East Stell

East Stell KGH CR NT2983 1 395

East Stile 1828 SGF
East Stell 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn

Sc east + Sc stell

Sc stell has a variety of meanings, the most relevant here being: ‘a place in a river over which nets are drawn to catch salmon; an open, usually circular, enclosure of dry-stane walling, used as a shelter for sheep on a hillside; a clump or plantation of trees used as a shelter for sheep’ (CSD). While in the case of Inchkeith’s East and West Stell some connection with fishing is theoretically plausible, it would seem rather that it is the idea of shelter which has inspired these names,. OS Name Book (78, 9) writes: ‘This name applies to the north east extremity of Inchkeith Island. It is a bold rocky face and affords shelter to Boats on the West side, in Kinghorn harbour’. Kinghorn Harbouritself is described (loc. cit.) as: ‘A harbour or bay at the north end of Inchkeith Island, formed and protected by East and West Stell. It has got the name from being opposite to Kinghorn’. On the following page (78, 10) West Stell is described thus: ‘A small rocky projection on the north west end of Inchkeith Island, which affords shelter to Boats from the westerly winds’.

The 1828 form Stile is best seen as the assimilation of a less familiar word to a more familiar one.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 1