Ancient Monuments

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Burghead, fort, graveyard and chapel, including the Clavie

A Scheduled Monument in Heldon and Laich, Moray

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Latitude: 57.7034 / 57°42'12"N

Longitude: -3.4967 / 3°29'48"W

OS Eastings: 310902

OS Northings: 869161

OS Grid: NJ109691

Mapcode National: GBR K8QC.BZM

Mapcode Global: WH5GT.8M5V

Entry Name: Burghead, fort, graveyard and chapel, including the Clavie

Scheduled Date: 8 March 1962

Last Amended: 25 September 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2205

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: well; Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Duffus

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Heldon and Laich

Traditional County: Morayshire


The monument comprises the remains of a massive promontory fort of the early Historic period, some 1500 years old, and the possible remains of a contemporary or later Christian centre.

The remains of the fort are in two parts, the upper and lower wards. The upper ward is now defined on its northern and western sides by ramparts of soil and stone. There are no traces of the southern rampart. The original three massive ramparts on the eastern side have largely been built over by the town of Burghead, but one fragment of the system survives, in the form of the Doorie Hill, which has the Clavie Stone on it.

The lower ward is bounded on its north side by a rampart. The possible early Christian complex, which may be contemporary with or later than the fort, comprises two features, the old graveyard on Grant Street, which contains below ground the remains of a structure known as St Aethan's Chapel, and the rock-cut well, identified as a possible baptistry, which is in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland. The well is scheduled separately.

There are three areas to be scheduled. The largest includes the main area of the fort, both upper and lower wards, and measures a maximum of 170m N-S by 175m E-W. The area of the former Coastguard station is specifically excluded from the scheduling, and the above-ground structure of the Coastguard Lookout is also excluded. The second area comprises the remains of the Doorie Hill and the Clavie Stone: it measures 34m from its westernmost point to its easternmost, and 35m from its northernmost to its southernmost.

The third area includes the old graveyard and measures 44m E-W by 50m from its northernmost point to its southernmost; all the gravestones are included in the scheduling, but any lair with existing burial rights (there are believed to be none) is excluded. All three areas are as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the site of one of the most impressive early Historic fortresses in northern Scotland. The Pictish finds from the site indicates its original status. The surviving elements of the site have the potential to enhance considerably our understanding of early Historic and early Christian settlement, particularly in relation to high status fortified sites. The site is also of importance because of its striking landscape impact, displaying the quality now increasingly referred to as monumentality.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 16 NW 1.


Robertson, A. S. (1970) 'Roman finds from non-Roman sites in Scotland', Britannia, vol. 1. table 9.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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