Ancient Monuments

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Old Redhead, deserted settlement 15m north east of and 25m ESE of

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale East, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.6246 / 55°37'28"N

Longitude: -2.8923 / 2°53'32"W

OS Eastings: 343909

OS Northings: 637143

OS Grid: NT439371

Mapcode National: GBR 837D.MK

Mapcode Global: WH7WF.JWYG

Entry Name: Old Redhead, deserted settlement 15m NE of and 25m ESE of

Scheduled Date: 6 August 2020

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13722

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Caddonfoot

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Traditional County: Selkirkshire


The monument comprises the remains of a deserted settlement dating to the late medieval and post-medieval periods. It survives as a series of earthworks on south facing slopes above the Caddon Water.

The monument comprises the remains of at least five rectangular buildings, two of which have porches or annexes and associated yards; a large stock enclosure; a further large sub-circular enclosure, now cut by the modern farm track, and earthen field banks which are likely to represent land boundaries. The remains survive as turf covered banks of stone and earth standing up to a maximum height of 1m high in places. The settlement is first mentioned in 1468 and was abandoned by the 1840s.

The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to but specifically excludes the modern post and wire fence on the north side of the monument and the drystone dyke on the east side. It excludes also the drystone wall of the sheepfold on the south side on the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so.  It has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the character and nature of medieval and later rural settlement in southern Scotland.

b. The monument retains physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past.  It has the potential to increase our understanding of construction methods and materials of medieval domestic architecture through scientific study of the monument's structural remains.

c. The monument is a rare example of a lowland deserted settlement that has documented origins in the medieval period. It is likely to have been established as a forest 'stead' and was later associated with Whytbank Tower.

d. The monument is a particularly good example of a deserted medieval settlement and is therefore an important representative of this monument type. Only a small number of deserted settlements with documented medieval origins survive in lowland Scotland. This monument has both domestic and agricultural buildings as well as associated yards. Their survival provides information on the morphology and use of space within these small-scale medieval settlements.

e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of medieval and later rural settlement, architecture, economy and social organisation. Its importance is enhanced by its potential to provide information on the development of rural settlement in an area that was a royal forest.  

f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape as a well-preserved example of a medieval settlement within the Forest of Ettrick. Comparison with other 'steads' within the Forest can add to our understanding of the composition and distribution of small medieval settlements. The monument's association with a prominent Borders' family (the Pringles) and study of other known settlements belonging to this family can help us to understand the development of medieval and later land ownership in this part of lowland Scotland.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument survives as a complex of well-preserved earthworks of domestic and agricultural buildings and ancillary structures. The settlement comprises at least five houses, some of which have porches or annexes. A large stock enclosure occupies the north-eastern part of the monument and other enclosures including a large sub-circular enclosure are also visible.

Documentary evidence (Burton 1884; 524) shows that settlement of Redhead has its origins in the medieval period and is likely to have been abandoned by the late 18th century. The earliest cartographic depiction of Old Redhead appears on General Roy's Military Survey of Scotland (1752-55). Two buildings and an enclosure are shown near the end of an avenue extending southwest from Whytbank Tower, depicted as "White Banks". The farm, or settlement, is not named on Roy's map, however, the location matches that of Old Redhead. The settlement appears again on an estate plan of 'the lands of Whitebanke' dated 1778 which shows a building simply denoted as 'farm hous'. The earliest named depiction of the settlement is on John Ainslie's map of Southern Scotland 1821 when it is shown as "Redhead". It is not clear, however, if this is the medieval settlement or the cottages that appear on Crawford and Brooke's map of 1843 which clearly depicts the present settlement. This would suggest that the earlier settlement was already abandoned by this time

The grass covered earthworks which form the settlement are well defined and relatively undisturbed. This would indicate there is good potential for the survival of buried structures and archaeological deposits, artefacts and environmental information within, beneath and around the settlement. The buried archaeological deposits have the potential to provide information about the date and character of the site, while any artefacts and environmental information such as pollen or charcoal, would enhance understanding of the economy, diet and social status of the occupants, as well as provide information about contemporary land use and environment.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

Deserted settlements are found throughout Scotland. The example at Old Redhead is of significance as an upstanding and well-preserved example which appears from historic map evidence to be related to the nearby tower house at Whytbank. A further deserted settlement which may be broadly contemporary is located 1.8km west-southwest near Laidlawstiel (scheduled monument SM2444). Larger more complex deserted medieval settlements are found in the area, for instance at Douglas Craig in the Yarrow Valley (Canmore ID51201). These settlements are located within the Forest of Ettrick, a royal "forest" where the land was administered to preserve the area as a hunting ground for the King.

It is likely that the settlement began as a 'forest-stead', which was a defined area of land that was let on an annual basis. The Forest of Ettrick was divided into three wards, each overseen by a master-ranger and a ranger who were subordinate to the Bailie of the whole Forest. Documentary evidence suggests that Old Redhead originated as a 'currour stead', a landholding associated with the ranger for the Tweed Ward. In the 16th century the forest was increasing given over to feus -perpetual heritable tenures given in return for annual fixed payments. During this time the influential Border family of the Pringles acquired Whytbank as a feu having held Redhead as a stead. The community at Old Redhead may have come to serve as the 'ferm toun' for Whytbank Tower at this time. Old Redhead is therefore significant because of its origins as a stead and its later connection to the tower house.

Comparison with this settlement and others in the Scottish Borders and with historic rural settlement sites in other parts of Scotland and within the 'Forest of Ettrick', could enhance our understanding of regional variations in rural settlement in the medieval and post-medieval periods. It could add to our understanding of the structure of society and the form and nature of contemporary rural settlement. There may have been social, economic, community and familial links between other nearby settlements. Although based on a subsistence economy with each family supporting itself, resources may have been shared. This settlement therefore has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of such agricultural and domestic practices.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no associative characteristics that contribute to this monument's national importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 88252 (accessed on 18/11/2019).

Burton, G 1884. The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, Vol. VII A.D. 1460-1469. H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh. pp.524. Available online at (accessed on 28/11/2019).

McNeill, P G B and MacQueen, H L 1996. Atlas of Scottish History to 1707. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS 1957. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Selkirkshire. HMSO, Edinburgh.


Ainslie, J 1821. Ainslie's Map of Southern part of Scotland. Available online at (accessed on 02/12/2019).

Crawford, W and Brooke, W 1843. Map embracing extensive portions of the Counties of Roxburgh, Berwick, Selkirk & Midlothian and Part of Northumberland. Available online at (accessed on 03/12/2019).

Roy, W 1752-55. Military Survey of Scotland 1747-55. Available online at (accessed on 03/12/2019).

Wilson, T 1778. 'A Plan of the lands of Whitebanke, the property of Alexander Pringle of Whitebank, Esq, survey'd in the year 1778'.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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