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Henderland Hill

Enclosure (Prehistoric), Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Henderland Hill

Classification Enclosure (Prehistoric), Fort (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 50030

Site Number NT14NW 8

NGR NT 1496 4597

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Newlands
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Tweeddale
  • Former County Peebles-shire

Archaeology Notes

NT14NW 8 1496 4597.

(NT 14964597) Camp (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

The remains of a bivallate fort and of an enclosure of later date on Henderland Hill. The site is protected on the NW by a long slope which falls steeply to the floor of a dry valley, but it is easily approached across level ground from the SE, and is immediately overlooked from the SW by rising ground.

The fort measures internally 220ft by 140ft. At the SW end the appearance of the defences is striking, for although the ramparts are wasted, the profiles of the ditches are well-preserved. Thus, whereas the crest of the inner rampart (A) is only 2ft in height internally, it is 12ft in height externally, measured from the bottom of the ditch.

The outer rampart (IB) is 9ft in height internally and 6ft in height externally, while the counterscarp of the outer ditch is 5ft 6in in height. At the opposite end of the fort the remains are in a poor state of preservation. Later cultivation has entirely obliterated the outer ditch for a distance of 22ft and has enlarged and filled the corresponding sector of the inner ditch, while a gap 12ft wide has been broken through the wasted intervening stretch of the outer rampart. On the NW the outer rampart and ditch, if they ever existed here have been completely eroded away. The entrance is on the NE.

The secondary enclosure measures 150ft by 80ft within a wall (11) parts of which overlie the remains of the original inner rampart. The wall is now represented by a stony turf-covered bank which measures up to 2ft 6 in in height and 16ft in thickness at the base. Of the three gaps in the wall, only that on the NE appears to be original.

That portion of the interior of the fort which lies to the SE of the enclosure contains surface indications of four ring-groove houses, while two crescentic scarps which survive in the NW part of the enclosure probably represent two more. The interior of the enclosure is otherwise featureless, except for a very low, stony, bank, 40ft in length, which is probably a comparatively recent addition.

(Information from R W Feachem 1959, 123)

Description correct. There is insufficient evidence to classify the enclosure as a settlement although its interior has been scooped and levelled.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 26 August 1964 and (JP) 7 January 1975

The fort and enclosure are visible on large scale vertical air photographs (OS 71/395/009, flown 1971), and were photographed by the RCAHMS in 1980.

Information from RCAHMS


Note (13 October 2015 - 20 October 2016)

This fort is situated on the N spur of Henderland Hill, at the top of a steep slope dropping away to the NW, and from the road at Mountain Cross the defences cut a striking profile on the skyline. Oval on plan, it measures about 67m from NE to SW by 43m transversely (0.22ha) within twin ramparts with external ditches. These defences are amongst the most impressive in the whole district, particularly approached across the level ground from the SW, for while the inner rampart rises little more than 0.6m above the interior, its crest stands up to 3.6m above the bottom of the inner ditch; the outer rampart and ditch here are of comparable stature and the counterscarp of the latter is still 1.6m deep. Elsewhere the outer ditch has suffered from later cultivation, entirely disappearing on the E, but though the RCAHMS investigators who drew up a plan in 1959 were uncertain whether it had ever continued around the steep NW flank, more recent oblique aerial photography has revealed traces of its course. The entrance is on the NE and was adapted for secondary use when a scooped settlement was inserted into the NE end of the interior. Two more crescentic scarps indicate the platforms of timber round-houses immediately outside the settlement on the SW, where there are also two small ring-ditch houses tucked into what appears to be a quarry scoop to the rear of the inner rampart.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 20 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3625

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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