Tain – Summary Table



Name Value Date Grid Ref Map Sources Other forms, comments etc
Tain Min 2 davachs?   NH 7782/7882 Pont(Gordon 20)


See below.
Kirklands of Tain   1666     GD305/1/47/1 1666





½ davach?



c. 1561

NH 7980 Pont(Gordon 20)


Baleknock (Pont(Gordon 20)), Baleknok (Blaeu(Moray))

See below under Skardy/Hilton.

Books of Asumption pp 651-2 gives ‘Skardy with pendicles’ paying 6m yearly.

Tarlogie 1 davach c. 1561 NH 7583 Pont(Gordon 20)


Gordon(10) Suth.


Books of Assumption pp 651-2.

1 davach in RS37/5/254r 1635.

1 davach in Macgill pp 359-60, No 908, 1645.




(½ davach)

½ davach


c. 1561

NH 8382 Pont(Gordon 20)


See below.


Books of Assumption pp 651-2. See below under Innerethy.

Balcherry ¼ davach c. 1561 NH 8282 Pont(Gordon 20)


Books of Assumption pp 651-2.

< ceathramh PNRC p lxxxi


Wester Pithogarty

½ davach c. 1561 NH 7981/8082

NH 7982

Pont(Gordon 20) Books of Assumption pp 651-2. See below.

Macgill p 252, No 639, 1761 gives ½ davoch Pithogartie.

Balkeith ½ davach? 1688 NH 7981 Pont(Gordon 20)


See Tain text file. See also below and under Innerrartie or Invereathie.
Cambuscurrie ¾ davach

1 davach

c. 1561


NH 7285 Pont(Gordon 20)


Gordon(10) Suth.


Books of Assumption pp 651-2.

RS36/2/28v 1606.

Over = ½ – RS37/6/241v 1639, Retours (Ross) (167) 1700.

Plaids ¾ davach c. 1561 NH 7882 Pont(Gordon 20)


Books of Assumption pp 651-2. See below.
Morangie ½ davach c. 1561 NH 7683 Blaeu(Moray)

Gordon(10) Suth.


Mornichie in Books of Assumption pp 651-2. RMS V (1971) 1591 refers to Eister & Wester Morincheis, formerly belonging to the chaplains & prebendaries of Morincheis (Reddendo £8 p.a.).

1½ oxgates of Morinschie in RS37/7/82v 1650.

See also Macgill pp 21-2, No 30, 1575.

Kirksheaf ¼ davach 1628 NH 7881 Pont(Gordon 20) Ex bishopric. See below.
Balnagall ½ davach c. 1561 NH 8381 Pont(Gordon 20) Balnagaw in Books of Assumption pp 651-2.

½ davach in RS37/7/1r 1648. See below.

Innerrartie &

Balna touch


½ davach


1 davach

c. 1561




Pont(Gordon 20)


Books of Asumption pp 651-2. See below under Invereathie.


RS38/2/147r 1664.

Lochslin &


1 davach c. 1561 NH 8480

NH 8481

Pont(Gordon 20)

Pont(Gordon 20)

Books of Assumption pp 651-2. Retours (Ross) (31) 1609 gives Lochslyne & Newtoune an Old Extent of 30s and a New Extent of £6 13s 4d (10m). Half ex bishopric. See below.
Blackhill de Lochslyne

Knock Dhu

10s AE 1607  

NH 8380


Pont(Gordon 20)

Gordon (18)

Retours (Ross) (23) 1607. This is probably Knock Dhu and regarded as part of Lochslin.
Raifaden   1596   Pont(Gordon 20) RMS VI (495) refers to this property as in the territory of Tain. Its reddendo was only 13s 4d (1m) so it was evidently small. Pont(Gordon 20) shows Ruysedy/Ruyfedy just S. of Tain.

Macgill p 252, No 639, 1761 gives Royfaid.

Anley/Aldie   c. 1561 NH 7880   Ex bishopric. See below.
Morrich More   1587 c. NH 8384   See below.
Total 9¼ + davachs        



Tain had town lands but I do not know of a clear, categoric statement of their extent. The town boundaries were probably coterminous with the girth or sanctuary which was defined by the four crosses mentioned in ALI No 28 1439. RMS V (717) 1584 (on an original of 1566) refers to the ‘sowing of 3 bolls’ in the western part of the town whilst no less than thirty-one other small parcels of land are also defined by how much they sow. These amount to at least another 5 bolls sowing whilst the ‘old rent’ specified suggests half a davach.


