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

Ox Eye

Long Cairn


Northumberland & Durham SMR Ref No: N13330 says of the Ox Eye long cairn, near Chillingham (Chatton):

"The Ox Eye long cairn has only fairly recently been recognised as such. It was first noted in the early 1990s and was surveyed about ten years later by members of the Border Archaeological Society. The prehistoric cairn is trapezoidal in shape and measures 55m long by 22m wide and stands just over 2m high. The edges of the cairn are quite difficult to see as they have tumbled and are covered in bracken. This is one of only a handful of long cairns in the county."

The cairn lies in the centre of a large clearing in the dense forest plantation of Ros Hill Wood. The quite prominent raised shape is surrounded by a larger ring of bracken contrasting with the surrounding deep heather.

The Ox Eye natural boundary stone lies to the SW and has eroded in one part into several tubes, which pierce, in an unlikely manner in at least one case, straight through the rock. Perhaps these are the origin of the Ox Eye name.

The Beckensall Archive describes two cup-marked outcrops between the cairn and boundary marker but these I couldn't find. They weren't revisited for the Archive project and Stan says that they are usually buried in deep heather. The Ox-Eye 1 slab is described as having scattered cup marks, most of them in a cluster at one end. Ox-Eye 2 has a scatter of 28 cups, some of which may be paired like those at Ros Castle.

Comparison with old OS maps of the area shows that before afforestation the area was called Lousy Law and the cairn was given as Shepherd's Cairn. Two more Shepherd's Cairns are shown on the ridge at Millstone Hill so perhaps this name is more to do with (apparent) origin. Recent maps apply Shepherd's Cairn to only one point of the ridge midway between Ros Castle and Millstone Hill. The large Ox Eye stone, however, appears to have been one of the several boundary markers along the parish boundary.
Posted by rockandy
11th March 2006ce
Edited 17th March 2006ce

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