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

The Wren's Egg & Nest

Standing Stones


One of those sites I'd meant to do on my previous visit to this side of Luce Bay in '14 but got tripped up by 'busman's holiday' garden visits. I'd made it to Barsalloch, but not here. So near yet so far. A return to Barsalloch first, a contemplative chill and bask there, then, yes Wren's Egg, I'm on my way. I parked in Monreith and went across the fields to Blairbuy Stones first - see fieldnotes. The Wren's Egg and Nest called me in. Through the open gate with lady at farm's ready approval, then up the slope to the Wren's Egg and attendant smaller stones, sadly unmentioned in the name of this place. Like Barsalloch, I was it seems, having read his notes subsequently, following in CARL's wake. Woof woof, pitter patter, widdle. Same impression as him and Postie. Bloody nice place, especially on this blue sky autumn day. Why, why, why don't more people make it here??? Ffs, latitudinally it and MoG over the other side of lovely Luce Bay are south of Carlisle and Newcastle. The A75's a fine drive, a Euroroute even, and the A747 from Glenluce is even finer. Come. Please. Anyway, rant over. I circled the Egg, then had a look at the two stones, checking the alignments with those at Blairbuy. Snap, snap, snap. Then, as is my wont, off for a fieldwalk. I headed east away down the rise to check on the alignment of the Small Stones - they at least deserve capital letters - with the Egg. Then walked further away towards the the N-S field wall with its belt of trees behind, and farm buildings beyond them. As I approached the wall something in it caught my eye....... TWO ADDITIONAL STONES...... I have walling experience, and looked at what was before me from a structural, non fanciful perspective. I was adamant that the stones in this wall were in situ, but in light of info recieved now accept that they have been probably placed there in more recent times... however they are of the same shape and distance apart as the two by the Egg, and align with it. The wall has been built around them, and at present the ground level on the 'Egg' side means they look very squat, but I am confident that they are of the same size as the Egg's attendants, should a test excavation take place. Further stones from the site, displaced? I stood and looked at them for a bit, and had already decided there was more to this place than met the eye. Back up the slope to Egg and Stones for an alignment double check, then I decided to have a good look, circle and scramble over the oak covered Nest. Exposure by stock of soil and stones on it makes it plain that it is not a natural feature. What it is, pass, but.... not natural. Like the strange gorse covered conical mound by Terally Stone and the identical gorsey conical top to the outlier at Kemp's Walk, I'd love a ground penetrating survey out of curiosity. I carried on round the Nest, circling its perimiter anticlockwise, looking at the bare soil exposures and pretty uniform small rocks within. Under a tree on it's western side between about a third and half way along I found a large stone in the long grass. It had a fine, laminated structure, running from top to bottom. Something caught my eye again.. the light was right. There were about eight lines of long horizontal incisions on the lefthand of its 'field/W' side. Each line had other shorter cutmarks leading off from it, either at right angles or at an angle. Convinced then that this was made by human hand, I now accept Tiompan's judgement that what I had found were ploughmarks. It just goes to show how the inexperienced can be decieved. At the time though I confess I was a bit blown away after finding this stone in addition to the other two. Drumtroddan and more awaited though. My last day. Back to the open gate, and I thought I'd walk along the road back to Monreith. After a few yards walk along it I thought I'd get some more Egg pics and leant against the field wall. I looked over the wall to my right. Two further stones, resting against each other, incorporated in it. On the 'road' side of the wall they don't look much, on the lower, 'field' side they are revealed to be the best part of five feet long. Uprooted Wren's attendants? They are visible in this TMA image: Look at the left hand edge of the left hand stone, then to the field wall beyond. Two whitish lines therein. Another, possibly, to their left. While stamping back the grass on the road side of the wall to take some pics of the stones, herewith, a couple approached with their dog. She was a local, and had never noticed what I'd found. We had a natter, and I told her the purpose of my trip. She then told me about some carved and cup and ring marked stones locally, "plain to see when I was young, now covered in nettles and brambles". Oh, how I wish I'd had the presence of mind to ask her to point out their location on the map in my hand. I have not checked others Blairbuy fieldnotes yet, but, there may be yet more to find and record around here. I have read on preceeding fieldnotes Julian's assessment of this place as a 'protoneolithic temple'. Too right, Drude, too right. NOW will someone else come? A fine, intriguing and undervisited site. spencer Posted by spencer
19th November 2015ce
Edited 1st December 2015ce

Comments (4)

There is comment c. turn of 20thC to the effect that stones from the area have been reused as gate posts etc . and the farmer c. 1970's remarked that erratics had been removed c.1930's . tiompan Posted by tiompan
19th November 2015ce
Anyone who is tempted by all this might be interested to know that the green lane on from Blairbuy keeps going for quite a way before it opens out into a green sward called Court Hill near to Dowies or The Old Place of Monreith, a restored fortified house. The topography in the immediate area suggests it's an ancient meeting/gathering place. The Monreith Cross, now in the Whithorn Museum, used to be sited there, it appears.
Be warned, though, you WILL need good wellies along the "lane"..........the site can be approached separately by road but I love the old lane approach, with its occasional elm tree glade (yes some survived up here).
Posted by tomatoman
19th November 2015ce
Both comments interesting, cheers.. I did have a look at the walls and gateposts on my way back to Monreith, and didn't notice anything else, but would love to return asap for further checks. I did not know the green lanes antiquity for sure, but suspected it was by the way it was raised up from the field between Monreith and Blairbuy. I wonder what aerial photos there are for the area, including b+w from WW2. spencer Posted by spencer
20th November 2015ce
There are AP's for the area ,probably viewable on the NLS (national libraray of Scotland site ) . Also worth noting that the large scale 25 inch map (middle 19th C?) doesn't look like it has the dyke marked just a ditch ,it is however marked on the later 6 th maps .
The Guard excavation of the cists notes the field clearance. "During the recent investigations at Blairbuy in April 2012 a number
of large elongated boulders were observed
around the edges of the stand of trees adjacent
to the Wren’s Egg and the existing standing stone
pair. Along with these large stones lay extensive
piles of rounded and irregular stones from
field clearance, and the occasional large slab of
stone. The presence of the elongated boulders
in the clearance material suggests they had been
removed from the main field. Whether they
formed any relationship with the standing stones
or the glacial erratic is unknown. The slabs may
be an indication of further cists in the vicinity that
had been disturbed by ploughing, as they do not
occur naturally in the ploughsoil."
tiompan Posted by tiompan
20th November 2015ce
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