Gallowhill (or spaces matter)

Before the pandemic I’d played about with family history  on hot days in January, but it was only with the pandemic that I started to play with it seriously, and it’s brought a number of puzzles, one of which was Gallow Hill Farm.

Some of my forebears apparently lived on Gallow Hill farm in the parish of Tealing, which is not that far from Dundee. (Incidentally, Tealing was where John Glas, the founder of the Glasite sect preached – and while there’s no family history connection, the Baxters with whom Mary Shelley visited were members of the Glasite sect.)

This makes perfect sense as Tealing is the next parish going south towards Dundee from Eassie, where I’d already been able to place my ancestors around 1800.

Between Tealing and Eassie there’s a couple of hills, one of which is called Gallow Hill, so you would naturally tend to assume that the farm was somewhere on the slopes of Gallow Hill.

Well, no.

Having spent more time than I should have staring at the National Library of Scotland’s digitised maps from the early 1840’s I’ve been unable to find any trace of it, which was strange, given that people had turned up in the census as living there.

And then I had an idea, I searched for Gallowhill without the spaces  and there it was – still in the parish of Tealing but at the south end of it near Strathmartine Castle, on the outskirts of Dundee

Screenshot 2022-06-18 123647

it only appears as a named place on the 1840’s six inch map – confusingly on the 1860’s one inch map it’s not named

gallow hill above the ine

and today it seems to have disappeared into outer suburbia

 

gallowhill today

Still, lesson learned.

Just because the census people and the local minister put a space in the name of a farm when recording births, deaths and marriages, it doesn’t mean the original Ordnance Survey surveyors did …

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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