Stair Haven

Broch (possible)

Site Name Stair Haven

Classification Broch (possible)

Alternative Name(s) Stairhaven; 'crow's Neith'; Broken Castle; Luce Bay

Canmore ID 62292

Site Number NX25SW 9

NGR NX 20903 53351

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Old Luce
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

20903 53351

(NX 2090 5335) Broch (NR).

OS 6" map (1957)

Wilson, quoting Gillone's map, calls this 'Crow's Neith', and adds that about a hundred years ago, its stones were much disturbed by a whisky still being placed among them, a supply of water coming from a spring on top of the bank.

G Wilson 1899.

The ruins of a broch-like structure, called 'Broken Castle' locally; its true character can only be determined by excavation. On the N side, small segments of the outer wall face are exposed, but the inner face is concealed, as is the exterior on the S side. It appears to be nearly circular, 39' x 42'. On the N side, at right angles to one of the exposed segments of wall, facing is exposed for 3' inwards. As neither a continuation nor a return of this wall was to be seen, it is impossible to say if it marks the entrance to a chamber. The exterior debris rises 5' - 8' high. Across the ridge, immediately in front of this structure, there appears to have been a 14' wide ditch.

Though this structure, which has strong natural defences has been considered as a broch, there is still an element of doubt about the classification. A recent exposure of the wall faces at the entrance gave a wall thickness of 12' 6", but more than this will be required before a reliable judgment can be reached.

RCAHMS 1912, visited 1911

A ruined stone structure, identified as a broch by excavation, is situated on a rocky eminence 30.0m above the east shore of Luce Bay. It is bounded and overshadowed on the landward side by a steep coastal slope beneath which is a deep gully with a narrow causeway across it. The continuing excavation by local residents (Mr Lorman, Stairhaven) has so far revealed a well-defined entrance and part of the north wall. The overall diameter of the broch is 14.2m and the width of the exposed, soundly constructed, wall is 3.8m. The entrance is 1.2m wide externally and tapers to 1.0m wide internally; no door checks or bar holes are evident. Just within the entrance, on the north, is an intra-mural passage, and a 1.0m wide staircase with a smaller flight 0.6m wide leading off to a point above the entrance.

A small fairly level terrace to the north east of the entrance has traces of walling around its edge and would appear to have been an annexe. The causeway on the east side is 18.0m long by 3.0 to 4.0m wide and is revetted on its north side.

The broch apparently has no local name in current use.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (BS) 9 May 1977.

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