Russell's Cairn on Windy Gyle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015318

Date first listed: 03-May-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Russell's Cairn on Windy Gyle
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2018 at 14:27:21.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alwinton

District: Scottish Borders (Unitary Authority)


National Grid Reference: NT 85537 15214


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Russell's Cairn survives very well and contains significant archaeological deposits. It is clearly a site of some importance as it is in a commanding position from where it is a visible landmark for some distance. It is one of a group of cairns situated along the border ridge and will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age settlement and activity.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of a substantial round cairn of prehistoric date situated high on the summit of the border ridge known as Windy Gyle. It commands extensive views, and can be seen as a major landmark from all directions. Its prominence as a landmark subsequently led to its reuse as a marker defining the boundary between England and Scotland. It is composed of bare angular rock and measures 14m in diameter and stands to a maximum height of 2.2m. The upper surface of the cairn has been rearranged by walkers and there is a shallow hollow in the centre of the cairn. The cairn is traditionally connected with Lord Russell who, it is said, was slain there in July 1585 by the Scots.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 25029

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The County of Roxburgh: Volume 2, (1956), 361

End of official listing