Cunninghar, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 9256 9709

Also Known as:

  1. Druidical Temple

Archaeology & History

Remaining stone at the destroyed circle
Remaining stone at the destroyed circle

A stone circle was once to be found on the elevated piece of ground above the north-side of the main road between Tillicoultry and Dollar, but it was sadly destroyed sometime in the 19th century.  Listed in Burl’s (2000) magnum opus, we have very little information about the place; though an account of the site was described in the Scottish Royal Commission report (1933) which told that a —

“Stone circle, measuring about 60 feet in diameter, once stood here but was completely removed many years ago, when the stones, which are said to have been 5½ feet in average height, were taken to cover a built drain at Tillicoultry House”!

Stone circle site shown on the 1866 OS-map

Unbelievable!  Any decent local folk nearby wanna find out where this drain is, see if the stones are visible (though I doubt they are), so we can plan to uproot it and move the stones back somewhere nearby. There are a few decent spots on the slopes above where it would look good!

When visited by researchers in the 1890s, parts of an embankment which surrounded the destroyed circle were still visible.  Also, indicating there was some ritual funerary nature to the site, a local teacher called Mr Christie found the remains of an ornamented urn protruding through the ground next to where one of the monoliths had stood.  Unfortunately in his attempts to remove the urn, much of it crumbled away.

Further examinations thereafter found that a burial was (seemingly) beneath the centre of the circle; and excavations here found that a covering stone of the tomb was covered in intricate cup-and-ring designs (see the Tillicoultry House Carving for further details).  Other prehistoric remains were found a little further up the hill from here.

References:

  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR 86: Oxford 1981.
  3. Robertson, R., ‘Notice of the Discovery of a Stone Cist and Urns at the Cuninghar, Tillicoultry…’, in PSAS 29, 1895.
  4. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

loading map - please wait...

  56.154313, -3.731287 Cunninghar circle

Written by 

6 thoughts on “Cunninghar, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire”

  1. Wow this is so interesting! How could they move the stones????? defies all reason! It would be amazing to see the stone circle replaced and I would be glad to help!

    1. Hi Lisa – Glad you like it! It would be good to gerrit up & visible again. There’s some cup-and-ring stone close by aswell, once part of a prehistoric tomb, which I’m gonna check out in the coming weeks. I’ve moved close to the area so will have a look v.soon! Cheers – Paul

  2. Hi Paul, I forgot to say that I have been trying to locate the site using google earth, I am not sure if I found the correct location but I did notice some circular indents in a field close to the area you have mentioned. They look similar to old bell pits but I am no expert. Maybe you could take a look? I currently study environmental geography at Stirling uni and I would love to help investigate this site!

    Regards,
    LIsa

  3. Hi Lisa – Re the location of this site: it was opposite the graveyard near the end of town and would seem to have been more suited as a ‘cairn circle’ than upright ring of stones. Positionally, a circular tomb of sorts would be the more probable. I’d love to see the “circular indents in a field” you mentioned. I’m sure there are gonna be other unregistered remains scattering the region. I’ve already come across a cluster of other megalithic sites in the area – including some other stone circles, but they’ve also, apparently, been destroyed. I’ll add them onto TNA in the coming weeks (once I’m able to work from home instead of having to keep coming to the library to do bits & bats from here). I went out to have a look at a few places at the Crook of Devon & Dollar yesterday. Beautiful spots indeed…
    ttfn – Paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *