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Torhouse Stone Circle
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Torhousekie stone circle
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Shown within Dumfries and Galloway
Alternative nameTorhousekie
Location Galloway
Coordinates 54°52′39″N4°31′22″W / 54.877472°N 4.522639°W / 54.877472; -4.522639
Type Stone circle
Periods Neolithic / Bronze Age
Site notes
Ownership Historic Environment Scotland
Public accessYes
Official nameTorhouse Stone Circle
Reference no. SM90304

The Standing Stones of Torhouse (also Torhousekie) are a stone circle of nineteen granite boulders on the land of Torhouse, three miles west of Wigtown, Scotland.

Stone circle monument of standing stones arranged in a circle

A stone circle is a circular alignment of standing stones. They are commonly found across Northern Europe and Great Britain and typically date from the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age eras, with most concentrations appearing from 3000 BC. The best known examples include those at the henge monument at Avebury, the Rollright Stones and elements within the ring of standing stones at Stonehenge. Ancient stone circles appear throughout Europe with many appearing in the Pyrenees, on the Causse de Blandas in southern France in the Cevennes, in the Alps, and Bulgaria.

Wigtown town in Scotland

Wigtown is a town and former royal burgh in Wigtownshire, of which it is the county town, within the Dumfries and Galloway region in Scotland. It lies east of Stranraer and south of Newton Stewart. It is well known today as "Scotland's National Book Town" with a high concentration of second-hand book shops and an annual book festival. It has a population of about 1,000.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.



The stone circle consists of nineteen granite boulders set on a slightly raised platform. [1] The stones have a height ranging from about 0.6 metres to 1.5 metres and are arranged in a circle with a diameter of about 22 metres. [1] The larger stones, over 1 metre high, are on the southeast side. [2]

Granite A common type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock with granular structure

Granite is a common type of felsic intrusive igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture. Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. The word "granite" comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a holocrystalline rock. Strictly speaking, granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume, and at least 35% of the total feldspar consisting of alkali feldspar, although commonly the term "granite" is used to refer to a wider range of coarse-grained igneous rocks containing quartz and feldspar.

Three upright boulders stand in a line near the centre of the circle. [3] The direction of the line of the three central stones is northeast to southwest. [1]

Two stones stand 40 metres to the south-southeast of the stone circle, one large and the other small, and there is a stone row of three stones 130 metres to the east. [2] There are also surviving remains of several burial cairns, and history records others long removed to build field dykes. [2]

Stone row linear arrangement of upright, parallel megalithic standing stones

A stone row, is a linear arrangement of upright, parallel megalithic standing stones set at intervals along a common axis or series of axes, usually dating from the later Neolithic or Bronze Age. Rows may be individual or grouped, and three or more stones aligned can constitute a stone row.

The stone circle has not yet been archaeologically excavated. It probably dates to the Neolithic period or the Bronze Age. [1] [2] The Torhouse Stones are in the care of Historic Environment Scotland as a scheduled monument. [2]

The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development, although this term may not be used, until European contact.

Bronze Age Prehistoric period and age studied in archaeology, part of the Holocene Epoch

The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is an executive non-departmental public body responsible for investigating, caring for and promoting Scotland’s historic environment. HES was formed in 2015 from the merger of government agency Historic Scotland with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). Among other duties, Historic Environment Scotland maintains more than 300 properties of national importance including Edinburgh Castle, Skara Brae and Fort George.

In folklore

Local tradition maintains that the three large stones in the center of the circle contained the tomb of Galdus, a mythical Scottish king. [2] [4] A similar story is told about one of the tombs at Cairnholy, also in Galloway. [5]

Cairnholy Archaeological site in Scotland

Cairnholy is the site of two Neolithic chambered tombs. It is located 4 kilometres east of the village of Carsluith in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The tombs are in the care of Historic Scotland.

In the dyke on the south side of the road is a stone with a deep cavity which according to tradition, "the knowing never pass without depositing therein some pebble or gift to pass in peace". [6]

Related Research Articles

Dry stone construction method

Dry stone, sometimes called drystack or, in Scotland, drystane, is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. Dry stone structures are stable because of their unique construction method, which is characterized by the presence of a load-bearing façade of carefully selected interlocking stones.

Clava cairn Type of Bronze Age chamber tomb

The Clava cairn is a type of Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness in Scotland. There are about 50 cairns of this type in an area round about Inverness. They fall into two sub-types, one typically consisting of a corbelled passage grave with a single burial chamber linked to the entrance by a short passage and covered with a cairn of stones, with the entrances oriented south west towards midwinter sunset. In the other sub-type an annular ring cairn encloses an apparently unroofed area with no formal means of access from the outside. In both sub-types a stone circle surrounds the whole tomb and a kerb often runs around the cairn. The heights of the standing stones vary in height so that the tallest fringe the entrance and the shortest are directly opposite it.


Corick is a megalithic site and townland in the civil parish of Ballynascreen, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It includes a stone circle and a stone row. The Corick stone circles and alignments are located 2 km north east of Ballybriest court-tomb, 400 metres south of Corick clachan, near a stream. There are some 5 circles and 3 stone-rows. The stone alignments and circle are Scheduled Historic Monuments in Corick at grid reference: Area of H780 896.

Beaghmore complex of early Bronze Age megalithic features in Northern Ireland

Beaghmore is a complex of early Bronze Age megalithic features, stone circles and cairns, 8.5 miles north west of Cookstown, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, on the south-east edge of the Sperrin Mountains.

