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(View from the Blackhill of Cowdenknowes, looking back towards the Eildons)


"Cowdenknowes" (pronounced "Cow - den - now's" ) was originally "Coldenknollis". It was then corrupted into "Coldunknowes". This was eventually corrupted again into "Cowdenknows" and then "Cowdenknowes" (which was immortalized in the old Scottish Folk song "
The Broome o' the Cowdenknowes") and more recently into the modern English of "Coldingknowes".

In Scotland, "Cowden" stands for colltuinn, which is Gaelic for "Hazel". The word knowes means hilltop. Thus the place name may well indicate the "Hazel knolls" or the more modern "Hazel Hill".

Here is an except from the "Scottish place name Society", GENERAL SURVEY OF LOTHIAN [139], Original pagination [pp] from W.J. Watson, History of the Celtic Placenames of Scotland, 1926 (reprinted 1993 by BIRLINN, Edinburgh, ISBN 1 874744 06 8).

"Cowdenknowes is Coldenknollis, 1559 (Lib. Melr.); Coldunknowes and Coldin- in Blaeu ; here 'Cowden' stands for colltuinn, calltuinn, hazel, as it usually does in Scots; the name is a hybrid, meaning 'hazel knolls".

Here are some examples of the different spellings recorded as follows;

Document/Record & Date

Spelling on Record

Crown Charter of Erection, Jan 15th, 1634

COLDINKNOWIS

Crown Charter of Confirmation, Dec 16th, 1872

COLDINGKNOWS

County of Berwick, Search Sheet No. 101

COWDENKNOWES

Extract Decree of Special Service recorded, Mar 15th, 1872

COWDENKNOWS

Register of the great Seal of Scotland

January 15th, 1634               

                COLDOUNKNOWIS

June 28th, 1634

COLDOUNKNOWIS

November 7th, 1634

COLDOUNKNOWIS

July 1st, 1646

COLDOUNKNOWES

July 16th, 1649

COLDENKNOWES

General Register of Sasines

Disposition, Nov 15th, 2003

COLDINGKNOWES & COWDENKNOWS

County of Roxburgh, Dec 2nd, 2003 & Feb 6th, 2004

COLDINGKNOWES & COWDENKNOWS

County of Berwick, Feb 6th, 2004

COLDINGKNOWES & COWDENKNOWS

 

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