Bourtreebuss CUS S NT012900 1 384 85m
Bountreebush 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Bountreebush 1827 Ainslie/West Fife
Bourtreebuss 1866 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
Sc bourtree + Sc buss
‘Elder tree bush’. Sc bountree is a common spelling variant, seen in the early forms above. In medieval Gaelic lore, elder trees were a sign of poor land, which was described as producing ‘elder and corncrake and nettle’. The name Bourtreebuss may therefore have pejorative overtones. Other negative attributes of the elder arose from a tradition that it was cursed because it was used to crucify Jesus:
Bourtree, bourtree, crooked rung,
Never straight and never strong;
Ever bush and never tree,
Since our Lord was nailed to ye. (DSL)
The bush was also supposed to be protective against hostile supernatural forces.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 1