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Latitude: 55.2894 / 55°17'21"N
Longitude: -3.5502 / 3°33'0"W
OS Eastings: 301649
OS Northings: 600572
OS Grid: NT016005
Mapcode National: GBR 37N8.5P
Mapcode Global: WH5VL.F9NX
Entry Name: Lochanhead, cairn 530m WNW of
Scheduled Date: 25 November 2009
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM12622
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)
County: Dumfries and Galloway
Electoral Ward: Annandale North
Traditional County: Dumfriesshire
Robert Reid and William Sibbald, 1804, with design alterations by Thomas Bonnar, 1817-18. 31-bay classical palace block terrace, comprising 4-storey and basement 5-bay central pavilion; mirrored pair of 4-storey and basement 3-bay terminal pavilions; mirrored pair of 3-storey and basement 10-bay linking blocks. Polished ashlar sandstone; V-jointed rustication at principal floor; rock-faced rustication at basement. Base course at principal and 1st floor; cill course at 1st and 2nd floors; cornice at 2nd floor, returned and terminated at corners, with blocking course to linking blocks; cornice and blocking course at 3rd floor of terminal pavilions. Corniced frieze at impost level to central and terminal pavilions. Ashlar steps and entrance platts oversailing basement. Mews building in Dublin Meuse to rear, see below.
N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION, CENTRAL PAVILION: 4-storey and basement, 5-bay central pavilion; comprising recessed doorpieces with radial semicircular fanlights, in centre bay and penultimate bay from right, at principal floor. Windows in segmental arched recesses to left of centre and outer left and right, at principal floor; regular fenestration to floors above, and to basement. Ionic pilasters dividing bays at 1st and 2nd floors. Blind balustered aprons to 1st floor windows (balusters now removed, 1997). Panelled pilasters between bays at 3rd floor. Flagged basement area, with rubble walls and predominantly vertically boarded timber doors.
BLOCKS LINKING CENTRAL PAVILION: pair of 3-storey and basement, 10-bay linking blocks; comprising pairs of windows with doors in bays between, radiating from central pavilion, with single windows to outer left and right, at principal floor; regular fenestration to floors above, and to basement. Art Nouveau door to No 4, with metal plaque reading 'WILLIAM MCTAGGART 1903-1981 PAINTER lived here and his wife FANNY AAVATSMARK Norwegian Patriot and Journalist'. Flagged basement area, with rubble walls and predominantly vertically boarded timber doors to cellars.
TERMINAL PAVILIONS: mirrored pair of 4-storey and basement, 3-bay terminal pavilions, comprising windows in segmental arched recesses at centre and outer left and right at principal floor; windows pedimented with consoles in centre bay at 1st floor, corniced with consoles in flanking bays. Regular fenestration to floors above, and to basement; lunette windows centred at 3rd floors. Central wallhead tablets with swag decoration. Blind balustered aprons to 1st floor windows. Lowered cills to central and left windows at 2nd floor of E terminal pavilion. Flagged basement area, with rubble walls and predominantly vertically boarded timber doors to cellars.
DUBLIN STREET RETURN TO E TERMINAL PAVILION: 4-storey, attic and basement, 6-bay block becoming 70-76 Dublin Street; comprising 4-storey, attic and basement 4-bay gable to right; 3-storey and attic, 2-bay terrace (70 Dublin Street) set back at left. 2-bay shop front to left of centre, at principal floor, comprising 2-leaf timber door in penultimate bay to left, and plate-glass shop window in 3rd bay from left. Common stair door to outer left. Regular fenestration to right and to floors above, with blind windows in penultimate bay from right, and outer right, at all floors; projecting cills. Dormer window in penultimate bay from left; window in 3rd bay from right, at attic. Flagged basement area, with rubble walls and vertically boarded timber doors to cellars. S elevation obscured by adjoining terrace (64-66 (even Nos) Dublin Street, see separate listing).
NELSON STREET RETURN TO W TERMINAL PAVILION: 4-storey and basement, 6-bay terrace becoming 31 and 31A Nelson Street; comprising common stair door with steps and entrance platt oversailing basement in 3rd bay from left at principal floor, with regular fenestration in bays 3rd from left, 3rd from right, and outer right; blind windows in bays to outer left, penultimate bay from left and penultimate bay from right, at all floors. Corniced shop front at basement, to outer left. Flagged basement area, with rubble walls and vertically boarded timber doors to cellars. S elevation obscured by adjoining terrace (25-29 (odd Nos) Nelson Street).
