Roome CRA C NO617078 1 0m
Rome 1684 Adair/East Fife
Rome 1790s OSA, 173
Roome Harbour 1828 SGF
Roome Harbour 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn
Roome Rocks 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn
In the absence of forms earlier than 1684 any explanation of this name must remain very tentative. The name has survived in OS Pathf. Roome Harbour and Roome Rocks. The bay itself is known locally as Roome Bay, which has given rise to the near-by street-names Roomebay Avenue and Roomebay Crescent. Rev. Andrew Bell, in his OSA account of CRA, suggests it is the ‘old harbour’ referred to in some of the charters belonging to the town. He writes: ‘A little to the east of the town, there is a small bay or opening among the rocks, called Rome, for what reason is not known, which at moderate expense might be made an excellent harbour’ (OSA, 173).
There is an OIr word ruam, a borrowing from Latin Roma ‘Rome’, which meant ‘cemetery’. This element is discussed in some detail by W. J. Watson, who states that it occurs as an appellative (common noun) in a Scottish Gaelic poem of c.1600 with a lenited final m (ruaimh); and that it is found in both Rome by Scone PER and Rome, Menmuir ANG (Watson 1926, 257–8). Given the other evidence for early Christianity along this part of the Fife coast (such as Kilminning with its long-cist cemetery and Early Christian name just one km up the coast to the north-east, the Caiplie Caves a little over 2 km to the south-west, and Kilrenny with its Early Christian name and sculpture in the form of the Skeith Stone), it is just possible that Roome, too, belongs to this early stratum of Christian activity.
An alternative, and perhaps more plausible, explanation is that it contains OSc room(e), roum, rowm(e) etc. ‘spacious, extensive, broad’, as in the rowm se ‘the open sea’ (DOST), and referred originally to the bay.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3