Ancient Monuments

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Coats Hill, motte 480m north east of St Margaret's

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.3224 / 55°19'20"N

Longitude: -3.4638 / 3°27'49"W

OS Eastings: 307214

OS Northings: 604124

OS Grid: NT072041

Mapcode National: GBR 467W.WW

Mapcode Global: WH5VF.RHR4

Entry Name: Coats Hill, motte 480m NE of St Margaret's

Scheduled Date: 21 July 1937

Last Amended: 13 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM686

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Kirkpatrick-Juxta

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority A mid 19th century cast iron milepost along the A821 road near to Trossachs Parish Church (see separate listing) between Callander and Loch Katrine. After the opening of the nearby Trossachs Hotel in 1849 and the arrival of the railway to Callander in the 1850s this section of the A821 became extremely busy with tourists as the main route through the Trossachs terminating at the head of Loch Katrine. The milepost has historical interest, relatively early date, and simple but elegant design when compared with later mileposts. Set on a pedestal with an angled 2-sided face with half pyramidal cap and blank rear section. The SE face reads 'Trossachs Hotel ¼ miles, Loch Katrine 1 ½ miles'. The SW face reads 'Callander 8 miles, Stirling 24 miles'.

The Listed Building Description was updated in July 2021 with supplementary information.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument represents the well-preserved earthworks of a timber castle. The motte and elements of a surrounding ditch are well preserved and the motte retains a good proportion of its estimated original shape, extent and structure, and displays little evidence of damage. The motte is likely to preserve evidence of its construction, use and abandonment phases, as well as any settlement or activity that predated it. The potential is high for survival of evidence for the form of buildings and upstanding defensive works. Silted ditches may contain important palaeoenvironmental evidence that can help us reconstruct the environment when the site was in use. Researchers suggest the site had a relatively short development sequence, and this can help us understand more easily the archaeological meaning of the site and its function. The lack of evidence for later developments on the site may suggest it was abandoned relatively early, perhaps in the later 12th or earlier 13th centuries.

Contextual characteristics

This is one of over 300 fortified earthworks in Scotland probably dating from the 12th century. These fortified settlements were likely to be symbolic as well as functional, marking and protecting the lands of emerging lordships and the route ways through them. These strongholds are generally limited to an area between the Clyde and the Solway but there are examples along other main route ways (often by significant water courses) such as those to the north of the Forth in E Scotland and stretching up to and including the Moray coast. Other examples survive in Caithness, Argyll and the Highlands. The greatest density of these sites is in Dumfries and Galloway and this reflects the historically strategic importance of SW Scotland and the route north from the Solway to the Clyde.

This monument is one of 11 timber castles identified in Annandale. They lay within an Anglo-Norman lordship created when David I installed Robert de Brus as Lord of Annandale in 1124. Researchers have suggested that the king created the lordship specifically to contain and control Galloway and Nithsdale to the west and to secure the route north into Clydesdale. The Brus family established large motte-and'bailey castles at Annan and Lochmaben to act as their principal power bases. Researchers interpret this monument as one of the minor timber castles of the Brus lordship, one of a group mainly held by vassals of Brus; it was of significantly smaller scale than Annan and Lochmaben but had a different function. The remains of directly comparable timber castles exist on the Garpol Water 2km to the west and at Wamphray, Lochwood, and Hutton, all within 20km to the south. This monument is one of only two in Annandale for which no suggestion of ownership can be made. Auldton, a classic motte-and-bailey castle 3km to the NE, differs from this site because it was built on land managed directly by the lordship of Annandale and can be ascribed to the Brus family itself; it thus offers an interesting local comparator. The monument has additional interest because, unlike all the other small timber castles in eastern Dumfries and Galloway, there is no firm evidence to indicate the presence of a bailey. Accordingly, it may represent an unusual or incomplete design.

The Brus family held Moffat directly for most of the 14th century, perhaps suggesting that there would not have been vassals with their own small castles in the vicinity by that time. There is no evidence that any of the Annandale timber castles, except Lochmaben, figured in the endemic warfare of the late 13th and 14th centuries.

Associative characteristics

The earthwork remains of timber castles are the most visible reminders of the Anglo-Norman landscape in this part of Scotland. They reflect the establishment of royal control by granting the rights for land ownership and lordship. The Lordship of Annandale is associated with Robert the Bruce, in that David I granted it to his father in 1124.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the construction and function of medieval strongholds. It retains a significant proportion of its field characteristics and is a well-preserved example of it class, with little sign of later disturbance. From it, we can learn much about medieval castle construction as well as the wider control of land and route ways in SW Scotland. Its importance is enhanced because it can be compared with other monuments in the vicinity, associated with families of differing status. The loss of this example would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand settlement and land tenure in medieval Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



1st edition (Perthshire) Ordnance Survey map (1862-1863).

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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