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Hillbank Wood

Motte (Medieval)

Site Name Hillbank Wood

Classification Motte (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Witch Knowe

Canmore ID 43634

Site Number NS52SW 5

NGR NS 5023 2172

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Ayrshire
  • Parish Ochiltree
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cumnock And Doon Valley
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS52SW 5 5023 2172.

(NS 5023 2172) Witch Knowe (NAT) Motte (NR)

OS 6" map (1967)

There is a motte in Hillbank Wood.

Information from K A Steer, RCAHMS, 16 April 1954

This feature, a typical motte, is known locally as Witch Knowe (Mr J C Jamieson, Carston Farm). It is a flat-topped, circular mound with regular, artificially sloped sides, 20.0m in diameter on top and 36.0m diameter at the base. It is defended on the NW, W and SW by a ditch, 2.2m deep, and on the NE, E and SE by steep natural slopes to the Lugar Water. There is no trace of masonry on top.

Visited by OS (JFC) 21 June 1954

Trial excavations in 1964, carried out on Witch Knowe because of its apparent similarity to the homestead at Bankhead (NS53NE 6) produced no finds. A small number of pits of various sizes and traces of burning were evidence of occupation as yet undatable.

T A Hendry 1964

Listed as a possible motte.

G Simpson, B Webster and G Stell 1970

Thomas de Colville, Lord of Oxnam and Ochiltree, witnessed a charter in 1201-2.

R L G Ritchie 1954

Witch Knowe: name verified. This earthwork, under pasture at about 105m OD, is generally as described by OS (JFC) except that it is oval in shape with a flat but disturbed top measuring about 25m N-S by 17m transversely. It is a maximum 4.2m in height on the S side where the ditch merges with a natural gully, and is on average over 1m higher

than the surrounding land on the N and W. The entrance was probably on the SW, where the ditch fades, but there is no evidence of a causeway. From ground and existing excavation evidence it is not possible to classify this work.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (JRL) 18 October 1981


Field Visit (27 May 1953)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Reference (1957)

This site is noted in the ‘List of monuments discovered during the survey of marginal land (1951-5)’ (RCAHMS 1957, xiv-xviii).

Information from RCAHMS (GFG), 24 October 2012.


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