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Hoddom, Old Parish Church

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Cross Base (Early Medieval), Grave Slab(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Hoddom, Old Parish Church

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Cross Base (Early Medieval), Grave Slab(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Hoddom Monastery; Hallguards Quarry; Hoddam; Hoddambridge

Canmore ID 66705

Site Number NY17SE 4

NGR NY 16678 72674

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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



The existence of an eighth- to ninth-century monastery at Hoddom was implied by the discovery from the late eighteenth century onwards of many carved stones, and its reality was proved by excavations in 1991- . The collection totals 76 carved stones, mostly fragmentary, including a number of stones that were partially recorded before being broken up for road metalling in 1942. The range of monument types includes free-standing crosses (more than is known from any other site in Scotland), cross-slabs and one cross-incised stone. One cross-slab, no 67, shows an ingenious use of contrasting bands of colour in the sandstone to create a white cross in relief against a pinkish-beige background.

Primary references: Lowe 2006; Craig 2006.

A Ritchie 2019


Field Visit (1915)

Visited by RCAHMS 1915. For details see, summary record.

Field Visit (14 November 1967)

At NY 1667 7267 are the grass-covered foundations of an enclosure 5.5m square over walls about 1.0m thick, which A E Truckell, Dumfries Museum, asserts are the remains of the later or 12th - 13th century church. Immediately to the N of this enclosure is a short length of wall, grass-covered, about 5.0m long, 0.9m thich and 0.8m high, which Truckell considers to be the remains of an earlier or 8th century church. No conclusions as to dating could be drawn from field inspection of this site, except that the remains are fairly old. Numerous finds from the site (including two 8th century crosses) are in Dumfries Museum, many as yet not catalogued.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (EGC) 14 November 1967

Field Visit (22 February 1973)

No change to previous field report.

Visited by OS (IA) 22 February 1973

Reference (1978)

Hoddam Old Churchyard. Four fragments of medieval grave-slabs. In damaged section of Hoddam Old Churchyard wall. Dumfries Museum: 78.53, 78.54.

A E Truckell 1978.

Aerial Photographic Transcription (12 February 1991 - 22 February 1991)

An aerial transcription was produced from oblique aerial photographs. Information from Historic Environment Scotland (BM) 31 March 2017.

Field Visit (24 August 1993)

The site of the medieval parish church and burial-ground of Hoddom lies on a slight eminence on the haughland of the River Annan. The church itself probably occupied a terrace in the NE corner of the present burial-ground, an area respected by all but a few 19th-century memorials. A stretch of wall, 4.6m long, on the N, towards the E end of the terrace, is probably all that is visible of its walls. The masonry is generally square and survives to three courses, now almost entirely turf-covered (0.85m thick and up to 0.8m high). An enclosure (roughly 5m square overall and formed of unhewn stone) immediately to the S of the extant length of wall, is probably the burial-enclosure of the Brooks of Hoddom and not the remains of the medieval church, as has been suggested by A E Truckell. The terrace measures roughly 20m from E to W by about 10m transversely. On the W, the ground shelves gently towards the gate of the burial-ground, while on the S it drops more steeply. On the N, the wall of the burial-ground is clearly secondary to the church (on the basis of the surviving fragment of its N wall and its projection westwards) and it is likely that the site of the burial-ground has been significantly contracted on this side, its original extent probably being roughly marked by the present edge of the cultivated ground. At the W edge of the terrace, at the foot of the wall enclosing the burial-ground, amid a heap of gravestone fragments and other dressed stones, there are two items of note: a monolithic arch-pointed and chamfered window-head (which has been re-used, one edge being cut by a rectangular chase); and, beside it, what may be a voussoir from a segmental arch.

The topography of the site in relation to that of the Anglian minster (NY17SE 56) would suggest that the site of the British/Anglian church was on the higher escarpment and that it was only in the medieval period that the ecclesiastical focus shifted to the immediate haughland of the River Annan, the medieval church presumably re-utilising a large part of the fabric of the Anglian minster, which itself drew upon masonry derived from the Roman fort at Birrens (NY27NW 4.00).

Visited by RCAHMS (IMS, PC), 24 August 1993.

Reference (1997)

Listed as church, burial-ground, Northumbrian cross-slabs, cross-base, medieval graveslabs, architectural fragments and crozier drops. See also museum collections (NMS KC 3 and BM 51.7-15.5) and miscellaneous manuscripts (Riddell MSS 584, 160-1, 269-70, SRO DD.27/1201 and NMRS Curle MS 36/47, pp. 45-6).

RCAHMS 1997.

Desk Based Assessment

NY17SE 4.00 16678 72674

(NY 1667 7267) Hoddom Church (NR) (site of) Anglian Crosses found (NAT)

OS 1:10000 map (1973)

NY17SE 4.01 166 726 Cross-base

NY17SE 4.02 166 726 Watching Brief; Cross-slabs; Lead Objects; Architectural Fragments

NY17SE 4.03 1667 7267 Crosiers

NY17SE 4.04 1665 7265 Grave-slab

See also NY17SE 56 ('Hoddom Chapel').

For Hoddom, Former Parish Church (NY 17835 73516), see NY17SE 19.00.

For further details (including excavation reports) of the enclosure (and possible Anglian monastery) surrounding Hoddom Church, see NY17SE 56. For successor and present parish churches of Hoddom (at NY 1783 7351 and NY 1925 7454), see NY17SE 19 and 67 respectively. For sculptured stone, possibly from this church, see NY17SE 6.01 and 64.

This was the site of the 12th-13th century parish church. After the union of Hoddom with Luce and Ecclefechan in 1609 it became ruinous and was finally removed in 1815. The site is traditionally associated with St Kentigern (d. 612) who reputedly built a church at Hoddom and placed his see there for a time. (However, no finds relevant to this period have been made).

Archaeological evidence from this site would indicate the existence of an important ecclesiastical centre at this site in the 8th and subsequent centuries:

1. An early nave built of re-used Roman material (clearly from Birrens), with megalithic quoins which was excavated about 1915. The construction is like that of the Anglian churches at Jarrow and Escomb, both dating from about AD 700.

2. The finds of Early Christian monuments (listed and illustrated by Radford), including two fine 8th century crosses of Ruthwell type, and part of a 10th century staff or crozier shrine, are too numerous to be accounted for in any other way. Many of the finds are in Dumfries Museum and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).

Information from OS.

RCAHMS 1920, visited 1915; C A R Radford 1954; I B Cowan and D E Easson 1976; A E Truckell 1964; J Williams 1969

Hoddam (Glasgow, Annandale). The lands of Hoddam pertained to the church of Glasgow in the Inquest, c. 1120 and the church itself was confirmed to the bishop of Glasgow by Pope Alexander III in 1170. This was confirmed by successive Popes while a similar confirmation was made in 1187x89 by Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale. It is obvious, however, that the patronage alone was involved in the above grants and the church remained independent within the patronage of the bishops of Glasgow until the Reformation.

I B Cowan 1967.


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