the Knipe, Knipe hill

Place-name:1. The Knipe(s)
2. Chryip hil
3. Knipe Hill
Suggested Meaning:(a) lump (b) knob
(a) S. knap ‘lump’
(b) S. knap ‘knob’
Blaeu Coila (1654):1. Chnip hill 2. Chyrip hil 3. No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):(a) The Knipe
(b) No entry
(c) Knipe Hill
Location 1: 1The KnipeOrdnance Survey (1895)
Location 2: Chyrip hilNo OS entry
Location 3: Knipe HillOrdnance Survey (1895)
Early Forms
1. The Knipe: Chnip Hill (1654), The Knipe, The Knipes, Knipe Rig, Knipe Ridge (1857), Nypes (1867)
2. Chryip hill: Chryip hil (1654)
3. Knipe Hill: Knipe Hill (1857)

KNIPE Scots knap ‘lump, knob’

The Knipes from Garclaugh (photo Robert Guthrie)

Chnip Hill and Chryip hil

Blaeu Coila Provincia (1654) has 1. Chnip Hill which appears to be The Knipe shown on Ordnance Survey maps and 2. Chryip hil which has no equivalent on Ordnance Survey maps.

Map 2: Blaeu Coila Provincia: Chnip Hill | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

1. The Knipes, The Knipe

On Blaeu Coila Provincia (1654) the Knipe appears as Chnip Hill and is represented as a heavily exaggerated mass of hills. Although the hill appears to be shown on the Dumfriesshire side of the county boundary the burns that are shown to rise on it, are clearly all New Cumnock burns.

Map 1 The Knipe | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

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

The Knipe: A ridge of elevated moorland, bounding the parish on the east

Hwoever,it should be noted that in numerous other OS Name Book entries pertaining to burns rising in the hill it is referred to as the Knipe Rig, the Knipe Ridge or the Knipes, where the latter form is the one commonly used in the parish today. ‘Bounding the parish on the east‘ illustrates the expanse of The Knipe and it is maybe this expanse that has encouraged the use of the plural form The Knipes.

The Knipes (photo Robert Guthrie)

The plural form of the name appears in Reverend Robert Simpson’s “Traditions of the Covenanters” [1] in the account of Campbell of Lochbrowan, a friend of the covenanted cause, where he heads for the hills as a party of dragoons approaches his farmhouse.

To the Nypes” cried the commander of the party “I see the old bird has flown, and is soaring to his highest eminence”. The Nypes is a lofty ridge that rises above Lochbruin.

Traditions of the Covenanters (1867)

Simpson, the minister at Sanquhar also appended a Glossary of Celtic Names which included Nypes, ‘The Heights’. His name also appears in several of the Ordnance Survey Name Books of Dumfriesshire entries for the Knypes names in this county [see Appendix].

However, in discussion with Michael Ansell he explains that, Knipe has its origins in Scots knap‘ lump, knob’ which in turn derives from Old Norse knappr ‘a knob, round top’ and presumably this was borrowed into Gaelic from Old Norse or Scots. [2]

The Dictionaries of the Scots Language entry for knap reads [3] –

KNAP, n.1 Also knapp, (h)nap(p). [(k)nɑp]1.

A lump, bump, any rounded knob; a knot or protuberance, as of wood, rock, etc. [Mid.Eng. cnap, O.E. cnœpp, top, crown, peak; O.N. knappr, knob, round top]

N.B. Scots knipe is found as a variant of Scots kneep ‘lump’ [4]

The Knipes showing some of the hillocks across its range (photo Robert Guthrie)

2. Chryip hill

In Blaeu’s map Chyrip Hill is denoted as a range of three hillocks in the lower slopes of the Knipes. The name does not appear on later Ordnance Survey maps although there are some named ‘hillocks’ such as Brans Knowe and Dog Hill .

Map 2 Blaeu (1654) , Chryip hil | With the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Could Chryip simply be Chnip incorrectly transcribed?

However, in discussion with Mike Ansell there is another possibility to consider. Interestingly it seems like Scots knipe was being pronounced locally as chryip, this implies the sound change ‘n’-‘r’ as in cnoc-croc had happened before Gaelic died hereabouts “. He cites Crockroy two-miles to the east in the neighbouring parish of Kirkconnel as another example of ‘n-‘r’ sound change [2] as well as Crocradie in New Cumnock [5]. It should be noted that although Blaeu Coila Provincia dates from 1654 it is based on Timothy Pont’s manuscript of the late 16th century.

It is interesting to note that the borrowed word, either from ON or Scots, into Gaelic cnap (pronounced krahp) ‘lump, knob’ can also be applied to thillock and hillocks on a ridge –

Cnap Gaelic. (pronounced krahp). Cnap means literally a lump or knob and is usually applied to hillocks. It can also indicate hillocks on a big mountain’s ridge.

