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Innermessan Mote

Motte (Medieval)

Site Name Innermessan Mote

Classification Motte (Medieval)

Canmore ID 60771

Site Number NX06SE 3

NGR NX 0841 6329

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Inch
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

NX06SE 3 0841 6329

(NX 0841 6329) Innermessan Mote (NR)

OS 6" map (1938)

Mote of Innermessan. It rises to a height of above 30 feet above the bottom of the ditch which encircles it. The level top measures some 95 feet East to West by 98 feet north to south and has been surrounded by a low parapet at the edge of the scarp. The ditch has been much reduced by ploughing on the east side but on the seaward it is well preserved. It has been flat-bottomed with a width of 20 to 40 feet and a depth of 6 to 8 feet. The tongue of land to the south is natural.

RCAHMS 1912, visited 1911; R W Feachem 1956; M Harper 1896

The remains of the motte are generally as described by Harper. It is probable that its flat top was enclosed by a wall or rampart of earth and stones, the scarp of which can be seen on the west side. The short stretch of bank on the south side may be modern. The top and sides of the mound are mutilated, with the remains of several slit-trenches in evidence. On the west side the ditch is being slowly destroyed by erosion.

Revised at 25".

Visited by OS (WDJ) 11 February 1963

This motte is situated on the raised beach 50m SSW of Innermessan steading. It stands to a height of 12.8m on the SSW and its roughly level summit measures about 29m in diameter. Except on the SE side, where the ground falls steeply, the motte is enclosed by a ditch up to 11m broad and 1m deep. In 1834 excavations on the summit at a depth of about 0.9m 'a stratum consisting of ashes, charred wood and fragments of bone'.

RCAHMS 1987, visited March 1986

Visible on vertical air photographs, (OS 76/143/005-6, flown 1976).

Information from RCAHMS (DE) August 1996


Geophysical Survey (10 September 2012 - 15 September 2012)

NX 0839 6384 Two extensive community geophysical surveys were carried out 10–15 September 2012 by volunteers as part of a series of events by Discovering Dumfries and Galloway’s Past, run by the University of Glasgow.

The magnetic survey focused on the area to the N of the base of the Motte of Innermessan (NX06SE 3), whilst the resistivity survey focused on a possible field boundary noted on aerial photographs, 350m to the N of Innermessan Farm (NX06SE 98). A number of features were visible in the resistance survey, which probably related to post-medieval agriculture, and the use of this area in WW2, including pipes connected to an extant 1940s water tank. A number of other features, including possible building platforms may relate to earlier activity in this area. The magnetic survey failed to record any traces of features associated with a bailey, but did locate a double-ditched feature, apparently cut by the motte ditch.

Report: Dumfries and Galloway SMR (intended)

Funder: The Scottish Government and The European Community, Dumfries and Galloway LEADER 2007–2013, The Crichton Foundation and The University of Glasgow

Giles Carey, University of Glasgow



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