Harlaw, Fairnington, Roxburghshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NT 666 286

Archaeology & History

One of those site place-names with a familiar ring to it: Har, boundary; law, tumulus (though it can also be used to mean ‘a meeting place’).  Nevertheless, whatever the precise origin of the name, the site here seems to have been destroyed.

Although listed by the Royal Commission in 1956 as a stone circle, John Barnatt thinks it may have been a tomb of sorts – which is what the place-name infers if we’re puritanical about it.  Alexander Jeffrey (1864) told us the most, saying that:

“A field to the east of Fairnington village is called Harlaw, from a circle of large stones which stood within it, but which have been removed to serve farm purposes.”

Its exact location is unknown, though the Royal Commission lads thought it probably “stood somewhere near the present Harelaw Plantation,” about a mile east of the village.  Any more info on this lost site would be most welcome!


  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Gelling, Margaret, Place-Names in the Landscape, Phoenix: London 2000.
  3. Jeffrey, Alexander, The History and Antiquities of Roxburghshire – volume 3, Seton & MacKenzie: Edinburgh 1864.
  4. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Roxburghshire – volume 2, HMSO: Edinburgh 1956.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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