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The Gatehouse website record of

Herskerth (Hartsgarth)

a location shown on a 1590 map of the West Marches of Scotland (The Aglionby Platt)

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as; Harkescarth; Harsketth

In the civil parish of Castleton.
In the historic county of Roxburghshire, Scotland.
Modern Authority of Scottish Borders, Scotland.
1974 county of Borders, Scotland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY49389255
Latitude 55.22462° Longitude -2.79759°

The given map reference is suggested as the probable location of Herskerth shown on the Aglionby Platt.

There are no visible remains.

The likely form(s) of this building in 1590 are;

  • Tower House (gentry)
    Pele House ('bastle').

A section of the 1590 Aglionby Platt. Image reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland
Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

(NY 4938 9255) Tower (NR) (Site of) (OS 6" map (1957))
This spot was pointed out by three local informants in 1858 as the site of Hartsgarth Tower, property of the Elliotts (shown on a map of 1590 as "Herskerth"). Jeffrey notes that two or three large stones, probably lintels, from the site could be seen at Redheugh (NY 495 905). (Name Book 1858; A Jeffrey 1864)
The published site falls within the present Hartsgarth farm complex. The farmhouse is a modernised 18th / 19th century structure and the outbuildings show nothing of architectural significance. The owner has no knowledge of an earlier house.
By a garden gate at Redheugh (NY 496 906) are two roughly dressed stone blocks with triangular recesses (purpose unknown), and above the gate is a 3.0m long carved stone lintel. These stones must pre-date the present house, but no evidence of from where they came was obtained. Visited by OS (JRL) 24 August 1979
Alleged site A a rectangular tower and adjacent 'mansion', divined and planned by Mr A Elliott, of Providence Cottage, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, 22 September 1988.
No evidence for any structure that predates the present farmsteading was visible at the date of survey. Visited by RCAHMS (PJD) 15 February 1996 (Canmore)

The historic evidence for this being the home of a border revier in the late C16 is clear and unambiguous. The supposition that William Ellott would have a fortified house of some form is entirely reasonable. The form of that fortified house is not known and could have been a small three storey tower but a rectangular chamber over byre pele-house may be a more likely form. This comment should not be taken as in anyway endorsing the 'finds' of rectangular tower found by divining. Divining is utter nonsense and hokum and has no place in any proper archaeological record.
The resident householder c. 1590.

William Ellott aka Robyns Will
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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This record created on 22/07/2015 06:55:10; This record last updated on 17/09/2015 11:33:55

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