Bombie, Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NX 7079 5018

Archaeology & History

This stone circle was destroyed sometime in the early 1780s by some moron who cared little for our ancient sites.  Its destruction was described by Robert Muter in 1794—the earliest known reference to the site—when he told:

“Near the Roman camp there is a Druidical temple, which was destroyed within these eight years, by the hands of an ignorant Goth, who carried off the stones, split them, and applied them to build a contemptible bridge over an insignificant rivulet, called Buckland Burn.  The stones were seven in number, of round granite, and of unequal sizes.  The smallest at least three feet in diameter.”

In the 1850s, when the Ordnance Survey lads came this way to map and seek out the place-names of the area, the ‘Clownstane’ was one such place they listed.  In seeking an explanation of the word, a local man told them the folk memory from seventy years prior:

“Mr. Bell of Balgreddan says the name Clownstane originated from the Stones of a Druid Circle which stood convenient to this place and which was broken up and removed to build a bridge near by.”

Fred Coles (1895) included the site in his survey of the Kirkcudbright circles, simply reiterating how,

“According to Dr Muter, the stones “were seized by some vandal for the building of Buckland Bridge.””

References:

  1. Coles, Fred R., “The Stone Circles of the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, volume 29, 1895.
  2. Muter, Robert, “The Parish of Kirkcudbright,” in Statistical Account of Scotland – volume 11, William Creech: Edinburgh 1794.

Links:

  1. Canmore notes on Bombie
  2. Ordnance Name Book on the Bombie Circle

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.829735, -4.012996 Bombie

Little Balmae, Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NX 691 447

Archaeology & History

In an area littered with neolithic and Bronze Age remains, the great Fred Coles (1895) reported a stone circle that was destroyed sometime roughly between 1890 and 1911.  When he visited the place with his colleague, Mr E.A. Hornel in 1887, the megalithic ring had already been tampered with.  It was, he said,

“found to consist of five granite boulders, all of them large, in situ, and the ridgy grassy hollows of five others—removed, no one can say when.  In the centre of this nearly true circle, 90 feet in diameter, is a slight mound, possibly artificial.”

In 1911, when the Royal Commission lads visited the area, they could find no stone circle and reported how “no information could be obtained concerning it” from the local farmer.  This might have been because he destroyed it.  Some land-owners do such things, as we know; but in this case we may never know.

The site was listed without comment in the Master’s magnum opus (Burl 2000), but he gave it the “uncertain status” category; whilst John Barnatt (1989) questioned whether this was a destroyed stone circle or merely a natural setting that Cole had misinterpreted.

References:

  1. Barnatt, John, Stone Circles of Britain – volume 2, BAR: Oxford 1989.
  2. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  3. Coles, Fred R., “The Stone Circles of the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, volume 29, 1895.
  4. Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in Galloway – volume 2: County of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, HMSO: Edinburgh 1914.

Links:

  1. Canmore notes on Little Balmae

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.780082, -4.036808 Little Balmae

Balmae (2), Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NX 68649 44700

Also Known as:

  1. Balmae House
  2. Balmae 5 (Coles)

Archaeology & History

Coles’ 1895 sketch

Amongst a good cluster of petroglyphs, this ornate little fella may have been one visited by George Hamilton (1886) when he visited Balmae and outlying districts, seeking out petroglyphs!  We don’t know for certain though, as his descriptions are somewhat vague.  However, a few years later the great Fred Coles (1895) came a-wandering in search of the same carvings and, as happens in this line of business, uncovered a few new ones during his rummaging.  This was one of them, which he described, very simply, as hiding

“but a few yards from Ross View Cottage, on its N.W. … (with) eight cups being associated with four rings and several grooves, both straight and curved.”

It was only a few years later when the Royal Commission lads (1911) came in search of it and they told how,

“the main design is a central ringed cup with a connected groove, and two outer cups which an outer circle curves eccentrically to enclose.”