Books of Asumption pp 651-2 c. 1561 state that the ‘towne’ of Tain paid 104m rental while all the other properties combined paid 110m. Since the rest the parish came to at least 7 davachs if we went by rental alone we would conclude that the town lands of Tain came to 6 or 7 davachs. I think this is unlikely. Tain probably paid more rent simply because the burgh properties were more valuable. I doubt the burgh lands came to more than about 3 davachs maximum. However their true old extent eludes me.


Here follow some further details I have gleaned, mainly from Macgill, about cultivated land within Tain:

(bolls = bolls sowing; rigs = long narrow strips of land; butts = small pieces of land)

Macgill pp 370-1, No 936 – 1536 1 boll; 1536 4 bolls; 1538 4 bolls, Croft Salne; 1541 Croft Gebonn, 1 boll; 1549 Croft Crenan & Croft Croy.

Macgill p 5, No 3, 1538 – a croft of 4 bolls ‘bear’ (barley) sowing in the west part of Tain.

Macgill pp 161-2, No 411, 1549 – Croft Crenan … Croft Croy … 4 bolls ‘bere’ (barley) sowing.

Macgill pp 85-6, No 218, 1561 – Croft Crenan … 2 rigs extending to 3 firlots sowing of ‘bere’ (barley).

Macgill p 159, No 406, 1571 – 8 bolls sowing of ‘bere’ (barley).

Macgill pp 21-2, No 30, 1575 – ¼ + 1 oxgang (i.e. ⅜ davach).

RSS VIII (1872) 1583-4 – lands of Mekill Dyke.

Macgill p 160, No 409, 1593 – Croft south of Tain containing 10 firlots (2½ bolls) ‘beir’ (barley) sowing called Croft Croy.

Macgill pp 373-4, No 941, 1593 – lands of 6 bolls ‘beir’ (barley); rigs … 5 bolls … rigs.

RMS VI (59) 1593-4 – Myd-Aldy, Croft-gorthie.

Macgill pp 371-2, No 938, 1604 – crofts … rigs … butts … bolls.

Macgill p 159, No 407, 1613 – 23 roods of lands.

Macgill p 160, No 408, 1613 – 68 bolls 2 firlots (of sowing) & named crofts.

Macgill p 376, No 946, 1652 – Croftnacrive, Croftnaclach and Crofts Brodie … Croy … Clyrich.

GD305/1/46/11 1658 for crofts and lands in the burgh including Croft Fill the Cape.

GD305/1/47/4 1666 refers to the Gallowcroft in the east of the burgh.

GD305/1/162/275 1667 refers to the Gallow Croft.

Macgill p 372, No 939, 1671 – Croft Croy, Croftincrive.

Macgill p 385, No 965 – Croft Kerran + 5 rigs.

Macgill pp 387-8, No 970 – Croft-Fill-the-Cup (cf Croft Fill the Cape above), Duirham’s Croft (1621), Provost’s Croft, Killichrist Croft, Hartfield (1723). (For Hartfield see also No 979, 1762).

Macgill p 388, No 971, 1728 – Gair’s Croft.

Macgill p 389, No 974, 1733 – Croft Voich, Crofts called Innes’s, Knight’s, Denoon’s, na Phillaig, na Beist, na Crive and Drumcroy … Croft Lennich.

Macgill p 86 No 221, 1735 – Hangman’s Croft.

Macgill p 390, No 978, 1760 – Croftnacallie … Croftnabiebiddan.

Macgill p 253, No 644, 1765 – lands in Little Tain called Teablair and Gallowcroft.


A burgh like Tain has a much more complex property history than an individual farm. The above references include geographical data but it may be beyond us to piece together this particular patchwork – particularly as it evolved continually over the centuries. We also do not know the precise relationships between bolls sowing, rigs, butts and roods – if such ever existed. One of the most interesting documents is given in Macgill pp 30-31, No 53, 1612. This purports to show all the bolls of barley sowing within Tain. The total given is 665 bolls. If we go on the basis of 48 bolls per davach this amounts to almost 14 davachs which seems very unlikely.


