Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Friar's Nose

Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Friar's Nose

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Kilmade Burn

Canmore ID 57509

Site Number NT66SE 1

NGR NT 6645 6315

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NT66SE 1 6645 6315.

(NT 6645 6315) Camp (NR)

OS 6" map (1959)

Fort, Friar's Nose, Kilmade Burn: the existing well-preserved remains of a multivallate fort almost certainly represent works of two different periods, the latter involving almost a complete reforming and probable doubling of the older defences.

There are only two round stone huts visible on the site (against the inner rampart on the west side, near the NW entrance). The other 'huts' shown on the original RCAHMS plan are small groups of loose stones of no significance.

Ramparts A and C (see plan from RCAHMS Marginal Lands MS (1954), No.19) have been stone walls, D appears to be simply an upcast mound, while B, which is only present on the west side, is in a very wasted condition and may have belonged to an earlier system. The short length of rampart marked E on the sketch may have been part of this system. Early Iron Age.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1920; R W Feachem 1963

The fort is generally as described and planned by the above authorities.

Visited by OS (RD) 25 April 1966

Photographed by the RCAHMS in 1980.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Visible on Ordnance Survey Air Photograph 65/99/045.

(Undated) information in NMRS.


Field Visit (4 June 1954)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Note (30 December 2015 - 20 October 2016)

This fort, which occupies the tip of a spur projecting from the foot of the NE flank of Priestlaw Hill, overlooks the S bank of the Whiteadder Water where it debouches from the dam of the Whiteadder Reservoir. Pear-shaped on plan, its defences comprise a belt of up to four ramparts with external ditches cutting across the neck of the spur on the W, but reducing to three ramparts on the N flank above the Whiteadder, and two on the E above the gully of the Kilmade Burn. Close examination, however, shows that this configuration of the defences is the later of two schemes, which has been superimposed eccentrically across an earlier scheme on the N and W. The present circuit of the innermost rampart encloses an area measuring 125m from N to S by a maximum of 87m transversely towards the N end (0.78ha), and belongs largely to the later scheme, though it almost certainly subsumes the line of the earlier inner rampart on the W; indeed the only visible evidence of the latter is on the N side of the entrance on the NW, where the construction of the new inner rampart inside its line to elaborate the entrance passage has allowed a short fragment to survive. In this earlier phase the defences probably included the second rampart on the W, but this and the fragment of inner rampart are truncated where the third rampart on the W swings round onto the N flank, probably to adopt the original line of the inner rampart on the lip of the slope dropping down to the Whiteadder. It is unclear whether the earlier defences continued along the edge of the gully above the Kilmade Burn on the E flank or whether it was essentially a promontory enclosure in this phase, but the interior was certainly larger and may have extended to as much as 0.94ha. The outermost rampart on the W should probably be attributed to the later scheme, which was essentially trivallate, only reducing to two ramparts on the E, and was served by entrances on the NE, SW and NW, though opinion in the various accounts conflicts as to whether there is a gap through the innermost rampart on the SW. The NE and NW entrances show some elaboration: at the the former the gaps are staggered to create an oblique approach that exposes the visitor's right side, while at the latter the terminals of the inner rampart overlap, creating a sharp right turn at the inner end of the entrance way, in this case exposing the visitor's left side. The plan drawn up by RCAHMS investigators in 1920 (RCAHMS 1924, 136, no.218, fig 178) shows twenty-four possible structures within the interior, but these were largely dismissed by their successors visiting in 1954, who could find only two stone-founded round-houses.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 20 October 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3903


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions