Thurso Table


For Dorrery see Halkirk.

Name Value Date Grid Ref Map Sources Other forms, comments etc
(Mains of) Murkle

West Murkle

West Murkle







ND 1669

ND 1569




Book of Thanes of Cawdor pp 54-5 1472.

4d Murkle-bewest (i.e. by west) in RMS XI (53) 1661.

4½d Murkle be west in RS20/1/p 191 1664.

East Murkle was in Olrig parish. See below.

Bordland of Murkle 4d 1583   Blaeu(Caithness)


Barland in Blaeu. GD96/199. See below.
Pennyland (1d)   ND 1068 Roy(FC)


West side of Thurso. Ex-bishopric according to Henderson, Caithness Family History p 189.
Six pennyland 6d 1527     ‘Sixpennyland’ in RMS III (475) 1527 – separate to ‘Bordland’.

GD96/38 1546 refers to the ‘sax penne land’ and the ‘brodland’ (bordland) of Murkle. RS36/2/188v 1607, RS36/2/282r 1607 & RS36/2/282v 1607 (John Mansone in). Other examples in Latheron and Halkirk (q.v.).

(Mains of) Brims

West Brims

East Brims

27d 1560/5 ND 0471

ND 0469

ND 0570





See below.
Thusater     ND 0669 Blaeu(Caithness)


Thursetter in Blaeu. Another similar name in Wick parish.

Henderson, Caithness Family History p 239.

See below under Brims.

Weydale including Todholes 20d 1762     Henderson, Agriculture, p 39. Sutherland p 31.
Weydale (1d+?)   ND 1464 Thomson(1822) See below.
Todholes     ND 1264 Roy(FC)


Cairnfield 1d 1698-1716 ND 1464/1564   Described in SC14/90/4 1698-1716 as in Weydale.
Carsgoe     ND 1363/1463 Blaeu(Caithness)


Caskun in Blaeu. RMS III (3164-5) 1545.
Forss (12d)




ND 0368 Blaeu(Caithness)




OPS II, II p 750 quoting Sutherland Charters. See below.

GD139/74 – with Crosskirk which may not be part of the 8d.

Forss Common RHP 2951, 3907.

Crosskirk     ND0369/0370 Roy(FC)



Portcrosh in Roy.
Lythmore (6d) 1564 ND 0566 Blaeu(Caithness)




Lyth in Blaeu & Gordon. See below.
Hoy     ND 1460 OSA Map(1798)


Broch (possible) Hoy – ND 141606.
Sordale 12d 1692 ND 1462 Blaeu(Caithness)


From M Bangor-Jones (1987), pp 15-16, quoting GD112/9/4/3.
Clairdon 6d 1616 ND 1469 Blaeu(Caithness)



RMS VII (1508) 1616.

3d of in RS20/1/pp 10-11 1647.


Broynach 4d 1660 ND 1567 Blaeu(Caithness)



GD112/58/14/5 1660. Linked to Stitley (ND 1468) in valuation rolls of 1702, 1751 & 1802. See below.


Ormlie 3d






ND 1067 Blaeu(Caithness)



Armelie in RSS Vol VII (987) 1577 ex bishopric. Ormlee in Blaeu. Also RMS V (1088) 1586.

RMS XI (53) 1661. See below.

Oust     ND 0665 Roy(FC)


Broch (possible) – ND 063655.
Thurso East 7¾d 1574 ND 1268/1269 Roy(FC)


GD96/148 1574 ‘in Thursoch by east the water’. See below.
Thurso 9d 1472 ND 1168 Blaeu(Caithness)




RHP 3908

Thursacht – Book of Thanes of Cawdor pp 54-5. See below
Turdale     ND 1367   =Turdell-croft? See under Thurso East below.
Shalmstry     ND 1364   Broch (possible) – ND 131644. Chelmistre in RMS V (2078) 1592.

Scrabster Mains

9½d 1557 ND 1070

ND 0969




RHP 2791, 2792

The charters suggest that this 9½d did not comprise all of Scrabster because they refer to the lands of John Mackewin and William Ranaldsoun being excepted.

See below.

Buckies     ND 1063 Roy(FC)


Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, p 49.
Geise (Meikle)     ND 1064 Blaeu(Caithness)



Geismekill in RSS VIII (1551) 1583. West of R. Thurso.

Geese in Blaeu. Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, pp 48-9.

Broch (possible) – ND 103648.


Upper Geiselittle

    ND 1165

ND 1265

Thomson(1822) East of R. Thurso. Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, p 43.


Howe     ND 0963   Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, p 49.
Holborn Head 2d 1663 ND 1071 Blaeu(Caithness)




See below.
Langland     ND 0767    
Aimster 1d 1698-1716 ND 1163 Blaeu(Caithness)




Amster in Blaeu. 1d Ainster in SC14/90/4 1698-1716.

Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, p 49.

RMS VII (1508) 1616 lists Aimstir under both Thurso and Halkirk/Skennand parishes. It may be another example of a large Norse farm split between parishes.

