Balmule ABO S NT203882 1 395 130m SOF
Balemacmol 1189 x 1199 Spalding Misc. v 243 [given to Roger de Frebern by Robert of London, along with Couston and Montquey]
Balmacmol 1214 x 1214 x 1226 Dunf. Reg. no. 168 [Threpland between the marches of Balmule and Orrock BUI]
(Roger of) Balmacmol 1230 x 1239 Dunf. Reg. no. 172 [dating approximate]
(Roger of) Balmakmolle 1233 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 15
(Roger of) Balmakmole 1233 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 15
(Ness of) Balmakmole 1252 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 21
(lands of) Balmachmole 1252 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 21
(lands of) Balmakmolis 1252 Inchcolm Chrs. no. 21
Balmule 1384 Scottish Handwriting no. 8 [o.c.; see also SHS Misc. v, 32]
Balmulis Northir & Southir 1487 RMS ii no. 1688
Balnamule 1513 RMS ii no. 3840
Northir Balmule 1530 TA v 335
Sowthir Balmule 1530 TA v 335
the temple of Balmwle 1540 Knights of St John 26
Balmullis 1574 Inchcolm Chrs. p. 219
Balmyll Mylne 1574 Inchcolm Chrs. p. 219
Balmudes 1654 Blaeu (Pont) West Fife
E. Balmoold 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
W. Balmoold 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Balmoold mill 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
North Ballmool c.1750 RHP1022
South Ballmool c.1750 RHP1022 [shown at OS Pathf. Balmule]
Bemule 1753 Roy sheet 17, 5
Upper Balmule 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Nether Balmule 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Balmule 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
North Balmule 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn. [at NT203889, unmarked on OS Pathf.]
G baile + G mac + pn Maol
‘Estate of the sons of Maol’. Modern G would be Baile mac Mhaoil. The personal name comes from the OIr máel ‘bald’, with subsidiary meanings of both ‘priest’ and ‘servant’. As a personal name it is rare but not unknown. Its diminutive form occurs once in the early twelfth-century Gaelic Notes in the Book of Deer, where one of the witnesses is Mal-Coluim mac Molíni. Jackson (1972, 71) compares it with Maíléne/ Muíléne and Maílín in Irish sources, and interprets it simply as ‘little bald one’. He adds that the name is otherwise unknown in Scotland, but in fact one Gylcrist mac Mal is mentioned as holding land in Tibbermore PER in 1362 (Inchcolm Chrs. no. 37 and p. 249).
Mael is frequently found as the first element in dithematic or two-element personal names with the meaning ‘religious devotee or servant’. The second element in such names is usually a saint’s name, e.g Máel Coluim (Malcolm) ‘servant of (St) Columba’, although it can also refer to places or elemental forces e.g. Máel Dúin (Maldun) ‘servant of the fort’, perhaps indicating place of birth, and Máel Snechtai, ‘servant of snow’, the name of an important land-holder around St Andrews in the twelfth century (see for example RRS ii no. 13), and perhaps indicating weather conditions at the time of birth. However, such (high status) names as Máel na mBó ‘servant of the cows’ suggest that K. H. Jackson is correct in seeing these names as of pre-Christian origin (1972, 48–9). A third type has the second element as an adjective qualifying máel, such as Máil Dub ‘black servant’.
The first named land-holder of Balmule, Roger de Frebern, in the late twelfth century, probably belongs to the same family as Roger of Balmule of Inchcolm Chrs. no. 15, and may even be the same person.
The form Balmakmolis of 1252 shows an Older Scots plural, which suggests that the estate was already divided into North and South Balmule, which first appear as such as Balmulis Northir & Southir in 1487. This division is still found on SGF (1828), which shows present-day Balmule as South Balmule, while North Balmule lay on the road between Templehall and Bankhead. While the north/south division is the most persistent, the lands of Balmule also appear divided into east and west on Blaeu (Gordon) Fife (1654), and into upper and nether on Ainslie/Fife (1775).
For the part of the lands of Balmule formerly belonging to the Knights Templar, see Templehall ABO below.
Balmule DFL, pronounced the same way, probably has a different etymology (see below s.n.).
/balˈmjul/ or /bəlˈmjul/
This place-name appeared in printed volume 1