Ancient Monuments

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Annan old graveyard, recumbent grave marker 45m ENE of town hall

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale South, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.9874 / 54°59'14"N

Longitude: -3.2639 / 3°15'50"W

OS Eastings: 319220

OS Northings: 566603

OS Grid: NY192666

Mapcode National: GBR 5BNR.5Y

Mapcode Global: WH6Y6.TWXX

Entry Name: Annan old graveyard, recumbent grave marker 45m ENE of town hall

Scheduled Date: 28 February 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12183

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: inscribed stone

Location: Annan

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale South

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a recumbent, coped grave marker, likely to date to the 12th century. It is located in Annan old parish churchyard, which lies on the E bank of the River Annan, at the W end of Annan High Street.

This earthfast carved stone measures approximately 1.5m long by 0.5m wide, and is aligned E/W. Its two sloping flanks show traces of a tegulated design (the pattern created from overlapped tiling). Its W end bears a roundel. The top surface carries an inscription of likely 18th-century date that demonstrates recycling of the high medieval monument as a later burial marker.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around, within which associated remains may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. Specifically excluded from the scheduling are all active burial lairs and other grave markers, to allow for their 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 well-preserved example of a high-status, high medieval, burial monument. Its form and design (notably the tegulation) has the potential to help us understand the art-historical development of such monuments from earlier hogback monuments. It is an important example of the post-Reformation recycling of medieval monuments; such reuse is often the reason why such monuments have survived and is an important part of a monument's biography. This monument can therefore help us to understand the value that later peoples placed on earlier monuments.

Contextual characteristics

Scottish medieval recumbent monuments are a relatively small and little studied group. Coped gravestones, such as Annan, are a later development of hogback monuments, a 10th- to 11th-century form of monument found along the firths of Forth, Clyde and Solway, in Berwickshire, eastern Scotland, Orkney and Shetland, as well as northern England, from where this form of monument was introduced to Scotland in a culturally Scandinavian context. In Scotland around 22 hogbacks survive, in addition to 8 related decorated recumbent monuments. The Annan example is one of at least 16 tegulated coped monuments of the 11th to 12th centuries, and is of particular interest because its tegulation illustrates its ancestry.

The monument's likely date makes it the most visible surviving evidence for the 12th-century church that the de Brus (Bruce) family probably established at Annan. Its reuse suggests that people moved it from its original location somewhere in the graveyard.

Associative characteristics

The coped monument derives from hogbacks, a distinctive form of burial marker that is ultimately of Scandinavian origin. Related monuments appear in Norway, Sweden and Denmark in the 12th century, providing evidence for social and ecclesiastical links across the North Sea.

The lands of Annan (including the church site) and its surrounds were part of the estate of Robert the Bruce's father and were territorially significant in the disputes over land ownership and control between English and Scottish forces across the Scottish West March.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has the inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the form, nature and development of medieval commemorative burial markers in south-west Scotland and across northern Britain as a whole. It retains important and relatively well-preserved architectural and decorative features that provide unique evidence for a link between different types of burial markers. The carved stone is the most visible evidence for the important medieval church at Annan, and it provides evidence for high-status burials in the associated graveyard. The loss of this monument would affect our ability to understand the history and development of burial fashions in the medieval and later periods across northern Britain, as well as the nature and significance of the ecclesiastical establishment at Annan.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the church as NY16NE 82.


Neilson G 1896, ?Old Annan?, TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 2, 11, 155-7, 161-3, 172-3, 175-81.

Gifford J 1996, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY, The Buildings of Scotland Series, London, 218.

Lang J T 1976, ?Hogback monuments in Scotland?, PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 105, 206-35.


Ritchie A 2004, HOGBACK GRAVESTONES AT GOVAN AND BEYOND, Glasgow: The Society of Friends of Govan Old.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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