Ancient Monuments

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Laverhay Cottage, enclosure 480m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.2752 / 55°16'30"N

Longitude: -3.3529 / 3°21'10"W

OS Eastings: 314150

OS Northings: 598734

OS Grid: NY141987

Mapcode National: GBR 570F.XS

Mapcode Global: WH6WT.GNMS

Entry Name: Laverhay Cottage, enclosure 480m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 27 January 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12721

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive); Secular: homestead moat

Location: Wamphray

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a rectangular enclosure of possible late prehistoric or medieval date defined by upstanding banks and ditch. It lies in rough grazing around 220m above sea level to the south of Thor Beck on the lower W-facing slopes of Laverhay Height.

The rectangular enclosure measures about 30m by 27m internally and is defined by a double bank and medial ditch with differing levels of preservation around its circuit. The best-preserved section is to the north where the banks are up to 3.5m in breadth and 0.5m high while the ditch measures up to 4m in breadth and 0.4m in depth. To the south and west only the outer bank and ditch are visible. Here the bank measures 4.6m wide and 0.3m high while the ditch is 5m wide and 0.5m deep. Nothing remains of the defences to the east. It is unclear whether this shows that the defences were never completed or that they were levelled in the past, although a possible outer scarp may indicate the former. No internal features can be seen on current aerial photographs but a later stone wall does sit on the top of the inner bank to the north.

The area to be scheduled is sub-rectangular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence relating to its 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

The monument consists of a well-preserved rectangular enclosure, possibly of late prehistoric or medieval date. It has been cultivated over with low rigs in the past but given its location in land currently used for grazing, it is highly likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to construction, occupation and abandonment of the enclosure still remain. For example, similar rectangular enclosures such as Stockbridgehill and Shiel Burn in eastern Dumfries and Galloway show evidence of round houses within their interior. Where upstanding banks are present they are likely to overlie former land surfaces and soils with the potential to further our understanding of land use and environment at time of construction. Evidence of timber palisades from an earlier phase of construction may also be preserved underneath the banks as this has been documented in other rectangular enclosures in Northumberland. This monument offers excellent archaeological potential to contribute to our understanding of its date and purpose, which will add to our knowledge of defended enclosures in general and the daily lives of the people who occupied them.

Contextual characteristics

Although around 40 to 50 rectilinear enclosures have been identified in eastern Dumfries and Galloway, this monument is only one of a few with upstanding earthworks. This rare example offers the potential to reveal much about the construction of the defences of this class of monument. As the remains of a late prehistoric or medieval enclosed settlement site the monument offers the potential to reveal much about domestic life and the economic base in the later prehistoric or medieval communities of eastern Dumfries and Galloway. Comparing and contrasting it to other lowland cropmark sites and extant upland enclosures both within and outside the region can create an understanding of regional identity, economy and society. If the site is late prehistoric in date it may also have the potential to provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction.

The monument's location near to the possible site of a pre-Reformation chapel, around 500m to the NNW, could also tell us more about this monument if medieval in date. It could add to our knowledge of medieval centres of power, how they functioned and their links with religious centres. If early it may also shed light on the extent and nature of the feudalisation of Scotland when viewed with others of its class. The concentration of this monument type in eastern Dumfries and Galloway may relate to the specific nature of this process and the specific role and influence of the Anglo-Norman lordships.

Associative characteristics

The Ordnance Survey 1st and 2nd Edition mapping marks this site as a 'Camp (supposed Roman)' and 'Fort' respectively. This suggests an awareness of the site as a historical place and an attachment of value.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to an understanding of later prehistoric or medieval settlement and economy. Specifically, this monument has the capacity to inform us of a particular settlement type, which characterises certain parts of the Iron-Age and medieval domestic landscape, and which forms an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric and medieval settlement pattern along the Wamphray Water. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the fact that well-preserved rectangular enclosed settlements are relatively uncommon in eastern Dumfries and Galloway. It has a particular capacity to inform debate on continuity and phases of settlement and changes in settlement type through time. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. It also has the potential to provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction. The old ground surfaces sealed by upstanding remains can provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how it was being managed by the farmers who lived here. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. Its loss or diminution would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and in other parts of Scotland, as well as our knowledge of later prehistoric or medieval social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NY19NW 10.


Christison D 1891, 'A general view of the forts, camps, and motes of Dumfriesshire, with a detailed description of those in Upper Annandale, and an introduction to the study of Scottish motes', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 25 (1890-1), 228-30.

Feachem R 1956, 'Iron Age and early medieval monuments in Galloway and Dumfriesshire', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc 33 (1954-5), 64.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh: RCAHMS.

RCAHMS 1920, RCAHMS. Seventh Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Dumfries, Edinburgh: RCAHMS, 211.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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