Township: Gott

Map Reference: Gott 300

Name Type: township

Meaning: This is an unqualified simplex name in ON gata (dative g?tu) ‘a road or path bounded by walls’. Fellows-Jensen discusses the three instances of the name Gott or Goat in Shetland (Sigurðardóttir 2010, 110). ‘Old Norse gata fem. is registered in Jakobsen’s Etymological Dictionary as *goda or *gøda. The preceding asterisk indicates that the Old Northern form referred to is assumed to be the original one. I take the quality of the first vowel in these forms to reflect the fact that place-names tended to occur in the dative case and hence that the noun gata would show u-mutation to götu. This is shown by the spellings in ø and it also seems most likely that the o-spellings represent the mutated form. Intervocalic and final -t normally develop to -d in Norn, but Jakobsen notes that as an unqualified simplex place-name *gata, in which the final unstressed vowel is lost, the t always survives and is frequently doubled, got or gott’ (Sigurðardóttir 2010, 113-4).
It is difficult to identify a local feature today in Gott that could be described as a ‘road or path bounded by walls’. The old cattle drove route (from the west end of the island to Lònamar in Caolas where they were loaded into boats), skirted the north end of the waterway An Fhadhail at Balephetrish at ScG Cumhang Bhaile Phèadrais ‘the narrows of Balephetrish’ (Donald Sinclair, West Hynish, talking to Eric Cregeen, SA 1968/245/A, from Eric Cregeen 2004, 153), went across the sliabh of Gott, down ScG Ùtraid Chirceabol ‘the side road of Kirkapol’, and onto ScG An Tràigh Mhòr ‘the big beach’. Local tradition maintained that there was a ‘toll gate’ in Balephetrish, which taxed traffic passing through the township (Hector MacPhail, Ruaig, oral source).
Names in, ‘gata, *i g?tu [the dative case], are common in Norway as farm names’ (Jakobsen 1936, 45). It is therefore probable that this name does not refer to a local feature but was brought to Tiree as a transfer name.
‘There are 29 farms of this name in Norway...Iceland has 25 names in gata and the Faroe Islands two, but there are none in Orkney’ (Stewart, 115). There is a Beinn Ghòt and a Gro Ghot on North Uist (1876 OS 6 inch first edition). Gata occurs four times as a farm name in Iceland (SAM). Street names in, for example york, ending in -gate contain this element.

Other Forms: God - The map MVLA INSVLA in the Atlas of Scotland, Atlas Novus, by Joan Blaeu, 1654. These maps were largely based on work by Timothy Pont who mapped Scotland between 1583 and 1596. NLS, 123.

Gott - The Turnbull Map of Tiree 1768 and accompanying survey text.

Gott - Typed List of Inhabitants of Tyree and their Age in September 1779.
Taken from an unknown publication, 1998.201.1

Gott and Vuille possessed by the minister (1794) - Argyll Estate Instructions, ed. Eric Cregeen, Scottish History Society, 1964





Related Places:

Information:Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005), p 260:

A fishing boat or skiff belonging to the people of Gortendonald, in the west end of Tiree, was sold because ‘things’ were said to have been seen about it till no one belonging to the village would venture to sea in it. It waqs brought by some persons in Scarinish (in the east end of the island) who professed not to believe in taibhsearachd, or second sight. They gave the loan of it to people in Vaul, on the north side of the island. Here sights began again to be seen about it, and it was even said that at a time when it was hauled up on dry land, six men were seen rowing in it and one steering.
At last no one at all would venture to sea in the boat, and it was sent back to Scarinish. So strong was the feeling that the Vaul men would not venture with it through the Black Water (am Bun Dubh), as the sound between Coll and Tiree is called, but drew it across the land to Gott Loch, whence the Scarinish people took it home. After this its odour in the east end of Tiree became so bad that it was sold again to villagers in the west end, at some distance from the place it originally came from. Here it terminated its career in Tiree by drowning six men. (Footnote 873)
Footnote 873: Gortendonald, Goirtean Dòmhnaill (‘Donald’s Field’) is the Gaelic name for Barrapol (Norse bara ‘burial-ground’, bol ‘town’) in the south-western part of Tiree. Vaul is in Gaelic Bhalla, from Norse fiall ‘hill’. ‘Gott Loch’, Loch Ghot, is Gott Bay. See p. 262.

There were 40 houses in Gott at one time. Nine crofts were amalgamated into Gott Farm in 1910 - Rosie MacIntyre, Scarinish, 9/1994.

Gott Farm - Archie MacIntyre, Gott, 10/2015

Local Form:

Languages : Norse