Suggested Meaning :steep, difficult to climb
First element:Scots stey ‘steep’
Second element: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: Old Erse aimreidh ‘steep;

The second element of the name is  found by Sir Herbert Maxwell [2] 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 is therefore 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) [4]. 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! [5]. Another account considers Stayamrie to contain a reference to Wallace’s armoury, due to the proximity of Castle William [6].

[1] Dictionary of Scots Language | stey
[2] Sir Herbert Maxwell ‘The Place-Names of Galloway’
[3] 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
[4] John Barbour ‘The Bruce’ (c.1375)
[5] Hugh Lorimer ‘A Corner of Old Strathclyde (1951)
[6] 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