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Grain Burn

Cultivation Remains (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Grain Burn

Classification Cultivation Remains (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Grain Hill

Canmore ID 51900

Site Number NT26SW 46

NGR NT 20140 61122

NGR Description From NT 202 611 to NT 212 614

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Midlothian
  • Parish Penicuik (Midlothian)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District Midlothian
  • Former County Midlothian


Field Visit (April 1983 - April 1983)

Measured survey drawn at 1:500 by Midlothian Field Group (drawn up by Jane Murray).

Field Visit (11 April 2009 - 16 June 2010)

Field visit by SRP Pentland Hills group, 11 April 2009; historical research, March - June 2010.

Srp Note (28 September 2011)

This large semi-circular enclosure is situated on the S bank of the Grain Burn at the S end of a steep narrow valley between Scald Law, Grain Hill and the W slope of Carnethy Hill. It is not shown on the 1st Edition of the Ordnance Survey map (Edinburghshire 1854, sheet 12) and is probably pre-19th c in date because its E edge is overlain by an Improvement period stone boundary wall separating the Penicuik and Logan Estates. The majority of the enclosure lies within the Logan Estate and the ground within it is steeply sloping heather moorland to the S giving way to a gently sloping grassy plateau in the N and NE. The footings of a small square structure and some lazy-beds lie within it, tightly grouped near the edge of the NW quadrant, on a grassy terrace above the Grain Burn.

The enclosure measures approximately 130m N/S by 120m W/E and is set within a substantial earth bank c2m thick, of which a 70m length along the SE edge is double banked. The square structure in the NW may be a building and measures c5m x c4m internally within a grass covered bank c0.5m high and 1.5m – 2m thick. There is no visible entrance and probing suggests it is stone built. It appears to form an integrated unit with the enclosure bank which bifurcates at this point to surround it, but it is impossible to say whether the structure was intended as a dwelling house, for crops, or for animal use. The lazy-beds form two groups, lying immediately N and SE of the square structure, respectively. The N group are aligned SW – NE and appear irregularly sized and spaced, possibly as a result of erosion, rather than reflecting their original appearance. The SE group are aligned SE – NW and form a regular group of about eight evenly spaced lazy-beds, c7m long and c3m wide, bounded by earth banks to the SE and NW. The lazy-beds do not overlie the square structure but the ends nearest to it are considerably denuded and might therefore predate it.

The double width of the SE enclosure bank suggests that it may have formed part of the original boundary march between the Penicuik and Logan estates. This march has been superseded by the stone boundary wall which is shown on a Plan of Logan Estate dated 1840 (NAS RHP 13489/1-2) incorporating earlier plans of 1801 and 1831. The site itself is not shown on the plan and although that may simply mean it was too insignificant to be represented it is likely that the bank, the square building and presumably the lazy-beds had all fallen out of use by 1840 and may even pre-date 1801.

The Grain Burn becomes the Loan Burn when it flows into the Penicuik Estate and the Penicuik rental book for 1730-37 (GD18/138) refers to ‘Meadow Ground’ on the side of the Loan Burn associated with Penicuik Croft Lands that were “formerly run rig.” Although there are no comparable rental books relating to the Logan Estate, the Graine (sometimes Fala Graine) is named in all Pentland estate charters from 1542 onwards (Great Seal of Scotland 1513 - 1546 no.2769 p.441 James V 25 August 1542), which suggests the area was making a significant contribution to the estate from at least the mid 16th century.

Information from SRP Pentland Hills, September 2011.


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