Thurdystoft     ND 1066/1166 OSA Map(1798)


W. of R. Thurso and Bleachfield. Another in Olrig.

Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, pp 47-8.

Achingills     ND 1563 OSA Map(1798)


Stainland 8⅛d 1660 ND 1266 Blaeu(Caithness)




GD112/58/14/8 1660.

Staneland in Blaeu.

See also under Murkle below.

Total 149⅜d +        


RMS VII (1508) 1616 gives the following properties in Thurso: Aimstir, Geis-Meikill, Schaldaill, Geis-Littill, Carskune, Vydaill, Stainland + mill, fishings on River Thurso and the cruives (fish-traps), tenements of Thurso, lands of Thurso-be-eist, half of 6d in Clairdain, manor-place of Thurso-be-eist, Tordaill, Urucquy (or Gaitquy), Hollowtoftis, quarter of Ormelie, salmon-fishing boat on River Thurso, (the other) half of the 6d of Clairdain, quarter of Murkill, Ormilie, Murkall, Bronoch, Brodlanden.


The Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, deals extensively with the farms of Thurso parish. The principal farms are listed (p 47) as:




Achingils and Swarty




+ Carsgo & Hoy.

Other farms are also discussed:

Ormly (p 41); Thurdistoft (pp 47-8); Bleachfield (p 48); Glengolly (p 48); Whitefield (p 48); Geise (pp 48-9); Geise Little (p 43); How (p 49); Upper How or George Town (p 49); Buckies (p 49); Aimster (p 49);



GD96/38 1546 refers to 6d and the ‘brodland’ (bordland) of Murkle. RMS IV (2130) 1572-3 refers to the sunny side of Murkill. This would be the east or south side of Murkle but I am uncertain as to whether we are dealing with Murkle in Thurso or East Murkle in Olrig.

RS20/1/p 191 1664 also refers to Hallowtofts, Cairdscroft, Oldfield of Staineland and Subster. For the first three of these see also Henderson, Caithness Family History pp 146-7. There is an Oldfield Farm north of Stainland in ND 1267.

See also RMS III (2047) 1539.


Bordland of Murkle

Although the name does not survive on the map the documents show this farm once existed as the ‘table-land’ or mensal land designated to support the estate centre at Murkle. In GD96/204 1583 the 4d of the Bordland is with the ‘scheiltounis’ (sheiling-touns) called Achechrastall & Cormabind.

RS36/2/188v 1607 says a quarter of Borland de Murkill was 2d – which would mean the whole of the Borland was 8d.



RMS IV (2578) 1576 on original of 1560, and RMS V (1766) 1590 on original of 1587, refer to the lands of the eastern half of Brymmes called Thursetter with 5¼d lying next to the burn which divided Brymmes. These were bishopric lands which came to the Innes family. (See also RS36/2/305v 1607).

RMS IV (1669) 1565 refers to 13½d of (Half) Brims. See also RMS V (277) 1581 on original of 1580. These were separate to the above – but also ex-bishopric. Brims was apparently (2 x 13½d or) 27d. OPS II, II p 751 (quoting Sutherland Charters) gives a document which refers to part of the Bishopric lands of Brims – but apparently not those referred to in RMS IV (2578) 1576 on original of 1560. See also RSS VI (2536) 1574, RSS VIII (1552) 1583 & RMS VI (1729) 1606.

RMS XI (53) 1661 refers to 13¼d (probably an error for 13½d) Brymulie (Brims), ‘besides the lands thereof, let to Mr Walter Innes’. A Walter Innes had actually been let these lands nearly a century earlier because they are referred to in RMS IV (1669) 1565 (on original of 1564).

RSS VIII (1552) 1583 refers to the ‘assignation of the feu mails of the lands of Thureflatter [Thusater] and Half Brynnis [Brims], … pertaining heritably to William Innes and Mr Robert Innes, his son’.

RS20/1/pp 175-6 1663 refers to the eastern half of Brims which comprised Thurster and 5¼d of Brims which lay adjacent. It also refers to the burn running through the middle of Brims.

It appears that Brims comprised two halves of 13½d each and that the eastern half included Thusater (which may once have been its nearby settr or shieling). 27d would be 1½ ouncelands or 4½ davachs – neither of which figures seem likely.

4d Wester Brims in RS21/1/327r 1701.



RMS III (3164-5) 1545 – Weddell?

SC14/90/4 1698-1716 refers to 1d in Cairnfield in Weydale. This may only represent part of Weydale.



The rental in 1557 (OPS II, II p 750) suggests the bishop’s lands of Forss were worth 12d. See text file ‘Inferring pennylands from rentals’.



I have found no references to Lythbeg so it may be that the Lyth in Thurso parish was called Lythmoir simply to distinguish it from another Lyth in Bower parish.

RMS IV (1669) 1565 on original of 1564, refers to ‘binam partem’ (⅔) of Lythtmoir with 2d of a ⅓ part. The whole, therefore, was 6d or a davach.

