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Margaret's Law, Haco's Tomb, Haylie

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Margaret's Law, Haco's Tomb, Haylie

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) Hailie House; Haylie Chambered Tomb; Haylie House; Cathcart Road; Largs

Canmore ID 41155

Site Number NS25NW 1

NGR NS 20945 58592

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish Largs
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS25NW 1 20945 58592

(NS 2094 5858) Margaret's Law (NAT)

Burial Chamber (NR)

(Undated) OS map.

Location formerly entered as NS 2094 5858.

This burial chamber, also called 'Haco's Tomb', lies in pasture, on a gentle slope, between 100ft and 150ft OD. It was covered by a large cairn, "Margaret's Law', which was completely removed in 1772. The Clyde type chamber, with entrance to the E, measures 22ft by 3ft - 4ft wide, it probably had three compartments, but only the innermost remains intact, complete with capstone.

It is said that in 1772 two of the compartments contained five skulls each, while during excavations in 1954 parts of two skulls and other bones were found. A flint knife or scraper from here is in private possession. A broken, brown earthen urn (OSA 1796) or several earthen urns were also found in the chamber in 1772.

A S Henshall 1972.

This burial chamber is as described.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ), 27 October 1964.

No change. The limits of the chamber are fenced off from the paddock field in which it is situated. A private notice board names it 'Haylie Chambered Tomb'.

Visited by OS (JRL), 2 January 1983.

Margaret's Law [NAT]

Burial Chamber [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, November 2009.

Site Management (4 July 2015 - 5 July 2015)

NS 20945 58592 (Canmore ID: 41155, SMR ID: 5730) Haylie Chambered Cairn is a scheduled monument dating to 3630–3350 BC. It sits at the S end of Largs and is in close proximity to Haylie House Care Home. The Adopt-a-

Monument Scheme worked with local volunteers, the Largs and District Museum and Historical Society and the North Ayrshire District Ranger Service, 4–5 July 2015. The work aimed to raise awareness of the existence of the cairn, undertook sensitive vegetation clearance and provided training in photogrammetry with the aim of building capacity in the area for future heritage volunteer projects and longer term understanding and management of the site.

Archive and report: NRHE (intended)

Funder: HLF and HES

Fiona Watson – Archaeology Scotland

(Source: DES, Volume 17)


Field Visit (September 1942)

This site was recorded as part of the RCAHMS Emergency Survey, undertaken by Angus Graham and Vere Gordon Childe during World War 2. The project archive has been catalogued during 2013-2014 and the material, which includes notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts, plans and photographs, is now available online.

Information from RCAHMS (GF Geddes) 2 December 2014.

Laser Scanning (18 March 2015)

NS 2094 5859 A laser scan survey of Haco’s Tomb was undertaken on 18 March 2015 for conservation management purposes. The survey was undertaken using a Trimble FX laser scanner controlled using spherical targets, located using a Trimble S6 total referenced to OS grid using a Trimble R6

GPS. Interpreted detail was surveyed in the field using the Trimble S6 total station, on the same grid as the control survey, allowing interpretation to be overlain on the laser scan data.

The Clyde type chamber of Haco’s Tomb lies on a broad terrace of the general W-facing slope above the town of Largs in a clearing in scrubby woodland with housing to the immediate W.

The western of the chamber compartments is intact with a capstone 2.5m by 1.8m sitting on three upright slabs. This intact compartment is separated from the rest of the chamber by a septal slab leaving a gap 0.4m high. Three upright slabs and a septal slab survive to the E of the intact chamber in a deep hollow which marks the extent of the chamber. Immediately to the N of the chamber lies a mound of recent origin, which may well be a spoil heap

from antiquarian excavations. No trace of the extent of the cairn can now be identified, however the statistical account reports that a huge cairn known as St Margerets Law was removed in 1772, exposing the chamber visible today. A reputed 15,000 cart-loads of rubble were removed from the cairn.

Archive: National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) intended

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Jamie Humble – AOC Archaeology Group

(Source: DES, Volume 16)


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