Ancient Monuments

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Robgill Tower, fort 90m north west of

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

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Latitude: 55.0342 / 55°2'3"N

Longitude: -3.1794 / 3°10'45"W

OS Eastings: 324718

OS Northings: 571708

OS Grid: NY247717

Mapcode National: GBR 6B77.G5

Mapcode Global: WH6Y2.4Q8L

Entry Name: Robgill Tower, fort 90m NW of

Scheduled Date: 22 January 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12157

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Dornock

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a univallate fort, visible as a single curving rampart, ditch and counterscarp enclosing a promontory. The fort is likely to date to the late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD. The monument lies on a triangular spur formed by the steeply-sided terrace of the Kirtle Water and the 12m-deep Rob Gill, at 65m above sea level.

The fort is roughly triangular in shape. It measures a maximum of 120m N-S by 75m transversely and covers the whole spur. The enclosure ditch is 1.5m deep and the rampart is 2m wide. There is an entrance on the north-west, which is defined by two stones (each 0.4m high) and approached by a path from the north.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

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 well-preserved example of a promontory fort, likely to date to the late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD. The rampart, ditch and counterscarp have survived as upstanding features owing to their location within ancient woodland forming part of the Robgill Tower policies. Given the site's current and historic use as amenity woodland, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the fort remain in situ. In addition, it is likely that deposits survive that could provide data relating to the later prehistoric environment.

The monument has considerable potential to enhance understanding of Iron-Age domestic, defensive and ritual activity. The location of the fort, overlooking the Kirtle Water and defined on the north-east and south by natural topography, suggests that defensibility, as well as access to good agricultural land, was important to its builders.

Contextual characteristics

Iron-Age forts are found widely throughout eastern Dumfries and Galloway, tending to occur on the crests of hills above 250m above sea level. A few forts are located at lower altitudes further down the valleys, and Robgill fort is one of these. In general, forts are situated on rocky knolls or high ground for a variety of potential reasons: defence, availability of building material, visibility within the landscape, or avoiding the usage of land that could otherwise be cultivated. It may be that more were originally located in low-lying areas, but once ploughing and agriculture have removed the ramparts and ditches the interior is very difficult to recognise, unless on aerial photographs.

This monument therefore has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of forts and defended settlements, and in particular the place of promontory forts in the later prehistoric settlement pattern. Its proximity to other potentially contemporary forts and enclosures, such as Broats, settlement and field system 300m N of (SM 4087) and Calvertsholm (RCAHMS no. NY26NE5) enhances this significance.

Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into Iron-Age forts across Scotland. In eastern Dumfries and Galloway such forts may also provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. For this reason, this monument's significance is enhanced by its proximity to the Roman complex at Birrens (SMs 666, 2746 and 2613), just 3km away and immediately to the north of Kirtlebridge,

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to enhance our understanding of a settlement type that characterises the wider Iron-Age defended domestic landscape, forming an important aspect of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the Kirtle Water. The loss of this example would significantly impede our ability to understand the Iron Age and succeeding periods within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-Age social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as Robgill, fort, NY27SW11. Dumfries and Galloway Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) record the monument as Robgill, fort, MDG7470.


Mercer R et al 1997, KIRKPATRICK FLEMING, DUMFRIESSHIRE: AN ANATOMY OF A PARISH IN SOUTH WEST SCOTLAND, History and Archaeology of Kirkpatrick Fleming Parish 6.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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