Cairneyhall ABE S NO272158 1 362 80m
Cairnie Head 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Cairnyhall 1827 Ainslie/East Fife [Cairnyhall is shown c.800 m to the south-east of modern Cairneyhall, due west of Whitefield]
Cairniehall 1828 SGF
Cairniehall 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn
? + Sc or SSE hall
Probably part of the old lands of Freeland ABE, q.v. There are three quite distinct possible explanations for the derivation of Cairney.
(1) It derives from Sc cairny ‘having a cairn or cairns; stony’, presumably applied originally to nearby Cairnie Hill, which has a cairn or tumulus on its summit. Cairneyhall is on Cairnie Hill’s north-western flank.
(2) It contains the existing name Cairnie, more specifically Lordscairnie MNZ, since Cairniehall ABE was ‘anciently the patrimonial estate of David Barclay, Lord of Brechin’ (Leighton 1840 ii, 150–1), who c.1350 was also lord in his own right of the lands of (Lords) Cairnie (Carny) (NAS GD124/1/1116).
(3) It derives from *Cardyn, which occurs only once, in a mid-thirteenth-century charter, as Cardynside i.e. hill-side of a place or feature called *Cardyn, the name of lands belonging to Lindores Abbey around the south end of Lindores Loch (Lind. Cart. no. 140; see CLS Intro., Medieval Landscapes, below, for details). If Pictish *carden does indeed mean ‘fort, encampment, enclosed place’, as Andrew Breeze has argued (1999), then it may reflect the fact that the name-givers interpreted the prehistoric remains on Cairnie Hill as those of a fort. If it means ‘woodland’, as suggested by W. J. Watson, K. H. Jackson et al., then it is an early reference to an area which from other sources we know was wooded in the later medieval period (see CLS Intro., Medieval Landscapes, below). For the reduction of a place-name containing *carden (+ suffix) to Cairn-, compare Cairnie, Forteviot PER, Cardny 1314 Inchaffray Chrs. no. 121.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4