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Stirling, Mote Hill

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Stirling, Mote Hill

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 46206

Site Number NS79SE 3

NGR NS 7933 9447

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Stirling
  • Parish Stirling
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Stirling
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS79SE 3 7933 9447.

(NS 7933 9447) Mote (NR)

OS 6" map (1958)

Fort (NR)

OS 1:1250 map (1967)

Fort (site): Mote Hill, the northernmost feature of Gowanhill, consists of a rocky knoll; to the NW, a cliff falls from the summit to level ground 110' below, but on all other sides, the flanks of the knoll slope gently, varying in height from 20' on the N to 40' on the S. The summit, irregular on plan, measures 90' N-S by 60' E-W. It is probable that the low bank, c.20' wide, that borders it represents the ruin of a wall, though nothing can now be seen to confirm this. An account of 1794 (Randall) states that a ruinous, apparently vitrified, wall was then visible. A piece of vitrified material from the site is in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. A later account (Trans Stirling Natur Hist Antiq Soc 1884) mentions that the structure was known as "Murdoch's Knowe" or "Hurly Haaky" and claims that a second wall lay 25' outside the first. A vestige of this may be represented by a terrace, 8' in width in length, which runs across the N face of the knoll at a level 7' below that of the summit. A path climbs the E flank of the knoll to reach the summit by way of a sunken gap in the bank. This might mark the position of the original entrance, but it has certainly been used in modern times, a flagstaff, seats, etc, now occupying the summit.

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1954

There are no intelligible remains of this fort.

Visited by OS (JP) 6 December 1973

NS 793 944 Little now remains of what may have been a fort defended by two walls situated on the N end of Gowanhill.

RCAHMS 1979, visited September 1978


Note (15 August 2014 - 8 September 2016)

A small fortification is situated on Mote Hill, which forms the northern most tip of the crags of Gowan Hill to the NE of Stirling Castle. Heavily mutilated, the full extent and history of fortification here is unknown, but excavations by Murray Cook 2013-14 have confirmed the presence of a burnt rampart, which was first identified in 1794 (Randall 1794,19), with a radiocarbon date for its destruction in the early centuries AD. While the size of the fortification has yet to be established, it presumably took in at least the area of the irregular summit, which measures about 27m from N to S by 18m transversely.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 08 September 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1512


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