Township: Barrapol,Barrapol

Map Reference: Barrapol 7

Name Type: sub-township

Meaning: Barrapol | There are no documentary records of this name, which refers to a row of derelict cottars' houses on the Barrapol machair. The first man to build a house here is said to have been Donald MacNeill (Donald MacNeill, Dòmhnall an Tàilleir, The Land, pers. comm.: his grandson), who was born around 1804 and married in 1836. The 1851 Census shows him on the Barrapol machair and it is likely that this is roughly when the first house on The Land was built. Several of the cottars here had been displaced from Middleton due to the kelp factory built by the English-speaking chemist Stanford in 1863.

This is likely to be one of the earliest Scots place-names on the island. Sc Land has a number of meanings, including 'soil which has still to be turned over by the ploughshare; arable land as opposed to pasture'. Samuel Johnson, in his Journey to the Western Isles in 1775, wrote: 'According to the different mode of tillage, farms are distinguished into long land and short land. Long land is that which affords room for a plough, and short land is turned up by the spade.' (DSL) An area of ground to the west is known as ScG An Dòid 'the small farm' (Dwelly).
It is possible, however, that this is a Gaelic, and now English, loan-name from the Norse. There are at least three possibilities for this simplex name:
• OI lön 'row of houses' (CV, 406). London occurs five times as a name in the Northern Isles; Lönd occurs four times as a farm name in Iceland (SAM)
• ON land 'land, estate' (CV, 370). There are about 2,000 qualified compound Norwegian place-names in -land, for example Rogaland (Særheim, in Gammeltoft et al. 2005, 216). There is a Friesland on Coll, which Johnston derives from ON land. She goes on to quote Marwick: 'In general [land names] are substantial farms ... without doubt very early settlements.' (Johnston 1991, 122) Land is quite common on Islay (Macniven 2015, 76), where Foreland comes from ON fóðr + land 'fodder land' (Macniven 2015, 317). On St Kilda, an early name Land dotteros may derive from ON Land dóttirs 'the land of the daughter' (Cox 2007c, 23); Land is a common generic in Orkney, for example Holland < Hàland 'high land' (Sandnes 2010a, 122); in Shetland, 'land is common as the second part of a compound, e.g. de Bakkalands' (Jakobsen 1936, 76); the same is true in Iceland, as in Eyrarland (SAM). However, Land is not common on its own as a simplex name. There is only one other example of Land as a simplex in Scotland, at the Norse-sounding Middlebie in Dumfriesshire (SP); there is a Land in Søndre Land, Norway (NG) and Land(e) is recorded three times as a farm name in OR; Landið is a settlement name in the Faroe Islands (KO). It does not occur in Iceland (SAM). Simplex ON Landir names are rare in Norway and are thought to date from the Bronze Age (Særheim, in Gammeltoft et al. 2005, 228)
• ON lundr (dative lundi or lund) 'grove, common in place-names ... these places were connected with the worship of groves' (CV, 399). An example is at Lund on Unst (Waugh and Brooke-Freeman, in Turner et al. 2013, 10), where there is a surviving significant twelfth century Norse church (but no groves). Lund(e) is a common farm name in Norway (OR), and Lundur occurs eight times as a farm name in Iceland (SAM). However, although there was a Norse and Christian burial site and chapel near The Land, Tiree (see Fannaid and Circnis in the Gazetteer, and Cnoc a' Chluidh in section 6.3.2.8), this site did not develop into a significant medieval ecclesiastical centre

Other Forms: Land Lag an t-Seagail - NB.

Related Places:

Information:Donald's grandfather came to the Land and built a house - DMcN [?1870/80 -JH]

Local Form:

Languages : English

Informants: Donald MacNeill (Dòmhnall an Tàilleir), The Land, 1/1994

Informant 2: multiple

Informant 3: Neil Brownlie, Barrapol, 3/1995