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows, with some plate glass sash and case windows. Window guards to 3rd floor windows at W terminal block. Predominantly 6-panel flush-beaded doors to basement. Grey slate M-roof. Piend-roofed slate-hung canted timber dormers with 4-pane timber sash and case windows to No 7; tripartite box dormer over bay to outer right of E linking block. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Variety of broached ashlar and harled ridge stacks; broached gable head stack to Dublin Street return; large shouldered wallhead stack centred to Nelson Street return; coped with circular cans.
INTERIORS: not seen 1997, but some evidence of working panelled shutters. Adamesque entrance hall to No 1; recast interior to No 4 by Robert S Lorimer; single surviving room of Roman style painting to No 9, executed for Charles Scott, advocate.
RAILINGS AND LAMPS: ashlar copes surmounted by cast-iron railings with spear-headed balusters and urn finials. Cast-iron railing-mounted lamps with glass globes.
DUBLIN MEUSE: earlier 19th century. U-plan block of mews buildings. Predominantly coursed rubble with droved ashlar dressings.
N BLOCK: modern rendered house adjoining blank S gable, to right. S and W elevations, facing courtyard, with modern doors comprising concave shouldered fanlights, and windows to openings; 2-leaf vertically-boarded timber garage door, with stone lintel; door and window to infilled former carriage door, with stone lintel.
Predominantly timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roofs. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Rendered ridge stacks; coped with circular cans. Coped skews.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:
This monument survives with a substantial proportion of its body intact and, despite a strong antiquarian tradition of interest in the prehistory of SW Scotland often focussed on burial monuments, this cairn was noted by the Ordnance Survey as early as 1920 as likely to be undisturbed. The unevenness of the profile suggests that some minor disturbance has occurred since its construction, possibly stone robbing, but the lack of an obvious depression would confirm that any features beneath the stones are intact.
It is likely to contain one or more burials (some of which may have been inserted some time after the primary burial) and which may include skeletal material, artefacts and other archaeologically significant deposits and features relating to the act of burial. The cairn will also overlie and seal a prehistoric land surface that may contain environmental evidence. It therefore has the potential to tell us more about the architecture of large prehistoric burial monuments, the practice of burial and how the dead were commemorated, as well as aspects of the local environment when the cairn was constructed. Where more than one burial is present, the evidence can help us understand how such monuments developed through time.
The cairn is located on the southern end of a slight knoll set in relatively level, boggy, unimproved moorland. The knoll is situated within a tight bend of a small tributary of the Hoarlaw Burn and is between 15m and 20m away from the water. The moorland is encircled by high ground to the north and west, with Queensberry Hill around 3 km to the WSW, Penbreck 3.5 km to the W, and Mid Height at 3.2 km to WNW. The Hoarlaw Burn is itself a tributary of Kinnel Water, located around 3 km to the east. Though the monument is not in an obviously prominent position, there are good views from the cairn across the moorland to this high ground and, based on how recognisable the cairn appears on aerial photographs, it is likely that the cairn is itself highly visible when viewed from the surrounding peaks.
The monument reflects a widespread tradition of prehistoric burial across Scotland in which places of burial are marked with earthen and stone mounds. There are 70 burial cairns recorded within eastern Dumfriesshire and this is one of 11 broadly similar examples located within the watershed of Kinnel Water, all in relative isolation from other burial cairns. One of these cairns is only around 1540m to the ENE and, despite being presently situated within forestry, may well have once been intervisible with the monument in question.
One of only two Neolithic long cairns in eastern Dumfriesshire is also located within this watershed, at Stidriggs 3.2 km to the SE, and may have held some significance for the society responsible for this cluster of later Bronze-Age cairns. The significance of an apparent continuity of focus of funerary activity within this watershed is as yet little understood. A number of other contemporary monuments have also been recorded within the vicinity, reflecting the area's extensive exploitation by prehistoric communities. Of particular note are two burnt mounds and a number of small clearance cairns in the immediate area and a hut circle around 1270m to the ESE.
Analysis of this monument and its place within the contemporary environment has the capacity to inform our knowledge of a number of different issues. These include specifically the significance of the topography, hydrology and other contemporary, or earlier, monuments in the setting of the monument. The monument can therefore help us to understand more about the nature of burial and its place within prehistoric society, as well as the significance of these monuments and their deliberate positioning among living communities.
The cairn is shown on the Second Edition Ordnance Survey, where it is marked as 'tumulus'.
This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular funerary monuments of the Bronze Age. Specifically the monument has the capacity to further our understanding of cairn architecture, as well as the placing of large monuments commemorating the dead in relation to contemporary Bronze-Age society and its continued use or reuse of landscapes of apparent ritual significance to Neolithic peoples. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of prehistoric activity in eastern Dumfriesshire, and across Scotland.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH (1984), pp343-44; McKean, EDINBURGH (1992), p112; Youngson, THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966), pp206, 209-10; MacRae Heritors 38.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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