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Cheviot Burn

Farmstead (Period Unassigned), Field System (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval)

Site Name Cheviot Burn

Classification Farmstead (Period Unassigned), Field System (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval)

Canmore ID 58977

Site Number NT81NE 10

NGR NT 86095 18700

NGR Description From NT 85780 18730 to NT 86398 18414

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Morebattle
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT81NE 10 from 85780 18730 to 86398 18414

(NT 86095 18700) Farmstead (NR) (remains of)

OS 6" map, (1962).

In the angle formed by the Cheviot and Kingseat Burns there lies a complex of remains which probably represent the last vestiges of a medieval farm - possibly that named 'Trone', which belonged to Melrose Abbey in the 13th century. The principal feature is a D-shaped enclosure, no doubt the farmyard, measuring approximately 33 yds by 20 yds. Into the E corner of this yard projects a rectangular building, 27' x 9' within walls now reduced to widely spread grassy mounds about 5' thick.

Along the SW end of the yard extends another similar house measuring 30' by 9' internally; one end-wall of this house has been washed away by the burn. The yard and houses are associated with a system of enclosures and fields through which a hollow road leads up from a ford on the Kingseat Burn; other slighter banks, no doubt old field-divisions, extend downhill from linear earthwork NT81NE 31, which it is tempting to interpret as the boundary of the whole farm.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1938 and 1945.

As described above.

Visited by OS (JLD) 23 August 1960.

No change to previous field report.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 27 June 1968.

No change

Visited by OS (TRG) 9 August 1976.

On the gently sloping ground of a terrace in the meander of the Cheviot Burn, close to its confluence with the Kingseat Burn, there is a farmstead situated at the W edge of a substantial field-system. Vertical aerial photography (eg RAF 106 G/Scot/UK 121 frame 3355, 20 June 1946) reveals the full extent of the series of enclosures, field-banks and areas of rig along the slopes of Mallie Side overlooking the Kingseat Burn, much of which is now under forestry.

The farmstead comprises a large D-shaped enclosure, truncated on the E by a modern track, around which there are two rectangular buildings. The principal building is set against the SSW side of the enclosure but both the SW side and SE end walls have been washed away by the Cheviot Burn. The following description is, therefore, based upon the RCAHMS (1956) account and the OS field investigator's sketch on the OS record card (1960). When visited by the RCAHMS (1938 and 1945) the building measured 30ft (9.15m from NW to SE) by 9ft (2.75m) internally. At that time one end wall had been washed away by the burn. The OS sketch indicated that the structure had a single partition roughly divided into chambers a third and two-thirds the length of the building. Little of this now remains to be seen. The second building is situated in the NE corner of the enclosure and its E side has been damaged by the construction of the track. Again previous accounts (ibid) describe the building, which has no evidence for partitioning, as measuring 27ft (8.2m from NNE to SSW) by 9ft (2.75m) within walls now reduced to widely spread grassy mounds about 5ft (1.5m) thick. The enclosure measures 28m from NNE to SSW by about 22m transversely within a stony-bank spread up to 4m in width although the E side has been destroyed by the track. Within, towards the S end, there is a marked break in slope across the enclosure, whilst the area W of the second building appears slightly raised.

According to the RCAHMS (1956) the farmstead may be that named 'Trone' which belonged to Melrose Abbey in the 13th century.

The farmstead lies at the W end of an extensive, and complicated sequence of field-boundaries, enclosures and cross-contour rig along the N side of the Kingseat Burn. The precise development of the field-system is difficult to unravel, now that much of it has been afforested but a few tentative suggestions may be made on the basis of the air photographic evidence. The earliest elements appear to be the unenclosed areas of cross-contour rig cultivation on the moderately steep SW-facing flank of Mallie Side, between NT 8622 1877 and NT 8637 1853. The upper limits of this area of rig are seen to overlie the lower limits of an area of contour cultivation (NT81NE 32) which occupies a steep slope above. Below, on the lower slopes which are either moderate or moderately steep there is further cross-contour ploughing within a series of conjoined enclosures, stepped along the valley-side. Outside these enclosures, along the edge of the terrace overlooking the Kingseat Burn, there are fragmentary traces of cross-contour rig, again seemingly from a period of unenclosed cultivation, early in the sequence.

The conjoined enclosures along the generally moderate SW-facing slopes of Mallie Side enclose cross-contour rig which overlies and destroys the earlier cultivation whose extents are undefined. The relationship of this part of the field-system on Mallie Side with that spread over the gentle to moderate slopes between the Cheviot and Kingseat burns cannot be established as the two elements are detached.

Over the lower ground, there are at least two stages of enclosure, perhaps more. The nature of the earlier stage of enclosure is unclear but there is no rig visible within the surviving boundaries which seem to have been redefined on at least one occasion; note the succession of banks on the W side of a large enclosure, between NT 8601 1885 and NT 8590 1875 and NT 8601 1884 and NT 8592 1875 repeated on the N and E between NT 8610 1886 and NT 1806 1886.

Remnants of these enclosures, at NT 8604 1863 and NT 8590 1875, are overlain by a substantial rectangular enclosure, measuring 210m from NW to SE by 80m, set against the Kingseat Burn. Cross-contour rig fills much of the later enclosure which, in turn, seems to be partitioned or reduced in size in the NE and is subsequently divided by the substantial boundary-bank (NT81NE 31). Immediately within the boundary-bank, at NT 8605 1887, a short stretch of what appears to be cultivation along the contour (NT81NE 88) appears to oversail the upper limit of the earlier field-system.

Information from RJ Mercer (University of Edinburgh) 16 March 1986

RCAHMS MS 2598. No. 37/524


Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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