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Turin Hill

Hillfort

<b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Forfar (7km WSW)
OS Ref (GB):   NO514535 / Sheet: 54
Latitude:56° 40' 14.59" N
Longitude:   2° 47' 35.25" W

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Turinhill Craigs Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art

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Photographs:<b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by thelonious <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by thelonious <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by thelonious <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by thelonious <b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by thelonious Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Turin Hill</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Fieldnotes

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An intriguingly complex, multi-phase series of defensive dwellings crown the crest of Turin Hill.... not to mention examples of those enigmatic cup-marked stones, the purpose/meaning of which still eludes us. Perhaps that will always remain the case. To be honest I misinterpreted the remaining grass-covered ramparts which still girdle the hill as a large multivallate hillfort with contemporary central 'redoubt', to which a very powerful circular dun was later added.

In actual fact it appears the inner hillfort, straddling the summit of the hill, was a later addition, perhaps a consolidation of resources when the larger enclosure was found to be too large to defend, too vulnerable to a surprise assault, perhaps?

For me by far the most impressive structure extant upon this hilltop is the aformentioned dun, sited a little below the summit to the west and unfortunately bisected by a dry stone field wall. Although virtually reduced to footings, the remaining volume of stone debris strongly suggests that here we have the significant footprint of what was a very powerful structure indeed. According to RCAHMS records [see thelonious's link] there are additional examples of the genre to east and west, although much less distinct. Phew, clearly a lot has gone on upon Turin Hill across the millennia. The views are not bad, either, particularly looking northward across Hill of Finavon (incidentally bearing a fine vitrified hillfort) toward the distant, snow-capped Cairngorms. The large Carsegownie cairn can also be seen, nearer to hand, beneath its woodland copse.

Perhaps the greatest surprise, however, occurs as I take a wander along Turinhill Craigs (upon the southern flank) and literally stumble over a slab bearing several distinct cup marks. According to TMA rock art expert - and local resident - Tiompan there are more here [check out the related site]. Once again it is interesting - and perhaps instructive - that these slabs were not destroyed during the periodic remodelling which appears to have occurred upon this hilltop. Yeah, as I said at the start... what an intriguing place.

For reference I ascended Turin Hill from the north, past Back of Turin Hill (very prosaic). As usual, however, I misread the map and cut through woodland. Big mistake since, upon negotiating a wire fence, I suddenly feel a very sharp jolt surge through the right leg and fear the worst.... 'Oh no, not the hamstring!!'. However the anticipated, searing pain does not follow, 'just' a further jolt as I replace the leg (think Homer stretching for the four pack suspended upon power cables). The penny eventually drops.... electric fence! Consequently if you come this way please keep to the right of the treeline... field gates give access to the western end of the hill and you won't subject yourself to a dose of ECT. Unless you enjoy that sort of thing...... hey, none of my business.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
6th June 2012ce
Edited 7th June 2012ce

13/03/2010 - We parked the car at NO 4938 5230 and walked NE along track to Baldardo then followed path up hill to top. It can be climbed from north as well. Lots to look at here, see link to canmore below for details. thelonious Posted by thelonious
30th January 2012ce

Folklore

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Conall Corc and the Pictish Dreamtime

The circular homesteads on Turin have similarities with others in Perthshire and one authority has likened these to Irish structures and linked to an incursion of Gaelic speakers into the region between 500 and 800 AD. There is, remarkably, an ancient Irish tale which may be linked to the site which would suggest this is true and push back the Irish link to the earlier part of this date range, if not before it. I have fancifully called this the Pictish Dreamtime, though this is an unforgivably romantic description of the period just beyond the Pictish historical horizon. I summarised the tale of the possibly 4th century Corc in an earlier post (which can be fully read here ). His story is contained in the Irish legend of 'The Finding of Cashel'.

Conall Corc, from the Eoganáchta people, was the son of King Luigthech and Bolce Ben-bretnach (“the British woman”), which suggests there may have been even earlier contact between Munster and North Britain. Conall was later adopted by another ruler, his cousin Crimthann, but when he rejected the advances of Crimthann's wife he was sent in exile to the Picts in Britain. In this foreign land, Conall almost perished in a blizzard, but he was saved by the bard of the local Pictish king. The bard also noticed a magical message written on Conall’s shield at the behest of his father. The message directed the king of Pictland to kill Corc. But the poet changed the words to request the king to give Corc every assistance he could and even give his daughter to the Irish immigrant, which is exactly what happened. Prince Corcc remained in Pictland until he had seven sons and an immense fortune. One of his sons founded the Eoganacht kin-group of Circinn, and was possibly the ancestor of the Pictish king Angus mac Fergus.

