Ancient Monuments

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The Wren's Egg, two standing stones 18m ENE and two standing stones 406m SSE of

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

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Latitude: 54.7461 / 54°44'45"N

Longitude: -4.5477 / 4°32'51"W

OS Eastings: 236112

OS Northings: 541994

OS Grid: NX361419

Mapcode National: GBR HJ45.3NR

Mapcode Global: WH3VC.3YQY

Entry Name: The Wren's Egg, two standing stones 18m ENE and two standing stones 406m SSE of

Scheduled Date: 31 December 1921

Last Amended: 27 February 2017

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90316

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Glasserton

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West

Traditional County: Wigtownshire


The monument comprises of two pairs of aligned standing stones which date to the Bronze Age (2500 BC to 800 BC).  The stones stand at a maximum height of approximately 0.6m.  The northern-most pair are located 18m to the east of a large glacial erratic boulder, known as The Wren's Egg.  This pair stand in an east-west alignment approximately 1.5m apart.  A second pair of standing stones are located approximately 405m to the south of these stones.  These are also arranged in an east-west alignment and are spaced approximately 1m apart.

The scheduled area consists of two areas, circular on plan and centred between each pair of stones, with a diameter of 10m.  These areas include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The cultural signficance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

There is no evidence that the stones have been relocated. Archaeological investigation of the northern set of stones revealed that they still retained their stone settings.  As such, there is the potential for buried deposits to survive intact beneath the stones and their immediate vicinity, as well as artefactual and environmental material deposited during the construction of the monument. Such evidence has the potential to tell us more about the circumstances and details of its placement here. Where subsurface deposits, such as burials or associated finds, are present, these can tell us more about the circumstances of its use. Dating evidence may survive and this could help us understand the chronology of these monuments

Contextual Characteristics

Standing stones are a widespread class of monument across Scotland with notable concentrations in the Western and Northern Isles, Caithness, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire and Dumfries and Galloway.  However, pairs of stones which appear to have been constructed as an intervisible and discrete group are less common.  These standing stones survives within an area that has a concentration of contemporary or near-contemporary sites and as such they have the potential to contribute to our understanding of the development of the landscape. The area covers much of the western coast of The Machars, which also incorporates prehistoric cup and ring marked stones located 735m to the northeast at Lochanour (Canmore ID 62772) and 700m east at Stellock (SM1949, Canmore ID 62758) from the northern pair of stones.  There is evidence for prehistoric burials near the monument; in 2012 three large Bronze Age burial cists (Canmore ID 346511) were uncovered approximately 155 m to the northeast of the Wren's Egg glacial stone.  Excavation of the burials revealed very large grave slabs on each of the cists, with skeletal remains contained in one of the graves. 

Although the large glacial erratic known as the Wren's Egg, located beside the northern pair of standing stones has been shown to be a natural feature, its prominent position in the local landscape would have made it a visible landmark, particularly in views to the north from the southern pair of stones. The existence of the Wren's Egg may have been of significance in the location on the standing stones, and the intervisibility of the standing stones and Wren's Egg contribute to the cultural significance of the monument.

Associative Characteristics

The Wren's Egg glacial erratic and the neighbouring pair of standing stones were first scheduled in 1887 by Lt General Pitt Rivers, Britain's first Inspector of Ancient Monuments and was among the first monument offered into guardianship (by Sir Herbert Maxwell MP).  Considered at the time to be a major prehistoric ritualistic site, contemporary interpretation suggested that the glacial erratic originally lay at the centre of a double-ringed stone circle.  However, excavations around the Wren's Egg in 1975 revealed no evidence for additional standing stones around the glacial erratic.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular the design and development of prehistoric burial and ritual monuments.  It can inform our understanding of prehistoric land-use, social organisation and belief systems, including funerary and burial rites.  There is potential for the survival of important archaeological deposits beneath and around the standing stones, including human remains or other deposits relating to ritual and funerary activities, together with artefacts and palaeo-environmental evidence, such as charcoal or pollen. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of prehistoric belief and ceremony and the placing and function of ritual monuments within the landscape both in the western Machars and more widely in Scotland.  The inter-relationship between the two pairs of standings and The Wren's Egg is unusual and the study of how these stones relate to each other and the wider landscape will increase our understanding of how these monuments functioned in the prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland Canmore ID 60826 & 62752 (accessed 06/10/2016).

Dumfries and Galloway Council records the site as 'The Wren's Egg' and 'Blairbuy, Standing Stones' in the Dumfries and Galloway Historic Environment Record (References MDG 2424 & MDG2425).

Masters, L 1976-7a. Excavations at the Wren's Egg, Port William, Wigtown District', in Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 3rd, vol. 52, 1976-7. Page(s): 28-43
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Wren's Egg
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HER/SMR Reference

Dumfries and Galloway Historic Environment Record - Ref MDG 2424 & MDG2425

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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