Ancient Monuments

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Kinnelhead Cottage, building 285m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2961 / 55°17'46"N

Longitude: -3.5294 / 3°31'45"W

OS Eastings: 302990

OS Northings: 601291

OS Grid: NT029012

Mapcode National: GBR 37S6.P9

Mapcode Global: WH5VL.R4KR

Entry Name: Kinnelhead Cottage, building 285m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 25 November 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12615

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: house

Location: Kirkpatrick-Juxta

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the earthwork remains of two adjacent structures, at least one of which is a building, of pre-Improvement date and potentially as early as the late 1st millennium AD. It occupies the flat surface of a slight knoll, around 15m NE of an unnamed burn. The knoll lies at around 260m above sea level and 415m SW of the confluence of Dry Gill and the Kinnel Water.

The building measures 18.2m from NNE to SSW by 7.9m transversely within low, stony banks, measuring up to 1.5m thick. On the ESE side the wall is seen to comprise inner and outer rubble kerbs with a boulder infill. The long walls appear to bow slightly and the building is narrower at the SSW end where it is around 7m wide. The NNE end wall is also rounded. There is no obvious entrance visible but it may have been in the SSW end wall. A further rectangular structure survives adjacent to the NNE end of the main structure. This consists of a SSW end wall, measuring 7m, with a return of 10m along its W side and a less substantial return on the E side measuring less than 5m in length. The upstanding remains of this structure become indistinct in its NNE part. Also included at the SW end of the scheduled area is a portion of stony bank, part of an irregular enclosure surrounding the site.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular on plan, to include the visible remains of the monument, as well as an area around 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 has survived as a series of upstanding stone and earth banks, the remains of wall footings. Archaeologists interpret it as a domestic structure, part of a small agricultural settlement. There are no records or indication of excavation at this monument and this, combined with the marked survival of structural elements, indicates that there is a potential for good survival of sub-surface archaeological deposits and features. The monument therefore has an inherent ability to inform our understanding of the date and technique of construction of domestic settlement in an agricultural landscape. In addition, it will also retain evidence that can widen our knowledge of original and subsequent uses of the monument and the uses of the surrounding landscape. The upstanding elements may also preserve an original land surface beneath them, which has the potential to inform our knowledge of the environment within which the monument was constructed.

Contextual characteristics

The structures are located within an irregular enclosure, defined by low stony banks and measuring around 100m SW-NE by around 75m transversely. Within, and around, the SE side of this enclosure are several clearance heaps. Immediately outside the W of the enclosure is a burnt mound, which is likely to predate the other immediate archaeological remains. The chronological relationship between the building, the enclosing wall and the clearance heaps is not fully understood, though the enclosing wall would appear to have been built to encircle the knoll upon which the monument is situated.

The monument does not appear on first and second edition Ordnance Survey maps, indicating that it predates the 1860s. The settlement has not been identified on earlier, 18th-century maps, indicating it as abandoned and inconsequential by this date. While it is certainly pre-Improvement in date, RCAHMS have suggested that its atypical form, with unusually thick wall footings and overall length, may indicate an origin as early as the late first millennium AD. Structures and settlements dating to the early historic period are extremely rare within this region and, as a possible candidate, the monument has an inherent potential to add unique information to our knowledge of this period. Unusually, the proximity of a settlement at nearby Fauld Burn that may also be early historic in date enhances the interest of this site because of the potential to understand the wider use of the landscape at this time.

Another structure, dating to later in the medieval period, lies around 450m to the NNW. More substantial in nature and comprising two stone buildings (at least one of which was vaulted) with an attached enclosure, this has been interpreted as a possible bastle. Carved into rock outcrops at three locations close to the monument are three later medieval crosses. The occurrence of a fortified settlement, potentially close both in date and location has interesting implications for the nature and continuity of settlement in this area and may indicate a power base at this location. Further study of the monument, in relation to other such sites in the vicinity, has the potential to inform our understanding of the settlement and exploitation of this area in the medieval period. Comparing and contrasting such sites, any associated material culture and their geographical relationship to one another may further our knowledge of settlement hierarchy and the way in which the landscape and its resources were utilised and controlled.

Associative characteristics

Early Ordnance Survey maps do not depict the monument, though a number of tumuli, interpreted as clearance cairns, are noted in the vicinity on the second edition.

The earliest documentation for the nearby farm of Kinnelhead is in 1529, and the area around the monument once formed part of the barony of Anisfield. The area appears to have been tenanted by the Johnstons, later Earls of Annandale and Hartfell, from the mid- to late 16th century.

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 early historic settlement in eastern Dumfriesshire. It is a rare monument type that has the specific capacity to enhance our knowledge of domestic construction, pattern, function and form in this area. It also has the capacity to inform our knowledge of contemporary society, economy and the exploitation of the landscape. The well-defined field characteristics and anticipated good preservation of negative features and their associated fills enhances this potential, as much of the artefactual and ecofactual evidence is likely to survive. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of early historic activity, not just in eastern Dumfriesshire but across Scotland, as well as the value placed on such monuments by later communities.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as Kinnelhead, building, NT00SW 44. Dumfries and Galloway Council SMR records the monument as MDG9411.

References:

RCAHMS 1997, EASTERN DUMFRIESSHIRE: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE, Edinburgh: The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 78, 88, 221, 317, No. 1525.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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