Ancient Monuments

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Ash Keys, enclosure and possible moated homestead 420m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Strathallan, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.3129 / 56°18'46"N

Longitude: -3.677 / 3°40'37"W

OS Eastings: 296359

OS Northings: 714654

OS Grid: NN963146

Mapcode National: GBR 1P.67WM

Mapcode Global: WH5PH.HL99

Entry Name: Ash Keys, enclosure and possible moated homestead 420m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM9540

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: homestead moat

Location: Auchterarder

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathallan

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises a substantial rectilinear enclosure of probable medieval date, tentatively interpreted as a moated homestead. The site is visible as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs and lies in arable farmland at about 45m OD, some 420m WSW of Ash Keys.

The cropmark shows a rectilinear enclosure measuring some 90m ENE-WSW by 60m transversely, defined by a ditch about 2m wide on the SW, S and NE sides, and by a broad ditch some 4.5m wide on the N side. An entrance gap is apparent in the NE half of the northern ditch. A second broad ditch runs SSE from the N ditch and appears to sub-divide the enclosure into two compartments, with an entrance present through the northern half of this sub-dividing ditch. A small rectilinear feature is visible immediately S of the northern ditch.

Another rectilinear cropmark is present within the NE corner of the enclosure and a possible second is visible within the western compartment. These features appear to be more slightly built and may represent the footprints of internal buildings. At least two circular features are also visible within the interior of the enclosure. The cropmark of a field boundary, present on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map, is visible on the southern side of the enclosure.

The monument sits in an E-W aligned hollow with higher ground to the S and N. It lies close to an open burn flowing northwards and there is a suspicion that a second burn may have been culverted (to create one larger field) and which may have fed the S moat. The natural hollow appears to be wetter than the surrounding land, which might indicate a high potential for waterlogged deposits to survive in the ditches.

There is no known historical evidence for this site, although the church of Aberuthven and its lands, of which this formed a part, are known to have been granted to Inchaffray Abbey by Ferteth, Earl of Strathearn, before 1171. After the Reformation the abbey's lands were secularised as the temporal lordship of Madderty in favour of James Drummond, although the lands of Kirklands were occupied by Grahams.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is sub-rectangular in shape with maximum measurements of 110m WSW-ENE by 69m NNW-ESE, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of high status medieval settlement and economy. Its importance is increased by the possibility that its ditches might preserve waterlogged deposits, with a corresponding high potential for the survival of environmental evidence.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NN 91 SE 32.

Aerial photographs used:

RCAHMS (1992) B/79195.

RCAHMS (1984) A/64642.

Map references:

Ordnance Survey (1866) First Edition Map (Perthshire) sheet CVIII, 6 inches to 1 mile.


Coleman, R. and Perry, D. (1997) 'Moated sites in Tayside and Fife', Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal, 3, 186.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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