Broadgate, Strathblane, Stirlingshire

Chambered Cairn (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 5674 7938

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 44453

Archaeology & History

A once-impressive large prehistoric long cairn could be found close to the grid-reference given here, whose existence and destruction was recorded, thankfully, by local antiquarians in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively.   There are remains of other prehistoric sites in and around the spot—including the standing stones of both Broadgate Farm and Strathblane Church—close to which Mr J.G. Smith (1866) described,

“towards the end of last century a mound was levelled at Broadgate near this spot, and many stone coffins, each containing an urn full of earth and burnt bones, were found.”

Smith himself refers to the lengthier description of the mound’s destruction in Ure’s History of Rutherglen (1793), in which the site was described as

“an ancient burying place, the origins of which is unknown, was 60 yards in length, 14 feet in height, and of a considerable breadth.  It was composed of gravel, and lay east and west.  In the bottom were a great many coffins of stone, placed in a row, and separated from one another by a single flag.  Every coffin contained an urn, that was full of earth and burnt bones.  Beside each urn was a pillar about 3 feet in height, and 8 inches in thickness.  They were fragments of basaltic five-sided columns, a few rocks of which are found in the parish.  Most of the pillars are built in a dyke adjoining to the church.  The urns on being touched fell in pieces.”

Due to the seemingly extravagant lay-out of this cairn, Audrey Henshall (1972) took the site to be a chambered tomb of some considerable importance.  She was probably right!  In her magnum opus (1972) on the subject she wrote:

“The description of the ‘cists’ suggests a segmented chamber of Clyde type, but the mound composed of gravel (instead of being a cairn) suggests a natural feature.  A long mound, probably natural, exists on Broadgate Farm in which a restricted excavation produced a cist of Bronze Age type. Possibly the Strathblane mound was similar; it may have contained a segmented chamber (…where a chamber has been built into a natural mound), or it may have contained cists of later type for single burials.”

Subsequent explorations by the Royal Commission (1963) and local historians to find any remains of the site have proved fruitless.


  1. Henshall, Audrey S., The Chambered Tombs of Scotland – volume 2, Edinburgh University Press 1972.
  2. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments Scotland, Stirling – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.
  3. Scott, J.G., “Inventory of Clyde Cairns,” in Megalithic Enquiries in the West of Britain,Liverpool University Press 1969.
  4. Smith, John G., The Parish of Strathblane, James Maclehose: Glasgow 1886.
  5. Ure, David, The History of Rutherglen and East Kilbride, Glasgow 1793.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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