But when Ron Morris (1979) explored the area in the 1970s, he was unable to locate this and a number of other carvings that had been reported by Coles.  Since then, the carving has been relocated at the grid reference cited above.  Also since then, a great deal many more carvings have been found in this locale by the experienced petroglyphic fingers of Maarten van Hoek. (1993)

References:

  1. Coles, Fred, “A Record of the Cup-and-Ring Markings in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 29, 1895.
  2. Hamilton, George, “Notices of Rock Sculpturings of Cups and Circles in Kirkcudbrightshire,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 21, 1886.
  3. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Galloway and the Isle of Man, Blandford: Poole 1979.
  4. Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in Galloway – volume 2: County of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, HMSO: Edinburgh 1914.
  5. van Hoek, M., “Balmae”, in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, 1993.

Links:

  1. Canmore – short notes on Balmae (2)

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.779964, -4.043816 Balmae (2)

High Banks (03), Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – NX 709 489

Archaeology & History

One of the lost High Banks carvings

One of the lost High Banks carvings

The drawing here is another by the legendary Fred Coles, previously unpublished until Maarten van Hoek (1990) brought it out of the dusty archives of the Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, and described it in his article on prehistoric rosette motifs.  As with its fellow carving of High Banks 2, the location of the site remains unknown; and van Hoek wondered whether these two lost carvings “could have been located at the spot where now the little quarry at High Banks site is found.”  Let’s hope not!

References:

  1. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Galloway and the Isle of Man, Blandford: Poole 1979.
  2. van Hoek, M.A.M., “The Rosette in British and Irish Rock Art,” in Glasgow Archaeological Journal, volume 16, 1990.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.818808, -4.010494 High Banks (3)

High Banks (02), Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – NX 709 489

Archaeology & History

One of the lost High Banks carvings

One of the lost High Banks carvings

This impressive carving was found somewhere in the vicinity of the well-known High Banks (01) cup-and-ring menagerie, with its clustered mass of cups and multiple rings.  And the carving we see here possesses something of a similarity with its complex neighbour—but it remains lost.

The drawing was done by our old Scottish megalithomaniac Fred Coles, who discovered the carving when he visited the area around the beginning of the 20th century.  It remained unpublished until fellow rock art student Maarten van Hoek (1990) explored the region and found it hiding away in the archives at the Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright.  The multiple rings of cups surrounding central cups and cup-and-rings are very rare things indeed and this carving is utterly unique in the British Isles.

In Coles’ drawing, as well as the large carving, we have two other elements below, boxed.  These are taken from a notebook found in the same Stewartry Museum and thought to have been done by a Mr G. Hamilton around 1866.  In the lower-box, the double-ringed cup with its surround of two more rings of cup-marks was suggested at first by van Hoek (1990) to possibly be the same carving as that found by Coles.  But he questioned this, sensibly, as the carved design ‘B’,

“comprises 35 cups (its diameter stated to be 21 inches / 51cm), whereas Coles’ diagram of ‘A’ shows only 24 outer cups.  The unknown artist moreover says that, ‘The above (B) is one of a splendid group on Banks Farm.’  So this rosette (B) might be a completely different specimen altogether.”

I have to agree with him.  In the second smaller box, ‘C’, the drawing of the cluster of cup-marks is taken from the same 19th century notebook in which the author said there was a cluster of

“70 to 100 small cups without any apparent system, except being in a group of 7 with cup in the centre—also 3 or 4 circles.”

No other details were given.  Petroglyph explorers in the area should keep their senses peeled when meandering about here, for this and other missing carvings (High Banks 3).

References:

  1. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Galloway and the Isle of Man, Blandford: Poole 1979.
  2. van Hoek, M.A.M., “The Rosette in British and Irish Rock Art,” in Glasgow Archaeological Journal, volume 16, 1990.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.818708, -4.010574 High Banks (2)