Goatmilk KGL S NT243998 1 140m

schiram de Gatemilc 1128 x 1131 David I Chrs. no. 33 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 1; David I’s confirmation of grant by Alexander I (1107–24) to the church of Dunfermline]
scyram de Gatemilc 1154 x 1159 RRS i no. 118 [= Dunf. Reg. no. 35]
syram de Gatemilc 1163 Dunf. Reg. no. 237 p. 152 [shire of Goatmilk and the church]
scyram et ecclesiam de Gatemilc 1184 Dunf. Reg. no. 239 p. 156
(Malcolm of) Gatmyelk 1304 CDS 2 no. 159
Communia de Gatemylc 1306 x 1329 Dunf. Reg. no. 352 [rubric]
terras de Gathmylc’ 1306 x 1329 Dunf. Reg. no. 352 [marches between Goatmilk (Gathmylc’) and Caskieberran (Caskybarian’)]
terras de Gatemylch 1306 x 1329 Dunf. Reg. no. 352
Malcolmum de Gatemylch’ 1306 x 1329 Dunf. Reg. no. 352
M<alcolmus> de Gatmylch’ 1306 x 1329 Dunf. Reg. no. 352
in Gathmilk’ 1332 x 1350 NLS Adv. ms. 34.1.3a, fo. 38v [printed Dunf. Reg. no. 330, which has Gathmilk; see KGL Introduction]
apud Gathmik’ 1332 x 1350 NLS Adv. ms. 34.1.3a, fo. 38v [printed Dunf. Reg. no. 331; for Gathmilk’; see KGL Introduction]
(Andrew of) Gatmilk 1395 St A. Lib. 3
(shire of) Gaytmylk 1448 Dunf. Reg. no. 424 [containing the vills of Finglassie (Finglassie), Finmont (Fynmont), Ardeny, and Inchdairnie (Inchederny)]
Gaytmilk 1466 Dunf. Reg. no. 458 [march between Auchmutie (Admulty) MAI and Goatmilk (Gaytmilk)]
(mill of) Gaitmylk 1539 RMS iii no. 2264 [James Kirkcaldy of Grange]
Goatmilk 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Gaitmilk 1644 RMS ix no. 1526 [‘an eighth part of the lands of Gaitmilk with the mill of Kinglassie alias Gaitmilk-mylne or Milldeans (Mylne-deanes)’]
Goat Milk 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Walkertoun de Gaitmilk 1679 Retours (Fife) no. 1172 [‘half of the fullers’ mill of Gaitmilk, and the lands joined to it’]
Goatmilkhill 1753 Roy sheet 17, 5
Goatmilk 1775 Ainslie/Fife [also Goatmilk Hill]
Wt. Goatmilk 1828 SGF
Et. Goatmilk 1828 SGF
East Goatmilk 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
West Goatmilk 1856 OS 6 inch 1st edn.

‘Goat milk’. This name is usually taken at face value, consisting of Sc gait ‘goat’ and Sc milk ‘milk’, and describing the produce these lands specialised in, or were best known for, at the time of naming.[188] The name cannot have been coined later than the reign of Alexander I (1107–24), which is unusually early for a non-Celtic place-name north of the Forth. Accepting that it is indeed a Germanic coining meaning ‘goat milk’, some kind of context has to be offered, and much of the discussion which follows will concern this.

The shire of Goatmilk, with the lands of Goatmilk at its core and co-extensive with the medieval parish of Kinglassie, was given to the church of Dunfermline by Alexander I (David I Chrs. no. 33). This Benedictine community, the first in Scotland, was established at Dunfermline by Queen Margaret and King Malcolm III some time between 1070 and 1089. Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury (1070–89), at the instigation of Margaret, sent three monks from Canterbury to help her in her enterprise.[189] Although Goatmilkshire is first mentioned in connection with the Dunfermline foundation in the time of Alexander I, son of Margaret and Malcolm III, it is possible that Dunfermline had interests there earlier. If so, then it is conceivable that the name was coined by this first group of English-speaking monks.[190] Early forms such as Gatemilc could in theory be southern English as well as northern English in the early twelfth century.

There is, however, another context which might explain such an early Germanic name in Gaelic-speaking Fothrif. The lands which border Goatmilkshire on its western side are called Kirkness PTM. This name, which is almost certainly of Norse origin, appears in the record even earlier than does Goatmilk, since Kirkness (Kyrkenes) is given to the church of St Serf in Loch Leven by King Macbethad and Queen Gruoch 1040 × 1057 (St A. Lib. 114). It is possible, therefore, that Goatmilk is of Norse origin (ON geit ‘she-goat’ + ON mjólk ‘milk’), with adaptation of the name to the closely related Middle English or Older Sc words, an adaptation which had already happened by the time the name is first recorded in the early twelfth century. Such an adaptation might well have been facilitated by the early contacts with the English-speaking members of the first Benedictine community in Dunfermline. Involvement of early Norse-speakers in Fife in goat- and sheep-rearing is witnessed elsewhere by Norse names such as Gedbys # KDT, Wethers Brae # (earlier Wethersby) ADN, and Weddersbie CLS (PNF 4).

The NGR given above is for OS Pathf. Goatmilk Farm, which is called simply Goatmilk on Ainslie/Fife (1775), and Wt. Goatmilk on SGF (1828) and OS 6 inch 1st edn. (1856). The name also appears in OS Pathf. Goatmilk Hills, and in East Goatmilk.


This place-name appeared in printed volume 1