Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The 'lanes' of Galloway - streams not paths

Lane as watercourse place name element in Mid West Scots dialect area.

The following contains a list of water course place names containing the element 'lane' .

In “The Uses of Place -Names” [Ed. Simon Taylor, published by Scottish Cultural Press, Edinburgh 1998], there is a chapter by Professor G.W.S. Barrow ‘The Uses of place-names and Scottish History- pointers and pitfalls.’ On page 59 (maps p 60/610) discusses the distribution of the P-Celtic [I.e. related to Welsh and Breton rather than Q-Celtic Irish/ Scots/ Manx Gaelic]word pol meaning a stream. Barrow suggests that in south west Scotland pol was the standard P-Celtic word for a stream and was so well established it survived the later arrival of Old English, Gaelic and Older Scots.

These pols are described as ‘ too numerous to plot’ in a central area of the map on page 60. This central area takes in the western Southern Uplands, including the Galloway highlands. This is an area with which I am familiar. Over 30 years ago, with my brothers Ian and Kenny Livingston, I followed the course of the Polmaddie Burn down from the Sheil of Castlemaddy bothy down to the abandoned late mediaeval settlement of Polmaddie.

I was fascinated to learn that the many pols of Galloway dated back to the earliest ‘language layer’. I also knew that ‘lane’ meaning a water course was locally unique. Using a set of Ordnance Survey ‘Explorer’ series 1: 25 000 maps borrowed from my brothers, I began looking at local water course place names. Altogether I have recorded around 200 ‘interesting’ water course places names.

The results for ’lane ’ are presented below. So far I have found over 70 ‘lanes’ (with a few variations- leana, loan, lain - mainly in the west of Wigtownshire). I have also researched the possible origins of ‘lane’ which I will post later.

As well as ‘lanes’, I noted over 50 ‘strands’ as small water course place names in uplands Galloway and that in eastern Dumfriesshire ‘syke’ replaces ‘strand’ for a small water course.


The following list is based on OS Explorer series (1: 25 000) maps covering south Ayrshire, south Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, Wigtownshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. The map references refer to the km square within which the placename was found.

The western limit for the distribution is NX 08 70 Landripple Burn. The northern limit is NS 63 65 Boghead Lane, the eastern limit is NT 00 11 Rushy Lane and the southern limit is NX 81 51 Auchencairn Lane.

To see any of following on an Ordnace Survey map, go to National Libraries of Scotlnd website

and type in map reference (without spaces) in search box.

To get straight to correct scale, must by six figure reference, so add a 5 on to each part of reference:


For Lanedripple Burn, NX 08 70

1. Add two 5s to give NX 085 705

2. Removes spaces to give NX085705

3. Type in search box

NX 08 70 Lanedripple Burn - western limit of distribution
NX 09 72 Loan of Turlochy
NX 10 71 Lain Challoch
NX 11 73 Drummanmoan Loan
NX 12 78 Leana Burn
NX 12 78 Leana Hill
NX 14 65 Cross Hill Lane
NX 14 70 Bazard Lane
NX 15 69 Sheil Lane
NX 16 90 Water of Lendal
NX 20 72 Drummuillie Lane
NX 27 58 Lannygore Burn
NX 31 82 Laniewee Burn
NX 37 83 Loan Burn
NX 38 79 Torr Lane
NX 42 94 Tunskeen Lane
NX 43 62 The Lane
NX 43 90 Balloch Lane
NX 44 90 Eglin Lane
NX 44 93 Whitespout Lane
NX 45 79 Dargall Lane
NX 47 81 Cooran Lane
NX 47 91 Galla Lane - Bleau (1645, based on Pont) gives as Galua Len. R.C. Reid, Wigtownshire Charters has 'Galloway Lane' from 1638. Marks boundary with Ayrshire.
NX 47 94 Carrick Lane - Ainslie 1797 map gives as 'Shire Burn'- marks Galloway/ Carrick boundary
NS 48 10 Head Mark Lane
NX 48 80 Loup o' Lanebreddan
NX 50 76 Craigencaille Lane
NS 52 11 Beoch Lane
NX 52 88 Lane Mannoch
NX 53 81 Minnigall Lane
NX 53 95 Carsphairn Lane
NX 54 75 Clatteringshaws Lane - now under Clatteringshaws Loch/ hydro-electric resevoir
NX 55 88 Forest Lane
NX 56 63 Lane Burn
NX 56 90 Braidenoch Lane
NS 57 11 Lane Burn
NX 57 77 Gate Lane
NT 60 03 Crooked Lane
NX 61 78 Airie Lane
NX 62 65 Grobdale Lane
NX 62 99 Keoch Lane
NS 63 25 Boghead Lane - northern limit of distribution .
NX 63 76 The Lane
NX 63 82 Trolane Burn
NX 65 70 Tait's Lane
NX 65 89 Fingland Lane
NX 66 69 Crae Lane
NX 66 91 Carroch Lane
NX 68 63 Camelon Lane
NX 68 90 Bennieloan - hill, source of Fingland Lane
NX 69 96 Dibbin Lane
NS 70 18 Back Lane
NX 70 63 Barend Lane
NX 70 63 Drumlane- farm, recorded 1619 in teind list for Balmaghie parish
NX 71 64 Greenlane Plantation
NS 72 18 Auchtitench Lane
NS 73 18 Fingland Lane
NX 74 55 Greenlane - cottage, was croft ' Greinleine' 17th century
NX 74 56 Auchlane Burn - Auchlane an old estate, sometimes 'Lachlein' e.g. Bleau's map.
NX 75 61 Carlingwark Lane - canal built 1765
NX 78 60 Corra Lane
NX 78 78 Knarie Lane - Ainslie 1797 map, now Knarie Burn
NX 79 70 Knockwalloch Lane, 17th century, now Minnydow Burn
NX 80 55 Potterland Lane
NX 80 70 Barncalzie Lane
NX 81 51 Auchencairn Lane, south limit of distribution, below high water mark in Auchencairn Bay
NX 82 52 Orchardton Lane - below high water mark in Orchardton Bay
NX 83 57 Cocklick Lane
NX 84 62 Kirkgunzeon Lane - 12 km long, recorded as 'Dufpole' in 12th century charter
NX 85 59 Little Lane - recorded as 'Polchillebride' in 12th century charter
NX 87 57 Fairgirth Lane - was Fairgirth Burn on pre 1920 OS maps. Name change after stream straightened as part of wetland drainage.
NX 87 71 Under Brae Lane
NX 89 75 Bogrie Lane
NS 90 08 Dalveen Lane
Nt 00 11 Rushy Lane - eastern limit of distribution.


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