Kincaple SSL S NO462183 1 363 30m

Kinecapel 1212 St A. Lib. 316
(marches of) Kincapel 1212 St A. Lib. 316 [all the garbal teinds were given to the archdeacon from the marches of Kincaple (Kincapel) to the marches of Kemback (Kenbac)]
Kincapel Balesten c.1220 Terrier F [17/18th c. copy; see Powstanie SSL]
Kyn<c>apull Macfindul c.1220 Terrier F [17/18th c. copy; see discussion]
Kincapel Bochalin c.1220 Terrier F [17/18th c. copy; see discussion]
Kincapel Ballensunyne c.1220 Terrier F [17/18th c. copy; see discussion]
(Gilbert of) Kincapill’ mid 13 th c. SAUL LBW 5 [o.c.]
apud Kincapel 1304 CDS iv p. 474 [Edward I of England at Kincaple 11 March; see Kemback, PNF 2, for more details]
hospes regis apud Kynkapil 1304 CDS iv p. 374 [rubric; host of the king at Kincaple]
apud Kinkapel 1304 CDS iv p. 374 [see Kincaple discussion below]
Kynkapyl 1405 St A. Lib. 422 [‘as far as the marches of Kincaple and of Strathkinness on the west’ (usque ad divisas de Kynkapyl et de Strakenes ex parte occidentali); see SSL Introduction for more details]
Kyncapill 1452 x 1480 RMS ii no. 1444 [St Andrews Church land]
Wester Kyncaple alias Neutounburell 1542 St A. Rent. 146 [many references to tenants of Kincaple in St A. Rent.]
Wester Kincapill alias Newtoun-Burrell 1551 x 1591 RMS vi no. 17 [charter of Andrew Burrell of Wester Kincaple alias Newton Burrell to William Arthur (Arthour) of Cairns (Carnis) SSL, son and heir of the late Master William Arthur of Cairns, and Agnes Burrell daughter of the said Andrew Burrell, anent ‘the lands of Wester Kincaple alias Newton Burrell or *Bonds then called Newton Arthur’ (terris de Wester Kincapill alias Newtoun-Burrell sive Bondis tunc Newtoun-Arthour nuncupatis), with their principal messuage and fishing in the Eden (Edyn), to be held of archbishop of St Andrews]
(a third of lands and vill of) Kyncapill 1555 x 1613 RMS vii no. 921 [to be held of the archbishop]
liberam baroniam de Kincapill 1587 RMS v no. 1384 [King James VI grants to James Meldrum [292] of Seggie (Segie) LEU, senator of college of justice, the lands and barony of Barry (Barrie) ANG, formerly belonging to Balmerino Abbey; and lands and vills of Boarhills (Byrehillis), Polduff or Balduff (Polduff vel Balduff) (now Winchester SSL) and Kincaple (Kincapill), with mills, fishings etc, formerly belonging to the archbishop of St Andrews, now belonging to the king by parliamentary decree anent kirk lands, and which the king has incorporated into ‘the free barony of Kincaple’]
(Patrick Duddingston portioner of) Kincapill 1590 St A. Kirk Sess. 662
(a third of lands and vill of) Kyncapill 1606 x 1613 RMS vii no. 921 [plus other fractions, making up a half of the said lands and vill]
portionarius de Kyncapill 1606 x 1613 RMS vii no. 921 [Andrew Brown (Broun) ‘portioner of Kincaple’]
Keankepl 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Wester Kincapell alias Newtone-Arthor 1648 Retours Fife no. 739 [John Arthur (Arthure) of Newton (Newtoun) SSL in the lands of Wester Kincaple alias Newton-Arthur]
Kinkarke 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Keankeple 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Kingcappill 1655 Retours (Fife) no. 841 [William Pitcairn of that ilk, an annual rent of 500 merks from the lands of Kincaple]
Ceancaple 1684 Adair/East Fife
Wester Kincaple alias Neutoun-Geddie 1691 Retours (Fife) no. 1313 [Helen Geddie, wife of James Lentron of St Fort (Santfoord) FGN, and Elizabeth Geddie, heirs of the portionar John Geddie of St Nicholas (Saint Nicolas) SSL, the lands of Wester Kincaple alias Newton-Geddie]
Kincaple 1692 Retours (Fife) no. 1342 [Robert Lentron, half the toun and lands of Kincaple]
Kingscapple 1753 Roy sheet 18, 2
Kincaple 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Wester Kincaple alias Newton Geddie 1785 Sasines no. 1098
Sea Field Farm of Easter Kincaple 1786 Easter Kincaple Plan [= OS Pathf. Easter Kincaple Farm]
Kincaple 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn
Easter Kincaple 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn [= Easter Kincaple Plan Bloom Hill Farm and OS Pathf. Kincaple House]
Wester Kincaple 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn [= OS Pathf. Wester Kincaple]
Lentrone’s Kincaple 1895 Millar 1895 i, 326 [‘Robert Lentrone of Sandford (St Fort FGN), provost of St Andrews, was entered in 1692 as heir to his brother, James Lentrone, in part of Kincaple, and it has retained the name of “Lentrone’s Kincaple” until recently’]

