? Tína 2nd century Ptolemy [Tina river-mouth is placed between Tava (Tay) and Boderia (Forth); see discussion]
e aquilonali parte fluuii Hedene c.1165 x 1172 St A. Lib. 243 [Earl Duncan of Fife grants to St Andrews Priory the right to build a mill pond for priory’s Nydie mill SSL on earl’s land ‘on the north side of the River Eden’]
Hedene 1173 x 1178 RRS ii no. 168 [William I confirms the preceding]
e altera parte fluuii de Edyn 1288 St A. Lib. 340 [‘on the other side of the river of Eden’]
(his port of) Edyn 1363 RMS i no. 134 [= RRS vi no. 296]
(port of) Eddyn 1389 ER iii, 207 [customs paid to customars of St Andrews for ships at the port of Eden]
(port of) Edyn 1396 ER iii, 388 [customs paid to customars of burgh of Cupar for ships at port of Eden]
(port of) Edyne 1399 ER iii, 467 [customs paid to customars of burgh of Cupar for ships at port of Eden]
(port of) Edine 1415 ER iv, 220 [customs paid to customars of burgh of Cupar for ships at port of Eden]
(port of) Edin 1426 ER iv, 403 [customs paid to customars of burgh of Cupar for a ship at port of Eden]
(port of) Edyn 1429 ER iv, 513 [customs paid to customars of Arbroath for goods shipped at port of Eden]
(port of) Edyn 1446 ER v, 226 [for ships ‘at the port of Eden, on the Tay and in the firth’ (apud portum de Edyn in Taya et in le Firth), customs paid to customars of burgh of Cupar]
integras firmas quarterii de Fyf Edyn nuncupati 1454 ER v, 679 [‘all the fermes of the quarter of Fife called Eden’]
the quarter of Edyne 1517 Fife Ct. Bk. 81
the watter of Edyne 1518 Fife Ct. Bk. 107 [freedom of burgh of Cupar (Couper) and privileges of their ships to load and unload and to sail within ‘the watter of Edyne & Mothre (Motray)’]
aqu<a> de Eden 1519 x 1521 RMS iii no. 196 [‘Saint Catherine’s Haugh CUP, lying directly opposite the said place on the east side of the Water of Eden’ (Sanct-Katherinis-hauch jacen. directe versus dictum locum ex parte orientali aque de Eden)]
a ponte super Eden 1519 x 1521 RMS iii no. 196 [‘from the bridge over (the) Eden’ (in Cupar)]
aqua de Edyne 1541 RMS iii no. 2451 [granting rights of salmon fishing on ‘the water of Eden’ by the lands of Dron LEU]
aqu<a> de Eden 1543 RMS iii no. 2964
aqua de Edyn 1567 Retours (Fife) no. 63 [Elizabather Carnegie (Carnagie); rights in the river concern profits from fishing along certain stretches (with boats and nets), the ferryboat and anchorage revenues]
super aqua de Edynismowth 1603 RMS vi no. 1492 [one of the many grants obtained by the Beatons of Creich is the salmon fishing on the water of Eden’s Mouth in the lordship of Kincaple SSL, formerly belonging to the archbishop of St Andrews]
aqu<a> de Eden 1635 RMS ix no. 315 [salmon and other fishing at Rumgally KMB; see Ceres Burn, this section, above]
Edin Fluv<ius> 1642 Gordon MS Fife
Edins Heid 1654 Blaeu (Pont) East Fife [just north of Falkland Wood]
Edins Springs 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife [5 springs shown, rising in ‘The Parke’ (of Falkland), flowing into Edin fl.]
Edin fl<uvius> 1654 Blaeu (Gordon) Fife
water of Edyn 1658 Retours (Fife) no. 882
Eden fl. 1684 Adair/East Fife [applied to the river west of Falkland Park]
Eden River 1775 Ainslie/Fife [named thrice, furthest west between Shielsbridge KTT and Drumtenant CLS; the river is not named further west]
River Eden 1828 SGF [west of Strathmiglo, with Edenshead at Gateside SLO]
Water of Miglo or Eden 1832 Strathmiglo Plan/1832

In Britain there are five rivers called Eden, one in Wales, two in England and two in Scotland, one which flows into the Tweed a short distance east of Kelso ROX, the other the Fife Eden (see Rivet and Smith 1979, 380 for a small distribution map). It can be assumed that they all share the same derivation. The earliest certain form of this name is Ptolemy’s Itoúna Estuary, referring to the Cumberland Eden (north-west England). Rivet and Smith (loc. cit.), following Ekwall (1960, 160), derive it from a base *pitunā (from *pitu-), cognate with Sanskrit pitú ‘sap’, Greek πιδύω (pidúō) ‘to gush’, English fat etc.; ‘the meaning may have been simply “water”, used as in other cases as “river”’. Ekwall (loc. cit.), who calls this a British name, gives the root-word as *pi ‘to be full of sap, gush forth’, which he also sees as the root-word in the British river-names Esk and Exe (which see, s.n.). He also gives an Old Irish cognate, íath ‘a meadow’ (1960, 160).[3] For the development of Itoúna to Eden, see Jackson 1953, 554, 578, 673.

