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Edin's Hall Broch


This is one of the most southerly broch survivals, which are more typically associated with Northern Scotland. Broch’s were multi floored defensive structures with room for cattle in the lower enclosure and accommodation on the upper floors accessed by passageways in the thick walls.

The broch’s location is a developed site with evidence of occupation covering the Iron Age and Roman occupation. The broch is situated in the NW corner of an earlier fort (probably the earliest feature of the site) 73M by 134M consisting of a double ring of defensive ditches and ramparts, overlooking a steep slope above the valley cut by Whiteadder water.

The fort is thought to date from around the time of the earliest Roman invasion of Britain although this area was not directly effected until much later. The date of the broch is much more of a mystery but it has been speculated that it was built between the two main periods of Roman occupation in Scotland: some time in the 2nd Century AD.

Only the lower level of the broch survives, the walls of which are some 5M thick, with an entrance passage to the circular courtyard protected by two opposing guard chambers. The broch is some 27M in diameter and there is enough intact to give an idea of its granduer when it was complete. Access to the walls and upper floors would have been via an opening in the wall of the interior leading to a stair and passage.

There are traces of a rectangular enclosure around the broch enclosing roundhouse foundations , the central of which would have been a huge structure in its own right. There are copper mines nearby - perhaps a reason for the settlement in the area, and there is a another hill fort close to the site on Cockburn Law.

The Broch has apparently changed its name, as it was known as Wooden's (read Odin or Woden the Norse God) Hall in the 18th Century. This suggests that its association with Red Etin's (Edin) Hall is a later idea. Red Etin, according to Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain (Readers Digest), was a three headed giant who kidnapped the King of Scotland’s daughter and held her captive in his Hall. Two widows had 3 sons who quested to save the her from captivity. The first two sons were turned to stone - unable to answer the giants riddles - the third son answered the riddles and cut off the giants three heads with one blow of his axe; releasing the other sons and the King’s daughter from bondage. I am not sure about the original source for this story, or when the connection to it and the broch was made.

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Daniel Parkinson

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Daniel Parkinson
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A full account of the tale

A full account of the tale of Red Etin can be found in Jennifer Westwood's excellent book "Albion" First published in 1985 which has sources for the original tale. The story is thought to date to at least the 16th Century but again when this became associated with the broch is unclear. Etin may derive from the old English eotin meaning giant.



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