Torrnacloch, Dalbog, Edzell, Angus

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NO 5871 7189

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 35190

Archaeology & History

‘Site of’ stone circle, 1865

When the Ordnance Survey lads visited this area in 1860, they stood upon this small knoll that was known as Torrnacloch – or the Knoll of the Stone.  They were informed that a ring of stones had stood here, but had been destroyed about 1840, apparently by a local farmer.  The stones were described as being about 3 feet high.  They subsequently added it on the earliest OS-map of the area, but also made note that a cist was found within the site.  The circle was included and classed as a stone circle in Aubrey Burl’s (2000) magnum opus, but had previously been classed as a cairn with “a kerb of large boulders” by the Royal Commission doods. (1983)  They based their assessment on the appearance of some of the stones found on a gravel mound behind the farm which had apparently been removed from the circle when it was destroyed.  Andrew Jervise (1853) gave us the following account:

“The Chapelry of Dalbog was on the east side of the parish, due west of Neudos.  The time of its suppression is unknown; and though no vestige of any house remains, the site of the place of worship is still called the “chapel kirk shed” by old people, and, in the memory of an aged informant, a fine well and hamlet of houses graced the spot.  This field adjoins the hillock of Turnacloch, or “the knoll of stones,” which was probably so named, from being topped in old times by a so-called Druidical circle, the last of the boulders of which were only removed in 1840.  Some of them decorate a gravel mound behind the farm house; and, on levelling the knoll on which they stood, a small sepulchral chamber was discovered, about four feet below the surface. The sides, ends, and bottom, were built of round ordinary sized whinstones, cemented with clay, and the top composed of large rude flags.  It was situate on the sunny side of the knoll, within the range of the circle; but was so filled with gravel, that although carefully searched, no relics were found.”

References:

  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Jervise, Anrew, The History and Traditions of the Land of the Lindsays in Angus and Mearns, Sutherland & Knox: Edinburgh 1853.
  3. MacLaren, A. et al, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Central Angus, RCAHMS: Edinburgh 1983.

Acknowledgements:  Big thanks for use of the 1st edition OS-map in this site profile, Reproduced with the kind permission of the National Library of Scotland

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.836629, -2.678338 Torrnacloch

Dunmoid, Dalginross, Comrie, Perthshire

Stone Circle:  OS Grid Reference – NN 78030 21266

Dunmoid Circle, Comrie
Dunmoid Circle, Comrie

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 24857
  2. The Court Knoll
  3. Dalginross
  4. Dunmhoid
  5. Judgement Mound
  6. Muirend
  7. Roundel

Getting Here

From the main road running through lovely Comrie, take the south B827 road over the old river bridge.  Go dead straight for several hundred yards until the road bends right; but take the left turn here.  100 yards or so along note the trees on your right, and the road begins to swerve round here. Just round the corner in the trees, the stones are in the clearing right by the roadside. You can’t miss them! (if you hit the graveyard, you’ve gone past them)

Archaeology & History

This is a truly lovely, almost warming enclosed megalithic site—albeit damaged by the ruin of centuries; but on the occasions I’ve been here it feels quite nurturing and elicits a quite natural meditative state.  Whether or not this is due to the surround of trees, or the natural electromagnetic field, or just me, I dunno….

Dunmoid Circle, looking SE
Dunmoid Circle, looking SE
Dunmoid from the North (Coles 1911)
Dunmoid from the North (Coles 1911)

The ‘circle’ is constructed upon a flat rounded section of ground, surrounded by a ditch on two-thirds of its edges, very reminiscent of a typical henge monument—but there is no mention of this in modern surveys.  One of the earliest accounts of Dunmoid was written by John MacPherson (1896) who gave us as much of the known history of the site as is still known by any modern academic.  He wrote:

“At the west side of the new cemetery, close to the public road, there is a curious round knoll, which at one time must have been used as a place for the burial of the dead.  The attention of the writer of this was drawn to it about twenty years ago.  There were three large slabs of stone lying upon the ground, which apparently had been at some former period placed erect by some loving hands to mark the last resting-place of some departed friend or hero.  By the aid of some of the Comrie masons the stones were placed in a standing position.  Curious to know what lay beneath the surface, we dug up the earth in front of the largest slab, and came upon a stone cist placed north and south, 7 inches long, 1 foot 8 inches broad, and 1 foot 3 inches deep.  The only remains discovered was a thigh-bone, but whether it at one time formed a part of the leg of a Celt, a Roman, or a Saxon we could not tell. An old man who then lived in the village of Comrie told us that in his young days the same mound was dug up, when an urn filled with ashes was discovered.  This, perhaps, would indicate that it formed a place of burial for Romans rather than for Caledonians.  The spot is called Dunmoid, or ‘hill of judgment.'”

Fred Coles 1991 plan
Fred Coles 1991 plan
Dunmoid from SE (Coles 1911)
Dunmoid from SE (Coles 1911)

The circle gained the attention of the prolific Fred Coles (1911) in his Perthshire surveys, whose drawings and measurements are still repeated in the modern textbooks more than a century later.  When he visited the site, two of the stones were still upright, but today only one still stands.  In Aubrey Burl’s (1988) survey on ‘four-poster’ stone circles, he reiterated Coles’ words, telling:

“Originally four stone stood at the corners of a rectangle on a mound some 75ft (23m) across and 2ft (60cm) high.  Coles’ plan showed the NW stone standing 5ft 4ins (1.6m) high and the SE, opposite, 5ft 2ins (1.6m), with the thick NW stone prostrate, 4ft 6ins (1.4m) long, with the more slender SW pillar also supine and 4ft (1.2m) long.  The longer SE and NW sides of the oblong were roughly 9ft 6ins (2.9m) long and the others 9ft (2.7m) in length.  The circle on which the stones had been placed had a diameter 13ft 2ins (4m), of which the Megalithic Yard is not an integer.”

The circle is included in Andrew Finlayson’s (2010) modern survey of the region.

References:

  1. Burl, Aubrey, Four Posters: Bronze Age Stone Circles of Western Europe, BAR 195: Oxford 1988.
  2. Finlayson, Andrew, The Stones of Strathearn, One Tree Island: Comrie 2010.
  3. Hunter, John (Ed.), Chronicles of Strathearn, David Philips: Crieff 1896.
  4. Hutchison, A.F., “The Standing Stones of Stirling District,” in The Stirling Antiquary, volume 1, 1893.
  5. MacPherson, John, “At the Head of Strathearn,” in Chronicles of Strathearn, Crieff 1896.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Dunmoid circle

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Dunmoid circle 56.367912, -3.976259 Dunmoid circle

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

 

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  56.154313, -3.731287 Cunninghar circle