Ancient Monuments

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Laigh Mains, castle earthworks 125m North of Mains Castle

A Scheduled Monument in East Kilbride West, South Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.7793 / 55°46'45"N

Longitude: -4.1893 / 4°11'21"W

OS Eastings: 262784

OS Northings: 656162

OS Grid: NS627561

Mapcode National: GBR 3V.8W79

Mapcode Global: WH4QM.MZ8Y

Entry Name: Laigh Mains, castle earthworks 125m North of Mains Castle

Scheduled Date: 30 October 1970

Last Amended: 10 May 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2994

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: motte

Location: East Kilbride

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: East Kilbride West

Traditional County: Lanarkshire


The monument comprises the earthwork remains of a castle site likely to date to the 12th century AD. It is visible as an uneven mound surrounded by an intermittent double bank and ditch on its north, west and east sides. The monument is located on a gentle south-facing slope at around 180m above sea level and overlooks Mains Castle 125m to the south.

The approximate triangular form of the monument extends 90m north to south by 100m east to west. The interior platform is 65m north to south by 45m east to west. A break in the surrounding banks and built up ground in the ditches of the northeast corner indicate the likely position of the entrance. Archaeological surveys have indicated potential structures within the interior.

The area to be scheduled is polygonal on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment are expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of transmission poles, post and wire fencing, gates and the modern surfaces of tracks, to allow for their maintenance. The monument was first scheduled in 1973, but the documentation did not meet current standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the construction and function of medieval castles. It retains its field characteristics as a well-preserved example of an early castle site. Its twin ditch and bank arrangement and overall, triangular plan form is unusual, potentially indicating a pre-12th century origin, which  adds to its significance. The associated documentary evidence also adds to our understanding of the monument, particularly how it and similar sites would have functioned as centres of lordship. This example can inform us about medieval settlement and the wider control of land in the southwest during the feudalisation of Scotland. The loss of this example would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand settlement and land tenure in medieval Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Additional information:

Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 44915 (accessed 30/03/2016).


West of Scotland Archaeology Service. Unique historic environment record reference number: WOSAS PIN 9267.

Barrow, G W S, 1971, Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The acts of William I, King of Scots 1165-1214. Edinburgh

Brown, G and Coleman, R, 2001, Gazetteer of moated sites in Strathclyde. Circulated Typescript report. SUAT Ltd.

McNeil, P G B & MacQueen H L, 1996, Atlas of Scottish History to 1707. Edinburgh: The Scottish Medievalists and the Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh.

Mitchell, M, 2006, Laigh Mains Motte. Geophysical and topographical survey report. Circulated typescript report. Glasgow University.


HER/SMR Reference

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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