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English nameBirse
Gaelic nameBreis

Location and type of place name

Local authorityAberdeenshire ~ Siorrachd Obar Dheathain
Parish post 1891
County post 1891Aberdeenshire ~ Siorrachd Obar Dheathain
Topographical feature typeSettlement ~ Tuineachadh
Post townAboyne
Postcode areaAB34
OS sheet number
OS grid referenceNO554970
Type of namePlace ~ Àite


Element meaning 
Element type

External Resources

OS maps

Further Information

Language notes 
SourcesThe Gaelic is Am Preas (pronounced press), “the thicket”, or rather “clump of trees”. F. C. Diack, Some Local Place-names, Aberdeen Free Press 31.8.1910 parish of B. sgir bhreis or bhraois i.e. vresh or vraosh ‘Sgir bhrish; tha mi dol do Bhrish.’ Diack MS2276

Preas: Watson in Dwelly

Sgire Bhréis: Watson CW9 [Watson quoting Diack]

The name of this parish in the old documents is written as Brass. That form in Sc. speech would be pronounced Bress (as Clatt is pronounced Clett), whence the present Birse by normal transposition. The first Gaelic sound- noted above, pres, looks like preas, a wood, which with the def. article is am preas, giving the sound Bress.: Inscriptions of Pictland [MacDonald’s comments to Diack’s evidence – almost identical comment in 1952, 176]

There seem to be two competing forms at work (Am) Preas and Br(ao)is. The proposed form was chosen as it derives from Diack’s MS which relates to actual usage rather than discussion of the etymology. Watson’s form with the open [e] suggests he heard rather than read Diack’s pronunciation.
Additional info 
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