Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Old Kirk of Tough, standing stone 165m north of Forkins of Midmar

A Scheduled Monument in Westhill and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.1727 / 57°10'21"N

Longitude: -2.6216 / 2°37'17"W

OS Eastings: 362510

OS Northings: 809262

OS Grid: NJ625092

Mapcode National: GBR WY.20QP

Mapcode Global: WH8P4.PZT7

Entry Name: Old Kirk of Tough, standing stone 165m N of Forkins of Midmar

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12010

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Cluny

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a standing stone of prehistoric date, which is the only upstanding surviving element of a recumbent stone circle that was removed in the late 19th century. It lies in a disturbed area of rough pasture on a gentle S-facing slope, at about 360m above sea level.

The earthfast stone is about 1.2m high by about 0.8m wide and 0.3m thick. It lies at the S edge of an area of disturbed ground within which a recumbent stone circle and ring cairn stood until the late 19th century. In 1875, the stone circle consisted of seven upright stones and a large recumbent stone on the south-west. It had a diameter of about 23m and surrounded a cairn with a hollow centre (known as a ring-cairn). By 1900, the cairn and all but one of the stones had been removed, but buried archaeological remains in the area immediately surrounding the standing stone are likely to survive.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the standing stone and an area around it within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, 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 comprises the only visible remains of a recumbent stone circle, a monument type characteristic of NE Scotland and dating to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (around 2000-1500 BC). Although all other visible elements of the stone circle and ring-cairn have been removed, it is likely that the area immediately around the standing stone contains evidence relating to the construction and use of the stone circle and ring-cairn. Such deposits may give us valuable information about the purpose of the monument, the people who created and used it, their religious beliefs, the methods used to create it, and provide dating evidence for its erection and for any later activity associated with the stone circle. In addition, it is likely that deposits survive that could provide information relating to the prehistoric environment within which the circle was constructed and used.

Contextual characteristics

The monument lies in a part of Scotland that is characterised by its density of recumbent stone circles. It occupies a prominent location and is likely to have been an intrinsic part of the late-Neolithic and Bronze-Age landscape. It can be compared and contrasted with nearby standing stones and stone circles and with others outside the region to create an understanding of regional identity and society during this period. The study of this monument with other examples in the wider area can also give us valuable information on how and why Neolithic and Bronze-Age peoples of the area placed such monuments in the landscape.

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 religious and ritual practices of late-Neolithic and Bronze-Age peoples in Scotland. The knowledge of its former extent and period of use enhance this potential. The loss of this example would impede our ability to understand the Neolithic and Bronze Age both in Aberdeenshire and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Neolithic and Bronze-Age social structure and religion.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ60NW 1 and by Aberdeenshire SMR as NJ60NW 0001.


Coles F R 1900, 'Report on stone circles in Kincardineshire (North) and part of Aberdeenshire, with measured plans and drawings, obtained under the Gunning Fellowship', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 34, 171.


Ritchie J 1918, 'Cup-marks on the stone circles and standing-stones of Aberdeenshire and part of Banffshire', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT, 52, 90-1.


Ritchie, J 1904 SC 678929 (copy of AB2529).

Ritchie, J 1904 SC 678820 (copy of AB2520).

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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