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Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Kirktonhill

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 54598

Site Number NT45SE 3

NGR NT 4704 5434

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Channelkirk
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT45SE 3 4704 5434.

(NT 4704 5434) Fort (NR)

OS 6" map (1970)

In 1900, this fort is described as situated on the crest of a hill at an elevation of 1000ft OD, with almost sheer slopes to the W. Three concentric ramparts are noted on the SW, and two on the NE, indicating an oval, just over 4 acres in size, the sides of which had disappeared. Allan also notes within the fort, in the NE, three straight banks immediately within the ramparts; abutting these is the circle noted by the RCAHMS. Excavations showed that the ramparts were of small stone mixed with earth, apparently having been built from material dug from the associated ditches. The inner circle was of the same construction, though at the entrance, in the E, the stones were much larger and neatly laid, forming a passage 8ft to 12ft long (the original wall thickness) and widening from 1 1/2 ft wide on the exterior, to 3 1/2 ft wide on the inside. The area E of the fort was all under plough, while the NE area was nearly all wooded and had never been ploughed.

A Allan 1900

This fort is an oval enclosure comprising at the NE two ramparts and a ditch with a probably secondary inner bank. To the rear of this are two slight banks lying parallel with the main rampart.

At the SW end is a ditch, rampart and berm. There has been an entrance in the E. In the interior is a circular enclosure 62' in diameter.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 1908

This fort is as described. To the W of the internal enclosure are two possible hut circles.

Visited by OS (BS) 20 August 1975


Field Visit (17 October 1908)

27. Fort, Kirktonhill.

This fort (fig. 9 [DP225489]) is situated about 520 yards west of Kirktonhill farm-steading, and at the west point of Kirkton hill plantation, some 1050 feet above sea-level and 200 feet above the Raughy Burn. The defences have suffered much from cultivation and quarrying, and on the south-east and north-west have entirely disappeared. The remains represent an oval enclosure measuring over all about 570 feet in length. At the north-east end the remains a short segment of a rampart rising some 4 feet 6 inches above the interior level protected by a trench in front, and some 35 feet in breadth, 7 feet in depth below its crest and 5 feet 6 inches below the crest of the slight mound which crowns the counterscarp. A slight inner mound, probably secondary, crossing the end of the oval obliquely forms a chord to this segment 60 feet back from it at the centre of its curve. In rear of the second mound there appear to be short sections of two slight mounds lying parallel with the main rampart. At the edge of the steep bank of the burn, at the south-west end of the fort, the defences consist of three concentric lines-a slight trench, a low rampart, and a glacis beyond. There has been an entrance towards the east. In the interior is a circular enclosure measuring about 62 feet in diameter.

See History of Channelkirk, p, 647 (illus.); Antiquities, xxix. p. 128; Roy, p. 61, pl. vi.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 17 October 1908.

OS Map: Ber., xiii. NW.

Note (12 January 2016 - 21 October 2016)

This fort is situated on the sloping crest of the hill to the NW of Kirktonhill, where its SW spur drops down towards the Raughy Burn. The defences have been heavily degraded, partly through later agriculture, which has virtually obliterated them along the flanks, but also by the corner of a shelter belt planted over the E sector, while one later enclosure bank extends obliquely along the NW side, and another, at one time thought to be the perimeter of a Roman temporary camp (see Jones 2011, 171-2), traverses the NE end; several stone quarries have also been dug into the interior and a pentagonal turf-banked agricultural enclosure occupies the SW end. Usually described as oval on plan, this is partly the result of the degradation along its flanks, and aerial photographs and satellite imagery suggest that the line of the twin ramparts with a massive medial ditch visible on the NE swings rather wider down the E flank to create a deep re-entrant in a natural hollow on the S, which almost certainly marks the position of a major entrance, albeit that the details of its design are lost. Three ramparts, largely reduced to terraces, can also be traced round the SW end, set at the point where the underlying slope accelerates into the burn gully. Thus defined, the interior measures about 135m from NE to SW by up to 85m transversely, an area of about 0.82ha. Crossing its NE end, however, there are also traces of two or three low banks, which denote the presence of another defensive scheme taking in a smaller area, perhaps oval and extending to 0.55ha, though neither its full extent nor its precise relationship to the larger fort can be traced out by survey. On the E however, it is almost certainly overlain by a circular enclosure some 18m in internal diameter, which forms a shallow scoop on the E side of the interior and probably represents a late Iron Age settlement overlying the fort.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 21 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3937

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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