Little Lun

Little Lun MAI S NT337997 1 385 40m

Litil-lon 1468 RMS ii no. 958 [to John Wemyss; see Haugh SCO, below]
Litil-lond 1469 RMS ii no. 982
Litil-Lun 1505 RMS ii no. 2822 [John Wemyss (Wemys) of that ilk sells to Robert White of Maw (Quhite de Maw) MAI the lands of Little Lun]
Litill-lune 1511 RMS ii no. 3636 [confirmed to David Wemyss of that ilk and his heirs]
Litill Lun 1530 RMS iii no. 953 [confirmed to David Wemyss of that ilk]
Littleron 1587 Assumption 15 [‘Maw and Littleron’]
Littil-lun 1610 Retours (Fife) no. 210 [John of Wemyss (Weymis)]
Litle Lun 1684 Adair/East Fife
? Little Drum 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Little Lun 1828 SGF
Little Lun 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

Sc little + ?

Before this name can be analysed linguistically, certain decisions need to be made about its structure. There may have been an estate called *Lun, which was later divided into two parts, with the Sc affixes little and meikle. It is strange that only Little Lun appears in the record (which begins in 1468), but it may be that before this date *Meikle Lun was renamed or absorbed into another estate. If this was the case (and it has to be said that the disappearance of all other affixed forms of a name so early is unique in Fife), then Lun would be a pre-existing place-name, almost certainly of Celtic origin: possibilities include Pictish or G *lunnd, ‘green meadow, marshy ground’ (for which see Lundin LAR, above); and G lann ‘enclosure’ (as found for example in Conland FAL and Falkland). The quality of the vowel as seen both in early forms and in the modern pronunciation is more in favour of the former than the latter suggestion.

    On the other hand, the name may have been coined in an entirely Scots-speaking context, with Sc little functioning as a specific rather than an affix. The question then arises as to what the generic might be, and there is no satisfactory answer to this question. Sc land ‘land’, with rounding of /a/ before a nasal, can probably be ruled out, not least because only one early form has the final d, and it is difficult to explain why such a transparent word would become so opaque so early. The quality of the vowel and the rarity of final /d/ probably also rules out Sc land(e), lawnd(e), which DOST defines as ‘an open space in a wood, a clearing, a glade’ (Latinised as landa).

    /ˈlɪtəl lʌn/


This place-name appeared in printed volume 2