Originally published in the Scotsman on 28 May 2016
This odd-looking Banffshire name has given rise to a number of fanciful derivations, such as it being named from a woman called ‘Maggie Knockater’. If the name were called ‘Maggie Knockater’s Hill’ or the like, this derivation might have some credence.
The name is in fact Gaelic in origin, being most likely Magh an Fhùcadair ‘the field of the cloth fuller’, although the Gaelic form of this name does not seem to have been recorded when traditional Gaelic was used in this area. Parallels exist however, such as in Clacknockater in Glen Isla, Forfar, for which the Gaelic form was recorded as Glaic an Fhùcadair ‘the hollow of the cloth fuller’. Moreover, Ballanucater near Port of Menteith is in Gaelic Baile an Fhùcadair ‘the farm of the cloth fuller’. Although now restricted to the Outer Hebrides, the practice of waulking or fulling the cloth was once commonplace throughout Scotland.
For further research see our database: Maggieknockater