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Hilly Linn

Farmstead(S) (Period Unassigned), Tower (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Hilly Linn

Classification Farmstead(S) (Period Unassigned), Tower (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 74605

Site Number NT60NE 1.02

NGR NT 6628 0969

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Southdean
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire


Field Visit (27 February 1992)

NT60NE 1.02 6628 0969.

A tower and three farmsteads lie in a clearing in the forestry plantation and are overgrown with rank grass, making interpretation difficult. The site can be divided into two: the pele and its adjacent farmstead, and the two farmsteads to the S. The buildings associated with the tower are substantial rectangular structures with two or more compartments, whilst the buildings of the farmsteads to the S are single-chambered structures with round corners.

The tower forms the core of a farmstead which is situated on a natural terrace some 50m E of Hilly Linn waterfall at the N end of the settlement. The tower, which is attached to the S of the E end of a long building with a yard enclosed by a wall in the return between the two, is set into the slope at its ESE end to a depth of 1m and measures 11.5m from WNW to ESE by 7m transversely over rubble-faced walls, which, where best preserved at its ESE end, are some 1.8m in thickness. The overall dimensions of the tower are comparable both with the

pele-house at Slack's Tower (NT60NW 3.01) and the lime-mortared tower at Overton (RCAHMS 1956, No. 437), but any further definition of its classification must await excavation. The attached building has three compartments and measures 24.5m in length by 7m in breadth over rubble-faced walls spread to 1.5m in thickness and 1m in height and there is what may be an outshot at its WNW end. To the SSW of the tower and roughly parallel to it there is a two-compartment building, whose ESE end is set into the slope; it measures 12.5m from WNW to ESE by 3.5m transversely within rubble-faced walls 0.85m in thickness and up to 0.5m in height. (ROX 70-72).

A hut or pen lies on its own at NT 6622 0961 midway between the tower and the farmsteads at the S end of the settlement. This round-ended structure is cut into the edge of the terrace and measures some 8.8m from N to S by 3.2m transversely over rubble walls some 0.7m in thickness and 0.5m in height with a dip in the W side which may mark the entrance (ROX92 66).

At the S end of the settlement there are two farmsteads some 20m apart, at each of which the main structure is a subrectangular building, set end-on to the slope. The N farmstead (NT 6624 0954) comprises a single building with an enclosure on its N side. The building measures some 10.5m from E to W by 3.2m transversely within stony banks spread to 1.6m in thickness by 0.3m in height, but its E end is ill-defined, having been disturbed by forestry ploughing. The S farmstead (NT 6626 0951) comprises a building, an adjoining hut at the W end of its S side, an enclosure upslope to the SE and a yard that has been levelled into the slope on the N side of the building to provide access. The building is set into the slope to a depth of 1m and measures 8.6m from E to W by 3.2m transversely within stony banks spread to 2m in thickness and 0.5m in height, where visible on the N and W, with an entrance in the N side, opening on to the yard. The hut, which is set into the slope on its E side measures 5.1m from NNW to SSE by 2m transversely within stony banks spread to 0.9m in thickness and standing up to 1m in height, where highest on the upslope side, and there is an entrance on the WSW.

(ROX92 67-69)

A settlement called Blackchesters is shown at this location on Blaue's map of Teviotdale, based upon Pont (Blaeu 1654), and the same place is identified on Roy's map (Roy 1747-55), but it does not appear on Stobie's map of Roxburghshire (Stobie 1770). The Hearth Tax return of 1691 lists three persons each with a hearth at Blackchesters (SRO E69/21/1).

Visited by RCAHMS (PJD) 27 February 1992.

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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