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Rockhallhead, Rokele Chapel

Chapel (Period Unassigned), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Celtic Head (Stone)

Site Name Rockhallhead, Rokele Chapel

Classification Chapel (Period Unassigned), Settlement (Period Unassigned), Celtic Head (Stone)

Alternative Name(s) Rockele Chapel; Collin

Canmore ID 66115

Site Number NY07NE 2

NGR NY 0542 7626

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/66115

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

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Lochmaben
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY07NE 2 0542 7626.

(NY 0542 7626) Rokele Chapel (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map (1957)

Rockhallhead farm is on the site of a 'Saxon camp or village', and on the same farm is a Norman motte and bailey (NY07NE 1).

Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc 1919

Although the area is under crop, traces of probably early occupation can be seen on air photographs (541/RAF/A 397: 4058-9), centred at NY 053 763 and NY 055 758 approximately. 'Rokele' Chapel is supposed to have been at NY 0542 7626. A massive stone, carved with the head of an ecclesiastic, received in Dumfries Museum from the proprietor of Rockhall (NY 0569 7556), probably came from the chapel site. It has been examined by Raleigh Radford who tentatively suggests that it is from the springing of the chancel arch of the chapel, that it has Irish affinities, and is perhaps of late 12th century date.

A E Truckell 1956; Name Book 1856

No trace of this chapel remains at NY 0542 7626. The large stone, supposedly from the chapel, is in Dumfries Museum. A perambulation of the fields around Rockhallhead farm failed to find any traces of earlier occupation.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 13 June 1966

The larger of two (definitely Celtic) heads that is built into the garden wall of Dumfries Burgh Museum (NX97NE 99) is reputed to have come from the chapel site at Rockhallhead near Collin, and is carved from a greyish fawn gritstone that is possibly local to the site at which the carving originated. It is carved from a block measuring 19.5 by 6.5 ins. (495 by 165mm) which shows signs of re-use. It has an oval face which, though well-moulded, still retains some of the angularity of the parent block. The eyes are lenticular and beneath deeply-carved raised eye-brows; the column-like nose is slightly expanded at the end, although no nostrils are shown; the face has either a rounded moustache or a heavy upper lip; the mouth is both short and straight; the chin is rather long and without any indication of a beard; the ears are indicated by two flat U-shaped loops. Below the chin, the natural stone continues for some 1.5 ins. (38mm) and is then deeply cut back to accommodate an angled semi-circular moulding into which would fit a gable or similar architectural feature; the finish of this moulding is very much finer than that of the face. The left side of the block has been trimmed or flaked off smoothly so as to cut off the right outer corner of the eye. Both these features indicate that the date of this secondary cutting is later than that of the carving of the head. This head is very closely paralleled by that from Lanchester, northern England.

W Dodds 1972.

Nothing is visible of the chapel which, on the basis of its suggested grid reference, would have occupied a low-lying position beside Rockhallhead farmsteading, an area now occupied by a yard.

Visited by RCAHMS (IMS) 11 October 1993.

Listed as settlement, chapel and architectural fragment.

RCAHMS 1997.

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