Ancient Monuments

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Minnigaff, motte south of Monigaff Parish Church

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.9676 / 54°58'3"N

Longitude: -4.4847 / 4°29'5"W

OS Eastings: 241036

OS Northings: 566491

OS Grid: NX410664

Mapcode National: GBR 4G.Y5PR

Mapcode Global: WH3TF.2DPL

Entry Name: Minnigaff, motte S of Monigaff Parish Church

Scheduled Date: 7 June 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11054

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: Minnigaff

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West

Traditional County: Kirkcudbrightshire


The monument comprises the motte at Minnigaff, which is early Medieval in date and is visible as an upstanding earthwork. The monument stands in the middle of the village of Minnigaff on a promontory at the confluence of the Penkiln Burn and the River Cree at about 20m O.D.

The motte probably dates to before 1209 at which time the priest of the now ruined church to its immediate north, attested a deed. The complex of motte and church suggests that this was an early lordship centre. The motte is first recorded in 1298 when it is stormed by William Wallace.

A 17-20m wide ditch, which would have been significantly deeper than at present, cut off the S tip of the promontory. The summit is elliptical in plan, measuring 32m N-S by 13m E-W and tapering towards the S end. There is a hollow at its N end and a low stony bank is traceable on the S and W sides of the summit. A slight fragment of rampart at the NW corner was noted in 1893. There is a worn path to the motte summit on its N side and the whole mound has trees growing on it.

The building of the public road that links the Penkiln Bridge to the church scarped the S and W slopes, significantly altering the contours of the motte. The graveyard was extended into the area of the ditch, part of which has been arranged in terraces, and the footpath skirts around the E side of the motte to join the road. Masonry revetments have been built on the W side of the path and along the road.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described including an area around it within which related archaeological material may be found. It is irregular on plan with maximum dimensions of 56m N-S and 50m E-W as outlined in red on the accompanying map extract. All active burial lairs and the upper 10cm of all existing paths are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of an early Medieval lordship centre. Its association with the adjacent ecclesiastical site increases its importance, its role within the area as a whole and as a focal point around which settlement developed. It has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the social and political dimensions of the period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as Minnigaff Motte, NX46NW 8.


Coles F R 1893, ?The motes, forts and doons in the east and west divisions of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright?, PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT, Vol. 27, 92-182, 180.

Feachem R W 1956, ?Iron Age and early medieval monuments in Galloway and Dumfriesshire?, TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC 3rd series, Vol. 33, 1954-55, 64.


Reid R C 1926, ?Minnigaff?, TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 3rd series, Vol. 12, 1924-25, 246 & 250.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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