    There are problems with the ‘Tína (variant Tínna) river-mouth’ of Ptolemy, who situates it between the Tay and the Forth. Rivet and Smith certainly think it was the Fife Eden and that it was originally *Ituna (Itoúna), having lost its first letter in transmission to Ptolemy (1979, 138, 380). However, it may be a displaced rendering of the Tyne at Newcastle (not otherwise mentioned by Ptolemy), or the East Lothian Tyne, which flows into the Forth west of Dunbar (Watson 1926, 51), but Rivet and Smith consider this unlikely (138). On the strength of the emendation from Tína to Itoúna, Rivet and Smith emend the Ravenna Itinerary’s Itucodon to *Itunodunum ‘fort on the Eden’, adding that ‘from its position in Ravenna [Itinerary] this should be an unlocated Roman fort on the Fife Eden’ (1979, 381).

    Graham Isaac rejects Rivet and Smith’s emendation to *Ituna, however, suggesting that the modern river-name, Eden, could have arisen from an ancient Tina in ‘many conceivable ways’. He offers an etymology of *tīnā from an ultimately Indo-European root *teih ‘get hot’ (presumably related to Old Gaelic te or ‘hot’, > G teth ‘hot’), suggesting in this context ‘melted, thawed river’ or ‘muddy river’, but he also notes that this etymology depends on an emendation of the name given by Ptolemy. He concludes that the form is ‘probably non-Celtic, and non Indo-European’ (Isaac 2005, 205–6).

    The upper reaches of the Eden west of Falklandwood and Dunshelt were called the Miglo until about 200 years ago, by which time the name ‘Eden’ had worked its way upstream to the very head of the Miglo, giving rise to Edenshead, which appears as an alternative name for Pitlochie SLO in 1788 (Sasines no. 1866), and which later came to apply to a quoad sacra parish occupying the western part of Strathmiglo parish. The river in this western part is clearly called the Miglo river (Miglo fl<umen>) in 1654 on Blaeu (Gordon) Fife, and is still being referred to as the water of Miglo in the OSA in the 1790s (under Strathmiglo parish). The change seems to have taken place gradually over the early years of the nineteenth century, as in 1832, at Strathmiglo, it is called ‘Water of Miglo or Eden’ (Strathmiglo Plan/1832). The earliest instance of Eden applying to the river west of the Park of Falkland is to be found on Adair’s map of 1684 (Adair/East Fife); see Miglo SLO (PNF 4). Today the Eden officially begins at the Fife–Kinross border, where the Beatie Burn and the Carmore Burn meet, by Burnside SLO.

    Blaeu (Gordon) Fife has Edins Springs within the royal Park of Falkland (now called Nine Wells FAL), while on Blaeu (Pont) East Fife Edins heid is marked just north of Falkland Wood.

    The OS 6 inch map of 1855 refers to the lower reaches of the River Eden, as it passes between CUP on the north and CLT and CER on the south, as Stratheden. This name survives on OS Pathf. in Stratheden Hospital and Stratheden Cottages CUP. See Stratheden CUP (PNF 4) for more on this name.

    A. O. Anderson suggests that Dauach Icthar Hathyn, a piece of land granted to St Andrews Priory by Orabilis c.1178 × 1199 (St. A. Lib. 290), refers to the Eden (ES ii, 493), but it is too unlike any of the other early forms of the name for this to be the case (see also PNF 4).

    The often mentioned port or harbour of Eden (see ER entries above) is also called the port or harbour of Cupar and the port or harbour of Motray. It lay at the mouth of the River Eden, six miles downstream from Cupar, where the Motray Water flows into the larger river, at NO45 19 (Martin 2006, 12). Note that the customars of Cupar may claim customs on goods shipped not only on the Eden but also on the Tay and in the Firth, presumably the Firth of Forth (1446 ER v, 226), all of which formed part of the bounds of the Cupar burgh trading liberty in 1428 (Martin 2006, 11).

    For the Quarter of Eden, one of the later medieval divisions of Fife, see PNF 5, Chapter 4, 130-2.



This place-name appeared in printed volume 2