Balgonar SLN S NT021936 1 125m
(land of) Balnegonener’ c.1335 Dunf. Reg. no. 333 [the minims in the ms (NLS Adv MS 34.1.3(a) fo. 62 (xxvii) v) can be interpreted variously as Balnegonener’, Balnegouener’ or Balnegoneuer’]
(lands of) Balgonvare 1464 RMS ii no. 793 [to the College of St Salvator’s, St Andrews, the lands of Balgonar in the barony of Saline (Sauling)]
Balgonwere 1480 RMS ii no. 1446
Balgoner 1488 ADA p. 115
(lands of) Balgonquhar 1505 RMS ii no. 2850 [in the barony and lordship of Saline (Saulyng) vic. Fife]
Balgonquhare 1506 RMS ii no. 297
Balgoner 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Balgonner 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
Balgonar 1695 Retours (Fife) no. 138 [Archibald, Earl of Argyll]
Balgoner 1753 Roy sheet 17, 5
Balgonar 1775 Ainslie/Fife
Balgonar 1801 Sasines no. 6021 [‘Robert Spears of Kinninmond seised in Balgonar, comprising Balgonar, Sheardrum, Steelend, Loups and Mill of Balgonar or Lethrie’]
Balgoner 1828 SGF
Balgonar 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
G baile + G an + ?
From later forms, Balnegoneuer’ seems to be the correct reading of the earliest form. If it were not for the earliest form, which shows the definite article, I would suggest a personal name as the specific (as does Liddall 1896 s.n.). The underlying Gaelic of the earliest forms can be reconstructed as *baile an gon(n)cha(i)r, with u/w, later ch/quh representing a guttural or velar fricative; but there is nothing in G or early Irish which obviously corresponds with this.
It is just possible that the specific element contains G gobha ‘smith’ (PNF 5, 233), with a suffix or set of suffixes.
For the marches between Balgonar, the kirkland of Saline, and the land of Killernie (Kynerny) SLN, which latter belonged to Dunfermline Abbey, see SLN Introduction (Dunf. Reg. no. 333).
In 1464 the lands of Balgonar were given to the provost and canons of the collegiate church of St Salvator’s, St Andrews, having been resigned by John Haliburton; while in 1505 St Salvator’s feued Balgonar to Culross Abbey (RMS ii nos. 793, 2850).
It is probable, but not certain, that the 1488 ADA reference is to Balgonar SLN. It reads: William Clerk against John Oliphant for ‘wrangwis spoliatioun, awaytakin and withaldin fra him out of his placez of Balgoner and the Quhithill of twolf skore of ruch schiep, 68 lamis, sex ky ... and out of the Brigland pertaining to said William Clerk of sex oxin and twa young nolt’. Quhithill here may be for Cult Hill SLN, TOB, CRX, as Cult is usually written Qu(h)ilt(is) in this period (e.g. RMS v no. 2152). It first appears as Quichtes in 1227 (Dunf. Reg. no. 213). Quhytmylne of RMS v no. 1675 probably represents Cultmill, thus showing the same assimilation to OSc quhite ‘white’.
There is a bridge over the Black Devon at Balgonar which may account for the Brigland. See also *Brigton SLN, TOB, CRX.
OS Pathf. has Balgonar Bridge (over the Devon) and West Balgonar (at NT017935), as does OS 6 inch (1855). However, the NGR given above is inferred from Ainslie/Fife and SGF, showing the settlement on the south side of the Black Devon, where a large farm steading now stands, even though OS Explorer has Balgonar as a village on the opposite (north) side of the river.
/balˈgonər/ or /bəlˈgonər/
This place-name appeared in printed volume 1