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


Stone Circle


Zealous Antiquaries, strange to tell, have not yet succeeded in manufacturing the Standing Stones of Torhows into pigsties and byres 'for their better preservation,' as they have done with most Galloway antiquities; and so they stand there yet, and enduring testimony to the authenticity of the ancient traditions of the district.

In my young days there used to be four stones standing on the high side of the road, and twenty three on the low side of it, and they were arranged in a circle.

The tradition about them was that in those ancient times the Picts, when hard pressed, formed themselves into a ring and defended themselves in that way from attacks on all sides, and as soon as they saw a weak place in the ranks of the enemy, they lengthened the ring into a triangle or wedge and forced a way through their opponents; and it is recorded that the Galloway men or Albanich as they called themselves, who were the descendants of the Picts, fought in a wedge-shaped phalanx at the battle of the Standard in eleven hundred and something.

Well, it happened that the Picts at Torrhows were like to be beaten at one time, and were obliged to form a circle, and there was a most desperate struggle till the king came up with assistance, and a great many of the chiefs or great men, who fought in the front rank, were killed by the Danes.

When the battle was over and they assembled to bury the dead, a great stone was set up wherever any of the chiefs fell fighting, to mark the spot, and it is said that there were originally sixty stones, one for every chief killed, and the place was therefore called Torrhows, which means something about a bur[y]ing-ground, though I never heard it said that any of the chiefs were buried at the stones.

It was said at one time that the Laird was going to hoke them all up to send to Edinburgh, to try if they would give him F.S.A. to put to his name, but I think it hasn't been done yet.
A not altogether serious account from Galloway Gossip by Robert Trotter (1877).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st May 2013ce
Edited 30th May 2013ce

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