Several sources name Mongfinn’s son Cairbre, while the Book of the Hui Maine says the son was Main, but there were three other sons attributed to Corc and Mongfinn, all born in Alba. The full name of Feradach’s daughter was apparently Leamhain Mongfionn, and she had by Corc, Cairbre Cruithenechán of Circinn and Maine Leamhna. The latter was ancestor of the Mormaers of Lennox, around Loch Lomond.


What has this to do with Turin? Corc ended up apparently at the fortress of a Pictish leader named Feradach. The stronghold was named Turin brighe na Righe. The name may be coincidental, but it is still impressive. Corc married Mongfinn, daughter of the Pictish king, stayed ten years sojourn in Alba, and had three sons. In three manuscript versions of the descendents of Eber in the Psalter of Cashel, one of these says that Cairbre Cruithinechan (“Pict Sprung”) was ancestor of the Eoganacht of Magh Circinn.



Whether or not the tales hold water, they are nevertheless intriguing, and ultimately perhaps unprovable. I have provided Vernam Hull's full translation of one version of the tale of Corc below for anyone interested. The first part of the tale is mission, but the story is interesting all the same.

The Exile of Conall Corc

...Dublin and saw the ships going over the sea. He went with them eastwards over the sea and perceived the mountains of Scotland. They let him go onto the land. He went to a mountain in the west of Scotland. Much snow descended on him so that it reached his girdle. For five days he was without drink and without food until he cast himself down in a dying condition in a glen.
Gruibne the scholar, the poet of Feradach, king of Scotland, came, twelve horsemen strong, into the glen to seek his pigs. He beheld a lap of his mantle above the snow.

"A dead man!" he said. He saw that his body was [still] warm. "Frost has done that to the man," said the poet. "Kindle a fire around him in order that his limbs will be able to rise."

That was done so that he steamed. Suddenly he arose.

"Steady, O warrior," Gruibne said. "Do not fear anything."

Then, on beholding his countenance, Gruibne spoke as follows:"Welcome, O fair Conall Corc who took each land in the west beyond the region of the sea. Here, the ocean confused you so that sleep stretches you out. A host with silent troops of valor uttered a heavy cry for nine hours so that you were unable to find a word. Good [is] the meeting to which I am destined, [namely], that you came upon me [and] that you did not abide upon the surface of another land. [It was] a plan of sin that sword-ends were brought for your betrayal over the flatness of your body. ..of Lugaid mac Ailella. With honor he was honored. . . O mighty Corc about whom firebrands raise a cry,for fair Cashel protects you so that it will be over Femen that you will rule with fine feasting. Well will you suppress bad weather. In Munster-of the-great-hosts you will receive hostages so that you will be the lion of Loch Lein. Your fame will fill Ireland's vast plain and the race of Oengus above the surface of each land. The adze-heads will come over the sea's ocean with hooks of crooked staves." Actually the poet who had recited the poetic composition was one of the two captives whom Corc had protected from the Leinstermen. Then he put both his arms around him."It were indeed fitting for us," he said, "to welcome you. Who," said he, "saw to your advantage by means of the Ogham writing which is on your shield?" It was not good fortune that it indicated."

"What is on it?" said Corc.

"This is on it: If it be during the day that you might go to Feradach, your head is to be removed before it were evening. If it be in the night, your head is to be removed before it were morning. Not thus will it be."

Afterwards, he bore him with him to his own house, and a hurdle [was] under him, and eight men [were] under the hurdle. On that day a month later, he went forthwith to speak with Feradach, and he left Corc outside. He related to him his whole story, namely, how he went to seek his pigs, and he said that he had intended to kill the man. When he saw the Ogham writing on the shield, he was loath to slay him, for this was on it: "A son of the king of Munster has come to you. If it be during the day that he might come, your daughter is to be given to him before evening. If it be in the night, she is to sleep with him before morning."

