The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Ninestane Rigg

Stone Circle


In medieval times, the black magician the Evil Lord De Soulis was said to have drilled holes in the shoulder blades of local peasants to assist in the moving of the stones needed to build nearby Hermitage castle. He also kidnapped and imprisoned their children. Robert the Bruce supposedly captured De soulis and the Locals took him to the stone circle to be dispatched. In a vat of molten lead if the tale is true. His ghost, and that of the curiously named Robin Redcap may still occasionally be seen

People have said that there may have once been other monuments and/or settlements in the vicinity:

"On a careful examination of the ground we found that a great extent around the circle (Nine Stones on Nine-stone Rig 35 SW 2) appeared to have been occupied and to the south a number of the same kind of circles had existed but were now entirely destroyed. The hollow in the centre of each circle is still to be seen and the appearance of the herbage and the marks in the earth around clearly indicate the position of the upright stones".
A Jeffrey 1855

On the top of Nine Stone Rig there is a whole street of circular pits running directly from the stone circle. They are planted at regular distances, and fairly close together, and they gauge from 8 to 10 feet deep, with rather more of diameter. They have in most instances a gently sloping side, in some more marked than others, and runs in a kind of curve towards the north. These, or some of them, may have been originally natural subsidences, although their number, regularity and uniformity of size are against that idea. All the suggestions are that these formed the shelters of the men who set up the Circle and heaped up the barrow... The ground is dry and lying as the pits do, just a little over the edge of the Rig, there would be no danger of flooding".
J Snadden 1923

But then, more recent accounts dismiss this idea:

"No archaeological significance could be attributed to these 'pits' which lie a few metres NNE of the stone circle. They appear to be simply caused by natural subsidences in the mossy ground."
Visited by OS (JLD) 28 September 1960

Pehaps even more dubious is the report of a possible long barrow (unusual in this area):
"On the western slope (of Ninestone Rig, NY 51 97) and towards the Roughley Burn, I found a long barrow, or earthen burial mound. It is oblong in shape, and the lines of the mound are composed of earth and small stones so firmly compacted together that they cannot be pierced by a spade. The earth has been dug and thrown up from the inside, which leaves the space between the lines hollow. There is a line of mound at each end which meets the main lines at right angles. The length over all is between 80 and 100 yards. The breadth of the base may be eight to nine feet. The barrow is intersected in the centre by a fifth line of mound, which meets the main lines at right angles. The most probable explanation of this is that the barrow was originally square, and was afterwards elongated. Lying on the inside slope of the mound is a stone about three feet in length, in which a deep hole has been cut six to nine inches square. In its place it looks as if it had served some sepulchral purpose".
J Snadden 1923

Later visitors relate:

"This feature was not located during an extensive perambulation of the area around the stone circle. From the description it is doubtful if this is of any archaeological significance. "
Visited by OS (JLD) 28 September 1960
Hob Posted by Hob
9th November 2004ce
Edited 22nd September 2006ce

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