Coble House

Coble House LEU S NO464198 1 5m

    Cobblehouse 1775 Ainslie/Fife [settlement marked]
    the Coble-house 1790s OSA 605 [‘so called from a small boat being kept there, by which travellers ... shortened their way by two miles, in place of going round by the Guard Bridge’]
    Coble House Point 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

Sc coble + Sc house

‘Ferry-boat house’; Sc coble refers to a type of short flat-bottomed rowing boat, commonly used as a ferry or for lake- or river-fishing (CSD). The fact that Coble House was on a promontory on the north bank of the Eden Estuary facing another promontory called Coble Shore SSL c.400 m away, on the south bank, indicates that coble refers here to a small ferry. A flat-bottomed boat would be called for, given the shallowness of the muddy estuary. A charter of 1540 also suggests the use of cobles for fishing, where ‘the liberty of fishing with boats (called) the cobles and with nets’ (libertate piscandi cum cymbis lie cobillis et retibus) is granted to David Ramsay of Leuchars-Ramsay (RMS iii no. 2114), though the same charter also mentions a boat (cymba) called ‘the ferry boat’ (lie ferriboit). In 1686 Robert Forbes is retoured in various lands including the lands and barony of Leuchars-Forbes, ‘with coble boat passage ferrying’ (cum Couble boat passage of Ferrieing), which confirms the ferry hypothesis (Retours (Fife) no. 1273). Whoever had the coble at Coble House will no doubt have used it for both ferrying and fishing.

    The name survives on OS Pathf. in the name Coble House Point, the promontory on which the settlement was shown on the 1775 map. No settlement survives there today.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4