Barrington SLO S NO217089 1 373 80m
Barnton 1818 RHP23511
Barrington 1828 SGF
Barnton 1832 Miller/map
Barrington 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn
Sc barn or barren + Sc toun
‘Farm with a barn’ or ‘barren farm’; the first explanation is suggested by the earliest form (1818), as well as that of 1832; the second by the following note in OS Name Book (27, 38): ‘A small farm house and steading near the Lomond Hills, on the common or muir which was formerly the property of the Burgesses and Feuars of Strathmiglo – but since the Lomonds were divided (in 1818) it became the property of Mr Skene of Pitlour. The land is now reclaimed and has no other name than Barrington farm – the name was derived from the barreness [sic] of the Soil’. According to this same source, Barrington is the form given by three informants (one of whom was the above-mentioned Mr Skene), as well as Leighton 1840 (ii, 189); however Barnton is quoted as the form from a source described as ‘Map of Fife Award 1815’, also from ‘Map of Strathmiglo’ (which is probably the 1832 Miller/map). That it was a creation of the early nineteenth century is confirmed by the fact that there is no trace of it on Ainslie/Fife (1775) (nor on Ainslie/1827, although we know it existed by this time).
Whatever the actual derivation, its present form is a good example of how the obsessive Englishing of names, which was such a feature of nineteenth-century Scotland, could sometimes backfire. If it contains barn, then the (sporadic) development of an epenthetic vowel between r and n would have given *barin or *baren. This unstressed –in/–en was then changed by analogy with forms such as the Sc present participle ending –in to English –ing. If it contains barren, the latter part of this same process applies (i.e. unstressed –in/–en > –ing).
This place-name appeared in printed volume 4