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Denoon Law



Denoon Law is one of those sites that appears to have been bypassed by the modern world... it doesn't feature in any guide I've seen.... indeed in ANY book I've seen. Yet it is most certainly very much a dominating feature of this wee corner of Scotland.... a very substantial fortress, indeed.

To be fair I probably wouldn't have come here had it not happened to lay more or less between last night's stopover in Glenisla and Brechin. But there you are... it did. So I duly arrive upon a cloudless morning of stunning - if rather severe - light. The field gate is closed but unlocked.... so I reckon I'll take a quick shufti, so to speak. The eastern flank is protected by what appears to be an initial bank and ditch, a 'barbican' to hold up a surprise assault and give the inhabitants time to respond, no doubt. Otherwise Denoon Law is univallate, just the one rampart forming the defences of the enclosure. Hey, but what defences they are! Having said that, Canmore's dimensions would seem excessive....

The foundations of what would appear to be a large rectangular structure lie within... a substantial hall, perhaps? Oh to be a fly on the wall of that mead hall. What stories, what tall tales! And then there is the beautiful, fertile countryside Denoon Law oversees. To be honest that is that. Nice 'n' simple. But then (near) perfection usually is. Yeah, I reckon Denoon Law is that good.

As I frantically snap away upon the camera, well aware that the light contrast is pushing my photography skills well beyond normal operating parameters, a rather young chap attired in farm overalls arrives upon a quad bike. 'Can I ask what you are doing?', says he. Seems not for the first time my camera tripod has been mistaken for a metal detector from afar. Nae bother, however. Once he determines the truth he simply wants to talk... seems there is a Roman fort nearby, local folklore adorned with tales of pesky Pictish warriors causing serious problems for the local legionnaries. Methinks Denoon was not a favoured posting in those days....

Anyway there is work to be done feeding cattle and wotnot - hey, 'farmer things' - so I'm left alone upon Denoon Law's mighty ramparts for a few hours in the sun. Yeah, there are worse places to spend time. It is a good place to be. Eventually, however, it is time to leave Denoon and head for Turin Hill. But that's another story.
5th June 2012ce
Edited 5th June 2012ce

Comments (1)

Aye them Romans had a few installations nearby. There is a Roman Fort and a number of attendant camps a few miles from Denoon at Cardean (just outside Meigle) which show occupations in Flavian and probably Antonine periods. There is also a wonderfully situated Roman Fortlet just outside Kirriemuir at Inverquharity which sat perched on a high terrace above where the Prosen Water meets The South Esk, near the mouth of Glen Clova. This is also dated to the Flavian period but a series of temporary camps and features might point to later re-use in the Antonine. Tradition also points to a section of ancient roadway in Caddam Wood at Kirriemuir as being Roman.

There is nothing to suggest that the occupiers were unwelcome. Indeed some appear to have stayed on in Kirriemuir.

My OH grew up near Denoon and I grew to know the area well over the years. The Roman presence in this area - so far North of what most people know and associate Romans with - has been for me a long fascination. The Romans brought this area and its peoples into the historical record and while their occupations were comparatively brief, the (often scant) Roman remains provide a snapshot of a period of time which bridges the known historical record and the depths of prehistory.

Denoon is braw!
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
6th June 2012ce
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