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Largs, Green Hill

Motte (Medieval)(Possible)

Site Name Largs, Green Hill

Classification Motte (Medieval)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) 'Motte'

Canmore ID 41187

Site Number NS25NW 7

NGR NS 2073 5932

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NS25NW 7 2073 5932.

(NS 2073 5932) Green Hill (NAT) Motte (NR)

OS 25" map (1972)

Though Green Hill was earlier thought to be a Viking burial mound, it is now recognised as a motte (V G Childe and A Graham 1943). It is about 16ft high, and is separated from rising ground to the N by a ditch. Its summit has been much interfered with and bears three modern masonry columns (called 'The Three Sisters' on OS 25" plan) said to have been erected by the astronomer Brisbane for mathematical purposes (J Smith 1895); it seems to have once been level and may have measured about 35ft by 20ft.

F H Groome 1901

Green Hill is a steep-sided, sub-oval mound, measuring about 12.0m by 7.0m across its flat top, upon which stand three masonry columns, each 1.0m square. On the NW is a depression, 5.0m wide and 1.0m deep, which may represent the end of a ditch. This is obliterated to the N by gardens. Where turf has been removed from the sides of the mound, a construction of earth and small stones is exposed.

Visited by OS (DS) 20 September 1956

No change to previous field report.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 27 October 1964

This tree-planted and scrub-covered mound, about 6m high on its S side, is generally as described. Hemmed in by development, no overall view of its form is possible and its N side is now completely fenced off and hidden by scrub. Minor erosions show gravel bands on its W and S sides and the general contours of the area suggest it is likely to be entirely natural. There is no visible evidence to support this as a motte. A plaque states that the observatory pillars were erected in 1808.

Visited by OS (JRL) 2 February 1983


Field Visit (13 September 1942)

Mote, Halkshill

Just outside the entrance gate of Halkshill policies, the narrow haugh that borders the right bank of the Gogo Burn is bounded on the N by a stretch of steep clay cliff abour 25 ft. high. At its W. end this cliff turns N. and merges into the general seaward-sloping hillside, forming a kind of broad bluff pointing towards the SW. On the point of this bluff a mound, called the "Green Hill", has been raised to a height of about 16ft., its S. side being continuous with the clay cliff below it.

The summit of this mound has been interfered with and now bears three masonry columns erected within living memory; but it seems to have once been level, and may have measured about 20ft. from N. to S. by about 35 ft. from E. to W. Stonework appearing through the turf on the summit suggests the foundations of a building about 15ft. square , and further traces of tumbled stone appear on the NW. slope, where a path has broken the surface. The mound may be confidently regarded as a mote, although the wall-foundations running along the edge of the bluff in a NW. direction from its base are more likely to be those of a field-wall bounding the level area than of a baliey, as they correspond closely with the turf-dyke and overgrown hedge guarding the lip of the cliff on the E. side of the mound.

Visited by RCAHMS (AG) 13 September 1942


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