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In Upper Teviotdale, 4 miles W.S.W. of Hawick, } mile N.E. of Easter Branxholm Loch, and 2 miles west of the junction of the Borthwick Water with the Teviot, stands this remarkable group of

apparent earthworks. The former stream flows past 1 mile to the north, and the latter 1! to the south, and the country between may be described as a ridgy tableland rising 400 to 500 feet above the streams, and about twice as much above the sea.

The same character of the land, indeed, continues for a great distance, peaks such

the Eildons, Rubers Law, and ranges like the Cheviots, rising far off on the horizon like islands from a sea.

On the summit and at the east end of one of the little ridges of this tableland, 993 feet above the sea, commanding a most extensive view, the group is situated, and according to the large-scale Ordnance map the position is known as Whitcastle Hill, the name being printed close to the group, as if derived from it.

I had seen these works in a brief visit long ago, but, their fine preservation having recently attracted the attention of Miss Watson of Hassendeanburn, I was invited to go to them again last July,

a preliminary inspection, it was arranged by her that we should return with Mr Thomas Ross, and allow sufficient time for him to survey the group.

The result is the plan (fig. 1), by help of which, with the sections, I trust that my description will be easily

and, after


The divisions,

group consists of five separate works, placed somewhat in two

one of them with a rectangular and two curvilinear enclosures,

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Fig. 1. Ground Plan of Earth works on Whitcastle Hill.

the other with one of each kind. In each of these divisions the enclosures are close to each other without intercommunicating, and the two divisions are only about 40 feet apart at their nearest point.


First Division. The main fort surrounds the nearly level summit of the ridge, and in form is a true oval, the east being much broader than the west end. At the ends and on the north side the ground falls away from the defences gently, but the slopes from the south side and south-west

are pretty abrupt, and give considerable natural strength. The fortification has been effected by scarping these natural slopes, digging a trench all round at the foot, the spoil being thrown outwards to form

an outer mound, and partly, perhaps, to make a rampart or para pet at the top. At the east end the defences are much damaged, but else where they are well preserved.

Dimensions.—Over all, the length is about 270 feet and the breadth 250.

Measuring from crest to crest of the rampart, the length of the interior is 205 feet, and the width, at the middle of the oval, 150 feet. In its present state the rampart is merely a slight mound a foot or two in height, merging too gradually inwards to be measured in width. The scarp is steep and high on the south side, and also on the north except that there it diminishes towards the ends, particularly at the east, where the slope of the ground is so gentle that the scarp must have depended on extra depth of the trench for its height; but here the rampart and trench are nearly levelled. From the nature of the ground, the trench varies much in depth and width, and to the south,

present state, it almost becomes a terrace. The profiles (fig. 1) show that the perpendicular height of the scarp is above 20 feet at one point, and 12 to 13 at two others, and that the outer mound is comparatively trifling, rising only from 2 to 6 feet above the foot of the trench, even where well preserved.

The entrance is at the west end, and is no less than 27 feet wide where it emerges from the area, increasing to 40 feet when it


the 2

in its



trench, neither does it appear to have suffered change from the original plan. Preserving this width, there is a flattening of the descending ridge, ending in a level expansion 60 to 70 feet wide, which, viewed from the fort, has all the aspect of a traverse, though it loses much of this character on a closer inspection.

A roadway or path slants up from the east and enters the fort near the middle of the south side, but it may not be original.

The oblong outwork lies 120 feet E.N.E. from the main fort, upon the northern, gently-sloping side of the descending ridge. Hence its interior surface is not level, but inclines slightly to the north and east. Its form is oblong, with rounded ends and sides so slightly curved as to be nearly straight ; and the long axis is directed towards the north. The dimensions over all are 180 by 135 feet, and interiorly, from crest to crest of the rampart, 105 by 80 feet. The fortifications, well preserved except to the east, consist of two ramparts with an intervening trench, and are wider and stronger on the south and west than on the north and south, probably because on the latter sides the ground falls away and renders them more strong by nature.

On the north side (Profile CD, fig. 1) the rampart is 6 feet 6 inches high, and the outer mound rises only 2 feet above the trench; the top of this mound is flat, and 2 to 3 feet wide ; towards the interior the rampart is quite low. On the south side the rampart is 5 feet high on the inside, and 7 feet high above the trench; and the outer mound is even higher. The entrance is on the east side, near the south-east angle, and, though only 6 feet wide at present, was probably even less originally. A path or roadway runs a short distance eastward from it.

The rectangular enclosure is wedged in between the main fort and the oblong work. It is separated from the latter by a passage about 15 feet wide, but is connected with the damaged fortifications of the main fort at its east end. A single mound, 3 to 5 feet high, with slightly rounded angles, encloses a level area of 85 by 70 feet, from crest to crest. There is no trench. The long axis is parallel with that of the oblong work.

cairn at the top. But «

Separated from the south side of the rectangle, and parallel with it, a mound, 70 feet long, encroaching at its west end deeply into the ruined fortifications of the main fort, turns by a right angle at its east end, and runs south ward for a short distance. This may be the remains of another rectangular enclosure. Within the main fort, and about 40 feet from its east end, another straight mound in a rather fragmentary condition runs across the interior. For about 70 feet it is fairly continuous, and if complete would be 130 feet long.

Second Division. Circular Outwork. This is situated about 150 feet east of the main fort and 40 feet south-east of the oblong work ; or, reckoning from their inner ram parts, 220 and 100 feet respectively. It is commanded by the main fort, but, short as the distance is from the oblong work, the one is barely visible from the other, owing to their being on opposite sides of the ridge.

The shape is irregularly circular, the north-west side being nearly straight. The diameter over all is 150 feet, and internally, from crest to crest, 95 feet. The defences closely resemble those of the oblong out work, and need not be separately described. The entrance is towards the north-east, and is 5 or 6 feet wide.

Rectangular Enclosure. — Almost in contact with the last on its southwest side is a small rectangle enclosed by a mound, but without a trench. It measures about 67 by 60 feet over all, and 55 by 50 from crest to crest of the mound, which is 3 to 5 feet high.

Remarks. the structures have the appearance of being earthworks, and I noticed very few stones on the ground, except those forming a small

Whitcastle,” the name of the hill, suggests that the main fort, at least, may have been really a stone fort, just as we find “ White” applied in the case of “the White Caterthun.” A very slight excavation would probably determine this.

The three curvilinear works are evidently of a defensive character,

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