Swanlyloch #~ FGN W NO433247 1 20m
marisio nostro de Swanismire 1254 x 1264 Balm. Lib. no. 38 [see below]
mariseo nostro de Swannismire 1254 x 1264 Fraser, Southesk ii no. 24
de la Suanmire 1254 x 1264 Balm. Lib. no. 38 [rubric; 14th c. copy]
Swanlamyr 1529 RMS iii no. 822 [common pasture in Swanlamyr and Knockhill (Knoxhill) FGN]
the Swanlamyre 1597 RMS vi no. 637 [see Friarton FGN]
Suanlamure 1597 RMS vi no. 637 [see Friarton FGN]
Swan Loch c.1636 x 1652 Gordon MS 54A
Swan Loch 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife
Swan Loch 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Swanlyloch or Swanlymyre 1781 Sasines no. 197 [‘Loch of St. Foord (St Fort FGN) or Swanlyloch or Swanlymyre’]
Swanlie Myre 1785 RHP1684
Swanl<> Myre 1797 RHP1279
Sc swan + ? + Sc mire
The earliest recorded name of this body of water means simply “swan’s or swans’ mire or bog”, that is ‘a mire frequented by swans’. The later forms, most of which have –la or –ly instead of the genitive singular or plural –is, are puzzling. They may contain an otherwise unrecorded Sc adjective *swanly etc. meaning ‘abounding in swans, belonging to swans’; or they possibly represent a reduction of Swan Loch in those forms of the name to which mire was added.
This mire, now drained, is the subject of an early and remarkably exact division, showing how important a resource such places were, and how divisions were made in such terrain (Balm. Lib. no. 38). Dating from the mid-thirteenth century, it is a grant made by Roger de Quincy earl of Winchester to Balmerino Abbey of a part of Earl Roger’s peatery in his marsh of Swanismire: from the place where the burn which springs from Aldaniswell falls into Swanismire across towards the north as far as the marches of Naughton between Earl Roger and Simon of Scelforde, his free tenant, and then by the marches of Naughton westwards to the place where the abbot of Balmerino by the earl’s precept caused stakes to be fixed in the presence of Peter Basset, then constable of Leuchars, Roger Abbot, the earl’s steward, William Stransure and Alan Surale, and by the same fixed stakes southward to the dry land under the road, and thence eastwards to the place where the stream issuing from Aldamswel (sic) falls into the aforesaid marsh. The grant includes free exit and entry through Earl Roger’s lands.
The draining of the mire is described in the 1790s: ‘Some lands that are marshy have lately been greatly meliorated [sic] by draining. Robert Stewart Esq. of St Fort, who is very active and industrious, besides other improvements which he has made, has drained a piece of ground, which, during the winter, was almost covered with water. It was fit for nothing but feeding a few young cattle in summer; and though consisting of 52 acres, was sometimes let for about £5 or £6. It is more than probable that in a few years it will be set for upwards of £50 Sterling’ (OSA, 384).
The outline of the mire is still clearly discernible on the ground, and on modern maps. The FGN/LEU parish boundary used to go through the middle of the mire (following the line of the drainage channel) (JMH), but it now passes round the south and east edges of the area, placing it entirely in FGN, and so it is also on OS 6 inch 1st edn (1855).
It was also known as Loch of St Fort (1781 Sasines no. 197).
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4