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Greenlaw Moor and the Hule Moss
The 1980 publication of ‘The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Berwickshire District’ notes only the linear earthwork of Herrits Dyke on Greenlaw Moor. For some reason the large cairnfield on both sides of the Dyke has gone un-noted probably owing to a thick heather growth, or has been dismissed as the debris deposited by blown tree roots.
The cairns are basically earth mounds, around three/four metres across and about half a metre high at the most. Over a hundred such cairns can be seen and an equal number detected by divining rods. They are not stone-gather heaps as there are no/ very few stones on the ground surface of this peat moor, especially on the western side of the marked area.
On the eastern side, there are fewer actual mounds but marker stones have been placed at the top and bottom of the divined graves – these are likely to be the ‘heid stanes and fit stanes’ of the early Christian era.
The most remarkable feature of the site is a natural loch which seems to defy the laws of nature. Measuring approximately 400 metres by 150 metres, it lies on a flat piece of ground between two slopes, north and south. However to the east and west of the loch, the ground falls away gently and it would seem easier for the water to run away than to stay where it is.
This phenomenon would almost certainly account for its Anglian/Dark Age name of the Hule or Holy Moss and might account for the heid/fit stanes of a nearby Christian? burial ground.
However the unusual natural configuration and the presence of water would make it a strong candidate for a place of pagan worship by the native tribes of the pre-Roman times
The adoption of a pagan site for Christian worship is quite common.
Walter Elliot 20 June 2004.
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