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Latitude: 55.3559 / 55°21'21"N
Longitude: -2.7984 / 2°47'54"W
OS Eastings: 349475
OS Northings: 607169
OS Grid: NT494071
Mapcode National: GBR 86WH.YV
Mapcode Global: WH7XT.ZMLY
Entry Name: Stobs Camp rifle ranges, 650m W, 330m WNW and 450m SSE of White Knowe
Scheduled Date: 21 March 2023
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM13755
Schedule Class: Cultural
County: Scottish Borders
Electoral Ward: Hawick and Hermitage
Traditional County: Roxburghshire
The monument comprises the remains of three First World War gunnery training ranges, part of the Stobs Camp military training area. Two of the ranges are located on Barnes Moss, with the third at Penchrise.
The first range at Barnes Moss (the western example) is aligned north to south, towards the steeply sloping ground at the base of Penchrise Pen and White Hill. The total length of the range is around 490m, while at its widest it is around 120m west to east. It consists of a targeting position comprising two adjacent large banks, formed of a combination of timber, concrete, steel and earth. A second earthen bank lies to the south of each of them, to provide a backstop for stray rounds, with a deep ditch between. Within the ditch is the stone foundations of the former shelter for the score counters at its western end, and the potential remains of a former tramway running between the scorer's shelter and a pavilion that formerly stood to the west. Stretching north from the target position are five pairs of firing positions formed of earthwork ditches and banks with concrete distance marker posts, evenly spaced at roughly 100-yard intervals (around 91.5 metres).
The second range at Barnes Moss (the central example) consists of at least four pairs of concrete trenches, three earthwork firing positions and a former tramway. It is aligned northeast to southwest, towards the steeply sloping ground at the base of Penchrise Pen and White Hill. The total length of the range is around 750m, while at its widest it is around 70m northwest to southeast. The concrete trenches appear to be former targeting positions and are roughly L-shaped, and measure around 10m long by around 2m at their widest, although for most of the length they are only around 0.5m wide. Within some of the upstanding trenches are the remains of a mechanical metal framework and parts of a telephone connection. The remains of a tramway, visible as an embankment and a cutting, runs along the southeast end of the range, between the southeasternmost three pairs of trenches. The northwestern section of the range consists of at least four pairs of earthwork banks and ditches representing the former firing positions, and spaced between 65m to 75m apart, with around 135m between the frontmost firing position and the first targeting positions.
The third range, at Penchrise, (the eastern example) consists of a targeting position formed of a pair of parallel large earthwork banks, with a brick and concrete shelter for the score counters at its north corner and some remains of the target mounting frame. Stretching east from the target position are six pairs of firing positions, evenly spaced at roughly 100-yard intervals (around 91.5 metres). It is aligned northeast to southwest, towards the high ground of Penchrise Pen and White Hill. The total length of the range is around 575m, while at its widest it is around 135m northwest to southeast, where the third of the firing positions have been spaced wider apart than the others to accommodate a stream passing between them.
The scheduled area is irregular and consists of three parts. 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.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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. As part of the extensive military training and prisoner of war complex known as Stobs Camp it specifically adds to our understanding of military training before and during the First World War.
b. The monument retains structural, architectural, decorative or other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the good overall preservation of the layout and individual elements of the ranges helps us to understand how training was undertaken at a site of this type. The differences between the ranges demonstrate how standard designs were adapted in response to specific site topography, while the non-standard design of the central range indicates that that ranges were developed for specialised forms of warfare, perhaps sniper training.
d. The monument is a particularly good example of early 20th century firing ranges and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and our understanding of the historic landscape as a part of the extensive military training and prisoner of war complex known as Stobs Camp. The concentration of military infrastructure in this area, demonstrates the significance of Stobs Camp to the overall war effort.
g. The monument has significant associations with major historical events. It is directly linked to both the First and Second World Wars, two of the defining global events of the 20th century.
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 Barnes Moss and Penchrise rifle ranges are a key element of the substantial military training area known as Stobs Camp. Both the western and eastern ranges have largely been created to a standard design, but there are some unusual features present. One end of each range consists of the former target position, two substantial parallel banks aligned perpendicular to the range. They served a dual purpose of acting as a foundation for a timber frame mounted between them, on which the targets themselves were mounted, and as a backstop to catch any stray rounds during firing. There are some surviving remains of the base of the targeting frame visible at both ranges, along with a high amount of ammunition used in training.
The rest of the range extends away from the targeting position and consists of a series of firing positions (ten at Barnes Moss, twelve at Penchrise), arranged in pairs parallel to the targeting bank at intervals of around 91.5m (100 yards) apart. This is a standard layout for a firing range of the period, allowing recruits to practice marksmanship at different distances. Each of the firing positions consists of a shallow earthwork trench around 30m in length, within which trainees would be situated aiming towards the target position. At Penchrise, the positions have slightly variations in alignment and spacing between each other, in contrast to the standard consistent alignment and spacing seen at Barnes Moss, apparently to account for the presence of several small streams running through the Penchrise range on their route to Gibby's Sike at the base of the slope.
