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Place Names: Dalserf & Nemphlar

Part of the Mapping the Past trail

Maps are not just important for understanding how places developed over time and for navigation; they also record a host of information about place names. Working alongside volunteers, we have discovered a whole host of interesting places with long and important histories.

Many of the place names in the Clyde and Avon Valley have a long history, with some referring back to the time of the Kingdom of Strathclyde and the Brittonic language speakers of the area. Others are Gaelic in origin while many more are of Scots origin.

Two place names in the Clyde and Avon Valley worthy of mention are Nemphlar and Dalserf. Nemphlar is possibly Brittonic in origin and possibly refers to an ancient assembly place where a king or noble would hold law courts. Who was this noble and why was the area around Nemphlar chosen as an important assembly place?

Dalserf is also an intriguing place name. Dal means flat meadow beside a river in Gaelic, while Serf is a Pictish Saint, with places referring to him more commonly found in Fife. Why is this Saint commemorated here, and has it got anything to do with the 10th century Viking hogback gravestone in the Kirkyard?

The Hog Back Stone at Dalserf Kirkyard.

This listing was created as part of the Mapping the Past project, managed by Northlight Heritage and delivered by CAVLP Heritage. Explore the site as part of the Mapping the Past trail (see right).

Area Guide