Gaelic, Norse, Brittonic? A look into the history and origins of placenames around our area.

Spinningdale is of Scandinavian origin, Spenja-dalr, ‘attractive dale ’. From Spöng, spangar, a plot of ground, and Dalr, valley. It has nothing to do with Mr Dempster’s spinning factory destroyed by fire in 1809. The Statistical Account states that the village and cotton manufactory were established there in the late 1700s. 

Another name of viking origin is Swordale, from old Norse Sigurðar-dalr, ‘Sigurd’s valley’. The name may be related to Sigurd Eysteinsson or Sigurd the Mighty (d 892), which according to the Orkneyinga saga is buried in a mound on the bank of the River Oykel, probably Sidera, or Sigurðar-haugr (Sigurd’s tomb) now known as Cyderhall farm near Dornoch.
Sources: Old-lore miscellany of Orkney Shetland Caithness and Sutherland, Vol II,1909 / www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk
Ruins of the old mill at Spinningdale cc-by-sa/2.0 – © sylvia duckworth – geograph.org.uk/p/2792392


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