The Ainslie map of 1775 shown above shows a place by the name of Hunger Himout to the north of Lundin Mill, where Little Pilmuir is now. This lost place name means 'starve him or them out' and has variations including Hunger-em-out. It's the latter that is used in the 24 November 1836 Fife Herald piece below about a pair of men who lived there at the time who were charged with assault. This article states that Hunger-em-out is Hattonlaw but the name does seem to have applied to whole area encompassing Hattonlaw and Little Pilmuir.
The unusual name does appear elsewhere in Fife and further afield within Scotland, including Orkney and Lanarkshire. Another example close by is Hunger emout in the Parish of Kettle shown on the 1775 map too (see further below). The book 'The Place-Names of Fife' by Simon Taylor (2008) explains that this was a "humorously self-deprecating name" which "refers either to poverty of the land or to the fact that it was not big enough to support its inhabitants". The name belongs to a well-defined genre of early modern Scots place names containing a verbal construction. Not dissimilar is the English market town name of Hungerford, which is derived from a Saxon name meaning "ford leading to poor land".
Another reference to the term can be found in the 11 August 1858 North British Agriculturist below. This refers to "the hunger-him-out system of farming" which, in the case described, had reduced the land to worthless remains (caput mortuum in Latin). The suggestion seems to be that the land was depleted due to overuse and that soil fertility was not properly maintained. So perhaps at some point in history areas with this name had been exhausted by over use. Whatever the origins of the name in the Largo case, the Brown family certainly proved that the land could be made productive and that a good living could be made from it.
It is ironic that Largo's 'Hunger-em-out' was where the Brown family had their market garden for many decades. Jimmie Brown was a life-long market gardener, like his father before him and brought produce from Hatton Law to Lundin Links for decades. Before occupying the newly-built shop at the west end of Emsdorf Street from 1903, he sold his produce in the open air at Emsdorf Road. Esther Menzies recalls this as follows: "In the summer time, in a small clearing in the front of the trees, Jimmie Brown set up his hut and sold fruit and vegetables...[which were] green and crisp and were sold in fresh cabbage leaves instead of bags." After Jimmie died in 1943, while walking the road to Hunger-em-out, his niece Alice Brown continued to run the fruit and florist shop (see image at the foot of this post).
Had you heard the name Hunger-em-out? How old do you think this name might be? When did it go out of use? Any thoughts on this interesting name welcome!