Scottish Place Names
- Hamilton, New Zealand
For comparability with other cities around the world, Hamilton has been defined as the urban area extending from Horotiu and Rototuna in the north to Rukuhia in the south and from Newstead in the east to Rotokauri and Temple View in the west. Of the names of the 57 suburbs in the Hamilton area that have been identified to date, 19 (33.3%) can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family or personal names. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 11 of them (19.3%), including the name Hamilton itself, appear to have a definite Scottish association.
Picture of Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, via Wikipedia.
Official suburbs and other localities with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely or most probably of Scottish origin are:
- Callum Brae - the name of this suburb recalls Callum McDougal, a Scottish settler (Wikipedia article on Suburbs of Hamilton, New Zealand). Brae is a Scots word meaning a hill or hillside.
- Grandview Heights (Grandview in the Shetland Islands). Grandview was a popular name for neighbourhoods as well as streets in all English-speaking countries during the 19th and early 20th centuries. In most instances, the name was applied to localities that literally afforded a wide panorama. In all probability, this was also the reason for naming the Hamilton neighbourhood as well as the locality in Scotland.
- Hamilton, Hamilton East, Hamilton North and Hamilton West - The name Hamilton has been associated with Scotland since the thirteenth century, probably having been taken there by Walter Fitz Gilbert (Sir Walter de Hameldone). Hameldome/Hamelton was the name of Sir Walter's estate in Leicestershire, central England. According to the Penguin Dictionary of British Place Names (Room, 2003), Hamilton in Old English means 'farmstead in broken country'. The Hamilton City website states that the city was "(n)amed after Captain [John] Fane Charles Hamilton, Commander of HMS Esk, who was killed in the battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga". The Wikipedia article on Hamilton, New Zealand, states that Captain Hamilton was Scottish but does not provide evidence to substantiate this. The graphic here is the crest of the Hamilton family.
- Harrowfield - there is a small settlement north west of Bankfoot in Perth & Kinross with this name - the only occurrence within the British Isles.
- Livingstone - a village in Dumfries & Galloway. There is also a town in West Lothian, to the west of Edinburgh, called Livingston as well as Livingston's Rocks (a group of rocks off the coast of the Ross of Mull in Argyll & Bute). Livingstone is a Lowland surname, the family claiming descent from a Saxon named Leving, who settled in Scotland during the 12th century (Scarlett, 1975, p. 73). The most famous bearer of this name was David Livingstone, the 19th century explorer of central Africa, who was born in Blantyre, Scotland. The Hamilton suburb was named after landowner J. Livingstone, who subdivided a large proportion of the area in 1916. (Wikipedia article on Livingstone, Waikato, retrieved in September 2012). Aberdeen Primary School is located in the suburb of Livingstone and was named for the Scottish city.
- Melville - there is a Melville House in Fife and Melville Grange and Melville Mains in Midlothian. Melville is also a Scottish family name originally from Dumfries-shire. The Hamilton suburb was named after James Dougal Melville (Wikipedia article on Melville, New Zealand, retrieved in September 2012) who, judging by his name was no doubt Scottish.
- Riverlea - Although the name Riverlea as such is not a Scottish name, there seems to be a Scottish connection in the case of this south-eastern suburb. As explained in the article on Riverlea, New Zealand, retrieved from Wikipedia in September 2012, the name was taken from Riverlea House, the homestead on the property of James McPherson which covered most of modern-day Riverlea and Hillcrest. Both James and McPherson are common Scottish names.
- St Andrews - considering that St. Andrews Golf Course is located in this suburb, it is very likely that the name originates from St. Andrews in Fife. Alternatively, the name may honour Scotland's patron saint. The graphic is of the 18th fairway at the Old Course, St Andrews, Fife.
Other localities with names that can be found in Scotland but that are not unique to Scotland are:
- Ashmore - there is a village in Perth & Kinross called Ashmore, but this name is also used frequently in England.
- Fairfield (Clackmannanshire, Shetland Islands and Stirling) but is found even more commonly throughout England and is also found in Ireland. The article in Wikipedia on Fairfield, Waikato, retrieved in September 2012 provides the following explanation of the origin of the name of the suburb: "Fairfield is named after the dairy farm of John Davies, who bought 100 acres (0.40 km2) from F. R. Claude". Since Davies is a common Welsh surname, it is unlikely that the suburb's name has a Scottish connection.
- Glenview - there is a village in Argyll & Bute called Glenview. However, there is also a luxury hotel in County Wicklow, Ireland with this name and other references to the name are also likely to be found in Ireland since 'glen' is the Gaelic word for 'valley'. The name of this suburb appears to be purely descriptive, as explained in the Wikipedia article on Glenview, New Zealand, retrieved in September 2012: "It was named by Bruce Lugton of developers Lugton Lands. He chose Glenview because he felt it depicted the area perfectly. It was defined as a suburb in 1963." Given that New Zealand was settled far more heavily by the Scots than the Irish there could be a strong case for regarding this as a Scottish-inspired name, though 'glen' as a geographic term has passed into Standard English.
- Huntington (Scottish Borders and East Lothian) but also found all over England. It is also a very popular place name in the USA.
- Newstead (Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders and Midlothian) but found just as commonly in England.
- Northgate Industrial (Northgate in Aberdeenshire) also in four English counties.
- Temple View - Temple occurs as an element in place names in Scotland as well as in England and Ireland. Simple inspection of a map of Hamilton makes it clear, however, that the name is a reference to the Mormon temple in the area. As stated in the Wikipedia article on Temple View, retrieved in September 2012: "Temple View was established in the 1950s out of the construction of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and the Church College of New Zealand by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)."
- Thornton (Angus, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Moray, Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire; also Thornton Burn in East Lothian, Thornton Hill in Perth & Kinross, Thornton Wood in Fife, Thorntonhall in South Lanarkshire and Thorntonloch in East Lothian). However, Thornton is used far more commonly as a place name throughout England and is also found in Ireland and Wales. Moreover, streets in this suburb have mainly English names. Picture of Thornton, Fife, via Wikipedia.
New Zealand was of course a major destination for Scottish settlers, resulting in many Scottish place names in most of its cities and surrounding countryside. Hamilton is no exception in this regard. Of the five cities in New Zealand with a population of 100,000 or more, Hamilton appears to rank second (after Dunedin) in terms of the proportion of its suburbs that have Scottish-related names. The number of parks and reserves in Hamilton that have Scottish names provides further evidence of the contribution made by the Scots to the development of New Zealand's fourth largest city. The list includes Clyde Park (Hamilton East), Edinburgh Reserve (Hillcrest), Galloway Park (Hamilton East), Graham Park (Hamilton West), Hamilton Gardens (Hamilton East), Innes Common (Frankton), Milne Park (Beerescourt), Ranfurly Park (Fairfield), St Andrews Golf Course (St Andrews) and St Andrews Park (St Andrews). There are also at least 200 roads, streets, avenues and crescents throughout the city and suburbs with obviously Scottish names.
- Hamilton City official website.
- Hamilton Map, not dated (Kiwimaps Ltd, Christchurch).
- Room, Adrian (2003). The Penguin Dictionary of British Place Names. (Penguin Books, London).
- Scarlett, James D. (1975). The Tartans of the Scottish Clans. (Collins, Glasgow and London).
- Websites, place name gazetteers and published Ordnance Survey maps of British and Irish cities, towns, villages and counties.
- Wikipedia article on Suburbs of Hamilton, New Zealand.
© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, March 2008
Revised September 2012
If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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