Hill Of Tarvit
Westir-tarvate 1392 RMS i no. 870 [king confirms Robert earl of Fife’s grant to John of Wemyss of various Fife lands including Westir-tarvate]
Wester Taruate 1392 Fraser, Wemyss ii no. 21 [same as preceding]
Tarvate 1468 RMS ii no. 958 [to John Wemyss of that ilk]
Westere Tarbet 1511 RMS ii no. 3636 [to David Wemyss of that ilk]
(to Wemyss of that ilk) Wester Tarbet 1530 RMS iii no. 953
Wester Tarbat 1589 RMS v no. 1653 [John Wemyss]
Wester Tarvet 1610 Retours (Fife) no. 210 [Wemyss]
Wester Tarvet alias Wemys-tarvett 1620 RMS viii no. 42 [see discussion]
terras de Wester Tarvett alias Weymis-tarvett 1629 RMS viii no. 1432 [see discussion]
Weymis-tarvett 1645 RMS ix no. 1588 [confirmation of contract of 1620]
Wemys Hall 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Wemyss Hall 1828 SGF
Wemyss Hall 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn
Wemyss Hall 1888 x 1914 OS 6 inch 1st revision
Hill of Tarvit 1900 x 1949 OS 6 inch 2nd revision
SSE hill + SSE of + en Tarvit
The big house now known as Hill of Tarvit was known from the mid-eighteenth century as Wemyss Hall. The Wemyss family held *Wester Tarvit by c.1390, and it is these lands which later became known as *Wemyss-Tarvit, then Wemyss Hall (see Tarvit CUP, below). The place-name Wemyss Hall survives in the farm Wemyss Hall Mains CER (q.v., PNF 2). Millar states that the estate of Wemysshall ‘long bore the name of Unthank, and was long in the possession of a younger branch of the family of Wemyss of that ilk’. He adds that it was often written Winthank (1895 i, 132). In fact, Unthank or Winthank is Winthank CMN, SSL (PNF 3), as is clear from the following passage from Leighton 1840 ii, 40: ‘This branch of the ancient family of Wemyss is descended from Gavin Wemyss of Powguild [ADN], third son of Sir John Wemyss of Wemyss .... Gavin of Powguild married Catherine Wemyss, heiress of Winthank. She was the daughter of David Wemyss of Winthank, who was son of Thomas Wemyss of Winthank, fourth son of Sir John Wemyss of Wemyss, who obtained various charters in 1468 and 1506. Besides Winthank, this family acquired the lands of Hill Tarvet which after the building of the present mansion house in 1696 came to be designated Wemyss-hall, and subsequently he also acquired the lands of Scots Tarvet, formerly called Inglis Tarvet.’
It seems that *Wemyss Tarvit, part of the earl of Fife’s lands of Tarvit, represented two of the earl’s ‘three Tarvits’ mentioned in a charter of 1204 × 1229, in which the earl granted ‘my three Tarvits’ (meas tres Tarvez) to Richard son of Andrew of Linton. This Richard was apparently the Inglis or Englishman after whom Inglistarvit CER (q.v., PNF 2) was named. By c.1315, however, it seems that the Wemyss family had taken over two of these three Tarvits, since it is then that they grant to John Inglis (de Ynglis), lord of *Inglistarvit (the earliest mention of this name), a third part of the mill of Tarvit. If each of the earl’s ‘three Tarvits’ was associated with a third of the mill, it seems that the Inglis family was reduced to holding only one of the three (for sources of this narrative, see Tarvit CUP below).
In 1620 the king confirmed a charter made by John Scott with the consent of John Wemyss, mortifying to Peter Bruce et al., regents of St Leonard’s College, St Andrews, the lands of ‘Wester Tarvet alias Wemyss Tarvett’ (i.e. Hill of Tarvit) for the use of the Regent of Humanity in the said college. The reddendo or ‘rent’ for this grant was ‘prayers for the king and the support of the regent of humanity according to the said contract’ (preces pro rege &c. necnon sustentando regentem humanitatis conformiter dicto contractui) (RMS viii no. 42). This is repeated in 1629 (RMS viii no. 1432) and 1645 (RMS ix no. 1588).
The change of name from Wemysshall to Hill of Tarvit occurred in the early twentieth century (see early forms, above). The house is not named on OS Pathf. (1977), being referred to simply as ‘Convalescent Home’. However, on OS Explorer (2001) it is named as Hill of Tarvit, the house and grounds being designated a National Trust for Scotland property.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4