Knockbain – Summary Table

Knockbain (Kilmuir Wester & Suddy)


Name Value Date Grid Ref Map Sources Other forms, comments etc
Kilmuir Wester parish          
Pitlundie ½ davach 1619 NH 6750 Blaeu (Moray)

NLS: Drynie

Probably ½ davach from 1456. Pendicle called Teamtoir (Taindore NH 6751) in Retours (Ross) (145) 1686, (191) 1700..






1 davach

½ davach






NH 6548/6547

Blaeu (Moray)



See below.


RHP 117/3

Drumderfit 1 davach 1504 NH 6551 Blaeu (Moray)

NLS: Drumderfit


8 bovates (=1 davach) listed in 1504. But probably a davach in 1456. Included Larach says OPS II, II, 536. RS36/2/241v 1607 & RS38/3/387v 1669.
(Mains of) Drynie (1 davach) 1456 NH 6650 Blaeu (Moray)

NLS: Drynie

10m rental, 20s bondage silver and 1 mart all consistent with 1 davach farm. Retours (Ross) (188) 1692. See below.
Kilmuir (½ davach) 1591-2 NH 6750 Blaeu (Moray)

RHP 117/3

NLS: Drynie

½ custom mart in RMS V (2042) 1591-2 suggests ½ davach. Ex bishopric and included a fishery. St Mary’s Church (remains of).
Allangrange (Mains) (1 davach) 1564 NH 6251 Blaeu (Moray)


RHP 11661

Almost certainly 1 davach in RMS IV (2272) of 1574 (on original of 1564). Ex bishopric. RMS VII (298) may imply that Allangrange included Allanreich. See also ER XXIII pp 458-9 1596-7. See below and Allanglach.


2 davachs 1504 NH 6254

NH 6354

  I assume (with Watson PNRC 138) that this is Merane which is given as 16 bovates (= 2 davachs) in 1504 but was probably also that in 1456. See also Mains of Kilcoy & Drumnamarg (Killearnan parish). See below.
Allanglach 1 davach (2 davachs?) 1591-2 NH 6250   Reddendo in RMS V (2042) included 13m & 2 custom marts. 13m suggests 1 davach plus whilst 2 marts suggests 2 davachs.

Ex bishopric. See below.

2 x Half-davachs


1 davach 1663  

NH 6248



NLS Redcastle

See below.
?  Achalee 40s 1457-8     See below under Half-Davachs.
Coulmore (1 davach) 1617 NH 6148 Blaeu (Moray) See below.

Two Culmores in 1579 (OPS II, II, 532)

Sligo (½ davach) 1596 NH 671516 RHP 117/3

NLS: Drynie

OS 6″ Sheet C

PNRC 140. RMS VI (1046) & Retours (Ross) (68) 1624 for eastern half, RMS VII (33) for western. Both halves (i.e. quarterlands) ex bishopric. RS38/4/333v 1675 gives E quarterland.
Drumore ½ davach 1564 NH 6352   RMS IV (2272) 1574 (on original of 1564). GD128/23/1/3 1594.

Ex bishopric. See also ER XXIII pp 459-60 1596-7.

Total Kilmuir Wester 11½ + davachs        
Suddy parish          
Munlochy (½ church)


(½ lay)

(½ davach)

½ davach?




NH 6453 Blaeu (Moray) See below.
Ballveulich     c. NH 6352 Roy(FC) Just W of Munlochy in Roy(FC). Bellavulich in Retours (Ross) (156) 1693. Similar place-names in Alness & Urray.

Suddie (Easter) or

Suddy (Little)

Suddie (Wester) or

Suddie (Mekill)

1 davach


½ davach




NH 6654


NH 6654

NH 6654

Blaeu (Moray)



Suddy was probably a davach in 1456. Mill & Alehouse.

Easter was earlier called Little Suddy.

RMS V (803) 1567 & VI (445) 1568 – ex Bishopric.

Now = Roskill House

Retours (Ross) (70) 1625, (189) 1699.

Belmaduthy 1 davach 1504 NH 6456   But evidence suggests a davach in 1456.
Total (Suddy) 3 + davachs        
Total 14½ +





ALI No 26 of 1437 notes a charter by Alexander, Earl of Ross, to the Dominican Preachers in Inverness of 20s p.a. from the land and ferry of Easter Kessock. Later documents such as RSS VII (1576) of 1578, (2156) of 1579, RSS VIII (899) of 1582 and OPS II, II, 536 quoting RSS for 1586 refer to an annual rent of 14 bolls of victual to be drawn from the mill of Kessock.

