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Publication Account

Date 2007

Event ID 587624

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


NX04 1 ARDWELL POINT (‘Doon Castle’)

NX/0670 4468

This probable broch in Stoneykirk stands on a low sea promontory – about 7.6m (25 ft) above the water – to the south side of Ardwell Point: visited in 1967 and 1989). A natural trench crosses this peninsula about half way along it, and some 24.4m (80 ft) from the land, and a roadway or causeway has been built across this. The circular building has an overall diameter of 17.1m - 17.7m (56 - 58 ft) with a wall which varies from 3.75m in thickness on the north-north-east to 4.6m on the east; it is built of large, roughly squared blocks packed with small angular fragments [2].

The rubble of the wall stands up to 1.8m in height on the north-north-east and, although only occasional outer facing-stones are visible, most of the inner face can be identified. The central court, full of debris, measures 9m in diameter. There are entrances on both the north-north-east and the south, with a mural chamber on the east, and with a probable second on the west.

The south entrance, facing along the shore, has been emptied of rubble and appears to be the original one. Its wallfaces stand up to 1.1m in height in six courses and it measures 4.05m in length; the door-frame, consisting of built and rebated checks, is 1.25m from the outer end. The outer part of the passage contracts from 0.9m in width at the outer wallface to 0.8m between the checks; the inner passage expands from 1.2m in width at the checks to 1.4m midway along its length, before contracting to 1.1m at the inner wallface.

The entrance on the north-north-east is wider and wedge-shaped, and at both his visits the author thought that its floor was at wallhead level and clearly secondary. Its left wall may breach an intra-mural gallery but the evidence is not clear. This passage is blocked with fallen masonry but enough of the wallface is visible to show that it measures 3.75m in length. An earlier observer gave the width of the outer part as 1.4m but the inner part is much wider. That observer also saw door-checks 1.8m from the outer end and the author saw a possible one on the left in 1967. The inner part of the passage was said to have splayed from 1.8m in width at the door-checks to 2.2m at the inner wallface, and this agrees with the author’s 1967 observation that the passage is wedge-shaped. The author’s field notebooks for the two visits have sketch plans which show the wider entrance at about 12 o’clock and show it as at least half as wide again as the south passage.

All that is visible of the mural chamber on the east are the sides of its doorway, which splay from 0.8m at the mouth to 1.2m at a point about 1.2m back from the inner wallface. The doorway to the probable west chamber is only 0.5m wide.

There is an outwork wall at least 2.6m thick, enclosing an area measuring 14m from east to west by 10m between the broch and the north end of the promontory. No inner facing-stones survive, but portions of the outer face are visible. The entrance through this wall was probably on the north-north-east, opposite the causeway mentioned earlier.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NX 04 SE 1: 2. RCAHMS 1912, 152, no. 433: 3. RCAHMS 1985b, 19, no. 98: 4. Stell 1986, 128, no. 53.

E W MacKie 2007

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