Ancient Monuments

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Russell's Cairn on Windy Gyle

A Scheduled Monument in Kelso and District, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.4306 / 55°25'50"N

Longitude: -2.2301 / 2°13'48"W

OS Eastings: 385537.367477

OS Northings: 615214.06174

OS Grid: NT855152

Mapcode National: GBR D5VN.Z3

Mapcode Global: WH9ZZ.QR8P

Entry Name: Russell's Cairn on Windy Gyle

Scheduled Date: 3 May 1934

Last Amended: 9 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015318

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25029

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Kelso and District

Traditional County: Roxburghshire


The monument includes the remains of a substantial round cairn of prehistoric
date situated high on the summit of the border ridge known as Windy Gyle. It
commands extensive views, and can be seen as a major landmark from all
directions. Its prominence as a landmark subsequently led to its reuse as a
marker defining the boundary between England and Scotland. It is composed of
bare angular rock and measures 14m in diameter and stands to a maximum height
of 2.2m. The upper surface of the cairn has been rearranged by walkers and
there is a shallow hollow in the centre of the cairn. The cairn is
traditionally connected with Lord Russell who, it is said, was slain there in
July 1585 by the Scots.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Russell's Cairn survives very well and contains significant archaeological
deposits. It is clearly a site of some importance as it is in a commanding
position from where it is a visible landmark for some distance. It is one of a
group of cairns situated along the border ridge and will contribute to our
knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age settlement and activity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The County of Roxburgh: Volume 2, (1956), 361

Source: Historic England

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