Auchtitench Lane

Place-name:Auchtitench Lane
Suggested Meaning:‘one-eighth land of tongue shaped land’
First elementGaelic ochdamh ‘an eighth part-‘
Second elementGaelic teanga ‘tongue’ ?
Third elementScots lane ‘slow moving stream’
Blaeu Coila (1654):Achinteinchfh, Achintencfh hill,
OS Name Books (1855-57):Auchtitench Lane
Location:Ordnance Survey (1892-1960)
Other Early Forms:
Auchtitinch (1680), Achtytench (Roy’s Map, 1747/55), Auchentench (Armstrong Map, 1775)

The OS Name Book (1855-57) entry for Auchtitench Lane under the parish of New Cumnock reads –

This Stream, a portion of which is the Parish Boundary, runs in a North West direction. from its source, at the west base of Auchtitench Hill, to its junction with Glenmuir Water & Penbreck Burn.

The parish boundary is that between the parishes of New Cumnock and Auchinleck. The lane, a slow moving stream in Scots, takes its name from the farm of Auchtitench as does the hill, the both of which sit in the parish of Auchinleck.

Map 1 | OS One-Inch (1895) By Permission of the National Library of Scotland

The early forms of Auchtitench, e.g. Achinteinchfh (1654) and Auchtitinch (1680) suggest two possible first elements, i.e. the common element Auchin– and the less common. Auchti-

1st element | 1. Gaelic achadh ‘field’

Typically places names beginnig with the element achin– would have started out as field names indicative of ancillary farming activity by Gaelic speaking settlers [1] and is anglicised form of the Gaelic achadh ‘field’.

1st element | Auchti-, Auchty- ‘an eighth part

The early form Auchtitinch (1680) appears in a Government Warrant [2] of that year in response to the Sanquhar Declaration delivered by the Reverend Richard Cameron and his band of fellow Covenanters against the tyranical King Charles II. Included in the names of the ‘notorious Traitors and Rebels against Us and Our Authority‘ given in the warrant was that of ‘Creichton, sone to Robert Creichton of Auchtitinch, now in Waterhead.’ This was John Crichton and his father Robert who had relocated to Waterhead in the upper reaches of the River Nith in the parish of New Cumnock.

Watson [3] gives Auchtigammill, Auchtyfardle and Auchtogorm as examples of place-names where their first element have, or may have, the anglicised form of Gaelic ochdamh, ochtamh ‘an eighth part, in reference to a unit of land-measurement. Dwelly defines ochdamh as an eighth of a davoch [4] which was a unit of land-measure.

The map shows the land has been cleared and worked and so too does the photo from the Jimmy Taylor collection of photographs [5].

It is also interesting to note that just to the south-west of Auchtitench on the boundary between the parish of New Cumnock there are a pair of other land-measure names , i.e. Halfmerk hill and Lethans (Gaelic leth pheighinn ‘half penny’).

2nd element| –teanga

The second element is proving difficult to identify. Could it be Gaelic teanga ‘tongue’ in reference to tongue shape strip of land? This element is found elsewhere in New Cumnock but in the anglicised form of chang in Chang hill and High Chang hill; while in Old Cumnock it is found in Changue farm.

By Permission of the National Library of Scotland


[1] W.F.H. Nicolaisen | Scottish Place-names (1986)
[2] Public Proclamation
[3] W. J. Watson | The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland (Birlinn 2004)
[4] Edward Dwelly | Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary (1902-1912)
[5] Jimmy Taylor Collection | Auchtitench photo
Reproduced with the permission of The National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Ordnance Survey (1895) | Auchintench
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Auchtintench Lane