Cumberland KCQ S NO459084 1 200m
Cummerland 1556 RMS iv no. 1023 [Bowhill KCQ and Cumberland; see Cambo KBS]
Over et Nethir Cummerlandis 1578 x 1581 RMS v no. 192 [Over and Nether Cumberlands, with definition including ‘illam longam Struther’ (see Longstruther # KCQ); amongst lands attached to Chapel of St Mary of Rires]
Cumerlandis 1610 Retours (Fife) no. 218 [Robert Forbes of Rires KCQ, in the barony of Rires]
Cummerland 1623 Retours (Fife) no. 336 [Bowhill and Cumberland, now in barony of Cambo (Cammo) KBS]
Nether-Cummerlandis 1643 Retours (Fife) no. 664 [part of the lands belonging to the chaplainry of Blessed Mary of Rires, called Nether Cumberlands, extending to 8 acres of Langstruther]
Cumberland 1799 Sasines no. 5356 [Balquhidder (a transcription error for Bowhill KCQ?) and Cumberland, barony of Largo]
Cummerland 1828 SGF
Cumberland 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn
Cumberland 1927 OS 1 inch ‘Popular’ edn
? Sc cummer + Sc land
‘Difficult, useless land; land encumbered with stones, tree-stumps, etc’? There are several field-names in the English midlands called Cumberland. John Field interprets Cumberland Meadow, Nottinghamshire, as ‘either a transferred place-name referring to remote land, or a name commemorating the military exploits of the eighteenth-century Duke of Cumberland’ (1989, 57). Both these can be ruled out in the case of Cumberland KCQ; Barrie Cox interprets several Leicestershire field-names containing Cumberland as perhaps containing Middle English cumber ‘encumbrance’, thus ‘ground encumbered with rocks, tree-stumps etc’ (Place-Names of Leicestershire ii, 144, iii, 250, 299). The OSc equivalent is cummer (also cumber) ‘trouble, distress, encumbrance’ (DOST). Cumberland, at a height of 200 m, and including a ‘long marsh’ (Longstruther), could certainly be considered to merit a name meaning ‘difficult land’.
RMS v no. 192 (1578 × 1581) suggests that the Cumberlands comprised a number of lands scattered throughout KCQ and all attached to St Mary’s Chapel at Rires. By the original charter issued in February 1578 Archibald Blyth of Dundee, chaplain of St Mary’s Chapel of Rires with the permission of i.a. Arthur Forbes of Rires, the patron of the said chapel, feued to William Simpson of Anstruther ‘the lands of Over and Nether Cumberlands, viz the stretch of land from the northern part of Easter and Wester Rires (which the founder of the said chapel, Lord John Wemyss of Rires, knight, specified as 8 acres), and the space on the west of Falfield (which the founder specified as 4 acres) and that long marsh lying between Balcarres, Easter and Wester Rires, as far as the march of Newton of Rires, with the common pasture of the *Shiremuir for the cattle and sheep, with their pertinents, in the barony of Rires.’ These lands and rights are those set out in what is probably John Wemyss’s foundation charter (1404 Fraser, Wemyss ii no. 166), for details of which, see *Shiremuir KCQ, below, although this earlier charter also mentions one acre near the chapel, and the name Cumberland does not appear.
The farm shown on SGF (1828) as Cummerland and on OS 6 inch 1st edn as Cumberland is OS Pathf. South Bowhill Farm.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3