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Core Hill, Kirkmaiden

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Core Hill, Kirkmaiden

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 61024

Site Number NX13NW 6

NGR NX 1243 3686

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NX13NW 6.00 1243 3686

NX13NW 6.01 NX 1243 3686 stone axe

See also NX13NW 26.

(NX 1243 3685) Earthwork (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

There are the remains of a fort on the summit of Core Hill. The road through the village is just W of it, and so its defences on that side are obliterated, as they have been on the E by cultivation; and towards the NE only two ramparts are visible next to the churchyard wall, beyond which they have been levelled. Only towards the S are the defences complete. The interior of the fort is sub-oval, c. 87' by 72', surrounded by a 2' high rampart, rising 6' above its external ditch. Beyond this rampart lies a ditch 18' wide and 5' deep, three ramparts c. 15' wide at base with intervening ditches 18' wide and 4' deep. At the angles the inner rampart expands considerably, and on the SW angle there are slight hollow depressions. The SE angle is overgrown and the details concealed.

RCAHMS 1912, visited 1911

Since the above was written, the site has seriously deteriorated owing to the dumping of refuse in the ditches and the grubbing of pigs among the ramparts, which seem to have had cores of earth and stone, but may have been faced with dry walling as the innermost rampart exhibits two lengths of possible facings. The position of the entrance is uncertain and there are no signs of interior structures. The ramparts are now not more than 2' high. The date of the work is quite uncertain. (See also NX13NW 26).

RCAHMS TS 25 June 1955

Generally as described, the defences having been much reduced in the S, and the interior of the fort has been levelled at some time for a quoiting ground, obliterating any internal features. No original entrance is visible.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (DWR) 3 February 1972

This fort is situated on the summit of Core Hill immediately S of Kirkmaiden churchyard. Its defences are severely denuded, but the remains of three ramparts are visible. In places the innermost rampart has been reduced to a scarp, which on the N measures 2.3m in height, but elsewhere it forms a low bank measuring a maximum of 3.4m in thickness by 0.5m in height. An external ditch is visible on the SSW and NE, where it measures 3.5m and 4.5m in breadth respectively; it is now no more than 0.3m deep and continues round the N side of the hill as a level terrace cut into the slope. The second and third ramparts only survive on the SSW; the former mea sures 3.4m in thickness by 0.8m in height, the latter 4.2m by 0.6m, and between them there is a ditch 4.5m broad by 0.5m deep. The interior measures 28.3m from NNE to SSW by 21m transversely. Another ditch and rampart previously noted on the SSW was not identified, this part of the defences is heavily overgrown with gorse and brambles. The outer ramparts and ditches probably one existed on the E side of the fort, but there is no evidence to suggest that they extended round the W side, where the ground falls away steeply to the public road.

W Todd 1854; Name Book; H E Maxwell 1885; RCAHMS 1912; RCAHMS 1985, visited (SH) October 1984


Field Visit (25 June 1955)

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 (20 December 2013 - 23 May 2016)

This fort encloses the summit of Core Hill, a local high-point lying immediately S of Kirkmaiden churchyard. Its defences comprise up to four ramparts accompanied by ditches, but all are severely denuded and only the innermost forms a complete circuit, enclosing an oval area measuring 28.3m from NNE to SSW by 21m transversely (0.05ha). On the N this rampart has been reduced to a scarp up to 2.3m in height, while elsewhere it forms a low bank measuring a maximum of 3.4m in thickness by no more than 0.5m in height. Evidence of an external ditch up to 4.5m in breadth by 0.3m in depth can be seen on the SSW and NE, continuing round the N side of the hill as a level terrace cut into the slope. The outer ramparts are visible only on the SSW, currently clothed in dense thickets of gorse, and while they may not have extended along the steep W flank of the hillock, they have probably been ploughed out around the gentler E flank; indeed in 1911 Alexander Curle of RCAHMS noted traces of two ramparts immediately adjacent to the churchyard wall. The first of the outer ramparts on the SSW is 3.4m in thickness by 0.8m in height, and the second 4.2m by 0.6m; the ditch between them is 4.5m broad by 0.5m deep. Another ditch and rampart of similar proportions lie outside them. On the E a gap in the innermost rampart possibly marks the position of an entrance.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC0195


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