NX4166 : Minnigaff (Monigaff) Motte

taken 3 years ago, near to Minnigaff, Dumfries And Galloway, Great Britain

Minnigaff (Monigaff) Motte
Minnigaff (Monigaff) Motte
Minnigaff Motte sits on the tip of a promontory at the confluence of the Penkiln Burn and the river Cree. It was first recorded in 1209, and probably predates this. In his epic poem 'The Wallace,' Blind Harry mentions the storming of the motte and its subsequent destruction in 1298 by William Wallace.
The summit of the motte is now covered by mature woodland. It is roughly oval, 106 feet long and 45 feet broad at its widest part, and is separated from the rest of the promontory by an artificial ditch 50-60 feet wide which has since been used as an extension to the graveyard of Minnigaff Church. A path leads from the ditch to the summit of the motte through a gap in the northern embankment.

Further to information passed to me by local resident Mr John Hannay concerning the pronunciation and spelling of 'Minnigaff', I researched the place name more thoroughly. Mr Hannay could recall his grandfather taking him to task for calling the church 'Minnigaff', insisting it should be called 'Monigaff' - as it is spelt on the nameplate at the church door. The name has been spelt in a variety of ways over the centuries: Minnigaff, Minigaff, Monigaff, Monygof (that one is from the Great Seal of 1504) Monegoff, Monigow, Munigoiff, Munygaff.

Prof John McQueen in his book "Place Names of the Wigtownshire Moors and Machars" states that the name is "pure Welsh" (ie. ancient British) - mynydd y goff (pr. mon-y-goff) - the hill of the smith.

That suggests two things to me: firstly the Welsh name indicates that the 'motte' site was occupied long before the early mediaeval period, and secondly that Mr Hannay's grandfather was quite correct in his pronunciation.
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NX4166, 150 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 31 May, 2014   (more nearby)
Submitted
Monday, 2 June, 2014
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Historic sites and artefacts  Woodland, Forest 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NX 4102 6649 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:58.0560N 4:29.1004W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NX 4103 6648
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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