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Warlawbank, Horseley Hill

Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Warlawbank, Horseley Hill

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Horseley Hill

Canmore ID 59942

Site Number NT86SW 8

NGR NT 83129 62000

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Coldingham
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT86SW 8 NT 83129 62000

(NT 8312 6199) Fort (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1976).

Fort, Warlawbank: This fort, situated on top of Horseley Hill, 860ft OD, measures some 357ft by 225ft within two ramparts and a medial ditch, with an additional rampart on the NE. The entrance is in the SE. The fort has been much reduced by frequent ploughing. (See RCAHMS 1915

plan, fig.52).

RCAHMS 1915, visited 17 August 1908.

This oval fort, occupying a commanding position, remains substantially as described above, except that on the W, ploughing has encroached upon the outer rampart. The medial ditch between the two ramparts is now 1.3m in average depth. The interior is level to the W, but appears to have been hollowed out slightly to the E. The entrance, on the SE, is 6m wide. The third rampart on the NE is only faintly traceable; it appears to have been concentric.

Visited by OS(JFC) 1 November 1954.

This fort is generally as described by the previous authorities. The inner rampart has been reduced to a scarp except to the N of the entrance. There are no internal features; the hollow effect mentioned in the previous field report is probably natural.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS(WDJ) 24 February 1966.

This fort, which measures about 110m by 65m, has been almost levelled by cultivation. Cropmarks on air photographs (RCAHMS 1978) show entrances on the ESE and WSW respectively, and within the interior, a circular ditched enclosure 40m in diameter.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1979.

Scheduled as 'Warlawbank, fort 140m NW of...'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 31 March 2009.


Field Visit (17 August 1908)

90. Fort, Warlawbank.

This enclosure (fig. 52 [DP 228313]) is situated on the top of Horsley Hill, at an elevation of about 840 feet above sea-level and about 100 yards west of the farm of Warlawbank, and is surrounded by two parallel mounds, probably of earth, with a trench between supplemented by a third mound at the east end. The distance from the crest of the innermost to that of the middle rampart is about 40 feet, and from that of the middle to that of the outermost about 30 feet. The trench is still in places 5 to 6 feet deep. It is oval inform, measuring some 357 feet by 225 feet. The entrance is from the south-east. The surface has been frequently ploughed over.

See Antiquaries, xxix. p. 165; Ber·. Nat. Club, 1894-95, p. 374.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 17th August 1908.

OS Map: Ber., xi. NW.

Note (16 February 2016 - 30 May 2016)

This fort, which occupies a position on the crest of Horsely Hill to the NW of Warlawbank, was intermittently under plough through the 19th century, but sufficient survived for James Hewat Craw to draw up a plan about 1912 showing a near complete circuit of two ramparts flanking a medial ditch, with an outer ditch and counterscarp bank where the ground rose gently towards the summit on the NE quarter. More recently cropmarks of the fort have also been recorded, revealing that the outer ditch was a continuous feature of the defences, while within the interior there are traces of a rather smaller enclosure. The fort is roughly oval on plan, measuring 125m from E to W by 77m transversely (0.77ha) within the inner of the two ditches, which are set about 4m apart around most of the circuit; the inner ditch is some 4m in breadth, and the outer 2.5m, increasing to 3.5m on the NE. Making allowance for the original thickness of the inner rampart, which is generally spread about 7m, the interior probably measured about 115m by a little over 65m (0.6ha). The ditches are pierced by major entrances on the ESE and WSW, while there may also be a narrow causeway across them both on the S; the WSW entrance is a simple gap about 3.5m wide, but the gap on the ESE is in the order of 10m wide, the cropmarks also revealing evidence of heavy traffic, and it is likely that the ramparts formerly returned and united around the terminals of the ditches to either side; all trace of this had been removed before Craw prepared his plan. The evidence of wear here extends into the oval enclosure occupying the eastern half of the fort's interior. It measures internally about 65m from ENE to WSW by 50m transversely, and its ditch, which is little more than 2m in breadth, is apparently broken by causeways on the ENE, SE and WSW respectively; an irregular maculae at the ENE end includes the outline of at least one round-house.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 30 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC4107

Sbc Note

Visibility: This site is visible as a cropmark.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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