Macgill pp 395 & 404-6, No 404, 1795 – gives a list of inhabited places within Tain parish:

Tain, Inver, Katherine’s Cross, Lochslin, Balnagall, Balcherry, Pitogarty, Little Plaids, Balkeith, Meikle Balkeith, Hiltown, Aldie, Knockbreck, Balnacoile, Criskeeth, Meikle Aldie, High Milns, King’s Causway, Larig, Muifield, Hartfield, Wester Hill of Tain, Morrangie, Lower Cambuscurry, Meikle Ferry, Tarlogie, Upper Cambuscurry.


Lands attached to the burgh included Innerethy (OPS II, II, p 432).

See Macgill p 386 No 967, 1707; p 388 No 972, 1727-31; pp 391-2 No 981, 1761; for riding the burgh’s marches, preventing encroachments etc. For boundary dispute see Macgill p 357, No 902, 1553. See also RHP 275/1-3 1750.



Skardy was the early name for this property which is identified by Fraser (Earls of Cromartie II, pp 337, 460) as Hilltoun. Baleknock is simply the Gaelic equivalent of Hilton. It was part of an estate documented from 1436-7 (ALI No 23 1436-7, No 55 1450; RMS II (3763) 1512; RMS IV (681) 1551-2 & RMS V (1979) 1591).



RMS IV (2981) 1579-80 refers to the ‘western half of the lands of Nethir Pitnelie extending to a bovate’ whilst Retours (Ross) (147) 1688 confirms that Nether Pitnealie was 2 bovates or a quarterland. If we assume the same extent for Upper or Over Pitnellies then the whole farm would have been a ½ davach. Retours (Ross) (5) 1574 & (24) 1607 give Pitnelie an Ancient Extent of 2m which would be equivalent to ½ davach. Uver (Over) Pitneillie + 1 bovate of Pithogarty had an Old Extent of 20s in Retours (Ross) (31) 1609. If Over Pitneillie was 2 bovates then the Old Extent for 3 bovates was 20s (or 6s 8d per bovate). This is the same rate as 1 davach to 4m which is found in parts of Wester Ross and all over Lewis, Harris and Skye. This is supported by Retours (Ross) (91) 1643. Retours (Ross) (25) 1607 does not quite match in that ½ Nether Pitneillie is there given an old extent of 1m. We can reconcile this only if we interpret it as Nether Pitneillie being ½ of Pitneillie. However I think the weight of evidence supports the contention that Pitnellies was half a davach.

Also RS36/2/237r 1607, RS37/6/453r 1642.

For Petgerello see below under Inverethy.



RMS IV (2981) 1579-80 refers to half of 3 bovates of Pyttogartie. (Also RS36/2/237r 1607). We know from the Books of Assumption and Retours (Ross) (91) 1643 that Pithogarty was ½ davach. The ‘missing’ fourth bovate is probably the one that features in Retours (Ross) (31) 1609. This seems to have been 6s 8d Old Extent which is what we would expect at a conversion rate of 1 davach to 4m. Further support is given by Retours (Ross) (25) 1607 where 2½ bovates of Ballacuithe and half of 3 bovates (i.e. 1½ bovates) of Pittogartie (a total of 4 bovates or ½ a davach) had an old extent of 26s 8d (2m).



ALI (23) 1436-7 shows that Ballecuith (i.e. Balkeith) was formerly known as Balmaduthy. RMS IV (2981) 1579-80 & Retours (Ross) (25) 1607 refer to 2½ bovates of Ballikucht or Ballacuithe. Retours (Ross) (147) 1688 refers to the 4 bovates (½ davach) of Bellacuith & the New Reveninlands.

Also RS36/2/237r 1607, RS37/6/453r 1642.



GD305/1/74/87 1533 refers to 8m of Plaidis. If this is New Extent then it is just over ¾ davach..

GD96/109 1566, GD96/209/5 1568, GD96/209/6 1562, GD96/209/8 1567, GD96/213 1585, GD96/218 1585, GD96/266 1597 all refer to oxgangs in Plaids.



