Streetwise: Butterburn


Butterburn, at the top of Hilltown, was a rivulet that took its rise in the Law Hill, ran down what is now Hill Street, and by the existing Main Street course became the tributary of the Dens Burn.

Its oldest name is “Bitterburn” (aqua mara), but the origin of that designation is unknown. A tradition exists that in the time of a plague that afflicted persons were segregated on the north side of the Burn and that generous inhabitants passed packets of butter to the plague-stricken folk across the dividing stream, but this may be reasonably doubted.

Source: ‘Glimpses of Old and New Dundee’ – A.H. Millar, January 1925

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