History Index : Origin of the Place Name Monymusk

The place name Monymusk is Gaelic in origin so a search on the Ordnance Survey's Glossary of Gaelic origins of place names in Britain gives the following possibilties:

mona is an anglicised form of 'm๒ine'
m๒ine = peat, moss, moor
monadh = mountain, moor, heath
uisge = water, rain, river

The 'Mony' may refer to the peat and mossy ground, or the moors and hills. However, there are no real Gaelic possibilities for 'musk' except for (am) 'uisge' meaning (of the) water.

The place name Monymusk refers to the site of the present day House of Monymusk, as this is the area that the original Priory is thought to have been sited. Sir Archibald has always understood the place name to mean 'hill between the waters' as the house is surrounded by hills with a burn on one side and the River Don on the other.

The early spelling of Monymusk in around 1120 was Munimusc which changed to Monimusk and eventually Monymusk from the 15th Century onwards. These early spellings give us a guide to the pronunciation, although local people still pronounce it 'Munny-musk'.