Pitkenny * SSL S NO540150 3
Petkennum 1172 x 1178 Barrow 1971 no. 2
Petkeynun 1172 x 1178 Barrow 1971 no. 3
Petkynnin 1189 x 1195 RRS ii no. 347
Petkennin 1198 x 1199 St A. Lib. 318 [held by Culdees]
Pethkenyn c. 1220 Terrier E [17/18th c. copy; held by Culdees]
G pett + ? G ceann + – in
‘Land-holding or estate at the end’? It was closely associated with the lands of Kinkell SSL, ‘end of the wood’; it may be the end of this same wood that is referred to in *Pitkenny, or it may be a reference to a coastal situation (‘at the end of the land’ etc.).
It has generally been assumed that the place-name Pitkinny, Pitkenny etc. contains the G personal name Coinneach/Cainneach, or perhaps Cinaed, anglicised as Kenneth (see Jackson 1972, 50–1). Unfortunately the two relevant surviving place-names in Fife, Pitkinny ADN and Pitkinnie KGH (both PNF 1), occur too late in the record to be able to draw any firm conclusions. However, this lost St Andrews place-name should warn against jumping too quickly to the conclusion that a personal name is involved.
In a document of 1264 concerning Dull in Atholl PER there appear two consecutive witnesses called Makbeth Makkyneth and Kennauch Makyny (St A. Lib 349). If these two are brothers, which seems likely, then Cinaed was being reduced to Kyny, at least sporadically, as early as the mid thirteenth century. This would be in line with the general disappearance of the dental spirants in Scottish Gaelic, which began around 1200 ‘at the very earliest’ (Jackson 1972, 55). But none of the later twelfth-century forms of *Pitkenny SSL shows any trace of the final dental spirant, which strongly suggests that it may never have been there.
Also from around this same period (second half of the twelfth century) Cinaed, the name of the thane of Kingskettle KTT, is recorded as Kyneð (N.B. Chrs. no. 3), with the final dental spirant obviously alive and well. And in the mid thirteenth century the final -ch of Coinnech was still firmly in place in eastern Scotland, as witness Kennauch Makyny in 1264 (St A. Lib. 349, quoted above), as it was earlier in Buchan: in the Gaelic Notes in the Book of Deer it occurs three times (Cainnec(h) mac Meic-Dobarcon, Gartnait mac Cannech, probably mormaer of Buchan in the early twelfth century, and Comgell mac Caennaig).
The situation may be further complicated by the common linguistic phenomenon of assimilation, where, especially after a change of language (in this case from Middle Gaelic to Older Scots), an unfamiliar word (ceann, or the inflected cinn) was made into a familiar one, the personal name Kenn(y), phonetically similar but semantically unrelated.
To sum up, *Pitkenny SSL would seem to contain neither the personal name Cinaed nor Cainnech. One or other of these names may occur in Pitkinny ADN and Pitkinnie KGH, but because of the lack of early forms, it is impossible to be certain.
Whittington 1975, 104, notes that of the personal names associated with the Pit-place-names, Kenneth is the commonest, although he does not say whether from Cinaed or from Cainnech. However, for the reasons set out above, in at least some cases, these personal names may not have been involved at all.
All occurrences of *Pitkenn(y) SSL are listed above, and in each case it is mentioned as belonging to the Culdees of St Mary’s, St Andrews. It was closely associated with Kinkell SSL and with another lost Pit-name, *Pitsprochy SSL, both of which also belonged to the Culdees. For more on all these lands, see SSL Introduction, The Culdees of St Andrews. The above NGR is based on the assumption that it lay near Kinkell.
In RRS i and ii it has been erroneously identified with Peekie SSL, for details of which see under that name, above.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 3