Ancient Monuments

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Priory Cottage, settlement 470m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8933 / 55°53'35"N

Longitude: -2.1478 / 2°8'52"W

OS Eastings: 390854

OS Northings: 666691

OS Grid: NT908666

Mapcode National: GBR F0F9.T8

Mapcode Global: WH9XW.Z4DH

Entry Name: Priory Cottage, settlement 470m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12495

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises the remains of an enclosed settlement, visible as a cropmark, of probable later prehistoric date. It is located around 80m above sea-level on an ESE-facing slope between Coldingham and St Abbs.

The monument survives as a series of buried features showing in cropmarks on a series of oblique aerial photographs, the most recent taken in 1995. Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features. These features retain moisture differently to the surrounding subsoil, resulting in variation of growth of the crops above. A single ditch encloses an area around 40m E-W by around 40m transversely. The ditch has a fairly uniform width of around 3m. There is an entrance visible on the E side of the ditch. Further cropmarks within the enclosure are thought to represent the remains of related features, such as buildings and other structures.

The area to be scheduled is circular in plan, centred on the settlement, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction, use and abandonment 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

As a series of buried feature clearly visible in the form of a cropmark on recent aerial photographs, the monument is a good example of an enclosed settlement site, likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date, surviving well in an area of agricultural activity. Although the area is in cultivation, evidence relating to domestic structures and the activities undertaken within and around them may be preserved as buried deposits within and around the enclosure, such as the large dark feature, visible in cropmarks within the enclosure. Buried sediments will survive within the ditch and these have high potential to provide evidence of the environment within which the settlement enclosure was constructed. The ditch and other surviving negative features are also likely to contain deposits that can tell us about the economy of the inhabitants of the enclosure, the date at which it was built, used and abandoned and what may have happened in and around the site subsequently.

Contextual characteristics

The monument belongs to a large and widespread class of enclosure monuments, found throughout Scotland. As such it has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of enclosed settlements. As well as individual features, the wider setting and context of these monuments can help us to understand their purpose and significance. The monument sits on an ESE-facing slope near the coast. The view is good towards the sea to the E, where the village of St Abbs now lies. Comparing and contrasting the situation of the settlement to other examples both nearby and within the wider area can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for Iron-Age economy and the structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric settlement enclosures and associated features. This contribution extends to their location within the landscape and the relationship between them, as well as the Iron-Age society that created and inhabited them. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of later prehistoric activity, not just in the Scottish Borders but across Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT96NW 30: Applincross. The Scottish Borders Council SMR reference is 1060014: Applincross.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1980) NT96NW 30 Oblique aerial view BW 3066.

RCAHMS (1994) NT96NW 30 Oblique aerial view C 28188.

RCAHMS (1995) NT96NW 30 Applincross, oblique aerial view C 52383.

RCAHMS (1995) NT96NW 30 Applincross, oblique aerial view C 52384.

RCAHMS (1995) NT96NW 30 Applincross, oblique aerial view C 52386.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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