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The Chesters

Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name The Chesters

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 56162

Site Number NT56NW 7

NGR NT 5117 6872

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/56162

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Bolton
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT56NW 7 5117 6872.

(NT 5117 6872) The Chesters (NAT)

Earthwork (NR)

OS 6" map (1970)

'The Chesters'. The area now occupied by this earthwork is under cultivation and the outline can only be traced with great difficulty. It has been oval on plan, with the main axis NE-SW. The interior has measured more than 500' by some 400'. It is impossible to ascertain the original length for it is only amongst the trees to the NE that the structure can be traced with certainty. Here there is a short segment of the NW rampart, broadened out to a width of 21' and rising to a height of 2'. There is also a segment of the SE flank, where there are two ramparts placed 43' apart. The inner is 20' broad by 1 1/2' high internally and 4 1/2' high externally; the outer is 27' broad and 5 1/2' high. Some 30' from the side of the road a modern turf dyke has been built, but between it and the road there is a small portion of a mound, 12' broad and 4' high, which may have formed part of the original inner rampart encircling the NE end of the earthwork.

Its situation on the flat ground with no natural protection except on the NW removes it from the hillfort class and places it amongst the earthworks of indeterminate date. It might conceivably be medieval.

RCAHMS 1924; MSS 1954

As described above, the only remains which survive are two greatly mutilated outer scarps in the NW, 3.5m and 1.7m high, and two ramparts in the SE, 1.5m and 2.0m high. There is also a slight scarp, indicating a ditch, outside the two ramparts. The mound mentioned by the RCAHMS is still visible.

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (RD) 23 March 1965

No change to previous field report.

Visited by OS (BS) 23 July 1975

Activities

Field Visit (22 May 1913)

The remains of the earthen walls of this fort lie on rolling ground 400 feet above sea-level, on the south-western side of the Gifford and Bolton Road and almost opposite the road to Eaglescairnie Mains. With the exception of a small portion, which is seen in a plantation along the side of the road, the area occupied by the fort is now under regular cultivation, and it is with the utmost difficulty that the defences can be traced. The main axis of the fort, which has been oval in plan, runs north-east and south-west, and the interior has measured more than 500 feet in length and some 400 feet in breadth. Part of the north-eastern end having been cut off by the public road, it is impossible to ascertain the exact original length. The north-western flank runs along the top of a declivity too steep for cultivation which rises some 25 feet above the hollow below. It is only among the trees to the north-east that the defences can be traced with certainty, and here is a short segment of the north-western rampart, broadened out to a width of 21 feet and rising 2 feet in height, with a segment of the south-eastern flank, where are two ramparts placed 43 feet apart; the inner of these is 20 feet in breadth,1 ½ feet high on the inside and 4 ½ feet high on the outside, and the outer rampart is 27 feet broad and 5 ½ feet high. Some 30 feet from the side of the road a modern turf dyke has been built, but between it and the road there is a small portion of a mound, 12 feet broad and 4 feet high, which may have formed part of the original inner rampart encircling the north-eastern end of the fort.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 22 May 1913.

Field Visit (6 May 1954)

Fort, 'The Chesters', Bolton (Inv. No. 22).

The Inventory description of this structure is adequate; but its situation on flat ground, with no natural protection except on the NW, removes it from the hillfort class and places it amongst the earthworks of indeterminate date. It might conceivably be medieval.

Visited by RCAHMS (KAS) 6 May 1954.

Note (10 December 2015 - 18 May 2016)

This fort or fortified settlement is bisected by the public road immediately NW of the farm road to Eaglescairnie Home Farm. Largely ploughed out, and not recorded as a cropmark, it is known only from surviving fragments of the ramparts in the plantation strip on the W side of the road and the outline depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Haddingtonshire 1855, sheet 15). A low undulating situation, the perimeter exploits a deep natural gully on the NW, and according to the map encloses an oval area measuring about 240m from NE to SW by 125m transversely (2.6ha). The defences comprise two ramparts, both of which are reduced to scarps in the gully on the NW, the inner some 3.5m high and the outer 1.7m high. On the slope on the SE, the ramparts form low mounds and are respectively 1.5m and 2m high externally, and there are also traces of an external ditch accompanying the outer. The position of any entrances is not known, though one may have lain on the SW, where the OS map surveyed in the mid 19th century shows the outer rampart terminating on the edge of the gully.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3860

References

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