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The name Govan, the Kirk and the Doomster Hill

MacQuarrie, Alan (1997) The name Govan, the Kirk and the Doomster Hill. Annual Report of the Society of Friends of Govan Old, 7. pp. 1-3.

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Abstract

The modern Gaelic name of Govan is Baile a'Ghobhainn, "smith's homestead", although there is no early attestation to this. I have suggested that this is probably a back-formation, since in modern pronunciation this would become Balgowan or Balgown, and since Govan appears to have been first and foremost an ecclesiastical settlement rather than a secular one, I have tentatively made the alternative suggestion that the name might derive from a diminutive form of Gaelic gob, "beak, nose": gobán, "little beak", referring to the promontory of raised ground on which the kirkyard is situated, stretching into the flood plain of the Clyde.