Cupar CUP PS NO373143 1 362 30m

    ecclesiam de Cupre c.1165 x 1172 St A. Lib. 241–2 [earl of Fife to St Andrews Priory]
    ecclesia de Cupre 1165 x 1172 St A. Lib. 137 [Bp Richard to St A. Priory]
    Petro conestabelario de Cupre 1165 x 1172 St A. Lib. 137 [w.; ‘Peter constable of Cupar’]
    Thomas de Cupre 1173 x 1178 St A. Lib. 242 [w.]
    ecclesiam de Cupre 1173 x 1178 RRS ii no. 168 [= St A. Lib. 223; royal confirmation of Earl Duncan’s grant to St A. Priory]
    decimam molendini de Cupre 1173 x 1178 RRS ii no. 168 [= St A. Lib. 223; king confirms Earl Duncan’s grant of ‘teind of mill of Cupar’ to St A. Priory]
    ecclesiam de Cupre 1183 St A. Lib. 59 [‘with its pertinents; the teind of the mill of that same vill’ (cum pertinenciis suis; decimam molendini eiusdem uille)]
    ecclesi<a> de Cupir 1187 St A. Lib. 63
    ecclesi<a> de Cupre 1189 x 1195 RRS ii no. 333 [= St A. Lib. 230]
    ecclesi<a> de Cupre 1189 x 1198 St A. Lib. 152 [general episcopal confirmation; church of Cupar and teind of the mill of that same vill]
    ecclesi<a> de Cupro in Fif 1240 St A. Lib. 166 [Bp David]
    Domino Salomone de Cupir 1245 St A. Lib. 44 [Sir Solomon of Cupar; w.]
    magistro Roberto vicario de Cupir 1245 St A. Lib. 44 [w.]
    ecclesi<a> de Cupre in Fif 1248 St A. Lib. 103
    ecclesia de Cupyr c.1250 Dunf. Reg. no. 313 p. 208
    Domino Salomone de Cupro c.1250 St A. Lib. 293 [Sir Solomon of Cupar; w.]
    domino Rogero vicario de Cupyr 1288 St A. Lib. 340 [w.]
    apud Cupyr 1288 St A. Lib. 339–40
    domorum castri de Cupro 1294 PRO E 372/141/m. 56 [see Castle Hill CUP]
    custodi more de Cupro 1294 PRO E 372/141/m. 56 [Cupar Muir, q.v.]
    Coupresyre 1294 PRO E 101/331/1 B [‘Cuparshire’; see PNF 5, App. 2]
    de nouo molendino de Cupre 1294 PRO E 101/331/1 B [‘from new mill of’]
    de ii veteribus molendinis de Cupre 1294 PRO E 101/331/1 B [‘from (the) 2 old mills of ’; see CUP Intro., Mills]
    de burgo de Cupre 1294 PRO E 101/331/1 B
    apud Cuprum in Fyffe 1312 Hist. MSS. Comm. v app. 626a [o.c. = NAS GD.203, section 11, no. 6; see also RRS v no. 12]
    apud Cuper in Fyf 1316 RRS v no. 101 [place-date of royal charter]
    in villa de Couper 1318 RRS v no. 141 [inspection in 1318 of a charter supposedly of 1225]
    en chastel de Coupre c.1338 x 1346 Fraser 1966, 101
    burgo suo de Cupro 1355 RRS vi no. 136 [‘his (i.e. the earl of Fife’s) burgh of Cupar’; see CUP Intro., The Burgh of Cupar, for more details]
    ecclesi<a> de Cupro 1420 St A. Lib. 413 [Pope Martin]
    Burgum de Cupro 1431 NLS MS 15.1.18 no. 95 [see p. 265, above]
    Jhone Cowpare burges of Coupir 1438 St A. Cop. no. 92 [‘weil-belufit frend’ of James Haldenstone prior of St Andrews; it is not clear whether John’s surname is Cooper or Cupar (see Black 1946 under Cooper)]
    (plain burgh court of) Coupyr 1475 NLS MS. Chr. no. 8430 [business anent tenements in the Kirk Gate (Kirkgait)]
    burgh of Coupir 1479 Fife Ct. Bk. xvi [Alexander Seyton of Parbroath CRC owes ‘bot thre sutis at the schiref courtis haldin in the burgh of Coupir’]
    burgum de Cupro 1489 RMS ii no. 1962
    Montis Placiti de Cupro 1497 RMS ii no. 2360 [a third of 8 acres of arable land on the north side of the ‘Hill of the Plea of Cupar’ i.e. court hill]
    castri de Cupro 1497 RMS ii no. 2360
    kirk of Cupar c.1560 s Assumption, 14
    Cowper Mylnis in Fyff 1562 Assumption, 290 [annual rent of £17 6 s. 8 d. due to Culross Abbey]
    Cowper 1562 Assumption, 291 [‘Cowper and the Powis’ (Powis, Logie STL); rent to Culross Abbey]
    in villa et burgo de Cowper 1571 RMS iv no. 1978
    Cowper of Fyfe 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
    Cowper 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife

Pictish * cuper

Probably derived from a Pictish word cognate with Gaelic comar ‘confluence’ (OIr commar), Welsh cymer, from *kom-bero ‘bring together’, late Breton kember (giving the Breton place-name Quimper), which preserves the labial plosive, as does the putative Pictish word (unvoiced).

    Cupar lies at the confluence of the Lady Burn and the River Eden. The element occurs in several other east Scottish place-names. There is the farm of Drumcooper, Dalgety parish FIF, whose lands lie immediately north of the confluence of the Muir Row Burn and the march burn between Dalgety and Inverkeithing parishes, after which they become the Fordell Burn. There is Coupar Angus PER, which lies near the confluence of the rivers Ericht and Isla, while immediately opposite it, on the north bank of the Isla, lies Couttie, Bendochy PER (Cupermacultin 1255 Dunf. Reg. no. 85, Coupermacoutty 1551 Dunf. Reg. no. 573) ‘Coupar of the sons of Ultán’. There is Dalfouper, Edzell parish ANG (see Watson 1926, 419), whose lands lie along the west bank of the River North Esk about two kilometres before its confluence with the West Water. Its lands may once have reached over as far as the latter river.

    The form Cupre, which appears exclusively in Latin documents, and always in the ablative case, is treated as if it were a Latin third declension noun such as pater, names of months, such as September, and some proper names. Cupro (ablative) and Cuprum (acc.), which is found in later medieval Latin documents, is treated as if it were a second declension Latin noun such as ager (m., ‘field’) (see ibid. 16). The same phenomenon can be observed in the name Coupar (Angus), where there was an important Cistercian abbey founded c.1160. The name is found in its earliest charters as ‘ecclesia etc. de Cupre’, first appearing as ‘de Cupro’ c.1200 (C. A. i no. viii).

    It is already being distinguished from Coupar Angus by the addition ‘in Fife’ in a charter of Bp David de Bernham dated 1240 (St A. Lib. 166).

    The NGR given above is for the later medieval parish kirk. For the earlier church, see CUP Intro., Medieval Church.


This place-name appeared in printed volume 4