ER VIII p 595 of 1476-9 refers to the 2 Kessocks with the ferry. ER XII p 662 of 1504 gives Westir Kessok as 8 bovates (=1 davach) while Estir Kessok & the ferry are given as 4 bovates (½ davach).The two Kessocks are sometimes given in the Exchequer Rolls within the ‘Quarter’ of Fairnewre (Vols VIII of 1476-9, XVII of 1539, XX of 1574-5). Kessock included the ferry, the Stell, a mill and an alehouse. The entries are all consistent with W. Kessock being a davach and E. Kessock a half-davach.

PNRC p 136 refers to Do’ach Cheiseig – davach of Kessock – but with no sense of a personal name.

In 1228 Alexander II gave Harald, Bishop of Argyll (‘Ayrgaythyl’) three davachs of Culkessoch (Register of Moray p 25). I know of no such place in Argyllshire and assume it must refer to the Kessock in Easter Ross. If so, then Kessock may, in 1228, have comprised 3 davachs – possibly including a neighbouring property that was later disjoined. However 3 davachs in Easter Ross would have been of limited use to a bishop based in Lismore (in Loch Linnhe, at the other end of the Great Glen) so I assume they were subject to a later, now lost, excambion. This earlier religious association may be the reason a right on Kessock was later granted to the Dominican Preachers.


(Mains of) Drynie

There is another Drynie in Dingwall parish. Despite its situation I don’t believe this Drynie in Kilmuir Wester parish was ever referred to as Easter Drynie. It seems to have been undivided and from at least 1589 belonged to a family called Graham of Drynie. (See GD255/2 for title deeds). In the 18th century the lands of Little Sligo, Jackeys Croft (NH 668521) and Fishertown of Drynie were associated with Drynie.


Allangrange (Mains)

Roy(FC) marks Allanrich(?) above Allangrange at the top of the glen.



Mwren – 2 of the 4 davachs referred to in RS37/1/66r 1618 & Retours (Ross) (155) 1693 although this estate goes back to at least 1511 (OPS II, II, pp 528-9 – and see under Killearnan parish). GD305/1/108/324 1658 gives Muren, Muretoun, Drumarge and Mullochie in the parish of Sidie. RS38/3/42v 1666 gives 2 davachs Murrennes or Murrens (with pendicle called the Blair ‘alias the muir’) in parish of Suddie.



Below I mention the possibility of a lost parish of Allan. There is also evidence of the early importance of Allan in a papal letter of 1255-6 published by Theiner (No 182 pp 69-70). It discusses the funding arrangements for the episcopal chapter. The Dean was to receive the teinds of Kilmuir, except for the teinds of a half-davach of Aleyn. Similarly the Archdeacon was to receive the teinds of Fodderty and ‘Edordor’ (Killearnan plus?), except for the teinds of one davach of Aleyn. From this we may conclude that Aleyn (Allan) was a large property of at least 1½ davachs that was split between 2 parishes and, for some reason, treated differently.



Two of these from 1456 but only included 6 bovates (¾ davach) in ER XII p 660 1504. GD305/1/85/82 1586 refers to Wester, Eister and Middill Haldawacht.

Throughout the documents there is the consistent implication from rents, bondage silver and marts due, that Wester Half-davach was half a davach but Easter Half-davach was only a ¼ davach. I suspect the missing 2 bovates (or quarterland – notionally extending to 33s 4d New Extent) are accounted for by some of the smaller holdings which are listed, year after year, in the context of the Two Half-Davachs. For example:

ER VI p 463 1457-8 gives 40s Achalee between Wester & Easter Half-Davachs. None of the other ER documents mention it. PNRC (p 135) gives it in Avoch parish. Possibly it was part of Easter Half-Davach. The same document gives Petyslanys (12s) and Smethycrofft (8s).

ER XII p 243 1503-4 gives Smethicroft (8s) and Currouriscroft (5s). ER XII p 660 1504 gives the ‘Alehous’ (20s) and ‘Petslawis Croft’ (12s).

In RMS III (427) 1526-7 Easter Haldach is followed by the alehouse & croft (extending to 20s), Smethy-croft (8s), Pettislaw (12s), and the Maris-croft (13s 4d). (The Mair’s croft is 13s 4d in 1504 but only 2s in earlier references – if it is the same one).

In ER XVII p 679 1539 we hear of a croft of Easter Half-Davach called Patrick Barlay’s croft. We also learn of a smith’s croft and an alehouse with croft.

In ER XX 1574-5 we hear of an alehouse, a smith’s croft and another croft of Easter Half-Davach.

