Crae Moss

Place-name:Crae Moss
Suggested Meaning: quaking bog moss
1st element (1) G. crathaidh ‘quaking bog’
1st element (2) :S. crae ‘sheep pen’
2nd element:S. moss ‘bog, marsh, soft wet-land’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Crae Moss
Location:Ordnance Survey (1894)

Crae Moss

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Crae Moss reads –

A small moss S.E [South East] of Lochbrowan hill

Alernative spelling: Crao Moss

Map 1: Crae Moss | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

1st element (1): Scots crathaidh ‘quaking bog’

The Place-Names of Kirkcudbrightshire Database entry for Crae in the parish of Balmaghie, considers that ‘the most likely origin of the name is Gaelic crathaidh ‘quaking bog‘ [1].

Crae Moss is found on the upper reaches of Lochbrowan Hill and the second element Scots moss ‘bog, marsh’ would seem at least to confirm its boggy nature if not to the extent of being a ‘quaking bog’. Certainly the aerial overlay on the Ordnance Survey map does not show any standing pools of water, but does show the moss to be a darker colour and undulating. [See Map 2]. A mile and half to the south-east is Star Bog ‘sedge bog’.

1st element (2): Scots crae ‘sheep-pen’

Scots crae is recorded as a variant of cray ‘ a pen, or enclosure for hens, sheep and pigs in the Dictionaries of the Scots Language. However the two Ayrshire examples are cray ‘ pen for hens’ and crae ‘pen for pigs’ while the example cree, another variant of cray, ‘pen for sheep’ is from Caithness [2].

The common term for a sheep-pen in the parish is a sheep ree and it should be noted that there are two rees are to be found near the moss. These no doubt used by Lochbrowan farm and the neighbouring farm of Lochingerroch both of which are sheep farms.

2nd element: Scots moss ‘bog, marsh, tract of wet land’

Scots moss is a ‘bog, marsh, tract of wet-land’ [3]. There are almost 20 named mosses in New Cumnock, including Crae Moss and probably just as many unnamed reflecting the upland nature of the parish.


[1] Place-names of Kirkcudbrightshire. 2021. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. |Crae, Balmaghie
[2] Dictionaries of the Scots Language |crae
[3] Dictionaries of the Scots Language |moss
Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Ordnance Survey (1843-1882) |Crae Moss
Map 2 | Ordnance Survey (1895) | Crae Moss aerial
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Crae Moss