Auchintow Hill

Place-name:Auchintow Hill
Suggested Meaning:‘field of the hollow’
elementGaelic achadh na ‘field of the-‘
elementGaelic toll ‘hollow’ 
elementSSE hill ‘hill’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Auchintow Hill
Location:Ordnance Survey (1892-1960)
Other Early Forms:

Auchintow Hill

Gaelic achadh ‘field’

Typically places names beginning with with either of the elements auchen-, auchin- would have started out as field names indicative of ancillary farming activity by Gaelic speaking settlers [1] and are anglicised forms of the Gaelic achadh ‘field’.

The name Auchintow is now only found in the parish associated with Auchintow Hill. Coincidentally, or otherwise, the neighbouring hill to the south is Auchincally Hill.

Gaelic toll ‘hollow’

W.J. Watson in Celtic Place-Names of Scotland explains that ‘oll’ regularly becomes ‘ow’ in Scots [2] and hence Auchintow may have evolved from an earlier Auchintoll. The second element is then Gaelic toll which has a number of alternative but similar meanings namely ‘hole, of holes or hollow’ [3]. However, a study of the map fails to immediately reveal any of these features.

Perhaps there is a ‘hollow’ at the source of Glenhastel Burn to the west of Glenhastel Crags.

 Standard Scottish English hill ‘hill’

The Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) entry for Auchintow Hill reads –

A knowe on a ridge of elevated land, the highest part of which is called Milray Hill.”

Certainly the term knowe better describes the scale of Auchintow Hill, indeed perhaps this knowe on the lower slopes of Milray Hill was the original field.

Map 1: Auchintow Hill OS Map (1857) | Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland


[1] W.F.H. Nicolaisen , Scottish Place-names (1986)
[2] W.J. Watson, Celtic Place-Names of Scotland (Birlinn 2004), p. 442
[3] Edward Dwelly, Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary |toll

Reproduced with the permission of The National Library of Scotland
Images used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.
Map 1: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1843-1882 (1857) |Auchintow Hill
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Auchintow Hill