Wester Half-Davach had a croft in ER XXI 1588. At the same time Easter Half-Davach had a brewland and croft.


If we take these documents together the likeliest explanation is that the original (unnamed) davach was halved and the Easter half was divided again with one quarterland being split up into lots of small crofts. I am not sure we can specify all of these because for some of them we have similarly-named crofts which may have been associated with Redcastle in Killearnan or Ormond (Casteltoun) in Avoch. So it is quite possible that in Ardmeanach (the Black Isle) there were several smiths, runners, and even mairs – with several similarly-named crofts. (ER VI pp 465 & 659 give a mair of Avach & Eddirdule; ER VIII p 538 gives a mair of Avach as well as a mair of Ardmanach; ER XII p 244 gives a mair of Avach and a mair of Ardmanach – but only a croft for the latter is mentioned; OPS II, II p 569, quoting the Book of Assumptions, 1561-6, gives the mairdom of Allane). See Croftcrunie in Killearnan for other examples.

RS38/2/134r 1663 states that the two Haldauches, with crofts, made a davach old extent.


The place name Lettoch (from leth + davach or half-davach) refers to one of the two half-davachs.


RS37/1/131v 1619, RS37/5/227r 1635, RS37/6/330r 1640, Retours (Ross) (134) 1677 & (137) 1680 introduce ‘pecks’ of land which were subdivisions of a bovate. According to most of these documents there were 4 pecks to a bovate. On this basis a boll (16 pecks) would be half a davach.



Retours (Ross) 168 of 1617 gives Culmoyr as 15m Old Extent but this at odds with The Family of Kilravock pp 304-5 of 1611 where it appears to have been (with others) £4 (6m) ‘tempore pacis’. If we assume the retour of 1617 is actually New Extent then the problem is resolved. 15m New Extent probably represents 1½ davachs, as may £4 (6m) Old Extent. Since the estate comprised Coulmore, Half-Davach and Torgormak we can assume the first-named was 1 davach. ER XII p 662 for 1504 gives a rent of 10m and also indicates 7 bovates or ⅞ davach. See The Family of Kilravock pp 325-6 for a settlement of marches in 1639. RS36/2/240v 1607 gives Midculmoir as a ½ davach. RS36/2/242v 1607 gives Eister Culmoir & Tolgormuk as a ½ davach. RSS VII (2270) 1579-80 refers to Culmoir, Haldacht and Coldegormok where the last will be Toldegormok.



Suddy parish


Munlochy in 1328 (Robertson’s Index p 28 No 11 (2). GD297/162 1357; GD297/180 1439/40.

Munlochy may have been in two parts, one church, one lay. The former, which supported a chaplainry, gave a  Reddendo of £4 (6m)  in RMS V (2042) 1591-2 – which suggests half a davach. (See also Retours (Ross) (19) 1605 & (180) 1612). The part which appears in Retours (Ross) (141) 1682 & (155) 1693 may have been lay and may also have been a ½ davach.


Lost parish of Allan?

RMS VI (2074) 1608 and Retours (Ross) (131) 1673 both refer to a parish called Allan. Possibly the settlements of Allangrange, Allanrich & Allanglach (2 or 3 davachs in total) made up a separate parish in the earlier medieval period. (According to the Books of Assumption p 626 there was a mairdom of Allane in the period 1561-6). See above under Allanglach. St John’s Chapel (remains of) NH 6251 (just by Allangrange) – Batten pp 82, 302.


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Posted in Knockbain
2 comments on “Knockbain – Summary Table
  1. Al Hunter says:

    Hi Denis
    This is an outstanding find for me to discover on the internet!
    I have and am currently trying to figure out the historic roots of Munlochy. Obviously this investigation has taken many twists and turns but your work here has given me something with which to back up my speculation.
    Personally, I felt that the Mun part was derived from Muileann: the place is littered with millstones and old mills but there wasn’t any written evidence. My other hunch was that the land based site wasn’t named after the ‘Loch’ (which is more of a mud shallow than anything) but from the term Dabhach. Giving me Muileann Leth-dhabhach with the Gaelic word for East (either ‘ear’ or ‘clì’ to distinguish it from any other ‘half davoch mills’ that might have been around.
    The final syllable sound is still a puzzle though so the speculation continues 🙂
    Hopefully you’ll find the note above interesting and accept my thanks for allowing me to have a look at your work.

    • drixson says:

      Thanks, Al. Place-names are something of a minefield. You might find it worth looking at Watson “The Celtic Place-names of Scotland”, pp 116, 241 & 439 or (same author) “Place Names of Ross & Cromarty” p 141. Denis

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