The Murrel

The Murrel ABO S NT188867 1 394 70m SOF

(Roger of) Muriel’ 1328 Dunf. Reg. no. 371
Moriell 1377 Morton Reg. i p. lxv [see ABO Introduction above]
the Murle c.1750 RHP1022 [also the Murle Hill and Ballram murle; ‘This was once part of Humby now possessed by Aberdour people’]

G mòr + ? G ail

‘Big rock or cliff’. The second element appears to be G ail ‘rock, stone, cliff’ (OIr ail, gen. alo) This interpretation fits the topography well, since the outstanding feature of The Murrel is the bare, weathered ridge of basalt immediately south of the present house.

However, it is unlikely that the proposed etymology for the second element would give what is probably disyllabic ie(l)l in the two fourteenth-century occurrences of the name. It may, however, have been influenced by the woman’s name ‘Muriel’. This name is said to be contained in the Aberdeenshire name of Murriell /ˈmʌrjəl/, formerly Rathmuryel and Rathmuriell, Insch parish (see Alexander 1952, 341). Similar names are also discussed by Watson (1904, 2).

The definite article, which is always used with this name locally, may have arisen from forms such as ‘the Murle Hill’ (RHP1022).


This place-name appeared in printed volume 1