Watson PNRC p 35 comments that this is near to the ancient chapel of St Duthus. Kirkskeith was ex bishopric lands in RSS VI (47, No 3) 1567. Probably ¼ davach in RMS VI (265) 1595 where Reddendo included ¼ custom mart. Quarter-davach in Retours (Ross) (73) 1628; quarterland in GD71/66 1653 & GD71/181 1756. Books of Asumption pp 651-2 gives ‘Kerskeith’ paying 3m yearly.



See also Inverbreackie in Rosskeen parish which was paired with Balnagall in early documents. It is mentioned in RMS IV (1144) 1556-7 (on an original of 1556) while GD305/1/47/12 (1666-1729) gives it as a half-davach. It is the same as Inverachynegall of Retours (Ross) (30) 1608 which had an Old Extent of 23s 4d or 1¾m. Retours (Ross) (55) 1634 gives the same extent but the place-name is now Inner Auchnagall. The first element of the name has changed from baile (township) to achadh (field) and inbhir (river-mouth) has been prefixed. Macgill p 252, No 639, 1761 gives Inverachnagall alias Balnagall. In GD305/1/47/12 Balnagall is linked with grazings on ‘Morich More’ and the ‘Badis’. (I would expect the half-davach of Balnagall to have an Old Extent of 26s 8d or 2m but the Retours are riddled with errors so either this is a mistake or a small portion – a half-oxgate? – had been hived off for a croft).



ALI (99) 1470 gives Inverethie as within the liberty of Tain. Fraser, Earls of Cromartie II pp 339-40 gives a 1489 document which describes Innerathy as being within the ‘immunity’ of Tain. RS38/2/147r 1664 refers to the davoch of Invereathie extending to 8 bovates – ‘eight oxegait lands’ – with the ‘Morichmore’ within the liberty of Tain. Retours (Ross) (147) 1688 describes the davach of Innerethie as extending to 8 bovates. Retours (Ross) (104) 1652 mentions 7 of them. Blaeu’s map of Moray marks Inner Ethy betweeen Plaids and Balcherry – likewise Gordon(18) for Inner-Ethie. This makes it different to Innur (Pont/Gordon(20)) or Innurv (Gordon(18)) which was north of Loch Slin and now Inver at NH 8682.

Books of Asumption pp 651-2 c. 1561 lists ‘Innerrartie & Balna touch’ as ½ davach. In the context of Tain parish it is difficult to see ‘Innerrartie’ as being anything other than Inverethy and either ‘Balna touch’ is a lost property which lay nearby or, more probably, is Balkeith (which is not otherwise listed in this document). The next property in the Books of Assumption is Petgerello at ½ davach. This is either Pitnellies (which was ½ a davach) or is a unique reference to another now-lost farm. I think it is more likely to be Pitnellies which was ENE of Inverethy according to Gordon(18).

How then do we reconcile the fact that Inverethy is described as a davach in 1688 but only ½ a davach (with Balkeith) c. 1561? I think it most likely that in the mid-sixteenth century Inverethie and Balkeith were combined into a half-davach which was often just referred to as Balkeith. By the mid-seventeenth century they had been further combined with Pitnellies into a davach which went under the name of Inverethie. What changed was not the assessment but the names by which these lands were known. See also RHP 275/1-3 1750.


Lochslin & Newton

In the Books of Asumption pp 651-2 it is stated that half of this davach belonged to the Bishop of Ross and half paid to the Subdean of Ross. RMS II (3764) 1512.



Books of Asumption pp 651-2 gives ‘Anley’ paying 2m yearly. OPS II, II, p 427 spells it Auley. The only place-name which bears any resemblance is Aldie in NH 7880. Retours (Ross) (109) 1656 shows this to have been bishopric land so Anley is most probably Aldie. RMS VI (59) 1593-4.


Morrich More

The Morrich More represents a large area of flat coastal plain ENE of Tain. Much of it has probably always been of marginal economic value but it is defined in RMS V (1331) 1587 where it gave an annual return of £10 (15m). It is defined as lying between the Briggs (i.e. Gizzen Briggs) on the north, Polnagragak on the east, the ferry of Tain and the sea on the west, and the lands of Inverathie, Petnellie, Ballacherie, Ballingall and Newtoun on the south. See also Macgill pp 383-4, No 961.


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