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Field Visit

Date 3 May 1998

Event ID 795582

Category Recording

Type Field Visit

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/795582

NY59SW 41 centred on 5019 9341

A farmstead, a hut, a field-system, some rig, and two boundary-dykes are situated on the E-facing slope of Thornside Hill above Longhaugh cottage.

The two boundary dykes define the limits of the farm of Longhaugh at two different stages in its history. What is probably the primary dyke, which comprises a bank with a ditch on the uphill or external side, describes a sinuous course from Thief Sike in the S (NY 4975 9287) to an unnamed burn in the N (NY 5012 9355), down which it may have run as far as another length of dyke that extends to the Spinnie Sike via(NY 5036 to NY 5049 9351). This boundary encloses the farmstead, some rig and the field-system, together with a swathe of ground between the Hermitage Water and Thornside Hill to the W, a total area of about 50ha. Similar boundary-dykes have been recorded in many parts of Liddesdale (e.g. NY48SE 6), and may be medieval in date. What is proabaly a later dyke, which is partly mapped as a drain on the OS Landline digital map runs in a series of straight lines between the same two sikes, but higher up the hill (NY 4960 9287 to 5045 9367). For much of its course running down to Thief Sike, it has been reused as a drain, but on the hill-top it comprises an earthen bank with the ditch on the internal side, although for part of its course at the Spinnie Sike end, the ditch is cut on the upslope side (NY 5034 9367 to NY 5045 9367). This dyke is similar in construction and style to a boundary at Greenshiels (NY49SE 17) and is probably of post-medieval date.

The farmstead and the hut lie on a terrace on Thornside Hill. The farmstead comprises two parallel buildings and two enclosures. The buildings are aligned across the contour on a NE and SW axis, with rounded upper ends and squared lower ends (LID96 232-3). They measure 9.1m and 10.4m in length by 3.5m and 4.5m respectively within low stony banks spread to about 2m in thickness and 0.25m in maximum height. The NW building displays an entrance on the NW (LID96 232). The hut overlies the bank of the sinuous primary boundary-dyke (LID96 274) and measures about 7m from NE to SW by 3.8m transversely over low stony banks 0.2m in height and spread to 0.8m in thickness.

The field-system occupies the hillslope below the farmstead and comprises four earthen-banked fields containing the faint traces of rig. Cultivation has continued until recent years, and has much reduced the rig. However, the rig is well-defined on vertical air photographs taken in 1961.

The farm of Langhalgh is listed in the rental of 1376 (Reg. Hon. Morton I 1853) and mapped by Pont (Blaeu 1654). The Hearth Tax return of 1691 records three households each with a hearth at Langhaugh (Scottish Record Office (SRO) E69/21/1). It had been alienated in 1718 and does not appear in the estate survey of that year (SRO RHP 9629), but it is shown on Roy's map as two houses beside the Hermitage Water (Roy 1747-55), which does appear to suggest that the steading of Langhaugh had either migrated downhill at some stage, or that there was another settlement on the haugh; in either event there is no trace of a farmstead on the haugh today. A farmstead comprising a roofed building and several enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition OS 6-inch map (Roxburghshire 1863, sheet xlii) at site of the modern cottage.

(LID96 232-3, 274)

Visited by RCAHMS (PJD) 3 May 1998

J Blaeu 1654, W Roy 1747-55, Reg. Hon. Morton I 1853

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