Ancient Monuments

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Catch-a-penny House, settlement 135m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8341 / 55°50'2"N

Longitude: -2.0688 / 2°4'7"W

OS Eastings: 395789

OS Northings: 660103

OS Grid: NT957601

Mapcode National: GBR F0ZZ.XG

Mapcode Global: WH9Y4.6M3B

Entry Name: Catch-a-penny House, settlement 135m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 20 February 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12514

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Ayton

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises an oval enclosure visible as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs. The remains are interpreted as the site of a later prehistoric enclosed settlement. The site lies in a gently sloping field at approximately 140m above sea level.

The interior of the enclosure measures about 60m N-S by at least 35m and is defined by two concentric ditches up to 7m apart. Part of the E side of the site has been damaged by the construction of a farm track. Aerial photographs reveal several marks within the interior of the settlement that may be remains of internal features, including what may be evidence for a circular house approximately 11m in diameter.

The area to be scheduled is oval on plan, to include the remains visible on the aerial photography and an area around in which evidence relating to the construction and use of the site may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences and stone walls within the scheduled area 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 survives as a negative feature clearly visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs. Marks visible inside the settlement may indicate that occupation of the settlement covered a number of phases. The boundary ditch and interior of the rectangular enclosure are likely to preserve archaeological deposits relating to the construction, occupation and subsequent abandonment of the monument. Buried deposits from within the settlement may preserve evidence relating to potential domestic structures and the economy of its inhabitants. Evidence such as this may enhance our understanding of the social structures and domestic architecture of the people who built and occupied this settlement.

Contextual characteristics

This settlement forms part of a wider prehistoric landscape that includes Chester Hill, an Iron-Age hillfort approximately 530m to the west, the possible remains of a late-prehistoric enclosed settlement and a possible field system approximately 120m to the west and what may be the ditches of an enclosure approximately 235m to the north. Cropmarks of further enclosed settlements lie approximately 2km to the west at Flemington. A wider study of the landscape around the monument could enhance our understanding of how such structures fitted into late prehistoric society. As may be seen in the immediate vicinity of Chester Hill, forts often lie in close proximity to a range of smaller sites such as enclosed settlements, which may suggest either some form of hierarchy if the sites can be demonstrated to be of contemporary date, or may reflect a change in social structure and economy and preferred settlement location if the sites have sequential dates. In addition, the monument offers us the potential to learn more about domestic life and the economic base of later prehistoric communities of the Scottish Borders. By comparing and contrasting this site with other lowland cropmark sites and extant upland enclosures, both within and outside the region, we can develop an understanding of regional identity, economy and society.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular enclosed settlements and patterns of settlement from the late prehistoric period. Buried deposits from sites such as this have potential to inform our understanding of the physical layout and development of the monument as well as providing an insight into wider society at the time, the way in which people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the fact it lies within a wider prehistoric landscape comprising enclosed settlements, possible field-systems and a hillfort. The monument has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the use of such monuments and their placing within the late prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NT96SE 6. The Scottish Borders Council SMR designation is 1020031.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS, 1994, C28242.

RCAHMS, 1994, C28239.

RCAHMS, 1978, BW/2498.

RCAHMS, 1994, C28249


RCAHMS 1980, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 28, No. 219, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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