Rires KCQ S NO464046 1 374 140m SEF

Gospatrici<us> de Rirais 1172 x 1178 St A. Lib. 135
Cospatrici<us> de Reres 1180 x 1188 St A. Lib. 353
Cospatrici<us> de Rereis 1199 SHS Misc. iv, 309 [w.]
(lands of) Rerays 1292 Rot. Scot. i (June 1292) [allegedly held by Macduff son of Malcolm earl of Fife, along with Creich (Creych) CRC]
Reres 1293 APS i, 445 [Macduff in dispute over lands of Rires and Creich (Crey) CRC]
Rereis 1293 CDS v no. 128 [King John ordered to appear to answer an appeal against him by Macduff, son of Malcolm, late earl of Fife, anent lands of Rires and Creich (Creys) CRC]
schyra de Ryrays 1294 Stevenson, Documents i, 417 [part of earl of Fife’s lands; defined]
Esterryrays 1294 PRO E101/331/1 B [printed Esterryrys Stevenson, Documents i, 417; part of the shire of Rires]
Westerryrays 1294 PRO E101/331/1 B [printed Wosterryrys Stevenson, Documents i, 417; part of the shire of Rires]
bracina de Ryrays 1294 PRO E101/331/1 B [printed Byrys Stevenson, Documents I, 417; ‘brewhouse of Rires’, part of shire of Rires]
(lands of) West Rires 1329 x 1371 RMS i app. 2 no. 971 B [17th c. index; Duncan earl of Fife to David Wemyss]
(barony of) Reres 1384 NLS Adv. MS 34.6.24, p. 252 [see Falfield KCQ]
(lands of) Reres 1393 RMS i no. 870 [to John Wemyss, as well as other lands he holds of the earl of Fife within the barony of Rires (Reres)]
(lands of) Reres 1393 RMS i no. 871 [royal permission to John Wemyss to build a castle on his lands of Rires]
(chapel of St Mary of) Reres 1404 Fraser, Wemyss ii no. 166 [editor’s translation of a Latin abstract made from a charter in the Wemyss charter chest, the original now being lost; the charter is issued by John Wemyss, lord of Rires, to his chapel of St Mary of Rires; for full text, see *Shiremuir KCQ]
(chapel at) Reres 1404 x 1406 RMS i app.2 no. 1960 B [17th c. index; charter of confirmation by Sir John Wemyss of foundation of chapel at Rires, with 6 merks from his lands of Logie-Murdoch (Logymurtache) LOG and 6 merks from Pusk (Pursk) LEU in the barony of Leuchars]
Nethirreres 1451 ER v, 466
Reras 1466 RMS ii no. 882 [to Thomas of Wemyss (Wemis) of Rires (Reras)]
(half the lands of) Estir-Reras (and) Westir-Reras 1476 RMS ii no. 1245 [to Thomas Wemys of Rires (Reras)]
(chapel of) Reras 1477 RMS ii no. 1302
le Manys de Reras 1477 RMS ii no. 1305 [the Mains of Rires]
lard of Rerasse 1522 Fife Ct. Bk. 260 [legal action against the ‘laird of Rires’]
Rerase 1522 Fife Ct. Bk. 260
terras de Nethir Reres 1541 RMS iii no. 2337 [rental details given; one of the lands which the king feus to Robert Beaton (Betoun) of Creich]
(Arthur Forbes of) Rerews 1545 x 1555 N. Berwick Cart. p. xxiv
Nether Reirows 1545 x 1555 N. Berwick Cart. p. xxiv [teind sheaves to Alexander Wood]
(lands and barony of) Reres 1551 RMS iv no. 584 [Forbes of Rires (Reres); with mill and advowsen of the chapel of the Blessed Mary of Rires (Reres)]
Rerris c.1560 s Purves 153 [£4]
(chapel of the Blessed Mary of) Reres 1578 x 1581 RMS v no. 192 [Sir John Wemys of Rires (Reres) founder]
Eister et Wester Reres 1578 x 1581 RMS v no. 192 [Easter and Wester Rires; with common pasture in the Shire Muir (lie Schiremure) in barony of Rires]
(barony of) Reres 1610 Retours (Fife) no. 218 [to Robert Forbes; lands of Falfield (Faufeildis) KCQ, Frostleys # (Frostleyis) KCQ, Caberswells # (Tabbirs-vallis) KCQ, Bowhill (Bowhillis) KCQ in barony of Rires]
N<ether> Riras 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
O<ver> Riras 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Rires 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
N. Rires 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
N. Rires Mill 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Ryres 1658 Lamont’s Diary 107
Riris 1684 Adair/East Fife
Rirus 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Reerus mill 1753 Roy sheet 18, 1
Riras 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Rires Mill 1828 SGF [on site of OS Pathf. Lathallan Mill]

