Pickletillem LEU S NO436246 1 352 20m
Pikilltillum 1593 Register of Testaments, St Andrews area [Michael Bartlett, sometime in Pikilltillum, parish of Leuchars]
Picletillim 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Pickletilem 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Pickletillum 1785 RHP1684
Pickletillhim 1790 Sasines no. 2485
Pickletillam 1828 SGF
Pickletillem 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn
This is a variant of Sc pichtel, cognate with English dialect pightel ‘small parcel of land’. Cowell’s (English) Law Dictionary (1708) gives it as picle alias pightell and pictellum, ‘a small parcel of land inclosed with a hedge, which the common people of England do in some places call a pingle’, quoted by Alexander, who states that Picktillum is a relatively frequent farm name in north-eastern Scotland (1952, 100–1). The ending in –um (sometimes weakened later to –em) derives from a Latinised form of this word.
The OS Name Book (34, 32) gives the local place-name lore which can still sometimes be heard: “This place had been at one time inhabited by Nailors, and in serving the customers, if any of the latter were dissatisfied with the quantity [of nails] given them, the master would tell some of his men to ‘gie another pickle tillem’ [i.e. ‘pickle till them’, ‘a small amount to them’], which has given rise to the present name”.
There was also a Pickletillum in Pathhead KDT, and a folk-etymology involving nailors and quantities of nails exists for this place, too (see PNF 1 s.n.). Given that nail-making was the staple trade of Pathhead, it is more likely that the nailor story originated there rather than in Pickletillem LEU.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4