RMS VI (1729) 1606 refers to ‘binam partem’ (⅔) of Lythmoir with 2d of a ⅓ part + mill, mill-lands, alehouses and crofts. (A mill of Lyth is separately mentioned). Lythmoir was ex-bishopric.

See also RMS V (277) 1581 on original of 1580, Retours (Caithness) (6) 1605 and RHP 2793, 2794, 2795, 2796.



Broenach in the ‘Testament of Alexander Suthyrland of Dunbeath, 1456,’ printed in The Bannatyne Miscellany Vol. III, p 98, Edinburgh, 1855.

A MacKay property in 1499 (RMS II (2506)). RMS III (2048) 1539, (3215) 1545-6.

RSS IV (1374) 1551, (3060) 1555. RMS IV (1635) 1565. Records of the Parliaments of Scotland (online), 19/4/1567 – NAS PA2/10, II, ff 22v-23r. RS36/2/96r 1606. RS36/2/266r 1607.



Sutherland, Caithness 1770 to 1832, pp 29-30 gives 3 x ½d (=1½d) in Ormlie in 1596.

RS36/2/188v 1607 says a quarter of Ormlie was 1½d – which would mean the whole of Ormlie was 6d. RMS X (532) 1656 on original of 1642. Retours (Caithness) (35) 1693 deals with a tenement in the upper part of Thurso which formerly belonged to Ormlie. SC14/90/4 1698-1716 refers to ‘3 bolls sowing of the mains land of Ormelie’.

Appendix to Henderson, Agriculture, p 41, has the following explanation:

“Ormly Boll-sowings. – A beautiful field near Thurso, was called the Boll-sowings, being let to the people of the town, in lots sufficient to sow a boll of barley. … It contained in all, about 50 acres”.


This description of an Extent of land in terms of bolls of seed required to sow it is common in Moray where a davach was reckoned at 48 bolls sowing. If we reckon 48 bolls per davach in Caithness (as for Moray) that would equate to 8 bolls per pennyland so 3 bolls would be ⅜ of a pennyland or 3 ‘ottums’.


See also RS20/1/p 10 1646.


Thurso East

RMS V (2078) 1592 refers to ‘6d in Thurso-be-eist, called Turdell-croft’ (see Turdale above). A footnote states that the Privy Seal Register adds ‘Cawdis-croft’. 1d in – GD112/58/8/37 1639.



Retours (Caithness) (19) 1632 refers to ‘The Fischill’ in Thurso. In Retours (Caithness) (29) 1672  this is a tenement called ‘The Fishgill’. Retours (Caithness) (24, 26, 27, 35 and 37) all refer to tenements in Thurso. The Extent is often stated as a stone of tallow or wax which implies the tenements were of the same size. RSS V Part II (3465) 1567. RMS V (2346) 1593 on original of 1582.



See ‘The Accounts of the Great Chamberlains of Scotland’, Vol I, pp 19, 22, 24-26. The accounts, rendered by Robert of ‘Peblis’ in 1328 have references to Scrabster because the bishopric of Caithness was then vacant. (This does not fit well with the chronology in Dowden’s ‘The Bishops of Scotland’ p. 235). At any rate the evidence is important in giving us an early spelling of Scrabster. It reads ‘Scrabost’ followed by a truncation sign, presumably for an ending in -er or -ar. This is an interesting contrast to so many of the other Norse farm names in Caithness where the element is very often ‘bust’.

However, ER I p 116 reads ‘Scrabester’.

NLS Dep.313/3312/1 1577 gives 1½d Scrabister and 5½d Scrabister Mylne.

See Sutherland Book III No 97, RMS IV (1669) 1565, RMS V (277) 1581, Retours (Caithness) (6) 1605, RMS VI (1729) 1606. For Scrabster Castle see also RMS II (1404) 1478 on original of 1455.

RS20/1/p 159 1662 gives us some fine detail within the barony of Scrabster. A pennyland of arable ground is described in relation to its neighbours – including Gallowhill. There was also a half-pennyland called Woolfburne. Both Gallowhill and Woolfburne have now disappeared from the map but OS 6” 1st Series, Caithness Sheet V, 1872, marks Gallow Hill in ND 1068 and Wolfburn at ND 103680.

Broch (possible) – ND 093703.

Broch (possible) – ND 086696.


Holborn Head

GD139/104 1663 refers to 2d Holburnhead & Outersquoy & Symmerdene Bankis in the barony of Scrabster and of the ½d above the mill of Scrabster.

RS20/1/p 181 1664 has similar data with some spelling variations. These lands were ex-bishopric.

Retours (Caithness) (29) 1672 refers to Hawburnheid, Sandiquoy & Utersquoye.


Broch (possible) Brimside Tulloch – ND 049669.

Broch (possible) Thing’s Va – ND 080682.

Broch (possible) Thing’s Va – ND 081682.


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