Suggested Meaning :steep, difficult to climb
First element:Scots stey ‘steep’
Second element:1. Scots almery, aumbrie ‘big cupboard’
2. Gaelic aimreidh ‘steep’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Stayamrie
Location:OS Six-inch Scotland 1892-1960

Stayamrie is one of the three named rock faces on the north face of Craigbraneoch Hill the other two being Corbie Craig and Garnel Craig.

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

A high perpendicular Cliff on the north side of Craigbraneoch Hill. Derivation not known.

S: Stayamrie | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

First element: Scots stay, stey ‘steep’

The first element of the name is Scots stey, stay  ‘steep hill, rising sharply, difficult to climb’ [1]. It is also found in Steygail in the parish of Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire which is described in the Ordnance Survey Name Books (1848-58) as –

A large and remarkably steep hill on the east side of Enterkin Burn. Steygyle – literally Steep Gable

Second element: 1. Scots almery, aumbry ‘steep;

Michael Ansell in New Cumnock Places-Names [2] considers

Stayamrie seems to be derived from Scots stey, ‘steep’ and amrie a variant of ‘almery’, ‘aumbry’, originally an alms-chest but in Scots a big cupboard. Steyamire seems to be a compound of the two Scots words perhaps the rocks there resemble a cupboard shape?

Certainly in the photograph above the rock-face can be visualised as a large chest appended to the side of the hill.

See also Dictionaries of the Scots Language entry for aumry, am(e)ry [3] –

AUMRY, AM(E)RY, AUMBRY, AMBRY, Aamry, Aumra, Almery, Almorie, Amurie, Awmrie (all may take ie termination), n. Obs. in St.Eng. except hist. Still in north.Eng. dial., though obsolescent. [′ɑ:mr, ′:mr, ′ɑmbr, ′mbr]

1. A repository in a house, gen. for keeping domestic utensils, or food; either a separate room, or a recess in a wall, or usually a separate piece of furniture, mostly of wood; a pantry, larder, cupboard, dresser, chest; in Cai. a plate-rack above a dresser; occas. a book-chest or bookcase; also a money-chest.

Dictionaries of the Scots Language Dictionars o the Scots Leid

Second element: 2. Old Erse aimreidh ‘steep’

The second element of the name is found by Sir Herbert Maxwell [5] in the Galloway place-name Carrickcamrie, which he believes is from Old Erse aimreidh (amrie) ‘steep, rugged’ and he explains that the word consists of the negative prefix aim and reidh.

The place-name Stayamrie could therefore be an example of tautology, i.e. it contains two elements with the same meaning i.e. Stayamrie, Scots stey and Irish amrie ‘steep hill’.

Local Folklore |’Stay Amery’

Robert the Bruce and his force of 400 men evaded capture from Sir Aymer de Valence ‘ up in the strenthis’ of Cumnock (the hills of New Cumnock) [6]. Near to Castle William, is the sheer rock face of Stayamrie, or Stay Amery, called after the beleaguered Sir Aymer and his attempts to capture Bruce, i.e. keep going Amery! [7]. Another account considers Stayamrie to contain a reference to Wallace’s armoury, due to the proximity of Castle William [8].

[1] Dictionary of Scots Language | stey
[2] Michael Ansell, New Cumnock News Autumn 2020, Issue 6
[3] Dictionaries of the Scots Language Dictionars o the Scots Leid |aumry, amery
[4] Sir Herbert Maxwell ‘The Place-Names of Galloway’
[5] Robert Guthrie ‘Wallace and Bruce Place-Names of New Cumnock, Ayrshire,’Scottish Place-Name News No. 15 Autumn 2003. The Newsletter of The Scottish Place-Name Society
[6] John Barbour ‘The Bruce’ (c.1375)
[7] Hugh Lorimer ‘A Corner of Old Strathclyde (1951)
[8] George McMichael ‘Notes on the Way through Ayrshire’ (c.1890)
Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 Ordnance Survey (1843-1882)| Stayamrie
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By permission of Scotland’s Places
Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Stayamrie
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 14 | Steygail