"The news is bad," said Feradach. "Anyone would indeed be sad that you have brought him alive."

"Gruibne bound his equal weight in silver on Feradach and brought him in. That one offered him a great welcome. But the daughter was not given to him, for Feradach said that he would not grant his daughter to a hireling soldier . . . from abroad. This availed him hot, because the couple had intercourse with each other so that the woman became pregnant by him, and she was brought
down, and bore him a son. She did not admit that it was Corc's. They intended to burn her [and] the men of Scotland came for the burning. It was formerly a custom that any maiden who committed fornication without bethrothal was burnt. Hence, these hills are [named] Mag Breoa, that is Mag Breg. Then the men of Scotland besought a respite for the girl to the end of a year until her son
had assumed the form, voice or habit of the sept.

At the end of a year they came to burn her. "I will not bring your son to you," said she.

"You shall, however, bring him," said he, "into the presence of Feradach."

When, then, she was about to be burned, she brought him before both of them.

"O woman," said Feradach, "does the boy belong to Corc?"

"He does," said the woman.

"I will not take him from you," said Corc, "for he is a bastard until his grandfather gives him."

"I do indeed give him to you," said Feradach. "The son is yours."

"Now he will be accepted," said Corc.

"Go forth, O woman," said Feradach, "and you shall have no luck."

"She shall, however, not go," said Corc, "since she is not guilty."

"She is, nevertheless, guilty," said Feradach.

"But she is not guilty," said Corc. "To each son [belongs] his mother. On her son falls her misdeed, that is, on her womb."

"Let the son, therefore, be expelled," said Feradach.

"He shall indeed not be expelled," said Corc, "since that youth has not attained manhood. For the son will pay for her offence."

"You have saved them both," said Feradach.

"That will be fortunate," said Corc.

"Well, O Corc,"said Feradach, "sleep with your wife. It is you whom we would have chosen for her, if we had had a choice."' I will pay her price to the men of Scotland."

That was done. He remained in the east until she had born him three sons.

"Well, O Corc," said Feradach, "take your sons and your wife with you to your country, for it is sad that they should be outside of their land. Take the load of three men of silver with you. Let thirty warriors accompany you."

That was done. He came from the east, thirty warriors strong, until he reached Mag Femin. There, snow descended upon them so that it led them astray at Cnocc Graffand. His father was infirm.That brought them northwards into the north of Mag [Femin].

On that day, the swineherd of Aed, the king of Muscraige, was tending his pigs. That night, he said to Aed: "I saw a wonder today," said he, "on these ridges in the north. I beheld a yew-bush on a stone, and I perceived a small oratory in front of it and a flagstone before it. Angels were in attendance going up and down from the flagstone."

"Verily," said the druid of Aed," that will be the residence of the king of Munster forever, and he who shall first kindle a fire under that yew, from him shall descend the kingship of Munster."

"Let us go to light it," said Aed.

"Let us wait until morning," said the druid.

[Thither] then came the aforesaid Corc in his wanderings.He kindled a fire for his wife and for his sons so that Aed found him on the following day by his fire with his sons about him. He recognized him then, and he gave him a great welcome, and he put his son in surety under his custody. When,
now, after the death of his father there was contention about the kingship of Munster, then Corc came. Thereupon, a residence was at once established by him in Cashel and before the end of a week, he was the undisputed king of the Munstermen.

The surety of the Muscraige is the first surety that a king of Munster ever took, and, afterwards, they were freed, and a queen of theirs [was]in Cashel. Moreover, the swineherd who was found in Cashel, freedom was given to him and to his children by the king of Cashel, that is, without tribute and without exaction of king or steward. It is he, too, who raises the cry of kingship for the king of Cashel, and is given a blessing by the king, and straightway receives the garment of the king. Hence it is, then, that Corc's Cashel exists, and it is the progeny and the seed of Corc mac Lugthach that abides forever in Cashel from that time forth.

Angus Folklore
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
10th September 2020ce

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Site Record for Turin Hill
thelonious Posted by thelonious
30th January 2012ce

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Turinhill Craigs (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by tiompan<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by GLADMAN<b>Turinhill Craigs</b>Posted by GLADMAN GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
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