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Fauld Burn, enclosure and building 875m west of Stidriggs

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2826 / 55°16'57"N

Longitude: -3.4986 / 3°29'55"W

OS Eastings: 304909

OS Northings: 599743

OS Grid: NY049997

Mapcode National: GBR 470C.C4

Mapcode Global: WH5VM.7H74

Entry Name: Fauld Burn, enclosure and building 875m W of Stidriggs

Scheduled Date: 15 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12613

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kirkpatrick-Juxta

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of an enclosure, likely to be a settlement dating to the medieval period, though potentially earlier, with a number of secondary interior features. The monument survives as stony and earthen banks within rough pasture and is located on the crest of a low ridge on the E bank of the Fauld Burn, at 230m above sea level.

The enclosure is trapezoidal on plan and measures 67.5m ENE-WSW by between 36m and 66m transversely within an enclosing stone wall up to 2m in width and up to 0.5m high. The W end of the monument sits on the top of the W-facing slope that forms the E bank of the burn, and the bank is more substantial and stonier on this side. An entrance, measuring around 10m in width, is located on the E side of the NE corner. The enclosure is bisected by a single boulder-faced wall, oriented E-W, measuring 70m in length and less than 2m in thickness. Incorporated into its W end are the footings of a rectangular structure, measuring around 15m E-W by 5m transversely.

Built into the NE corner of the enclosure, adjacent to the entrance, is a further rectangular structure, oriented ENE-WSW, and measuring around 17m by 8m transversely with an entrance in the E side and walls measuring up to 1.5m in width. Two scooped areas are also present within the interior of the monument, one of which is overlain by the bisecting wall. One abuts the E side and measures 11.5m E-W by 10m transversely. The second is located in the centre of the N half of the enclosure and measures 8m ENE-WSW by 5m transversely. Other features within the interior include traces of cultivation ridges, several lengths of shallow plough scars and at least two field clearance cairns, which overlie the bisecting wall.

The area to be scheduled is roughly trapezoidal 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, an enclosure with associated interior features, is interpreted as probably medieval, even early medieval in date, but archaeologists cannot rule out an earlier date. Its form and construction appears to be unique within eastern Dumfriesshire and its precise functions are not currently fully understood. It is not located at an obviously defensive location nor are the scale of the enclosing walls indicative of an overtly defensive function. The relationship of the interior features with the enclosure bank indicate that they post-date the original construction and probably relate to later re-use in the medieval period.

The enclosure bank is in a good state of preservation, as is the building within the NE corner, and these and other upstanding elements of the monument are likely to preserve traces of the land surface and soils upon which they were constructed. Such soils have the capacity to inform our knowledge of the environment within which the monument was constructed and can further our understanding of how the environment has been used and altered through time. In addition organic remains encapsulated beneath the monument could more precisely date the construction of the enclosure and its later elements.

Despite evidence indicating later use and cultivation of the interior of the monument, it is highly probable that there are surviving negative features associated with its original construction. These may contain archaeologically significant deposits, and artefact and ecofact assemblages. Other monuments, when excavated, have shown good survival of stratified deposits relating to occupation. The monument therefore has an inherent capacity to further our understanding of the original and subsequent activities undertaken within and around the monument and to inform our knowledge of the people who inhabited or used it, their social structure and identity, and any domestic architecture or living arrangements.

The monument also has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the duration of occupation, whether there were different and distinct phases of use and the circumstances within which the monument may have functioned and finally been abandoned. Artefact assemblages in particular have the capacity to further our understanding of the nature of contact with other groups of people from within the region or from further afield and to indicate more precisely when and for how long the monument was in use.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located in an area of land to the south-west of Kinnel Water, the lower lying parts of which are boggy and transected by numerous burns, and currently used as rough pasture. The monument is situated on the W side of the crest of a low ridge, sited between the Fauld Burn to the west and Green Burn to the east. 550m to the west is the slight rise of Meikle Hill, while 1060m to the south is Knockilsine Hill. There are open views in all directions.

A number of archaeological monuments have been recorded within the vicinity, some of which may be broadly contemporary with the construction of the monument, and others contemporary with periods of later re-use. The monument is described by Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) as both 'unique' within eastern Dumfriesshire and 'remarkable'. Possible comparative sites found in Northumberland have proven to be later prehistoric in date and to enclose stone-walled round houses, however in this case a later date has been postulated.

Despite the lack of comparable prehistoric sites within this area, it is rich in prehistoric remains, including at least two multi-phase later prehistoric settlements; 1265m to the ESE is the oval fort and overlying settlement at Stidriggs, and 825m to the NNE is another multi-phase prehistoric settlement. Investigation of such sites and comparison with this monument has the capacity to inform our understanding of settlement pattern through time in this area and to elucidate the nature of any relationships between such monuments, as well as refine our knowledge of the date and possible function of the enclosure.

On the opposite of the Fauld Burn, RCAHMS have recorded the remains of a possible building and two stone walled enclosures that may be broadly comparable in date with the early medieval (mid- to late first millennium AD) interpretation of the monument. Rig and furrow and lynchets are noted on the NW flanks of Meikle Hill and across the wider river valley landscape. Rig and furrow also runs up to and overlies the monument on its east side, attesting to considerable agricultural activity in the vicinity in the medieval period. Immediately to the south of the monument is a five-celled sheepfold, noted by the Ordnance Survey as early as 1863, as well as a drove road to the south. In addition there are several areas of field clearance both within and around the monument, and which probably relate to several episodes of clearance over several centuries.

The RCAHMS have suggested that the remains of buildings within the interior may well relate to the exploitation of the hill grounds of Stidriggs during the medieval period but acknowledge they could be even earlier. Two finds of medieval artefacts to the west of Fauld Burn, a hoard of ironwork and a small lead tank, may strengthen the former assertion. From the available evidence it is apparent that the enclosure at Fauld Burn sits within a complex pattern of settlement and exploitation in the area of Kinnel Water during the medieval period. Further analysis of this landscape and monuments has the capacity to further our knowledge of the nature and timing of this exploitation, the ways in which the landscape may have been organised and associated developments in settlement and land use practices. It also has the capacity to inform our understanding of how exploitation of the landscape developed through time from the earliest traces of prehistoric land use in the area.

Associative characteristics

The monument does not appear on the first or second edition Ordnance Survey maps, which is further evidence for its early date of origin.

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 medieval, or earlier, settlement in eastern Dumfriesshire. The monument is particularly unusual in form and as such is significant in its potential to add to our knowledge of the range of sites of this period: across Scotland as a whole, the upstanding remains of possible early medieval settlements are not common. It has the specific capacity to enhance our knowledge of domestic construction, pattern, function and form, all of which also have the potential to be special or unusual given the rarity of the monument's form. It also has the capacity to inform our knowledge of contemporary society, economy and the exploitation of the landscape, a potential that is enhanced by the rare survival in the near vicinity of the Kinnel Water of other buildings that archaeologists interpret as examples of early medieval buildings. The monument's field characteristics are well defined, with the anticipated good preservation of negative features and their associated fills, including artefactual and ecofactual evidence. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of medieval 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 Fauld Burn, Enclosure; Buildings; Cultivation Remains; Rig; Field Clearance Cairns, NY09NW 34. Dumfries and Galloway Council SMR records the monument as MDG6705. Copies of these reports are appended.

Aerial photograph used:

RCAHMS (1992) NY09NW 34 Fauld Burn Building, Clearance Cairn, Cultivation Remains, Enclosure, Rig and Furrow. B 73529

References

RCAHMS, 1997 Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, 233, 315, no. 1421, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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