Bught Knowe

Place-name:Bught Knowe
Suggested Meaning:‘knowe of the sheep-fold
First element1. Scots bught ‘sheep-pen; sheep-pen for milking ewes’
Second element2. Scots knowe ‘hillock’ 
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Bught Knowe
Location:Ordnance Survey (1892-1949)
Current Status:Still standing
Other Early Forms:

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Barney Hill reads –

“A small hill about 25 chains N. [North] of Nethertown farm house.”

Bught Knowe and Sheep Ree : By Permission of the National Library of Scotland

1st element | 1. Scots bught ‘sheep pen’ [1]

The circular sheep pen is shown on the Bught Knowe on the north bank of the Bullet Burn and is referred to as a sheep ree; another Scots term “a permanent stone sheep-pen where sheep are confined during stormy weather, shearing etc.” [1]. The modern-day aerial photograph shows the circular sheep pen in one of clearing through the forest.

Bught Knowe and Sheep Ree : By Permission of the National Library of Scotland

2nd element | 2. Scots knowe ‘hillock’

Of course knowe is a very common Scots word and always will be used in preference to hillock!

Bught Knowe reminds as the song “Ca the yowes to the knowes” made famous by Robert Burns and by some considered to be penned by Tibbie Pagan originally from New Cumnock, who later settled in Muirkirk [3].

“Ca’ the yowes to the knowes ,
Ca’ them where the heather grows,
Ca’ them where the burnie rowes ,
My bonie dearie”


[1] Dictionary of Scots Language | Bught
[2] John Jamieson ‘Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language’ (1808)
[3] Robert Burns Trail | Tibbie Pagan


By Permission of National Library of Scotland 
Map 1 | Ordnance Survey (1892-1949) 
Ayrshire XLI.14, Revised: 1894, Published: 1896
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Bught Knowe