Mastertown DFL S NT121849 1 394 70m SWF

Maistertun 1200 x 1225 RRS i no. 112 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 39; written above Ledmacduuegil in the phrase ‘sicuti Magister Ailricus cementarius illam tenuit’; in a hand contemporary with that of the main text (see RRS i no. 112 note and Dunf. Reg. p. xix).]
(Hugh of) villa magistri 1225 x 1235 Dunf. Reg. no. 171 [dates approximate]
(William of) Maistertun c.1225 x 1231 Dunf. Reg. no. 174
usque ad diuisas de Maistertun 1230 x 1240 Dunf. Reg. no. 198 [as far as the marches of Mastertown]
(William of) Maistertun 1230 x 1240 Dunf. Reg. no. 198
(William of) Maystertun 1272 Dunf. Reg. no. 319
(William of) Maistertun’ 1278 Dunf. Reg. no. 86
(William of) Meistreton 1296 Inst. Pub.
(Duncan of) Maystertona 1316 Dunf. Reg. no. 348
(John Dauisone of) Mastirtone 1491 Dunf. Recs. {27}
Masterton 1535 Dunf. Reg. Ct. Bk. 125 [Patrick Robertson and Robert Kent in Masterton]
Maistertoun 1563 RMS iv no. 1476
Maistertoun 1626 Retours (Fife) no. 382
Maisterton 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Mastertoun 1654 Blaeu (Pont) West Fife
Maistertoun 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Mastertown 1753 Roy sheet 17, 5
Mastertown 1775 Ainslie/Fife

Sc maister + Sc toun

‘The estate of the master’. The eponymous master is Master Ailric the mason, fl. before 1153, presumably one of those in charge of building work at Dunfermline Abbey. As is clear from RRS i no. 112, it was called Ledmacduuegil or Ledmacdunegil (for which see *Lethmacdungal above) before it acquired the name by which we know it today, and it serves as a reminder that names containing the generic toun do not necessarily mean new settlement on land previously unoccupied or unfarmed. It was given to Dunfermline Abbey by King Malcolm IV on the day of David I’s funeral (24 May 1153) (RRS i no. 118).

It was known as Maistertun already in the first half of the thirteenth century, as this is written above Ledmacduuegil in RRS i no. 112 in a hand of that period (see RRS i no. 112 note and Dunf. Reg. p. xix). Furthermore, in the early thirteenth century William of Maistertun witnesses Dunf. Reg. nos.174 and 198.

As this name’s specific is a common noun whose meaning has been transparent since its coining in the late twelfth century, it has been particularly prone to translation. One of the witnesses to an early thirteenth-century charter (Dunf. Reg. no. 171), along with several other Fife land-holders, is one ‘Hug<o> de villa mag<ist>ri’; while in Instr. Pub. of 1296, the first element has been translated into Old French to give Meistreton.

/ˈmastərtən/, also locally /ˈmestərtun/ or /ˈmestərtən/

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1