Pitnaurcha * DFL S NT107866 2 75m

Pethnaurcha 1127 x 1131 David I Chrs. no. 33 [‘Probably 1128’; = Dunf. Reg. no. 1; one of the lands granted to the church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, by Malcolm III and Margaret]
Petnaurcha 1150 x 1152 David I Chrs. no. 172 [‘Probably 1150’; = Dunf. Reg. no. 2]
Petnaurcha 1154 x 1159 RRS i no. 118 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 35]
Petneurcha 1163 Dunf. Reg. no. 237
Pethnaurcha c.1166 RRS ii no. 30 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 50]
Petnaurcha 1227 Dunf. Reg. no. 74
Petnarcha 1277 Dunf. Reg. no. 81

G pett + G an + ? G urchair

‘Estate of the cast, throw, shot; projecting spur of land’ (pett na h-urchaire)? Dwelly urchair (f.) ‘cast, throw, shot’. For a discussion of this place-name, see Watson 1926, 352–3 and 413; for its possible meaning ‘projecting spur of land’, see ibid. 183 footnote 1 and 353 footnote 1. The loss of final r is puzzling, but it may be explained by the copying of an initial error made in a name which appears to have become obsolete at an early date.

However, it is also possible that it contains the unexplained word *urchan, found as the generic in early forms of Auchterderran.

It has been frequently assumed that *Pitnaurcha represents modern Urquhart DFL, RHX (e.g. Watson 1926, 413; RRS i and ii indexes; David I Chrs. index), but this cannot be the case. *Pitnaurcha is in fact the older name for Blacklaw DFL, a farm which is now beneath suburban development (including a primary school of that name) approximately one km south-east of Dunfermline town centre. There is positive evidence of this in the 1451 royal confirmation charter to Dunfermline Abbey: this lists the lands which King Malcolm III and Queen Margaret gave to the abbey’s predecessor, copying almost exactly the order of the twelfth-century confirmations, but modernising the spellings (RMS ii no. 429 and Dunf. Reg. no. 434). However, instead of Pitnaurcha it substitutes Blaklaw. Also Blacklaw occurs several times as part of the abbey’s lands in rentals and feuing charters of the immediate post-Reformation period (e.g. Dunf. Reg. pp. 426, 436, 438, 468, 488).

Urquhart DFL, RHX, on the other hand, is never mentioned as part of the lands of Dunfermline. On the contrary, it formed part of medieval RHX (see RHX Introduction). As such it lay within a separate diocese (that of Dunkeld), and paid teinds to a separate religious institution (Inchcolm Abbey), for evidence of which see Inchcolm Chrs. pp. 217 and 224. We know from the parochial evidence that the lands of Urquhart DFL, RHX were closely connected with the adjacent lands of Logie DFL, RHX. In fact it was the site of a chapel-of-ease from at least the thirteenth century, as c.1251 × 1272 the possession of the kirk of Rosyth along with the chapel of Logyn is confirmed to Inchcolm by the bishop of Dunkeld (Inchcolm Chrs. no. 22).

This name, and its identification as the earlier name of Blacklaw, is discussed in print in Taylor 1994a, 3, 11 (note 2), 13.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1