Torhousekie

Stone Circle - Wigtownshire

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NX 383 565 (Pub.) Diameter 20m x 19m (Meas.)
Visited July 2001 No magnetic anomalies

Situated about 5.5 km west of Wigtown, the Torhousekie circle has survived to the present day in excellent condition. The circle has all nineteen of its original circle stones and these stand on a circular artificial platform of earth and small stones. The stones are height graded to the ESE and the stone spacing is also graded, with the smallest gaps at the NW and the largest at the SE. As well as the grading, the SE emphasis is further reinforced by a flattening of the ring in this quadrant.  The two tallest stones of the SE quadrant (6&7), are particularly prominent, they are much less rounded than the other circle stones and stone 7 has a number of unusual surface features, some with quartz inclusions. 
Within the circle is a "D" shaped rubble bank about 8.2 x 9.4m, this feature is difficult to make out at the site today. The straight edge of the "D" is aligned SW-NE and therefore "faces" the emphasized SE quadrant. Set on this straight edge are three stones, the northern stone is about 1.1m tall and the southern would be about the same height if it were not fallen, together they flank a much smaller stone that stands about 0.7m high. Although referred to as a "central construction" this three stone row is not actually at the centre of the ring, because of the flattening of the circle it stands nearer to the stones of the SE quadrant.
Aubrey Burl (1) points out the similarity of the central construction to the recumbent and flanker trios of the recumbent stone circles (RSCs), of NE Scotland and suggests that Torhousekie is a variant form of this circle class. We think that this is unlikely as none of the RSCs show central constructions and their grading usually emphasizes the SW quadrant with its lunar associations. John Barnatt (2) also thinks that a link with the RSC tradition is unlikely, pointing out the geographical separation and the frequency of other central constructions in circles of the western region.
127m east of the circle at NX 384 565 stands a three stone row on a NE-SW axis, it is said to be height graded to the SW and aligned on the midwinter sunrise. Unfortunately our visit to Torhousekie was towards the end of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease and the stone row (and most of the country!), was off-limits so we were unable to get bearings or measurements.
There are accounts of an arc of three fallen stones to the NW at NX 382 566 which suggest these to be the remains of a second circle, although these stones were removed before1932, they were were almost certainly a fallen second stone row.
There are accounts of a boulder bearing a large oval hollow embedded in a dry-stone wall18m to the east of the circle, we could not find this stone but could only view the wall at a distance because of the Foot and Mouth restrictions.

1. Aubrey Burl, A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, 1995 Yale University Press
2. John Barnatt, Stone Circles of Britain, B.A.R. 215(i) 1989, Oxford 

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