? G riar or G rear + – es or – as

G riar (m.), gen. sing. rèir, (OIr ríar), ‘will, pleasure’, especially of a lord, ruler, or a law-giver, can also by extension mean ‘payment of tribute, compensation, maintenance or hospitality’ (DIL).[190] The verb G riaraich ‘satisfy, please, serve, distribute’, and G rear ‘provision’ (marked as obsolete by Dwelly) are related. There is also an OIr word ríarus ‘service, payment of dues’, formed as an abstract noun from ríar. The second syllable of Rires, however, most likely derives from the G locational suffix –es (or –as), meaning ‘place of’ or ‘place at’, variations of which are found in other important Fife place-names such as Wemyss, Ceres and Leuchars. If this is indeed the correct analysis of this name, there remains the question as to what exactly it might mean. One possibility is that is refers to land given as some kind of compensation or reward by the overlord (king or mormaer) to his client. Another is that it refers to specific (but now no longer retrievable) terms on which, or duties in return for which, a client held the land. If this was the case, however, it might be expected that place-names containing this element would be more common: in fact, Rires seems to be practically unique in Scotland.

Alternatively, though less likely, Rires may contain G rear (OIr rer) ‘blackbird’, and so would be ‘place of (the) blackbird(s)’.

The shire of Rires, held by the earls of Fife, is defined in 1294 as consisting of Balcarres and Balniel, both KCQ, as well as various divisions of Rires: Wester and Easter Rires, the brewhouse (bracina) of Rires, its smithy (fabrica), the ferme of its reaper[191] and ‘of its coal mine’ (de minera carbonum) (Stevenson, Documents i, 417; see also PNF 5, Appendix 2). The NGR given is for Rires Castle, which according to Millar (1895 ii, 21) ‘was built by Sir John of Wemyss (de Wembuss) at the close of the 14th century to replace an earlier structure’. Royal permission to build a castle at Rires was given in 1393 (RMS i no. 871), and it was besieged by David duke of Rothesay in 1401 (see Boardman 1996, 233 for the political background). Nothing visible now remains of the castle, though as late as 1968 the ditch which had surrounded the castle was quite distinct (NMRS, NO40 SE 3). The OS Name Book (1857) reports that the remains of the chapel of Rires were still in evidence, ‘a small oblong building built of rough unhewn stone’, and these are shown as ‘chapel (site of)’ on OS 6 inch (1959) at NO467045. This presumably represents the chapel of the Blessed Mary founded by Sir John of Wemyss in 1404 (see RMS i app. 2, no. 1960 and Fraser, Wemyss ii no. 166; see also NMRS NO40SE 7).

In 1476 James III confirmed to Thomas Wemyss of Rires (de Wemys de Reras) various lands in Fife and Strathearn including the lands of Rires (Reras), confirming also the grant which Thomas made to his son John of half of the lands of Wester Rires (Westir-Reras) and Easter Rires (Estir-Reras), along with the two Falfields (duabus Faufeildis), Bowhill (Bowhill) KCQ, Frostleys # (Frostleis) KCQ and Caberswells # (Cabriswallis) KCQ (RMS ii no. 1245).

Note also Bicker Tree marked as an Antiquity on OS 6 inch 1st edn at NO465044 just south of ‘Site of Rires Castle’, between Rires and ‘Site of Chapel’. According to a completely unsubstantiated and gruesome tradition, a Thane of Fife once lived at Rires who ‘was wont to bicker or run down to the great tree at Rires – hence the name “Bicker Tree” – to see his serfs hung at the Gallows Law.’[192] It was reported in the OS Name Book that it was a plane tree, and that it was even then ‘very much decayed’ (79, 47). The name bears a superficial resemblance to the family-name Bickerton, who belonged to the local gentry in this part of Fife in the thirteenth century (see under Grange ELI, above). There is, however, nothing (except the weak evidence of this name) to connect them directly with Rires (presumably as tenants of the earl of Fife).

For more details of Nether Rires, see Colinsburgh KCQ. Rires Mill (Roy and SGF) is Lathallan Mill on OS Pathf., and gives its name to the adjacent OS Pathf. Mill Wood.


This place-name appeared in printed volume 3