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Cord Rig (Prehistoric), Cultivation Remains (Period Unassigned), Fort (Prehistoric), Settlement (Prehistoric)

Site Name Longcroft

Classification Cord Rig (Prehistoric), Cultivation Remains (Period Unassigned), Fort (Prehistoric), Settlement (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 56047

Site Number NT55SW 3

NGR NT 53250 54350

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NT55SW 3 53250 54350.

(NT 5325 5435) Fort & Settlement (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1981)

Fort and Settlement, Longcroft: These remains crown the nose of a steep-sided ridge which forms the watershed between two burns. They are of a complex nature and reveal two or three successive periods of construction. The earliest is a fort defended by two heavy ramparts with a medial ditch, which enclose an area measuring 320 by 280ft. Within these, and secondary to them, are two con- centric ramaparts without ditches, the inner of which encloses an area measuring 230 by 180ft. These two may not be contemporary. Inside, several enclosures and circular stone foundations testify to a late occupation, probably from the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD, while a rectangular one is probably later still.

R W Feachem 1963; RCAHMS 1915, visited 1908

This multivallate fort and later settlement compirse four earth and stone ramparts with internal collapsed stone walled enclosures.

The outer rampart is strongest on the W, the side of easiest approach, where it is 6.0m broad and up to 1.2m high; there is no outer ditch. It becomes weaker around the N and S sides and is almost non-existent on the E.

The second defence is a bank 8.0m broad and 2.0m high, seperated from the first by a ditch 4.0m wide and 1.5m deep.

The third rampart is 6.0m broad and 1.5m high on the W side where it has two stone enclosures built against its inner side. It is of similar proportions on the E, where it overlies the second rampart.

The fourth rampart survives as an earth and stone bank 4.0m broad and 1.0m high on the W side and as a stony scarp 2.5m high on the E. The stony enclosure it encircles probably represent the remains of the yards containing timber huts.

There is an entrance in both the W and E sides; a gap in the N side is probably a later mutilation.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (BS) 4 June 1979

Photographed by CUCAP and the RCAHMS (1976 and 1980).


Field Visit (11 August 1908)

211. Fort, Longcroft.

The fort of Longcroft (fig. 100 [DP 225492]) occupies a prominent position on the southern extremity of a ridge which forms the water-shed of the Whalplaw and Soonhope Burns, overlooking the farm of Longcroft some 500 yards distant to the south-west, some 400feet above it and 1150 feet above sea-Ievel. The ground falls sharply away on all sides except to the northward, where the hill continues to rise by an easy gradient. The fort is oval in form and appears to have measured interiorly some 275 feet by 225 feet. The lines of the defences are somewhat difficult to determine owing probably to a lengthy occupation of the site and modification of the original features, but there appear to have been three concentric stony ramparts. The inner rampart as it passes towards the west gives place to an oblong enclosure some 110 feet in length by 40 feet in breadth over all: beyond this it reappears, but shows little more than a stony scarp as it passes eastward. The middle rampart as it curves round on the south arc broadens out and shows a berm some 3 feet 9 inches wide on its outer slope. Where best preserved, towards the north-east, the defences measure over all some 88 feet, the ramparts showing elevation on the inner faces respectively of 3 feet, 4 ½ feet; and 5 feet, and on the outer of 4 feet, 6 feet, and 9 ½ feet. There are two entrances, one towards the west-south-west, and the other from the east. The former, which is evidently original, occurs immediately to the south of the oblong enclosure on the west side. In the interior there are the remains of six large enclosures, and signs of other small circular foundations. What appears to be a well exists between the innermost and the second rampart on the east side to the north of the second entrance. Well-defined tracks lead up the hill towards the fort from the south.

See Antiquaries, xxix. p. 129 (plan and secs.); Christison, p. 229, Ber. Nat. Club, 1882 -84, p. 312; ibid., 1894-95, p. 33.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 11th August 1908.

OS Map: Ber., xiii. NE.

Field Visit (25 August 1952)

Fort, Longcroft.

A complex and extremely important site comprising:

(i) Two dump ramparts;

(ii) Two stone ramparts evidently of a later date;

(iii) A number of stone-walled huts, presumably representing a reoccupation of the site after the abandonment of the fortifications;

(iv) A rectangular building and a garth .

The site should be re-planned to bring out these different elements.

Visited by RCAHMS (KS), 25 August 1952.

Note (19 January 2016 - 21 October 2016)

This impressive forts crowns the southern tip of the spur above Longcroft and displays evidence of a complex sequence of construction and occupation. Oval on plan, at first sight the defences comprise no fewer than four ramparts with intermediate ditches, the innermost, which is heavily robbed and obscured by an overlying cluster of courts and yards, enclosing an area measuring 80m from NE to SW by 60m transversely (0.38ha). This enclosure, however, lies eccentrically within the second rampart, which itself overlies the third circuit around the SE and S sectors. Thus, while the first and second ramparts may be contemporary, it appears more likely that they are successive, and that the interior has contracted progressively from an initial defence of a rampart and ditch with intermittent traces of a counterscarp bank, which enclosed an area measuring 115m from NE to SW by 95m transversely (0.86ha); the second rampart, erected with an external ditch immediately within this line on the N and W, reduced the interior to 0.69ha, and the innermost to 0.38ha. There are entrances on the E and the SW, the former probably piercing all four circuits obliquely in such a way as to expose the visitor's right side. The character of the SW entrance is less clear, and access in the later stages would have been impeded by one of the overlying courts, but immediately to its E there is evidence of a shallow hollowed trackway mounting the slope, only to be overlain and blocked by the counterscarp rampart of the earliest identifiable circuit; while this track is thus of some antiquity, possibly indicating a yet earlier enclosure here, it does not necessarily follow that the rest of the deeply worn trackway descending the tip of the spur is quite so ancient, and the majority of the wear that has cut it so deeply into the slope may have been caused by more recent traffic accessing furlongs of medieval or post-medieval rig and outlying hill pastures. The stances of several stone-founded round-houses can be seen amongst the courts and yards sprawled across the interior.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 21 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC4008

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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