Dunearn BUI S NT212871 1 395 170m SOF

(lands of) Dunhern’ 1458 Dunf. Reg. no. 453 [the lands of the two parts of Dunfermline Abbey’s lands of Orrock, of Silverbarton (Slebalbe) and Dunearn]
(lands of) Dun<h>ern’ 1482 Dunf. Reg. no. 485 [printed Dunkern’]
Dunnern’ 1523 Dunf. Reg. no. 511 [rubric]
(lands of) Dunhern’ 1523 Dunf. Reg. no. 511
(lands of) Dunnerne 1548 Laing Chrs no. 546 [the two parts of the lands of Orrock, Silverbarton and Dunearn]
Dunhair 1561 Dunf. Reg. p. 440
(lands of) Dunarne 1588 Yester Writs, no. 863
Dwnarne 1594 RMS vi no. 75 [part of the lands & barony of Wester Kinghorn, regality of Dunfermline]
(lands of) Dunnerne 1633 RMS viii no. 2149
Dunerne 1640 Retours (Fife) no. 588 [Silliebabie (Silverbarton) and Dunerne]
(lands and mains of) Dunairne 1653 RMS x no. 208 [with the lands of Knockdavie (Knockdavid)]
Duneirne 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife [Dunearn Hill not shown]
Duneirne 1654 Blaeu (Pont) West Fife [also Duneirne hill]
Dunerin 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [also Dunerin Hill]
Denairn 1775 Ainslie/Fife [also Denairn Hill]
Dunearn 1828 SGF [also Dunearn Hill]

G dùn + ? G Èirinn

‘Hill-fort of Ireland?’ There is no doubt that the first element refers to the unusually well preserved remains of an Iron Age or early medieval hill-fort on the summit of Dunearn Hill (Feachem 1955, 75 and Laing 1976, 40). Concerning the second element, several place-names throughout Scotland appear to contain words for Ireland (Watson 1926, 226 ff.), and Dùn Èireann (Èirinn) or Dunearn NAI may be the same as Dunearn BUI. For an alternative interpretation of earn, see Nicolaisen 1976, 187. Since this relates to river-names, it can scarcely be relevant here. There is, however, a small loch at the top of the hill called Dunearn Loch. Related to this name is OS Pathf. Devil’s Spadeful (OS 6 inch 1st edn. The Devil’s Spadefull), formerly the name of a small hill north of Dunearn Hill, now an island in Stenhouse Reservoir. OS Name Book (134, 59) describes it thus: ‘A small rough hill on the sides of which are some scattered furze and rocks. The name was derived from the following tradition. Robert Kay [a local informant] says “the Devil went about levelling Dunearn Hill and in throwing the first spadefull [sic] out of the place which now forms Dunearn Loch the spade broke and put an end to his labour” There are many other ways in which the tale is told, but the one given is the substance of most of them. The name is well known through the Country.’

From their earliest appearance in the record the lands of Dunearn are associated with those of Orrock and Silverbarton, when the abbot of Dunfermline grants in hereditary fee to David of Orrock, the son and heir of William of Orrock of that ilk, the lands of Orrock, Silverbarton and Dunearn (1458 Dunf. Reg. no. 453).

It has been suggested that Dunore, from an early thirteenth-century charter, may represent Dunearn (Gen. Coll. i, 52, 53). However, Rogers has convincingly identified it with Flawcraig, Kinnaird parish PER (Rogers 1992, 150 and n.100).


This place-name appeared in printed volume 1