Carrowmore Megalithic cemetery in County Sligo, Ireland

Carrowmore is a large group of megalithic tombs on the Cúil Irra peninsula near Sligo, Ireland. They were built in the 4th millennium BCE, during the Neolithic era. There are thirty surviving tombs, the earliest dating to around 3700 BCE, making Carrowmore the largest and among the oldest cemeteries of megalithic tombs in Ireland. It is considered one of the 'big four' along with Carrowkeel, Loughcrew and Brú na Bóinne. Carrowmore is the heart of an ancient ritual landscape which is dominated by the mountain of Knocknarea to the west. It is a protected National Monument.

New Luce human settlement in United Kingdom

New Luce is a civil parish in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. It lies in the traditional county of Wigtownshire, and is about 10 miles (16 km) in length and 5 miles (8.0 km) in breath, being the upper part of the original Glenluce Parish. New Luce is shown as a civil parish on John Ainslie's county map of 1782.

Callanish Stones neolithic standing stones near Callanish, Scotland

The Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. They are near the village of Callanish on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

There are many large stones of Scotland of cultural and historical interest, notably the distinctive Pictish stones, but also the other types discussed below.

The Merry Maidens

The Merry Maidens, also known as Dawn's Men is a late neolithic stone circle located 2 miles (3 km) to the south of the village of St Buryan, in Cornwall, United Kingdom. A pair of standing stones, The Pipers is associated both geographically and in legend.

Beltany stone circle Bronze Age stone circle

Beltany is a Bronze Age stone circle just south of Raphoe town in County Donegal, Ireland. It dates from circa 2100-700 BC. There is evidence that it may also have been the sacred site of Neolithic monuments possibly early passage tombs. It overlooks the now destroyed passage tomb complex at Kilmonaster and Beltany is dominated by Croghan Hill to the east on the summit of which there sits a Neolithic mound most likely a passage tomb.

Ballynoe Stone Circle geographical object

Ballynoe Stone Circle is a stone circle situated in the small hamlet of Ballynoe 2.5 miles (4 km) south of Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. It is near the disused railway station, reached by a long footpath off the main road, at grid ref: J481404. It is a large and impressive circle lying in cultivated lowland, less than 100 ft above sea level, in the heart of the fertile Lecale peninsula.

Easter Aquhorthies stone circle Well-preserved recumbent stone circle in north-east Scotland

Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie in north-east Scotland, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It stands on a gentle hill slope about 1 mi (1.6 km) west of Inverurie, and consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite. The discovery of a possible cist covered by a capstone at the centre of the circle indicates that there may once have been a cairn there, but only a conspicuous bump now remains.


Balquhain, also known as Balquhain Stone Circle, The Chapel of Garioch or Inveramsay, is a recumbent stone circle 3 miles (4.8 km) from Inverurie in Scotland. It is a scheduled ancient monument.

Machrie Moor Stone Circles village in United Kingdom

Machrie Moor Stone Circles is the collective name for six stone circles visible on Machrie Moor near the settlement of Machrie on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.

Funzie Girt Ancient dividing wall that was erected from north to south across the island of Fetlar in Shetland, Scotland

Funzie Girt is an ancient dividing wall that was erected from north to south across the island of Fetlar in Shetland, Scotland. Some sources describe it as having been built in the Neolithic, but the date of construction is not certainly known. The line of the wall, which ran for over 4 kilometres (2.5 mi), once divided the island in two almost equal sections. Also known as the Finnigirt Dyke, it has vanished in places at the southern end, although the ruins are clearly visible along much of the uninhabited north of the island, where it is a conspicuous feature of the landscape. The dyke's original purpose is not known, nor is its relationship to other archaeological sites of a similar age nearby. There are various folk tales about its construction, and it is the subject of various pieces of Shetland folk music.

Pettigarths Field Cairns Neolithic archaeological site

The Pettigarths Field Cairns is a Neolithic site in the parish of Nesting, northeastern Whalsay, in the Shetland islands of Scotland. It is located approximately 140 metres (460 ft) to the northwest of Benie Hoose. The site contains upright stones as well as masonry. The south cairn is roughly 6 metres (20 ft) square, with an eastern entrance passage and circular chamber about 2 metres across. 4 metres (13 ft) to the north is a round cairn, 4.5 metres (15 ft) in diameter, with a rectangular cist. The two cairns are located on a rise, about 140 metres (460 ft) northwest of Benie Hoose.

Barbrook One

Barbrook One is a stone circle on Ramsley Moor in the Peak District.

Auchagallon Stone Circle

Auchagallon Stone Circle or Auchengallon cairn is the remains of a Neolithic or Bronze Age burial cairn, surrounded by a circle of fifteen stones. It is located near Machrie on the Isle of Arran in Scotland.

Croft Moraig Stone Circle stone circle in the county Perthshire, Scotland

Croft Moraig Stone Circle is a prehistoric stone circle situated four miles southwest of Aberfeldy, Scotland. It is a scheduled monument.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Historic Environment Scotland. "Torhouse Stone Circle (SM90304)" . Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Torhouse Stone Circle: History". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  3. Historic Environment Scotland. "Torhousekie (62843)". Canmore . Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  4. MacLeod, I. F. (1986). Discovering Galloway. John Donald. p. 213.
  5. "Cairn Holy Chambered Cairns". Historic Environemt Scotland. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  6. Carroll, David (2013). Dumfries & Galloway Curiosities. The History Press. ISBN   075248950X.

Coordinates: 54°52′38.90″N4°31′21.50″W / 54.8774722°N 4.5226389°W / 54.8774722; -4.5226389