G ceann + G capall

The name consists of two common G words, ceann ‘head, end’ and capall ‘(work-)horse, draught horse’ (‘as opposed to [OIr] ech saddle horse, chariot horse’ DIL). However, it is far from clear what was in the minds of those who coined this name: what it might mean, or to what it might refer. In Fife and beyond cenn (modern G ceann) in place-names almost invariably means ‘end, head’ of a geographical feature such as a loch (Kinloch CLS), a hill (Kinninmonth CER, SSL) or a promontory (Kinross), applied in the context of a horizontal plane.[293] So it is possible that capall was the name of some horse-shaped feature such as a small hill or a section of the raised beach, which forms such a conspicuous feature of the landscape here. While its present form is clearly Gaelic, it may be an example of an adaptation from a Pictish original, in the same way that nearby Kilrymont SSL almost certainly is (q.v.). The Pictish cognate of cenn would have been *penn, which in a British context (in southern Scotland and northern England) usually meant ‘hill, top, height’ (applied in the context of a vertical plane), rather than ‘end’ (see Smith 1956, under *penno-). This would give a much more plausible meaning of ‘horse hill or height’, referring to the aforementioned raised beach, a G adaptation of an earlier *Pencapul or *Pencabul or similar.[294]

However, if ceann is being used in the sense of ‘end’ or ‘head’, it may be that the specific was originally an existing name such as *Capall, referring to a wider area, so Ceann C(h)apaill would be ‘end of the place called Capall’. Capall itself may originally have been some kind of symbolic or totemic designation for a people- or kin-group and its territory, such as is discussed by W. J. Watson (1926, 16 (and footnote), 30). In the St Andrews area there is a relatively high number of place-names referring to animals: Denork CMN ‘the fort of (the people of?) the pig or boar’, Muchross # ‘pig head-land’, an old name for St Andrews, and, possibly directly connected with Muchross, *The Boar’s Raik. A ‘people of the horse’ may have been the neighbours of a ‘people of the pig or boar’, so Kincaple would be ‘at the end of (the territory of the people of) the horse’. Beyond Denork to the west is Tarvit CUP, TVX ‘bull-place’, which may also belong to this category. The use of animal-names to refer to people- or kin-groups is a complex subject, often with its roots in pre-Christian times. It is possible, therefore, that the name Kincaple goes back to a time long before Gaelic was spoken in eastern Scotland. One way in which capall ‘(work-)horse’ might have become the badge or symbol of the people of this district is simply because they specialised in rearing such horses (see Watson 1926, 23–4).

A place called Raith Chind Eich (‘rath or fort of the horse-head’) appears in the early Irish text Lebor Gabála Erenn (quoted by Flanagan 1973, 162). This may refer to a fort decorated by a horse-head or -heads. In Iceland a horse’s skull can sometimes be seen outside a house or farm, the purpose of which is to put a curse on someone, or generally to avert evil.[295] While not suggesting any direct links with this custom, it may be that, for whatever reason, one or more horse-skulls were prominently displayed within or at the marches of the lands of Kincaple, from which it became known as the (place of the) horse-head.

