Bluther Burn

Bluther Burn ~ CUS/SLN/TOB/TUL W NT011864 1 394 0m

Bloder 1560 x 1565 RMS iv no. 1632 col. 3 [‘the water called Bluther’ (aquam nuncupatam Bloder)]
aqua de Blodder 1637 RMS ix no. 786 [‘between Torrieburne in the east and New-mylne-burne or Valay-burne or water of Bluther (aquam de Blodder) in the west’]
the Bloddyr 1710 Sibbald 1710 [quoted Beveridge 1885 ii, 369]
Blubbarburn 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Blether Burn 1853 x 1856 OS Name Book 3, 3
Bluther Burn 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.

en Bluther + Sc burn

Bluther may derive from G blotrach ‘bog or marsh’. The Bluther Burn certainly flows in its upper reaches through some fairly boggy land, including Bathbog CUS. However, it may equally well derive from Sc bluther (also bludder and blother) ‘an onomatopoeic word, often expressing more specifically the sound of air and liquid in the mouth, nose and throat’ (OED), ‘a noise made in taking any liquid’ (DSL).[2]

The Bluther Burn, besides flowing through or alongside the parishes listed above, also forms the boundary between Fife (CUS) and Clackmannan for part of its upper course, and before 1891, when CUS lay in a detached part of Perthshire, it formed in its lower reaches the boundary between Perthshire and Fife. In these lower reaches it flows through a den or steep, narrow valley, before entering the Forth between Low Valleyfield CUS and Newmills TOB. This topography explains why the last stretch of the Bluther Burn is called Dean Burn on Ainslie/Fife (1775), dean being an alternative form of den. According to the OS Name Book 3, 3, it changes its name to Devily Burn as it flows west past Cattle Moss Wood SLN (NT00 92); on OS Pathf., however, it continues to be shown as Bluther Burn.

The burn is spoken of locally in SLN as the Dubbly /ðəˈdʌblɪ/, which may derive from Devilla or Devily. For more on this, see Valleyfield CUS.

/ˈbluθər/, /ˈbluðər/ and /ˈblʌðər/ are all locally attested.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1