Township: Balemartine

Map Reference:

Name Type: township or watercourse

Meaning: "Lèig is usually understood to mean a 'low-lying, level marshy area', but its earlier meaning was 'brook, slow-running stream'; the word is a loan from the Old Norse word løkr, which had the latter sense." Cox R 2002, The Gaelic Place-names of Carloway, 79

Lèig-a-Deas 'the south stream'

Other Forms: A' Lèig - EK

Lèig or Lèig-a-Deas - HMcL

Related Places:

Information:"Gu'n dean i'n Leig a chiosnachad" - Na Baird Thirisdeach, ed. Rev Hector Cameron, An Comunn Thirisdeach, 1932, p356.

The Gaelic Otherworld, ed Ronald Black, p58:
At the time of the American War of Independence, a native of Tiree similarly afflicted and wishing to escape from his Fairy love, enlisted and was drafted off to the States. On landing he thanked God he was now where the hag could not reach him. Soon after, however, she met him. "You have given thanks," she said, "for getting rid of me, but it is as easy for me to make my appearnce here as in your own country." She then told him what fortunes were to befall him, that he would survive the war and return home, and that she would not then trouble him any more. "You will marry there and settle. You will have two daughters, one of whom will marry and settle in Croy-Gortan [Heylipol], the other will marry and remain in your own house. The one away will ask you to stay with herself, as her sister will not be kind to you. Your death will occur when you are crossing the Lèig." All this in due course happened.

A man in Balemartine on the south side of Tiree (air an leige deas) whose wife had died in childbed was sitting one night soon after with a bunch of keys in his hands. He saw his wife passing and repassing him several times. The following night she came to him in his dreams, and reproached him for not having thrown the bunch of keys at her, or between her and the door, to keep the keep the fairies from taking her back with them. He asked her to come another night, but she said she could not, as the company she was with was removing that night to another brugh far away.

The Lèigich or 'Marsh people' of Balemartine were the fishing community there. JGC's air an lèige deas, better perhaps air an Lèig a-deas ('on the Southern marsh'), is intended to distinguish the Lèig of Balemartine from that of Kilmoluaig in the north.
There are two Lèig placenames on Tiree, one in Kilmoluaig and one in Balemartine. The Balemartine may be called Lèig-a-Deas to distinguish it - JH.

An old name for Balemartine - EK

The nickname for someone from Balemartine is a Lèigeach - HMcL and Donald MacNeill, Crossapol.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Eilidh Kennedy (Eilidh bheag), Balevullin, 5/1996

Informant 2: Hugh MacLean, Barrapol, 12/1996