Archeology on the Rhins
Ardwell Murder Stone
What may be a small cairn measuring 5m in diameter by 0.3m in height, is situated immediately South of Ardwell East Lodge; a stone with “Murder” cut into its upper face lies on top of the cairn. It is believed to commemorate persons killed in a skirmish about 1660.
Prominently situated on the edge of the degraded cliff line 200m N of Sandhead, this motte stands to a height of up to 8.7m and its oval summit (damaged by the construction of an observation post during WWII) measures 20m by 17m. Artefacts have been found which suggest that a wooden structure previously built on the summit was burned down, together with items of pottery.
The remains of a late 16th century tower house, stand in a field 70m ENE of Low Clanyard farmhouse, and comprise a substantial part of the W gable and a fragment of its adjoining N wall. The tower was built for the Gordons of Clanyard and is recorded as ruinous in 1684. A fragment of a stone bearing a carved guilloche motif from the tower is incorporated in the S corner of the meal barn at Castle Clanyard farm.
Core Hill Fort
This Iron/Dark age Fort is situated on the summit of Core Hill, immediately S of Kirkmaiden churchyard. It measures 28.3m by 21m within the inner rampart, which varies from a low bank 3.4m thick and 0.5m high, to a scarp up to 2.3m high externally. In the 19th Century when the interior was levelled for a bowling green, a stone axe was discovered.
This broch is situated within an outwork on a rocky promontory on the South side of Ardwell Bay. It measures 9m in diameter within its wall, which varies from 3.7m to 4.6m in thickness and stands to a maximum height of 1.8m. Signposted from the car park.
This motte and bailey castle is situated at the tip of a promontory 60m N of high Drummore farmstead. The motte rises to a height of 2.5m and its oval summit, which has been dug into, measures 10m by 6.3m. The bailey lies on the E and measures 28m by 20m within a bank (up to 7.2m thick and 2.5m high on the S), which originally also enclosed the motte; the W section has been removed by cultivation and the entrance was probably on the South. A gold torc was found at the site and is now in the National museum in Edinburgh.
A church, dedicated to St.Skiach (St.Echoid?), and a burial ground, are said to have been situated in the Kirk Fey field about 150m SSW of Kilstay cottage. During the 19th century many bones were ploughed up in the field, and in 1848 a cist was noted on the North side of a stream 55m WSW of Kilstay cottage.
This Church, which served the medieval parish of Toskerton, stood within its walled burial ground on a low rise 410m S of South Cairnweil farm. The site is occupied by a burial aisle of the McTaggarts of Ardwell which incorporates masonry believed to be from the previous church and may even be built on the same site.
Three Early Christian inscribed stones, 5th century (one with the Chi-Rho symbol), and five cross-fragments, which range in date from the 8th to the 12th Century, found on, or near, the site, are displayed in the entrance porch (behind glass) at the West end of the site.
Kirkmaiden Parish Church
This T-Plan Church, built in 1639 to replace the original church at Portankil, stands in a walled burial ground overlooking Kirkmaiden adjacent to the fort at Core Hill. It contains the burial-aisle of the McDoualls of Logan on the North side. A bell cast with the date 1534 and reputedly a wedding gift from the Gordons of Lochinvar to Alexander Gordon of Castle Clanyard, together with a plaque bearing the arms of the Adairs of Kinhilt who owned Drummore castle, dated 1618 are to be found inside the church. The Plaque belonged to Patrick Adair and carries an inscription to him.
A vaulted windmill, which stands on a low rise 150m NNW of the Logan Mill farmhouse, is now reduced to a shell. It was built shortly before 1684 and is now on the “at risk register” to be included as a protected site.
Low Culgroat Windmill
A round tower, possibly the base of a turret post-mill or a wind driven scutch mill for flax, stands on a low knoll 242m NE of Low Culgroat farmhouse. It is 3.3m high and measures 2.4m in diameter within a wall 0.55m thick; a doorway is located on the North side.
Situated on a low knoll 40m N of the lighthouse, this cairn is slightly oval measuring 16.5m by 15m and varies from 1.4m to 2.2m in height; a flagstaff surmounts it.
Kennedy’s Cairn is NW in the fields and is not listed although on the Ordnance Survey.
Mull of Galloway
The remains of an earthwork cut across the neck of the Mull of Galloway immediately S of the enclosed fields of the Mull farm, at the narrow isthmus between the bays of East and West Tarbet. At one point some possible facing stones are exposed, but the bank is no more than 2.3m thick and 0.5m high. A substantial earthwork cuts off an area of about 57Ha at the East end of the Mull of Galloway; it measures 400m in length and is situated 330m SSE of the previous earthwork at the Tarbet. In most places it comprises three ditches with medial banks, the inner bank being the larger, measuring between 3.1m and 4m in thickness with an external height of up to 2.2m. It is believed the ramparts make this the largest Iron Age stronghold in Britain.
Several, Kirkmaiden – Kildonan Church
In the 19th Century several cist-graves were found in a field 300m NNE of Several steading. In 1960 excavations by Livens recovered an inhumation from one of two long cists revealed by ploughing in the field 260m NE of the steading. Nothing remains of Kildonan church, which stood on the North side of Kildonan Glen near to the aforementioned cist-graves.
Site of Drummore Castle
A 16th century tower house once stood SE of Low Drummore farmhouse, the remains were pulled down in 1963, it was owned by the Adairs of Kinhilt.
There are no visible remains of the medieval parish church of Stoneykirk, which probably stood in the burial ground of the present church (which was built in 1827).
The parishes of Stoneykirk, Toskerton and Clayshant were united in 1618.
Terally, Motte Cists,& Stone
The Motte is a large mound 530m NNW of Terally farmhouse, (opposite coal store). Fragment of a food vessel found there are in Dumfries Museum. Pre-1896 cists were discovered in a field 130m SSW.
In 1955 workmen digging a trench along the shoreline to the North of Terally Motte discovered a long cist cemetery containing 11 long cists between the motte and the standing stone. Two more were found by Livens in 1956, they contained extended inhumations and were probably aligned East to West. Numerous flint flakes some worked and probably Mesolithic were also found.