On the northeast corner of the targeting earthwork at Penchrise is a small brick and concrete structure, with an earthwork bank against its northeast face, which would have served as a shelter for the personnel undertaking scoring of the training. The position of this shelter is unusual, as the scoring shelters would normally be positioned at one end of the ditch between the two earthworks, as this provided additional protection from stray firing, and this can be seen in the stone foundation of the former shelter at Barnes Moss. The location of the Penchrise shelter is instead on the same side of the earthwork as the firing positions, increasing the risk to the personnel inside and necessitating an additional earthwork bank for their protection.
The central range at Barnes Moss has a very unusual design when compared to the other firing ranges at Stobs or elsewhere. In a standard range of the period like the Barnes Moss and Penchrise examples, a single targeting position is located at one end of a range, with multiple firing positions extending away from it at 100-yard intervals. In this example, there appear to be multiple target positions, in the form of narrow concrete trenches with metal target mounting frames, unlike the single targeting position seen at the ranges above, with the firing positions following the more standard design. It is unclear precisely why the range was designed in this unusual manner, but it may relate to a specific type of training it was intended to provide. It is also unclear if this is the original design for this range, or if it was modified during the First World War, however the 1918 date stamp on part of the connecting telephone system does confirm its existence in this form at that time. The design of the concrete positions, with the shelters facing away from the firing positions and being equipped with telephone connections, suggests that personnel would be stationed within them during firing training, either for scorekeeping or target mounting purposes, with the telephone system allowing communication between constituent parts of the range without having to leave the safety of the shelter.
• Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
The Barnes Moss ranges lie to the east of Dodburn Hill. The western range lies on gently sloping ground on the shoulder of the hill and runs across the base of the narrow valley between Dodburn Hill to the north and Penchrise Pen and White Hill to the south. The central range lies to the south of Barnes Loch and runs along the base of the narrow valley between Dodburn Hill to the west and White Knowe to the east. The Penchrise range lies to the north of Penchrise Farm, on gently sloping ground beside Gibby's Sike. The range runs along the base of the valley formed by White Knowe and Newton Hill to the northwest, Penchrise Pen to the southwest and White Hill to the southeast. In all three cases, the choice of location is typical for ranges of this period, which required an area of relatively level ground for the range itself, while surrounding high ground or large bodies of water were utilised to provide a safe backstop for any rounds missing the targets.
Stobs Camp was one of the largest military training sites within Britain in the first half of the 20th century and it was used by hundreds of thousands of troops over its operational lifetime. The site first began operating in 1903 and it remained owned and used by the military until 1957, when most of the site was sold, with the remainder a few years later.
The Stobs estate was purchased by the War Office in 1902, initially with the intention of providing a permanent training and barracks complex for the British Army 6th Corps. By 1904 changes to structure of the army led to Stobs changing roles from a barracks to a primarily summer training camp, some troops coming from the regular army forces but the majority from the many volunteer units around Britain. (The volunteer units were formally reclassified as the Territorial Force during the Haldane Reforms in 1908, but Stobs continued to be used for their annual summer training camps). With the advent of the First World War, Stobs Camp was changed to operating as a year-round training facility, to accommodate the high numbers of new recruits during the conflict, and at the same time part of the site was turned into an internment camp, initially for civilian detainees and later for prisoners of war. Although most of the visiting troops to the camp both before and during the First World War were accommodated within tents during their time at the camp in the early period, permanent facilities were constructed for the core functions of the camp, including training ranges, and it is likely that the Penchrise range dates to this period of construction at the camp.
A high number of rifle training ranges were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century, with around 130 examples recorded in the National Record of the Historic Environment. Intended for the purpose of training recruits and volunteers in marksmanship, they were generally designed to a consistent pattern involving a targeting position at one end of the range, and a series of six firing positions spaced at roughly 100-yard intervals from the target. Many examples of these training ranges have now been either partially or wholly removed or lost, while there are some examples that remain in use for training to this day, such as at Castlelaw (Canmore ID 110879).
The wider landscape around the Penchrise range contains extensive further remains of the military training area at Stobs. Other remains still identifiable within the former training area are the remains of the main camp and related remains at Barns (SM13767), around 2km north of the ranges, areas of First World War training trenches at Acreknowe (SM13768), and a Second World War tank training area at Blakebillend to the southwest (SM13769). This concentration of surviving training infrastructure makes Stobs Camp particularly significant for our understanding of military training during the First and Second World Wars.
• Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)
The monument is a part of the substantial military training and internment camp complex at Stobs, directly linked to both the First and Second World Wars. The Stobs Camp complex is highly significant as an example of both a military training site for much of the first half of the 20th century, including both world wars, and as a First World War internment site for both civilians and later prisoners of war. The site has a high potential to inform us about many aspects of military and civilian life during the First and Second World War, and their impact upon Scotland's society, economy and population.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 279663 (accessed on 13/05/2022).
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 279664 (accessed on 13/05/2022).
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 279665 (accessed on 28/07/2022).
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 279666 (accessed on 28/07/2022).
Stobs Military Camp Hawick Scottish Borders. 2016. Homepage - Stobs Military Camp Hawick Scottish Borders. [online] Available at: <http://www.stobscamp.org/> [Accessed 11 May 2022].
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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