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


Sleepy Knowe


Nearest Town:Selkirk (12km NNE)
OS Ref (GB):   NT39292030 / Sheet: 73
Latitude:55° 28' 21.4" N
Longitude:   2° 57' 37.77" W

Added by Rhiannon

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A cairn with a carved stone inside:
In July and August Dr. Brydon explored a [...] remarkable deposit at the farm of Shaws, in the confines of Selkirkshire. In front of the farm-house is an eminence called the Middle hill, overlooking the lochs forming the sources of the Ale; and on this is a mound known by the name of the Sleepy knowe, which was resorted to by some workmen, about four years ago, in search of stones to build a march-dyke. On breaking into the mound they came upon a cist containing a skeleton, on which Mr. Gibson, who occupies the farm, at once, with a rare, and therefore the more praiseworthy, intelligence put a stop to the work. It remained in this state till Dr. Brydon, becoming acquainted with the circumstance, resolved to prosecute the search.

The Knowe, as its name implies, was a circular mound, 108 feet in circumference and 5 to 6 feet high, covered with fine short grass. On removing the soil the structure was found to be formed of 3 to 4 tiers of large stones "sloping inwards and downwards, like a low wall all round," on the edge of which rested "another layer of unequal thickness, the direction of which was inwards and upwards." The general character of the edifice appears to have been that of a rude vaulted dome, paved throughout with large water-worn stones, resting on what appeared to be a layer of peat ashes.

The interior was occupied by several cists and smaller cavities, at different depths, separated from each other by large stones apparently cast in without any regularity.

Above the whole was a layer of larger water-worn stones, surmounted by smaller shingle, completing the structure.
A skeleton was found in one cist, an urn with bones in the second, with the third apparently empty.
Besides these there was a vaulted chamber in the centre of the mound, in which was found a sculptured stone slab, inches 39x21x10, supported by three stones resting on the floor. The upper surface exhibited several incised lines and cavities, the former covering a space of inches 6x2 1/2, three of them being parallel and joined at either end by an oblique line. On the under surface were "five incomplete cavities," and round the four sides a series of cups, 3,4,4, and 2. There was also found a large, flat, upright stone, imbedded in the natural soil, which was conjectured to have stood there before the erection of the barrow. Near it were an antler and fragments of palmated deer horns.
From here, an abridgement of the report in the Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. for Oct. 1869. Canmore's record is here but makes no mention of where the interesting-sounding carved stone is today.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th September 2012ce
Edited 18th September 2012ce