Bow Of Fife

Bow Of Fife MML S NO320128 1 362 45m

    Bow of Fife 1775 Ainslie/Fife
    the Bow of Fife 1790s OSA, 657 [‘a few houses on the road to Cupar’]
    Bow of Fife 1828 SGF
    Bow of Fife 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

This is a puzzling name, which appears relatively late in the record. Its meaning was no clearer when the minister of Monimail, Rev. Samuel Martin, discussed it in the 1790s: ‘Whether this uncommon name is taken from a bending of the road, as some suppose, or, as others, from the meetings of the farmers in old times, to fix the prices of grain (the bolls being pronounced bows), cannot be determined. It has been thought that this spot is nearly the centre of Fife: this is also offered as the reason of the name’ (OSA, 657). It is possible that it was formed as some kind of (humorous?) name-pairing with the Howe of Fife, the extensive lowland area at the north-eastern edge of which Bow of Fife lies, and which rhymes with the traditional pronunciation of Bow.

/bəu əˈfaif/ or /ˌbəuəˈfaif/ is the traditional pronunciation;[316] however, nowadays /bo ɔvˈfaif/ or /ˌboɔvˈfaif/ is often heard.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4