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Carghidown Castle

Promontory Fort (Period Unassigned), Settlement (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Carghidown Castle

Classification Promontory Fort (Period Unassigned), Settlement (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 63132

Site Number NX43NW 8

NGR NX 4356 3507

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.


Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NX43NW 8 4356 3507.

(NX 4356 3507) Carghidown Castle (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Carghidown Castle, covering 1/2 acre, stood on a precipice overhanging the sea. All its masonry has disappeared, and there is no knowledge of its history.

P H M'Kerlie 1870

The site of a castle, of which nothing now remains. It appears to have been defended on the landward side by an earthen rampart.

Name Book 1849

A small promontory enclosed by a low earth-and-stone bank, giving an internal area of 28.5m NE-SW by 24.0m NW-SE. A gap of 8.5m on the E represents the area of the entrance.

In the interior are two timber house platforms, both levelled into the slope, and measuring internally 10.0m and 8.2m in diameter. The site is not situated in a strong defensive position, a seaward sloping promontory, and this combined with the small enclosing bank, is more indicative of a homestead.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (DWR) 18 January 1973

NX 435 351 An evaluation was undertaken in June and July 2003, aided by a number of volunteers, at Carghidown promontory fort in response to coastal erosion. Following a contour survey and a geophysical survey, two trenches were hand-excavated, revealing 20% (80m²) of the site. A series of floor deposits, together with a modest amount of charcoal, were revealed within one of the two stone-walled roundhouses. A clay surface had been laid over the remainder of the site. Three lead beads were recovered from a secure archaeological context immediately outwith one of the roundhouses.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsors: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, Mouswald Trust, Russell Trust.

R Toolis 2003

NX 435 351 An excavation at Carghidown promontory fort (DES 2003, 51) was undertaken in June and July 2004, in response to coastal erosion, by a team of volunteers under professional direction. Two areas totalling 120m² (30%) were excavated.

One area revealed up to four successive phases of occupation within a ring-groove roundhouse. The earliest sandy silt floor surface was succeeded by a pebble surface associated with several post-holes. This floor level was overlain by a third floor surface of flat stone slabs, again associated with post-holes. The stone slabs had subsequently been broken up and, along with a saddle quern, were used as packing stones for post-holes associated with the last rebuilding phase within the site. However, no floor surface was found in association with this last phase of post-holes. A significant amount of charcoal was recovered from the various stratified contexts within the roundhouse.

The excavation of the other areas of the site revealed the foundation base of another roundhouse, the construction of which had been started but not completed. An external ditch and rampart were also examined. The rubble cap of the rampart had entirely collapsed into the ditch. Chipped stone tools were also recovered from the excavation.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsors: Dumfriesshire & Galloway Natural History & Antiquarian Society, Mouswald Trust, Royal Archaeological Institute, Russell Trust, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

R Toolis 2004


Measured Survey (2003)

Surveyed and drawn by AOC Archaeology in 2003.


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