Balmartin * SSL S NO4516 2
Balemartin 1183 St A. Lib. 58
G baile + pn Martin
‘Martin’s farm’. Although this name occurs in the record only once, it is of great importance, as one of the very few baile-names in Scotland whose formation can be dated to within a few decades (to around the middle of the twelfth century).
*Balmartin almost certainly formed part of the lands of Strathkinness SSL. At some time between 1156 and 1160 a deal was struck between St Andrews Priory and the Culdees of St Andrews anent Strathkinness and Letham (Lambieletham CMN). The chirograph recording this agreement has been lost, but Malcolm IV’s confirmation of it has survived (RRS i no. 173). More details of the deal are contained in Malcolm IV’s general confirmation charter to St Andrews Priory, probably dated November 1160 (RRS i no. 174): amongst the Priory’s lands is listed Strathkinness (Stradkines), which the canons had possessed since Bishop Robert’s foundation charter of c.1140 (St A. Lib. 122), followed by ‘the other Strathkinness’ (aliam Stradkines) in exchange for *Kininnis CMN and for Lambieletham CMN, both of which the Culdees have (see Strathkinness for Latin text). This exchange is mentioned almost word for word in Pope Alexander III’s bull of confirmation to St Andrews Priory dated 1163 (St A. Lib. 54).
The next papal confirmation, that of Alexander’s successor Lucius III, dated 1183 (ibid. 58), contains the one and only mention of *Balmartin, which immediately precedes Strathkinness (Stradkines) in the list of properties belonging to St Andrews Priory, but there is no mention of the other Strathkinness (nor, for that matter, does it mention the exchange). This, supported by further evidence adduced below, strongly suggests that *Balmartin was in fact this ‘other Strathkinness’.
The next papal confirmation, that of Gregory VIII, dated 1187 (ibid. 64), mentions ‘the grange of Strathkinness with all the lands and with the rest which belong to it’ (grangiam de Stradkines cum omnibus terris et ceteris ad ipsam pertinentibus). This is the one place in the charter where the phrase et ceteris (‘and with the rest’ or ‘and with the other things’) occurs, and it most likely stands for the commutatio-phrase of Malcolm IV and Pope Alexander’s confirmation charters, or perhaps simply for ‘the other Strathkinness’. It is also, incidentally, the first time the grange of Strathkinness is explicitly mentioned. It may be that, for the purposes of this confirmation, the grange was considered to apply to both Strathkinnesses (i.e. Strathkinnes and *Balmartin).
The confirmation charter of Clement III from the following year (ibid. 68) appears to be simply a copy of Gregory’s, with the same exceptional use of et ceteris at the same point. And as already noted, *Balmartin does not occur in either of these bulls.
It is noteworthy that, at least in the case of Strathkinness, these papal confirmations appear to reflect more closely a dynamic local nomenclature, whereas the episcopal confirmations from the second half of the twelfth century (in chronological order those of Bishops Arnold, Richard, Hugh and Roger) simply repeat the full commutatio phrase, with no mention of *Balmartin or the Grange of Strathkinness.
A further piece of evidence which points to the fact that *Balmartin is ‘the other Strathkinness’ comes from the Terrier (for which Appendix 2, below). Amongst the lands which it lists as belonging to St Andrews Priory in the early thirteenth century, are (consecutively) Strath kynnes Martin and Strathkinnes Mels<n>rog (i.e. Maolsneachda, an important church tenant who held land in the vicinity before 1165 × 1172, for more on whom see Bassaguard SSL).
There is one final piece in this jigsaw puzzle which completes the picture very satisfactorily. In 1235 Alexander II confirms a charter by which one Adam son of Adam of Letham (de Lethyn), now Lambieletham CMN, quitclaims the land of Letham (Lethyn) to William son of Lambin in exchange for 25 merks and two tenements in St Andrews (RRS Handlist/Alexander II no. 208, which is a summary of NAS GD103 2 11).
This change of tenancy is confirmed by a charter issued many years later by Master Adam of Makerstoun, provost of the Culdee church of St Mary’s in St Andrews c.1249–c.1285 (Laing Chrs. no. 15). In this charter Adam confirms to John son of William son of Lambin all the land of Lambieletham (Lethin) and Carngour (Kyninnis) CMN which Adam son of Gilmur (whose name has been preserved in Gilmerton CMN, q.v.) had held from the Culdees, the very lands which the Culdees had obtained from St Andrews Priory in exchange for ‘the other Strathkinness’ or *Balmartin. The charter further informs us that Adam's grandfather, Gilmur’s father, was none other than Martin, and expresses this relationship in Gaelic (Gilmur Makmartin).
It must be borne in mind that Adam of Makerstoun’s confirmation is of a transaction which had taken place at least 15 years previously. A new generation holds Kininnis and Lambieletham, in the person of John, son of the William Lambin who made the deal with Makerstoun. Adam of Letham’s family are no longer directly involved, which is why they have not been brought up to date in the same way that the Lambins have been. In fact, Makerstoun’s charter does not even mention the man who made the transaction c.1235, Adam son of Adam of Letham, but starts in the previous generation with Adam of Letham himself, who is of course the same person as Adam son of Gilmur son of Martin (Makmartin).
On the assumption that each generation represents c.25 years, Martin himself must have flourished around 1160, just at the time when the Culdees gave *Balmartin by Strathkinness to St Andrews Priory and received in exchange the lands of Kininnis and (Lambie)letham (adapted from Taylor 1994, 111–13).
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3