Kincaple was a large territory, roughly 3 km from east to west, and 2 km from north to south. From the earliest record it belonged to the bishop of St Andrews, forming part of the great swathe of episcopal lands which lay along the Eden from Dairsie to Strathtyrum. Already c.1220 it appears to have been divided into five parts, Kincapel Balesten, Kyn<c>apull Macfindul, Kincapel Bochalin,[296] Balewarryn, Kincapel Ballensunyne (Terrier F, all held by the bishop). None of these can be identified, except perhaps Kincapel Balesten, which may be represented by Powstanie SSL q.v.). Three of these contain the G baile ‘farm’, underlining how extensive and agriculturally productive the lands of Kincaple were. These subdivisions were held by different tenants, whose names sometimes became incorporated into the local toponymy. The earliest example of this is in the Terrier, where Kyn<c>apull Macfindul almost certainly contains a personal name beginning with mac ‘son of’, though owing to the fact that the text (for which, see this volume, Appendix 2) exists only in a poor eighteenth-century copy, it is risky to speculate further on the second part of the name. In the later medieval period the names of other church-tenants are found in *Newton Burrell and *Newton Arthur, and after the Reformation we find Newton Geddie and Lentrone’s Kincaple. None of these has survived, although Lentrone’s Kincaple was in use until the later nineteenth century (see under Kincaple early forms, above). Modern (OS Pathf.) divisions and settlements on the lands of Kincaple are Easter Kincaple Farm, Edenside, Kincaple (hamlet), Kincaple House, Monksholm, Powstanie, Seafield Mains, Wester Kincaple, West Third, and presumably that part of Guardbridge on the east (SSL) side of the Eden. OS Pathf. maps shows only those names listed here as containing ‘Kincaple’. However, the small, deep valley on the lands of Wester Kincaple, which OS Pathf. marks as ‘The Den’, is referred to in the wider locality as Kincaple Den. OS Pathf. also shows Cobble Shore and Sand Ford Head on the south side of the narrowest point of the Eden Estuary, almost due north of Kincaple (hamlet). Both these names indicate that this was once a crossing-point, both on foot, at low tide, and by small boat (Sc cobble).

The fact that Newton, ‘new farm’, is consistently used as an alias of Wester Kincaple suggests that the older core of the lands of Kincaple lay towards the east, either on or by the site of Kincaple hamlet, or possibly at the original site of Easter Kincaple (for which see Seafield Mains, below). That there was a considerable settlement at this core is clear from the fact that King Edward I of England chose to stay here on his progress through Fife in Spring 1304. We know this from the royal accounts, which detail the expenditure of half a merk ‘to Andrew son of Roger (who must have been the bishop’s chief tenant at the time), in whose houses (note the plural here) the king (Edward I of England) and his young wife, Queen Margaret (Marguerite of France) were entertained at Kincaple, by gift of the king in recompense for losses which he (Andrew) sustained in his houses and in other things destroyed and damaged on account of the arrival there of the king and queen, given by the king’s own hand there on the same day (11th March)’.[297]

There are two wells on the lands of Kincaple named after saints: St Mungo’s Well beside Seafield Mains, formerly Easter Kincaple, for more details of which see Seafield Mains, and St Magdalene’s Well, in the garden of Wester Kincaple farm-house (1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn). The existence of the former is known only from the detailed 1786 Easter Kincaple Plan. This Plan contains many other microtoponyms, such as The Glacks, beside the east road leading to Kincaple (hamlet), containing the Sc glack ‘hollow between hills, defile’, which well describes the above-mentioned east road; Crampflat; Beam Flat Park, Cairns (possibly referring to burial mounds), Peat Holls (‘hollows’), Pate Mire (presumably ‘Peat Mire’), Wheat Hill, St Mungo’s Bank and Cross Sides (for which see Seafield Mains, below), North and South New Lands (referring to land on Seafield recently reclaimed from the Eden Estuary) and Sea Grass.

The lands of Kincaple are bounded on the north-west by the Eden, and on the north by the Eden Estuary (aqua de Edynismowth 1603 RMS vi no. 1492), both of which were an important source not only of fish (see loc. cit. and RMS vi no. 17) but also of sea-weed. John Leighton describes a bright green sea-weed found here called sea-sleek which was a good manure. He also describes the embankment built in the early nineteenth century along the shore at Kincaple and Strathtyrum as part of a land-reclamation scheme (1840 iii, 46).


This place-name appeared in printed volume 3