dumfries-1920/04-059

Transcription

INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS IN DUMFRIESSHIRE.

isolated portion occurs on the opposite slope of the burn behind Durisdeer, and a much
longer section to the south of the Hapland Burn follows the above levels south-west-
wards. What is noticeable along this whole stretch is that it almost entirely still
marks the boundary between the cultivated land and the moorland. Nor does the
nature of the structure anywhere suggest that it ever had any other purpose than that
of a boundary or march or head-dike, ¹ though, on the assumption that it was con-
tinuous, a strategically defensive purpose has also been claimed for it. The bank
is everywhere low and the trench slight, seemingly only what was left when the earth
was heaped up to form the bank. In one case at least what was probably a core
of unusually large stones has been exposed (No. 80). The service of a typical
mediæval march of this sort no doubt varied; south of Sanquhar it strikes across
the moor still roughly in line with the river; but a march to all appearance it
was. As a defence it could be penetrated anywhere, unless well defended; the
population could never be sufficient to defend its whole length, and any local
defence could be turned. "Celtic" is obviously a comparatively modern term;
and the "Deil" is a favourite engineer all over the country, as also are the Picts in
their semi-mythological stage.
Another name to which reference may be made is "Kemp's Castle" (No. 557)
for a hill fort. In various parts of southern and north-eastern Scotland, from
Wigtown to Forfar, the name appears either in this form or as Kemp's Graves, Kemp's
Cairn, etc. A gloss accompanying a 13th-century charter of lands in the Registrum
Moraviense, App. No. 4, gives for one name the meaning "of the Grett or Kempis
men callit Fenis." "Kemp," indeed, occurs sporadically in the literature of both
England and Scotland from a very early period in the sense of a "great warrior" or
"champion," latterly with a suggestion of something monstrous either in size or acti-
vities. Thus, as above, the Gaelic Feinne or Fingalians were "Kemps." The applica-
tion to imposing prehistoric structures of unknown origin is obvious. "Bogle Walls"
(No. 638) is simply a more eerie version of the same idea.
Crannogs. - Crannogs, which are islands in whole or part formed artificially for
residence, are not, as a rule, conspicuous structures. Of the four so far located in
Dumfriesshire ² the crannog at the Black Loch Sanquhar is noted in Art. No. 568,
and described in the Transactions Dumfries and Galloway Soc., 1864-5, pp. 4-5. At
the time of its exposure, it was found to rest, apparently directly, upon the subsoil,
having only a ring of boulders to strengthen the base. The upright piles were of
oak "dressed and sharpened by a metal tool" and "some of them morticed at the
head" for the transverse beams, which were "chiefly of birch wood." On this
wooden platform was a layer of broken stone from 12 to 18 inches deep, on which had
accumulated the vegetable mould covered with vegetation, the surface being 6 to
8 feet above the bottom of the loch. A narrow, curving causeway connected the
island with the shore, and in the mud was found a canoe, which was formed from
a single oak tree 16 feet in length and tapered from 3 feet at its widest to 1 foot 10
inches at the prow. No other relic was discovered. Here may also be mentioned
the relics of a stockade found about 1877 on the farm of Kelloside, Kirkconnel.
The stakes, about three feet in length and six inches in diameter, enclosed an area

1 In the parish of Kells, Kirkcudbright, it is known as "the Auld Head Dyke of Scotland" (Chalmers,
Caledonia, v. p. 237).
2 Munro's Ancient Scottish Lake Dwellings, p. 245. Of the others included in the list that at Loch
Urr is the subject of Art. No. 144, while the references in the list to Lochwood, Closeburn, and Morton
apply to the position of the castellated structures at these places described in the Inventory.

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