Ancient Monuments

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Bogle Walls, fort

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.2104 / 55°12'37"N

Longitude: -3.1132 / 3°6'47"W

OS Eastings: 329257

OS Northings: 591246

OS Grid: NY292912

Mapcode National: GBR 68P6.S1

Mapcode Global: WH6XB.49RH

Entry Name: Bogle Walls, fort

Scheduled Date: 7 April 1937

Last Amended: 5 February 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM646

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Westerkirk

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a later prehistoric defended settlement or fort, the defences of which are visible as upstanding earthen banks and a ditch. It lies around 140m above sea level on the S bank of the River Esk, around 45m from the river. The monument was first scheduled in 1937, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The defences consist of an inner rampart or bank, 7.6m thick and 1.8m high, and a v-shaped ditch, 13m wide, with an outer counterscarp. They run from a deep burn cut on the north-west to a natural scarp or river terrace to the north-east. The defences enclose a wedge-shaped area measuring 43m by 40m and covering around 0.1ha. Along the edge of the river terrace lies an old bank or stone wall that has almost been totally robbed of stone. There is an entrance to the east between the bank and the edge of the natural scarp or river terrace. Within the interior are depressions.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in plan, to include the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but specifically excludes, the fence that bounds the road to the north-east and the burn to the north-west. The scheduling also excludes the above-ground elements of fences, electricity poles, garden furniture (including bridges) and paths to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a well-preserved example of this type of fort. The form and size of the monument suggests it represents the remains of a small defended promontory fort, possibly of Iron-Age (first millennium BC/early centuries AD) date. It is defended by a rampart, outer ditch and counterscarp with one entrance. It is likely to have commanded good views to the north along the River Esk. Its design is similar to other prehistoric promontory forts in the area. However, the well-preserved condition of the fort and its small size with fairly level interior may indicate that it is later medieval in date or that it has been re-used during this period.

There is the potential for good preservation of the full course of the defences and archaeological deposits relating to the defensive circuit and settlement within the interior. Good potential exists for the survival of buried land surfaces beneath the banks, and for environmental remains to survive within the fills of the ditches. These can provide information about the environment when the site was constructed and used. The upstanding banks may contain evidence of timber-lacing, which could help inform our understanding of how the defences were built.

Preservation potential on such sites can often be high, due to their location being unsuitable for more recent agriculture. The monument therefore has the potential to reveal valuable information about the character of late prehistoric and/or medieval fortifications and potentially local variations in domestic architecture and building use if the remains of structures survive in the interior.

Contextual characteristics

Forts were built at various times from at least the end of the late Bronze Age (around 800 BC) until probably the end of the early medieval period (around 1000 AD). Previous excavation and research has indicated that the majority of forts date to the Iron Age, ranging from the mid- to late 1st millennium BC. However, evidence at a number of sites does indicate the first defensive systems begin to appear in the Bronze Age. Iron-Age forts are found widely throughout eastern Dumfries and Galloway, tending to occur on the crests of hills above 250m OD. A few forts are located at lower altitudes further down the valleys, and Bogle Walls is an example of this. Forts situated on promontories, like this one, are also relatively rare in this part of eastern Dumfries and Galloway. Its potential for medieval use or re-use presents an important opportunity to assess the occupation of this area over thousands of years and the importance of the monument's topographical location.

This monument lies on the edge of an old river terrace 50m to the south of the River Esk. There is potential for outer earthworks associated with the monument to the north-west across the river bank. Further evidence is necessary before their national importance can be assessed. However, the monument's place in this landscape is important to help us understand its topographical location and the potential archaeological remains nearby.

The monument occupies a rich prehistoric landscape, with other defended settlements all along the River Esk and at least eight other settlements within 1km. It has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of the construction and position in the landscape of prehistoric and/or later medieval defended settlements in this area, particularly promontory forts. The monument also complements other types of prehistoric settlement sites identified close by in Eskdale, to provide a fuller picture of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the understanding of Iron-Age and/or medieval economy and structure of society.

Associative characteristics

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

If the site is later medieval then it could possibly be linked with the Avenels estate in Eskdale. However, there is no historical information for Bogle Walls and no evidence of an adjacent church, which you would expect to find in any major medieval estate centre.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular Iron-Age and/or later medieval society, the design and construction of promontory forts and the nature of Iron-Age and/or medieval domestic, defensive and ritual practice. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider society at the time, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. If prehistoric in date it can also provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction. It is a well-preserved monument with good field characteristics. Archaeological deposits preserved beneath the ramparts and in the interior of the monument may provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment and the use prehistoric and medieval farmers made of it. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. The loss of this site would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-Age and/or medieval social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NY29SE 16.


RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 195, 196, 311.

Kokeza N 2008, Later Prehistoric Enclosed Site Evidence of Southern Scotland, BAR Brit Ser 469.

Jobey G 1971, 'Early Settlements in Eastern Dumfriesshire', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc, 48, 92.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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