-place, consisting of a hall, a cellar, a kitchen and four bedrooms) the tower on the north side of the said street, with individual houses within its gate, in the said barony.’[226] In this charter, Overmylne may refer to Kirkforther Mill shown on Ainslie/Fife (1775) close to NO286052, near OS Pathf. Milltail FAL.

    The above NGR is of the now ruined kirk of Forthar, later Kirkforthar, which appears on the OS Pathf. as ‘Chapel (remains of)’, beside ‘Kirkforthar House (remains of)’, both of which are marked as antiquities. The remains of the chapel (possibly substantially rebuilt) are on a flat-topped mound measuring 30 m east-west and 22 m north-south, within a curvilinear wall. The OS Name Book states that ‘South east of the house of Kirkforthar are the remains of this chapel, consisting of four walls, 6 feet high and 2 and a half feet thick. It was suppressed before the Reformation; it now serves as the burying place of the Lindsays of Kirkforthar, the graveyard surrounding it serving for the tenants on the estate.’(15, 43; NMRS NO20SE 8).


This place-name appeared in printed volume 2