Fred Coles referred to Backhill of Drachlaw, West Circle in his Report on the Stone Circles of Northeast Scotland in 1903. Although this circle still appeared on the 1905 Ordnance Survey map as a Circle of six stones, it was dismantled during the 19th century. Coles stated that:
"... many years ago one of these six stones, then forming a Circle, close to which the farm-steadings came to be built, was removed by a neighbouring farmer who ‘required’ a block of good stone out of which to make lintels ... the remaining five stones were subsequently removed from their original positions and placed in the line of two dikes."
I was recently contacted by Bob Seddon, who currently occupies the steading at the Backhill of Drachlaw, who believes that he has located seven of the original stones, four of which have been incorporated into walls around the steading (as noted below by Drew) and another three which were buried in the ground. These three stones (identified as nos 5, 6 and 7) had been incorporated into a culvert which is thought to have been constructed in the late 19th century: they only came to light during the past year when a neighbour recovered them whilst he was undertaking some fieldwork and water course improvement works.
Bob states that it is his intention to return these three stones to the approximate position of the original Drachlaw West stone circle, but to retain the existing stones (which are embedded in the north perimeter wall of the steading) in their current positions, as it is believed they are at, or close to, their original location. Sadly, no detailed records or plans of the original site can be found.
As the name suggests, the Backhill of Drachlaw West site is approximately 200 metres to the west of the main Backhill of Drachlaw stone circle.
A stone circle moved and placed in a wall has long been the subject of myth and speculation amongst the inhabitants of Turriff and Inverkeithney. For many years I was led to believe that the walls at Laithers and Muiresk might provide an answer. However one of my friends asked about Drachlaw, Carlin, Sheilburn etc. Standard answer check TMA, check Canmore and Scotlands places. He phones back and says which one at Drachlaw. Immediately the Sherlock Holmes in me went to work. On checking there was a circle that stood at West Drachlaw, so returning from Huntly gave me an excuse to investigate.
The Backhill of Drachlaw farm is 3 miles west of Turriff on the B9024, on the track just to the north. Turn at the Drachlaw farm signpost, the complete stone circle clearly visible from the road. Drive up the entrance to the farm and stop. The stones are in the dyke to the left. 4 stones are in the wall, 1 was removed to form a gatepost a further 100 yards west. The missing sixth stone has also turned up. An outbuilding collapsed during storms so the lintel was removed and used as the other gatepost. At least it has been given it's original job as a standing stone, it did stand in a circle 28 feet in diameter, albeit not quite in the same place and different employment.
Yet another investigation closed, Sherlock would be proud! (I hope)