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Aitkenbar

Aitkenbar was the name of farmlands now absorbed in the Bellsmyre and Mansewood housing schemes in Dumbarton. The name, in spite of appearances probably has nothing to do with a personal name "Aitken". The "aitken" part is more likely to have been the Scots aiket or aiken, simply meaning "oaken". The surname "Aitken" may have influenced the spelling.

The second part of the name is barr, an old Celtic word meaning "ridge" or "hill-crest". A "ridge-like hill-crest with some oak trees" seems a fair and likely description of the geography of the area.

The old farmhouse for Aitkenbar Farm stood at the head of a slope almost above where the Barloan roundabout now is.

Aitkenbar Circle, Aitkenbar Drive and Aitkenbar School, all in Bellsmyre, are named after the former farm.


 

Alexandria

Alexandria, the largest of the towns and villages in the Vale of Leven, only dates from the period of industrial development. It was named after the local landowner, Alexander Smollett of Bonhill. He became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army, and was killed at the Battle of Alkmaar in 1799.

In the Old Parish Register of Bonhill, the name 'Alexandria' first occurs in 1788, when Robert Connell and his wife Katherine Freebairn had a son born there on 5th June. Some people used to think that Alexandria had previously been called 'The Grocery'; but this must, in fact, have been a nickname, as it does not appear in the old records until 1797, presumably deriving from a shop in the vicinity.

Alexandria was probably more specifically the area developed outwards from Alexander Street, a street which, it is to be supposed, derived its name from the same person. There have been, apparently, examples of letters sent to Alexandria that have finally arrived at their correct destination via the other Alexandria in Egypt!

Information on 'The Grocery'.


Antonine Wall

The western end of the famous Antonine Wall built by the Romans from about 140 A.D. in the period of the emperor Titus Antoninus, lay within the bounds of what is now West Dunbartonshire. It joined together a series of existing detached forts built in the time of Agricola, the previous emperor. There are few physical remains in our area, but the wall's existence is the reason for the name of the Antonine Sports Centre in Duntocher, and for Antonine Gardens, a road in Duntocher that runs off Beeches Road eastwards adjacent to Glenhead football park.


Auchenreoch

This former farm on the moor above Dumbarton derived its name from the Gaelic achadhean (="fields") riabhach (="brindled", i.e. greyish brown-streaked), a description that suited the land.

Auchenreoch Avenue is one of the streets in Bellsmyre, Dumbarton. Quite a few streets in this 20th century housing development were named after nearby or former farms in the vicinity.


Auchentorlie

This small estate on the slopes above Bowling in the Parish of Old Kilpatrick, derived its name from land that had anciently been given the Gaelic description achadh (="field"), an (="by", or "of the") torr liath (="grey, conical hill").


Auchentoshan

Auchentoshan lies a short distance to the west of Duntocher. At one time it was a farm, but today is associated with a small whisky distillery.

The Ordnance Survey map from c. 1860 shows clearly Auchentoshan Distillery situated on the land of the Farm of Auchentoshen (as it was spelt then).

The name derives from the Gaelic achadh (="field") an t' (="by the") oisean (="nook" or "corner"). Note that "s" followed by "e" in Gaelic is pronounced "sh".

Deriving from this place name are the names of: Auchentoshan Avenue (in Duntocher), Auchentoshan Cottages and Auchentoshan Distillery.