Grain Burn

Place-name:Grain Burn
Suggested Meaning:‘branch, fork of a stream’
1st element :Scots grain ‘branch, fork of a stream’
2nd element:Scots burn ‘stream’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Grain Burn
Location:Ordnance Survey (1895)

Grain Burn

The Grain Burn is a small burn that rises above Roughside and flows south west to join the upper reaches of Muirfoot Burn.

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Grain Burn reads –

A Small Stream on the W [West] Side of Roughside and running in a westerly direction into Polquheys Burn.

It is interesting to note that the above 1855-57 Name Book refers to Polquheys Burn (rather than Muirfoot Burn shown on the OS map) which undoubtedly was the original name of the burn since Polquheys which is clearly a pol- name, i.e. British pol ‘stream’. The burn has since been renamed after the much later farm of Muirfoot, which stands at the ‘foot of the moor’ near to where the burn flows into the River Nith.

Map 1: Grain Burn (OS Map 1857) : Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Scots grain ‘branch of a stream’ Scots burn ‘stream’

The 1st element of the name is Scots grain ‘branch or fork of a stream or river’ [1]. The second element is the common place-name element Scots burn ‘stream ‘ [2].

An unnamed smaller burn joins the Grain Burn just to the north west of Roughside farm creating the fork in the burn.


[1] Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. |grain
[2] Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. |burn

Reproduced with the Permission of National Library of Scotland
Map 1: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1843-1882 (1857) | grain
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Grain Burn