Ancient Monuments

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Bessie's Hill, fort 250m east of summit

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

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Latitude: 55.2471 / 55°14'49"N

Longitude: -3.1806 / 3°10'50"W

OS Eastings: 325040

OS Northings: 595407

OS Grid: NY250954

Mapcode National: GBR 677R.6V

Mapcode Global: WH6X3.3CPT

Entry Name: Bessie's Hill, fort 250m E of summit

Scheduled Date: 19 November 1963

Last Amended: 14 January 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2346

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Eskdalemuir

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a fort, a defended settlement dating from the Iron Age period. The monument was originally scheduled in 1963, but the area covered by the designation was not properly defined. The current rescheduling rectifies this.

The fort lies at around 250m OD, on a small knoll on an E-facing hillslope, where it commands extensive views over the valley of the White Esk. The fort is aligned roughly SW-NE and is defined by a pair of massive ramparts and ditches around its N and W sides that enclose a roughly oval interior measuring approximately 85m by 35m. The S side of the monument is defended by an extremely steep natural slope. Entrances can be traced at either end of the fort and probable building platforms have been cut into the S side of a low central ridge which runs the length of the fort.

This monument is one of a large number of later prehistoric enclosed settlements concentrated around the upper reaches of the River Esk and its tributaries. The reason for this peculiar concentration of such sites is not clearly understood at the present time.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, measuring a maximum of 195m ENE-WSW by 130m transversely, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our understanding of prehistoric settlement, economy and social organisation. The relationship between this site and several other substantial settlements in the vicinity, all of roughly contemporary date, is of particular interest.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NY 29 NE 14.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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