Scottish Hill Names , Peter Drummond [5]

3. Knipe Hill

At the opposite end of the parish, about 7 miles to the south-west of the The Knipes, there is a Knipe Hill. In stark contrast this Knipe Hill is a small rocky knoll, or knob, on the lower west slope of Maneight Hill.

Map 3 Knipe Hill | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Scots knap ‘lump, knob’

In summary Scots knipe and its variants appear to apply to two distinctly different physical forms, namely, (a) broad sweeping hill with hillocks and (b) small hillocks, knolls; both of which forms occur in the parish of New Cumnock as (a) The Knipe and (b) Knipe Hill.

Appendix

Dumfriesshire: Knypes, Nipes

Parallels can be drawn with the occurence of Knipe names and its variants in the neighbouring county of Dumfriesshire.

Kirkconnel: High Knypes, Low Knypes, Meikle Knypes and Nipes

There is a line of broad spreading hills beginning with High Knypes and the adjacent Low Knypes while further to the east lies Meikle Knypes. These can be compared with The Knipe in New Cumnock. Indeed if the name Chryip hill had survived in New Cumnock, today’s map may have shown High Knypes and Low Knypes!

Map 4 High, Low and Meikle Knypes | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

While on the border of the parishes of Kirkconnel and Auchinleck there is a small green knoll called Nipes which can be compared with Knipe Hill in New Cumnock.

Map 5 Nipes | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry was originally under The Knypes, with The Knipes recorded as an alternative spelling, but was ‘adapted to Nipes to agree with Auchinleck parish.’ The Kirkconnel entry reads –

A small green knoll of slight elevation to the north of Friarminnan over whose summit the boundary between the Counties of Ayr and Dumfries passes. The name may be derived from the Gaelic “Cneap”, ” a spherical gem”, as its form and aspect would bear such an interpretation.

Dr. [Doctor] Simpson gives it as “Knypes”, sygnifying , “The Heights”

The word is of frequent occurrence in this district, but is not recognised by Jamieson or other authority. The probability is that it is a provincialism derived from Gaelic Cnap, a hillock or a corruption of Scotch Knap, a hillock, the crown which is synonymous with the German Knappe, or it may be taken from Gothic Knap the summit or brow of a hill, or Saxon cnap- as when Christ was led “into the brow of the Hill” – the Saxon expression is ” was muntes Cnap”

Glencairn: The Knypes

The Knypes in Glencairn parish compare favourably in form with The Knipe, New Cumnock.

Map 6 The Knypes, Glencairn | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Kirkpatrick Juxta: Upper Knypes, Mid Knypes and Lower Knypes

The Upper Knypes, Mid Knypes and Lower Knypes in Kirkpatrick Juxta are stoney summits on broad hills and compare favourably with both The Knipe and Knipe Hill in New Cumnock.

Map 7 Knypes, Kirkpatrick Juxta| Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 8 Knipe Distribution | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

References
[1] Reverend Robert Simpson D.D. ‘Traditions of the Covenanters’ (1867)
[2] Michael Ansell [Communication]
[3] Dictionaries of the Scots Language |knap
[4] Dictionaries of the Scots Language |kneep, knipe
[5] Peter Drummond ‘Scottish Hill Names’ (1992) | cnap
[6] Michael Ansell, New Cumnock News Winter 2020-21, Issue 7
Maps
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
https://maps.nls.uk/
Map 1 | Ordnance Survey (1894) The Knipe, New Cumnock
Map 2 | Blaeu Coila Provincia (1654) Chnip Hill, Chryip Hill, New Cumnock
Map 3 | Ordnance Survey (1894) Knipe Hill, New Cumnock
Map 4 | Ordnance Survey (1894) High, Low and Meikle Knypes, Kirkconnel
Map 5 | Ordnance Survey (1894) Nipes, Auchinleck & Kirkconnel
Map 6 | Ordnance Survey (1898) The Knypes, Glencairn
Map 7 | Ordnance Survey (1898) Upper, Mid, Lower Knypes, Kirkpatrick Juxta
Map 9 | Ordnance Survey (1957) 10-mile Physical
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
scotlandsplaces.gov.uk
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| The Knipe
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Knipe Hill
Kirkconnel
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 30 |Low Knypes
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 30 |Meikle Knypes
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 30 |High Knypes
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 30 | Nipes
Glencairn
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 21 The Knypes
Kirkpatrick Juxta
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 34 |Lower Knypes
Dumfriesshire OS Name Books (1848-1858) Vol. 34 | Mid Knypes, Upper Knypes