Ancient Monuments

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Todshawhill, settlement 1085m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.2256 / 55°13'32"N

Longitude: -3.2291 / 3°13'44"W

OS Eastings: 321916

OS Northings: 593067

OS Grid: NY219930

Mapcode National: GBR 58W0.QK

Mapcode Global: WH6X2.CXLB

Entry Name: Todshawhill, settlement 1085m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1969

Last Amended: 18 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2853

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Eskdalemuir

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a defended settlement of the Iron Age (late first millennium BC/early centuries AD), visible as a series of earthworks. The site is situated on the top of Hamlin Knowe, at around 285m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1969 but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The settlement is roughly oval on plan and measures about 56m by 35m within its stony bank. It is bounded by a stony bank with a slight external ditch and counterscarp. The bank is 0.6m high. The ditch is discernible as a 3m-wide terrace on the NW half of the enclosure. There is an entrance, with a slight horn-work, on the north-east.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to but does not include the forestry track on the S side of the monument. The above-ground elements of the shooting hide on the E side of the enclosure is specifically excluded from the scheduling, to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a later prehistoric univallate enclosed settlement or fort in good condition and retains well-defined sections of its perimeter bank, ditch and counterscarp. It is likely to date from the late 1st millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD. The rampart and interior are likely to contain archaeologically significant deposits relating to its construction, occupation and abandonment, as well as dating evidence. It is also likely that upstanding features will cover buried soils and related environmental evidence that would aid our understanding of the environment in which the monument was constructed. The ditch has the potential to contain similar deposits, and also those accumulated during the use and subsequent abandonment of the monument. These have the potential to inform our understanding of how the monument was used and the sorts of activities which were associated with this use.

Contextual characteristics

The monument belongs to a large and widespread class of enclosure monuments, forts and unenclosed settlements, found throughout Scotland. The horn work on the entrance is unusual, being found more usually in southern Britain, and enhances the monument's importance. As such it has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of these monument types and the period to which they belong. As well as individual features, the wider setting and context of these monuments can help us to understand their purpose and significance. It is clear that there is no universal sequence of settlement in later prehistory and each one therefore has the potential to tell us something about how Iron-Age societies in Scotland developed over time.

The monument sits on the top of Hamlin Knowe and may therefore have had a defensive function. The site has extensive views in all directions, which would have been even better before afforestation. There is a particularly good view NE towards the Black Esk. Comparing and contrasting the situation of the settlement to other examples both nearby (e.g. Haw Birren) and within the wider area can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for Iron-Age economy and the structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of later prehistoric enclosed and unenclosed settlement across Scotland.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric settlement enclosures, forts and associated features. This contribution extends to their location within the landscape and the relationship between them, as well as the Iron-Age society that created and inhabited them. Its importance is increased by its good preservation, proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date, and the presence of an unusual horn work. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of later prehistoric activity, not just in eastern Dumfries and Galloway but across Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NY29SW 1. There is a short RCAHMS report for this site, which is attached. Dumfries and Galloway Council's SMR records the monument as MDG7702.

Aerial photograph used:

RCAHMS 1980 DF2958 Oblique Aerial View.


Jackson, A M 1978, Forestry and Archaeology: A Study of the Survival of Field Monuments in South West Scotland, Hertford: Rescue - The British Archaeological Trust.

Jobey, G 1971, 'Early Settlements in eastern Dumfriesshire', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc 48, 78-105.

RCAHMS 1920, Seventh Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Dumfries, Edinburgh: HMSO.

RCAHMS 1980, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Upper Eskdale, Annandale and Eskdale District, Dumfries and Galloway Region, Edinburgh: RCAHMS.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh: The Stationery Office.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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